Chainpur: A paradise for nature lovers
Chandra Kumar Phuyal
Nestled in the heart of Sankhuwasabha district in State-1, Chainpur is a beautiful place from where one can have an amazing view of many snow-clad mountains. There are also green hills around the old rural town. Most of the hills and valleys surrounding Chainpur are still virgin from touristic point of view.
Apart from the unmatched scenic beauty, Chainpur is well-known for its rich culture, tradition and spirituality. Named after the traditional Newari town of Chainpur, the Chainpur Municipality now includes four more neighbouring villages-- Siddhakali, Siddhapokhari, Baneshwor and Kharang.
Covering an area of 223.7 sq.km., Chainpur also stretches to Milke Danda, via Pokhari Bazaar, Noondhaki, Siddha Gufa (cave) and Gupha Pokhari to the eastern side. This is a rarely travelled and less trekked area.
Chainpur is renowned for the khukuri (a traditional knife) and the karuwa (a kind of metal water jug with piped tap sculptured with artistic exterior carvings), which are made by the local people. The Newar community people, especially the Shakyas, have been involved in making the metal water jugs and trading them.
The area is ahead of neighbouring villages in the district in terms of education and health. There is a college that offers courses up to the Master’s degree. Besides, there are several public schools, private schools and health centres in and around Chainpur. A government hospital is also located in the Chainpur Bazaar. Most of the locals are farmers while some are businessmen and job-holders.
Chainpur and nearby areas could be an alluring destination for domestic as well as foreign tourists. Over the years, the areas have witnessed a significant growth in the number of hotels, lodges, restaurants and home-stay facilities. Although Chainpur looks like an ancient town at first sight, the locals are highly civilised and modern. It has enough clean drinking water and proper sanitation facilities.
Numerous festivals like the Dashain, Tihar, Gai Jatra and Krishna Asthami are celebrated with much fanfare in this township. Cultural dances such as Lakhe dance, Ropai dance and Dhan dance are very popular among the locals. Every Friday, a weekly market is organised in Chainpur where people from villages around attend it to sell and buy consumer goods.
Chainpur, once the headquarters of the Sankhuwasabha district, is distinct from other places around. The district headquarters is now Khandbari.
Situated at an elevation of around 1,200 metres above sea level, Chainpur is at a vantage point from where Mt. Makalu (8,481m), the world’s fifth tallest peak, can be viewed to the north and the fascinating Arun Valley to the south-west. The world’s deepest valley is home to 650 species of birds and 800 species of butterflies, 3,000 kinds of flowering plants and 47 species of orchids. The Tinjure-Milke-Jalajala (TMJ) region alone is home to around 30 species of rhododendron.
Baneshwor Danda is another stunning place that lies between Chainpur and the Arun Valley. The place is just an hour’s walk from Chainpur. One can get the chance of hearing the music played by the wind softly blowing on the pines with birds chirping somewhere around it. As per the locals’ belief, this is the real heaven where gods would live. At the top of this hill lies a temple where many pilgrims gather during the Maha Shivaratri festival. Surprisingly, there is a pond nearby the temple, where natural colorful fishes can be seen.
Similarly, some small but neat and clean settlements and villages and farm terraces with lush green meadows have spread to the Piluwa River towards the South with Siddhakali, a holy temple, and the historical Kailash Danda situated on its head to the north. People from all walks of life and ages visit the sacred place of Siddhakali to seek blessings for the progress and prosperity and to have their wishes fulfilled. Visitors’ journey is not considered successful if they don’t reach Siddhakali located atop a green hill.
A jeep drive on the rough road to Milke Danda from Chainpur is really mesmerising. In a 40-minute drive to the eastern side of Chainpur, one can get to a beautiful traditional town named Pokhari Bazaar. This is a small trade centre for the locals. The place offers a variety of local products, including seasonal fruits -- berries, bananas, guavas, mango, and oranges. Noondhaki is about 45-minutes’ drive from Pokhari Bazaar. Noondhaki is famous for the miraculous seven stone sprouts from where warm water flows. People even from far off visit this place just to take a bath. It is believed that if one takes a bath there, he/she will be free from skin diseases.
The further you drive, the vaster land of uniqueness teemed with incredible natural beauty you confront making you feel that this is the real heaven on earth. Another one hour drive to the south-east is rather pleasant as you would spot Gupha Pokhari, a fascinating place snuggled on the top of a beautiful hill with a height of around 4,200 metres. The hill is covered with dense green forest. Now, take a slow drive or get off the jeep and take some snaps of the spectacular scenes around. You will also get fascinated with the cool shades, the soothing sounds of streams and rivers nearby. Visitors may find their trip to the area quite enjoyable with the fresh breeze and chirpings of birds.
The forests in the surrounding areas are home to pheasants and numerous other bird species. Many wildlife species like foxes, musk deer, snow leopards, red pandas, tigers and bears. The forests are also rich in wildflowers and medicinal herbs.
Located at a height of 3,662 metres above sea level, Milke Danda and neighbouring areas are abundant in alpine forests and many natural ponds like Gupha Pokhari, Laam Pokhari, Paach Pokhari and Kaalo Pokhari having a mythology of their own for each.
In 15 minutes’ further drive, you will get to Tinjure, another tourist spot. The major attraction of this place is the View Tower standing atop the Tinjure Hill from where you can view different mountains like Mt. Kanchenjunga, Mt. Makalu and other mountains in the Khumbu Region. One can also view Mt. Everest if the weather is clear. The place is also famous for viewing the sunrise and sunset.
There are two options to reach Chainpur: by bus or jeep and by plane. If you go for the first option, direct buses are available from Kathmanu to Chainpur that travel via different cities such as Itahari, Dharan, Dhankuta, Basantapur and Mude Shanischare. During the 20-hour bus travel, you can enjoy having breathtaking views. If you choose the second option, you can fly to Tumlingtar from Kathmandu or Biratnagar. Regular bus services to Chainpur are available at Tumlingtar. It takes about one hour for you to reach Chainpur from Tumlingtar by bus.
Once the existing facilities and infrastructures are upgraded, Chainpur and its neighouring areas may become a much sought-after destination among many domestic as well as foreign travellers.
(Phuyal is a freelance writer who writes on social issues. He can be reached at [email protected])