Pokhara valley occupies a central location in Nepal and is dominated by the peaks of Annapurna range. Situated on the lap of the Annapurna mountains, Pokhara is the most popular adventure hub of the country. An enchanting city nestled in a tranquil valley (altitude 827 m), it is the starting point for many of Nepal’s most popular trekking and rafting destinations. Pokhara is a place of remarkable natural beauty.
The serenity of Fewa Lake and the magnificence of the fish-tailed summit of Machhapuchhre (6,977 m) rising behind it create an ambiance of peace and magic. At an elevation lower than Kathmandu, it has a much more tropical feel to it, a fact well appreciated by the beautiful diversity of flowers which prosper in its environs. Indeed, the valley surrounding Pokhara is home to thick forests, gushing rivers, emerald lakes and of course, the world famous views of the Himalaya.
Pokhara Sub-Metropolitan City is a city of close to 200,000 inhabitants in central Nepal located at 28.25°N, 83.99°E, 198 km west of Kathmandu. It is the third largest city of Nepal after Kathmandu and Biratnagar. It is the Headquarters of Kaski District, Gandaki Zone and the Western Development Region. It is also one of the most popular tourist destinations of the country.
Pokhara is situated in the northwestern corner of the Pokhara Valley, which is a widening of the Seti Gandaki valley. The Seti River and its tributaries have dug impressive canyons into the valley floor, which are only visible from higher viewpoints or from the air. To the east of Pokhara is the municipality of Lekhnath, a recently established town in the valley. The climate is sub-tropical but due to the elevation the temperatures are moderate: the summer temperatures average between 25–35 °C, in winter around 5–15 °C.
Pokhara lies on an important old trading route between China and India. In the 17th century it was part of the influential Kingdom of Kaski which again was one of the Chaubise Rajaya (24 Kingdoms of Nepal) ruled by a branch of the Shah Dynasty. Many of the mountains around Pokhara still have medieval ruins from this time. In 1786 Prithvi Narayan Shah added Pokhara into his kingdom. It had by then become an important trading place on the routes from Kathmandu to Jumla and from India to Tibet.
Originally Pokhara was largely inhabited by Brahmin, Chhetri and Thakuri (the major villages were located in Parsyang, Malepatan, Pardi and Harichowk areas of modern Pokhara) and the Majhi community near the Fewa Lake. Later in the 18th century A.D the newars of Bhaktapur migrated to Pokhara and settled near main business locations such as Bindhyabasini temple, Nalakomukh and Bhairab Tole. The establishment of a British recruitment camp brought larger Magar and Gurung communities to Pokhara. At present the Khas (Brahmin, Chhetri, Thakuri and Dalits), Gurung (Tamu) and Magar form the dominant community of Pokhara. There is also a sizeable population of Newaris in Pokhara. A small Muslim community is located on eastern fringes of Pokhara generally called Miya Patan. About half of all tourists visiting Pokhara are there for the start or end of a trek to the Annapurna Base Camp and Mustang.