Dang District, Nepal
Location of Dang (dark yellow) in Lumbini Province
|Established||17 May 1951|
|• Type||Coordination committee|
|• Body||DCC, Dāng Deukhuri|
|• Total||2,955 km2 (1,141 sq mi)|
|• Density||190/km2 (480/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+05:45 (NPT)|
|Main Language(s)||Nepali, Tharu|
Dang District(Nepali: दाङ जिल्ला [daŋ]) is a district of Lumbini Province located in the Inner Terai of midwestern Nepal. Dang-Deukhuri valley of the district is the capital of Lumbini Province and is the second largest valley of Asia surrounded by Sivalik Hills and Mahabharata Range. The district headquarter Ghorahi is the seventh largest city and the largest sub-metropolitan city of Nepal. Tulsipur sub-metropolitan city, the second largest city of Dang, is a major transportation hub with an extensive road and air networks. The district covers an area of 2,955 km² and has a population of 548,141 (2011 census).
Dang district has been archeologically studied extensively since the 20th century due to the disoveries of ancient fossils of apes and early humans. The district is home to Nepal's second oldest university, Nepal Sanskrit University, which is the only Sanskrit university of the country as well as Rapti Academy of Health Sciences (RAHS), the state-owned medical college of Lumbini Province with the Prime Minister of Nepal as the Chancellor. There are numerous temples and gumbas in Dang Deukhuri district with puranic legendary connections to Mahābhārata, Shaivism, Shaktism & Gorakhnath making it one of the richest cultural sites of the country.
History and prehistory
Archeologists consider the Churiya range very ancient with the existence of Sivapithecus (syn:Ramapithecus), a link between man and ape. The pre-historic study of Dang valley has been carried out by Tribhuvan University since 1966, including geological study of the Valley by Robert M. West from the American Museum of Natural History and the Department of Mines of then His Majesty's Government of Nepal from 1976, as well as the paleolithic study of Dang by University of Erlangen-Nuremberg (Friedrich-Alexander-Universität) of Germany in 1984, among others. According to these concurrent researches, Dang valley was a lake approximately 2.5 to 1 million years ago.
During 1984-86, Gudrun Corvinus studied the miocene-pliocene stratigraphy and geology of Dang valley researching on the pliestocene holocene period of ancient human settlements. She studied the exposed section of the road being constructed between Koilabas and the Dang Valley running through Deukhuri. Hand axes and other artifacts dated to early Paleolithic (1.8 million to 100,000 years ago) have been found in alluvial deposits along the Babai River in Dang Valley. Archeologists classify these as Acheulean, i.e. 'second-generation' toolmaking that succeeds the very oldest Olduwan. There are more numerous less ancient archeological sites dating to the Upper Paleolithic/Late Pleistocene (about 50,000 to 10,000 years ago). These are also along the Babai, as well as in Deukhuri Valley (Rapti River) adjacent and south of Dang Valley.
Since ancient times, Dang valley is considered to have been inhabited by the indigenous Tharu people, albeit the exact timing of origin is still a matter of archeological research  Researchers consider that the valley was a growing center of Tharu civilisation. In the current times, Tharu people comprise one of the prominent indigenous ethnic communities of Nepal, and the Tharus inhabiting Dang valley are called Dangaura Tharus who have been able to retain their highly rich unique traditional culture.
Medieval and Modern History
Evidence show that when the Khasa Kingdom was in existence in western Nepal, Dang was virtually under their political domination. One of the document of Punya Malla mentions that the valley was awarded to Jayakar Pundit as a virta in 1336 AD.
From 1350 AD onwards, Meghraj Singh Chauhan of Chauhan dynasty is recorded to have been the king of the region as per the records in the Yogi Ratna Nath's Chaughera monastery of Dang valley, the third-in-line of Yogi Gorakhnath.
The temple held a strong spiritual importance over the rulers of the valley, even after the change of power to new dynasties as such the internal activities of the temple were almost entirely unaffected for hundreds of years. Nevills Gazetteer of Bahreich (1922:124) mentions that in 1485 AD, Dangdun was in the possession of Udat Singh. Evidence shows that the last independent king Nawal Singh Chauhan ruled from Chaughera of Dang until 1760 AD as the House of Tulsipur which ruled one of the largest Taluqs of Oudh, India, which then included the Dang and Deukhuri Valleys.The town shares its name with another Tulsipur in Dang Deukhuri District, Nepal (c.65k North); the two towns are linked historically by having the same ruler.
