by David Woollan
Global Mark : to come
Ratings by criteria :
Ratings by backpackers :
Description & Comments ? A small, neat and historic village that lies on a shelf below a steep hill, about midway between Kathmandu and Pokhara, it is the ancestral home of the Nepalese royal family and people today come to see the main palace buildings on the hill top and sacrifice an animal at the nearby temple. Along the hill ridges and down into the valleys are several trails and villages that make for interesting day (or longer) walks.
Note : Many areas around Gorkha are strongholds of the Maoist insurgents. Small army camps are dotted about the villages. A 7.30 p.m. curfew is being enforced.
What to do ? Visit the Tallo Durbar (lower palace) and then climb up the stairway to Gorkha Durbar (main palace) at 1420
metres / Then walk east to the microwave tower at 1530 metres / Sit in one of the small restaurants eating "singaras" (samosas) and listen to a "gaine" (a member of the caste of
musicians) / Wander down to the Tribhuvan University campus of Education and talk about politics and life to the
students / Buy some jewellery from one of the many gold shops in the village
centre / Exit the village at its eastern end and walk through a succession of small villages and their friendly inhabitants.
How long ? Give yourself at least two full days and three nights; one day to fully appreciate the village and palace complex and one day for a full day walk.
Where to stay ? For such a small village the place seems to have plenty of accommodation, but if one spends a little time at the bus park you will see many passengers disembark with "dokos" (cane baskets) full of their belongings. Many will stay overnight here before proceeding on foot to their villages. The first two mentioned hotels are almost never crowded and you can bargain hard from their brochure prices.
- Hotel Gorkha Bisauni, entrance to the village (tel. 064-20107,
email@example.com ) Also a restaurant serving poor quality dishes. Rooms with
attached bathroom are clean and basic and have television. Dbl R400, Sgl R300. Also some rooms with common bathrooms. Hotel has generator but might be loathe to use it! Friendly staff will offer to guide you to outlaying areas.
- Gurkha Inn Village Hotel, 100 metres east of
bus park (tel. 064-20206) Set back off the main road and in a beautiful garden setting, also restaurant and garden bar. The best in town. Very clean
Dbl with attached bathroom, R500, Sgl R300.
- Hotel Gorkha Prince and restaurant. 100 metres east of bus park. (tel. 064-20131) Right on the main road, the building is used to house vehicles as well. Cleanish but very basic rooms with
attached bath, Dbl R150/200, Sgl R125/150. Restaurant can prepare Western dishes, closes 10 p.m.
- New Amit Lodge, opposite the Gorkha Prince. A few rooms in a family house, R100/150 with common bathroom.
- Tower Hotel and Lodge, Naya Bazaar, behind the bus park. One of the quieter lodges in the bus park area. Passable rooms with common bathroom for R80.
- Milan Guest House, Naya Bazaar behind the bus park. Basic rooms with common bathroom, R100 per person.
Where to eat ? You didn't come to Gorkha for culinary delights! The
Gurkha Inn village hotel is probably your best bet for passable Western dishes. The tiny
Hill Top restaurant by the bus park can prepare chow mein and other simple dishes. The two wooden shacks that are built on stilts 50 metres from the bus park will serve huge helpings of daal bhat for R35. In the heart of the village, a provision store sells yak's cheese and other "delicacies".
Some walking suggestions ? If, after looking at the Kalika Mandir next to the main palace, you exit to the west (by the helipads) and follow the path down, you will come out at the settlement of Saathipipal. Descend to where you can see some school buildings about 1 km distant and bear right. You come to the Tribhuvan University Campus of Education. This area is known as Hilepokhari. Follow the main trails out of this settlement and the tracks descend gradually to the Daraundi Khola (river) valley. It will take you about two hours to get down there. Ascend to Gorkha again by the same or alternative tracks. A nice day walk distance.
East of Gorkha if you exit the village on Hospital Road and keep heading east you come to the village of Aahale Bhanjyang. If you take the southern turning out of the village you can descend the small oval-shaped valley where there is a small river and settlement of Kattal Danda. If you take the northern turning out of the village you will pass many small settlements and might want to turn back by the time you reach Taple.
You can walk to Manakamana in about 18 kms. There is plenty of accommodation in that town with its famous Bhagwati Mandir (shrine).
Getting there and away ?
From either Kathmandu and Pokhara the journey to Gorkha will take about 4.5 hours. From Pokhara catch a Kathmandu bound bus and get off at Abu Khaireni. Buses for Gorkha leave frequently from there on the 23 km road to the village.
From Kathmandu catch a bus bound direct to Gorkha from the City Bus Park or any bus bound for Pokhara (in which case change at Abu Khaireni).
From Gorkha there are buses bound directly for Tanda (Chitwan), Birgunj, Kathmandu (R120), Pokhara (R90) and Narayanghat. And, off course, constant departures to Abu Khaireni (R20).