Bandipur

Bandipur is a hilltop settlement in Tanahu District, at an elevation of 1,030 m on a mountain saddle, 143 km to the west of Kathmandu and 80 km to the east of Pokhara. Draped like a silk scarf along a high ridge above Dumre, the town is a living museum of Newari culture. People here seem to live centuries apart from the rest of the country and more than 70% of the buildings are traditional Newari houses, with carved wooden windows and overhanging slate roofs.

Bandipur’s hallmark is its beautiful scenery. Its medium elevation, excellent view of the Himalayas (Dhaulagiri, Annapurna, Manaslu, Ganesh, Langtang), the Marshyangdi Valley, Manakamana Hill and Gorkha with its high perching palace, relatively easy accessibility and, of course, old Newari town flair, make Bandipur an interesting tourist destination.

Major Attractions: Tundikhel The most convenient place for a mountain view is Tundikhel, the field at the north end of town. This unique flattop, right by a precious cliff which falls away towards the Marsyangdi Valley far below, must have been originally developed as a military parade ground. Caves Bandipur’s hillsides are also renowned for their caves, which carry religious significance for the locals. A 2-hr hike through forest leads to the Pataali Dwar (the Gateway to Hell), with a Shiva shrine at its deepest recess. Alternatively, the cave is also known as Sworgadwari (the Entrance to Heaven). Another cave that has been recently discovered is Siddha Cave. It is said to be the largest cave in the country discovered till date. 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 point is fully worth the hour’s hike getting there. Mukundeswori An important tribal ‘power place’ is that of Mukundeswori, atop a high summit at the end of a 2-hr walk from Bandipur. The shrine is festooned with numerous bells and tridents (trishuls), and it is especially revered by Gurungs.