Bandipur: Lukla’s Newari Twin
Bandipur: Lukla’s Newari Twin
Lukla is known to be the gateway to Everest, which is one of the reasons why it is ranked high on the tourist radar. Along with the fact that there are no vehicles present, and no vehicles means highly purified air to breathe in. The roads are actually wide tidy cobbled paths, which instinctively turn all walks into lazy strolls. Bandipur is all this and more, with the only change being that it is a Newari-styled town as opposed to Lukla’s Sherpa style.
Barely two minutes of stepping along the bazaar street, and you know that this town prefers its seclusion. Nestled on a ridge of the hills in Tanahun district, Bandipur is one of those places that charms the bags off foreigners. They walk in thinking they’ll stay the night and then continue on towards Kathmandu or Pokhara, but often end up unpacking their bags and themselves for longer than just that one night. Cause very few places are understanding enough to offer thrills to make you sweat it out, and then provide a warm cozy shelter to cuddle up in. Here are those 5 thrills around Bandipur that balance out the utter blithe that one feels as they step into the town’s space.
While Bandipur engages with tourists all year round, for the ones who want to paraglide around the hill, January, February, September, October, November, and December are the months they should make their way up here. It’s either too windy or too rainy in the other months. As of now, the approximate rates for a tandem flight of 30-45 minutes is 7,000 Nepali Rupees for Indians, and 12,000 Nepali Rupees for foreigners.
#2 Ramkot Village
If you walk a couple of hours to the west of Bandipur, you will reach a village where the Magar community of Nepal has settled down. They are the third largest ethnic clan in the country, and were the early settlers in Bandipur during the 1800’s. When the Newaris came in, the Magar population dwindled, and today, they live in round houses in the model village called Ramkot. Apart from bird-watching and fantastic views of the Himalayan mountains, in Ramkot, you get to experience the rural life and culture of ages past.
#3 Siddha Caves
Discovered quite recently in times, Siddha Gufa is deeply set inside a cliff above Bimal Nagar. A 90-minute hike from the northern end of Bandipur town takes you to the entrance of the largest cave in Nepal, and arguably the largest cave in South East Asia. Inside the cathedral shaped chasm, stalagmites and stalactites pose to create art unique to this cave. To venture out here is considered quite a thrill because the intensity of the depth is known to be hair-raising for many. Make sure you wear a good pair of shoes, because the path down is slippery and rely on your own set of headlights/torches.
#4 Silk Worm Farm
Around an hour away from the main town, there is a silk work farm that is open for visitors on all days except Saturdays. There are mulberry plants, which serve as food for the worms, and you are taken through the entire creation process of the much popular silk material. There are jars preserved for display, and the worms are reared indoors from August to December, and from March to May.
A flat viewing field which doubles as a football ground, Tundikhel is a 15-minute walk from Bandipur’s main bazaar area. There are huge fig trees on one side, and the other side is clear for direct views of the Himalayan Range. This spot is famous for the sight of Manaslu, which is the eighth highest peak in the world. Other peaks that you’ll get to see on a clear cloud-free day are Ganesh Himal, Annapurna, Jugal Himal to Langtang Himal, Gorkha Himal, Himchuli Himal, Dhaulagiri Himal, and more of the 900-kilometre view of Himalayas from Tundikhel.
There are many small towns and villages scattered on the many fields and hills of Nepal, and Bandipur is one such hill station that deserves more than just a glance from you. Not just because it is a world in itself, but because there is a lot to do around that world.