Sunday, July 27, 2008

Gorkha, the ancient capital of the principality of Gorkha that gave the feared Gurkha soldiers their name and from which King Prithivi Narayan Shah set out to unify all of Nepal, is approximately half way between Pokhara and Kathmandu. Trekkers walking between the two towns on the more southerly route can pass through Gorkha or it can be reached foot from the Pokhara-Kathmandu highway. The airstrip called Gorkha is actually a considerable walking distance from the town.

The best way to reach Gorkha from the road is to catch an early, morning bus from Pokhara and disembark at Khaireni, a little way before the half way stop at Mugling.The bus from Kathmandu arrives at Khaireni rather late in the day-after its Mid-journey halt at Mugling.If you set out on the trail heading north and keep asking directions, by nightfall you should be in this pleasant and relatively unspoilt town. There is not much to see the historic town itself. To visit the old palace of king Prithivi Narayan Shah, the unifier of Nepal, you have to climb for about 40 minutes to the top of the ridges where the palace is situated. The temple of Gorakhnath with its legendary cave and that of Kali are also there are and you have a fine view of surroundings including the Annapurna and Himalchuli range.

Three centuries ago, when Nepal consisted of many small kingdoms in the hills, the palaces were always constructed on hill tops. After you visit there, you will realize the difficulties the ruler of such a small kingdom faced when setting out to defeat the Malla Kings of the fertile Kathmandu valley and start the unification of a country more than 100 times its size.


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