In 1760 AD, Gorkhali King Prithvi Narayan Shah annexed the valley into the expanding Gorkha Kingdom. Three years later, Dang (except Tulsipur lands south of the Siwalik Hills) was given as a dowry to the King of Salyan in 1763 AD for the marriage of King Prithvi Narayan Shah's daughter. Around 1808 AD, Dang valley was finally annexed into the Kingdom of Nepal when Salyan state merged with the Unified Nepal of Shah kings.
Since Dang was somewhat higher, hotter, better-drained and therefore less malarial than most Inner Terai valleys in Nepal, it was settled to some extent by Shah and Rana courtiers and other Nepalese. Deukhuri was more of a Tharu enclave until DDT was introduced to control the disease-bearing Anopheles mosquito in the 1950s. Before the construction of Rapti Bridge, Koilabas of Dang Valley was a major trading post with India which was slowly abandoned later. Koilabas has remnants of Persian Mughal Empire- style architecture visible in its ruins even now. Long time ago, Dang used to be the capital of Rapti Zone.
The district consists of two sub-metropolitan cities and eight municipalities, out of which one is an urban municipality and seven are rural municipalities.The administrative regions are as follows:
- Ghorahi Sub-Metropolitan City
- Tulsipur Sub-Metropolitan City
- Lamahi Municipality
- Gadhawa Rural Municipality
- Rajpur Rural Municipality
- Shantinagar Rural Municipality
- Rapti Rural Municipality
- Banglachuli Rural Municipality
- Dangisharan Rural Municipality
- Babai Rural Municipality
Geography and Climate
This district consists of the larger easterly and upstream portions of the parallel Inner Terai valleys of Dang and Deukhuri, plus enclosing ranges of hills and mountains. Downstream, both valleys cross into Banke District.
To the south, the district borders Uttar Pradesh, a state in India, Nepal's neighboring country—specifically the Balarampur and Shravasti districts of Awadh. Because the international border follows the southern edge of the outermost Siwalik foothills called the Dudhwa Range, there is no Outer Terai extending onto the main Ganges Plain inside this district. The permeable geology of the Siwaliks does not support moisture retention or soil development, so they are covered with unproductive scrub forest.
The Dudhwas rise steeply to a crest at about 700 meters, then slope more gradually into the Deukhuri Valley, down to 250 meters elevation at the Rapti River. The Dudhwas extend more than 100 km, causing the Rapti to detour west around them before turning southeast down the main trend of the plains into India. Deukhuri's climate is nearly tropical and it is well watered by the river, as well as possessing abundant groundwater.
North of Deukhuri Valley, the Dang Range rises as high as 1,000 meters with passes at about 700 meters. The Dang Valley lies north of these hills, drained by the Babai River tributary to the Ghaghara (Karnali). Valley elevations range from 600 meters along the Babai with alluvial slopes gradually rising northward to 700 meters along the base of the Mahabharat Range. The district then extends upslope to the crest of the Mahabharats at 1,500 to 1,700 meters elevation. The bordering districts to the north are Pyuthan, Rolpa, and Salyan.
|Climate zone||Elevation Range||% of Area|
|Lower Tropical||below 300 meters (1,000 ft)||18.1%|
|Upper Tropical||300 to 1,000 meters
1,000 to 3,300 ft.
|Subtropical||1,000 to 2,000 meters
3,300 to 6,600 ft.
The dry and agriculturally unproductive Dudhwa range creates a buffer zone between the divergent cultures of the plains of Uttar Pradesh and the Inner Terai. Deukhuri was severely malarial before the late 1950s when DDT came into use to suppress mosquitos so that Tharu people who had evolved resistance managed to live in isolation from other cultures of the plains to the south and the hills to the north. Although road development further reduced Deukhuri's isolation by the 1980s, the valley retains some of its Garden of Eden charm with its lazy river, thick jungle alternating with rice paddies, surrounding hills in the middle distance and unique peoples.
