OFFBEAT BANDIPUR NEPAL: BUDGET TREKS, HERITAGE, EUROPEAN FEEL & FOOD!

OFFBEAT BANDIPUR NEPAL: BUDGET TREKS, HERITAGE, EUROPEAN FEEL & FOOD!

Did you know about the offbeat destination of Nepal called Bandipur? It is a well kept secret popular amongst western and Europeans backpackers. Overshadowed by more known places in Nepal like Kathmandu , Everest regions,  Pokhara, Chitwan National Park and Nagarkot etc, Bandipur is unperturbed by lack of attention, for it is loved by few who care.

Heritage area of Offbeat Bandipur, Nepal (8)

Th beautiful valley of Bandipur, Nepal

Despite the lack of publicity, the charming Bandipur holds on to its own. I am sure in next few years it will be a much sought after hot destination favored by the discerning travelers from across the globe.

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Isn’t it gorgeous? The valley of Bandipur, Nepal

WE DISCOVERED THE OFFBEAT BANDIPUR BY FLUKE: NATURALLY NEPAL

As me and other travel blogger friends were on our way to Pokhara from Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, the driver suggested we made a pit stop at Bandipur. I was not very keen. It sounded gimmicky. A European style village, anyone?

Children kids Khadga Devi Hindu Temple. Heritage area of Offbeat Bandipur, Nepal

We passed homes en route Teendhara. These kids were goofing up and we could not help but smile. Bandipur, Nepal

But, as I strolled on the dirt paths, observing village homes and makeshift huts, my jaws dropped when I stepped foot on the impressive heritage precincts of Bandipur. All of a sudden, the character of the place metamorphosed.

Heritage area of Offbeat Bandipur, Nepal (6)

Heritage houses of Bandipur, Nepal

Quaint minimal huts gave way to scores of well preserved ancient buildings. Few Nepali locals were replaced by hundreds of Europeans dressed like a true blue bohemian. Expensive western cafes competed with Nepali shops selling cheap sil rotis and samosa. As so many things vied for my attention, I realized I had discovered a very special place. A Nepal which I didn’t know existed!

Heritage area of Offbeat Bandipur, Nepal (12)

This is how one of the trekking trail starts. Right at the end of the heritage precincts. Bandipur, Nepal

THE HERITAGE PRECINCTS OF OFFBEAT BANDIPUR, NEPAL:

The cobbled pathway was surrounded by tall buildings built in traditional Newari style. Luckily, vehicles are not allowed in this zone, hence I craned my neck and admired the beautiful architecture without the fear of being hit. We had parked our car just before the heritage area starts.

Children kids Khadga Devi Hindu Temple. Heritage area of Offbeat Bandipur, Nepal (2)

The friendly locals who live here smiled at us and waved to us. Not all of them of course. Bandipur, Nepal

For a frequent traveler, there is no bigger joy than to be able to stroll carelessly in a tourist area, without having to worry for vehicular traffic.

Hindu Temple. Heritage area of Offbeat Bandipur, Nepal

You will see this Hindu temple at the end of the heritage quarters. Bandipur, Nepal

As I discovered the sparsely populated heritage village in limited time, I could not help but fall in love with it instantly. The buildings on either sides of the cobbled pathways were centuries old, some dating back to 18th century. Not many know that Bandipur was once a part of an important trade route. In ancient Newari culture, it was a popular place.

Heritage area of Offbeat Bandipur, Nepal (5)

The Heritage area of Bandipur, Nepal

Years of restoration efforts have made it what it is today. Oodles of money and time were spent to turn this neglected gem of Nepal into a heritage town. There is a beautiful locked temple at one end of the Heritage quarters of Bandipur.

Heritage area of Offbeat Bandipur, Nepal (4)

The Heritage area of Bandipur, Nepal

The pedestrian zone tag, clean streets, fresh air, road side cafes and al fresco dining lent Bandipur a quintessential European feel. Developed as an eco friendly zone, there are a lot of activities which can be done in Bandipur without causing damage to the environment.

Heritage area of Offbeat Bandipur, Nepal (11)

The Heritage area of Bandipur, Nepal

Of all the places that I have visited in Nepal, I found Everest region, Pokhara and Bandipur to be the most organized, clean and pollution free.

Hindu Temple. Heritage area of Offbeat Bandipur, Nepal (2)

A Hindu temple at the end of the heritage area. Bandipur, Nepal

Bandipur is a secluded haven, situated in Tanahun district of Nepal. A far cry from the whirligig of the bigger cities of Nepal, Bandipur is great for those who seek a bit of aesthetic, quiet, great organic food and a bit of adventure.

