|This article needs additional citations for verification. (September 2014)|
|• Type||Sub-metropolitan city|
|• Total||187.7 km2 (72.5 sq mi)|
|Elevation||345 m (1,132 ft)|
|• Density||450/km2 (1,200/sq mi)|
|Time zone||Nepal Time (UTC+5:45)|
|Post code||44100, 44107|
Hetauda (Nepali: हेटौडा) is a sub-metropolitan city in the Makwanpur District of the Narayani Zone of southern Nepal. It is the administrative headquarters of the Makwanpur District and the headquarters of Nepal's Central Development Region. The city has 84,671 inhabitants.[when?] At the time of the 1991 Nepal census, it had a population of 53,836 people living in 10,420 households.[needs update]
Hetauda is 132 km from Nepal's capital, Kathmandu, via the old Tribhuvan Highway. There are now two alternate roads that are less than 80 km, but they have not been fully blacktopped. The city is surrounded by three rivers—the Rapti to the west, the Samari to the north, and the Karra to the south—and is part of an important industrial regions. The settlement developed because of its location along the Tribhuvan Highway, and was later linked to another major national thoroughfare: the Mahendra Highway, also known as the East-West Highway.
Hetauda is the cleanest city of Nepal, according to reports on more than 150 municipalities. Because of its geographical features and its climate, it is a popular choice for people migrating from Nepal's mountainous northern regions and southern Terai region, and its population has steadily increased.
The city is situated in a unique geographical structure called Doon, which means that it has a geography like a valley. It is surrounded by mountains: the Mahabharata Range to the north and the Sivalik Hills to the south. The rivers Rapti, Samari, and Karra run through the city and flow southwest to meet the Narayani, one of the bigger rivers of Nepal.
Flora and fauna
The major forest species in and around the city is the sal tree (Shorea robusta). On the banks of Rapti and Karra rivers, the Indian rosewood (Dalbergia sissoo) can be found interspersed with sal and other tropical species. The ashoka tree (Saraca asoca) is also part of the city's greenery. Community groups work to preserve the area's natural resources; the Rani Community Forestry User Group in particular is well known in Nepal for its intensive sustainable forest management.
Several government bodies—including District Forest Office Makwanpur, District Soil Conservation Office Makwanpur and District Plant Resources Office Makwanpur, under the Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation—are headquartered in Hetauda. Some international non-governmental organizations support the sustainable development of forest resources in the area.
The Hetauda Industrial District (HID) is one of the biggest industrial districts in Nepal. It houses not only some of the biggest industries in the nation, but also cottage and medium-scale industries. However, because of political events in the past decade, HID has been shrinking year after year as industries either move to other countries or shut down. One of the most notable of these is the former Hetauda textile industry.
Hetauda is mostly a working-class residential town, and therefore a sizable portion of the population is employed by industry or government. Individual entrepreneurship is another source of livelihood for residents, who mostly favor investment in the transportation sector. Trucking is a popular business proposition because a majority of goods bound for Kathmandu go through Hetauda. Recently, passenger service to Kathmandu using Indian Tata Sumo SUVs has taken hold.
The city meets most of the agricultural product demand from India. These days, most of its youth work overseas and send money back to their families.
One of the most popular attractions of Hetauda is Martyr Memorial Park, or Sahid Smarak (Nepali: शहीद स्मारक), which was completed in 1994. The park honors Nepalese martyrs, from those who lost their lives in the British colonial wars to those who overthrew the autocratic Panchayat system in 1989. Its main attraction is a series of sculptures of these martyrs on a big boulder. The faces were sculpted by student volunteers from Lalit Kala Campus. The park is also popular as a picnic spot and as an escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. It has a swimming pool and a zoo that houses some endangered and some common wild animals, from monkeys to leopards.
Another major site is Makwanpur Gadhi, east of the city, a fort of historical importance dating back to the unification of Nepal. King Prithvi Narayan Shah, who led the unification process, was married to the princess of Makwanpur, whose father was a king of the Sen dynasty that ruled the region. Historians say that this marriage was a political strategy by the king, who saw the benefit of an alliance with Makwanpur to encircle Kathmandu Valley.
Other nearby tourist attractions are:
- Chisapani Gadhi
- Palung Valley
- Daman Simbhanjyang
- Manakamana Temple
- Banaskhandi Temple
- Gumba Danda
- Kusmanda Sarowar Triveni Dham
- Bhutandevi Temple
Hetauda is an hour's drive from the Nepalese border city of Birgunj, which is adjacent to Raxaul, India. Both of the existing highways to Kathmandu—the Tribhuvan Highway and the Mahendra Highway—traverse the city.
Hetauda's commercial prominence started with the construction of the Tribhuvan, the first highway built in the country. The eradication of malaria from the region's tropical forest paved the way for a settlement to grow. Another highway link that has been discussed for over a decade would, through a series of tunnels, reduce the driving distance to Kathmandu—currently 133 km via the Tribhuvan Highway—to less than 60 km. Such a route, if built, could make Hetauda a transit point for trade between the fast-growing economies of India and China. Currently, two unpaved roads provide a shorter route to Kathmandu for light vehicles; one goes through the villages of Fakhel and Pharping, and the other through Markhu and Sisneri.
The nearest airport is Simara Airport, about a 30-minute drive from the city.
Education in Hetauda started with the establishment of Shree Bhutan Devi Secondary School (now Shree Bhutan Devi Higher Secondary School). Today, higher education institutions include:
- Makwanpur Multiple Campus
- Hetauda School of Management and Social Sciences
- Hetauda Campus
- Hetauda City College
- Institute of Forestry, Hetauda
- Narayani College
- Nawodit Nepal College
- Shree Jana Jyoti Higher Secondary School, Hetauda
Hetauda has several community radio stations: Shakti FM (103.4 MHz), Radio Makwanpur FM (101.3), and Radio Kalash (89.4). There are other FM radio stations in the private sector, including Hetauda FM (96.6 MHz), Radio Thaha Sanchar (99.6), and Radio Sarobar (92.5). Radio Sarobar is the only comedy station broadcasting from Hetauda.
There are several local newspapers—Hetauda Sandesh, Hetauda Today, Samridha Samaj, Sajha Kura and Pradesh Dainik—and a television channel known as TeamTV.
According to Colin Stark at Columbia University, during the earthquake of 25 April 2015, "a part of India slid about one [foot] to 10 feet northwards and underneath Nepal in a matter of seconds. The part below Bihar slid under Nepal along a zone from Bharatpur, through Hetauda, to Janakpur."