Bandipur (Devanagiri बन्दीपुर) 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 living in 1929 individual households.
Bandipur is located at 27.56 N, 84.25 E and an elevation of 1030m on a mountain saddle (Mahabharat range) approximately 700m above the Marsyangdi River Valley, 143 km to the west of Kathmandu and 80 km to the east of Pokhara. Since 1998 it is connected by a 8 km access road from Dumre (Kathmandu-Pokhara highway). Until then there was only an unreliable road, in monsoon usually not accessible or only by tractors. The mountain saddle, just 200m long, is barely wide enough to accommodate the main street lined by 2 –3 storey buildings on either side. At the backsides of these houses the mountainsides steeply descend and the gardens are only accessible by stairs.
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 Tanahu 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 reversed. Some relics of its wealthy past remain. Although many houses are in bad condition, 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.
The educational institutes in Bandipur are Bhanu Higher Secondary School established in 1950s, only institution offering higher education till 1980s. Notre Dame Higher Secondary School established in 1985, by Missionary organization "School Sisters Of Notre Dame".Notre Dame School is one of the best schools in Nepal with track record of 100% First Division pass out in Higher Secondary Board Examination since its students appeared for Board Examination(SLC)the legacy is till today. Bandipur has only one public graduate college "Bandipur Campus" affiliate to Tribhuvan University and offering Bachelor in Education program. Bandipur has few lower secondary schools beside above mentioned namely Dil Primary School,Ratna Rajya Middle School, Believers Academy.
Bandipur hosts number of social organizations like social youth forum, public library, child club. Padma library is one of the oldest libraries in Nepal, established in Rana regime itself. Lots of social organizations came up in Bandipur and faded out, Tindhara Youth Cultural Group (TYC-Group) is the only active youth club (social youth forum) established in 1998. Initially it was a loose forum and was registered under District Administrative Office in 2003. Founder president of TYC-Group is Mr. Firoz Kumar Shrestha succeeded by Mr. Tara Bhattarai, Mr. Ravi Shrestha, Mr. Suman Sun Shrestha, Mr. Purendra Shrestha and current president is Mr. Rajan Bhattarai. Hoste Haise Child Development Society is another social organization working in child development and children right sector. Other social organizations to be named are Bhanu School Operation Committee, Bandipur Hospital Development Committee, Raniban Social Committee, Tindhara Development Committee.
Formerly a Magar village, Bandipur today is settled by a variety of Nepali ethnicities with different beliefs: the Bahuns, the Chhetris, the Newars, the Damais, Kamis, Sarkis, Kasais, the Magars and Gurungs. one college is their in Bandipur notredam school is a better way for education to providing to people.
Its medium elevation, excellent view of the Himalayas (Dhaulagiri, Annapurna, Manaslu, Ganesh, Langtang Himal, the Marsyangdi Valley, Mount Manakamana and Gorkha with its high perching palace), relatively easy accessibility and, of course, old Newari town flair, make Bandipur an interesting tourist site from which a few guesthouses and a hotel at the northern end of the Tundikhel try to benefit. It may well be that the seclusion of Bandipur saved the Newari architecture of its buildings which otherwise would have been replaced by faceless modern types found in many other towns of Nepal. The and various Newari and Magar festivals, which until recently have been held for own purposes several times a year, can also be of interest to tourists. Sorathi and Chutka dances are very popular. Due to the distance and poor accessibility of many of the home villages of pupils at Bandipur schools a number of houses have been turned into boarding houses. Many Magar and Gurung men serve as Gurkha soldiers.
Other attractions include the Bindyabashini temple and the library in the village centre, Thani Mai, Tindhara(“Three Taps” washing place at the southeastern outskirts), Raniban (Queen's Forest), the downhill trek to the Siddha Cave and a hike to Ramkot village. On Mukundeswari, the elevation at the western end of the saddle is a little shrine and one has a view of Bandipur itself.
Some villagers have picked up growing oranges, which do quite well in the climate of that area. An hour’s walk to the west of Bandipur is a silk farm.
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- BECT Project's official web site, suspended for now
- Discover Nepal
- Bandipur City of Nepal
- Bandipur photos from Dynax5D
- Bandipur Photos from our Tour
- "Nepal Census 2001", Nepal's Village Development Committees (Digital Himalaya), retrieved 15 November 2009.
- Linda L Itlis, An Ethnohistorical Study of Bandipur, Vol. VIII, No.1, December 1980, CNAS, Tribhuvan University