Mahendra Cave

Mahendra Gufa (/Ma:hen:dra. gu:pha:/)

Location

Mahendra Cave is a large limestone cave located in Batulechaur, Pokhara close to Kali River and Chamero Gufa which can be reached in twenty minutes by car or bus from Lakeside and is four kilometers away from Mahendra Pool, a big bazaar area. It is one of the most visited places in Pokhara.

History and Architecture

Mahendra Cave, originally known as "Adhero Bhawan" or Dark Habitat, was discovered in the 1950s by local shepherds. It was later renamed after the Late King Mahendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev, who officially inaugurated the cave during his reign. The cave features stalagmites and stalactites and serves as a habitat for bats. In 1976, a team of speleologists from the UK, including Jane Wilson-Howarth, conducted a thorough survey of the cave, documenting the animals living in its dark zone. The expedition report is archived in the UK copyright libraries and at the Royal Geographical Society. This report provides a comprehensive survey of the cave, including lists of the bats and invertebrates inhabiting it, as part of the 1976 British Cave Expedition to the region.

The cave, formed from limestone, releases sparks when its pieces fall to the ground. Despite artificial lighting, it's advisable to bring a flashlight when exploring due to the darkness. A lovely garden precedes the entrance, which is accessed via a stone-carved staircase. Inside, visitors are greeted by a statue of Lord Ganesh. Photography is permitted, but caution is advised due to the slippery paths from continuous water dripping. The cave also features a sacred cow statue and a small temple for Lord Shiva. While most tunnels are blocked by rocks, one is believed to lead to the Kali River. The cave culminates in a vast cavern with light filtering through a central slit. From a viewing platform, visitors can enjoy a stunning view of the base of Davis Falls.

It's recommended to visit the cave during the dry season, from September to November and late February to April. It's best to avoid visiting during the monsoon season, as it can be hazardous.

How to get there?

Mahendra Cave can be reached by local bus or taxi, taking roughly 30 minutes. For those who prefer walking, it's a two-hour stroll from Lakeside. Renting a bicycle or scooter is another viable option. The entrance fee for tourists is Rs. 150, approximately $1.12. The cave is open every day from 9am to 6pm, except on public holidays.

Things to do

After exploring Mahendra Cave, consider visiting Chamero Gufa, just a short ten-minute journey away. There are several cafes and restaurants nearby if you need a meal. You could also explore the Seti River Gorge and the Gurkha Museum on your way. Another option is to visit the Jangchub Choeling Monastery nearby. To enjoy stunning sunrise and sunset views, head to Sarangkot, located close to the cave. For a taste of the local market, don't miss the lively bazaar in Mahendra Pool, which offers shopping and dining experiences.

Conclusion

Mahendra Cave, among the many caves in Pokhara, offers a captivating journey into natural marvels. While not as adventurous as Chamero Gufa or Gupteshwor Mahadev, it remains the most popular due to its easy access and exit. The cave's limestone formations, sacred statues, and stunning caverns create a unique and memorable experience. Although caution is necessary because of slippery paths, the cave's beauty and spiritual atmosphere make it a must-see spot. Its proximity to other attractions like Chamero Gufa, Seti River Gorge, Davis Fall and Sarangkot, as well as amenities such as cafes and markets, make it a convenient and fulfilling destination for travelers exploring the area.