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Dharan from hillside
|Nickname(s): Queen of The East, City of Lahurey|
|Motto(s): "To build an environmentally sound city, functioning as the centre of education, health, tourism and business with fully developed infrastructure".|
|Founded by||Chandra Shumsher|
|• Mayor||Mr. Tara Subba (Limbu)|
|• Deputy Mayor||Mrs. Manju Bhandari Subedi|
|• Total||74.37 sq mi (192.61 km2)|
|• Water||1.7 sq mi (4.4 km2)|
|Highest elevation||5,833 ft (1,778 m)|
|Lowest elevation||390 ft (119 m)|
|• Density||1,901.9/sq mi (734.33/km2)|
|• Ethnicities (majorities)||Limbu, Yakkha, Sunuwar, Rai, Khas (Chhetri & Brahmin), Newar|
|• Ethnicities (Minorities)||Magar, Gurung, Tamang, Dalits, Marwari, Madeshi|
|Time zone||NST (UTC+5:45)|
|Postal Code||56700 (Sunsari), 56702 (Mangalbare)|
Dharan (Devanāgarī: धरान) is one of the sub-metropolitan cities in eastern Nepal, in the Sunsari District, and is situated on the foothills of the Mahabharat Range in the north with its southern tip touching the edge of the Terai region at an altitude of 1148 ft (349m). It serves as a trading post between the hilly region and the plains of Terai region. It was once the location of a recruitment center for the Brigade of Gurkhas, opened in 1953. The recruitment center is closed and the campus is now the home of B.P. Koirala Institute of Health Sciences since 1993.
Dharan sub-metropolitan city organised a Golden Jubilee celebration of Dharan from January 28 to January 31, 2011 marking the 50th year of establishment of the municipality. It is the second-largest city of Eastern Nepal. It is also known as the soccer/footballer producing factory of Nepal.
The ten rulers, their kingdoms and their forts:
After a brief period, King Mawrong Hang came to prominence and took over Terai lands of Chethar, Bodhey, Panthar and Ilam (present day Jhapa, Morang Sunsari and Dhankuta). He named his Kingdom Morang after his name and rose to power. He subdued all the Ten Limbu Kings of Limbuwan and became their overlord. He died without any male heir and King Uba Hang took over as supreme ruler of Limbuwan in 849 – 865 AD. He made many religious and social reforms in Limbuwan. Uba Hang's worthy son Mabo Hang succeeded him in 865 AD and ruled till 880 AD. Uba hang kept on with the reforms his father had started. Uba Hang was succeeded by his son Muda Hang. Muda Hang was a weak ruler so the local chiefs started ruling their areas independently. Muda Hang was succeeded by his son Wedo Hang, by this time Limbuwan was in chaos and every principality was ruling independently and fighting with each other. Wedo hang was murdered and his son Chemjonghang succeeded him.
During this chaos and the waning phase of King Chemjong hang, King Sirijonga of Yangwarok kingdom rose to power. He subdued all the independent rulers and took over as the new supreme ruler of Limbuwan. He built two big forts in Phedap (present day Terhathum district) and Chainpur (present day Sankhuwasabha district). The remains of the structure still stand today. One of his legacies was that he brought all the Limbus under the same writing system in Limbu script. He also brought feudal reform in Limbuwan and divided Limbuwan into new boundaries and districts.
Eventually after the establishment of Namgyal dynasty in Sikkim and under the Lho-Mehn-Tsong Tsum, a treaty between the Bhutia, Lepcha and Limbu people of the Sikkim area, Limbuwan lost the area between Kunchenjunga range (present day eastern border of Nepal) and Teesta River to the Bhutia Kings of Sikkim. Since then Limbuwan comprises all the area between Arun River and Koshi River in the west to Kunchenjunga Mountains and Mechi River in the east.
