The Tal Barahi Temple, also popularized as Lake Temple or Varahi Temple, is a two-story pagoda temple on a small island in Pokhara's Phewa Lake. Both Hindu and Buddhist devotees come to worship Goddess Varahi, an avatar of Goddess Durga. The temple is said to have been built by King Kulmandhan Shah in response to his dream.
The main shrine is built in the traditional pagoda style, with wood, bricks, and stone as the primary materials, and has a large enough premise to accommodate a significant number of devotees. The temple premises is large enough to fit a significant number of devotees and guests. Sailing to the island and exploring the temple are both highly recommended when visiting Phewa Lake.
Phewa Lake is Nepal's second-largest lake and one of the most popular tourist destinations. It is an abode for both domestic as well as international travellers! People who are into adventure trekking usually love Pokhara for the natural wonders it provides! Annapurna region is among the world’s most loved trekking regions, which usually starts with Pokhara! Many also favour touring Pokhara and its eccentricities before they start their journey to the much-awaited Everest Base Camp ! Or vacations in the serene touristic environment of Pokhara before or after their trekking is usually chosen.
Thus, Pokhara attracts you with many of its eccentricities! Tal Barahi is one of them. Tal Barahi attracts not only travellers but also pilgrims and religious people. The backdrop of Machhapuchhre and Annapurna mountains reflects in this lake, adding to the stunning scenery. And, sure, it is lovelier than you've seen in photographs.
Tal Barahi Temple's courtyard resembles a little island. It is well-known among holidaymakers and tourists. The goings-on in the water does not affect the devotees' worship. The visitors can reach the temple via boat. Thousands of Pokhara residents visit Tal Barahi Temple during Durga Puja and on Saturdays to worship the Goddess. This temple is the only one of its sort in Nepal, as it is built entirely within a lake with no land passageways.
In Nepali, Barahi means 'Boar'. Goddess Durga assumed this shape to slay the harmful demons. With her tusks, she is believed to have fought and killed all of the evil demons. She is believed to have visited the Pokhara Valley after the conflict and found it so appealing that she wanted to dwell there. Since then, the Hindu population in Nepal has revered the formidable form of Goddess Durga as a significant divinity.
A Pujari does daily Puja using Puja Samagri (such as Dhup, Acheta, Abir, Phulpati, etc.). Since the Barahi is regarded as a goddess, goats, ducks, hens, and other animals are sacrificed in her honour, and pigeons are taught to fly. It's all done to please her. It is believed that by making Barahi happy, one might achieve his or her goals and dreams in life. Many marriages and Bratabandha ceremonies are performed at the temple of Barahi Devi after witnessing the Devi on auspicious days of different months such as November through July.
Both spiritualists and materialists should pay a visit to the Barahi temple. Spiritualists can satisfy their inner feelings and beliefs by praying to Devi, as well as observing Nepali culture, art, and architecture. The Tal Barahi Temple is not just a safe retreat for pilgrims, but also heritage lovers and nature lovers.
Legend of the Tal Barahi Temple
There was once a lovely city called Phewa, which is now drowned below Phewa Lake. One day, a very elderly woman who was unknown to anyone arrived out of nowhere and walked down the streets of this bustling city, knocking on doors and begging for food. The city's residents are unaware of the old woman's existence; she was a goddess who had assumed a human form. As the people of Kathmandu previously did for Gorakhnath, everyone turned their backs on her and shut the door in her face.
Finally, an elderly couple welcomed her to join their meal comprising boiled rice and veggies in one of the poor dwellings. Before departing his host, the old woman thanked them profusely. She devised a plot to assassinate nearly all of the city's opponents. She encouraged the elderly hosts to flee their homes as soon as possible and seek sanctuary on a nearby little hilltop. She forewarned them of a dreadful tragedy that was coming to ruin their city, and she threatened to exact vengeance on the city's inhabitants.
The couple took the old woman's instructions and began walking towards the Tal Barahi Temple hillock. When they reached the top of the hillock, they looked back and saw that a previous lake had inundated the town, killing practically all of the city's inhabitants. This is currently the Tal Barahi Temple's courtyard. The location where the couple saved their lives. Instead of the old woman, they saw Goddess Barahi. They constructed a modest temple dedicated to Goddess Barahi. Instead of a modest temple, Kaskeli King built the current temple in 1416.
People who explore Phewa Lake are quite familiar with a little island right in the middle of the lake. This island is home to the mighty Tal Barahi temple. Tal Barahi Temple is also known as ‘Lake Temple’ or 'Barahi Temple'. This is one of the must-visit sites in Pokhara and is also a very religious monument. The Tal Barahi temple resides in the middle of the colossal Phewa Lake in Pokhara.
The exterior of the Tal Barahi Temple includes a two-story pagoda structure with a Gajur on top. The Gajur is gilded with gold whereas the other structure is made of stones, and the temple has a thatched roof. Tal Barahi Temple is dedicated to Goddess Durga: Protector of Gods. The only way to visit this temple is by boat. The temple is a great place to relax and observe the holy rituals being carried out.
How to Get Tal Barahi Temple
The temple can be accessed only via boat. From Phewa Ghat at the southeast corner of the lakeside, you can board a boat. The price of the boat depends upon the type of boat you are hiring. You can choose from a canoe or a paddling boat. It is within walking distance from Lakeside.
Permits and fees to enter Tal Barahi Temple
Barge boats to the Tal Barahi temple cost roughly 150 rupees, and you can check the price of tickets at the desk if you're unsure. It is possible that the boatman will not accept the price listed on the counter. The cost of a private paddled boat has fluctuated significantly over the years.
One hour of a boat ride now costs 1200 rupees, including the boatman. The cost of visiting the Tal Barahi temple is 550 rupees. A life jacket is required when traveling by boat. A life jacket can be rented for roughly 20 to 30 rupees. You can only stay on the island for 30 minutes at a time. If you want to stay longer, you may either communicate with the same boat or hire a different boat to transport you back. If you wish to stay longer on the island, you can lease a boat for yourself for roughly 1000 rupees.
Some interesting facts about Tal Barahi Temple
- This Hindu temple represents the boar manifestation of Ajima, and symbolizes ‘Shakti’.
- In Hindu terms, Shakti is the Goddess who is responsible for the creation of the universe, and the one who grants power. Shakti as a feminine power assumes several roles, which include Durga the protector, and Durga, in turn, takes the manifestation of Ajima in the form of a boar to destroy all evil and reinstate good power.
- Barahi is portrayed with the head of a boar and the body of a human that holds a cup in one hand and fish in the other.
- The temple is of immense importance to the people following Hinduism, and you can even see animal sacrifices during Dashain.
Things to do around Tal Barahi Temple
If you are visiting the Tal Barahi temple, you have the option of taking a longer tour of the entire Phewa Lake. However, it may come with an additional expense. However, it was money well spent.
Phewa Lake is 4 kilometres long and 1.5 kilometres wide. Kayaking is an excellent way to explore the lake. Kayaking in Phewa Lake is a tad pricey but well worth the effort.
Near Phewa, there is a fish farm which you can visit! You can also combine your visit to Tal Barahi with a hike to the World Peace Pagoda. Your time and money will be well spent on this journey.
If Hindu Mythology and pristine lakes are your things, the Tal Barahi temple is a must-see. Even if they aren't to your taste, you can spend your time feeding the aquatic species that live in the area.
We offer a Pokhara day tour and a Pokhara tour that includes a visit to the Tal Barahi temple in Phewa Lake among many others!