Pokhara: The land of lakes. While Fewa is best-known, there are at least seven in the area: Dipang, Begnas, Rupa, Maidi, Khaste, Gunde, and Fewa. So where should you go if you’re short on time or want to see beyond Lakeside Pokhara?
One of the largest lakes in Nepal (after Rara, Phoksundo, and Tilicho Lakes), Fewa Tal is the backdrop for the flurry of restaurants and resorts that cluster around Pokhara’s Lakeside. Rent a boat and paddle your way to the Tal Barahi Temple that rests in the lake’s center, or tie your boat near the base of the trail and climb to the white-domed Peace Pagoda (known to locals as the Seto Stupa).
Though a bustling tourist scene has cropped up at one end of the lake, those seeking a quieter experience can make their way towards Happy Village and Pame for grilled fish and peaceful, scenic vistas.
A short drive from Pokhara will lead you to Begnas Tal. Perfect as a day trip or overnight getaway, Begnas is a quiet reprieve from Pokhara’s live music and drink specials. Though less bustling than the area surrounding Fewa Tal, Begnas is home to a range of resorts and activities: from meditation at the Vipassana retreat, a luxury stay at Begnas Lake Resort, or ordering a plate of bhite tareko (small fish fries) at one of the numerous restaurants, Begnas rewards travelers with a pristine backdrop of hills, forests, and layered rice fields. It isn’t uncommon to see groups of picnickers dancing to popular Nepali tunes, and on those days when the sky is clear, lucky visitors bask in the reflection of the Annapurnas shimmering off Begnas’ freshwater surface.
Continue on the road that winds along the ridge behind Begnas and you’ll discover Rupa, another diamond in a stunning landscape. Motorbikes park on the side of the road to take photos of the jewel below. If you’re looking for a peaceful, relaxing environment that’s true to nature, Rupa is it. With fewer visitors than Begnas and Fewa, Rupa welcomes those seeking tranquility and focus.
The other lakes in the area don’t typically fall on visitor’s must-see lists, although they could if you had more time to spare and felt more intrepid. Gunde Lake is drying up, and Leknath’s Khaste Lake is most suited for avid bird watchers. Maidi, also in Leknath, is the smallest lake of the group and is also decreasing in size. Similarly, Dipang is also in danger, but remains a nice spot for a pack-your-own picnic with friends.