Bandipur, a small hill settlement in the Gandaki region in Nepal, offers a European vibe and exceptional views. Bandipur is Nepal’s best-kept secret where time has frozen— preserving the culture, the charm of 18th-century architecture, and nature’s offerings. Isolated on a hilltop at about 1030 metres, Bandipur is truly a hidden gem in Nepal. Bandipur had developed as a significant stop in the India-Tibet trade route in the 19th century. The Newars improved the trade scenario and also introduced their own culture there. A walk through the main street of Bandipur, with traditional row houses on both sides, multiple shades of bougainvilleas springing down the wooden balconies, and sacred shrines, will make you feel no less than a time traveller. Apart from the architectural and cultural heritage, the little town of Bandipur also offers breathtaking views of the Annapurna Range, Dhaulagiri, Manaslu, and Lang Tang. Along with the picturesque Himalayas, the town overlooks the spectacular view of the Marsyangdi river valley. With no tinge of modernization, Bandipur is definitely the place where you can experience community life and Newari culture or can make a stop to relax after a trek in Nepal. Bandipur is a true example of an offbeat travel destination coupled with culture, heritage, and history.
By-lanes of Bandipur
How To Reach Bandipur?
Bandipur is located midway between Kathmandu and Pokhara, the distance being 140 km and 75 km from Kathmandu and Pokhara, respectively. From either place, it would take half a day or a bit less to reach Bandipur. There are primarily two options to reach Bandipur. Private vehicles are easily available from both Kathmandu and Pokhara, which directly drop you off at the entry point of Bandipur as vehicles are not allowed on the main street. For a budget traveller, public transport is a saviour. Buses could be availed from Kathmandu or Pokhara, which drop you off at Dumre. From Dumre, it is a short ride to reach Bandipur, which can be easily covered in a reserved taxi, public bus, or shared jeep, the second and third options comparatively being the cheaper ones. Bandipur happens to be a great place to break up the journey between Kathmandu and Pokhara and deserves to be on your itinerary for reasons already mentioned above.
Best Time To Visit Bandipur
The spring months of March, April, up to mid-May is an ideal time to visit Bandipur when the skies are clear and the Himalayan ranges are perfectly visible. After the second week of May, the temperate starts to rise, and it is not too favourable to hike for longer hours. Monsoon should be highly avoided as the condition of the roads may worsen. In winter, the number of visitors is lower than spring due to the extreme cold and occasional snowfall, but it has a different charm altogether if you are comfortable travelling in cold weather.
Layers of Himalayan ranges as viewed from Bandipur on a clear day
Things To Do In Bandipur
(1) Explore the town: A leisurely walk through the main street of Bandipur is the first thing that everyone would be tempted to take. There are several shops, restaurants, cafes, temples, and shrines spread across the town that you must explore. Walking into the by-lanes, you will always find something eventful taking place, be it a group of kids playing or a religious ceremony being conducted. Dedicating a whole day to only exploring the town isn’t a bad idea.
The main street in Bandipur, full of old-world charm
(2) Visit Siddha Cave: Measuring about 437 metres in depth, Siddha Gufa or Siddha Cave is the largest cave in Nepal. It takes about half a day’s downward hike to reach this place from Bandipur. The cave is quite dark and full of sections covered with water and stalactite structures that hiring a guide is a must; a guide would ensure safe exploration inside the cave.