The word Dharan actually refers to the wooden platforms which are used in sawing logs. Large parts of forest were cleared in 1890s in order to establish the settlement here.
Dharan remained the Gurkha recruiting area from 1953 till 1990 when it was relocated at Pokhara. This helped in an expansion of this town which was initially started as a small settlement.
Dharan is a prosperous market town located at Sunsari district of Koshi Zone in eastern Nepal. It is surrounded by hills at three directions while Charkose Forest encloses it from the south and lie about17km north of Itahari. It is linked with other parts of Nepal through East- West Highway. It is a multi- ethnic municipality. Ethnic tribes like Rai, Limbu, Newar, Magar, Gurung, Sherpa, Tamang, Yatkha, Sunuwar and Vujel are established tribes of Dharan. It is located 540km east of Kathmandu.
It is chiefly the Kirat dominated region whose income comes mainly from serving in British Armies. Thus Dharan is one of the wealthiest towns of Nepal and it is said-“Whatever fashion comes in Nepal first comes in Dharan”.
It has a tropical monsoon climate. The maximum temperature is recorded to be 35-36 degree Celsius in April and minimum temperature is recorded to be 10 to 12 degree Celsius in January.
1 It is the Gateway to the eastern hilly districts and also to the places of exquisite beauty like Kanchenjunga mountain and Kumbhakarna mountain.
2 It is located at the meeting point in between Terai plains and hilly region.
3 It is popular as Nepal’s second most rainfall receiving place of Nepal after Pokhara with a record of 2626mm of annual rainfall.
Major Sites in and around Dharan:-
1 Dharan is a gateway for Kanchenjunga Mountain:
Kanchenjunga which is the third highest mountain of the world and second highest mountain of Nepal with its height of 8586m is located in far eastern Nepal. It is the collection of five peaks among which two are in Taplejung while three of them lie in the border between Kanchenjunga and North Sikkim. It is difficult to access and thus receives only a few visitors each year. But the journey, no matter how much arduous it may be, will pay off with the tranquil environment of the mountain.
2 It is a gateway for Kumbhakarna Mountain
3 Bhedetar Tower:
It is located in the border between Dhankuta and Sunsari district, 16km far from Dharan Buspark at the height of1420m above sea level altitude. It is a perfect place to enjoy your holidays or organize picnic. Apart from this, Vedetar is famous for mountain views especially of Mount Everest and Makalu and the giddying views of Terai plain seen from the20m high viewing tower. It is also known by its name of Charles Point which commemorates the visit of Prince Charles in 1980s. It costs NRs5 for Nepalese, NRs10 for visitors from SAARC countries and NRs50 for other foreign tourists to have access to Charles View Tower. The climate remains cold throughout the year. A small temple of Pathivara Devi is major attraction of Bhedetar. Bus and Micro bus are easily available from Dharan Buspark which will take you to Bhedetar.
7 Hyatrung Fall:
9 Ghantaghar(clock tower of Dharan):
Built with the aid of Dharan- Hongkong society, this ghantaghar lies in the heart of Dharan- Bhanu Chowk and is the fourth of its kind in Nepal. Ghantaghar has been built also in Kathmandu, Birgunj and Tikapur apart from Dharan. It stands as the tallest building of Dharan from where Itahari Bazaar, Koshi Barrage, plains of Saptakoshi, Vijaypur hill and Dharan Bazaar can be viewed. It costs NRs5 as an entrance fee to enter the park which has been built in the premises of this ghantaghar and it takes NRs10 to climb up the Ghantaghar.
10 Hile: Hile Bazaar lies 65km far from Dharan crowded especially during weekly Thursday market. One can have particularly good view of mountains if you walk for about 30minutes above the town towards Hattikharka. Tibetan food is the speciality of hotels in Hile. One can reach Hile from Dharan either on bus or jeep. It will take three hours of busride from Dhankuta to reach Hile costing NRs150-180 per person
11 B.P.Koirala Health Science Foundation and Medical College of Dharan is among the famous colleges of Asia where students from India, Bhutan, Srilanka and Bangladesh come to study each year. It is located 2km far from Kabir Tole.
12 Dhankuta Bazaar: It is located 52km far from Dharan.
13 Earthquake Memorial Garden:
Dharan had to suffer a great loss of lives and property from earthquake in the year 2045B.S. A garden has been built in memory of the ones who lost their lives being the victim of earthquake. A12ft long pillar has been erected at the centre of the garden where names of people who died in this earthquake has been inscribed. This garden was built under joint venture of Dharan- Japan group and Ghantaghar Nirmaan Samiti. This pillar is regarded as the symbol of Dharan city.
