Bandipur Hiking Trail Nepal | Imfreee

Bandipur Hiking Trail Nepal

Bandipur – Hillstation with Newari Village outside of Kathmandu Valley

Bandipur also known as Queen of Hills, is a beautiful hill station located at an elevation of 1030m (3380 ft). It lies 143 KM west from Kathmandu and 80 KM east from Pokhara. And then 8 KM up the hill from Dumre Bazaar (Prithivi Highway).

Bandipur is originally a Magar village, but the settlement of Newars in the past made it a Newari Village. These days Bandipur is the home of multiple ethnicities like Magar, Newar, Gurung , Brahmins, Chhettri, etc.

On a beautiful clear day, panorama of the entire Annapurna Range along with Dhaulagiri, Manaslu and Langtang peaks can be seen from Bandipur. Along with this, the Marshyangdi Valley, Ethnic Newari Architecture and Lively Cultural Life of Newars outside Kathmandu valley can be experienced.

Facts of Bandipur

Location: Lies Between Kathmandu (143KM West) and Pokhara (80KM East), Tanahun District of Western Nepal

Altitude: 1030m (3380 ft).

Ethnicities: Magar, Newar, Gurung, Brahmins, Chhetri

How to Reach Bandipur 

Reach Dumre

From Kathmandu, Take a bus to Pokhara and Get off at Dumre.

From Pokhara, Take any bus to Kathmandu or Gorkha or Chitwan and get off at Dumre.

Reach Bandipur

From Dumre, Take another bus to Bandipur.

Bandipur from Kathmandu Map
Bandipur from Kathmandu Map

Click Here for Google Map.

Hiking Trail to Bandipur from Bimal Nagar

“An ancient Trade route used by merchants for India – Tibet Trade.”

Route

Bimalnagar – Siddha Cave- Bandipur – Dumre

How to reach Bimalnagar?

From Kathmandu, Take any bus to Pokhara and get off at Bimalnagar.

From Pokhara, Take any bus to Kathmanu or Gorkha or Narayangarh and get off at Bimalnagar

Recommended:

  1. Take a bus to Bimalnagar 
  2. Buy Snacks and Water for the hike
  3. Visit the Asia’s Largest Cave in Nepal – Siddha cave
  4. Hike to Bandipur from Siddha Cave (1.5 – 2 hrs)
  5. Have lunch at Bandipur and Roam around the traditional Newari village and surrounding hills.
  6. Either Stay the night at Bandipur or take a bus to Dumre and Return Home.
  7. You can also hike down to Dumre from Bandipur (Optional)

Preview of Bandipur Hiking Trail, Nepal

Bandipur Hiking Trail – Cinematic – Imfreee

Bandipur Hiking Experience

On a Winter Vacation, I’m back in my hometown (near Mugling). While I am here, I did not want to waste my precious time. So planned to explore the beautiful places in my hometown. 

Thus, shared the idea to go for a hike to Bandipur from Bimalnagar with my dearest friends.

Quenching Thirst on Bandipur Hiking Trail, Nepal
Quenching Thirst on Bandipur Hiking Trail, Nepal

Hike Day – Fear of Getting eaten by a Tiger

So, On 12th Jan 2020, I woke up at 6 had tea then moved towards the meeting point, Aanboo Khaireni. As I was living a little far from the rest of my friends, I had to start the journey earlier. 

First I had to walk for 20 Mins and bus ride for another 20 mins to reach our meeting point.

At 8:00 A.M. I reached to Aanboo Khaireni and called the rest of my friends. And they said they were getting ready, so I waited at one of my friends who was nearest.

Finally at 9:00, everybody came to the bus station. And there were more friends than expected. Originally, the hike was planned among three friends, but now we are 7 in total.

And it’s safer to have more friends as we were hearing some bad news about the terror created by wild tigers.

Another good thing is, we are getting really amazing photos to share on social media. Because half of the friends were professional photographers and the rest of us were models. Ha ha.

