There are a plethora of things that can be done in the Pokhara valley. Many choose to spend their time by visiting the crowded and famous locations like the Phewa Lake, Tal Barahi Mandir, and the World Peace Pagoda. People seem to forget the fact that there are other natural facilities here, which are worth a visit. No, we are not talking about Rupa and Begnas Lakes, We are talking about the Elephant in the room, the lifeline of Pokhara, the beautiful and tranquil ‘Seti Gandaki River’.
This river is born from the base of the massive Annapurna massif and later flows south & south-east past Pokhara and Damauli to join Trishuli near the Devghat area. The river winds its way down the very core of the city, and you’ll feel utter mystery when the roaring waters enter dark gaping holes. The river vanishes underground only to reappear later at other parts of Pokhara. To the common eye, it is some sort of magic that can’t be explained, but even for the trained eye, it is hard to separate fact from fiction. If you want to see this natural phenomenon by yourself, then you should definitely visit Seti Gandaki River.
Brief history of Seti Gandaki River
The Seti Gandaki River is not only a giver of life, but it has many religious backgrounds too. Most of them are linked to Hinduism. Pilgrims around the world worship this river as a form of Lord Vishnu. Other accounts state that this river lies in proximity to some of the central points of Hindu mythology such as the Mahabharata. This book was composed by the great sage Vyasa, who is said to have taken birth near the confluence of Gandaki and the Madi River near Damauli, Tanahun. The river was scaled for the first time in June 1971 by the team of Daniel C. Taylor and Jennifer Ide. Since then, the Seti Gandaki River has garnered the attention of tourists and is currently a tourist hub.
As with Mother Nature, there is a good side, and there is a bad side as well. In 2012, a catastrophic flood hit the Seti Gandaki River, and it killed more than 60 people residing in the northern parts of Pokhara. The flood was so powerful that it changed the course of it. The Seti Gandaki River has seen its fair share of flood throughout history. One of them occurred about 800 years ago, and it brought down a wall of debris about 100 meters high.
The road leading to the Seti gorge can be explored in numerous ways, but it is best advised to explore on a bicycle and by private vehicle. You can rent a bicycle at Lakeside for Rs. 800 a day. Be sure to ask for a helmet and a bicycle lock. The weather in Pokhara can change pretty quickly. One minute it is sunny whereas the next minute, there is a downpour. To prevent this, you can carry a raincoat.
You need to start from Mahendra Pull, which is in the lower parts of Pokhara. From here, it takes about 30 minutes to reach the K.I. Singh Bridge. Here, the Seti River makes its first entry into a dark narrow crevice. You will paddle through Bhimsen Tole, and stop for a quick visit at the Bindhyabasini temple. The residents here are Newars and Chhetris.
If you don’t fancy riding a bicycle, then you can choose to travel by bus. Get on a bus at Prithvi Chowk and head to Pokhara. The journey will cost you somewhere between 50 rupees. You will reach there within 30 minutes. You have the option of traveling by private vehicle as well. The journey will be private and discreet and you can arrange the tour with tour agency.
You can choose to travel by motorcycle. Roaming the streets of Pokhara in a motorcycle is a thrilling experience. They cost less than a taxi and get the job done at a much quicker pace.
Permit and fees to enter in Seti Gandaki River
To observe the Seti gorge, you need to pay a ticket of 20 rupees.
Some interesting facts about Seti Gandaki River
- The Seti River has dug deep tunnels in the Pokhara valley, and it has always been a subject of mystery.
- The local people believe that the entire valley floats on the waters of Seti River.
- Under the valley, the river has carved massive caves and chasm, which are approximately 80 meters deep below ground level.
- Just a few years ago, an entire truck was swallowed by a cavernous pit at Archal bot. Such cases appear throughout the city, and some cases go unreported.
- The river has made hollow spaces on the sides that go deep as much as 250 meters.
- Due to the numerous caves under the valley, the rainwater gets absorbed instantaneously.
Things to do around Seti Gandaki River
On the road to the Seti gorge, you’ll pass by Bhimsen Tole and Bindhyabasini temple. The trail is filled with old houses, which show that it belongs to ancient times. The architecture of these houses dates back to 1752 AD when the king of Kaski, impressed by the culture of Kathmandu valley invited artisans to make such monuments. Most of those artisans went back to their respective home after completing the task, but some of them decided to stay there. The streets are lined with shops and eateries that sell souvenirs as well.
You can add a visit to the Prithvi Narayan Campus, which is about 10 minutes from the bridge. You can see the Seti River reappear from the base of a hill, which is about 400 meters wide. You’ll see a ridge too from where the Kahun Danda can be seen. On the other side of the ridge lies the Manipal Hospital. Make your way back to Mahendrapul and head out to Ramghat which is a cremation site. You can see the Seti River here again. It comes out of a fissure and later bursts into a wide expanse with huge sandbanks. Ramghat is on the opposite end of the canyon.
The Seti River Gorge should be a must-visit site on your next visit to Pokhara as it reminds people of the beauty and power of nature.
We do have a day tour in Pokhara that includes visit of Seti River Gorge.