Phewa lake also known as Baidam Taal is the second largest lake of Nepal. It is the focus point for tourists in Pokhara. The lake is surrounded by a dense forest area and small parks. The lake gives a beautiful view of the Peace Pagoda Stupa at the top of Raniban forest. There is a hiking trail that starts at the other end of the Phewa lake.
Phewa lake is fed from the west by the Harpan River and is part of a Ramsar site encompassing the city of Pokhara. A dam of 11 doors was constructed for irrigation and hydropower purpose which helped to protect the water level of the lake. However, the doors of the dam broke down and today, there are only 4 doors present.
A huge forest that is home to a variety of birds surrounds it. Many visitors find calm in the chirping sounds of the birds that are abundant in the lush forest when they visit the lake and go boating.
In the center of the lake is a small island of Tal Barahi Temple. The only means to reach the lake are boats. The crowd around the lake is huge during festivals like Dashain as devotees come to worship Goddess Barahi.
At Phewa Lake, a variety of boat types are available, including twin boats connected by planks with pedals in the middle, rowboats, wooden sailboats, contemporary fiberglass sailboats and water sports like Kayaking.
One of the major attractions of Phewa lake is the reflection of Annapurna and Machhapuchhre. You can also notice breathtaking sunsets from the banks of the lake. There are many restaurants and cafes established in Lakeside with a view of Phewa Lake. There is no other place in Nepal where you can experience the nightlife like Lakeside.
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Devis falls is a waterfall with a depth of 100 feet and a width of approx. 20 m. This underground waterfall runs through the Gupteshwor Cave located close to the Devis fall entrance. It lies 2 km southwest of Lakeside on the Siddhartha highway. The formation of Devis Fall is Fewa lake and it falls through a cavernous gorge.
The original or official name of Devis Fall is Patale Chhango; Patale means hell and Chhango means waterfall. Well, this is because the waterfall disappears into a hole as if it is falling towards Patal Lok (Hell). The water from Devis Fall reappears a kilometer away in the souther side and merges with a rivulet called Phusre Khola.
On July 31st,1961, a Swiss couple were bathing under the waterfall. At the same time, the dam of Fewa Lake opened. The couple had no idea about it and Mrs. Davis got pulled by the current and fell down into the hole. Three days later her dead body was found in the river of Phusre.
After her death, her father is said to have visited the waterfall where her daughter died. After visiting the fall, he was impressed by the waterfall and thought it should be a location for people to visit and enjoy. He provided some funds for the land around the waterfall and wanted it to be a tourist attraction. This is how the waterfall is believed to have got its name; Devis Fall.
However, due to a typographical mistake, it’s popularly known as Devis Falls or Davis Falls. There is evidence that suggests that the woman who died had the surname Davis and thus, the waterfall was named after her. The gateway does lead the way to the fall saying “Devis Fall”. ‘Devis’ is the popular pronunciation because in Nepali language, the word “Devi” means goddess and also resonates with the name of Buddha’s mother, Maya Devi.
Devis Fall is surrounded by large bars for safety purposes. The premise also includes Pati Pauwa of Newar architecture, a park, a famous wishing well, and a photo booth with Nepalese traditional wear.
Chhorepatan Higher Secondary School is an integral part of Devis Fall. The earnings generated from the tickets of Devis Fall are used to educate around 1600 students in the secondary level and around 800 students at the higher secondary level. The collaboration between Devis Fall and Chhorepatan Higher Secondary school began in 2032 B.S.(1975 A.D.) with the ticket price of 1 Mohar (25 Nepali Paisa). In the present day, the ticket price for Devis Fall is:
Indian Citizen= 80
Nepalese Citizen= 40
The School issues these tickets and each ticket directly falls under the funds for the education provided by the School. The infrastructure for the growth and development of the School as well as the Devis Fall premise also has a separate allocation of budget. Devis Fall premise has a great social significance because of the Chhorepatan Higher Secondary School.
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Shree Bindhyabasini Temple is one of the oldest temples in Pokhara. It has more than 250 years of history. The main deity of this Temple is Bindhyabasini Bhagwati, who is believed to be a reincarnation of Goddess Kali.
