Bandipur, Nepal - a charming Newari heritage town in Himalayas: offbeat place to visit near Pokhara
Bandipur, a charming little town in the foothills of Himalayas, all the way different from the rest of the destinations in Nepal, is quintessential heritage of Nepalese culture. Hidden in the lower Himalayan ranges, isolated on a hilltop at 1050m, Bandipur is absolutely off the beaten track. Just a 2-hour drive from Pokhara, Bandipur came in as a pleasant surprise after ending my Annapurna Base Camp Trek in Pokhara. Spending a day in Bandipur, without knowing anything about the place, and just going with the flow was the best way to feel absorbed by this place. When the driver stopped the car at the entrance of the town and asked to walk down to the guesthouse, I wasn’t expecting much out of this place. But as soon as I took first few steps in the narrow lanes of Bandipur, I was completely blown away, as this place looked nothing less than a European town with the old-world charm.
The quaint town of Bandipur is a perfect location for the ones looking for laid-back time in the Himalayas, without having to worry about the rest of the world!
Unique Newari Architecture and Cultural Heritage in Bandipur
As I kept walking along the cobbled lanes of Bandipur, I couldn’t stop admiring the townhouses on both the sides of the alley. I was so fascinated with the initial glimpses of the town, that my eyes had already started craving for more. After a couple of minutes of walk down the lane, with my focus on the antiquated houses, I realised that I was walking freely without the need of keeping a watch on the road for traffic! Bandipur is completely free of traffic, all the vehicles have to parked outside the gate of of the town. After the third minute of walk, I was in my hotel. I was so driven into a state of intrigue, that immediately after dumping my backpack in the room, I set out to explore this quirky looking town of Bandipur.
Without feeling the need to ask for directions or any other information, I was out on the lanes of Bandipur, wandering wherever the road took me. The more I explored, the more I was awed with the vividly coloured Newari architecture houses, covered with flowering vines, giving an attractive vibe of the town. These ancient houses with striking brickwork and unique wood carvings felt like a living museum displaying the indigenous Newari culture.
Newari houses are generally 3-4 storied, have thick-walls made of bricks and roofs made of clay tiles, an open courtyard, carved windows, rooms with low ceilings and stairs with handrails. Bandipur has gained its importance on the maps of Nepal as a cultural heritage by preserving the traditional Newari houses and not letting the modern buildings replace any of them.
Bandipur Bazaar for ancient trans-Himalayan Trade
Bandipur was originally a rural self-sufficient village, occupied by the Magar tribe of Nepal. In the 18th century, many Newari families from the merchant community of Kathmandu migrated to Bandipur and developed it into a significant trading centre, known as Bandipur Bazaar, and made it and important stop on the ancient India-Tibet trans-Himalayan trade route. The trade included exchange of herbs, spices, metals, animals, leather, crop yields and various articles between the two countries. During this period, Bandipur flourished and transformed into a town with paved lanes, townhouses, carved windows and doors on the buildings reflecting Newari architecture, brass utensils in the households.
On the ground floor, the houses had an open store front facing the street, which made a perfect market place for the people walking in the bazaar. In 1970, a new highway was constructed between Pokhara and Kathmandu, which by-passed Bandipur, which resulted in decline of trade in Bandipur. They say, some things happen for good.. Bandipur fell into a time wrap since then and managed to preserve its ethnic Newari culture.
Namaste! I'm Medhavi Davda.
I travel to Evolve..
In Nature, I confide..
I find my calling in the Himalayas..
In the Oceans, I meditate..
A High-Altitude Trekker & PADI certified SCUBA Diver, I love exploring the heights and depths of the planet with my regular doses of mountains and oceans.
Discovering myself & life through nature, adventures, travels, sports and dance has been an addiction since my existence!
Quite fond of the natural & cultural diversity of India, I've travelled extensively in my own country before exploring international destinations.
I had left my 9+ yrs of career in Software Industry in a quest to make a living out of my passions. I packed my basics in my car (gave away the rest) and lived in different parts of Himachal Pradesh for 16 months. This invaluable time taught me to experience life from a broader perspective.
I'm currently living in Mumbai to work with an Adventure Travel company as a product manager for Scuba Diving. I continue living a minimalistic life.
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