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The Heritage area of Bandipur, Nepal

TOP OFFBEAT THINGS TO DO IN BANDIPUR:

OFFBEAT TREKKING TRAILS GALORE IN BANDIPUR:

Travelers mostly come to chill in Bandipur. However, for the adventurous souls, there are many trekking trails which start right from the Heritage area of Bandipur. Towards the end of the heritage area, look for a sign board which clearly mentions the trekking trails and the direction.

Trek Heritage area of Offbeat Bandipur, Nepal

We passed this during a small hike. Bandipur, Nepal

In case you are confused, feel free to ask the ever helpful locals or the café owners and shopkeepers.

Expect to make your way through agricultural fields and cute little villages. You will find some tea houses on the way.  There will also be long patches which will be deserted.

European at hotel. Heritage area of Offbeat Bandipur, Nepal

One of the hotels cum cafe at the heritage area of Bandipur, Nepal

Therefore, it is my personal advice that you should carry at least 2 litres (or more) of water per person for each trek. And of course, pack some snacks and sandwiches. Most trek are easy level though and can be done in a day.

GO CAFÉ HOPPING IN OFFBEAT BANDIPUR, NEPAL

Thanks to the many Europeans who stay in Bandipur, often for days on end, the heritage area of Bandipur has a great selection of European and continental food apart from the staple Newari food of the locals.

Teendhara Heritage area of Offbeat Bandipur, Nepal (6)

The young and the old! We passed through a village and homes en route Teendhara. Bandipur, Nepal

The cool cafes serve anything from pizzas to pasta, to big fat burgers, fries, falafel, mezze platters,  coffee, tea and what not! The food and beverage quality at most places in Bandipur is excellent  and so is the ambiance. I really wanted to feel the place after dark. But unfortunately, we had to leave the place before dusk so that we could reach Pokhara on time. A quick survey of restaurants will give you an idea of what suites your taste and pocket. Some of the cafes have their menus with prices outside their outlets. Vegan and vegetarian food is available here easily at moderate prices.

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The old woman and her chickens. En route Teendhara. Bandipur, Nepal

I ate at: The Himalayan café, Bandipur Bazaar, Tanahun. We stopped at this cool café the sitting area of which faced the green valley. The staff is young and cheerful. The ambiance of the place is upbeat and lively. We ordered impressive big vegan burgers, nice potato wedges and disappointing hash browns. Their portion size is huge. Phone: 977- 9818712232

You can find them on Facebook at @thcbandipur

Tamu Restaurant. Heritage area of Offbeat Bandipur, Nepal

The menu is tempting. Ain’t it? Tamu restaurant and cafe at Bandipur, Nepal

SHOPPING TIPS FOR OFFBEAT BANDIPUR:

I am not much of a shopper but I understand many people love shopping. Many street vendors have souvenirs on offer. There are some hic shops too if street shopping is not your thing.

Heritage area of Offbeat Bandipur, Nepal (2)

Grocery shop in the heritage area of Bandipur, Nepal

The things which you can pick from here are local crafts, decorative products, trekking and adventure gears and even health bars, grocery, cool T shirts, scarfs and caps.

Khadga Devi Hindu Temple. Heritage area of Offbeat Bandipur, Nepal (2)

Statue of Hindu Goddess Durga at Khadga Devi Temple. Bandipur, Nepal

VISIT THE HISTORICAL KHADGA DEVI IN BANDIPUR: A HINDU TEMPLE

A little away from the heritage area, I hiked up (easy) to Khadga Devi, a much revered temple for the locals. I took a flight of stairs to arrive at the temple only to find it locked. The architecture of the temple is nothing to write home about. Its ordinary façade belies its importance. Each year, during the Nepali Hindi festival Dasain, villages from different places throng to the temple.  Animal sacrifice (which I do not support) is done here with the sword of Mukunda Sen, the 16th century king of Palpa. Khadga is the local word for sword. The sword is sacred and considered the symbol of shakti.

Khadga Devi Hindu Temple. Heritage area of Offbeat Bandipur, Nepal (3)

The tree in the campus of Hindu Khadga Devi Temple. Bandipur, Nepal

I languorously walked around the temple and observed the small statues of Hindu deities on the stark white temple walls. I enjoyed the quiet and tranquility of the place and lazed here for some time, even though we were getting late for Pokhara.

