Tour of India and Nepal – Bandipur and the Old Inn

street3 Just like in India, we saw the “famous parts of the country, and the authentic parts of the country.

Bandipur is well off the beaten track, and an authentic Nepalese Village.

in the early 19th Century Bandipur developed into prosperous trading centre.

In the 1970s, trading fell into a steep decline with the construction of the Kathmandu – Pokhara highway.

Half the street was closed, as the main street was being re-tiled.

We would be staying at the old Inn, a building completely renovated by Himalayan Encounters (they hadn’t paid for builders, they had literally built walls, installed showers and everything themselves (even the managing director)).

It was the Rose in the Crown of the companies endeavours, and they were rightly proud of it.

 oldinn1 A view from my window showing the forecourt at the back of the building.

Our driver and assistant relax with a soft drink after a long days driving.

We put our bag into our rooms, then congregate in this delightful sitting room.

Our guide briefs us, explaining that we will have a tour of the town and the nearby Ramkot village and then have dinner in the Old Inn (I was surprised to hear that it was the only restaurant/bar in the whole village).

 street1 The main street with substantial buildings, with neoclassical façades and shuttered windows.

This part of the street was paved with beautiful slabs of silverish slate.

Our vehicle had to be parked half a mile away, as it couldn’t be driven on the paving.

 This street shows houses of Newari architecture.  street2
 view Bandipur is located 700m above the Valley floor bellow.

The village school nearby, had a football pitch (that sport, seems to get everywhere).

 The local Children joined us on our walk and wanted us to tell them about our home.  people1
 pstation This Police station was deserted.

It had previously been bombed by Maoist revolutionaries.

When they realised they couldn’t defend it, the government forces withdrew from the area, and it was controlled by the Maoist’s.

This post advocated throwing the the King in prison.

It had become common, while trekking, to meet Maoists on the trail, who would “Tax” the Sirdur (the lead porter).

They always give a receipt, and these have become quite valuable on Ebay.

As I was in Nepal, the King had agreed power sharing with the Maoists and they had joined the government.

 temple  Bindyabashini temple, it is only opened for one day a year.
An enthusiastic stonemason working at 7:30pm in the evening.

We later met some local villagers, they noticed the picture on my camera and one of them said, that’s my father !.

 travrest This shelter in Bandipur was built by the equivalent of the social services.

The idea is that people travelling through the village on rout to somewhere (which in that country can take several days) have somewhere to sleep, off the ground, with excellent rain cover.

It was pointed out, that the shelter wasn’t built to be too comfortable, as somebody would adopt it as their house.

As we walked further around the village, we saw this traditional country seen.

This man and his son were working together to construct a plough.

From my Bushcraft background, I really wanted to talk to him about the design of the plough.

Our guide translated. The man said simply, I am busy.

Many Magar and Gurung men in the village, serve as Gurkha soldiers.

 still  This collection of plastic containers and metal pots, was actually a still, and this “rig” provided most of the alcohol for the locals in the village.
Just like in the Chinese Hutongs, most houses don’t have running water, so there is a central bathing area.

The Tindhara (meaning 3 taps) washing area on the south-eastern outskirts of the village.

 clinic The medical centre.

This was the office, next door, was the ward.

I found it strange that the Dr had gone home, and the sick people were left to lie in bed unaccompanied.

It always amazes me, how in developing countries, people manage without playstation’s, or tv or anything like that.

In the evenings, they simply hang out and mingle with friends.

I saw these children playing with a hoop and stick, a toy which hasn’t been popular in the UK, for more than 50 years.

 dinner In the evening, we sit around this beautiful table, talk, drink, just generally have a fantastic time.

Later in the evening, when it got dark, the room was lit by candles on the table.

 My room in the morning, with my Rucksack packed and ready to go.  myroom
 oldinn2 In the forecourt, there were some steps leading down to a toilet and storeroom.

I realised, that by walking down a few steps, you could get a perfect shot of the back of the Old Inn.

Its hard to describe, but without this, it would have been impossible to capture the elevation of the building.

Everyone else in the group caught onto the idea, so one by one, they all had a go.

We took breakfast each morning at the back of the hotel.

I am not normally a big fan of breakfast, but the days on the trip, were long and a good “feed” first thing in the morning, gave you energy for the whole day.

 vol  This woman was a volunteer, and had been teaching at a local school, and staying at the Old Inn.
The staff at the Old Inn waving goodbye (I took this photo from an alternate angle).

I have stayed in some amazing hotels, but the warm welcome and the comfortable surroundings of the place, make it stand out in my memory.


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