Gateway of Nepal
The Nepalese bordering gate to India in Birgunj
|Time zone||Nepal Time (UTC+5:45)|
|Postal code||44300, 44301|
Birgunj (also Birganj) (Nepali: बीरगंज) is a metropolitan municipality and border town in Parsa District in the Narayani Zone of southern Nepal. It lies 283 km (176 mi) south of the capital Kathmandu, attached to north of the border of the Indian state of Bihar. As an entry point to Nepal from Patna and Kolkata, it is known as the "gateway to Nepal". The town has significant economic importance for Nepal as most of its trade with India is via Birgunj and the Indian town of Raxaul. Tribhuvan Highway links Birgunj to Nepal's capital, Kathmandu.
Birgunj was established as a conglomerate of several villages in and around Gahawa village. Gahawai Mai Temple remains the epicenter of the town. The settlement was named after the Rana Prime Minister Bir Shamsher, thus acquiring the name Birgunj .
According to the 2011 Census, Birgunj had a population of 139,068. It is the biggest city in Narayani Zone and the headquarters of Parsa District. In addition to Nepali, several other languages are spoken, including Bhojpuri, Hindi, Maithili and English. Nepali is the official language.
Birgunj is a major business centre of Nepal, especially for trade with India. Almost all trade with India occurs through this route. The Indian border town of Raxaul has become one of the busiest towns for heavy transportation due to high trade volume. The 29 km (18 mi) distance from Birgunj to Pathlaiya is the busiest highway in Nepal. Most industries are represented, including agriculture, chemicals, textiles, wood, petroleum, etc. Almost 56% of the total products of Birgunj are exported to the Indian state of Bihar.
Birgunj was the only city that connected the capital city with India. Birgunj railway station was connected by the Nepal Government Railway (NGR) to Raxaul station in Bihar across the border with India. The 47 km (29 mi) railway extended north to Amlekhganj in Nepal. It was built in 1927 by the British but discontinued beyond Birgunj in December 1965. The 6 km (3.7 mi) railway track from Raxaul to Birgunj was converted to broad gauge two years after the Indian railways converted the track to Raxaul inside India to broad gauge. Now, broad gauge railway line connects Raxaul to the Sirsiya (Birgunj) Inland Container Depot (ICD) that became fully operational in 2005. Talks have been held to reopen the railway route from Birgunj to Amlekhganj in Nepal by converting it to broad gauge because of its socio-economic importance. Trains run to major cities of India from Raxaul, including the Satyagraha express to Delhi, Mithila express to Kolkata, Lokmanya Tilak express to Mumbai, and HYD-RXL express to Hyderabad.
Goods are transported to and from India via Birgunj dry port, which is the key terminal of surface cargo delivery to Nepal. This cargo point on the south connects the heart of the country, Kathmandu, via another key industrial city, Hetauda. It is also served by Tribhuvan Highway, extending from the Indian border at Raxaul through Birgunj and Hetauda to Kathmandu with frequent bus service. Simara Airport — 18 km (11 mi) north near the highway in Pipara Simara, Bara district — offers scheduled flights to Kathmandu.
The city has its own Stadium,Narayani Stadium which is Nepal's second largest stadium after Dasarath Rangasala.The Stadium has capacity of 15000 seats.Recently the stadium is poor in condition.The city is known as the cricket hub of Nepal. Nepal national cricket team's players- Aarif Sheikh and Avinash Karn hail from Birgunj.
Birgunj has many FM community radio stations including Radio Birgunj, Narayani FM, Bhojpuriya FM, Terai FM, Indreni FM, etc. and several websites focused on local news like www.yatradaily.com, www.thestatedaily.com . It is covered by the national television station, Birgunj Television (BTV).
On 18 May 2006 the parliament of Nepal declared that the country would become a secular state. This led to unrest by Hindu fundamentalist groups across Nepal; the town of Birgunj was forced to close for two days.
2015 Nepal earthquake
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- Nepal's Hindu majority is denouncing the recent move to end Nepal's longtime status as the world's only Hindu state. The Christian Science Monitor
- Singh, Santosh (27 April 2015). "Nepal Earthquake: 12-year-old lies dead by the broken road". Archived from the original on 1 May 2015.
- Dr. Bipin Adhikari. The Great Earthquake of 1934. NewSpotLight Nepal News Magazine, Vol. 8, No. 22, May 22, 2015. Accessed May 29, 2015.