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Situated on a hilltop above the highway town of Dumre, Bandipur captivates the visitor with its cultural appeal and pristine scenery. This Newar town has maintained its age-old flavour, and presents sightseers with a heady mix of history, architecture, incredible views, awesome caves and unspoiled landscapes. Bandipur is located at 27.56 N, 84.25 E and an elevation of 1030m on a mountain saddle (Mahabharat range) approximately 700m above the Marsyangdi River Valley, 143 km to the west of Kathmandu and 80 km to the east of Pokhara. Since 1998 it is connected by a 8 km access road from Dumre (Kathmandu-Pokhara highway). Until then there was only an unreliable road, in monsoon usually not accessible or only by tractors. The mountain saddle, just 200m long, is barely wide enough to accommodate the main street lined by 2 –3 storey buildings on either side. At the backsides of these houses the mountainsides steeply descend and the gardens are only accessible by stairs.
Bandipur has been described as a natural view tower; indeed, one can enjoy a spectacular panorama of the entire Annapurna Range plus the peaks of Dhaulagiri, Manaslu and Langtang from here. Apart from the stunning views of the Himalaya and the Marsyangdi Valley, a visit to the town is an opportunity to get a close look at Newar cultural life. Bandipur is an outpost of the refined civilization of the Kathmandu Valley, and it is an ideal retreat to soak in this fabulous heritage along with the natural splendour of the surroundings. With its varied attractions ranging from the artistic to the scenic, Bandipur entices visitors of all interests to come and discover something for oneself.
In the 1970s, trading fell into a steep decline with the construction of the Kathmandu – Pokhara highway. For technical reasons it was logically built in the Marsyangdi valley, leaving Bandipur isolated up on the mountain. In addition to that, as a result of its poor accessibility, Bandipur lost importance because the district headquarters of Tahahu were moved to Damauli. The tradesmen of Bandipur were forced to move down to Dumre and many even left for the Terai; Bandipur turned a semi-ghost town. The population declined considerably.
On two occasions Bandipur has witnessed some turmoil. The people were not easily and readily sidestepped by the construction of the road and fought for a different route in the planning process. In the 1970s, when the first demonstrations for democracy took place in Nepal, the people of Bandipur stormed the little garrison. Several people were killed and the soldiers fled. Again, when the district headquarters were to be moved, the people demonstrated and occupied the administration. The civil servants fled during the night. Even the king was flown in by helicopter to calm the situation. However, the decline of the little town could not be reverted. Some relics of its wealthy past remain. Although many houses are in bad repair, the typical Newari architecture is preserved. A distinctive aspect of Bandipur’s main street is a covered veranda extending along almost the entire length on the northern side. Most of the buildings still have little shops in them. The slate slabs in the main street have been destroyed by heavy vehicles, for which they were not made, but they can still be made out along the edges and in the smaller alleys. The library still exists and was carefully renovated in 2000. Another relic is a soccer-field-sized Tundikhel to the northeast of Bandipur and the villages importance as centre for schools for the surrounding villages.
Formerly a Magar village, Bandipur today is settled by a variety of Nepali ethnicities with different beliefs: the Bahuns, the Chettris, the Newars, the Damais, Kamis, Sarkis, Kasais, the Magars and Gurungs. one college is their in Bandipur notredam school is a better way for education to providing to people.
Its medium elevation, excellent view of the Himalayas (Dhaulagiri, Annapurna, Manaslu, Ganesh, Langtang Himal, the Marsyangdi Valley, Mount Manakamana and Gorkha with its high perching palace), relatively easy accessibility and, of course, old Newari town flair, make Bandipur an interesting tourist site from which a few guesthouses and a hotel at the northern end of the Tundikhel try to benefit. It may well be that the seclusion of Bandipur saved the Newari architecture of its buildings which otherwise would have been replaced by faceless modern types found in many other towns of Nepal. The and various Newari and Magar festivals, which until recently have been held for own purposes several times a year, can also be of interest to tourists. Sorathi and Chutka dances are very popular. Due to the distance and poor accessibility of many of the home villages of pupils at Bandipur schools a number of houses have been turned into boarding houses. Many Magar and Gurung men serve as Gurkha soldiers.
Other attractions include the Bindyabashini temple and the library in the village centre, Thani Mai, Tindhara(“Three Taps” washing place at the southeastern outskirts), Raniban (Queen's Forest), the downhill trek to the Siddha Cave and a hike to Ramkot village. On Mukundeswari, the elevation at the western end of the saddle is a little shrine and one has a view of Bandipur itself. Some villagers have picked up growing oranges, which do quite well in the climate of that area. An hour’s walk to the west of Bandipur is a silk farm.
