Bandipur is a hilltop settlement in Tanahu District, Gandaki Zone of Nepal. Because of its preserved, old time cultural atmosphere, Bandipur has increasingly been coming to the attention of tourism. At the time of the 1991 Nepal census it had a population of 9952 people residing in 1929 individual households.

Bandipur was established as a funnelling point of trade by Newar traders from Bhaktapur in the Kathmandu valley after it had been conquered in 1768 by Prithvi Narayan Shah. They took advantage of its malaria free location to develop it into an important stop along the India-Tibet trade route. With them they brought their cultural heritage and architecture which basically has remained unchanged to this day.

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 (still existing).

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.

Places to Visit around Bandipur Bazaar

Khadga Devi
The temple of Khadga Devi is one of the most revered temples in Bandipur, which is belied by its look of a residential house except for the finial. This temple is opened to devotees only once a year on the day of Phulpati during the Hindu festival of Dasain. The shrine does not contain any statues of gods or goddesses, but a Khadga, a sacred sword wrapped in layers of cloth. Legend has it that if anyone looks at it, he or she invites instant death by vomiting blood. According to another story, the relic was a present from Lord Shiva to Mukunda Sen, king of Palpa (1518-1553 A.D.). The Khadga is worshipped as a symbol of the female power, hence the name Khadga Devi, which means goddess of the sword.

Bindhabasini Temple
This temple is located in the main bazaar area and is constructed in the pagoda style. An image of the goddess Bindhabasini is enshrined here. It also contains statues of other goddesses. During the New Year celebrations of the Bikram Sambat, the image of Bindhabasini is put on a chariot and pulled through town amidst other revelry.

Chandithan
This temple lies to the west of Bandipur Bazaar. According to folklore, people would place 12 eggs inside the temple and cover it with straw and a brick before the start of the planting season. If the eggs kept fresh after one year when they were uncovered, it meant that there would be a good crop the following year.

Mahalaxmi Temple
This temple is located to the southeast of the main bazaar. Its architecture shows it to date from the medieval period. The temple is in the style of a pagoda. The struts and tympanum are adorned with figures of Bhimsen and various mythical creatures. The original statue of the goddess Mahalaxmi, however, was stolen, and it has been replaced by a new one.

Narayan Temple
This temple lies to the east of the main bazaar area. Statues of the god Harihar and the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu are installed inside.

Tundikhel
Tundikhel is an excellent vantage point situated to the north of Bandipur’s main bazaar. From here, one can view the magnificent Himalayan Range including the spectacular peaks of Dhaulagiri, Machhapuchhre, Langtang, Manaslu and Ganesh Himal, among others. The legendary Gorkha Palace and the famous Manakamana Peak can also be seen clearly. Other sights include the Marsyangdi Valley, Bimalnagar and Dumre.

Surrounding Areas
Tundikhel is an excellent vantage point situated to the north of Bandipur’s main bazaar. From here, one can view the magnificent Himalayan Range including the spectacular peaks of Dhaulagiri, Machhapuchhre, Langtang, Manaslu and Ganesh Himal, among others. The legendary Gorkha Palace and the famous Manakamana Peak can also be seen clearly. Other sights include the Marsyangdi Valley, Bimalnagar and Dumre.

Paharpani Mahadev
A fifteen-minute walk to the north of Bandipur Bazaar brings one to the shrine of Parpani Mahadev. From above, it appears as a small bush. A stone pathway leads to the cave-like shrine. Inside, there is a waterspout, and below it are installed several small statues of various gods. They are known as Parpani Mahadev. In the old days, people gathered here to sing hymns and bathe under the fountain before going to work in their fields. A pond has been built here to add to the beauty of the site.

Purano Kot (Gurungche Hill)
Purano Kot, originally a fort, lies at a distance of about 500 m to the west of the main bazaar. It takes about twenty minutes of easy walking over the stones to reach the top. There is a small temple nearby containing a number of old statues. Next to it stands a newly built temple of Thanithan Mai. The local people believe that praying to Mahadev at this spot during a drought will bring rain.

