GORKHA (pop. 20,600) is a hill town 110 km east of Pokhara. It is 23 km from the turnoff at Abu Khaireni which lies about midway between Pokhara and Kathmandu. As the ancestral seat of the Shah dynasty and home of the original Gurkha soldiers, Gorkha is a national pilgrimage spot. Its centerpiece is the 17th-century Gorkha Durbar, which is a fort, a palace and a temple with excellent views of the Manaslu range. A side-trip to the hilltop temple of Manakamana is in order. It can be reached by hiking from Abu Khaireni (three hours) or by cable car from Cheres on the main highway (96 km from Pokhara). (Temperature 7-36 degrees Celsius.) King Prithvi Narayan Shah, who unified the kingdom of Nepal during eighteenth century, was born in the township of Gorkha. Situated on a small hillock at an attitude of about 1000 m, Gorkha offers panoramic view of snow-fed mountain.
Places to Visit and Things to do in Gorkha
Visit the Gorkha palace here to begin your sightseeing of the region.Climb the palace steps from the bottom of the hill, all the way to the top, climbing about one thousand seven hundred steps (1700), in about two hours. That's some hiking to do! If you get tired sit down on a step or think how much easier the trip down will be! You will be glad you got to the top. On a clear sky day, you can view Himalayan range including spectacular view of Manaslu and Himalchuli Mountains, and panoramic views of the valleys.
Also view the palace building, one of Nepal's historical landmark, some buildings have interesting wood carvings portraying various romantic scenes. Also viwe the temple of Goddess Gorakhkali residing on the west side of the palace. To view sunrise from the palace, climb very early in the morning.
King Prithivi's Birthday Celebration
On King Prithivi's birthday, which is a national Nepali holiday known as Prithivi Jayanti , various celebrations are held throughout Nepal, one of which is held in Gorkha bazaar located at the foot of the hill. So if you happen to visit Gorkha on that day, observe that event as well. Prithivi Jayanti is on 27th of January 2005 (1st of Poush 2060, according to Nepalese Annual Calendar).
The King's statues are found in many places in Nepal which many visitors find of interest to observe. Many places are dedicated to his name, for example Prithivi Chok (Cross Road) in Kathmandu, Prithivi Chok in Pokhara, Prithivi Chok in Bharatpur, and the Highway connecting Kathmandu with Pokhara and then to Baglung is called Prithvi Highway. Photos and Portraits of the King have his right-hand's first finger pointing up, signifying that Nepal is one kingdom (or in Nepali, the meaning is `We all come together as one'). His statues have that characteristic.
Dashain Jamara Procession
During Nepal's popular festival Dashain, Jamaras are brought from the Gorkha palace to the modern Narayan Hiti Royal Palace in Kathmandu. The King Prithivi Narayan Shah had moved the capital of Nepal from Gorkha to Kathmandu, and he is the founder of the Shah dynasty. Jamaras from Gorkha are used by the Royal family as a blessing from the King and above! On the Dashain Fulpati Day, there is a Royal Army parade, Fulpati procession to Gorkha Durbar and other activities of religious and cultural interests which visitors may find interesting to observe. For more on Jamaras and Dashain see Dahsain festival (The 7th Day of Dashain) :: [New Window]
Popular Trekking from Gorkha
If you seek to trek from Gorkha, there is no where a better place to taste some of Nepal's hillside experience than from Gorkha. You can chose to trek from Gorkha to Kathmandu or Gorkha to Pokhara, However, the most popular trekking from Gorkha is from Gorkha to Pokhara, which is of 10 days. First day, arrive at Gorkha Bazaar, complete sightseeing of the Gorkha palace, then from the second day onwards start trekking from Gorkha - Luitel - Hirmantar - Tarughat - Besisahar - Ghattekhola - Gharpokhari - Rupatal - then arrive Pokhara on the 10th day, then extend a few days of trekking or sigtseeing in and around Pokhara