Dhankuta, Nepal’s Queens of Hills, is a perfect place to spend your summer holidays.
Declared the best district in Nepal for the fiscal year 2012-13, Dhankuta is a wonderful place to visit in the summer and monsoons. As soon as your bus trudges upwards from the foothills of Dharan, a wonderful change overcomes everything. The ambience is instantly cooler, fresher, and greener. The wandering roads leading from Dharan to Dhankuta are a delight in themselves, unwinding beautifully for 60 kms.
Halfway between Dharan and Dhankuta lies Sailung Danda or Bhedetar, an evermisty place that puts every other hill station to shame. It is named after the bheda (sheep) that used to graze in the tar (plains). As you go up the Charles View Tower located a little further from the bus stop, you can actually feel the fog seeping in on you. Prince Charles stopped by this point in the 1980s, leading to the tower’s English name. The tower allows a breathtaking view of Saptakoshi and serpentine roads.
It’s a good idea to stay overnight in Bhedetar to enjoy the awesome sunrise next morning from Dhaje Danda, 13 kms further ahead. You can also walk ahead to the Namaste waterfall. The paths are a bit slippery, hence quite adventurous. It is absolutely worth it when you reach the pristine waterfall that washes off all your worries.
Once you reach the sturdily built Tammar Bridge at Mulghat, you know that Dhankuta has arrived. This is the best place to spend a day with friends, as you can watch the raging Tammar river from the banks, and also sign up for rafting. If you want to go for a swim, rush to the nearby Leuti stream.Another place to visit in Mulghat is the Vishranti temple, with an old-age home fashioned commendably around it.
The peaceful surroundings, where elders give out their blessings and sing hymns, could inspire you to volunteer and do your bit for society! Shivaratri is extra special in Bishranti.
The best way to experience the wilderness of Dhankuta is to take a walk through the forest of salla (pine) trees that surround it on all sides.The serene greenery, chatter of monkeys and hum of birds will work their magic and take away your tiredness.Make sure you visit the haat (local market), a feast of goodies are spread out every Thursday. Dhankuta is a haven for the spiritually inclined, with temples such as Jalpadevi, Nishan Bhag wati, Pathibhara Devi and Naageshwar Mahadev within easy reach.
Once you’ve had your fill of the market, it is time to visit another beautiful hill station -Hile, the entry point of trekking trips to Kanchanjunga and Makalu. Thirteen kms upwards of Dhankuta, Hile is immediately recognised by the huge structure of tongba (a millet-based alcoholic beverage) jar constructed right at the crossroads. And indeed, Hile’s tongba and sukuti are to die for. Hile is to be visited for its panoramic views, and an amalgamation of religions can be seen in the presence of numerous churches, temples and monasteries existing side by side. From Hile, you can drive five more kms to reach Pakhribas, which offers you a chance to visit temples and observe tea plantation.