Bandipur tour

Place to visit in Bandipur

Tudikhel : The most convenient place for a mountain view is Tudikhel, the field at the northern end of town. This unique flat-top, right by a precipitous cliff which falls away towards the Marsyangdi valley far below, must have been originally developed as a military parade ground. It is now used for political rallies and by Bandipur's youth for football and volleyball. The field is also used as a promenade, populated as it is by stately trees.

Caves : Bandipur's hillsides are also well known for their caves, which carry religious significance for the locals. A two-hour hike through forest leads to the Pataali Dwar, or the Gateway to Hell, with a Shiva shrine at its deepest recess. The limestone formations are also revered. Alternatively, the cave is also known as Swargadwari, or Entrance to Heaven! Another cave, discovered only a few years ago, is known as the Siddha Gufa and is said to be the largest discovered cavern in the country. Full of stalactites and stalagmites, it has not been fully explored.

The 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 high point is fully worth the hour's hike getting here. Also visible is the eastward bend of the Marsyangdi River far below. One can also follow the river's course northward as it disappears into the Manang region between the Annapurna and Manasulu massifs. Beyond, of course, lies Tibet.

Mukundeswari : An important tribal 'power place' is that of Mukundeswari, atop a high summit at the end of a two-hour walk from Bandipur. The shrine here is festooned with numerous bells and tridents (trisuls), and it is especially revered by Gurungs. You will see some knives and swords, apparently placed here by victorious warriors of long ago.

Ple : Situated in the heart of the bazaar, this pagoda-style temple displays Newar craftsmanship at its best. The temple displays Newar carvings on its struts and windows, while the lintels and torana are done in detailed brasswork. Inside, the idol is that of Bindebasini, also a form of Goddess Durga, the destroyer of evil. During the Bisket Festival, a mid-April celebration with origins in Kathmandu Valley's Bhaktapur, the idol is placed on a palanquin and taken on a tour of the town, accompanied by a traditional band. After the puja ritual, coins are showered on the worshippers from the temple-top.

Mahalaxmi Temple : This temple, also in the style of a pagoda, is dedicated to the goddess of wealth. The structure also displays exquisite woodwork in its struts, doorways and arches. "We Bandipur Newars enjoy a festival a week", says a local elder, with no exaggeration. The numerous festivals of Bandipur town are mostly Hindu in origin, while some of those enjoyed in the outlying hills have roots in ancient nature worship. The town's celebrations include observances such as Fagu (Festival of Colours), Krishna Asthami (the birth of Lord Krishna, the amorous one), Gai Jatra (to commemorate the dead), Shiva Ratri (the night of Shiva) and Dasain and Tihar. The Magars have their own festivals in the nearby villages, which include the festivals of Chandi Purnima, a full-moon observance in which unmarried daughters dance the Ghatu dance to singing by married women. The dance known as Chudka is popular among Magar youth, and it tends to continue for weeks on the end as a kind of competition.

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