A Lake Temple: Tal Barahi

30, Nov 2020 | nepaltraveller.com

The fascinating location of the Barahi temple requires rowing a boat till there, which is the only way.


Pokhara is the heart of the country for every traveler. More than a million national and international tourists visit this mesmerizing city with adventure, nature, culture and heritage, and never-ending nightlife. Many Nepalese visit Pokhara just to get away from their hustle and bustle of everyday life and spend their weekend in this place. Lakeside is one of the famous destinations to visit. Whether it be day or night, the soothing view of crystal-clear water of Phewa Lake (the second biggest lake in Nepal) will never fail to amaze you.

Floating in between this Phewa Lake lies the Tal Barahi Temple. ‘Tal’ refers to Lake and ‘Barahi’ signifies ‘boar’ which symbolizes ‘Shakti’ (strength). It is also called the Lake Temple or Barahi Temple. This temple is dedicated to Goddess Varahi, who is an incarnation of Goddess Durga, a deity known amongst both Hindus and Buddhists. Therefore, this temple has been an important pilgrimage site for Hindus.

Structure of Tal Barahi

The Tal Barahi temple is a small, simple yet significant two-storied pagoda style temple on the island amidst the glistening water of Phewa lake. The structure has a gajur(pinnacle) on the top gilded with gold, while the rest of the temple is made of stones, with a thatched roof.  

The deity – Goddess Durga, with a boar head and a human body, is pictured inside the temple. Taking the manifestation of the Ajima (representation of the force of Shakti), Goddess Durga, who is considered as the origin of the universe's creativity and power, would pierce enemies with her tusks to end the evil. The picture holds a cup in one hand and a fish in another.

As the temple houses a highly revered Hindu deity, devotees come here on Saturdays to worship with sacrificial animals to offer to the Goddess Barahi.


Legend of Tal Barahi

History, beliefs, and legends always surround temples. Among all stories stating the origin of the temple, the most believed is the one that dates back to the ancient time Phewa city. Goddess Bhagwati visited here in the form of a beggar to see how people treated a beggar. Nobody seemed to bother her except a couple who had migrated from Kathmandu. They let her in and served her boiled rice and vegetables. She thanked the couple, and with the intention of revenge on the other people, she told the couple to take shelter in the nearby hill, warning them of a calamity. The couple did so, and then, water from the mountains came down and drowned the entire city. Only the couple’s house remained where they saw Goddess Bhagwati and built a temple in her honor. Later in 1416, the temple was renovated by the King of Kaski to what it is today.

Another famous legend goes like this: King Kulmandan Shah, during his reign in 1864, built the small temple in the middle of the lake after a dream that came to him. It is believed that Goddess Durga killed all of the demons and visited the beautiful city of Pokhara, and found it so captivating that she decided to stay. The place is an important pilgrimage site for the devotees of Durga ever since. As a wholehearted worshipper of the goddess, the King then built the temple on the island. It is also believed that the lake was formed by controlling the water flow by a dam nearby.

Reaching There

The fascinating location of the Barahi temple requires rowing a boat till there, which is the only way. And, as a captivating feature of the Phewa lake, there are boats that you can hire to explore the beauty of the lake or to make a stop in the Barahi temple. Different kinds of boats at different prices are at your service there, about which you can get information at the ticket counter.

Kayaking could be a worthwhile option, and you can also take your journey to the other side of the lake to the Pokhara Peace Pagoda after your stop at the Barahi Temple.


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