July 21, 2024, Sunday
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Dapcha awaits to rise as a tourist destination

The Nepal Weekly
October 3, 2023

During lock down period which was imposed due to coronavirus pandemic, the Kathmandu Valley and most of the world was vehicular pollution free. The sky was so clear that all around was visible. The top of Mt Everest was visible from some parts of the valley.

Similar environment can be discovered every day at Dapcha (Daapchaa), the Newar settlement at a hill ridge, at a 45 km distance from Kathmandu. The visitors can breathe fresh air viewing a long range of Himalayas including Gaurishankar to Manaslu in a clear day. Parts of the range can be viewed in the normal days. The hills and slopes at north and south are green and farms of vegetable, grains and flowers are a common view Dapcha offers.

Dapcha is connected by road from Kathmandu. Dhulikhel and Panuati are the nearest towns while Namobudhha comes around 4 km distance before Dapcha. It is approximately 15 km far from Dhulikhel at its south east direction. Likewise, almost similar length of road goes from Panauti at east to reach Dapcha. Both the roads meet at Namobuddha.

Similarly, a road connects Dapcha to Bhakunde of the Dhulikhel – Sindhuli Road (B P Highway). The road however needs upgradation to suite for non-SUV small vehicles. Once upgraded the road, travelers will like to drive this route as an alternative to the Dhulikhel – Bhakunde part of Dhulikhel – Sindhuli road.

Dapcha was previously on the trade route to Kathmandu from central Terai of Nepal. This gateway served supplying food grains from Teari to Kathmandu and people to travel. This was an important point before the Banepa -Sindhuli road was constructed.

The town has nearly fifty historic wooden and brick buildings. The houses have given ample spaces for shops and stores.  The locals say that some 300 families own the traditionally built typical Newar houses.

The town has been preserving traditional Newar-style architecture, adorned with intricate woodcarvings showcases its commitment to safeguarding Nepal’s cultural heritage. Jatras, musics, masked dances are well performed in Newar festivals in Dapcha. Krishna Jatra and Bhimsen Jatra are the main cultural functions.

The people of Dapcha are friendly and sociable. They enjoy guests at their settlement.

Thus, Dapcha can be turned to a tourist destination. The local residents and those who are staying in Kathmandu or elsewhere come to participate social events only should consider on revival of Dapcha as a live Newar town.

People who visits Namobuddha may be attracted for sightseeing, foods and overnight stays there at Dapcha. Likewise, tourist standard resorts may be constructed for tourists to bring and enjoy there at Dapcha.

The eighteenth-century ruler Prithvi Narayan Shah ordered a fort to build at Dapcha. A platform built for buffalo sacrifice in Dashain festival near Kalika Tepmle at Dapcha hilltop may be taken as an evidence of the strategic importance at that time.

Dapcha was developed after the Newars arrived there to stay permanently. They were driven away with their small kids when there was small pox pandemic in the Kathmandu Valley and the fearful King had ordered all having small kids to leave the valley which could save the kids at royal palace. The locals who were residents of Patan core city say that this was happened some 235 years or more back.

Namobuddha is the nearest well known Buddhist shrine. Buddhists and others from Nepal and other countries visit there. There are well managed monasteries. A lot of Buddha statues are installed there. There are a number of meditation facilities as well. Moreover, praying for better abode in heaven to the recently passed close relatives, people come to offer lamps at Namobuddha.  

According to legends, Namobuddha is the place where once a prince offered his body to feed hungry tigress and her cubs. The prince named Mahasatwa has been respected as a Bodhisatva.  

Dapcha also has one other religious places such as Kusheshwar Mahadev and Bhimsen Temple. Moreover, a beautiful waterfall locates at the distance of one hour drive.

Currently, some enthusiastic Dapcha people are considering to offer home stay service with local foods. They informed that some reconstruction the road is in planning and a circular road will be constructed so as only small vehicles will enter the bajar area. Likewise, cultural shows in the evening can also add to its attractions. Moreover, around 20 existing houses can be converted to Home stay service for more guests.   

The services available at present needs ‘upgradation’ keeping in view common hospitality norms. That means, lodging facility with good cleanliness, hygienic cooking and food service also need to be given professionalized touch. Likewise, small old houses partly collapsed due to big earthquake of 2015 standing ugly need face lift.

In sum up, the enthusiasm needs more powerful acts with coordination with local government, provincial government, Nepal Tourism Board, tourism education institutes, tourism organisations and tourism entrepreneurs. (By Purna N. Ranjitkar / Photo : Mahesh Ratna Tuladhar)