Pokhara is a well known tourist destination in Nepal. Found at the foothills of the Annapurna range, many trekkers, as well as local tourists find themselves relaxing in the Lakeside city before traveling north to some of the tallest mountains in the world. From the peaceful edges of Fewa Lake, one can look up to see the World Peace Pagoda, and newly constructed Shiva Statue in Pumdikot. What if I tell you instead of driving to these you can go on the Peace Pagoda and Shiva Statue day hike in Pokhara?
Would you take the challenge and hike the 1,000 meters up from Lakeside?
Or would you decide for the easy way up in a private car?
No matter your choice of transportation, I suggest visiting these two tourist destinations and taking advantage of the beautiful views they give of the valley below. And, if you are feeling adventurous, I highly recommend foregoing the private car and hiking to the top of Pumdikot to take in the Shiva Statue and Shanti Stupa!
In this blog I discuss just how to reach the World Peace Pagoda and Shiva statue in Pokhara!
Quick facts – Peace Pagoda and Shiva Statue Hike in Pumdikot:
|Hike Distance||5.32 miles (round trip), 2.31 miles (to Shiva Statue), 1 mile (to Peace Pagoda)|
|Duration of Hike||1 hour to Peace Pagoda, 2 total hours to Shiva Statue, 3 total hours to return to Lakeside|
|Lowest Elevation||2,387 feet|
|Maximum Elevation||4,416 feet|
|Hike Difficulty||Easy to Medium Difficulty|
|Hike Cost||NPR 860 for the boat ride. If the entire route is hiked this is the only mandatory cost. There are opportunities for food, drinks and gifts along the hiking trail as well.|
|Time of Opening||Shiva Statue: 6am to 6pm|
|Best Time to go||Dry Season – September to June. The trail may be wet, slippery and muddy during monsoon season.|
|Do you need a guide?||No guide is needed for this hike. It is relatively easy and straight forward. There is plenty of signs to lead you along the way.|
The table above summarizes the entire trip from Lakeside to the World Peace Pagoda, to the Shiva Statue and back to Lakeside. In the following sections I will break down and provide details of each of the three legs of the hike! Additionally, I will provide information about finding transportation back down from the hike if you don’t want to complete the next leg of the hike!
Peace Pagoda and Shiva Statue trail route and elevation profile
Below is a photo of the entire route from lakeside, all the way to the Shiva Statue and back to Lakeside via the Dam Side Trail. As you can see in the elevation profile, you gain a good amount of elevation quite quickly, make sure you are wearing good hiking shoes or boots!
Peace pagoda and Shiva Statue hike in Pokhara
Now let’s get into the overall hike, and the three different legs of it. Each section can be done by itself, or you can end the hike at anytime and find a taxi back to Lakeside. The three legs of the hike are as follows:
|Section||Duration||Length from Starting Location||Difficulty||Cost|
|Lakeside to the Peace Pagoda||About a 15 minute boat ride and 1 hour of hiking||1 mile||Easy to Moderate||NPR 860 (about USD $7) for boat and boat driver|
|Peace Pagoda to Shiva Statue||About 1 hour||1.31 miles||Moderate to Semi Difficult||No mandatory cost|
|Shiva Statue to Lakeside||About 1 hour thirty minutes||3 miles for alternate route back (no boat ride)||Easy, it is all down hill!||No mandatory cost|
Lakeside to the Peace Pagoda Hike:
For the first leg of the hike you will need to get a boat from the Phewa Taal Boating – south side of Lakeside – to the Stupa Walkway, Nepal (Peace Pagoda hiking starting point) – behind the Tal Barahi Temple (temple in the middle of the lake). You can choose to either have a driver to row you across the lake, or choose to row yourself. Depending on your physical capabilities, and what you would like to do, either way is fine – of course having someone row you is much easier!
