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Dhulikhel

DhulikhelDhulikhel has for many centuries been an important trading centre on the ancient commercial route linking Nepal to Tibet. Since time immemorial, people of Nepal travel to Tibet to bring home salt and gold. Likewise, the Tibetans every year with their flocks of sheep enter into Nepal during Dashain, the greatest Hindu festival. They purchased chilies and other daily necessities in Nepal and return to their homeland. In those days, a whole day walk from Kathmandu to Dhulikhel was comfortable for Tibet trippers with easily available of food and water at Dhulikhel at the evening for overnight stay. Even now, a bird's eye view from the resorts at Dhulikhel to the landscapes; highway to Tibet and horizons far to the Tibetan borders, clearly exhibits Dhulikhel as the gateway of Tibet. After adjoining with Tibet by motorable road in 1965, Dhulikhel got a face lift and developed as a tourist destination both for Tibet trippers and tourists. Dhulikhel is an ideal station to stop for overnight stay while going to Tibet and coming back to Kathmandu.

How to Reach ?
It takes about forty five minutes to reach Dhulikhel in a taxi or private car, or two-and-a-half to three hours by bicycle from Kathmandu. On the way, one can enjoy the spectrum of Nepalese landscape from lush green rice fields to the women washing clothes and winnowing grains, children carrying water in clay jugs or playing lively games.

Dhulikhel: The Gateway to Tibet
Dhulikhel has for many centuries been an important trading centre on the ancient commercial route linking Nepal to Tibet. Since time immemorial, people of Nepal travel to Tibet to bring home salt and gold. Likewise, the Tibetans every year with their flocks of sheep enter into Nepal during Dashain, the greatest Hindu festival. They purchased chilies and other daily necessities in Nepal and return to their homeland. In those days, a whole day walk from Kathmandu to Dhulikhel was comfortable for Tibet trippers with easily available of food and water at Dhulikhel at the evening for overnight stay. Even now, a bird's eye view from the resorts at Dhulikhel to the landscapes; highway to Tibet and horizons far to the Tibetan borders, clearly exhibits Dhulikhel as the gateway of Tibet. After adjoining with Tibet by motorable road in 1965, Dhulikhel got a face lift and developed as a tourist destination both for Tibet trippers and tourists. Many travel agents operate tours to Tibet. And of course, Dhulikhel is an ideal station to stop for overnight stay while going to Tibet and coming back to Kathmandu.

The Mountains - A Tourist Paradise
The spectacular snowfed mountains seen from Dhuklikhel must be one of the finest panoramic views in the world. When a blue haze covers the lower portion of the mountains, they seem to be floating in the air. With the snowy mountains on the backdrop, Dhulikhel is a stage of immense beauty and a paradise for nature lovers. Green inviting hills of which still virgin and some turned into beautifully carved agricultural terraces cater to the beholders' pleasure. Geographically, the plains rise up gradually up to the green mountains and further into the snow capped Himalayas. The panorama offers a majestic undisturbed views of the Himalayan ranges stretching from Mount Annapurna in the far west to Mount Karolung in the far east. More than twenty Himalayan peaks including Mt. Annapurna (8091) m), Mt. Ganesh Himal (7429 m), Mt. Langtang (7234 m), Mt. Phuribichyachu (6637 m), Mt. Gaurishanker (7134 m), Mt. Lhotse (2516 m) and many others can be seen in their full glory from the different vantage points in Dhulikhel. In short, it is the foremost point for the mountain-oriented sight seeing since time immemorial. The eco-himalayan atmosphere will surprise any one an unforgettable experience in lifetime.
Dhulikhel is an exotic place to magnify a dramatic and beautiful changing color of the mountain range from gray to silver and to gold with the rising of the sun. Both sunrise and sunset views are really breathtaking and sensational.
To enjoy the best mountain views, one should get up at dawn and watch the changing light as the sun reaches the southern side of the mountains. Many people walk up to the Kali Temple (half an hour from the town) where one can see a breathtaking view of snow-fed peaks from Annapurna to the Everest range. But one can also enjoy this view nearly as much in the comfort of many hotel roof-tops and terraces.