There is an interesting origin story of Bindhyabasini Temple. Among them, “the then king of Kaski, Siddhinarayan Shah, reached the Vindhyachal mountain while visiting various religious sites in India. There was a discourse about the goddess in the temple’s courtyard. Hearing the glory of the goddess’s power, the king was very impressed and thought of bringing an idol of the goddess from there. After coming back, he sent his trusted people to Vindhyachal mountain to bring the idol of the goddess. When the people who went to take the idol reached the Vindhyachal Mountain and told the king’s message to the priest, the priest told them that they had no such statues. During the same night, the priest had a dream in which he was ordered to provide the statue at any cost to the people from Kaski. The statue, which was brought in a doli, was placed in the place where the statue is currently installed in Vindhyavasini. Later, when he tried to lift the idol, it was reported to the king that the idol did not move, and according to the king’s order, the idol of the goddess was installed there.
From here you can see the beautiful mountain ranges and Pokhara city at the same time. Along with the main temple, nearby there is also a Buddha Bihar, that you can visit. Mostly during the Shrawan month, there are many types of celebrations such as Haritalika Teej, Ganesh Puja, Janai Purnima, Nawadurga Mahotsav, Shri Krishna Janmotsav, Asthami Puja, Laxmi puja, Ramnawami Puja, Shri Panchami, Hanuman Jayanti, Maha Shivaratri, etc. During Nawa Durga Mahotsav, Durga Bali rituals along with the Devi Bhagwat Purana last for 9 days. There is a tradition of doing Nitya Puja daily at 4 am. Also, the visitors or pilgrims can enter the door of the main temple only after half past 5 am.
You can also enjoy the beautiful sights of snow peaks from the temple area.
Annapurna South 7291 m.
Ghandruk Snow Peak 6441 m.
Annapurna I 8091 m.
Khang Sarkang 7485 m.
Tarkikang 7119 m.
Mardi Himal 5781 m.
Fishtail 6997 m.
Annapurna III 7555 m.
Annapurna IV 7525 m.
Annapurna II 7937 m.
Lamjung 6983 m.
You can also find these important locations to visit within the Bindhyabasini Temple Area.
Shree Bindhyesari Temple lies on an elevation of 25 feet high right in the center of this religious place. The white-colored octagonal temple built in dome style indicates the Nirguna form of Goddess Vindhyeshwari. Although it is not certain who built such a beautiful temple, it can be assumed that the temple was built in this form at least 300 years ago. It can be confirmed through the sanad and red seal obtained by the Brahmins, conducting the puja. For the past few years, the recitation of Sri Madhdevi Bhagwat is done every Navratri of Ashwin and Shatchandi on the occasion of Navratri falling in Chaitra. Millions of devotees have been blessed by participating in Havan and other festivals.
At the first sight from the main entrance of the temple complex, one can have a darshan of Vighnaharta Ganesha inside the temple, which is built in a general dome style. On the day of Ganesh Chaturthi, the worship of Ganesha is celebrated as a special festival with the large participation of devotees.
You can see the east-facing stone statue of Shree Hanuman just in front of Ganesh Temple. It is believed that worshipping Hanuman can result in better health and life. Hanuman is worshipped every year on the occasion of Hanuman Jayanti. Under the Banyan Tree’s shade, there is a complete lesson of Hanuman Chalisa inside the Hanuman temple.
In the middle of Sri Vindhyavasini temple and Ganesha temple, you can see the temple of Goddess Saraswati, the goddess of learning, on the north side. Similarly, other deities like Surya are in the east, Vishnu in the west, and Pashupati in the north. This temple is crowded with pilgrims on every Basant Panchami.
Shree Radha Krishna
Shree Radha Krishna can be worshipped on the front side of Shree Bindhyabasini temple which is extended towards the northern side. Devotees flock to see Radhakrishna, who represents nature and humans and teaches the lessons of spiritual love. On the day of Bhadra Krishna Ashtami, Lord Krishna’s birthday is celebrated in a special festive atmosphere.
