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A Complete Guide to Caves in Pokhara, Nepal

A Complete Guide to Caves in Pokhara, Nepal

Mahendra Cave entrance
Mahendra Cave entrance

Caves in Nepal are normally connected to some spiritual component of Hinduism.  Many caves have a temple inside with an associated sadhu or a guard to prevent people form stealing the speleothems or cave formations.  These cave formations are generally believed to be relics or representations of Hindu gods such as Lord Shiva or his son Ganesh.  The Caves in Pokhara, with the exception of the bat cave, are modest and have religious connections.

Gupteshwor Mahadev Cave

This is one of the larger caves on this list in terms of maneuverability.  It is a Corrasional cave formed by the water coming from the outlet of Lake Phewa.  This water also forms Davi’s Falls, which is visible from within the cave.  The original Nepali name for Davi’s Falls is Patale Chango, which translates as “underworld waterfall.”  Gupteshowr Mahadev Cave translates to “Cave Beneath the Ground.”  It is located in Pokhara-17, Chhorepatan.

The entrance fee to for the cave is $1 for non-Asian foreigners.  For people belonging to SAARC, the entrance fee is about $0.85, and for Nepali citizens it is $0.5.  The entrance to the cave requires descending down a spiral staircase excavated into the edge of the cave.  The walls are decorated with sculptures of people performing various acts such as breast feeding, and in kama sutra positions.

Gupteshwor Mahadev Cave has two features that may interest the board traveler.  The first is the relatively large stalagmite in the center of the cave.  This stalagmite has a fence surrounding it with a guard protecting it from people taking pictures.  The stalagmite is believed to represent Loard Shiva and is worshipped as such.  I couldn’t get close to it, but it looked like it had a diameter of about 2 feet and a height of 3 feet.  The stalagmite is a dark brown in color.

The second noteworthy part of the cave is the Davi’s Falls at the bottom and end of the cave.  After descending about 100 ft into the cave and walking probably an equal distance south east, the cave opens up to see Devi’s Falls.  It is quite beautiful.  Ferns and lush plants surround the cave opening, and the air is a soft mixture of sale cave air and fresh waterfall dew.  The reviews about this cave on trip advisor are accurate.

The cave itself is not attractive and in many parts has been plastered or cobbled over.  The reason for the recent construction is due to the 2015 April earthquake.  The earthquake made some of the cave parts unstable.  Retaining walls were built around most of the cave as well as scaffolding erected to hold it together.  The walk way can be a bit obstructed at times and there were plenty of obstacles to dodge walking along the path.  Except for the one stalagmite there were no other cave formations.

You can read more about it here.

Mahendra Cave

Mahendra Cave ticket booth
Mahendra Cave ticket booth

Mahendra Cave is described as a limestone Karst Cave.  The cave has about 320 feet of maneuverable area with another 320 feet of un-maneuverable area.  The limestone in the cave was formed in the Pleistocene era, but the age of the cave is unknown.  The cave was discovered in 1953 by Phokhara residents.  The cave is named after Nepal’s late King Mahendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev, who was king at the time of the discovery.

Mahendra Cave is located about 30 minutes outside Pokhara city by bus.  Bus fair to the entrance to Mahendra Cave is about $0.45.  The entrance to the park is a vibrant pink, white, and aquamarine archway with a ticket booth directly next to it.  The entrance fee for Nepali people is $0.5, and SAARC members is $0.8.  The entrance fee for all other people is $1.5.  To get to the cave you have to walk through a plain grass garden, which is nice if you like open spaces.

mahendra cave tunnel
Mahendra Cave tunnel

The entrance to the cave looks like the arm openings of a tortoise shell.  I like tortoises, so I immediately felt good about my visit.  After entering the cave, I realized it is almost the same as Gupteshwor Mahadev Cave.  There are very few cave formations to admire.  What I did like about the cave though was its internal architecture.  It looked heavy on the supporting walls.  I also like that nobody tried plastering the walls, although somebody did spray paint the ceiling.

mahendra cave tunnel
Mahendra cave tunnel

The cave ended a little anticlimactically with a small shrine to the Hindu god Ganesha as represented by a stalagmite.  The person looking over the temple was very friendly, and was extremely eager to talk about Ganesha.  After a 3-minute lesson on Hindu gods, other cave goers came and the man started all over again.  I walked a little slowly coming out of the cave as I wanted to explore the unexplored branches of the cave.

