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Nepalgunj skyline, with Bageshawri pond and statue of Mahadev in the foreground and New Road houses in the background.
|Elevation||150 m (490 ft)|
Nepalgunj (Nepali: नेपालगञ्ज [nepaːlɡəndʒ]), also spelled Nepalganj, is a municipality in Banke District, Nepal on the Terai plains near the southern border with Bahraich district, Uttar Pradesh state of India. It is 85 kilometers south west of Ghorahi and 16 km south of Kohalpur and 35 kilometers east of Gularia.
The heart of the city- Dhamboji, where lies the center and perhaps the most important traffic junction of the town referred to as Dhamboji chowk, is the main business hub with several banks, book shops, lodges, motor-parts and hardware dealers, and other general home appliance distributors. The 24 km long Surkhet Road starts from Mahendra Chok in Kohalpur and terminates at the Nepal-India Border; it runs through the middle of the city passing through Birendra Chok and two other important junctions- Pushpalal Chok and BP Chok, creating a network of roads that cover the major portion of city's industrial and residential areas.
Tribhuvan Chok is famous for its commodity and fancy shops along Sadar Line and Ek-Laini, while most of the important government offices like Chief District Office, Telecommunication Office, Post office, etc. are located within a radius of a few kilometers around it. Another famous area called New Road, while still under development, is emerging as a major attraction for its modern fashion retail shops, hotels and restaurants.
There are a lot of other areas in Nepalgunj that are developing rapidly and attracting new residents and industries. The city is developing fast due to relocation of mid-hill migrants. It is also a center for business for vicinity zones and their districts. Recently the city has been a possibility of being developed into a major IT center in Nepal since a large population of young entrepreneurs are investing new technologies and marketing into new sectors.
There is also better education facility in the city. Several boarding and government schools have been established in the city with M.P. School and Mahendra School being among the oldest schools of the city and J. C. Bal Sansar E.M. School being the first English Medium school. Angels High School, Brightland H.S. School, Gorkha United (situated in Kohalpur), Jaya Bageshwari H.S. School and Dream-Land High School are among the most famous schools of Nepalgunj.
Nepalgunj is considered the hottest place in Nepal, with temperature rising well above 44°C in summer.
Banke Kohalpur is located 16 km north of Nepalgunj. It is wonderful place with growing city and market. It is facilitated with all the infrastructure of development.
The 2001 census counted 57,535 inhabitants, with 20% growth since 1991. Nepali is spoken natively by Paharis as well as by people of other ethnicity as the national language and lingua franca. The mother tongue for the native inhabitants is still Awadhi, which is understood and normally spoken by the entire population of the district.
Temperature highly affects the lifestyle of Nepalgunj. Due to extreme heat in summer season, people wear light cotton clothes and rarely come out during the day time. While in the winter season, the temperature may drop to 6°C during which people wear thick woollen clothes.
Restaurants in Nepalgunj are famous for its samosas, chaat, golgappas, dahibada, momos (Nepalese-style Dumplings), sekuwa (roasted spiced-meat), biryani and chilled beer. Samosas, chaat, golgappas and sekuwa from Nepalgunj are considered to be the most delicious in all of Nepal. Its is also famous for ravadi (milk item) all over the country. Some famous restaurants include Mangalam Green Cottage, Swastik Cottage, Om cottage, Siddhartha Cottage etc.
Culture and Religion
Nepalgunj has a diverse culture with people from different faiths living within mixed communities. Hinduism and Islam are two major religions in the city with Hindus comprising larger percentage of the population. Other religions like Buddhism, Sikhism and Christianity are among in the minorities. People of different ethnicity are known to have traditionally lived together, without any significant conflicts.
However, there have been religious conflicts in the past in the city between its Hindu and Muslim majorities. Recent conflict occurred in December 2006 between Pahari people of the hill-origin and Madhesi people of Ganges-river origin. The conflict resulted in the death of at least one person, while dozens were injured. The conflict followed immediately after the 2006 democracy movement in Nepal. During the conflict, a mob destroyed the statue of late King Tribhuvan placed at a junction named after him while demanding to rename the junction as Kamal Madheshi Chok after a man from the madhesi side who was killed in the violence. The local administration had to impose a curfew to take the mob under control, and later formed a commission to investigate the causes of the riot.
Nepalgunj Airport is located 6 km north of Dhamboji Chowk. The airport was officially named Mahendra Airport after the late King Mahendra, but it is commonly referred just with its present name Ranjha Airport. It operated flights to Kathmandu and to airports in less developed western districts such as Dolpa, Jumla, Mugu and Rukum.