Shree Laxmi Narayan
Sri Lakshminarayan can be seen on the east side of Sri Radhakrishna. Devotees throng to see Shri Lakshminarayan with the belief that it will remind them of Satya Yuga and bring happiness and prosperity. On the day of Lakshmi Puja, the new moon of Kartik Krishna Paksha, a special pooja is performed in a festive atmosphere.
To the west of Sri Radhakrishna, you can see Sri Sitaram. Devotees throng to have a glimpse of Shri Sitaram, who can learn the ideal lessons of the Treta Yuga. On the day of Chaitra Shukla Ram Navami, special worship and sermons of Lord Shri Ram are also held.
On the west side of Shri Vindhyavasini temple, there is a Satsang room and a Shiva temple. Everyday worship is offered to Lord Shiva in the hope of national peace. In the special puja from 5 am to 7 am, there is a significant presence of devotees who perform rudrabhishekam as Karta. Devotees who are affected by mental pain, physical disease, and social causes perform Rudrabhishek and they are directly benefited by it. 26.5 feet high Trishul pillar has been erected in its courtyard. It has become a subject of attraction for devotees and tourists.
The Nawagraha and Ashtachiranjeevi temples, which were built on the north side of the Shiva temple by expanding the Satsang room, are very crowded, especially on Tuesdays and Saturdays. There are a large number of people who are benefited by performing pujas from learned Brahmin batuks.
Public Yagya Mandap
There are two Yagya Mandapams in this religious complex with Havankunda for worship, marriage, and bratabandha. Devotees from different places come here for prayer and Havan according to the Vedic method. Various devotees have been helping in the Havan by providing barley, sesame seeds, samidha, and ghee.
Bindhyabasini Dharmik Chetra Bikas Samiti
A Historical Introduction to Vindhyavasinee
Pokhara Shakti peeths: Premraj Pahari
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The local inhabitants of Pokhara discovered Mahendra Cave in 2008 B.S. (the 1950s’). At the time, they had named it “Adheri Bhuwan” which means a dark hole. Later, in 2016 B.S. the cave was named after King Mahendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev as Mahendra Cave. This cave lies around 8 km northwest of Lakeside Pokhara and is located in Pokhara Submetropolitan city Ward No. 16.
Mahendra Cave is a natural cave of 125-meter length. It is said that the cave was around 500 – 700 meters long before the great Nepal-Bihar earthquake of 1990 B.S. (1934 A.D.). The earthquake of 1990 is the worst earthquake Nepal has ever seen which took down many natural and historical monuments.
The most abundant mineral available in Mahendra Cave is limestone (चूना पत्थर).
To enter the cave, you will have to descend some stairs. The inside of the cave has numerous rock formations of stalactites and stalagmites. One of the stalagmites a few meters from the entrance is worshiped as Lord Ganesh. A priest stays inside the shrine to perform Puja and Hindu devotees who visit the Mahendra Cave pay their respect to the Lord.
The entrance and exit door of the cave is different. Mahendra Cave has different exit routes with different difficulty levels. So, the visitors going inside the cave without a guide are suggested to take the safer and shorter exit route. It is believed that only those who have not committed any sin in their life can pass through this narrow opening.
Mahendra Cave is managed by Bindhyabasini Ma. Bi. since 2033 B.S. (1976 A.D.). For the development of the cave as a tourist attraction, a Master Plan of 7 years was initiated but was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The budget for the entire plan is 21 crore. The surrounding garden area of Mahendra Cave covers 47 Ropani of land which includes a Children’s Park while a Museum that aims to conserve the fauna around the Jungle area of Mahendra Cave and a Maze for entertainment purposes is under construction. These infrastructure development projects come under the Master Plan for the development of Mahendra Cave.
The premise of Mahendra Cave has lots of greenery, perfect for a peaceful time amidst nature. To reach Mahendra cave, you can take a private vehicle from Lakeside or add the location to your cycling journey. On the way, you will be able to visit Seti River Gorge and Gurkha Museum too. Bat Cave (Chamero Gufa), another natural cave popular as a habitat of hundreds of bats, is just 10 minutes from Mahendra Cave.