Dang Valley is higher, less tropical, drier and less malarial than Deukhuri. Despite poorer soil and more seasonal streamflow, its healthier climate made it more attractive to settlers from outside even before the introduction of DDT. Since the early 1990s activist groups have been attempting to eradicate the practice of child indentured servitude among the Tharu, many of whom sold young daughters to wealthy families in urban areas. This region has majority of people of the Tharu ethnicity. The steep, virtually uninhabited southern slopes of the Mahabharat Range are another cultural buffer zone between traditional Tharu lands and the culturally distinct Middle Hills where Nepali is the dominant language, the homeland of dangi Chhetris. The Kumal (potter) ethnic group is also semi-indigenous. At the time of the 2011 Nepal census, Dang District had a population of 552,583. Of these, 66.7% spoke Nepali, 28.1% Tharu, 1.9% Awadhi, 1.0% Magar, 0.9% Kham, 0.5% Hindi and 0.4% Urdu as their first language.
Population by Census 1971-2011
The district has made significant progress in education at the national level with rise in number of schools, child development centers, resource centers and campuses.
|Medium of Education||Unit (Numbers)|
|Schools||602 (public:424 and private:178)|
|Child Development Centers||703 (public:117 and private:586)|
Cultural - Archeological Heritage
Dang valley has a rich cultural heritage with a cultural combination of an older Tharu civilisation and mix of Hinduism. There are numerous temples and gumbas in Dang Deukhuri district with puranic legendary connections to Mahābhārata, Shaivism, Shaktism & Gorakhnath making it one of the richest cultural sites of the country.
Major heritage sites in Dang Deukhuri District include:
Ambikeshwari Temple is one of the spiritually importat Hindu temple located in Dang district. The temple also known as ‘Maiko Than’ (Mother's Place) and is situated to the north of Ghorahi 1.5 kilometers away on bank of Katuwa Khola. The temple is also a Shaktipeetha, supposed to have emerged due to the falling of right ear of Satidevi according to the Swasthani Purana of Hinduism. This temple is the most popular Shaktipeeth of Dang valley.
Ratnanath (Gorakhnath) Mandir, Chaughera is in Chaughera of Ghorahi sub-metropolitan city. It is one of the major tourist and spiritual place of the Dang District. The temple is the namesake of Yogi Ratna Nath, third-in-line of Yogi Gorakhnath. The temple held a strong spiritual importance over the rulers of the valley since older times, even after the change of power to new dynasties as such the internal activities of the temple were almost entirely unaffected for hundreds of years.
The legend of the origin of the monastery is tied to the rulers of the valley, as the narration tells us of a king who went hunting in the jungle where he saw a beautiful deer and shot an arrow. The wounded deer went deep into the forest, and the king followed it. Then suddenly, in the middle of the forest, he met a radiant ascetic, seated in a deep state of meditation with arrow in front of him. The king understood his mistake and apologized. The Siddha forgave him and granted him a boon through yogic power to reign over the Dang Valley. The yogi was Ratannath, the disciple of Yogi Gorakhnath and he took the arrow and gave it to the king, saying "as long as you keep the arrow, you will keep your kingdom firm." The king then started to worship Ratannath, and since then the king's lineage continued the worship and kept the arrow for six months. The other six months the Yogis worshipped the arrow and the king had to give them half of the revenue that he got from his kingdom" (summarized from Narharinath 2022: 516)
Dharapani Temple is situated in the Dharna municipality-01 of the district at the base of chure range, south of Babai river about 9 kilometer drive from the center of Ghorahi. The temple is believed to have been in the ancient site where the five Pandavas brother sat and chanted prayers to Shiva during their journey to Uttarapantha (Himalayas). The temple has the world's largest Trishula and is one of the major tourist destination of the valley. In recent years, the temple has become an important visiting site for Hindu devotees as well as for prominent personalities such as the President of Nepal, police chiefs, chief justices and ministers.
Barhakune Daha (Baraha Chhetra), also known as Baraha Chhetra, is situated 3 km North from Ghorahi sub-metropolitan city. The region is dedicated to the Hindu God Vishnu and is widely worshipped during Makar Sankranti festival. The name comes from a pond around the temple which has twelve "bara" (in Nepali) corners.
