Mai Pokhari is a famous tourism destination in Illam district, province no.1, which was designated as Ramsar site in 2008. At the time of the 1991 Nepal census, Mai Pokhari had a population of 4,348 persons living in 931 individual households. Also, it is believed that Mai Pokhari wetland was created due to lack of land and its source of water is from natural springs and its precipitation.
Geographical Overview of Mai Pokhari
Maipokhari is situated in Illam Municipality ward no 4 in the middle hill ranges of the Himalayas (Mahabharat and Shinghalila) at an elevation of about 2,100 m (6,900 ft) and the lake covers 1.88 square km wide area.
People & Culture at Mai Pokhari
Maipokhari has around 4348 population. which has high religious significance to both the Hindu and Buddhist people. It is a historical place for both the Hindus and the Buddhists devotees and is considered to be a sacred place among the local population.
Major attraction of Mai Pokhari
It is a pilgrimage center for both Hindus and Buddhists. Around 1km is covered by lake and boats are operated within its perimeter. Maipokhari provides a beautiful view of the snow-capped mountains surrounding it which is sure to leave you mesmerized.
Maipokhari has nine corners, which is believed to be paying a tribute to nine different Gods. As indicated by Hindu book ‘Mahabharata”, the Pandav siblings wandered in Baraha chhetra, Arjundhara and came to Maipokhari. Throughout their residency remaining within the geographic area. it’s a sacred spot for the Hindu, Buddhist and Kirat faith. Tashi Choling spiritual community, Shiva sanctuary, Saraswati sanctuary and Bhagawati sanctuary. Every year during Nauratha before Dashain, they prepare 9 mandap in each corner of river and conduct veneration from brahmins and does sapta sati paath for durga.
Flora and Fauna
The Mai Pokhari is surrounded by beautiful greenery which makes it perfect place for fishing and boating. It has a rare variety of flora and fauna like orchid, Rhododendron, goldfish, porcupine, Mountain lizard etc., it is also home to 300 different species of Birds. Near Maipokhari premises there is Botanical Gardens which has a rock garden, and orchid house, a green house and a wide range of plants collected from different regions of Nepal.
Around the premises of the Pokhari, there are some Homestays and hotels available for your lodging and fooding. The host of homestay prepares everything that you will need during your stay, from native dishes, exploring the encircling community, collaborating in native festivals, to learning native crafts and serving to out with daily work, there’s no higher thanks to expertise and study Nepali culture and life. And it’s the possibility to share your own culture and concepts too. You can learn all about their culture and history.
Things to do in Mai Pokhari
- Explore the Maipokhari botanical Garden (Inside the garden, you will find an orchid house, houses of a rock garden, varieties of plants and greenhouse.)
- Explore flora and fauna like orchid, porcupine etc. that are found near Maipokhari.
- Explore the greenery and beautiful forests nearby Maipokhari area.
- Camp fire and Picnic
- For religious visit (conduct veneration and so on)
How to Reach Mai Pokhari
It is around 80 km from Birtamode, Jhapa which takes around 3 hours 20 mins. If we start our journey from Birtamode, we have to stay on Mahendra highway for 8 kms which is around 16 mins; from charali we have to take a turn towards Illam which is on Mechi Highway; After 53.6km (2hour 26 min) of travelling by road we will reach Illam bazaar therefore, it is about 15 km (30 min) to the north of Illam.
Route: – Birtamode < Charali < Illam Bazaar < Maipokhari
Beautiful Scenery and its greenery, the beauty of lake, breezing weather, heavenly ambience, and every corner filled with historical stories and cultural values are enough to leave you spell bound.
Video Source: Purvi Blues