In between all the chaos of the city life, I was planning for an escape. I was ready to board the carpet which Aladdin took to fly around the Agrabah at any cost. But they say everything has its time constraints. So my time finally arrived right after the Durga Puja 2019. The idea of Hill stations and its beauty has always captivated me. I was looking for that exact place which would match, not only with my idea of a perfect vacation, but also it needs to have its own story. Now, I didn’t want to go to some conventional places, rather I was looking for some places less crowded or maybe unexplored. That’s when I learnt about this place – Bhedetar in Nepal. I looked it up online and hardly found any information beyond the basics of this hidden gem. But the few photos had me mesmerized enough to visit the Abode at the foot of The Himalayas. So I started planning the trip. Though I was a little bit worried about the expenses but luckily I found some company in no time. We booked tickets just 15 days ahead of time, as the trip was planned suddenly. So if you are an offbeat traveller and looking for a place to visit next, make sure to stop by this beautiful place that has successfully remained hidden from the conventional travellers for the longest time. Trust me, this place won’t disappoint you.
How to reach?
Bhedetar is well connected with roadways, railways and airways. You can choose any based on your convenience. We travelled by train.
Air: You can go to Bhedetar from Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu. Bhedetar is around 402 km away from Kathmandu.
Trains: Jogbani Express from Kolkata station would be my preference for travelling by railways. The train is available every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from Kolkata, leaves from Jogbani on every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday and takes about 15 hours overnight journey. Tickets are easily available for Sleeper, AC Tier-3 and Tier 2 rakes.
Once you reach Jogbani, you have to take a taxi to cross the border. No passport or visas are needed for Indian citizens. After crossing the border, you would need to change the taxi from Biratnagar Taxi stand. You can also easily avail public transport such as Bus, Jeep or even Auto to reach Dharan.
If you want to go to Hile from Bhedetar, you either book a car or you can use the bus service. Buses are available from Bhedetar market.
We reached our first destination, a small and crowded train station of Jogbani, Bihar around 12:30 pm in afternoon. The city is located near the border of India and Nepal. Our next destination was Biratnagar, capital of Koshi/Purbanchal state. We halted there for a couple of hours and set out for Bhedetar. On our way towards Biratnagar, we made 2 checkpoint crossings. The guards did not enquire much once they learnt that we are tourists from India and welcomed us with a big smile. After half an hour of our journey from Biratnagar, we could finally see the hills far away. Before we could reach the beautiful destination, we had to cross Dharan, the nearest city situated in the district of Sunsari, which is famous among the tourists for not only its taste in fashion and football but also has importance for its location and religious cultural value. It is located on the foothills of the Mahabharat range. The gorgeous Bhedetar is just 21 km away from Dharan. We visited three temples on our way.
Situated on the outskirt of Dharan, the temple is famous for the sacred teeth(danta) of Goddess Kali. According to history, this temple was built in pagoda style till 1934. Then, it was rebuilt as a tomb. But in 1988, following its destruction from the earthquake, the temple was again rebuilt in pagoda style. Every year, thousands of devotees come here during Navratri, especially on “Dussehra”, the last day of Navratri for the rituals which include animal sacrifice among others.
Entry Fee: Free
Situated 1 km away from Dantakali Temple, this temple is even older than the famous Pashupatinath Temple of Nepal. This temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, is widely mentioned in many Hindu scriptures like The Vedas, The Upanishad and the Skanda Purana. During the month of “Shravana” as per Hindu calendar, numerous devotees from South Asia, especially from India, come to this temple barefoot to offer the holy water of Koshi river to Lord Shiva to show their devotion.
Entry Fee: Free
Buddha Subba Temple
Situated 10 minutes away from the city, the temple is dedicated to Buddha Subba. It has no idol, although it is hard to imagine a Hindu temple without any idol in it. The place has uniquely tip-less bamboo plants. According to the legend, ‘Budha Subba’ used to hunt crows with a slingshot. He hit the tip of a bamboo tree while hunting which never grew back. It’s funny, people still can not spot a crow in this area. After someday “Buddha Subba” gave up hunting and started meditating burying his slingshot. Local pilgrims use nicotines and alcohol for offerings. This temple is crowded by people on Saturdays and generally, rooster and pigs are sacrificed.