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Gupteshwor Mahadev Cave is probably the longest and the most attractive cave in south Asia which is located in the pristine location of the southwestern part of the Pokhara, 100 meters far from Devi’s Fall. The name ‘Gupeshwor Mahadev’ comes from the location of the Shiva linga that lies 150 m down the surface level in a secret(gupta) place. Ancestors of this area called this place ‘desolate Khatri Tara’. During that time, the water stream used to come out of the cave located in Khatri Tara. It was only in 1994 that the cave was formally established. The total length of this cave is 2950 meters.
From the entrance within approximately 40 meters, there is an idol in which amazing and natural pictures of Lord Shiva, Goddess Parbati, Naag, Lord Ganesha, and a mouse can be found on the surface of the same boulder. Within the distance of 100 meters from the cave i.e., on the bottom of David Falls, one can see illuminating limestone and can see the mesmerizing scene of the waterfall of Devi’s Falls. In a little southern part of the Cave, there is a tunnel of one KM and on the northern part of it, two such tunnels about one KM each can be found that make the meeting point of the Phusre Khola. Archeologists assume that this is the longest cave in South Asia.
There are also stone structures and small water ponds inside the cave. The cave can be visited from 6 am to 7 pm. The inner part of the cave might be closed during the rainy season but the other areas remain open throughout the year.
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Bat cave which is known as Chamero Gufa in the Nepali language was discovered by the local people of the area in 2043 B.S. (1986 A.D.). The cave is home to thousands of bats of different species and therefore, is known as a Bat cave. It is located around 8 kilometers northwest of Lakeside Pokhara in Pokhara Submetropolitan city Ward No. 16. A 10-minute walk from Mahendra Cave will take you to the gates of this mind-blowing cave.
Surprisingly, Bat cave was on private land during the time of its discovery. Later, Bindhyabasini secondary school took over the land and its management.
Once you go inside the cave, you will reach a huge space. The cave is built from Limestone and is a habitat for different species of bats. You will be able to notice them hanging upside down at the walls, corners, and ceilings of the cave with the help of an emergency light provided by the counter. The different species of bats found in this cave feed on fruits and insects. The cave is 225 meters long and there are two different entry and exit routes. The entrance of the cave is wide and open which makes it easier to enter. However, the exit is narrow and you will have to climb out of a tiny hole which is quite adventurous and exciting. You will also be able to notice different figures of animals and idol representations of Hindu gods on the way out. It is believed that only those who have not committed any sin in their life can pass through this narrow opening.
Bat cave is a natural cave and is one of the major attractions of Nepal. Similar to Mahendra Cave, Bat Cave also holds many rock formations of stalactites and stalagmites. The major attractions of this cave are the hundreds of bats on the walls and ceilings, and the thrilling exit route. In this destination of Pokhara, you get to experience so many things in such a brief amount of time.
To reach Bat cave, you can take a private vehicle from Lakeside or add the location to your cycling journey. On the way, you will be able to visit Seti River Gorge, Gurkha Museum, and Mahendra Cave as well.
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Seti River Gorge
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Pokhara is famous for the scenic views of the lakeside, adventurous sports, cozy cafes, clubs, and luxurious hotels. For many tourists, Pokhara is limited to the lakeside and the amazing ambiance it offers. The essence of Pokhara lies within its diversity. Within a short distance, there are lakes, waterfalls, pilgrimage sites of many heritages, and monasteries. One of the most popular destinations of Pokhara is Matepani Gumba, a monastery that lies on the top of a hill.
Matepani Gumba is one of the oldest monasteries of Pokhara. It is located in the Kundhara area of Pokhara, on the eastern side of the lakeside and around five kilometers from Mahendrapul. The monastery was established in 1960 A.D. by Nyeshang people who had moved from Manang to Pokhara. The prayers are performed in the grand hall which is a very interesting sight for visitors. The architecture of the gumba is breathtaking with graceful paintings that symbolize and represent different instances of Buddha’s life and various stories that form up Buddhist religion. The gumba also holds an 11 feet tall statue of Buddha which feels like therapy for your sight. There are many beautiful statues of Guru Rinpoche, the Buddha who introduced Buddhism to Tibet. Many young monks take daily classes in Buddhism and standard education of the country in Matepani gumba.
