Gorkha is a scenic hill- town with great historical significance.
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.
Then the small kingdom of Gorkha, founded by king Drabya Shah in 1560 A. D. became famous during the dynasty of Ram Shah (1604-1641 A.D.), who earned the reputation of being just to his people. There was a famous proverb in those days which said that one should go to Gorkha if he were looking for justice.
In the middle of eighteenth century there were hundreds of small kingdoms and principalities in what is today’s Nepal. The great Prithvi Narayan Shah took the mammoth task of unifying Nepal in the eighteenth century. The Gorkha soldiers under his dynamic leadership eventually succeeded in conquering the Kathmandu valley. The capital of greater Nepal was shifted to Kathmandu since then. But this beautiful township has always remained as the center of attraction for many Nepalese as well as foreign visitors.
This historical palace is situated on the top of the fortified hill above the township, about one hour’s walk uphill from the bus station. On the west side of palace is the temple of Goddess Gorakhkali. There is also a famous cave sheltering the statue of Gorakhnath Baba (sage). It is believed that the name of Gorkha was derived from the name of this sage, whose blessings inspired King Prithvi Narayan Shah for the unification of Nepal. From the top of the hill above Gorkha palace and from a saddle east of the bazaar, the view of Manaslu and Himalchuli is spectacular.
It is primarily a cobbled street market place where by people from neighboring hill dwellings come to trade. There are a few temples near about, but not much. Yet, it is worth a visit as it provides a very good vista of the quiet charm that soaks a typical hill village of Nepal.
Ten meters below the palace’s southern side, is the sacred cave temple of Gorkhanath. The cave is is carved out of the solid rock and is among the most important religious sites for mainstream Brahmins and Chhetris of Nepal.Gorkha is also an alternate starting point for a few trekking routes in the region. Gorkha-Trisuli is an easy three day walk along unspoiled Nepali country side. One can also walk a long day’s walk to Besishahar, which is the usual starting point for Annapurna and Manang area treks. One can also walk through Besishahar area to Pokhara in a four days.
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