Entry Fee: Free
Bhedetar is situated in the border of Sunsari and Dhankuta district and 1420 mt elevation from the sea level. It is famous for its unpredictable weather – a moment it hides itself in the blanket of thick fog and another moment it reveals itself as the crown of urban Dharan. This place could be Nepal’s one of the most attracting tourist destination. It takes about 2:30 hours to reach Bhedetar from Jogbani. According to Sensex 2011, this place is home to 3000 people approximately. Bhedetar’s main attraction is its scenic beauty and seclusion. You can sit in Bhedetar Park for hours in the evening and see the faraway city lights glowing like fireflies. In the morning you can easily spot peaks like Mt. Makalu, Mt. Lhotse or Mt. Everest if the sky is clear. The Namjhe village of Bhedetar made its place in the list “best places you’ve never heard of” published by British Magazine CNN in 2011. Other than the abundance of natural beauty, this place also offers great food.
Next day, we woke up early to see the sunrise and the view was heavenly. We went for a walk to see the Shailung Danda and Bhedetar Market.
Charles’ Tower (Shailung Danda)
Situated near Bhedetar market the Charles’ tower is also known as “Shailung Danda”. This was named after the Prince Charles of Britain who came here in 1981. The tower collapsed during the 2015 earthquake and it was closed after that. Then it was reopened by the end of 2019. From the top of the tower, you can get a gorgeous view of Bhedetar as well as river Koshi. Also you can spot Mt. Makalu if the sky is clear.
Entry fee: 25 NPR for the citizens of Nepal and 60NPR for the citizens of SAARC countries.
It is a local market. You can buy things from here. Not very big as the town itself is very small. You will find dry fruits and avocado in almost every shop. Nepali people are always happy to help and so welcoming. They don’t mind to indulge in a conversation with foreigners. You can see their lifestyle closely and we loved it.
We were to set out for Hile today. So we packed, booked another car and left the hotel. On our way we visited Pathibhara temple, Namaste Falls and Tamur Bridge.
This place is just 5 minutes away from Bhedetar. After that 10 minutes walk from the main gate. The goddess Pathibhara is considered by her devotees as a manifestation of the goddess Durga. The temple is situated on the top of the hill. Devotees from all over Nepal and from Bihar can be seen here. Rituals include animal sacrifice among others. The main temple is in Taplejung district. Legend says local shepherds lost hundreds of sheep while gazing at the same place where the temple stands today and had a dream in which goddess ordered them to perform a ritualistic sacrifice of sheep. After the sacrifice, the herd suddenly returned. The ritual of offering sacrifices is believed to have started after this. Also, the view from the hilltop is an extra treat. Our next stop was Namaste falls.
Entry Fee: Free
Namaste Falls (Simsuwa Stream)
Namaste Falls is located around 8 km away from Bhedetar Bazar. The fall is 80 meters high. This fall is head of Simsuwa stream and a popular attraction among the domestic travellers. The path towards the fall is not a pleasant one, sometimes elevated and sometimes sloppy. However, it will take about half an hour to reach the fall by foot (there is no other option). While the journey might be tiring but on the way, you can hear the stream roaring and ecstatic greenery around you which is quite pleasing. Once you reach near the fall and see water cascading down the hill and rainbow, that experience is wholesome.
Entry fee: 20 NPR (approx.) per person
Tamur River and Bridge
Tamur river begins around Kanchenjunga and a major river of eastern Nepal. This river was on our way towards Hile. It is totally up to you how long you stay there and enjoy the magnificent view of the river from Tamur Bridge. You can also do river rafting there. We didn’t raft, so we stayed there for about an hour.
Entry fee: Free
Our next destination was Hile. Hile is a hill town located in the Eastern Part of Nepal, 13 km north of the regional centre of Dhankuta Bazar. The shops and restaurants primarily serve the local economy. Hile Bazaar is one of the largest in the area, attracting locals from villages in the surrounding hills. There are many hotels in Tongba Chowk, but the place is overcrowded and hotels are not up to the mark either. We wanted a good view so we chose a resort (only resort) on the hilltop, a kilometre or two away from Tongba Chowk. The resort is beautiful and the view from there is out of the world. At night there were stars all over the sky, not a very common sight for people who stay in cities and the lights from faraway villages, felt so surreal.