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Sarangkot is the most popular viewpoint of Pokhara. Sarangkot was formerly a VDC of Kaski district which was later added to the main city Pokhara. Sarangkot viewpoint has been present since the time tourism flourished in Pokhara or even before. It lies around 5 km from Lakeside Pokhara.
From Sarangkot you will be able to observe the majestic Annapurna massif (8,091 m), Machhapuchhre (6,993 m), and Dhaulagiri (8,167 m). Below the viewpoint, there is a village that sits on the ancient fort. Sarangkot being at a higher altitude than main Pokhara is popular among Paraguilders.
The finest thing to do in Pokhara, aside from admiring the mountains, is to go paragliding. The flight provides you with a bird’s-eye view of the Pokhara valley and mountains like the Annapurna, Machhapuchhre, and Himchuli. From here, the enormous Fewa Lake likewise appears spectacular. It is one must visit place in Pokhara.
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Congratulations, You have reached the World Peace Stupa area. As you enter the main gate, you are officially inside the area of the Stupa. As you approach the stairs and look towards the left, you can see Nipponzan Myohoji Bihar. Nipponzan Myohoji is a Japanese new religious movement and activist group founded by Nichidatsu Fujii in 1917. Within Bihar, you can find statues of lord Buddha and Bodhisattva. The way to the peace stupa is full of beautiful white Himalayan peaks such as Annapurna, Machhapuchchhre, Dhaulagiri, etc. along with a small green garden.
As you go further ahead and look towards the left, you can see Fewa Lake. On the right side, you can see Siddhartha Highway and attractive green mountains. To reach the main courtyard, you have to follow the stairs and go straight towards the path between the garden. On the left side of the courtyard, you can see the statue of Nipponzan Myohoji made up of statue. Within the courtyard, there is a statue of Min Bahadur Gurung who was one of the founders of the World Peace Stupa. As you continue towards the straight path, you can see a huge white stupa with a total of 50 stairs. Among those 50 stairs, the first 38 stairs represent Uttam Mangal, and the rest of the 12 represent Pratitya Samutpadh.
The circumference of the stupa is 344 feet and the height is 115 feet. There are also circumambulation paths that are circulating around the Peace Stupa. You can circulate around the peace stupa and it will take 108 steps from the top level. Similarly, it will take 216 steps from the second level. The people who want to circulate outside the stupa structure or third level should double their steps. The circular path also called as ‘Pradakshina Path’ can be circled and the four buddhas that symbolize four different abodes or dhams are placed in four distinct directions. There are four different statues representing four different dhams placed in the stupa. On the southern side of the stupa, there is the birthstone of Gautam Buddha which symbolizes the birthplace of Lumbini. It is made up of Dhalot in Nepal by Nepalese people. On the western side, there is a statue of Buddha from Sri Lanka which is depicted in a meditative state. On the front side, a huge statue made in Japan is depicted in the ‘Dharmachakra Prawartan’ state. There is a golden toran in the statue. On the eastern side, there is a six feet long statue from Thailand that is depicted in the ‘Mahaparinirvan’ state.
Just above the statues, the stupa is semicircular in shape. It is also called Garbha, Garbhagriha, or dome. It is one of the most important parts of the stupa and even in the Ashoka period, this part of the stupa was installed with great care and importance. In the same part of the Stupa, ‘Astidhatu’ and other materials used by Buddha are also included in the dome in order to provide vitality to it. Just above the sanctum sanctorum, there are four golden dharma chakras. These chakras provide the message that even though there is sorrow in the world, meditation and worship of ‘Dharma’ can remove this sorrow. Just above this section, there is Harmika, a golden part in a stupa with eight corners. The eight corners of Harmika make us aware of the eightfold paths of the Buddha. The pure and rare ‘Astidhatu’ of Lord Buddha is also treasured inside the Harmika which was provided by his Holiness Rajguru Somdev Yana Sambhar of Thailand. The placement and treasuring of Astidhatu in Stupas, Chaitya, and Bihars are characteristic of the Buddhist Religion. It is believed that the presence of Astidhatu makes us aware of its existence and presence which adds to the liveliness of the place.
