Dharan is a major city in Nepal, located at the foothills about 30 miles or so north of Biratnagar. For years, the city served as a recruiting center for Gurkha soldiers. The British recruited this ethnic group of people to serve in their colonial armies. The British described these people as naturally more warlike and aggressive and exhibiting qualities of courage, loyalty, physical strength, and tenacity. Dharan’s role as a recruiting center generated substantial business for the town. In 1989, however, the British closed the Gurkha Camp and returned it to the Nepalese.
Dharan is probably one of the most multicultural of Nepal’s cities. While the town is the homeland of the Kiranti people, it is also a melting pot for other ethnic groups like the Newar, Tamang, Brahman, and the major religions of Hinduism, Buddhism, Muslim, and Christianity.
Today, while Dharan is not one of the major tourist destinations of Nepal, it is very beautiful and attracts visitors interested in checking out the city’s famous temples and sceneries. Dharan also serves as a gateway to the eastern hilly regions of Nepal.
Dharan’s temples are some of the more beautiful ones in Nepal. The Vijayapur hillock at the base of Dharan is where many different temples and shrines of religious importance are situated. Among them include the Dantakali, Pindeshwori, and the Budhasubba. The latter is famous for its bamboos on which couples write their names, which is supposed to ensure a long relationship.
The geographical beauty surrounding Dharan attracts many visitors as well. Dharan is located at the confluence of the mountainous region and the plains of Terai. It is surrounded by hills in all directions and is flanked by two rivers and the Charkose forest. The bio-diverse life of the Charkose forest makes it a great place for bird-watching and wildlife spotting. White-water rafting along the Kosi River and paragliding atop the cool high points of Bhedetar are also popular.
There are also the archaeological ruins of the palace of the Kirat Kings at the Panchakanya jungle in Dharan that are worth checking out. The Kirat Kingdom comprised of mountain-dwelling hunters and gatherers who ruled over the lower Himalayas for centuries.
Burbank, Jon, Rosha Bajracharya, and Kesang Tseten. Nepal. New York: Prentice Hall Travel, 1993. ISBN: 0671879138.
“Dharan, Nepal.” < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dharan%2C_Nepal>
“Gurkha.” < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gurkha>
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