Panchpokhari – literally five ponds – is one of the important tourism sites in Sindhupalchowk district. Lying north-east of Kathmandu on the lap of Dorje Lakpa Himal, the place is an important pilgrimage site for Hindus. The place derives its name from five holy ponds – Surya Kunda, Bhairav Kunda, Ganesh Kunda, Nag Kunda and Saraswati Kunda. These ponds are also the originating points of Indravati River – one of the important tributaries of the mighty Saptakoshi River.
Apart from these pristine lakes, the place is famous for magnificent views of mountains like Ganesh Himal, Yangri Himal, Dorje Lakpa and Gaurishankar among others. Similarly, the 178-year old building — locally known as Haveli – built by Kaji Ranbir Singh Thapa is another attraction in the area. The place wears festive look during the Janai Poornima festival when hundreds of pilgrims reach the holy area to offer their prayers to Lord Shiva.
The place is also rich in terms of flora and fauna. About 250 species of wildlife, including the endangered Red Panda, and 350 species of flora have been recorded in the area. Similarly, the culture and lifestyle of Hyolmo and Tamang people are the other attractions in the area.
Trek to the area begins with a drive to Tipeni from Kathmandu. The trek of two days from Haveli, which can be reached on the first day, takes visitors to the holy site. The Panchpokhari trek can also be done through Chautara – the district headquarters of Solukhumbu district. The other alternative to reach the area is through Helambu.
Day 1 – Kathmandu-Haveli Village
The journey begins with a drive to Tipeni from Kathmandu. From Tipeni, a light trek of about two hours takes us to Haveli Village known for the 178-year old building built by Kaji Rana Bir Sing Thapa.
Day 2 – Haveli Village-Tapkharka
A trek of about five hours through dense forests takes to Tapkharka.
Day 3 – Tapkharka-Nosyampati
The third day’s trek is relatively short. But the trek is rewarding as one can enjoy magnificent views of Panchpokari Lake and snowcapped peaks.
Day 4 – Nosyampati-Pancpokhari
The fourth day’s trek is a semi-rigorous hike. But trekkers will forget the tiring trek once they reach Panchpokhari. Views of the holy lake and mountains on the way are fantastic.
Day 5 – Panchpokhar-Nosyampati
The day begins with a hike to the highest point near the lake from where one can get stupendous views of the Yangri, Jugal, Dorje Lakpa, Gauri Shankar and Langtang Himalayan ranges. After lunch at Panchpokhari, the trek progresses back to Nosyampati which is a walk of about three and half hours.
Day 6 – Nosyampati-Tembathang via Sukpa Kharka
The sixth day’s trek is a bit long, approximately seven hours, and it passes through Sukpa Kharka to a beautiful Sherpa village named Tembathang. The village is also the base camp of Jugal Himal.
Day 7 – Tembathang-Gumba Tamang Village
The trek (approximately six hours) progresses to Gumba Tamang village where one gets opportunity to enjoy Tamang culture.
Day 8 – Gumba Tamang Village –Pangtang Village
The eighth day’s trek is mostly downhill to Pangtang village (1730m) which is inhabited by Tmanag and Newar people.
Day 9 – Pangtang Village-Kathmandu
This is the final day of this trek. Chanaute, from where buses to Kathmandu are available, can be reached after a walk of around three and half hours. Buses takes around five hours to reach Kathmandu.