5 Oldest Towns Outside Kathmandu Valley You Must Visit

  • Jun 8, 2020
  • Annushree
  • 1373

Table of Contents


Panauti is one of the historical and oldest towns in Nepal. It was originally given as a dowry by King Bhupatindra Mall to his sister. Panauti was a trade center and salt trade route of Kathmandu Tibet in the late 50s. In 1960 Arniko highway has been built and this trade route collapsed and importance and popularity of Panauti has been decreased. With the mixed culture of Buddhist and Hindus, socio-cultural practice has still been alive here and thousands of visitors visit every year to explore the medieval sites, lifestyle, culture and tradition

Panauti, situated at the confluence of the two rivers Rosi and Punyamati, has been regarded as an important religious site since very early times. In Nepali society, such rivers are considered to be sacred. A visit or just an ablution to such places enables the visitor to be freed from many sins and anxieties, as it is believed to be sacred. Moreover, it is also believed that at Panauti, in addition to aforesaid two rivers, a third river Lilawati also converges making it again a tri-junction called Triveni. However, the last one is said to be visible only to the sheers and the intellectuals. The presence of this at Panauti has added and remarkably enhanced its religious sanctity and popularity as well. On account of this, every festive occasion, a great number of devotees from all across the country pour here for a holy ablution and to pay homage to the nearby Indreshwor Mahadev Temple and other holy sites located here. The site is also regarded as Prayagtirtha of Nepal.

The Indreshwar temple is kept in a very well maintained, walled in, compound which is managed by the Panauti Museum. This temple (1294 AD or earlier) is one of the largest and tallest pagoda style temples in Nepal. King’s Palace and other live festivals are major attractions of Panauti. Panauti organizes number of festivals based on ancient mythology with same tradition till date. Three day long Panauti Jatra is one of the major festivals in Panauti.

Panauti Jatra is known as the chariot festival which takes place every year in Panauti, at the end of the monsoon. The Jatra festival usually begins on the tenth day of the bright fortnight during the month of Jestha (May–June). The Jatra is usually celebrated for three days, as everyone becomes busy for the preparation of celebrating the festival, known as "Duin-chha-nya-ye-ke-guis", which is usually held in the evening. This event is one of the major cultural attractions of the Panauti Jatra. During this festival, images of the gods (from the town's temples) are placed in a chariot and displayed around the city. The pulling of the chariot begins from the town's old Durbar Square. A team consisting of a priest, a woman, and a porter crosses the bridge over the Punyamati River to worship the Gods. This crossing over the Punyamati River is a yearly event and signifies the tradition from many years before. The following day of festival is called Mu-jatra, which means the main festival. On this day, many of the residents of Panauti will sacrifice male goats or ducks to the Gods, and many other will simply make an offering of food. The sixth day is the full moon day, which is also known as Panauti Punhi. This day is the most favorable day for visiting the river and cleaning your body.

Another attraction of Panauti is Harisiddhi Dance. The Harisiddhi dance is considered to be the oldest traditional dance in Nepal.This dance was initiated about 2,400 years ago by King Vikramaditya.It is said to use the language of gods and speech of the spirits. As a result of discontinuity,it disappeared and King Amar Malla was the first to re-initiate the dance. However, the tradition again vanished and was finally revived by King Pratap Malla.

The Raja (Vikramajit) went back to Ujjain, and having brought the god of three Shakties, of attributes, named Harisiddhi, placed her near Nil Tara from this, the village of Harisiddhi took its origin. The Raja then under the direction of the Goddess brought all the gods Nepal to that place with great ceremonies and dramatic and vocal instrumental music. It is well known that there is no dramatic performances to that of Harisiddhi.

To promote local culture, Panauti has one FM radio station Radio Prime FM, 104.5 MHz, which is a community radio station.



Just 30 Km east of Kathmandu Valley, Dhulikhel is a popular tourist destination and one of the historic live towns in Nepal. Dhulikhel was among last place to be the part of then Gorkha and now Nepal along with Bhaktapur which was extended by King Prithivi Narayan Shah. Centuries old live town can be seen in Dhulikhel. The southern end is the oldest area of the town where you can explore old fashioned Newari houses with beautifully carved doors and windows. The very old town is decorated with of four toles called wotole(वटोल), etole (ईटोल), dutole (दुटोल), chochhe tole (चोच्छे टोल ).

Dhulikhel holds the major touristic destination as it is important place of Historic, Cultural and Natural beauty. It specialize your every footsteps with lush greenery and 180o panoramic view of Mt. Annapurna, Mt Ganesh Himal, Mt Langtang, Mt Phuribichchyachu, Mt Lhotse, Mt Gaurishankar and other small peaks let you say- Waahooo! 1000 Steps along with other temples like Narayan Temple, Harisidhhi Temple, Bhagwati Temple, Gaukhureshwor Mahadev Temple and Bhagwati Kali Temple and other historic places focused attractions of Dhulikhel.

