Kamal Pokharai, a place where tourists must visit

By LB THAPA FOR THE ROAMING POST

Kamal Pokhari in Pokhara is a perfect place to spend some time in complete peace. Photo: LB Thapa

Kamal Pokhari is a beautiful place where you can spend some time in total peace. Rapidly growing population, the numbers of vehicles and concrete buildings have hijacked peace and tranquility in towns everywhere. Until a few years ago Pokhara was more like a village, where the visitors could breathe clean air. But now due to mad rush of urbanization, many agricultural fields are being rapidly converted into plots. No matter wherever you go in Pokhara, but sound pollution will follow you there.  Then, where should you go to find absolute peace in Pokhara? Should you go to Pame, Damside or Lake? No, no, no…absolutely not. These are the places where a sizeable numbers of people always walk around. You may find there many things to feast your eyes on, but ‘peace’. Again a big NO!

Well, what about Kamal Pokhari? Don’t mistake by its name. You may be thinking of a Kamal Pokhara in Kathmandu. No, I don’t mean that. It is Kamal Pokhari of Pokhara. I found many Pokhareli had heard about this place, but they had never been the place…amazing isn’t it?

Young kids are ready to release hooks which get stuck under water. Photo: LB Thapa

Kamal Pokhari is a beautiful place where peace and tranquility are guaranteed. To get to Kamal Pokhari is very easy as you don’t have to take any vehicle. From Mahendrapool Kamal Pokhari is about 4km away. I advice you either take a mountain bike or better you walk at a gentle pace. No matter wherever you are in the Pokhara valley, city bus will drop you at Mahendrapool. From Mahendrapool you can walk up to Matepani Gumba (monastery). From there you need to walk little downhill for about 200meters. Now you will reach at a resting place from there you can have a beautiful view of Kamal Pokhari.

A 300-meter steep downhill will lead you to Kamal Pokhari. The surrounding area of Kamal Pokhari is quite open and full of greenery. The plateau of Kamal Pokhari is surrounded by lush green hills from all sides. Since there is no pitched road yet, traffic is almost empty.

The visitors can sit at the veranda of the shelter, which was built in the memory of late Dal Bahadur Biswokarma, by his son Kesh Bahadur Biswokarma. The visitors will have complete peace here despite the presence of local fishers. There is no cacophony among the fishers. These fishers are very friendly and they are always ready to impress you by telling their fish catching stories. When this scribe reached there, there were some local fishers with their fishing roads. They had placed their fishing rods and waiting for some unlucky fishes to get hooked. Meanwhile, I heard one of the fishermen saying “Nowadays these fishes have become as smart as young belles of Pokhara”. May be he is right…ha..ha..ha.

A woman fisher shows her kill. Photo: LB Thapa

There were a few kids who sat on the raised ground and chatting with each other. When I asked them why they were sitting there? They said “We help fishers to release their fishing hooks from the pond. As you can see there are lotus and many other weeds, which have elongated roots underwater. We dive underwater and release the hooks without any problem”. Oh, very smart kids! These boys get no cash for their services but fish. Yes, they get fish from the fishers…if they have caught any. The boys take fish home and their families cook those fish for the dinner.

I sat quietly and began looking around, if I could see live action of a fish being hooked out of the pond. I could not wait for long. One of the fishermen began shouting at the top of his voice. I saw the man was wrestling with a large fish. It was really a large fish because the pond was not big enough to have such a large fish. The man overpowered the fish and showed everyone the fish more like a winning trophy.

“This is really a big fish” I said with a broad surprise on my face. But the man did not look much excited. “It is not a big fish as you say. It might weigh four to five kilogram but I have already caught many fishes which weighed over 10-12kg” said the man citing his previous records.

“I wonder. How such a large fish can live in a small pond one like this. This seems to me unbelievable” I said in utter bewilderment. “You can see several lotus plants and other weeds across the pond. These lotus plants and other weeds have roots which provide perfect shelter and also foods for all kinds of fishes. On top, don’t say this pond is small. You say this because you see only little water here, but a larger part of this area is marshland. Many large fishes prefer to live in the deep marshland. This pond has plenty of fish and we never go home with empty hands. And let me tell you one more thing that the fish of this pond has unique taste. You cannot compare any fish that you purchase in Pokhara with the fish found here” said the man with authority.

Among the fishers I noticed there was only one woman with her traditional fishing rod. I approached the woman and began speaking with her. “At least in Pokhara I have never seen a woman with her fishing rod” I expressed my surprise. “You may be right. I have never seen any women at this pond with their fishing rods. But I don’t know about other places in Pokhara” replied the woman. “Have you made any catch today?”  I asked. “Oh, yes. You see here” said the woman and showed me a net basket, which was kept half dipped under the pond water. There were about five or six fish of different kinds. She took out one fish and showed me. “Today evening I will make fish curry for my family. I will also call my daughter and her two kids to enjoy fish curry” said she with a beautiful smile on her face.

A resting place at Kamal Pokhari has been proved extremely useful for all fishers. Kesh Bahadur had built this resting place and two small temples. The resting place is very important for the fishers, as it protects them from extreme sunlight and rainfall. The temple is devoted to serpent god ‘Naag’. In Nepali culture a cobra is considered the embodiment of Lord Shiva, the god of destruction. Every year, on the day of Naag Panchami many people worship cobra and ask the Naag god to keep all the misfortune at the bay.

TOURISTS MUST VISIT THIS PLACE FOR PEACE AND ENTERTAINMENT

Kamal Pokhari, as I have already written, is quite at a stone throw away distance from downtown Pokhara. If you want to spend some time away from the meddling crowd of the town, then this is the perfect place to visit. To get to Kamal Pokhari, you don’t have to take an expensive taxi. While walking along the craggy hills, you will find yourself surrounded by majestic hills. From there you can have a look of Pokhara city. If you want to make your trip more enjoyable then you can better hire a bicycle. So, are you in Pokhara? Then let’s roam with The Roaming Post.

About the author

LB Thapa is a travel blogger. He is also the author of six books. His books have been published by Nirala Publications, New Delhi, India and Himalayan Maphouse, Kathmandu, Nepal. His book, POKHARA AND ANNAPURNAS, has been translated into seven foreign languages. LB Thapa’s books are also available on www.amazon.com

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