Just above the Harmika, there is a pinnacle with a height of 20 feet. This 13-storeyed pinnace symbolizes the 13 universes in the Buddhist religion. It is made up of gold and golden pieces of jewelry received from Nepali people which adds to the significance of the place. On the topmost part of the stupa, above the pinnacle, there is a blue Crystal stone connected to it which is received from Sri Lanka. The blue color of the Crystal stone symbolizes wisdom and compassion. It inspires to keep the mind clean, and pure and directs the way for the benefits of nirvana.
World Peace Stupa has a long and hopeful story of its own. Its ideation and its creation can be traced back to Nichidatsu Fujii, founder of Nipponzan Myohoji which made the World Peace Stupa of Nepal. Nichidatsu Fujii was inspired to make these World Peace Stupa in different parts of the world in order to spread the message of peace. Marking the huge destruction of human lives and the effects of war, Nichidatsu Fujii wanted to promote peace and harmony in the world. On the first visit to Nepal on Dec. 19, 1972, Fujii Guruji met King Birendra and explained the importance of building stupas in Nepal. Further, on July 7, 1973, Fujii Guruji met Anagarika Dharmashila and Former Deputy Minister Min Bahadur Gurung at the ceremony at Pokhara. Inspired by the teachings of Buddha and Fujii Guruji’s passion for spreading world peace, Min Bahadur Gurung decided to offer his land for making a pagoda. Fujii Guruji laid the foundation stone of the World Peace Pagoda by laying the sacred relics of Lord Buddha on Pokhara, on 12th September 1973 AD.
However, when the world Peace Pagoda, still under construction then, had reached the height of 35 feet, the structure was forcibly destroyed by the government on 31 July 1974 AD. When leaving Nepal, Fujii Guruji said, “This time I could not make Pagoda but I have already planted pagoda seeds in the Nepali people’s minds”. That seed after almost 40-50 years grew up and materialized into a pagoda. The first signs of the prophecy becoming fulfilled were seen after almost 18 years. On 21 May 1992, Honorable Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala himself re-laid the foundation stone of the World Peace Pagoda in Pokhara. After this, the construction work continued without any obstacles. The structure was completed by the assistant of the local people and the incessant endeavor of Ven. Morioka. As an inaugural ceremony, the Consecration Worship was conducted in the presence of Former Prime Minister Koirala on 30 October 1999 AD.
World Peace Pagoda, Pokhara
Tilak Man Gubhaju, Pokhara’s World Peace Stupa: An introduction
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The Pumdikot Shiva Statue lies 51 feet tall. It is about 1500 meters above sea level. The whole statue is a massive embodiment of lord Shiva. The damaru of Lord shiva is 31 feet tall. There is a total of 216 Shiva Lingas in the area. Pumdikot Shiva Statue is surrounded by Pokhara Valley in the east, Fewa Lake, green mountain lands in the south and in the west, places like Thaple Lek, and religious places like Panchase can be seen from the Pumdikot Hill. The Shiva Statue can be seen facing in the Southwest direction as it is believed lord shiva always faces towards the Kailash Parbat.
Not only the touristic value but Pumdikot has historic and cultural value as a place of worship. During ancient times, there was a temple of Bhumeshwor Mahadev on the hill. It was considered Shaktipeeth and it was believed that the wishes of farmers were granted in this place. Also, during the time of Baise and Chaubise Rajya, Pumdikot hill was used as a ‘fort’ by the Shah Kings as an important battlefront. Baise and Chaubise Rajya are small divided states within Nepal before Nepal was unified into a single country. Also, it is believed that Shah Kings used to pray for power in the Hill before going to battle with the Nuwakot Kings. Shah kings considered the area as Shaktipeeth and considered praying before the battle for victory over their enemies.