Bandipur was once a prosperous trading center, and its charming buildings, with their neoclassical facades and shuttered windows, bespeak its past glory. Originally a simple Magar village, it was settled in the early nineteenth century by Newars from Bhaktapur, who took advantage of its malaria-free location to develop it into an important stop on the India-Tibet trade route. Along with their trading skills, the Newars brought with them their rich cultural heritage and architecture, which still defines the look and feel of today's Bandipur.
Bandipur saw its heyday during the Rana period (1846-1951). The power and prestige it enjoyed then is indicated in the special permission it received to establish its own library that still exists. In the 1950's, the town began to lose its edge after malaria was eradicated in the Terai, which facilitated travel to the once dreaded plains. In the 1960's, the district headquarters was moved to Damauli. The final blow came in 1973 following the completion of the Prithvi Highway that sidestepped it. Shunted from the traffic, commerce shifted to Damauli, and Bandipur turned into a near ghost town.
When Newar merchants fanned out from the Kathmandu Valley looking for new prospects after its conquest by Prithvi Narayan Shah in the late eighteenth century, they chose Bandipur as an appropriate conduit for trade between the northern hills and the southern flatlands. The traders also designed the town in a style that reflected their fine aesthetic standards; and thus its houses ornamented with pagoda roofs, lattice windows and ornate doorways stand firm to this day to delight the travellers who are making Bandipur their new destination.
Although originally inhabited by the Magars (of Gurkha soldier fame), Bandipur today is a composite of different ethnic groups and beliefs. The town now contains an equal mix of Bahuns, Chhetris, Newars, Damais, Kamis, Sarkis, Kasais, Magars and Gurungs. Originally a simple Magar village in the early 19th. Century Bandipur developed into prosperous trading centre and a community with town-like features: substantial buildings, with their neoclassical façades and shuttered windows and streets paved with slabs of silverish slate. Bandipur had its heyday in the Rana times (1846-1951), when, as a measure of its power and prestige, it was granted special permission to have its own library.
The winter starts in September-October and ends around January-February. The maximum temperature hovers between 18-21 degrees Celsius and the minimum drops to 2-3 degrees. The sky over Bandipur at this time of the year is generally clear, providing superb views of the mountains.
The summer season lasts from February-March till June-July. The maximum temperature rises to 32-33 degrees Celsius with the minimum staying at 12-13 degrees.
The rainy season begins in June-July and continues till August-September. The monsoon is marked by big downpours in this area.
Bandipur has an altitude of 1,030 m, and is situated in the Mahabharat Range in Tanahu District of Gandaki Zone. It is 143 km to the west of Kathmandu, 73 km to the south of Pokhara, 70 km to the north of Chitwan and 8 km from Dumre Bazaar on the Prithvi Highway (Kathmandu-Pokhara Highway).
Drive from Pokhara or Kathmandu to arrive at Dumre Bazaar by midday, and then it’s about an half hour bus ride to Bandipur Bazaar. From Dumre, one can find the local rides shuttling between Dumre and Bandipur.
Via the ancient route
If you are adventurous, then the hike through the historical route, made famous by the song 'Bandipure Uklai lamo' (uphill to Bandipur) by late poet king MBB Shah, will take you about two hours. It ends in Tudhikhel, and a short five-minute walk will take you to the heart of Bandipur: Bandipur Bazaar.
Via the Siddha Cave
If you want to take the less travelled route to Bandipur with the visual delights of the caves and the Bandipur hillside, then this route is highly recommended. It starts from Bimalnagar and takes you past the Siddha Cave, probably the biggest cave in Asia, and will get you to Bandipur in about an hour and a half.
Accommodation in Bandipur
Gau Ghar, Bandipur, Tanahu, Nepal
Bandipur Mountain Resort, Bandipur, Tanahu, Nepal
The Old Inn, Bandipur, Tanahu, Nepal
Bandipur Village Resort, Bandipur, Tanahu, Nepal
Sunrise Hotel and Lodge, Bandipur, Tanahu, Nepal
Atish Hotel and Lodge, Tanahu, Nepal
Bandipur Guest house, Bandipur, Tanahu, Nepal
Mahima Hotel and Lodge, Bandipur, Tanahu, Nepal
Piya Hotel and Lodge, Bandipur, Tanahu, Nepal
Rachhya Hotel and Lodge, Bandipur, Tanahu, Nepal
Suraj Hotel and Lodge, Bandipur, Tanahu, Nepal
Hotel Peepal Chautari & Lodge, Bandipur, Tanahu, Nepal
Bandipur Cafe, Bandipur, Tanahu, Nepal
Village Development Committees VDC's of Tanahu District: