People who explore the Fewa 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 Fewa 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.
A brief history of Tal Barahi Temple
There are many histories behind the Tal Bahari Temple, which have tried to state the origin of this temple. The most believed and relevant one goes like this: In ancient times, there was a beautiful city named Fewa. The story is the exact opposite of what incurred in the Kathmandu valley. In the past, Goddess Bhagwati visited this area in the form of a beggar to see how people would treat a beggar. The local residents paid no heed to the beggar.
The beggar knocked on many doors hoping that the people there would help her, but no one gave any sort of attention to her. Finally, in a poor house, a couple who had migrated from Kathmandu invited the beggar to their home and served her a meal consisting of boiled rice and vegetables. The beggar thanked the couple, and before leaving the city, she planned to take revenge on the people who didn’t help her. She advised the couple to take their belongings and take shelter in the nearby hill. She warned them of a terrible calamity, which would later fall on the city and completely ravage it.
The couple took the beggars to advice and head towards the hillock. As they reached the hillock, they witnessed water pouring from the mountains, which enveloped the entire city and submerged it. The water killed all the people, and the only thing that remained was the courtyard of the couple’s house. They saw the Goddess Bhagwati there and built a small temple there to honor her. In 1416 BS, the king of Kaski renovated the temple and transformed it into what it is today.
How to Get Tal Barahi Temple
The temple can be accessed by boat only. From Phewa Ghat at the southeast corner of 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 walking distance from Lakeside.
Permits and fees to enter Tal Barahi Temple
Barge boats to the Taal Barahi temple cost around 100 rupees, and if you are in doubt, then you can look at the price of tickets on the counter. There may be cases where the boatman may not comply with the price mentioned in the counter. The price of a private paddled boat has seen numerous fluctuations throughout the years.
It is now 1200 rupees for one hour including boatman. The price to reach the Tal Barahi temple takes 550 rupees. When you travel by boat, it is mandatory that you have a life jacket on. You can hire a life jacket, which takes about 20 to 30 rupees. Once at the island, you can stay there for a maximum of 30 minutes. If you want to stay longer, then you can either talk with the same boat or hire another boat that will take you back. If you want to spend some more time on the island, then you can choose to hire a boat for yourself which takes around 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 body of a human that holds a cup in one hand and fish on 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 making a visit to the Tal Barahi temple, then you can choose to take a prolonged tour of the entire Fewa Lake. However, it may cost you some extra bucks. But it is money well spent.
Fewa Lake is 4km long and 1.5 km wide. You can choose to explore the lake by kayaking. Kayaking in the Fewa Lake may be a bit expensive but worth the effort.
There is a fish farm nearby Fewa where you can see small fishes. You can even choose to include the trip to Tal Barahi while hiking to the World Peace Pagoda. The journey is definitely worth your time and money.
If Hindu folklore and pristine waters are your cup of tea, then the Tal Barahi temple is a must visit. Even if they do not belong to your liking, then you can spend your time by feeding the aquatic life that inhabits its waters.