Left a friend for Good

Finally, At 9:15 we got on a Bus and moved towards our destination, Bimalnagar. But unfortunately, one of our friends forget to bring his gimbal (device to shoot video without shaking) and had to return home.

We went on the bus without him and called him to come on another one.

The bus ride was just 20 minutes. We got off at Bimalnagar and waited for the last guy. He came after 15 minutes in another bus.

Buying Energy for our Hike to Bandipur

Then we bought some snacks to eat on the way. Here we bought some cookies, roasted corn, roasted peas and a bottle of water each. And we were also told that we can find tap water to drink or refill on the way.

Bandipur Hiking Team Group Photo at Bimalnagar
Bandipur Hiking Team Group Photo at Bimalnagar

We thanked the shopkeeper and started walking towards Siddha Cave. The path was pretty nice. It had cemented stairs and railings to walk with ease (support).

When I first came here (Siddha Cave) before 10 years, there used to be lots of orange trees. But now here we could see lots of houses and new restaurants. And few orange trees.

Though it’s not far to reach the cave from highway, it can take half an hour to 45 minutes since the stairs are really steep.

On the way we also met some people who were also going to the cave for the first time and some to sell things to the visitors.

Siddha Cave – Largest in Nepal and Second Largest cave in Asia

Finally, at 10:00 we reached the cave and then bought tickets to enter the cave. For some of us it was the first experience but it was the second time for me.

The Siddha Cave is 437m deep and 45m high. You can hire a guide on the entrance as well. And you must have flash lights as there is no electricity and any source of lights.

Find more details about the cave in another section down below.

First, we took a group picture in front of the cave. The opening of the cave is small and a bit difficult. We stepped over rocks and entered the cave.

As soon as we entered the cave, it became spacious, almost equal to 2-3 storey (floor) buildings. But first we had to open our flashlights of our phone.

Some of us have already visited the place, so we did not hire any guide. We lit our flashlight and started walking slowly and carefully inside the cave.

Be careful or You will never return home

It was moist, rocky and slippery in some places. Without light, it’s pitch black and really scary. The path inside the cave is not so smooth, there are ups and downs, sometimes climbed up with the help of rope and climbed down on steel ladders.

Imfreee Bandipur Hiking Team inside Siddha Cave
Imfreee Bandipur Hiking Team inside Siddha Cave

Inside the cave, we took some weird photos as well. Weird in the sense that, there were no lights so had to use our mobile phones to show our face.

If you’re not careful enough, it can take your life as well. To reach the end of the cave and return, it took us around 45 minutes.

Am I in Amazon RainForest?

After completing the tour of the Cave, we refilled our water bottle on a Tap.

Then continued our hike to Bandipur at 11:16 .M.. 

We walked on stairs through the forest. The weather was foggy and cold. It created an exciting and a little bit of scary vibe.

The mist dripping on the leaves, dark, foggy and cold weather, make me feel like I was in the rain forest of Amazon. Though I had only seen such forests on Discovery channel, I imagined me exploring the Amazon forest.

The place kinda seemed similar to a place shown in a TV Series called “VIKINGS” where they worship gods and make human offerings.

Heavenly Bandipur Hiking Trail

Heavenly Bandipur Hiking Trail from Bimalnagar
Heavenly Bandipur Hiking Trail from Bimalnagar

The trail was well managed, path was clear and had stairs with railings. But very few people took that way. It might be due to the vehicle roads, which is easier and faster to travel.

But for us, it was heavenly to walk on such a beautiful place with less people. And thought it would not be more fun if a lot of people walked at the same time.

Along the trail we saw varieties of trees, herbs, shrubs and small water streams. And the continuous chirping of birds, energized us to continue our hike.

At first, the path was not so steep, flat and small up and down the hill. But towards the end of the trail, the stairs became really steep.

Starving – Give me some food

We decided to rest and eat the snacks that we’ve brought. It was already 12:30 and we were getting hungry. So as soon as we found a spot to rest, we ate fruits (Bananas and Oranges) and then ate cookies, roasted corn and peas. And then drank water and continued our Hike to Bandipur.

