Five places to visit while you’re in SindhuliVisitors come for the moderate climate, crisp air, and long drives along the serpentine roads of Sindhuli.
Saroj Yadav was apprehensive when he was making plans to visit Sindhuli. But when Yadav, who is from Dhanusha, landed in Sindhuli Gadhi on a recent morning, he was instantly bewitched, he said. “My choice for a brief hangout turned out to be just right,” he said. The gadhi is nestled on a hilltop and enjoys sunshine all day long. Surrounded by forests of rhododendron and kafal trees, the spot if perfect to just sit back, and reflect, says Yadav.
Yadav was in Sindhuli with his circle of friends. “I had to convince my friends for this trip and I would be responsible if the trip didn’t turn out as expected,” he said. “But once we cut through the serpentine road and reached the gadhi, we knew we were in for a pleasant surprise.”
Another of Sindhuli’s draws for Yadav was its climate. Even though the district shares its borders with the Tarai, the climate is moderate and the air is fresh. The gadhi even overlooks the mountains towards the east, something Yadav’s home district lacks.
Sindhuli has become a sought after destination for nature lovers in the Tarai—particularly from those in districts such as Sarlahi, Mahottari, Rautahat, Siraha, Bara and Parsa—and even from India. While previously, Sindhuli gadhi was more popular as a picnic spot, it has recently gained popularity for much more, especially since it was inducted by the government as one among the 100 destinations for Visit Nepal 2020.
Here, we look into the five foremost places that deserve your attention while you are in Sindhuli.
Sindhuli gadhi holds a special place in Nepal’s history. This is the ancient fort where the Gurkha soldiers won over the soldiers from the British Empire in 1767. Hence, this fort today stands as a symbol of bravery of Nepali soldiers.
Sindhuli gadhi lies about 20km east from Sindhuli Madi, the district headquarters, and about 150km from Kathmandu. In case you are travelling from Kathmandu, you have to take an uphill trip from Khurkot, about the same distance. The road is blacktopped right up to the historic fort which is located at an altitude of 4,648ft from the sea level.
Sindhuli gadhi sees a flurry of picnic-goers all week round, said Khilraj Devkota, a local school teacher. “The place is popular because of its moderate climate and excellent views of the mountains,” he said.
The fort has also recently added facilities such as good road leading up to the fort and clean drinking water in order to develop it as a major tourist destination, said Khadga Bahadur Khatri, Mayor of the Kamalamai Municipality. “Monuments and documents have been picked up from the ruins and are conserved, and one can read historical material dating to the period of the battle,” he said. “It is a matter of pride for any Nepali to witness the place where our forefather fought against imperialist power so bravely.”
As the walls of social media began to get peppered with selfies, Sindhuli took the momentum a step further: it christened a hill after it, the selfie hill. No wonder the hill has been attracting selfie aficionados ever since. The hill is located along the BP Highway, near Dhungre Bhanjyang. According to Chet Bahadur Magar, a local, there is a flat ground near the bhanjyang which overlooks the serpentine road and rolling hills. Those driving along the road were increasingly seen stopping their vehicles, charmed by the beautiful landscape, to take photographs. And over time, that was how the hill came to earn its name—selfie danda.
Bhadrakali temple lies nearby Dhungre Bhanjyang, enclosed by dense trees. Legend has it that Bhadrakali temple in Kathmandu is an offshoot of this temple. The temple is popular for animal sacrifice rituals. The temple was established during the battle between the Gurkha soldiers and the British troops in the 18th Century. According to Chhatra Bahadur Shrestha, a local, many stone inscriptions were recently unearthed from the temple. The annual victory anniversary of the battle kicks off after worshipping the Bhadrakali goddess in the temple.
The serpentine road
The road along the BP Highway is a wonder in itself. The highway constructed with aid from the Japanese government looks serpentine, especially from Pipal Bhanjyang to Dhungre Bhanjyang, and awe-inspiring. Of late, the road has not just attracted curious visitors but also ambitious film crews seeking to find a perfect shot in the road. The road is enveloped by green forests, further helping the cause for Nepali filmmakers. “It is wonderful that the road itself has transformed into a tourist destination,” said Ishwar Basnet, professor at Sindhuli Multiple Campus. “Many visitors stop by the road to have it in their photo’s background.” The road is also considered architecturally important.
Bhadrakali Community Homestay
Once you’ve made your trip around Sindhuli, you won’t have to go too far for a good rest and food. The Bhadrakali Community Homestay in Dhungre Bhanjyang will be welcoming you. The homestay offers good food and residence at an inexpensive rate. The homestay provides local food such as fried maize, gundruk and local chicken curry, among others. The homestay lies a few kilometres from Sindhuli gadhi. There’s a rodhi ghar, where dance is performed every day, set up to entertain the guests.
HOW TO GET THERE: There are public vehicles available in Kathmandu that lead you directly to Sindhuli.
WHERE TO STAY: There are hotels in Sindhuli Madhi, the district headquarters, but your best bet would be to stay at Bhadrakali homestay or at Chetana Village Resort, nearby Sindhuli gadhi.
WHAT TO EAT: Among the regular Nepali foods, try pickles made of sisno, geetha and bhyakur, along with delicacies made of maize, millet and buckwheat.
DETOURS: Siddhababa Temple; Kamalamai temple; Panchakanya Pond; Hariharpur Gadhi Durbar Square.
Budget: About Rs 5,000 per person for a two-day stay.