Tandrang Tundrung
Tandrang Tundrung is a fifteen-minute walk to the west of Bandipur Bazaar. Its unusual name is said to imitate the sound that is produced when a stone is thrown into the well here. According to the old-timers of the village, it was used by Mukunda Sen to pass between Mukendeswari and Tandrang Tundrung to perform religious deeds.

Gadhi
This ancient fort lies to the northeast of Bandipur and is believed to have existed from the time of Mukunda Sen. Since the spot lies at a higher elevation than the bazaar, you can get a stunning view of the mountains from here.

Teendhara
This place lies to the east of the main bazaar and can be reached in ten to twenty minutes. The name of this place means three water spouts. Two fountains were added later. A shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva lies nearby.

Raniban
This forest of Sal trees is located to the east of the main bazaar. Nature enthusiasts will enjoy visiting the spot for its greenery and tranquility.

Padma Library
This historic library lies in the heart of Bandipur Bazaar. It was transformed into its present magnificence from a shelter for sages in 1945. It has been serving book lovers from the days of the Rana regime.

RAMKOT
Ramkot is a two-hour walk to the west of Bandipur. It is an easy hike passing through Muchuk Village from where you can also visit Mukundeswari. Ramkot is a typical Magar village with traditional round houses.
Ramkot is untouched by modern development and offers an opportunity to experience the lifestyle of rural Nepal. From here, one can go on to Chabdi Barahi, which can be reached after two hours of easy hiking.

Mukundeswari
Mukundeswari lies at an altitude of 1,830 m. It is about a two-hour walk to the west of Bandipur. The place looks like a gallery of ancient weapons and other antiquities as swords of different shapes and sizes lie scattered all around.

Chabdi Barahi
Chabdi Barahi is a four-hour walk to the west of Bandipur. This pilgrimage spot can also be reached by road from Damauli. Devotees sacrifice pigeons and various other animals to the shrine here.

SIDDHA CAVE
Bandipur amazes visitors with its geology as much as with its scenic and cultural attractions, and it would be unthinkable not to visit its caves. The must-see destination here is Sidhha Cave, discovered only in 1987. It is said to be the largest cave not only in the kingdom but also on the South Asian subcontinent. Sightseers can check for themselves by exploring its inner recesses which are filled with natural artworks created by the stalactites and stalagmites here. Siddha Cave is situated just above the cliff of Bimalnagar, from where it is a thirty-minute climb. The cave can be reached from Bandipur after ninety minutes of easy walking. Patalidwar This cave also goes by the name of Gateway to Heaven. According to legend, anyone entering the cave will cause all the sins of their ancestors to be washed away and bring them salvation. The way to this cave is through a jungle and takes about two hours from Siddha Cave. A religious fair is held here in April when participants perform the Chutka dance.

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Koshi Tappu Wildlife

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namoboudha-day-hike-nepal

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Best Review

Adrian Yeung

Annapurna Base Camp Trekking

Nature Trail provided a good service and experience to us during the entire trip (not just the trekking part).

When we arrived in Kathmandu (we take different flight, the arrival time for us is different but they could still manage it), a friendly, English speaking city guide who was waiting outside the airport, lead us to the nice hotel and explain the information for the trekking.

We plan to complete the trekking within 7 days, but due to luggage issue, we needed to spend extra day in the city. Although our schedule is tight, we suggested to walk more on the first few days and the trekking guide in Pokhara told us that he could manage it.

Then we started our trek!

The package we bought includes all meal and hotels (lodges) in the mountain and the porter and guide were welling to help us during the trek.

Finally we completed the trek within 6 days (Better to spend more time as 6 days is tough) !
The view at the Annapurna base camp is astonishing and it is worth seeing it.

Overall, the experience and service is excellent.

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