Chameri cave is situated at the slopes of the Mahabharat range and is also known locally as "Siddha" cave thought to have been used by saints for penance in the valley. There has also been archeological interest in the cave due to the possibility of it being used by pre-historic humans. The cave is 4 storey tall with a spacious ground hall which can accommodate almost a thousand people in its space. Chameri cave holds archeological importance and various preliminary observations are being carried out or further research.
Other Prominent Sites
Jakhera Lake meaning "rain-water collection" is a lake located at Lamai Municipality-5 of Dang, about 35 kilometers far from Ghorahi and two temples dedicated to Ganesh and Siddeswor Mahadev around the lake. The lake is a major tourist attraction in the district and also provides spot for picnic and sight-seeing.
The lake lies in the base of Chure hills and is 6 feet deep with a span of 12 hectares.
Further prominent sites of the valley include:
- Chhilli kot, Chhilli Kot Gupha, Chameri Gupha
- Hanuman Temple
- Kalimai Temple, Kalika Temple
- Kulpani Mandir
- Malika Temple, Mulkot Cave
- Ram Janaki Temple
- Sirasthan, Srigaun Temple, Sukaura Mound
- Bagar Baba mandir, Rihar
- Taptakunda Shivalaya, Mamisauri mandir, Rihar
- Shiva Mandir, Dhankhola
- Shiva Cave, Dhankhola
- Mata Malmala Devi, Malmala, Gadawa-1
- Tuhi valley
- Suikot Temple
- Devisthan Mandir [Pawannagar, Bhamake]
- Kalika mandir
- Jakhera Tal Temple
East West Highway —the main east-west highway across Nepal— follows Deukhuri Valley, passing Kalakate and Bhalubang bazar at the upper end and Lamahi downstream. From Bhalubang, branch roads lead up the Rapti River into Pyuthan and Rolpa Districts. From Lamahi there are roads north across the Dang Range to Ghorahi, and south over the Dudhwas to Koilabas, which used to be an international trade centre earlier. The East West highway which passes through the Lamahi joints the Banke district leading Kohalpur. Roads from Ghorahi lead to Rolpa district and the Swargadwari pilgrimage site. From Tulsipur a motorable road goes north into Salyan District.
At Tarigaun, Dang Airport has scheduled connections to other cities in Nepal.
Former Village Development Committees
- Pawan Nagar
- Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development has downloadable district maps based on a detailed and comprehensive GIS database:
- Besides the United Nations/Nepal map of districts and VDCs shown above, their Map Centre has a downloadable PDF version adding municipalities, roads and water detail.
- From 1992 to 2002 a definitive series of large scale topographic maps were surveyed and published through a joint project by Government of Nepal Survey Department and Finland's Ministry for Foreign Affairs contracting through the FinnMap consulting firm. Japan International Cooperation Agency substituted for FinnMap mainly in Lumbini Zone with one sheet showing the easternmost part of Dang-Deukhuri.
- Topographic sheets at 1:25,000 scale covering 7.5 minutes latitude and longitude map the Terai and Middle Mountains including all of this district. JPG scans can be downloaded here:
- These sheets cover Dang Deukhuri District:
- 2782 1B Amiliya (2005)
- 2782 1D Sunpathari Naka (1997)
- 2782 2A Rihar (1998)
- 2782 2B Satbariya (1998)
- 2782 2C, 6A Jangrahawa Mahatiniya (1998)
- 2782 2D Bela (1998)
- 2782 3A Atthaise (1998)
- 2782 3B Hasipur (1998)
- 2782 3C Lamahi (2005)
- 2782 3D Lalmatiya (2005)
- 2782 4A Bangesal (1997)
- 2782 4C Bhaluban (1997)
- 2782 6B Siriya Naka (1998)
- 2782 7A Koilabas (2005)
- 2782 7B Jawabairath (1999)
- 2882 9D Shitalpati (1998)
- 2882 13A Hamsapur (1998)
- 2882 13B Panchakule (1998)
- 2882 13C Bairiya Kusum (2005)
- 2882 13D Hekuli (1998)
- 2882 14A Tulsipur (1999)
- 2882 14B Dubrin (1999)
- 2882 14C Bijauri (1999)
- 2882 14D Ghorahi (1998)
- 2882 15A Holeri (1999)
- 2882 15C Bach Pokhara (1998)
- 2882 15D Swargadwari (1999)
- (JICA) 097-11 Shiwagadhi (1993)
- "National Population and Housing Census 2011(National Report)" (PDF). Central Bureau of Statistics. Government of Nepal. November 2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-04-18. Retrieved November 2012. Check date values in:
- "घोराही उप-महानगरपालिकाको संक्षिप्त परिचय | घोराही उप-महानगरपालिका, नगर कार्यपालिकाको कार्यालय". ghorahimun.gov.np (in Nepali). Retrieved 2020-12-07.