For a private boat it will cost you NPR 860 (about USD $7) with a driver. The boat ride will take about 15 minutes taking you right next to the Tal Barahi temple to get to the Stupa Walkway, Nepal hike starting point. You can also ask your driver to stop at the Tal Barahi if you would like to take a look, our driver offered to stop for NPR 300. The temple is relatively small, but it is an auspicious place that gets hundreds of visitors everyday. It is definitely cheaper to add the stop on to your trip then making a separate trip.
After you arrive at the starting point you will see a trail and a sign pointing you up to the peace pagoda. The trail to Shanti Stupa is a mixture of stone stairs and dirt paths which wind through small clusters of houses, resting spots and small shops for snacks like mo-mos and noodles. Additionally there is plenty of places to get bottled water throughout the trail so don’t worry if you run out of water.
The hike will take you about an hour of walking through agriculture fields and forests. The first part of the hike is the easiest and doesn’t require as much endurance to reach the Pagoda. It is not to steep, there is ample shade cover and multiple sitting areas to rest.
World Peace Pagoda in Pokhara:
The World Peace Pagoda or ‘Bishwo Shanti Stupa’ in Nepali, is the first destination of the hike. It is located on Ananda Hill in Pokhara, and can easily be seen from lakeside. The Stupa is the 79th of its kind in the world, and first in Nepal (the second one was built in Lumbini). The Peace Pagoda was completed in 1999, and stands at a height of 115 feet and has a diameter of 344 feet.
Built at 1,100 meters above sea level (3,600 feet) and on 21.5 ropanies (roughly 2.7 acres), Shanti Stupa is one of the most famous tourist destinations in Pokhara. Although loved by many, it has not had an easy life, as it was originally deemed a security issue and dismantled in the middle of the twentieth century. Luckily for us, the original designer, monks in the area, and the local community pushed for the construction of the Peace Pagoda in Pokhara.
To learn more about the beloved Stupa in Pokhara, check out our Peace Pagoda in Pokhara blog to learn all about its turbulent history!
Grab Some Food at the Peace Pagoda:
Around Shanti Stupa there are a bunch of different restaurants, and little shops to get water, snacks and ice cream! During our morning hike we decided to grab breakfast at the Elite Organic House. The restaurant offered a good selection of breakfast items and drinks. However, the best part of it was the seating area that provided fabulous views of Fewa Lake below. The outside seating area is built on a platform that overhangs the edge of the hill, which allowed us to take in the full view of the Pokhara valley below, of the World Peace Pagoda, the paragliders flying through the sky and the Himalayas to the north.
Below is a picture of their menu and prices.
Ready to head back to Lakeside?
If you are done with your hike, you have three options to get back to Lakeside from the World Peace Pagoda. The three different options are listed below:
|Mode of Transport||Distance||Cost|
|Hike down and return by boat||1 mile hike||NPR 860 (about USD $7) for boat ride|
|Hike back via Dam Side||2.5 mile hike||Free, no cost!|
|Take a taxi or bus||5.5 miles by car||Taxi: 1,000 NPR Bus: NPR 100|
Peace Pagoda to Shiva Statue Pumdikot:
After you fueled up with lunch, it is time to make the hike to the Shiva Statue from the Peace Pagoda. However, before you set off, make sure to grab a bottle of water as this is the toughest part of the hike!
From the Peace Pagoda you will take the path that you first came up on during the first portion of the hike. However, this time, instead of traveling back down towards the lake, you will continue going straight following the fence towards the Mountain View Cafe (offers food and fantastic views of the lakeside, and a sky swing that swings out over the edge of the hillside!) The dirt path will connect you back with the main road.
After about 500 meters of following the path, you will see a small temple on the left side of the road. From here you will take the ‘short cut’ that leads you around the side of the hill. The shortcut will save you about 20 minutes of walking, compared to taking the road. The short cut path is narrower, however, it is in legit path and is easy to walk.
After the shortcut path you will meet back up to the main road. Once again after 500 meters you will find a path that goes straight up the hill leading to the Shiva Statue. This path is the most difficult portion of the hike as it has a steep incline and has a great deal of stairs. Taking this path will end up saving you about 30 minutes of hiking compared to the main road. If you are in good shape, and up to the challenge, I recommend taking this path as it will save a significant amount of time.