In the beginning of the 15th century, the descendants of King Sirijonga became weak and Limbuwan again fell into chaos and anarchy. At the time Lowland Limbuwan Kingdom of Morang was ruled by King Sangla Ing. Sangla Ing declared independence and became the first independent ruler of Morang in a century. His son Pungla Ing adopted Hinduism and changed his name into Aamar Raya Ing. He was succeeded by his descendents, who also bore Hindu names. Kirti Narayan Raya Ing, Aap Narayan Raya Ing, Jarai Narayan Raya Ing, Ding Narayan Raya Ing, and Bijay Narayan Raya Ing.
King Bijay Narayan Raya Sanlga Ing built a new town in the middle of Varatappa and Shangori fort and named it Bijaypur after him. He had no issue and died without an heir.
Bijaypur town was founded in 1584 AD and is currently located next to Dharan, Sunsari District. Bijaypur town remained the capital of Morang Kingdom and Limbuwan region until the Gorkha Limbuwan War in 1774 AD.
It was the most powerful and influential of all the Kingdoms in Limbuwan region and was able to establish its hegemony among all the other Limbu rulers. But in 1609 AD Kirant King Lo hang Sen of Sen dynasty captured Morang and ruled it for seven generations.
King of Phedap Murray Hang was made the chief minister of Morong. He stayed in Bijaypur and the King of Morang made his post hereditary. Murray Hang was given a Hindu name and he became Bidya Chandra Raya . His descendents remained Chief Ministers of Morang until Buddhi Karna Raya Khebang. Buddhi Karna Raya Khebang succeeded the last Sen King of Morang Kama Datta sen and sat in the throne of Bijaypur Palace in 1769 AD.
Dharan started as a small trading settlement. Over the last few decades, the population of Dharan has increased and diversified to include people from various ethnicities like Limbu, Brahmins, Chhetris, Rai, Gurung, Newar, Sunuwar, and Yakha.
Modern Dharan's foundation was laid in 1902 by prime minister Chandra Shamsher. He established a small village at the foot of Bijayapur hillock and named it Chandranagar (now Purano Bajar). The purpose was to supply timber to the East India Company, which in the 1890s had expanded its north eastern territory and was laying railway tracks. The first government official to be appointed in this small village was Subba Ratna Prasad. The settlement grew steadily over the course of time. This growing settlement was named Juddha Nagar (now Naya Bazaar) after Prime minister Juddha Shamsher. It was declared a municipal town in 1960.
The British Gurkha Recruit Center was established in 1953 and this increased the flow of people and expansion of the town. Recruits from all over Nepal flocked to join the British Gurkhas, thereby drastically altering the face of Dharan. There was a surge in population with recruits bringing their families, and others who came to seek employment and exploit business opportunities. As a result, Dharan emerged as one of the biggest towns in eastern Nepal. It is in a true sense a melting pot of different ethnic groups, languages, dialects and religions.
In 1962, Nepal was divided into 14 administrative zones and 75 districts, and Dharan was made the zonal headquarters of Kosi Zone. Initially, the town was divided into eleven wards, but in 1980, two adjoining Gaon Panchayats, Banjjhogara Gaon Panchayat of east and Ghopa Gaon Panchayat of west, were merged with Dharan Town Panchayat. This expansion led to the reformation of the wards. Now Dharan is divided into twenty-seven wards as of 2014.
With effect from December 2, 2014, it has upgraded status of a Sub-metropolitan City.
The name Dharan is Nepali, which literally means a place where one saws timber. A typical Dharan is constructed by digging a rectangular plot about 5 to 6 feet deep. This hole is large and deep enough for an adult to comfortably move about. A platform is constructed to cover half of the hole. Timber is placed on this platform and a two-man team, one standing on the platform and the other in the dug out proceed to saw timber with a huge blade. This is very labor-intensive and dangerous process.
The local administration body is the Submetropolitan. Dharan Submetropolitan city is headed by an elected mayor. There are 27 electoral wards in Dharan. A corporator is elected in each of the wards, and people of Dharan directly elect the mayor by majority vote.
