Author Topic: Bandipur  (Read 659 times)

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Offline ReSi

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Bandipur
« on: June 16, 2011, 10:05:51 AM »
Midway on the day-long drive between Kathmandu and Pokhara lies the hilltop settlement of Bandipur - a Newar town with its age-old flabour intact. Catching the historical trail at Dumre Bazaar, one climbs through pristine forests to arrive at a township that has hardly changed. While the other trading posts of the Nepali hills have modernised, Bandipur retains its age-old cultural attributes. It still has its temples, shrines, holy caves, innumerable festivals, and a Newari architecture that harks back to the Kathmandu Valley of old.

On a wide saddle at a height of 1005 m (3500 ft) overlooking the Marsyangdi river valley, Bandipur provides an unrivalled view of the Himalayan panorama (including the range of Gorkha Himal, above). The surrounding hills are ideal for hiking, along trails that take you through tribal villages, verdant forests, ‘power places’, and hilltop shrines which once doubled as fortresses.

Well-preserved Bandipur today invites traveller to come and experience its unique offerings: mountain cultures, mountain views, and mountain walking. Bandipur is tantalising - and as yet undiscovered.

 How To Get There

Where to stay

The best way to Bandipur is to arrive by mid-day at Dumre Bazaar from Pokhara or Kathmandu, and to hike it up. You can also take a bus or jeep up on the recently completed link road. The walking trail, however, allows you to retrace the ancient trade route used by the great and the small alike to reach Bandipur - kings and warriors, tracers and porters.

This is also the route commemorated by the late King Mahendra in a popular poem, “The Long Climb of Bandipur.”

The climb is actually not very long - it is all of three hours of easy hiking. Passing through ice paddies, the trail soon enters a forest that is full of bird song. The route is marked by spring and water spouts, and old resthouse (pati) and rest platforms (Chautara), all put up by philantrophists of yore to assist the sweating traveler. The trail skirts the great cliff below Bandipur, passes through a Magar village, and emerges on top at Tundikhel. From here, it is ten minutes’ of level walking to the town itself.

Bandipur has a mountain resort hotel at one end of Tudikhel, and another is coming up above the town. For a flavor of the old settlement and its life rhythms, the visitors can stay at one of the bed-and-breakfast places which have recently opened their doors in the old Newar houses. Guide services are available to help visitors explore the town and surrounding hills.

We suggest a two-day stopover at Bandipur, which will allow you to appreciate the place in its full variety. When you finally leave, you can do so either by walking down the trail down to Dumre Bazaar, or taking a ride down on the link road. From Dumre Bazaar you can connect to the fast coaches which will have you in Pokhara or Kathmandu by evening.

 

The Town

In the end, the road’s alignment may have been a boon rather than a bane. While many Newar hill towns lost their distinctiveness after joining the highway grid, Bandipur retained its originality.

Because Bandipur’s merchant classes had built sturdily, their buildings stood firm and are today ready once more to house shops, cafes and lodgings. Stretching east-west on its mountain saddle, the town reflects Kathmandu Valley architecture in its pagoda roofs, lattice-work windows, and stone-paved streets. The dwellings are in the form of compact town-houses, built of brick with often-ornate windows and doorways (see cover picture). The roofs are of tin or slate, which is mined nearby. A distinctive aspect of the bazaar is a covered veranda which extends through its entire length, from shopfront to shopfront.

The surrounding hills and forests are criss-crossed by easy trails that take the visitors to hilltop shrines, caves, springs and waterfalls. In contrast to the Newar town, the hillsides are inhabited by a mix of Hindu castes and the Magar and Gurung ethnic groups. On terrace fields, these communities grow millet, corn and mustard. Rice grows on the irrigated fields. Fruit-growing is gaining in popularity, particularly citrus. Women, when not working in the fields, can be found weaving cloth and baskets. The Magar and Gurung menfolk have traditionally joined the Gurkha forces in the Indian and British armies.

