Baglung Bazar seen from Bhakunde VDC with views of Mt. Dhaulagiri
|Admin. division||Dhawalagiri Zone|
|Elevation||1,020 m (3,350 ft)|
|• Ethnicities||Chhetri, Magar, Newar, Bramhin, Thakali, Dalit|
|• Religions||Hindu, Buddhist and Hindu-Buddhist Mixed|
Baglung, is a town in western Nepal, 275 km west of Kathmandu. It is the administrative headquarters of Baglung District and Dhawalagiri Zone. Baglung Bazaar is a major business, financial, educational, and healthcare center for the people of Kali Gandaki valley. It is mostly known as city of bridges and is also famous for its map which is similar to the map of Nepal.
Geography and climate
Baglung Bazar is situated on a plateau overlooking the Kali Gandaki gorge directly south of the Dhaulagiri Himalayan range. Steep cliffs rising from the valley flank the plateau on three sides. City limits are roughly determined by the Kathe Khola to the south, Kali Gandaki river to the east and Dhodeni Khola to the north. Baglung enjoys warm summers and mild winters. Annual average temperatures range from a maximum of 26.6 °C and a minimum of 19.1 °C. Highs above 35C (95 F) and lows below 0C (32F) are rare. The average annual rainfall recorded is 1060.9 ml (1982). Rainfall is heavily affected by the Monsoon and most of it occurs during the months of June through September. Rest of the year is mostly dry and sunny. Snowfall is extremely rare though surrounding mountains see occasional snow during the winter months.
Baglung is connected to Beni Bazar of Myagdi to the north and Kusma Bazar of Parbat which are located 13 km to the north and 12 km to the south, respectively. A paved highway connects the town with Pokhara, 72 km to the east. Tracks for the highways to connect Tibet to the north via Mustang, Rukum to the west via Burtibang and Sera Bazar to the south via Balewa airport have been completed recently. There is ongoing work to open track along the Kali Gandaki valley to connect Baglung directly with the southern border towns. Upon completion of these road projects Baglung will be at the crossroads of the north-south highway linking India with Mustang and the 'middle hill' east-west highway linking eastern and western halves of the country. In addition to major highways, narrow seasonal dirt roads connect the town with adjoining rural areas. Baglung airport (code: BGL), in Balewa, is located 12 km to the south of the town across the valley from Kusma. With the completion of the Pokhara-Baglung highway this airport has fallen into disuse. Water transportation is virtually absent. However, the adjoining Kali Gandaki river offers some of the best white-water rafting in Nepal and attracts a decent number of thrill seekers every year.
There are around 29,360 inhabitants (census 2011) in Baglung. Annual population growth rate is 3.03%. It is the 38th largest municipality in Nepal, up from 47th in 2001. Apart from Nepali, other languages spoken include Newari, Gurung, Thakali, Tibetan and Magar.
Baglung is a multicultural and multiracial community. Majority of the population belongs to ethnic communities of Brahmin, Magar, Chhettri, Chhantyal,and Dalits. Smaller groups of Newar, Gurung and Thakali also live in the area. Majority of people from Baglung practice Hinduism. Other religions practiced in the area include Buddhism and Islam. There is also a small Tibetan refugee camp located at Dhorpatan.
Baglung, being the zonal and district headquarters, has a large presence of government and non-governmental institutions. Administrative as well as service centers are located within the city limits. A number of governmental, non-governmental as well as political conferences and rallies are held throughout the year. There is a significant presence of Nepal Army, Nepal Police and Armed Police Force of Nepal in the area. Baglung is also a Banking and financial hub of the region. In the recent years many national banks have opened branches and regional offices. A large number of people are employed overseas and in neighboring India. People from Baglung and nearby have a tradition of enlisting in the British and the Indian Army. Baglung and the region receive one of the highest amounts of remittance earned from foreign employment in Nepal. As of 2010, pension fund alone distributed to ex-servicemen of the Indian Army by the Pension Paying Office at Baglung stands at around USD 20 million. There are many shops and restaurants catering to the locals and occasional visitors. The town is bustling with many grocery stores, newsstands, repair shops, tailors, beauty parlors, clothing and electronics outlets. There are few small scale industries. Most of the manufacturing work is revolved around production of construction materials and home furnishings. Schools and institutions of higher education also employ a significant number of people.
Places of interest
Very good views of Himalayas can be had from Baglung. Bhakunde a place near Baglung city is a good to place to see the panaroma of the various range of Himalayas. Terraced fields, waterfalls, forests, deep gorges and caves are abundant throughout the area. The temples in and around Kalika make an excellent pilgrimage. The Kalika temple (built by King Pratapi Narayan, and renovated in late 90s) is visited by thousands of pilgrims each year especially during the festivals of Dashain and Chaitre Dashain. Trekking, biking, and rafting make it an ideal location for thrill seekers. Kalika is also the vantage point for trekkers to Mustang, Dolpa and Mt. Dhaulagiri. Kalika has the only hunting reserve in Nepal. Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve is a prime habitat for blue sheep and snow leopard.
Baglung and adjacent areas are well known for the folk Nepali music. The area has given rise to some of the more prominent names in folk music. Annual folk song competition held during the Chaitre Dashain festival attracts artists from all over the nation. In recent years music by artists such as The Sky Band, S K Shrestha and Godhuli Band have gained main stream success.
To Promote local culture Baglung has many FM radio stations. One of them is Baglung FM - 96.4 MHz which is a Community radio Station.
- Aryal, D., R. Rehgmi and N. Rimai (Eds.) 1982. Nepal District Profile:Nepal Research Asíooc/a/eí. Kathmandu, Nepal.