Next morning, an enthusiastic me woke up before the sunrise and was waiting all dressed up because it was 2 or 3 degree in early November. Finally, the Sun showed up and only in a few minutes, disappeared underneath the cloudy skies.
We had planned to stay there for two days, but somehow we liked Bhedetar better so we decided to go back and spend the last night of our trip there.
We stopped at Guranse for half an hour to see the tea garden. On the other side, there were vegetable garden and marigold garden. This place is great for clicking pictures. On our way towards the next destination, we stopped by a very small and only monastery. We didn’t get the name of the monastery.
Entry Fee: Free
Our last stop was Pakhribas in Dhankuta district. You will find statues of Buddha and Shiva at the same place which is a very surprising sight. Also, you will find tea gardens, lakes and agricultural research centre of Nepal. We spent about an hour there.
Entry Fee: Free
Finally we reached Bhedetar around 2 o’clock in the noon. In the evening we strolled around Bhedetar market, enjoyed the greenery of Bhedetar park and went to bed early as next day we were to say goodbye to this beautiful place.
We left Bhedetar around 10 a.m. This time, the car from Bhedetar took us directly to the station. It took us around 3 hours to reach Jogbani station, from where we had a reservation for Jogbani Express that departs around 3 p.m. We reached Kolkata early morning with beautiful memories of the place and its people.
Where to stay?
Bhedetar: There are plenty of hotels in Bhedetar. Since it is not a conventional tourist spot, you can book the hotel once you reach. You can also book them online if you are a meticulous planner. My preference would be the top two but you can try others and let us know your feedback.
- Hotel Majestic – Small, well maintained and offers a great view of the valley. Also, the staffs are very nice and friendly.
- Hotel Arun Valley – Food is delicious and ideal pick for a foodie.
- Hotel SMS
- Hotel Dreams
- Hotel Tamor Valley
- Hotel Makalu View
- Hotel Hillside View
- Hotel Rohit & Lodge
Hile: Hotels are slim picking here. I would suggest the Horizon Mountain Resort. Though the charges seem expensive, the experience will be worth it. You can try hotels in Tongba Chowk though I did not find any up to the mark.
Cuisines you must try
Honestly, each and everything is delicious. Be it Dumplings or Fried Rice and Chili Chicken or just plain rice and chicken curry in their style. But there are few you must try – Mutton momo from New Reshma Hotel & Sekua corner. You will find this restaurant on your way towards Dharan from Biratnagar on your left-hand side. Coffee from a small restaurant beside Bhedetar Park (I was stupid enough to not notice the name. but there is only one restaurant right beside Bhedetar Park). Nepali “set breakfast”, Dhedo, authentic Nepali thali and curd from Hotel Arun Valley. Sekua, Fried Rice and Chilli Chicken from Hotel Majestic.
Nepali Chicken Curry Fried Momo Fried Rice Hashbrowns Dhedo Mutton Momo Nepali set breakfast Coffee Sekua
We were 6 people and it was a lot cheaper for us. We spent 6500 INR each excluding the train fare. The exchange rate at the time was 10 INR = 16 NPR
Train fare: We travelled in sleeper class. Tickets cost 800 INR for each person(round trip).
Taxi from Jogbani to Biratnagar: 200 INR approx.
Car from Biratnagar to Bhedetar: 4000 INR approx (I would suggest you to bargain).
Car from Bhedetar to Hile: 3000 INR approx.
Car from Hile to Bhedetar: 3000 INR approx.
Car from Bhedetar to Jogbani: 3500 INR approx.
Travelling in public transport is quite cheap. The whole transport expenses will come down to 1000 INR at the most.
Hotel Majestic (Bhedetar): 1500 INR per night for one room. Three people can easily share the room.
Horizon Mountain Resort (Hile): 2100 INR Per night for one room. Two people can share the room.
Food is good and cheap in all the places. You can choose food according to your budget. However, try to avoid eating in the Mountain resort. We spent around 14000 INR on food.
I was drawn by the little details the nature has put in the land of Nepal. Even after so many days of my travel, I can still recollect vividly the feeling of the fresh breeze of the Himalayas and the wonderful people we had come across during our journey. I hope the article provide you detailed guide for your next travel plan to Nepal. I would recommend strongly to everyone to visit this little abode on the lap of the mountains and provide us with your feedback.