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Birgunj: Exploring the Gateway to Terai’s Cultural and Culinary Delights

Birgunj is a city in Nepal, located in the Parsa District in the southern part of the country. It lies near the border with India and is an important industrial and commercial hub in Nepal. Birgunj is known for its vibrant trade and economic activities, particularly in the areas of agriculture, manufacturing, and cross-border trade with India.

The city is situated on the Terai plains and is connected to the capital city of Kathmandu by road and rail. It is also home to one of the major border crossings between Nepal and India, known as the Birgunj-Raxaul border point. This border crossing facilitates significant trade between the two countries and serves as an important gateway for goods entering Nepal from India.

Birgunj has a diverse population comprising various ethnic and religious communities. It offers a blend of cultural traditions, and festivals such as Dashain, Tihar, and Holi are celebrated with great enthusiasm in the city. Additionally, Birgunj is known for its local cuisine, which includes popular dishes like bara, chatamari, and sel roti.

Major Attractions of Birgunj

Parsa National Park: Located just a short distance from Birgunj, Parsa National Park is a wildlife reserve known for its rich biodiversity. It is home to various species of animals, including tigers, leopards, elephants, deer, and many bird species. Visitors can enjoy jeep safaris and birdwatching in the park.

Clock Tower: The Clock Tower is a prominent landmark in Birgunj. Located in the heart of the city, it serves as a meeting point for locals and is surrounded by shops, markets, and restaurants. The area around the Clock Tower is often busy, making it a vibrant spot.


Shankaracharya Gate: Shankaracharya Gate is an ornate archway located near the Birgunj-Raxaul border. It serves as an entry point to the city and is adorned with intricate artwork and designs. The gate is a popular spot for photography and is worth a visit.

Ghantaghar Park: Situated near the Clock Tower, Ghantaghar Park is a small recreational area with gardens, benches, and a musical fountain. It’s a pleasant place to relax or spend time with friends and family.

Gahawa Mai Temple: Located in the nearby village of Parsagadhi, Gahawa Mai Temple is a famous Hindu temple dedicated to the goddess Durga. The temple attracts devotees, especially during the Navratri festival, and offers panoramic views of the surrounding area.

Bhutandevi Temple, also known as Bhutandevi Mandir, is a popular Hindu temple located in Birgunj, Nepal. It is dedicated to the goddess Bhutandevi, who is believed to be an incarnation of the goddess Durga. The temple is situated atop a hill called Bhutandevi Danda. It is a significant religious and cultural site, attracting devotees from both Birgunj and neighboring areas.

Ghadiarwa Pokhari in Birgunj is a historical tourist site that was transformed from a large open pond into a major attraction. Inaugurated by King Birendra Shah, it covers 5 bighas of land and has become a significant religious and tourist destination. Visitors can admire the largest sun statue in South Asia at the Sun Temple located by the pond, witness the Arati ceremony in the evenings, and enjoy the serene natural beauty of the surroundings.

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Local Cuisine

Bara: Bara is a popular street food in Birgunj and throughout Nepal. It is a thick lentil pancake made from ground black lentils (urad dal) and spices. Bara is often served with spicy aloo (potato) curry or chutneys and is a delicious and filling snack.

Sel Roti: Sel Roti is a sweet, ring-shaped bread made from a fermented rice batter. It is a traditional Nepali dish, commonly enjoyed during festivals and celebrations. Sel Roti has a crispy exterior and a soft, slightly sweet interior. It pairs well with tea or yogurt.

Chatamari: Chatamari is a savory pancake-like dish that originated in the Newari community of Nepal. It is made from rice flour and topped with a variety of ingredients such as minced meat, eggs, vegetables, and spices. Chatamari is often enjoyed as a snack or light meal.

Kwati: Kwati is a popular Nepali soup made from a combination of nine different types of sprouted beans and lentils. It is seasoned with spices and is typically enjoyed during the festival of Janai Purnima. Kwati is not only delicious but also nutritious.

Jalebi: Jalebi is a sweet treat made by deep-frying wheat flour batter in pretzel or circular shapes and then soaked in sugar syrup. It has a crispy texture and a syrupy, sweet flavor, making it a beloved dessert option.

Fulki: Fulki is a savory snack made from lentil flour and spices. It consists of small, deep-fried balls that are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. These flavorful balls are commonly enjoyed as a street food item and can be found in local markets, food stalls, and eateries throughout Birgunj.

MOMO: Although momo is a popular dish found throughout Nepal, it is also widely enjoyed in Birgunj. Momo is a type of dumpling filled with minced meat or vegetables, and it is typically served with a spicy tomato-based dipping sauce called achar.


How to get there

By Air: From TIA, you can take a domestic flight to Simara Airport, which is the closest airport to Birgunj. Simara Airport is approximately 20 kilometers away from Birgunj, and from there, you can hire a taxi or take a local bus to reach the city.

By Road: You can take a long-distance bus from Kathmandu, Pokhara, Chitwan, or other major cities in Nepal to Birgunj. The journey duration and fares may vary depending on the distance and type of bus.

By Train: Birgunj has a railway station called Birgunj Railway Station, which is an important border crossing point between Nepal and India. There are direct train services from cities like Raxaul and Patna in India to Birgunj. Once you reach Birgunj by train, you can take a local taxi or rickshaw to your desired destination within the city.

By Private Vehicle: If you have access to a private vehicle or are hiring one, you can drive to Birgunj. The city is well-connected by major highways, and you can follow the appropriate route based on your starting location.

Image Source: Google



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