The Old Inn - INTRODUCTION
BANDIPUR and THE OLD INN - In the warm heart of Nepal. 'Trust your sixth sense, VISIT BANDIPURand indulge the other five'. The enchanting paradox of Bandipur is that although it is the definitive mountain town there is in fact nowhere else quite like it. You’ll love its eagle’s nest location, its lazy walks through orange groves, its simple architecture and you’ll never forget the utterly stunning pink-tinged Himalayan skyline of dawn – and another before twilight.
Its sense of history is unique too for it was a centre of exotic trade between lowland and highland and between British India and independent Tibet and it is this fact of history that explains its prosperity and faded grandeur. Its location, between Kathmandu, Pokhara and Chitwan, further helps position it as a perfect sojourn and idyllic retreat.
Welcome to The Old Inn. You have arrived from the Kathmandu-Pokhara highway by the steep winding eight km road that climbs 600m above the valley of the Marsyangdi and you have reached the Bandipur Bazaar of old shops and houses and temples and meeting places. Here, with stunning snow-clad skyline views to the North and mellow orange orchard ones to the South, stands The Old Inn.
Some say it is like entering an earlier age, back into a Nepal that elsewhere barely still exists. This house has stories of ancient trans-Himalaya trade routes and of store-rooms crammed with merchandise en route between the opulence of India and the grandeur of Tibet.
Restoration and conservation of this traditional Newari Town house required keeping the low ceilings and the overall sense of proportion and scale. The practical inclusion of comfortable and clean showers and toilet facilities are achieved but they are not ensuite.
The current Lonely Planet tells of ‘A beautifully restored Newari mansion. . .elegant, timbered rooms look right out over the mountains. . . . the welcome, the accommodation and meals are all of a high standard’. And, the guidebook includes Bandipur in its “favourite journey through Nepal”.
Bandipur is a picturesque town nestled in the Himalayan foothills of Nepal, a land as famous for its natural beauty as for the hospitality of its people. Bandipur lies midway between the capital Kathmandu and Pokhara, another popular tourist destination.
Situated on a hilltop above the highway town of Dumre, Bandipur captivates the visitor with its cultural appeal and pristine scenery.
This Newar town has maintained its age-old flavour, and presents sightseers with a heady mix of history, architecture, incredible views, awesome caves and unspoiled landscapes.
Bandipur has been described as a natural view tower; indeed, one can enjoy a spectacular panorama of the entire Annapurna Range plus the peaks of Dhaulagiri, Manaslu and Langtang from here. Apart from the stunning views of the Himalaya and the Marsyangdi Valley, a visit to the town is an opportunity to get a close look at Newar cultural life.
History of Bandipur
Bandipur was once a prosperous trading center, and its charming buildings, with their neoclassical facades and shuttered windows, bespeak its past glory. Originally a simple Magar village, it was settled in the early nineteenth century by Newars from Bhaktapur, who took advantage of its malaria-free location to develop it into an important stop on the India-Tibet trade route. Along with their trading skills, the Newars brought with them their rich cultural heritage and architecture, which still defines the look and feel of today's Bandipur.
Bandipur saw its heyday during the Rana period (1846-1951). The power and prestige it enjoyed then is indicated in the special permission it received to establish its own library that still exists. In the 1950's, the town began to lose its edge after malaria was eradicated in the Terai, which facilitated travel to the once dreaded plains. In the 1960's, the district headquarters was moved to Damauli. The final blow came in 1973 following the completion of the Prithvi Highway that sidestepped it. Shunted from the traffic, commerce shifted to Damauli