14 Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve:
This place particularly famous among bird watchers is spread over Saptari and Sunsari district. 439 species of birds are recorded to be seen in this reserve. The birds seen here are not found in any other places of Nepal as most of them are migratory birds that come from other parts of world as far as Siberia to escape the extensively cold winter season. It was recognized as Wetland site in 1987. Another specialty about this reserve comes from its holding of one of the few elephant stables. Birds like spot- billed duck, swamp francolin, black-necked stork, Imperial eagle, white-tailed eagle, Bristle grassbird and animals like wild boar, spotted dear, hog dear, jackal and gharial crocodiles can be seen in this reserve. One can reach this reserve by bus or through air. It lies 500km far from Kathmandu and can be reached after about10hours of busride. Or if you are planning for a flight, you can book the tickets for Biratnagar which takes about45 minutes to reach. A drive of about one and half hours will then take you to the reserve.
Major Temples in Dharan:
1 Dantakali Temple:
It is located in ward No.14 of Dharan on Vijaypur Hill which is about 1572ft. above sea level. According to the myth associated with this temple, this temple was built over the place where teeth of Satidevi- Lord Mahadev’s counterpart was fallen as he was wandering aimlessly in the world carrying the dead body of Satidevi on his shoulder, unable to recover from the grief of loss of his wife. This temple is better known as the wish fulfiller one and many devotees throng to this temple especially on Saturday and Tuesday when ritual sacrifice of ducks, chickens, water buffaloes or goats are offered. It lies at a distance of 4km from Bhanuchowk.
2 Pindeswor Mahadev Temple:
It is located 10-15minutes of walking distance far from Bhanu Chowk. Devotees from far and wide visit this temple especially during Mondays of the month of Srawan as Srawan is believed to be the best month of Lord Mahadev and Monday is taken to be his favorite day. A member of “BolBam” who are distinguished as the people dressed in orange robes use to offer holy water of Saptakoshi fetched from Chatara to Pindeswor Mahadev. A visit to this temple is believed to make your wish come true and also cleanse all your sins.
3 Holy Baraha Chhetra:
It lies in Sunsari district of Koshi Zone at the confluence of Saptakoshi and Koka rivers. Baraha(Boar) is the third manifestation of Lord Vishnu among his total ten manifestations. Myth holds that a demon named Hiranyaksha once hold the earth captive under sea. So Vishnu took the form of boar and killed him to reposition earth in its natural state.
Devotees use to have a bath in Koka kausiki to cleanse the sinful body before making an offering of milk, ghee, curd, honey and tulsi leaves to the god. Idols of Sun, Ganesh and Garud and Shaligram lay scattered in this holy premises. It can be reached through Chatara which lies 21km far from Dharan. Another access point to this region is Jhumka of Inaruwa.
4 Visnu Paduka Temple:
Paduka is the Sanskrit term for foot. Lord Visnu is believed to have stepped in this land in Satyayug( the first age of earth according to Hindu scripture). This temple is crowded especially during New moon days of months of Mangsir and Poush when people worship their demised ancestors- especially demised parents. It is located 14km northwest of Dharan Buspark.
5 Budha Subba Temple:
Budha Subba Temple is the holy temple of Kirats which is located on Vijayapur Hill of Ward No.14 of Dharan. It lies 10minutes walking distance far from Dantakali Temple and about 4km North of Dharan Buspark. It is crowded with devotees especially in every full moon day, in Nawami of Dashain and in every Saturday and Tuesday. Bamboos of odd shape are the basic feature of this temple. According to the legend, Budha Subba once buried his sling under this temple premise from where bamboos spouted out. But those bamboos looked as if someone has just cut off the topmost part as they lacked the top part. Lovers believe that their love will last forever if they write their name on the bamboos of this region. Sacrifices of water buffaloes, goat, duck, chickens and pigs are offered here.
Things to do:
i) Rafting in Koshi River
ii) Paragliding from Bhedetar
iii) Bird sighting in Charkose Forest
iv) Visit toYalambar Park and British Gurkha Memorial Park
v) Trekking to districts like Terhathum, Panchthar, Taplejung, Sankhuwsabha and Khotang.
vi) Play golf at Nirvana Country Golf with 18holes on a well maintained course.
How to reach:
One can reach Dharan either by bus or air.
Day bus and Night bus are available from Kathmandu which takes about11-12 hours to reach Bhanu Chowk of Dharan.
If you are planning for a flight, take a 45minutes flight from Kathmandu to Biratnagar. Then a busride of one hour will take you to Dharan Buspark.
Where to stay:
There are many big and small hotels lined up on the streets of Bhanu Chowk providing best services on affordable fees.
New Dreamland Hotel and Lodge is an average hotel located in peaceful environment which charges NRs 500 for a room without attach bathroom, NRs800 for a room with attach bathroom and NRs1200 per night for a room fitted with air conditioner.