Dharan is a municipal city located in Sunsari district of the eastern Nepal. It is also known as the city of football or mini-Brazil. Dharan is south to the hill station Bhedetar of Dhankuta district and north of Itahari. It is also the gateway to the hills of Mahabharat range. Therefore it sees a mild summer and a mild winter. Not too hot not too cold.
Under the clause 3 (iv) of Agreement on the Koshi Project between Nepal and India which was signed by Mahabir Shumsher and Gulzarilal Nanda on April 25, 1954 in Kathmandu, the Nepalese Government permitted to quarry construction materials (boulders) required for the Project from deposits site in Dharan and Chatra. Accordingly, the rail tracks were laid down to link Dharan and Chatra to Bhimnagar to transport boulders required for the construction of Koshi Barrage that was started in 1958 and completed in 1962. The rocks were transported to Ghopa, Railway Line for stock piles by ropeway from the quarry site at Phusre. Retention walls built to haul these materials on train wagons at Ghopa still stands but in a ruined stage. In fact, the place is now called “Reeting” probably a derivative term for “Retention”. The train was still running in the late 60s (or was it early 70s). However, one cannot believe that Dharan and Chartra were once linked with railways to Bhimnagar since there isn’t any sign of steel rails or sleepers expect some culverts or masonry works in few places. Nevertheless, one can find few steel rails now erected as electricity poles at Chartra apart from an overhead water tank that used to fill trains in early days.
By bus or micro-van from Kakarbhitta or Biratnagar. Bus fare is 130-160 Rs, from Kakarvitta to Dharan and it is only 40 Rs. from Biratnagar to Dharan. From Itahari, Dharan is only 20 minutes bus journey and Itahari is well connected to all the other cities of Nepal. So anybody can come to Itahari and then take a micro van or bus to Dharan. Kakarvitta and Biratnagar both are on India-Nepal border and both are well connected to other major cities from Indian side. There are direct long distance bus routes from Kathmandu and Pokhra (fare is around 600 Rs. for both the cities).
The main bus terminus is situated at Bhanu Chowk, near the clock tower. All the long distance buses and city bus/micro-vans/tempos start from this point. Bhanu Chowk is the city centre.
- Temples like Dantakali, Budhasubba, Pindeshwori and Bishnu Paduka are the shrines you shouldn't miss out. Budhasubba is famous for bamboos that don't have shoots and no crow flies around. Lovers srcipt their names on these bamboos believing that they will have a long lasting and inseparable relationship.
- B.P.Koirala Institute of Health Sciences, Dharan is one of the best medical colleges in Nepal. You will find the layout of institute which is streched on more than 250 acres in area, superb since it was initially a base for British Gurkha Recruitment Centre until 1989.
- While you are in Dharan do not miss rafting from Tamor River to Koshi.
- Bhedetar (Sheep's Butte) is a beautiful hillside only about 15 km (and straight up) from Dharan. It marks the end of the Tarai (plains) and the beginning of the foothills of the Himalayas. There are a number of lodges along the way providing a nice view down to the south.
- You can view the scenic beauty of Dharan from Charles Point Bhedetar. You can visit many greenery parks like the Hariyali Park, Yalambar Park and Saptarangi park. You can see many wild animals wondering around in these parks.
You can find a large number of shopping outlets in and around Bhanu Chowk where you can choose the right things you are looking for and at the same time you can compare the prices. If you don't have time and wish to buy all the things in one place, try Sailung, couple of blocks from Bhanu Chowk.
- Dal Bhat is the most popular dish here but there are restaurants for Tibetan dishes like Momo and Chowmin. There are couple of restaurants that serve you hallal foods. Most of the good restaurants are within a kilometer from Bhanu chowk. If you prefer cakes and ice creams, you won't be disappointed at Haly's.
- Tongba, a local alcoholic breverage, brewed from indigenous millet, is a famous drink of Dharan.
There are many lodges (low cost) and hotels around the main bus terminus at Bhanu chowk.
There are bus routes to Basantpur, Hille and Dhankuta. Kathmandu and Pokhra require overnight journey by bus.