- Pandey, R.N. (1987). Paleo environment & pre-history of Nepal. Cnas:Tribhuvan University, Vol 14 N/2. p. 116.
- Corvinus, G. (1989). "A handaxe assemblage from western Nepal" (PDF). Quartär (International Yearbook for Ice Age and Stone Age Research). 39/40: 155–173. Retrieved December 8, 2013.
- "Rapti Academy of Health Sciences". RAHS. Retrieved 2020-12-07.
- "About Rapti Academy of Health Sciences". RAHS. Retrieved 2020-12-07.
- Bhandari, B. (1997). Inventory of heritage sites in Nepal. Kathmandu: IUCN Nepal.
- Sharma, Dilli Raj. Archeological Remains of the Dang Valley. University of Cambridge : Digital Himalaya. pp. 9–10.
- Chauthan, P. R. (2003). "An Overview of the Siwalik Acheulian & Reconsidering Its Chronological Relationship with the Soanian - A Theoretical Perspective". Assemblage (7). Archived from the original on January 4, 2012. Retrieved December 8, 2013.
- K.C., Ganga ( PhD) (2019). "Maghi- the festival among the tharus". Patan Pragya (Volume: 5 Number: 1 Sept. 2019). 5 (1): 84–94.
- "House of Tulsipur". sites.google.com. Retrieved 2020-12-08.
- Bouillier, Veronique (January 1993). The Nepalese State and Gorakhnathi Yogis: the Case of the Former Kingdoms of the Dang Valley: 18th 19th centuries. Cnas Journal volume 20, Number 1.
- Gill, Peter (2016-11-19). "Koilabas: a town left behind". The Record. Retrieved 2020-12-12.
- "स्थानिय तह" (in Nepali). Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration. Retrieved 1 October 2018.
- "Government hospitals in Dang without ambulance". My Republica. Retrieved 26 July 2019.
- "Tharu's Maghi festival to be held in Dang". The Himalayan Times. 29 December 2018. Retrieved 26 July 2019.
- The Map of Potential Vegetation of Nepal - a forestry/agroecological/biodiversity classification system (PDF), Forest & Landscape Development and Environment Series 2-2005 and CFC-TIS Document Series No.110., 2005, ISBN 87-7903-210-9, retrieved Nov 22, 2013
- Desperate plight of Nepal 'slave girls' BBC News, 2 March 2007
- 2011 Nepal Census, Social Characteristics Tables
- # "Districts of Nepal". Statoids. Gwillim Law. Retrieved January 23, 2014.
- # National Population and Housing Census 2011, Volume 3 (PDF). Kathmandu, Nepal: Government of Nepal, Central Bureau of Statistics. January 2014. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 18, 2013. Retrieved January 23, 2014.
- Statistics, Central Bureau. "Details of municipalities and VDCs of Dang: Profile 2074 BS". Central Bureau of Statistics: 154.
- Basnet, Devendra. "Trishul turns Dang temple into tourist spot". My City. Retrieved 2020-12-12.
- "Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development". Government of Nepal. Retrieved February 21, 2014.
- "Map Centre". United Nations, Nepal Information Platform. Retrieved February 4, 2014.
|map-url=missing title (help) (PDF) (Map). Dang District. Retrieved Jan 31, 2014.
- "Government of Nepal, Survey Department". Archived from the original on February 22, 2014. Retrieved February 4, 2014.
- "Land Administration & Management, Mapping, Surveying and Aerial Photography, Major Reference Projects" (PDF). FinnMap. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 22, 2014. Retrieved February 4, 2014.
- "Japan International Cooperation Agency". Retrieved February 4, 2014.
- "Nepal-Topo Maps". PAHAR Mountains of Central Asia Digital Dataset. Retrieved Jan 31, 2014.
- "Districts of Nepal". Statoids.
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