Electricity is provided and distributed by Nepal Electricity Authority which is a state run company. Law and order in town comes under the jurisdiction of the district police force, which is a part of the Nepal Police; a Deputy Superintendent of Police oversees the town's security and law affairs.
Dharan has two cinema halls featuring Nepali, Hindi and English-language films. These are Ganesh Takij and Shiv Cinema. The town used to have a public library. It exists no more. A museum is being constructed on the way to Bijayapur, a historical Limbuwan Kingdom.
From the very beginning Dharan has been an arena for games and sports. Many of its players have represented Nepal in international competitions. Dharan is a force to reckon with in football, martial arts and cricket. The biggest and probably the best golf course of the country (18 holes) is in Dharan. Dharan Football Club with co-organization of Dharan Municipality, every year in August and September, holds the prestigious Budha Subba Gold Cup football tournament in which most teams of national repute participate. Dharan has also seen a tremendous increase in popularity for bboying among the youths in the recent years and bboy/bgirl performances are now common in the major events of Dharan.
The sporting activities are mainly centered in the multipurpose stadium Dharan Rangasala. The popular sports are football, cricket, volleyball, and basketball. The Dharan Football Club is one of the most active organizations promoting football in the city and organizes a South Asian club-level annual tournament. Nearby Bhedetar hill has developed as a good attraction for adventure activities such as paragliding and Mountain biking. Adventure sports such as cycling, paragliding, and canyoning are targeted towards tourists.
The Outsiders Band is one of the popular musical bands. Various musical programs and festivals are organized frequently.
Dharan is a melting pot of many cultures, representing a mix of diverse cultures of Nepal. There are many people from the surrounding districts, Sankhuwasabha, Tehrathum, Ilam, Panchthar, Dhankuta, Bhojpur, and Taplegung Khotang, who live in Dharan.
Different ethnic groups host their traditional cultural festivities all year around. The Dhan Naach (dance), "Chyabrung Naach" (dance) and Chasok Tangnam of Limbus, "Chasowa-Yuchhyang" ("Udhauli-Ubhauli"), "Sangdangrangma" ("Dokeni i.e. Goddess of Wealth"), "Kei Lak" ("Dhol Nach") of Yakkha, Lakhe naach (dance) and Gai Jatra of Newars, Sakela of Rai, Selo of Tamangs, Rodighar of Gurungs, Baalan and Sangini of Brahmin and Chhetris, all add to the cultural tradition of Dharan. Dharan also hosts a Sakela competition every year. It starts from the Baisakh Sukla Purnima (full moon of day of the month of Baisakh) and lasts for 15 days.
One of the big devoted temples of Dharan is a Hindu god Hanuman's temple named Panchmuki Balaji Dharan Dham. People from many parts of India such as W.B., Sikkim, and Rajasthan, and people from Nepal come here to get the blessings of Lord Hanumana. On the day of Purnima every after six months there is a mela held in this temple as the birth of Lord Hanuman took place on the day of Purnima.
Dharan is a tourist destination in its own right. Communication is mainly in Nepali and English. People who are English speakers should have no problem comprehending many signs and road maps in Nepal. Bagarkot, a place near city is famous for Sekuwa food and other Limbu and Rai cuisines. 
Beyond Bhedetar lies the eastern hilly district such as Dhankuta, Bhojpur, Phidim, Terathum. Dharan serves as a gateway to some of the remote tourist attractions like Kumbhakarna Himal, Kanchenjunga, Makalu Barun National Park, Arun Valley, Tinjure-Milke (Rhododendron Protection Area), Gupha Lake, Hyatrung Fall, and Sabha Pokhari. They are quite further and therefore require extended day trips.
On the south of Dharan is the city of Biratnagar and connecting towns, all within an hour's drive. Bhanu Chowk is also known as the heart of Dharan. The mega city Itahari is popular with the local population of Dharan.
