An ancient natural fortified market town, Bandipur is a jewel often overlooked by tourists visiting Nepal. Bandipur is Nepal’s best kept secret which still gives that rare hint of being discovered for the first time. Don’t miss its eagle nest location, idyllic farms and orange groves.
After catching the live action of Indra Jatra in Kathmandu, we the team of bloggers had a plan to head straight towards Pokhara but my meeting with the owner of Dwarika Chenn- The boutique hotel where we were staying led me to change this plan a bit. I planned to take a detour and head to Bandipur where we will eat our breakfast, spend an hour and head to Pokhara. Thankfully, everyone nodded a yes to this plan.
Bandipur was introduced to me as a UNESCO world heritage town of Nepal but on my visit here I found it has nothing do with UNESCO but I was still happy visiting this place because it is such a beautiful and well kept town of Nepal
You know the moment we stepped at Bandipur, none of us really wanted to leave. An hour plan took us around three hours, to convince ourselves that we should move ahead to our another destination.
Bandipur- The Quaint Town of Nepal
Bandipur is a winding fifteen minute drive from the highway town of Dumre, which is between Kathmandu and Pokhara. As we were heading towards Bandipur, the scenic vistas reminded me of Kinnaur Valley. Every bit of it resembled Kinnaur so much that I couldn’t control to point that out, as a fellow blogger agreed. Such striking resembles surely makes you believe that nature unites even if it has got boundaries
There was no road that ran through Bandipur until 2003, and the flag-stoned market here is still traffic-free. The vehicle needs to be parked 1 kilometre before entering this small town, a welcome reprieve in otherwise crowded Nepal.
The small town of Bandipur preserves the Newari culture in its utmost form. The Newars are the historical inhabitants of Nepal, which can be easily made out from the architectural styling of the homes at Bandipur. The red-brick mansions, courtyards and bronze ornamentation are nothing but a reflection of thee older times of Kathmandu. Even the latter has building resembling the Newari style
Though personally I thought that the construction somewhat resembled the French colony of Puducherry, which has got a very European feel to it. Most of the houses at Bandipur are renovated and developed into guest houses, to serve tourists.
Emergence of Bandipur
Bandipur was originally a part of the Magar kingdom of Tanahun, ruled from nearby Palpa (Tansen), but Newari traders flooded the area, after Prithvi Narayan Shah conquer the valley. Bandipur was also the richest center because they had connections to Tibetan trade routes through the Himalayas.
In the 1800s, Bandipur grew in wealth as traders came from Tibet with musk pods, mountain herbs, animal skins, and horses. Calico, tobacco, glassware, and kerosene came in from British India. However, when Nepal opened their doors to the world in the 1950s, Pokhara with its airfield began to gain importance, and in 1972 the Kathmandu-Pokhara highway by-passed Bandipur. A blessing in disguise !
While many Newar hill towns lost their shine and distinctiveness after joining the highway grid, Bandipur retained its originality.
Tourist Attractions in Bandipur
There is not much to do in Bandipur except relaxing which I wouldn’t mind. On a clear day, few of world’s highest mountains are visible from Bandipur including Dhaulagiri and Annapurna. But since we visited this place during the monsoons, we couldn’t spot anything. Having said this, there are small tourist attraction points in Bandipur, which can be done on foot in less than 24 hours.
Khadga Devi Temple: A wide flight of stone steps leads up the hillside to this barn-like temple, which enshrines the sword of Mukunda Sen, the 16th-century king of Palpa (Tansen) and we were told that it was a a gift from Shiva, the blade is revered as a symbol of Shakti. It also said that the one who would touch or see this sword will die immediately and the reason why it has kept covered. Though we couldn’t see the sword or got an opportunity to touch it as the temple doors were closed. But what I loved the most about this temple was its hiking trail and the pristine surroundings amidst which it is built.
A Cave and Monastery: Hiking up a bit from Khadga temple, it is said that it has a cave and a monastery which is used by monks to meditate. Though we couldn’t find anything but the scenic vista on the way had us senses filled.
Tindhara: Tin- Dhara which translates to three taps is the local washing area, where locals bath and wash clothes under ornate stone spouts. It was natural water source body which was used by the Newar community during their settlement at this place. Tin-Dhara has intricately carved sculptures all over
Tundikhel: On the top of a cliff to tile north-east of Bandipur town, there lies an open air field, from where visitors can view the surrounding mountains as well as the Marshyangdi Valley. We hiked up but since the sky remained cloud laden, we were not mucky to spot anything
Despite its proximity to the epicentre of the 2015 earthquake which shook Nepal, Bandipur escaped with minor damage, though a number of village houses collapsed but a visit to this quaint town will surely be a memorable experience
Reproducing Content & photographs from this website is prohibited without Author’s approval and liable for strict action
Join me on my Social Media Channels and explore the World with me. Like me on: