Situated at 140 km west of Kathmandu at an altitude of 1,135 m, Gorkha is the ancestral hometown of the Shah Dynasty of Nepal. It is just around 18 km up a paved road of the Kathmandu-Pokhara Highway. It is the birthplace of King Prithvi Narayan Shah, the founder of modern Nepal. The British term ‘Gurkha’ evolved from the same name Gorkha, referring to the famed fighting soldiers of the region.
It is primarily a cobbled street market place whereby people from neighboring hill dwellings come to trade. There are a few temples near about like Kalika Mandir, up the hill from the main bazaar. Yet, it is worth a visit as it provides a very good scene of the quiet charm that soaks a typical hill village of Nepal.
It is the main attraction of Gorkha, an hour steep walk up a hill from the bazaar area. It is used to be the dwelling of King Prithvi Narayan Shah and his ancestors. The Durbar itself is a humble, yet quite impressive complex of a temple, fort, and a palace built in the Newari style of Kathmandu. The view of the Himalayan range and the deep valleys from up there is superb.
The sacred cave of Gorakhnath lies just 10 m below the palace’s southern side. The cave is carved out of the solid rock and is among the most important religious sites for mainstream Brahmins and Chhetris of Nepal.
It just takes around 20 minutes walk to reach Upallokot from Gorkha Palace. There is a viewing platform at an altitude of 1,520 m, from where the fantastic view of Gorkha Palace and the silver shining snow-fed peaks can be enjoyed.
The Manakamana Temple lies on a beautiful ridge, 1,302 m above sea level, around 12 km southeast of the township of Gorkha. Venerated since the 17th century, it is believed that the goddess grants the wishes of all those who make the pilgrimage to her shrine to worship her. In earlier times, the only way to reach the temple was by walking uphill for around 3 hours. Now, it just takes around 10 minutes on a cable car that runs from the cable station of Cheres, 105 km west from Kathmandu.