Bird watching can be done in Dhulikhel. Gosaikunda forest is the home of more than 72 species of the birds. You can enjoy with the lifestyle of local Newar and other communities being as a local. Mountain bike trip from Dhulikhel To Namobuddha is famous among mountain bike tours in Nepal.

Nagarkot Dhulikhel day hiking is one of the popular day hikes in Nepal. Another day hike can be done inside Dhulikhel, reaching Panauti, Kavre village, Opi Village and 1000 Steps (hazar sindhi). If you like to walk little longer Nagarkot-Dhulikhel-Namobuddha is best. You can also remember other routes like Dhulikhel – Panauti, Dhulikhel – Khopasi, Dhulikhel – Palanchok-Dhulikhel, Dhulikhel-Namobuddha-Dhulikhel etc. And if you like to go for zipflying you can do all in one day check this package out for more info.



Tansen was added to UNNESCO World Heritage Tentative list in 2008 under cultural category, it means Tansen is culturally rich along with naturally and historically as well. Tansen was the capital town of Magar Kingdom till couple of centuries ago but Magar King lost in the 18th century and Tansen became a Newari Bazar on the trade route between Indian and Tibet via Mustang. Beside Trade, local Newari people nowadays produce Dhaka cloth including Dhaka Topi wich is very famous in Nepal.

Tansen is a Hilly town in western Nepal, Palpa District on the way to Pokhara from Lumbini. The cool climate in the town remains always same. Top of the Tansen is Srinagar Danda which offers numbers of panoramic view of the mountains including, Mt Kanjirowa, Mt Dhaulagir, Mt Annapurna, Mt Mansiri, Mt Ganesh Himal and Mt Langtang along with other small peaks. A major attraction nearby Tansen is, Ranimahal also known as Tajmahal of Nepal. Ranimahal is the Rana palace built in the bank of the Kali Gandaki river. Golghar is the famous landmark, it is the octagonal pavilion in the middle of Sitalpati.

Durbar, Big Karuwa, Rani Mahal, Srinagar, Mul Dhoka, Buddha Stupa, Sitalpati, Narayan Temple, Bhairav Temple, Rishikesh Temple, Gufa Danda, Dumre Khola, Jantilung Masyam, Thulo Chaupari, Jogipani Bolani Pani Kuwa are the major attraction of the place.

Local Karuwa (a traditional metal mug) and cloths of Dhaka are best products for shopping.



Originally a Magar village, Bandipur, later become Newari village similarly as Tansen. Very old route of trade between India and Tibet connected Bandipur very well and it became famous for a rest and overnight stay among porters and trade dealers. Bandipur had its heyday in the Rana times (1846-1951), when, as a measure of its power and prestige, it was granted special permission to have its own library (still existing).

Bandipur is a hilltop place to stay being isolated from busy schedule. Bandipur lies in Tahahun district of Gandaki State, little close to second tourist hub of Nepal, Pokhara. Bandipur is not only naturally amazing but it also culturally heritage place of typical Newari people and their cultures.

excellent views of the mountains including Mt Dhaulagiri, Mt Annapurna, Mt Manaslu, Mt Ganesh Himal, Mt Langtang and other small peaks can be explored from Bandipur. Locally produced organic food, Bindapasini Temple, old Library, Thani Mai, Tin Dhara, Raniban, Siddha Cave, Ramkot Village, Dharampani Village are major attractions of Bandipur.



Janakpur, also known as Janakpur Dham or Janaki Dham is one of the pilgrimage sites among Hindus. Ancient capital city of Videh and palace of king Janak was believed in Janakpur as per Epic Ramayan. Every year Janakpur organizes the vivah Panchami Mela marking the marriage ceremony of Ram (Son of Dasharath from Ayodhya) and Sita (Daughter of King Janak). Janakpur is 7th largest city in Nepal and it was founded in early 18th century. Janakpur is located in Dhanusha Distric of State No. 2.

Janakpur is located in Terai of Nepal, obviously it has humid climate unlike other two main geographic types of Nepal, Hilly and Himalayan. Dudhmati, Jalad, Rato, Balan and Kamala rivers are surrounding Janakpur. Nepal Railways in Janakpur is only a railway operating in Nepal which connects Janakpur to Siraha and finally to the Jayanagar (India) crossing Nepal-India boarder.

Vivah Panchami, Vijayadashami, Dipawali, Chhat Puja, Makar Shakranti are major festivals in Janakpur whereas Vivah Panchami, Vijayadashami and Chhat Puja are being celebrated as a carnival- like atmosphere.