Especially during the Bada Dashain or Nawadurga festival, puja and other religious ceremonies are organized throughout the festival. Farmers pray to gods and goddesses for protection against hailstones and other types of natural calamities. In the process, they worship gods and goddesses daily, light aromatic candles, and blow conch (shankha) while praying every day during Kartik Month. Both the Bhumeshwor mandir and Mai thaan are also worshipped during Chaite Dashain. During the Haritalika teej, there are celebrations and crowds in the area. It is believed by the locals that fasting during the Haritalika Teej and visiting Bhumeshwor Mahadev on the same day can make their wishes true. From this location, you can see different peaks like Annapurna, Machhapuchre, Nilgiri, Dhaulagiri, Manaslu, etc. clearly.
Pumdikot Kot Bikas Samiti
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The International Mountain Museum (IMM) is the only mountain museum of Nepal. It was established in 2004 AD with the specific purpose of recording, documenting and chronicling the various developments and changes that have taken place primarily in three areas- the people of mountains of the world, the historic and scientific information about the origin of the global mountain system and the activities which have established world records in the field of mountaineering and related activities. These three areas are accordingly covered in 3 sections of the museum. The museum highlights mountain people, scientific and historical information of the mountain and the records completed in the mountains.
The entire area of IMM is of 100 ropani whereas, the unique monument of the mountain museum covers 6 ropanies. The land stone foundation for the monument of IMM was performed in 2052 B.S. The construction was completed in 2060 B.S. on Magh 22 (2004 A.D. Feb 5). The International mountain museum in Nepal was built with the help of the Nepal Mountaineering Association. The museum is what it is today thanks to the support of numerous national and international organizations, groups, and individuals. Famous Everest summiteers Ms. Junko Tabei of Japan and Appa Sherpa of Nepal had inaugurated the museum.
In tune with the set objectives, the museum exhibits include mountains, their people and culture, world mountain system, their geological information, mountain flora and fauna and those related to mountain exhibits such as mountaineering, skiing, etc. The museum also displays mountaineering history, development of mountaineering techniques and equipment, ecological waste from the mountains, effects of climate change in mountaineering region, past pictures of mountaineering region of Nepal and a representation of a gumba (prayer space for Buddhists).
The museum also has to develop the International Mountain Studies Centre (IMSC) by enhancing its archives. It has a library space that holds numerous books related to mountaineering.
Facilities available outside the Museum Building
– Mt. Manaslu model
– Artificial climbing wall
– A model of traditional house of mountain region
– Souvnier shop
– A large garden area with resting space
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Begnas Lake lies on the eastern side of the Pokhara Valley and is about 15 km east of Lakeside Pokhara. It is the third largest lake in Nepal. The L-Shaped Lake has an area of 3.28 square km. It is a natural freshwater lake that has an average depth of 6.6 m and a max depth of 10 m. It has a total water volume of 0.20905 km3 with a surface elevation of 650 m. Begnas Lake’s main source of water comes from Syankhudi & Talbesi and it flows out through Khudi Khola. Khudi Khola ultimately gets mixed into the Seti River.
Begnas lake also has a historical value associated with it. There is a stone inscription that has been shaped like a boat near the shore. It is believed that an old woman used to worship the inscription on a daily basis. Now, the place has been named ‘Tal Barahi’ and there is an ongoing construction of the temple. Begnas Lake is surrounded by hillocks and greeneries in three sides and the southern side allows open access to the lake. Begnas Lake has many guesthouses on the western shore that offers clear views of the lake and the Himalayas.
Begnas Lake also acts as the main source of livelihood for 23-30 houses of fisherman groups living nearby. These fishermen set up the fishing nets at 3 pm in the evening and then they get their fishing nets back tomorrow morning at 4-5 am. Also, there are 256 boats registered to row in the Begnas Lake. Begnas lake offers a boating experience, fishing experience, and excellent fresh fish for the locals and tourists visiting the place. Similarly, Begnas lake’s water is used for irrigation and some parts of the lake are used as caged fisheries. The irrigation is used to nourish the paddy fields and the agricultural lands in the area.