After a rest and snacks, we were ready to walk again. Now on the way we met some teen guys and gals, and asked how long would it take us to reach Bandipur. And they told us that within 15 mins we will reach Bandipur.

So, happily we started to walk on our trail. And finally at 1:00 P.M., we reached Bouddha Sadan Shakyamukni Gumba, Bandipur.

Here, we found some boys playing on a tall swing (Lingey Ping) near the monastery. So I decided to swing for a moment. We hung around the swing for a while and then visited the monastery and continued to walk towards the Bandipur city.

Walking on the streets of Bandipur

After walking for 15 minutes from there, we finally reached the traditional Newari Village, Bandipur.

And we were having lunch here. So, first we moved towards our hotel where we had ordered our food. We rested for a while, washed our faces and then we were ready to have lunch.

At 1:30, we were served lunch by the hotel owner and one of our friends. Here, we got to eat Rice, Daal (lentil gravy), veg curry, chicken curry and pickles. The food was really good and ate a full stomach.

We rested there for a while and explored the hotel.

Let’s Explore Bandipur

And at around 2:15, we decided to roam around the Bandipur city and surrounding hills as well. So, we left our bags at the hotel and started moving towards the main city.

Now, it was the peak time for tourists to roam around the city and explore the beauty of old Newari culture. And you could see streets full of international as well as domestic tourists. Some taking pictures on vehicle free stone paved streets, some on old temples and traditional houses, some taking a sip of coffee or having lunch.

But all of these things were not new to us because it was one of the nearest places from my hometown and we used to visit the place often. Sometimes to play games (football), sometimes to just meet friends, on a picnic, etc.

Hike on Nature’s Trail to Thanimai, Bandipur

So, we did not spend much time on the street rather went to the nearest hill, near the city. The path was made of stairs and was very steep. We climbed the stairs slowly and safely and reached the top of the hill.

Thani Mai temple lies on the top of the hill. And a beautiful mountain ranges, aerial view of Bandipur city, and 360 degree view of the surrounding hills, valleys, villages and farms could be seen from the top.

Jump Shot at Thanimai, Bandipur, Nepal
Jump Shot at Thanimai, Bandipur, Nepal

After roaming around the place and taking pictures for memories, we started to walk down the hill. But this time we took another route, behind the temple. 

On the way down, I saw a couple of water collecting technology that I had seen on YouTube. This technology collects water from mists using specialized nets.

On the way, I also got to know that, the Bandipur Municipality has started to build some sort of Great Wall (Like one China has but in smaller scale) to promote tourism. It was being constructed on the ridge of a hill with white stones. And with the hope to see and walk on the wall someday we continued to climb down towards the hotel.

Start Early, If you are Hiking Down

Finally, After walking for about 30 mins we reached our hotel. There we had tea and bread. And decided to walk down to Dumre and finally ride a bus home.

My initial plan was to spend the night at Bandipur but one of my friends to reach the home same day, we decided to return home. And to make our hike memorable and to explore the forgotten path, we took old foot trail instead of bus road.

Imfreee Hiking Team with Bandipur Guest House Owners
Imfreee Hiking Team with Bandipur Guest House Owners

At 4:20 P.M. we finally said goodbye to our hosts Bandipur Guest House, took pictures with them and started to climb down the Bandipur.

On the way we also visited Tundikhel (a flat area famous for picnic spot in Bandipur). Then started walking down quickly.

By now, the sun was hiding behind the hill and started to get dark. And the scariest thing was we had to walk past the dense forest without getting eaten by tigers.

So we started to walk down as quickly as possible. On the way, we met many locals and asked for directions whenever it got confusing. And also asked about the tiger terror.

And the villagers also suggested us to walk in a group and quickly before it gets pitch black. We also started playing music on our small portable speaker when we entered the forest (to scare the tiger).