Dharan, with its diverse population, has numerous centers of worship, i.e. temples, churches and a mosque. Bijaypur Hill is of a particular significance, as it has several temples of importance, such as Dantakali Temple, Pindeshwor Temple, Budha Subba Temple and Panch Kanya. These temples are of historical and archaeological importance as much as religious. These temples are centers for rituals, fairs and events.
In recent years the close proximity of the Tamur River has made Dharan a destination for the white water rafting enthusiasts, Which starts from Mulghat of Dhankuta district and finishes in Chataradham.
Other potential tourism prospects include:
Some measures taken by the Municipality of Dharan to promote tourism:
|Climate data for Dharan (1981-2010)|
|Record high °C (°F)||31.0
|Average high °C (°F)||24.5
|Average low °C (°F)||12.1
|Record low °C (°F)||3.3
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||12.1
|Average rainy days||1.0||3.9||8.5||12.6||16.2||21.5||22.5||19.3||15.5||7.7||2.4||0.6||131.6|
|Source: Meteorological Department of Nepal (record high and low up to 2010)|
The climate of this area is in the tropical monsoon category. Its maximum temperature 35 to 36 degrees Celsius in April, and a minimum of 9 to 11 degrees Celsius in January.
A study conducted in 2016 to analyze the bacteriological quality of bottled drinking water and that of municipal tap water in Dharan found that one hundred percent of the tap water samples and 87.5% of the bottled water samples were contaminated with heterotrophic bacteria. Of the tap water samples, 55.3% were positive for total coliforms, compared with 25% of the bottled water, but no bottled water samples were positive for fecal coliforms and fecal streptococci, in contrast to 21.1% and 14.5% of the tap water samples being contaminated with fecal coliforms and fecal streptococci, respectively. One hundred percent of the tap water samples and 54.2% of the bottled water samples had pH in the acceptable range.
One of the major highways, Koshi highway, passes through Dharan and links it with Dhankuta. Regular bus services and hired vehicles connect Dharan with Biratnagar and other neighbouring towns. Biratnagar Airport (40 km) is the nearest airport. Dharan is about 40 km from Biratnagar. It takes around 1 hour to reach Dharan from Biratnagar by road and costs about 80 rupees.
From Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, buses leave everyday at 3:30 pm from the Gongabu Bus Park, arriving around 6 AM the next morning if there are no any traffic jams. Micro-buses also operate from Koteshwor leaving at 5 AM and 7 AM. Tickets can be purchased for 1000-1500 Nepalese rupees only. The city has three termini:
The local transport consists of city-safaris and auto-rickshaws (or tempos). Sharing a ride with other passengers on auto-rickshaws and city-safaris is the most economical mode of transport.
Dharan Submetropolitan looks after civic affairs in the town. The Submetropolitan is headed by a mayor. The mayor and councillors of the city are elected through a popular vote by the residents. The municipal area was previously divided into 19 wards. However, from May 8, 2014, as per the decision made by cabinet ministers, it is now divided into 27 wards with Panchakanya and Bishnupaduka V.D.C added to the existing area of Dharan. There was a proposal to upgrade it to a Sub-metropolitan after including neighbouring area under its jurisdiction which succeed in December 2014. An administrator appointed by the government.
Dharan has five public colleges and university (three under Tribhuvan University, one under Nepal Sanskrit University and one with deemed university status B.P. Koirala Institute of Health Sciences), several private colleges with affiliation with other national universities and more than 40 public and private secondary schools. Central Campus of Technology (also known as Hattisar Campus) is one of the constituent campuess of Tribhuvan University, where Food Technology and Nutrition & Dietetics programs are offered. Dharan also has nine private and one public libraries, and three special education centres. It has more than five technical school affiliated to the Council for Technical Education and Vocational Training (CTEVT). Among them, Public Highschool and Sarada Balika Higher Secondary School are the most notable educational institution in the town of Dharan.
Academic institutions in Dharan include: