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Nepalgunj

Nepalgunj

 

Nepalganj is an important regional center, the hub of a fairly extensive bus and air network, one of Nepal's six approved land border crossings, and in effect functions as a sort Nepalgunjof capital of West Nepal. It is not an especially attractive town, though benign, and offers little of general tourist interest. Some travelers stop here en route to Bardia or to break the long journey between Kathmandu and the far west of Nepal. With the anticipated opening of trekking routes through northwest Nepal and on to Mount Kailash and Mansarovar in Tibet, the hotels of Nepalganj are likely to host an increasing number of overnight visitors in the future.

 

Surrounded by open countryside, the town spreads out from two long north-south roads, 11 kms south of the Mahendra Highway. The center is dominated by a bazzar area of narrow lanes and side streets, at its busiest early in the morning when fruit, vegetables, meat, textiles and other essentials are haggled over. There is a small and unusually neat industrial estate on the town's western flank, with a few more light industrial units to the south enroute to the border. Here rice and edible oils are processed and there are also saw mills. It is the only Terai town where tongas, horse drawn passenger carts, are an important form of local transport. Like many of the larger Terai towns, Nepalganj has a significant Muslim population, the result of long established patterns of migration between the Terai and the Indian states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. There are several mosques in the town and, with only few isolated exceptions, Nepalganj has a history of communal harmony.

 

Temples : The Bagheshwari Mandir, slightly to the town's temples. A modern, three-storeyed concrete structure of lurid pink, it is dedicated to Kali, the goddess of destruction. A small shiva linga shrine stands in the courtyard. To the west is a large pokhari where a walkway leads to a central shrine also containing an image of Shiva. The Janaki Mandir comprises the two traffic islands either side of Tribhuvan Chowk whose shrines attract worship from passers-by. Adjoining the shrines are a couple of music and clothes shops. 400 meters south of Tribhuvan chowk and next to the main tonga stop is the small Hanuman Mandir.

 

Mosques : there are several mosques dotted around town, the largest just north of BP Chowk. Friday is the main day of worship for muslims.