Nepalgunj has fully operational bus and mini-bus services that reach almost all parts of the western region that connected by roadways, as well as most parts of the eastern region, including all the major hubs in the country. The main hub for buses is Nepalgunj new buspark, while small transits are located in several other places in the city like Pushpalal Chok, Nepalgunj Airport, and Belaspur. Short routes are generally covered by micro-buses and mini-buses, while luxury coaches are available for long routes to destinations like Kathmandu, Pokhara, Birganj and Biratnagar. The country's longest highway- Mahendra Highway, runs through the town of Kohalpur located 16 kilometers from the city center.
A line of Indian Railways reaches Rupaidiha across the border. It involves train changes at Gonda, Bahraich and Nanpara. For travellers coming in from India it is also possible to take an express train to Lucknow and from there a direct bus to Rupaidiha. Indian and Nepalese nationals may cross the border without restrictions, however there is a customs checkpoint for goods and third country nationals.
The most common public transport for commuters within the city have long been cycle rickshaws. City mini- and micro-buses are used by commuters along the Surkhet road from the town of Kohalpur to the Nepal-India border. Most common private transport are motorcycles, especially among young adults while bicycles are used by many. Recently the number of automobiles has increased significantly in the city.
- Bheri Zonal Hospital
- Western Hopsital and Research Center
- Fatah Bal Eye Hospital
- Nepalgunj Medical College
Nepalgunj has a sub-tropical climate. Temperatures sometimes exceed 40°C (104°F) from April to June. During the rainy season—arriving in June and lasting into September—it is less hot but sometimes very humid. Winter is usually pleasant while the sun is out. It sometimes is foggy and overcast; then it can be chilly with temperatures below 10°C (41°F) but no frost.
With the boost in the tourism industry after the change over in political scenario of Nepal in 1950, hotel industry in Nepalgunj picked up a significant growth. Now, Nepalgunj boasts of several good hotels such as Sneha, Batika, Traveller's Village, Siddhartha, etc. Among the foreigners, Siddhartha is regarded the best in the town. There are a number of good restaurants in the city that offer traditional Nepalese, as well as, a variety of Indian, Chinese and Western cuisines.
Places of interest
- Bageswory temple in Nepalgunj is one of the most important temples for Hindus. It is dedicated to goddess Bageshwori and the temple area also houses another famous temple- the temple of lord Shiva with mustache, which is one of the only two such temples in the country. The Lord Shiva's statue in the temple is often referred to as Junge Mahadeva (Nepali: जुंगे महादेव).
- Shri Col. Maharajkumar Prakash S. J. B. Rana (son of Cdg. Gen. Shri Tin Maharaj Sir Bhim Shumsher Jung Bahadur Rana and Shri Tin Kancha Bada Maharani Deel Kumari Devi) was the maker of the Junge Mahadev temple, Nepalgunj and his name and Military Rank is written in short on the Trishul held by Mahadev (Lord Shiva) at the temple. Shri Col. Maharajkumar Prakash S. J. B. Rana who was a devotee of the Goddess Bageshwori, had three visions where he saw and heard the Goddess Bageshwori tell him to make a statue of Mahadev. After the third vision, he brought workers and craftsmen from Lucknow, India and made the Junge Mahadev temple at Nepalgunj. Thereafter he appointed a 'Baje' (Brahmin) from the Bageshwori temple as in-charge of the Junge Mahadev temple and the descendants of the same 'Baje' (presently namely Mahanta Padam Nath Yogi) continue to look after the Junge Mahadev temple, Nepalgunj. Shri Col. Maharajkumar Prakash S. J. B. Rana (b) at Tangal Durbar, Kathmandu, died in Kathmandu, Nepal.
- Bardia National Park is an hour's drive west.
- Karnali River is 90 minutes drive west.
Cricket and football are the two most popular sports in Nepalgunj. Most of the city's big sports tournaments are held in the city's football stadium and gymnasium, as well as, in the MP school-ground. An international cricket stadium is under construction. Nepalgunj has one of Nepal's best Women's cricket teams.
Nepalgunj has six Community radio Stations:
- Radio Himal 92.6 MHz
- Radio Krishnasar 94 MHz
- Radio Janaawaj 104.2 MHz
- Radio Rubaru 104.6 MHz
- Nepalgunj Community FM 104.8 MHz
- Bheri FM 105.4 MHz
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