The Old Town
The oldest area of the town, the southern end, is an assembly of fine old Newari houses, often occupied by 20 or more members of the local extended families. They may not all have glazed windows, hot water or modern furniture, but they have dignity and a friendly atmosphere. Their most valuable assets are the beautifully carved windows and doors, fine examples of traditional Newari craftsmanship.
As one wanders down the traffic free narrow streets, one passes through a medieval city inhabited for at least five centuries and may have a feeling that he is in the garden of cultural theme park. The plan of the city is based on ancient Hindu planning doctrine with the position, shape, scale & dominance between buildings, temples, public squares all having their own meaning and harmony. The artistic skill and urban ethos of its Newar inhabitants have created a place of charm and beauty. Here, people greet the visitors, with smiles and a leisurely pace of life. The cobbled lane and worn brick buildings, and the open yards surrounded by the traditional houses with flower pots, old pagoda-style temples with glittering gajurs and a typical mountain lifestyle of the people speak silently of the rich history and the cultural heritage of the people. This all creates an aura, which is unique, but at the same time blends so well into what is often described as Nepali Style.
There are organically developed compact settlements around Dhulikhel. These settlements in one hand conserved heat in the cold valley, and at the same time maximized land for agricultural use. One of such old settlements is Shrikhandapur, which lies 2 kms west of the core city near the Kathmandu University, and is also a centuries old Newari settlement. The settlement is protected by Swet Bhairav (an incarnation of Lord Shiva) and Narayan (Vishnu) deties.

Temples
There are numerious temples in the town depicting an example of traditional and old Newari craftsmanship of Dhulikhel. These are important places of worship for local people. The core area of Dhulikhel has interesting narrow cobbled streets and lanes embedded with number of Hindu Shrines and a few Buddhist Stupa.
In the centre of the old town is the Narayan Temple with its yellow metal roofs. It is dedicated to Lord Krishna whose birthday is joyfully celebrated here in August. Alongside is the Harisiddhi Temple whose God responds to the worshippers' problems and sees their good and wrong doings. Both the temples are adorned with profuese wood carvings and fronted by two Garudas in quite different attitude. Bhagwati Temple situated at the top of the western part of the town is considered as one of the best place to see around Dhulikhel and also to enjoy the best mountain views. The Gaukhureshwor Mahadev Temple is about 20 minutes walk to the east of the town near Tundikhel Recreation Park and is located in a peaceful and quite environment. It is probably the most scenic religious centre, beside a small river surrounded by trees. Further up hill, one reaches, within half an hour trek, the Bhagwati (Kali) Temple. This is a beautiful pagoda that one can see on the skyline as one drives into Dhulikhel. One can get a bird's eye view of Dhulikhel town and other surrounding areas from this height. This is one of the best sites around Dhulikhel for viewing snow-fed peaks from Mt. Annapurna to Mt. Everest range, sunrise, sunset and the ever changing play of light on the sky and hills in a fine twilight show. While going to Bhagwati (Kali) Temple, again about 100m from the Tundikhel Recreation Park lies 'Buddha Vihar', a Buddhist Monastery amid lush green 'Dipendra Greenery Park', where cool breeze whispers an ambience of eternal peace and tranquility. About 9 kms from Dhulikhel on the way to Palanchowk Bhagwati lies a holy temple of 'Sankat Mochan Hanuman', the Monkey God, which represents symbol of courage & strength practiced through true celibacy.


Why in Dhulikhel ?
The first destination of most of the tourists visiting Nepal is the capital city of Kathmandu and whole of the Kathmandu valley is becoming more and more overcrowded and polluted. The valley is converting into a chaotic "Concrete Jungle". Hence, there is a growing need to develop a touristic destination in a nearly pollution free environment to diversify the centralised stay of the tourists in Kathmandu valley. Nagarkot, Kakani and Dhulikhel could be such nearest touristic destinations. Out of these three destinations. Dhulikhel is the most idyllic hill destination because of its locational advantage and natural gift. Besides, it is a medieval city full of ancient heritage and rich traditional socio-cultural millieu, which both Nagarkot and Kakani lack and also the industries that Dhulikhel is seeking are tourism related.