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Tal Barahi Temple
History and Formation of Tal Barahi Temple
Tal Barahi Temple is one of the most popular temples in Pokhara, the only temple of Nepal that lies in the center of a lake. The temple is an abode of goddess Durga Agima. It is also believed that the temple is dedicated to Lord Vishu’s third incarnation of Wild boar. The stone idol depicts the structure of its nose. The story about the formation of this temple is based on numerous hearsays. Here are some of them the legends related to Tal Barahi temple:
Long time ago, there was no lake. Instead, the place had a huge settlement. One evening, an old Jogi visited this settlement and went door to door asking for a place to stay for the night. An old lady agreed to take him in but she said that she had no food to offer apart from ‘thuto ko roti’. He happily ate the food and slept on the porch. Next day, before leaving he said to the old lady that the settlement area was going to shrink in the water, so she should move to a safer place. The prediction of Jogi came true and the settlement was flooded forming a huge lake in the area. The old lady, however, managed to escape. She died later in 1467 B.S. After her death, people made a statue of ‘Khar’ and started to worship her. A huge rainfall brought some parts of the statue to the present day location of Tal Barahi temple. On the same night of the rainfall, the King of Kaski Kulmandan Shah saw a dream directing him to establish the idol in the middle of the lake. He then established the temple of Tal Barahi.
Another story of the formation of this temple in the middle of the lake is that in the past, the idol of Tal Barahi was established somewhere at the top of the lake (Maghthum). When the water level started to decrease there, a huge rainfall occurred and the goddess floated in the middle of the lake. It is believed that the goddess preferred to be in water so she floated in the present day location of the temple. This story is also followed by the dream of King Kulmandan Shah of Kaski where he builds the temple of Tal Barahi.
The numerous legends of Tal Barahi, the stories of drowning of a village to form Fewa lake because the people didn’t take in a Jogi and the stories of Goddess Bhagwati floating to the middle of the lake and asking a King to establish her in that location through his dreams is a huge hearsay. However, it cannot be denied that Fewa Lake used to extend upto Maghthum. The lake of Fewa originates from the unification of Harpan river and Khare (Andheri) river flowing from the same area. Hence, there are some truths and factual information in the legends of formation of Tal Barahi Temple.
Structure of Tal Barahi Temple
The temple of Tal Barahi is a two storied pagoda style temple. It is situated among numerous species of trees. In the past, the temple was a small hut made of mud, thatched roof and a small window-sized door. The temple was renovated into a majestic and beautiful area in 2017 B.S. by King Mahendra. The renovation project was led by overseer engineer Ram Bahadur Shrestha. Chairman Hikmat Kunwar says that he heard from the engineer himself that the project had been completed with Rs 80,000 only.
We need to climb down the stairs to reach the stone idol inside the temple. It is because the older Tal Barahi temple was a small hut and was situated in a lower height. The outer structure of the temple has an approximately 5 feet tall ‘Jagur’, carved windows on either sides, a round shaped ‘torun’ and 32 ‘Tudal’ around the roof of the temple.
Significance of Tal Barahi Temple
As people who come to venture walk down from Halan Chowk, Tal Barahi is mostly their first destination around the Lake side. You can enjoy a boat ride around the temple, go for prayers and on a good day you can see Mount Machhapuchhre as you get on your boat to the Temple.
People believe that goddess Tal Barahi fulfills wishes of her devotees when asked with pure heart. So, we can find many devotees who visit for good health and happiness. Many provide offerings as a sign of gratitude when their wishes get fulfilled. In the past, there was a tradition of ‘Panch Bhakal’ where people sacrificed five different species together when their wishes came true. However, this practice is not continued anymore.
The temple opens between 5:30 and 6:00 in the morning. In the evening, at the bank of Fewa lake, a beautiful Aarati procession takes place dedicated to the Tal barahi temple. Devotees especially visit the temple during the festival of Dashain to worship goddess Barahi.