How well do you know Pokhara?
Where in Pokhara can you buy a pretty dress or a Levis knock-off? (Hint: Chatty girls hand-in-hand walking the sidewalks like runway models is a common sight here).
Where can you find the best ‘stick food’ hawkers in Pokhara?
At Prithvi Chowk
Along Rastra Bank road on the way to Lakeside
The many gallis that form between the shops at Chipledhunga-Mahendrapool
At around the Bristish army camp
When at Lakeside, a Pokhreli is most likely to:
Run the stretch
Play hide & seek
True or false: A few minutes away from Hallanchowk past Khahare there’s a place overlooking the Phewa that resembles a beach.
According to the locals, best burger in Pokhara is served at:
Puime Fast Food and Bar
The little huts around lakeside
Almond’s Cafe & Restaurant
Dream High Restaurant N Bar
Nayapul, the starting point for the Annapurna circuit trek is located at:
Northwest part of the city.
Further away from Davis Fall.
2 hours drive from Begnas taal.
Southeast of the city.
Begnas taal lies inside the city:
You need to revisit Pokhara
You have gone to Pokhara a few times but mostly hung around Lakeside
You are a Pokhreli!
“Have you been to Pokhara?
“Of course I have ! I love Lakeside! I para-glided while I was there!”
So goes almost every conversation when you ask someone about their visit to Pokhara. When you decide that you are going to pack your bags, hop on a bus and set your foot on the Pokhreli soil, almost every time, it’s the usual spots that you’re going to take a stroll in.
But have you ever wandered the Lake City in the shoes of a Pokhreli? Although, I am sure that you won’t exactly fit in our shoes (Pokhrelis are one-of-a-kind, you see), it doesn’t hurt to try. And being a quasi-Pokhreli on your trip here can be absolutely memorable.
The very first activity that comes to mind is tackling the radius that is the Chipledhunga-Mahendrapool area.
You have not been to Pokhara if you haven’t bargained for a pretty dress or a Levis knock-off in one of the hundreds of shops in all shapes and sizes there.
And the stylish population of Pokhara you’ll see here is immaculate. Chatty girls hand-in-hand walking the sidewalks like runway models is a common sight.
Yet don’t be taken aback by them, these young Pokhrelis are humorous and they know how to get things done. They are natural bargainers and you’ll catch them picking a fight over a kilogram of apples.
There are a few malls in the city these days but few years ago, at the same spots, there was a labyrinth of shutter-shops that would roll open at 10 in the morning where every fashionwear would be on display.
Things are still the same, just with a mall or two in between. And when you’re done buying 10 items for 5 grands (if you know the art of bargaining, that is) you can slide into one of those many gallis that begin between the shops.
These gallis are home to many restaurants that provides mouth-watering momos, beautifully fried sausages and potato sticks. You won’t need any dinner after your feast in there!
Then comes lakeside. Of course, you’ve been there.
You loved lakeside, loved the Phewa and the Barahi temple standing so quaintly amidst it all. You adored all the pubs and bars that turn into a live gig every night, the hotels that come in every possible shape and size there is. You loved them all.
What more is there to love?
For once, don’t boat. Just walk along the banks of the lake, take it all in. Maybe stop at those little hut cafes for a coffee. They have eccentric, funny owners who will play the Beatles and the Doors on the stereo. It’s refreshing and over all, joyous.
If you don’t mind getting lost then try to explore the areas nearby lakeside. A few minutes away from Hallanchowk, past Khahare, there’s a place overlooking the Phewa that resembles a beach.
It’s a beautiful place to just lie down and maybe catch a fish or two.
Another place nearlakeside is Birauta that is home to the very popular “Puime” restaurant. This place serves the best burgers in town; almost every Pokhreli know this. Birauta and Mustang Chowk (both around lakeside) are also home to restaurants that make the best “jheer” around Pokhara.
There are a dozen more places worth going to. The Gorkha village is where one can have a mini-hike or maybe watch, or even play, a game of golf. The beautiful Sarangkot has been providing visitors with a spectacular view of the valley in a breathtaking way since forever. And if you make it there early, you can watch the sunrise.
The World Peace Pagoda is another place which also provides a beautiful view of the valley and the Phewa. And for a change, try to swim (only if you know how to,and always have those safety jackets on) in the lake. Take a boat or a kayak with friends and get in the water-the ones who’ve done it know how nice it feels.
And then there’s the working Pokhreli population, the vendors on the streets, the herds of dokos carried by kind faced women-they are the epitome of what being a Pokhreli means. They represent the earthiness, the humility, and the humour that most Pokhrelis are gifted with.
As much as the beauty makes Pokhara what it is, it wouldn’t be anything if it weren’t for the people who live here. I believe Pokhara is made up of the beautiful people – that lady who sells vegetables on the sidewalks everyday, the little kids who wait at stops with their mothers holding their hands, the ladies who sell souvenirs on the streets of lakeside. These are the people that make this place.
So the next time you’re in Pokhara, practice kindness, be patient and always be ready with warm hearts.
Don’t just do the touristy things.
Talk to the locals, they are always easy going, and will help you with directions. Take the bus. It is cheap, packed full of ethnicities and goes to every nook and corner of the city. Or maybe rent a bicycle and ride around.
It’s Pokhara. Go bonkers and have the time of your life.
Gurung is based in Pokhara.
Opening image: Ben Tubby/Flickr; Other images: Wiki Commons
From Pokhara: A letter to Kathmandu, with love