Dhulikhel already has about 24 hotels and resorts, and visitors can find accommodation ranging from the budget class to luxury lodges/resorts. These resorts have hospitable staff, lovely gardens with peaceful and pleasant environment, neat and clean rooms with attached bath running hot and cold water, STD, ISTD, money exchange facilities and mailing services. They serve popular menus - Continental, Chinese, Indian and exquisite Nepalese cuisine. They also have conference halls for seminar, training sessions, workshops and meetings. But, tourists in Dhulikhel come through the personal contacts of the individual resort promoters. There is a cut-throat competition and there is no joint efforts of the hoteliers for introducing an efficient marketing strategy to promote Dhulikhel as one of the best touristic destination. Because of this lack, Dhulikhel has not gained due recognition and popularity among the local and foreign travel agents and they are selling other destinations like Pokhara and Nagarkot.

Further, except few short treks, walking through old city and watching mountains, there are no such recreational activities/programmes run by hoteliers, which attracts tourists more and prolong their numbers of days of stay. Hence, until and unless the Dhulikhel Dream Land Project (discussed in separate Article in this Souvenir) is not realized and the Ecotourism (Nature and Village Tourism) is not introduced in Dhulikhel, the desire to make Dhulikhel an idyllic touristic hill destination will remain only in dreams.

Walking
(1) Trekking Namobuddha:a Historical, Religious and Cultural Tour/ a Adventurous Nature Walk. Namobuddha is the historically important place where a prince sacrificed himself for the sake of a sick and hungry tigress and her cubs. One can still find an old historical stone slab depicting the whole story of Namobuddha. This is an important Buddhist shrine attracting many pilgrims. Candidly, Namobuddha is a Buddhist retreat and a pilgrimage site perched atop a hill. Namobuddha, which means, "Hail to Buddha" has been a holy site from century and will be for next millennium.
A one-day mini trek out of Dhulikhel to Namobudha is an exciting way to see the glimpse of typical Nepalese lifestyles of country side. It gives the advantage of trekking without any problems of arranging porters, lodging or food. The country side is idyllic due to green fields and blue sky; wind carrying the smell of sun warmed grasses, incredibly steep walled valleys. The voices of the village people calling each other and a woman singing while she works in the fields and her children playing aside are equally noteworthy to observe. As one passes through the trails, one will see traditional Nepalese houses made of clay of various color and hard working people toiling in their fields. One can get the real taste of what life is like in most parts of Nepal. One may feel he is kissing and embracing the beauty of nature. May be one of the best memories, one will take back home from Nepal will be the feeling of incomparable peace and tranquility.

While going to Namobuddha one can also visit the organic vegetable farming at Phulbari.
There are actually two important sites here. One is the white washed stupa and another is the prayer chapel at the end of the roadway. People enjoy sipping "chiyaa" (tea) and watching Buddhist pilgrims spinning prayer wheels and reciting "mantras" as they encircle the stupa.
A trail from this site climbs up for about five minutes to the other site of the hill where there are several more stupas which is considered as a retreat center for Buddhist monks. An ancient carved stone reflecting the legend of Namobuddha is still there which highlights the historical momentous of Buddha who was moved by compassion at the pitable sight of a tigress and her cubs that he offered his own body as food.

(2) Panauti Trekking (2 hours walk):
The historic and ancient small township of Panauti is located at the confluence of two rivers namely Roshi and Punyamati at the south east of Dhulikhel and is the manifestation of urban design, elegant architecture and refined culture of Nepal in the 12th century. The entire city is an important centre for Hindus and is beautyfully adorned with "Patis" (open-air rest houses), natural waterspouts, ghats and temples. The statues and the temples raised along the bank of the holy rivers are beyond description. Panauti is famous for the recently restored Indreshwor Mahadev Temple, particularly well known for its classic design. It is believed that the temple of Indreshwor Mahadev was built over the Shiva Lingam in 1294 at the beginning of the Malla period. This is another ancient city that has been planned according to ancient Hindu doctrine.
One can have a nature walk to Panauti and return by bus via Banepa or can combine it with walk to Namobuddha.