Our Gut Feeling Failed and Got Lost in the midst of dense Forest

At a point, our path became confusing and there was none to ask. Among the two paths, one was cleaner than other. So we chose the cleaner one as we guessed people must be walking that way as it was clean. 

We believed in our gut feeling and took that way. But after walking for 20 mins, we reached a dead end and then realized that the path was made by people to collect firewood and fodders (plants for domestic animals). By this time it was 5:00 in the evening and started getting darker.

So we returned to the junction and took another route. And after walking down that road for another 50 minutes, we finally reached the highway. On the way we encountered different varieties of monkeys and many beautiful birds. 

And all the plants and the path was naturally beautiful since not much people walked that way. It was clean and no trash.

No one is giving me a ride back home

Finally at 6:00 we took a bus to our home. After 20 mins, we reached our meeting place, and all of my friends got off there except me as my real home was a little far from there.

And I continued to go on the same bus. But unfortunately that bus stopped (at mugling) before reaching the destination. And I had to wait for another bus.

But from that place (Mugling), it was just 5 KM bus ride to reach my last station and most buses did not want to take the nearby passengers. So I waited longer.

And finally at 7:00 P.M. I found a micro bus that agreed to take me but at a double fare than normal. Since I had to go home anyway I paid his price and went on that bus. And in 15 minutes I reached my bus station and go off. I thanked the bus owner for taking him and said goodbye.

And from that station I walked another 20 minutes to reach home. Finally at 7:35 P.M. I reached my home, ate food prepared by my mom and slept soundly as I was tired after walking the whole day.

Bandipur gives you the vibe of Early 90s

Exploring the magic of BANDIPUR | Nepal Travel Videos 4k #visitnepal2020

History of Bandipur Nepal

Creation of Rich Newari Commercial City

After king Prithivi Narayan Shah conquered Kathmandu Valley in 1768, Many Newar Merchants from Bhaktapur left the valley in search of better place outside of the valley. And they chose Bandipur as a perfect place for trade between Northern Hills and Southern Terai (India-Tibet trade route). By the way, Bandipur was a Malaria free location as well which was a plus point from health wise.

Along with them, they brought their Newari Cultural heritage and Architecture. And since Newar people were superb craftsmen, they soon built houses reflecting their high aesthetics – houses with Pagoda roofs, wooden lattice windows, carved wooden doorways, streets paved with slabs of silverish slate.

These beautiful arts and architecture can be seen even in these days in Bandipur.

During the Rana Regime (1846 – 1951), Bandipur became one of the most important places for Commerce. And also as a measure of its power and prestige, Bandipur was granted special permission to have its own library (still exists and was carefully renovated in 2000).

Fall and Rise of Prestigious Bandipur City, Nepal

But unfortunately, Bandipur started to lose its fame as Malaria started to be eradicated in the 1950s. And other cities in Terai started to become commercially important towns. Also in the 1960s the district headquarters moved to Damauli (previously Bandipur).

And to worsen it, Prithivi Highway was constructed along the lower lands of Bandipur. Thus, Dumre became the commercial point instead of Bandipur.

Soon, people from Bandipur also started to migrate towards Dumre and other parts of Terai in search of better places for trade and jobs. Which left Bandipur as a kind of Ghost Town for Several Years.

The Bad Phase for Bandipur has ended and Now it is considered as one of the most beautiful tourist destinations in Nepal. A lot of restoration work is completed now and you can still see and feel the traditional Newari Culture, heritages and ethnic styles, outside of Kathmandu Valley.

Places to Visit in Bandipur

1. Nature Trail to Thanimai Temple

Thanimai temple lies on the top of Gurunche Hill. The trail to reach the top of the hill is really but though it’s very steep. It has concrete stairs and railings on side. The hill is filled with beautiful white stones and Pine trees.

From the top you can see a 360 degree view of Mountain ranges and hills. This place is really magical to view Sunrise and Sunset.

