Pokhara is arguably the most well-known and popular destination for international and domestic tourists alike. Nestled beneath the towering Himalayas, the scenic valley is the base point for trekkers and climbers looking to take on the Annapurna circuit, or the casual traveller seeking to spend time relaxing near the Phewa lake and revel in the vibrant nightlife. As such, Pokhara gets over a million tourists every year.
Tourism business operators in the city were hoping for a boom of visitors with Visit Nepal 2020, but the Covid-19 pandemic brought tourism to a standstill as much of the world hunkered down at home. However, domestic visitors have begun to compensate for the absence of foreign tourists in Nepal’s foremost destination, flocking to the city during the festival season in October-November.
Even so, the streets and shops of Pokhara are not busy this year, bringing to mind how the tiny city bustling with tourists might have looked a few decades ago. These photos, taken between 1962-1963 by Doug Bingham–a US peace Corps volunteer who taught mathematics at Prithivi Narayan Campus–show the timeless appeal of Pokhara’s sights, culture, and its people.