Panch Pokhari means “Five Ponds” in Nepali language, so as the name suggests it is the group of five lakes. Trekking in Panch Pokhari has been very popular in recent years. Also, the lake is a very popular religious site of Nepal.
About Panch Pokhari
Panch Pokhari is situated in the Sindupalchowk District of Nepal within the area of Langtang National Park. Langtang National Park covers the area of 1,710 km2 in the district of Nuwakot, Rasuwa, and Sindhupalchowk of the central Himalayan region. Panch Pokhari is also one of the main features of the Langtang National Park. It is in the northeast side of Kathmandu at the base of Jugal Himal, which is a mountain range in the central Himalayas. Located at an elevation of about 4,100 meters, it is the ninth highest altitude wetland in the whole world.
Religious Importance of Panch Pokhari
Panch Pokhari has cultural, religious and ecological importance as well. Every year, on the occasion of Janai Purnima, hundreds of pilgrims from around the country pay visit to the ponds. The festival of Janai Purnima usually falls in August. It is the festival when the Brahmin castes of Nepal change their Janai (sacred thread), which they wear around the body. They go the Panch Pokhari, take a sacred bath in ponds and changes their janai. So, this group of five ponds, Panch Pokhari has religious importance as well. Buddhists pilgrims visit the Panch Pokhari too.
As the ponds are situated at the base of Jugal Himal, the ecological system is of a diverse nature. So, it adds more reason to go for camping trek as it promotes in green tourism.
Why is Panch Pokhari a popular trekking destination?
Trekking in Panch Pokhari, you will get the magnificent view of the Jugal Himal. Jugal Himal includes many peaks including Dorje Lakpa (6,966 meters), Madiya (6,257 meters) and Phurbi Chhyachu (6,637 meters). Getting to witness the five amazing ponds along with the views of mountain peaks all around, this trekking destination is chosen by many trekkers.
Also, the trek will take you to the distinctive village of Sherpa and Tamang. They have been living in the Himalayan region for generations following the traditional way of living, speaking ethnic languages and producing their food by farming and animal husbandry.
Why go for camping trek in Panch Pokhari?
First of all, camping is the best outdoor recreational you can do in a group. So, camping in trekking will let you experience more than staying in hotels. You can get more creative in camping and make your plans in the group for next day. You can go campfire and sit around with the group and enjoy the time by singing and dancing around the fire.
Camping will let you get close to your trekking camp. As, you have to get engaged in everything, from setting camp to cooking. It will help you socialize and make new friends.
While trekking to Panch Pokhari, you will encounter several mountain villages; you can stay the night by camping and get to know their remote lifestyle and culture and tradition. Mountain villages usually do pujas and sing prayers during the evening time.
Camping will give the employment to the local Sherpas of the mountain region. They will carry all your items and equipment and even help in camping. So, camping is also a contribution to the community.
Also, camping promotes ecotourism by protecting the biodiversity of nature and putting up the respect to the local culture and community. It also promotes sustainable tourism by providing job to the local peoples. So, if your little effort can aid so much and you can have twice the fun, then, camping is to go for.
Way to the Panch Pokhari
The starting point of the Panch Pokhari trek is Chautara (1,200 meters), which lies in the northeast direction of Kathmandu. You can reach Chautara by bus in about five hours of the bus ride, and it is towards the Tibetan border. In Chautara itself, you will experience a different kind of lifestyle and culture of people which are nothing like of city. From Chautara, you will trek to Phusre(2,045 meters) and spent overnight there. Waking up next day and starting your trek to Kami Kharka (2,845 meters), the path goes steadily uphill. You will see the beautiful landscape and get to enjoy the fresh and cooling air. Camping here and stay the night and next day you will trek to Pauwa Bas (3,000 meters). You will be hiking up in the trail and finally reach Pauwa Bas. The next day you will hike to Hile Bhanjyang which is at an elevation of 3,400 meters. From on it will be best to trek for 200-300 meters because above the height of 3,400 meters there is a higher chance of getting altitude sickness.
Next, you will trek for Nasim Pati (3,700 meters), and while trekking there, you will enjoy the view of the mountain all around and the beautiful hillside. After a night stays in Nasim Pati, your next day trek will take you to difficult mountain ridges. The after about two hours of walk, you will finally reach Panch Pokhari. The group of five ponds and the excellent view will certainly take your breath away. The amazing blue color of lakes surrounded by verdant hill is one of the magnificent views ever. As the Panch Pokhari is popular as a trekking destination and has religious significance as well, the place is well visited, and there is some rest houses where you can get some rest. You will also find a temple nearby. You can rest around and enjoy the view of the lakes. The mountain view of Jugal Himal, Rolwaling, Kanchanjunga, and Makalu range will also come in sight. Among all the mountain, the Jugal Himal is the closest one.
The next day, you will trek back going through the downhill trail. In the first day of trekking back, you can stay at (Nasim Pati). Moving on the next day, stay overnight at Dukang (2,100 meters). Then comes Dhap (1,200 meters) and from there you will reach Melamchibazaar, from where you will take a bus to Kathmandu.
Here is another way to reach Panch Pokhari. If you are in a hurry but want to go for the Panch Pokhari trek anyway, then you can follow this trek. Starting from this route, you can take a bus to Melamchi from Sankhu. The ride won’t be very pleasant, as the roads are very rough. It will take about three hours ride from Melamchi. If you are traveling during the festival season, the bus might take you to Mane Kharka and even to Bhotang. Next day, you will start your trekking to Tangu. You will come across a beautiful waterfall and get to walk through the stairs. Then, you will continue going steadily uphill through dense forest, and finally, you will reach Tangu. The next day hike will be even more exhausting where you will walk up all long. However, the beautiful scenery will ease you tiredness to some level. Then you will reach Nasim, and your next stop is the Panch Pokhari. After reaching the Panch Pokhari and enjoying the view around you, you will be back to the Nasim Pati. In Panch Pokhari, you can take a holy bath too as they are important from both and Hindu and Buddhist point of view. After Nasim Pati, Bhotang is the next and then is the Melmchi. From Melmchi, you can take a bus to get back to the Kathmandu.
Best time to visit Panch Pokhari
Autumn is one of the favorite seasons of trekkers. Tourists who want to trek in Nepal usually visit during the Autumn season. Trekking to Panch Pokhari in Autumn will give you the best experience. The weather is perfect; days are crystal clear proving you the magnificent view of the mountain peaks, and clear landscape and the temperature is moderate as well.
Winter season is characterized by heavy snowfall and snowstorm at the higher elevation region of Himalayas. The days are clear but still cold and the night gets even bitter. So, trekking to Panch Pokhari in winter won’t be very ideal.
Spring is another popular season for trekking. In spring, there are varieties of wildflowers, especially the rhododendron in the hillside. The sight of colorful rhododendron forest and the clear mountain views are just too excellent. The temperature is very moderate too, so Panch Pokhari trekking in spring is best.
Summer starts with the high heat temperature. Then, monsoon takes over, and rainfall starts with thunder and storm. The paths will get muddy and slippery making it unfavorable for trekking. Also, there are leeches in the forests in the hillside. So, trekking in Panch Pokhari in summer won’t be very good.