Stalactite
the largest stalactite in the cave

Coming out of the cave I found an area marked “exit.”  It must have been a former exit, because it was covered by boulders.  I’m guessing the blockade was caused by the same earthquake that rocked the Gupteshwor Mahadev Cave but it could have been from anything.  After exploring the “exit” I exited out the entrance and walked around the grounds for a little while.  The reviews on trip advisor sum up the cave nicely.

You can read more about the cave here.

Bat Cave

This way to the Bat Cave
This way to the Bat Cave

Can you believe it? Bruce Wayne though he had us all fooled.  The Bat Cave isn’t in Gotham, it’s in Pokhara!  The Bat Cave is no longer one of the secret caves in Nepal.  All joking aside, this is my favorite cave of all the caves in Pokhara.  It is also the one I know the least about.  There is not much information about this cave.  It is in Batulechcour, which is about 30-minutes from Pokhara City by bus, and 15 minutes from Mahendra Cave by foot.

Bat Cave ticket booth
Bat Cave ticket booth

The Bat Cave is Karst limestone cave, and I don’t know how it was formed or its age.  If I had to guess, I would also date it to the same age as the Gupteshwor cave.  This cave also has a sunken, in the ground entrance.  Though it is completely dark inside the cave, the light from the flashlight proved the cave is vast.  The explorable area is about 720 feet long, and the ceilings are high.  The ceilings have hundreds if not thousands of bats from mid-September to mid-May.

Bat Cave enterance
Bat Cave entrance

The bats that primarily occupy this cave are identified as round leaf, and horseshoe bats.  In some sections of the cave, you can get within a foot of them.  Be careful though.  Those same areas are slippery and without protective hand rails.  A lot of people have hurt themselves on the rocks of this cave.  My mandatory guide was too eager to tell me about all the horror stories of people falling on the rocks of the cave.

Warning:

If you are claustrophobic, acrophobic / afraid of heights, or do not have any climbing skills do not try to exit out of the exit.  Exit out of the entrance.

The second chamber of the cave has a side chamber on the right-hand side.  Your guide (you have to have one) will hurriedly try to get you to go in it.  From here you can climb up to about the same level with the ceiling and can be within feet of the bats.  Then you will be asked to transvers a narrow walk way (5 inches wide), swing around an obstruction and back onto the path.  If by the grace of god, you do not fall, you will have to climb up a very slipper rock face and crawl out a tiny hole in the ceiling.

Horseshoe and Roundleaf Bats
Horseshoe and Roundleaf Bats

The “exit” is more of a death defying catastrophe than it is an exit.  I admit though I had fun doing it.  I also got very dirty doing it, so if you don’t want to die or get dirty exit out the entrance.  I read on the Pokhara Information Center’s website that it is believed that anyone who exits out the “exit” is purified of all their sins, and is reborn in Nepal.  It is definitely a triumph I do not recommend.

Bat Cave exit
Bat Cave exit

The cost of this adventure is $0.5 for Nepali people, $0.8 for SARRC members, and $1.5 for all other people.  There is no guide fee.  My guide insisted on receiving a guide fee and when I called it a tip he became very upset and said he didn’t work for tips.  I told him I can only give him a tip because there is no guide fee associated with the cave.  He accepted the tip after I put the money back in my pocket and called me an insulting name.  The Bat cave reviews on trip advisor are fairly accurate.

You can read more about the bat cave here.

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