Sights of Bandipur Mountain Views

The hillocks that surround Bandipur provides an unequalled panoramic view of the Himalayan ramparts to the north. In contrast to close-ups available to the hardy trekker, the perspective offered by Bandipur’s step-back view has its own advantages. The observer is able to take in a 300 km march of the Himalayan chain, and it is actually possible to see the curvature of the earth on the snowline of this parabola. Far to the east, the range known as Jugal actually stands directly to the north of Bhaktapur in Kathmandu Valley, the place of origin of Bandipur’s Newars. Westwards, the main ranges that are on view include Langtang, Ganesh Himal, Gorkha Himal (which is the closest, and include Manasulu, Himalchuli and Baudha peaks), the Annapurnas, Dhaulagiri and Kanjiroba.

 

Tudikhel

The most convenient place for a mountain view is Tudikhel, the field at the northern end of town. This unique flat-top, right by a precipitous cliff which fails away towards the

Marsyangdi valley far below, must have been originally developed as a military parade ground. It is now used for political rallies and by Bandipur’s youth for football and volleyball. The field is also used as a promenade, populated as it is by stately trees.


Caves

Bandipur’s hillsides are also well known for their caves, which carry religious significance for the locals. A two-hour hike through forest leads to the Pataali Dwar, or the Gateway to Hell, with a Shiva shrine at its deepest recess. The limestone formations are also revered. Alternatively, the cave is also known as Swargadwari, or Entrance to Heaven! Another cave, discovered only a few years ago, is known as the Siddha Gufa and is said to be the largest discovered cavern in the country. Full of stalactites and stalagmites, it has not been fully explored.

 The Gadhi

Northeast of Bandipur, on a hilltop, stands a fort said to have been established by Mukunda Sen. The fort’s trenches are still visible. The view of the Himalaya from this high point is fully worth the hour’s hike getting here. Also visible is the eastward bend of the Marsyangdi river far below. One can also follow the river’s course northward as it disappears into the Manang region between the Annapurna and Manasulu massifs. Beyond, of course, lies Tibet.


Mukundeswari

An important tribal ‘power place’ is that of Mukundeswari, atop a high summit at the end of a two-hour walk from Bandipur. The shrine here is festooned with numerous bells and tridents (trisuls), and it is especially revered by Gurungs. You will
see some knives and swords, apparently placed here by victorious warriors of long ago.


nepaltraveller
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Offline NEWROAD

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Re: Bandipur
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2011, 11:29:53 AM »
M BANDIPUR MA DHERAI AGADI GAYEKO THIYEN JUN DIN HAMI BANDIPUR GAYEKO THIYEN TEHI DIN SHIDDHA GUFA PATTA LAGEKO THIYO ..HAMI PANI TYO GUFA BHITRA GAYERA AAYEKO THIYEN..

Caves

Bandipur’s hillsides are also well known for their caves, which carry religious significance for the locals. A two-hour hike through forest leads to the Pataali Dwar, or the Gateway to Hell, with a Shiva shrine at its deepest recess. The limestone formations are also revered. Alternatively, the cave is also known as Swargadwari, or Entrance to Heaven! Another cave, discovered only a few years ago, is known as the Siddha Gufa and is said to be the largest discovered cavern in the country. Full of stalactites and stalagmites, it has not been fully explored.
 

YO GUFA 2044/45 SAAL TIRA PATTA LAGEKO THIYO....MALAI YAD 6...MA UNISEF KO KAM BAATA GAYEKO THIYEN......
When I see you smile and know that it is not for me, that is when I will miss you the most.

audrianna

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« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2011, 05:20:26 PM »
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« Last Edit: July 19, 2012, 05:54:04 PM by audrianna »

Offline ewangeorge77

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Re: Bandipur
« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2012, 05:57:48 PM »
Well-preserved Bandipur today invites traveller to come and experience its unique offerings: mountain cultures, mountain views, and mountain walking. Bandipur is tantalising - and as yet undiscovered.

 


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