Khadga Devi Hindu Temple. Heritage area of Offbeat Bandipur, Nepal

The quaint Hindu Khadga Devi Temple. Bandipur, Nepal

TEENDHARA AT OFFBEAT BANDIPUR IS NO GREAT SHAKES, YET WORTH A VISIT:

Me and my co traveler Ami stole some time and made it a point to visit Teendhara while our other friends Dipanshu, Ragini, Swati and Divyakshi enjoyed great food at the café. Towards the end of the heritage quarters, a road took us to Teendhara. We passed cute kids waving us from their balconies, local Newari women smiled at us from their windows, men  concentrated on their gossips as we moved ahead, soaking it all in.

Teendhara Heritage area of Offbeat Bandipur, Nepal (3)

We saw this old statue of Hindu Lord Hanuman at one of the walls in Teendhara. Bandipur, Nepal

Braving the muddy paths, we arrived at Teendhara to discover a damp squib. It was not as grand a sight as we had expected. However, as we studied the ornate stone spouts, we fathomed its beauty and appreciated its aesthetic value.

Teendhara Heritage area of Offbeat Bandipur, Nepal (5)

I spotted this unidentified structure at Teendhara. Bandipur, Nepal. In case you know what it is, pls let me and others know in the comment section below.

We walked on the dirt tracks of the silent village to arrive here. The literal meaning of Teendhara is 3 water streams. The beautifully carved ancient water taps was the end of a water channel which transported the natural spring water. When we visited, the local villagers were washing their clothes. People also come here to have bath. When we looked closely, we noticed the intricate designs on the stone spouts. Some of these were recognizable creatures some were in the shape of mythical beings. The wall on which the spouts were placed had gathered moss due to constant brush with water. The locals have been using the stone spouts for hundreds of years and it’s an integral part of their daily routine.

Teendhara Heritage area of Offbeat Bandipur, Nepal (4)

The locals visit Teendhara. Bandipur, Nepal. Notice the ancient water spouts.

Tundikhel: On clearer days, you can see grand views of the Himalayan range. Winter, of course is the best time to view snow clad mountains such as Manasalu, Himchuli, Annapurna range, Ganesha Ladtad and Dhaulagiri.

Gurunche Dada: It is one of the easy day hikes. If you are pressed for time or afraid of treks, it is a good one to start with.

Teendhara Heritage area of Offbeat Bandipur, Nepal (2)

Details of one of the water spouts at Teendhara. Bandipur, Nepal.

Siddha Cave and Monastery:

The naturally formed cave can be reached from the Bandipur heritage complex within 1.5 to 2 hours depending upon your pace and trekking habits. You will pass lush green open fields and muddy paths. Hiring a local guide will be helpful as the path can get lonely at times and it is not marked. Though there are chances that you might meet helpful locals or other trekkers en route.

Shakyamunu Buddha Monatary. Heritage area of Offbeat Bandipur, Nepal.jpg

Trek to Siddha Cave and monastery. Teendhara. Bandipur, Nepal.

WHERE TO STAY IN BANDIPUR, NEPAL?

Imagine staying inside one of the many Heritage buildings of Bandipur. It will be a special experience. I even stumbled upon some home stays a little away from the heritage area. The architecture of these home stays was not as great as the restored heritage buildings but the views were amazing. One of them had a huge lawn and faced the open valley! And it was at a throw away price. Wow is the word!

Heritage area of Offbeat Bandipur, Nepal (13)

Heritage area of Bandipur, Nepal.

Those who love communing with nature will love to stay here long term. Since mine was a day trip, I did not get a chance to stay here, but I would love to come back and stay in one of those heritage buildings and also the homestay. Stay option available her vary in budgets and categories. Explore Himalayas can help you find a good one.

Teendhara Heritage area of Offbeat Bandipur, Nepal

Shri Radha Krishna Hindu Mandir at Teendhara, Bandipur, Nepal.

OTHER OFFBEAT THINGS TO DO IN BANDIPUR, NEPAL:

Pls see the map of Bandipur, Nepal

  • Visit Bandipur center
  • Visit Tundikhel
  • Thani Mai/Purano Kot
  • Teendhara
  • Raniban
  • Take the road to Ramkot
  • Orchid valley
  • Visit Mahalaxmi Temple
  • Visit Bindhebasini Temple
  • Visit Memorial Park
  • Take the old trail to Dumre
  • Do paragliding
  • Visit Buddha Sadan Shakyamunu Monastery.
Map of Bandipur, Nepal

Map of Teendhara, Bandipur, Nepal.

BEST TIME TO VISIT THE OFFBEAT BANDIPUR:

I would suggest at least 2 to 3 days stay in Bandipur. There is so much to do here. Keeping the activities in mind, I believe October to February are the best months to visit Bandipur.

The pleasant weather and the greenery after the rainy season will keep you calm.

