Pokhara is the second largest city of Nepal and the headquarters of Kaski District. It is located 200 km west of the capital Kathmandu. Due to its proximity to the Annapurna mountain range the city is a base for trekkers undertaking the Annapurna Circuit in the Himalayas. Pokhara is home to many Gurkha soldiers. It is the most beautiful and clean city in Nepal and also the most expensive city.
The Seti Gandaki River (White River) flows through the Pokhara city. In the south, the city borders Phewa Lake a fresh water lake which covers an area of 5.23 square km. It has an average depth of 28 feet. The Tal Barahi Temple situated in the middle of the lake is a major attraction. Baidam is the eastern banks of the Phewa Lake which is also known as Lakeside. This is the area where all the hotels, lodges, restaurants, book shops, souvenir shops etc. are located.
Pokhara Shanti Stupa
This Buddhist pagoda style monument on Ananda hill is a major tourist attraction of Pokhara. It was built by Nipponzan-Moyohoji monk, Sonin with local support under the guidance of Nichidatsu Fujii a Buddhist monk and founder of Nipponzan-Myohoji. It provides panoramic view of the Annapurna mountain range, Pokhara city and the Phewa Lake. The hilltop provides splendid view of sun rise and sun set. Nepal has two of the eighty peace pagodas in the world one in Lumbini and the other in Pokhara.
The pagoda is 115 feet tall and 344 feet in diameter. It has two tiers for the religious people to circumambulate. Second tier displays four statues of Buddha presented as souvenirs from different countries – ‘Dharmachakra Mudra’ from Japan, ‘Bodh Gaya’ from Sri Lanka, ‘Kushinagar’ from Thailand and ‘Lumbini’ from Nepal. Each statues represents the important vents related to Buddha and named according the place where it took place.
There are several ways to reach the peace pagoda. There are hiking trails, cycling tracks and the blacked topped road to the stupa. However the most popular and adventurous trails is by crossing the Phewa Lake by a local boat and climb uphill through the local villages that takes about an hour and a half to reach the hilltop. We followed this trail which was very soothing to the eyes owing to the nice views of the mountain range and the aerial view of the Phewa Lake. There have been cases of mugging in these trails, in the previous years.