Nepal // The Western Hills //


The miniature bazaar of BANDIPUR perches improbably on a ridge, beneath steep limestone peaks that rear up romantically, as if they’d tumbled out of a Chinese brush painting, and facing breathtaking views of the Himalayas. Originally a simple Magar village, it was colonized in the 1800s by Newars from Bhaktapur and became a prosperous centre for garment-making and a trading stop along the India–Tibet route. The eradication of malaria from the Terai in the 1950s, and the completion of the Prithvi Highway in 1973, strangled business, however, and today the town is little more than a single, sleepy high street where children play and unhurried locals sell imported goods. Still, the town’s nineteenth-century mansions, with their grand Neoclassical facades and shuttered windows, speak of past glories, and tourism is providing a new economic mini-boom – the town has become a popular tourist stopover between Kathmandu and Pokhara, and there are numeous boutique hotels and homestays.

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