2. Walk Around Bandipur Bazaar

As we have already discussed, Bandipur is reach in traditional Newari Cultural heritage and Architecture. And you can still see its beauty on the houses, carvings on wood doors and windows, streets paved with silverish slate, elderly dressed in traditional dress, etc.

It’s like a living museum of Newari Culture and history. Here, you can also try the Newari cuisine and buy souvenirs for your loved ones.

3. Tundhikhel

Tundhikhel is a big flat ground (size of a football field) which is located to the north of Bandipur Bazaar. On a beautiful sunny day, amazing mountain range including peaks like Dhaulagiri, Machhapuchhre, Langtang, Manaslu and Ganesh Himal can be seen.

This place is also a famous picnic spot. People from all over the country visit this place to have fun with family, colleagues, staff, schoolmates, etc.

4. Teendhara 

This place lies east of the main Bandipur Bazaar and can be reached within 15-20 minutes on walking. The name “Teendhara” means “3 water spouts (Taps)” and flows drinking spring water out of it continuously throughout the year.

Also a shrine dedicated to Shiva lies near the place.

5. Khadgamai Temple

Khadgamai Temple is one of the most respected temple in Bandipur. The temple is opened for locals only once a year, on the day of Fulpati during the Hindu festival of Dashain.

The temple does not have any statues of Gods of Goddesses, but a Khadga. Khadga is a sacred sword wrapped in layers of cloth. And it is believed that if anyone looks at the sword directly then he or she will be dead instantly by vomiting blood.

And another belief is that the sword was a gift from Lord Shiva to Mukunda Sen, King of Palpa (1518-1553 A.D.).

The Khadga is worshipped till date as a symbol of female power. And hence it got its name Khadga Mai which means “Goddess of Sword”.

6. Siddha Cave

Siddha Cave is the largest cave in Nepal and second largest cave in Asia.  The cave is around 0.5 KM inside and can fit around 2500 people inside. 

The cave lies in Bimalnagar, Tanahun District, Nepal. And takes around 30-40 mins from highway to reach there. You will have to pay for the tickets to enter the cave and also hire guides to show you around. 

There is no electricity inside the cave, so no lights are installed. You will have to bring torch light (flash lights) with you to view the internals of the caves.

Inside the cave, you can see the rocks formation into different shapes like Cauliflower, Pillars, elephants, and many more.

And around 1.5 – 2 hours hike from this cave, you can reach to Bandipur.

Some of the Best Places to go for a Hike in Nepal are

  1. Budhanilkantha – Sundarijal Hiking Trail inside Shivapuri National Park
  2. Jamacho – Hiking inside Queens Forest
  3. Champadevi Hiking Trail
  4. Jamchen Vijaya Stupa – Budhanilkantha, Kathmandu, Nepal
  5. Manikhel Simba Falls

Bandipur FAQs

Where is Bandipur?

Bandipur lies in Western Nepal, between Kathmandu and Pokhara. It is 143 KM west from Kathmandu and 80 KM east from Pokhara. And then 8 KM up the hill from Dumre Bazaar (Prithivi Highway).

How to go Bandipur Nepal?

First Reach Dumre
From Kathmandu, Take a bus to Pokhara and Get off at Dumre.
From Pokhara, Take any bus to Kathmandu or Gorkha or Chitwan and get off at Dumre.
Then Reach Bandipur
From Dumre, Take another bus to Bandipur.

What are the places to visit in Bandipur Nepal?

1. Nature Trail to Thanimai Temple
2. Walk around Bandipur Bazaar
3. Tundhikhel
4. Teendhara
5. Khadgamai Temple
6. Siddha Cave

Bandipur Hiking Route

The Bandipur hiking trail starts from Bimalnagar, Tanahun, Nepal. And to reach Bandipur it will take approximately 1.5 – 2 hours.
On the way, you can visit Sidha Cave (Largest Cave of Nepal and Second Largest of Asia). The trail is well maintained and less crowded. You will get to see the wide varieties of vegetation, birds and animals on the way.

Have you ever been to Bandipur?

Share your experience or Ask Question or Suggest us another place to visit