(3) Trekking from Nagarkot to Dhulikhel:
A trek (about 5 hrs) from Nagarkot to Dhulikhel via Banepa and Nala is another exhilarating nature walk from where awe-inspiring panoramic view of entire Kathmandu Valley together with Phulchowki, Nagarjun and Shivapuri ridges can be seen against the northern boundary of Majestic Himalayas. The moderate trail passes mostly downhill and at some points it descends rather steeply. Ridges are followed all the way to Nala and import continuous views into the valley. The trail goes on through Ghimiregaun. Even in the month of February, some of the trails may look a bit muddy and slippery. One should not miss a visit of Chandeswhori Temple while venturing to Banepa. Similarly two major Temples an outstand four storeyed temple of Nala Bhagwati and a Buddist Shrine of Lokeshwor also known as Nala Karunamaya are to be visited at Nala.

(4) Trekking to Helambu:
From the rooftops of resorts & hotels having a north-east vista, one can enjoy the natural sloping terain and vast flat lands of Paanchkhal Valley. From here, one can undertake a wonderful trek towards the north to Helambu, one of the most beautiful Sherpa villages with awesome views of the Himalayan range. It is famous for its apples and the hospitality of its Sherpa people.

(5) Villages and Nature Walk:
As stated above, Dhulikhel is bestowed with such a rich natural serenity and vista that one can also enjoy very short treks through nooks and crannies where there lie spots full of natural settings, woodlands, ponds and view points. One of such spot is Gosainkunda, a holy pond with half an hour walk from the centre of Dhulikhel.
Other suggested short walks are
" Kali Temple Hill
" Gaukhureswar Temple
" Dhulikhel Historical Town etc.

2.4.2 Excursions by Jeep
(1) Palanchok and Palanchok Bhagwati:
With half an hour drive from Dhulikhel towards Tibetan border at Lamidanda, a small road turns right to Palanchok hill. There lies the most beautiful and important Hindu goddess Bagawati with eighteen arm. Bhagawati is worshipped as a demon slayer and taken as a goddess of protection from danger and misfortune.
The statue of Palanchowk Bhagwati is one of the most famous goddess in Nepal. A stone inscription on a courtyard pedestal indicates as 503 AD during the Lichhavi Era. His Majesty's Government of Nepal has honoured her by highlighting her statue at the postage stamp of Nepal. Thousand of devotees from different parts of Nepal visit the temple to worship the goddess.
(2) Changunarayan : Temple of the 8th century of Changunarayan is the oldest in the valley. Only half an hour drive from Bhaktapur to the top of a hill, the colourful view of the valley can be seen from the temple.
(3) Sulphur Springs: You can drive in about 3 hours to the Tibetan border at Kodari, stopping off to see the sulphur springs at Tatopani.
(4) Charikot and Jiri: At 3 hours drive is another beautiful natural terrain of Charikot and at 4 hours drive is Jiri. Both these places are some of those tranquil natural resorts where people go for picnic or nature watch. There are many beautiful spots around Charikot, like Kalinchowk, from where one can relish a never satisfying t]vista of natural display including the imposing presence of mount Gauri-Shankar. Jiri is the place which is also sometimes referred as the Switzerland of Nepal. It is also the gateway of the famous trekking route to the Mount Everest Base Camp.
On the way to Jiri, Kharidhunga is one of the interesting spots with many scenic and excellent view of the Himalayas.

How this trip makes a difference!
Creative Hands Every booking you make creates a donation. Ghale Treks is a proud supporter of Creative Hands a social welfare organization. We send part of your service charge to Creative Hands who support worthy causes in poorer communities. Your money will go to education, disabled or physically challenged people, street children, victims, and those living in rural and remote areas of Nepal. Read more about the great work that Creative Hands do and where your donation goes here: http://www.creativehands.org.np

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