Draped like a scarf along a high ridge above Dumre, Bandipur is a living museum of Newari culture. Its winding lanes are lined with tall Newari houses and people here seem to live centuries before the rest of the country. It’s hard to believe that somewhere so delightful has managed to escape the ravages of unchecked tourist development.
The Bandipur Social Development Committee has opened Bandipur up to tourism. With help from the owners of the adventure company Himalayan Encounters, derelict buildings have been reborn as cafes and lodges, and temples and civic buildings have been pulled back from the edge of ruin. With its glorious 18th-century architecture, absence of motorised vehicles and restaurant tables set out on the bazaar, it has a distinct European feel. Yet Bandipur remains very much a living community, full of farmers and traders going about their business.
Bandipur was originally part of the Magar kingdom of Tanahun, ruled from nearby Palpa (Tansen), but Newari traders flooded in after the conquest of the valley by Prithvi Narayan Shah.
The town became an important stop on the India-Tibet trade route until it was bypassed by the Prithvi Hwy in the 1960s.