Shiva Statue at Pumdikot, Pokhara:
The 51 foot tall Shiva Statue in Pokhara is a new attraction for religious tourism. Completed in late 2021, the statue has been providing local and international tourists with jaw dropping views of the statue, Fewa Lake, and of the Annapurna Range to the north.
The Shiva Murti including the proposed park and attractions around it, is built on 21 ropanies of land and at an elevation of bout 1,500 meters (about 4,900 feet). While about 50% of the park’s total work has been completed, the statue premises has been finished. Inside, there is the entire temple which is 108 feet tall, and is surrounded by 108 Shiva Lingas.
To find out more about the recently completed Shiva Statue, and the masterplan for the park, check out my article covering the Shiva Statue In Pokhara.
Ready to head back to Lakeside?
If you are done with your hike and would like to go back to Lakeside, you have three options (two different hiking paths). The options can be seen in the table below:
|Mode of Transport||Distance||Cost|
|Hike down and return by boat||2.31 mile hike||NPR 860 (about USD $7) for boat ride|
|Hike back via Dam Side||3 mile hike||Free, no cost!|
|By taxi||8 miles by car||Taxi: 1,500 NPR|
Note: if you are hoping to catch transportation down to Lakeside, you may have to wait depending on the availability of taxis at the top. It generally depends on how many other tourists have come and gone already. Additionally, be ready to negotiate, as the taxi drivers may try to charge you more than needed. If the drivers are not willing to negotiate, you can hike back down to the Peace Pagoda where there will be more taxi drivers available than at the Shiva Statue.
Hiking to Lakeside from the Shiva Statue:
You will need to head back down the same way you came up until you reach the Peace Pagoda. From Shanti Stupa, you will have two options for hiking routes. The first, is to hike back to from where you arrived, and take a boat back to lakeside. The second option is to hike through the jungle towards Dam Side.
Returning by boat is the easiest and fastest route. However, it will cost you an additional boat fare, and you may have to wait by the shore until a boat is available to return.
The Dam Side hiking route is more difficult, and will take longer, however it wont cost you any additional money! See the information below if you want to take the Dam Side hiking route to return to Lakeside Pokhara.
Peace Pagoda to Dam Side hiking Route:
If you decide to take the Dam Side route to finish the hike down to lakeside, it will take you about an hour to reach the end of the trail. The entire trail is along a dirt path and goes through the jungle. Additionally, the trail is marked well with pink dots on trees for you to follow. That being said, the entire trail is well defined and easy to follow. Something to note is that the trail may be muddy or slippery during the rainy season. Moreover, there is wildlife in the forest, so make sure to be careful and watch where you are walking, as during my hike I ran into a 7-9 foot long snake laying on the path!
The trail goes through Raniban Park and ends in a small suburb in dam side, which you will have to hike through the streets to get back to Lakeside as there is no public transportation until you reach the main road. The path will take you over a suspension bridge and close to the dam which provides nice views of the Bulaudi Khola and Pardi Khola! The entire path is approximately .75 miles before you reach Damside road where you can take a bus or taxi back to Lakeside!
Closing Thoughts – Peace pagoda and Shiva Statue hike in Pokhara
If you have a day to spare in Pokhara and are looking for an adventure, then you should take advantage of the hike to the Peace Pagoda as well as to the Shiva Statue. The entire hike took us about five hours to complete which included resting multiple times, eating breakfast, and taking in the views at every opportunity.
Making the hike up to these religious tourism spots is cheap and provides you with a great work out. Additionally, the hike is extremely accessible, and you can get transportation back down to Lakeside at any point during the hike.
Take advantage of the brand new Shiva Statue, and famous Peace Pagoda by taking a day hike up to see both. With wonderful views of the city, and an easy to moderate difficulty hike, you will be thanking yourself for making the journey!