Hindu Temple Heritage area of Offbeat Bandipur, Nepal

A Hindu Temple. Heritage area of Bandipur, Nepal.

HOW TO REACH OFFBEAT BANDIPUR, NEPAL:

BY FLIGHT: Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu is the closest airport to Bandipur. From Kathmandu you can hire a taxi.

BY TRAIN: Railways are absent in Nepal.

BY BUS: From Kathmandu, Pokhara and Narayanghat, you can take a public bus to Dumre. If you are fit and keen you can hike for 3 hours from Dumre to Bandipur. The easier and quicker way is to book a taxi (NC 500) from Dumre. If you are a backpacker like me and want to save money, you can catch a crowded public bus from Dumre to Bandipur (NC 20).

Bandipur is en route Kathmandu and Pokhara.

The view from my #SoulWindow is a pleasant surprise!

Heritage area of Offbeat Bandipur, Nepal (10)

Heritage area of Bandipur, Nepal.

My Tip: Please reach Bandipur before dusk as it is located in a remote place with limited means.

About author- Abhinav Singh is a New Delhi based travel blogger and writer with 18 years of experience in writing. He has travelled, mostly solo to more than 200 destinations since 2008. He writes about his travels on his blogs and social media channels.

Heritage area of Offbeat Bandipur, Nepal

Newari style Heritage area of Bandipur, Nepal.

You can follow Abhinav at-

Blog- A Soul Window

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Heritage area of Offbeat Bandipur, Nepal (3)

Newari style Heritage area of Bandipur, Nepal.

ALSO READ MY OTHER BLOGS ON NEPAL & OTHER NATIONS:

Day 1 of Poonhill Trek in Nepal- Nayapul to Tikhedhunga

Day 2 of Poonhill Trek in Nepal- Tikhedhunga to Ghorepani

Day 3 of Poonhill Trek in Nepal- Ghorepani to Tadapani

Day 4 of Poonhill Trek in Nepal- Tadapani to Ghandruk

Mysterious life of Kumari- Living Goddess Of Nepal

Kumari and Indra Jatra Festival of Nepal

Spotting One Horned Rhinoceros in Chitwan Nepal

Kathmandu Guest House- Oldest hotel of Thamel

Guide to Tiger’s Nest Monastery aka Paro Taktsang

6 Exciting monsoon treks in Sahyadris, Maharashtra

Great shoes for treks- Wildcraft’s Amphibia Sphere Outdoor Adventure and Trekking Shoes

White Water Rafting in Punakha, Bhutan

Hot Air Balloon near Taj Mahal

Body surfing in Jim Corbett National Park

Ziplining in Jim Corbett National Park

Ladder Climbing in Jim Corbett National Park

 

Signboard. Heritage area of Offbeat Bandipur, Nepal

Signboards in English and Hindi/Nepali at the end of the heritage area. Bandipur, Nepal.

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Got any question/comments, ask in the comment section below so that it can benefit other readers.

Email me for collaboration: 21abhinav21@gmail.com

WARNING: COPYRIGHT TO ALL THE TEXT SHARED HERE REMAINS WITH ME. YOU CAN NOT JUST LIFT THE CONTENT AND USE IT WITHOUT MY PERMISSION. STRICT LEGAL ACTION WILL BE TAKEN IF CONTENT IS STOLEN. YES, I AM SERIOUS.

Mansalu Himchuli Annapurna Dhaulagiri. Khadga Devi Hindu Temple. Heritage area of Offbeat Bandipur

Sign Boards. In winters, you can view snow clad mountains such as Manasalu, Himchuli, Annapurna range, Ganesha Ladtad and Dhaulagiri.Bandipur, Nepal

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13 thoughts on “OFFBEAT BANDIPUR NEPAL: BUDGET TREKS, HERITAGE, EUROPEAN FEEL & FOOD!

  1. Nepal looks like a wonderful place to visit! It’s a bit out of my reach as I live in Poland and it’s quite far away. However, I love the pictures and the descriptions you provided. I feel as if I were there for real! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow! You have a lot of good stuff written here. I have never been to Nepal before, but this a place I definitely would want to check out if I have opportunity to visit. I love the colorfulness and the amazing scenery in Bandipur! One place in Bandipur I definitely would like to check out if I have the opportunity to visit, is the cave! I love the treasures that are found in caves. A few weeks ago, I visited a cave in Indonesia that had a lot of fossils and interesting creatures living in there.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: ROAD TRIP TO KAILASHA MANASAROVARA VIA NEPAL AND CHINA FROM INDIA | A Soul Window - Top Travel Blog from India!

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