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Butwal

Lying at the very foot of Chure Pahad (Fragile Hills), Butwal (Devanagri: बुटवल) is a large town in southern Nepal on the banks of Tinau river in Rupandehi District. It is approximately 240 kilometres west of the capital of Nepal Kathmandu and 22 kilometers from district headquarter Bhairahawa.Butwal is an important town in the sense that it connects the western region to the capital Kathmandu. Also tourists coming through the Indian Border of Sunauli through road have to pass through Butwal. In this sense Butwal enjoys the status of one of the major gateways to Nepal.

Entymology

The name Butwal is derived from the famous Batauli Bazar which is situated in the old Butwal very near to the mountains.

History

Historically Butwal has always been a major Gateway for the people of Nepal, and has connected Nepali people with their Indian neighbors. Butwal had been a major bone of contention between the British and Nepali Kings during the British Raj in India. British and Gurkha soldiers had fought several wars to claim Butwal.

When king Tribhuvan had to flee from Nepal to India in 1950, he travelled through Butwal.
Upto 1950s Butwal was just a little more than a village on the western bank of Tilottama River (also popularly known as Tinau River). With the construction of Mahendra Rajmarg and Siddharth Rajmarg, the village grew rapidly and developed into a modern township.

Archeological Significance

archaeologist Dr. Munthe and a group of American archaeologists excavated 10.1 million years old dental ruins of Ramapithekas human tribe on the bank of the Tinau (Tilottama) River. Butwal has also been proved to be a significant site for the study of prehistoric age. Butwal is also the place where first ancient human (Rama-pithacus) bone was found in early 1981 A.D.

Population

The population of Butwal in 2001 was 75,384.. Most of the population consists of Pahadi people who have migrated from nearby villages in the hills, students, and ex-Gurkha soldiers who are commonly called Lahure (Nepali : लाहुरे). There are significant number of Terai population as well.

Culture and Religion

Majority of the population of Butwal trace their ancestary to nearby hilly regions of Palpa, Arghakhanchi, Syangja etc. Because of this despite being Terai region, Butwal has significant Pahadi(Nepali:पहाड़ी) influence in its culture. Population is predominantly Hindu. There are some Muslims as well who are of Terai origin.

The major festivals celebrated are: Holi, Teej, Maha Shivratri, Dashain, Tihar, Bhai Tika. Interestingly, since the majority of the population are from nearby hilly villages (Pahadi), most of them go to their native villages during the month long festivities starting from Dashain to Tihar and the town gets almost deserted.

Economy

The economy of Butwal town is mainly centered around education, trade and transportation. Butwal has always been a major trading centre for the hill people (Pahadi) from nearby villages, as is evident from the establishment of Batauli Bazar in the foot of the hills in old Butwal. The main trading centre of Butwal is near Traffic Chowk. Shops selling Chinese and Indian items are in vogue. Butwal also boasts of number of small and medium scale industries specializing in woodwork, Ironsheet, Metalware and Aluminium sheet etc.

Lately, after the establishment of Butwal Multiple Campus and a host of other private educational institutions, Butwal has seen influx of students from nearby hilly regions who come here to pursue their academics.

A major source of income is derived from expat Nepalis and Gurkha Soldiers employed with Indian and British Army.

Transport

Like most of Nepal, Buses are the major means of Transport with many private operators running bus service between popular destinations. Till 2003, most of the Bus Fleet were made up of old bigger buses. But since 2003 operators have pressed in many new small buses which are popularly called Micro, because of their small size. There is frequent Micro service between Butwal and Bhairahawa. Older Jeeps are also used to ferry people to nearby hilly regions. Apart from this, Rickshaws are also popular means of transport. Taxis are not very popular because of the high cost factor.

Education

Butwal has emerged as a major hub of Education in the Lumbini region. Butwal Multiple Campus(Nepali:बुटवल बहुमुखी क्याम्पस ) the government college is the biggest campus in the region. It has more than 5000 students and has classes in Arts, Education, and Science. All the courses in this college are affiliated to Tribhuvan University situated in Kathmandu. Apart from this several private colleges offering courses for +2 and other professional disciplines have come up in Butwal and adjoining regions. Some of them are:

Engineering colleges
Lumbini Engineering College Near Bhalbari affiliated to Pokhara University

BBA and BCA College
College Of Computer Technology offers courses in BBA and BCA, affiliated to Pokhara University
Tilottama Campus offers BBA course affiliated to Pokhara University

Hospitals

Butwal Zonal Hospital Government Hospital
AMDA Hospital specializes in women and children

Places of Interest

Siddha Baba Temple

This famous temple is located on hills at the border of Butwal Municipality. In fact the temple lies in Palpa. Devotees believe that Siddha Baba will grant their wishes, and whosesoever wishes are granted offers piegeons at the temple. Large number of piegeons can be seen at the temple.

On Saturdays, the weekly holiday in Nepal, large number of devotees from Butwal as well as nearby places visit the holy temple. Special Micro services are pressed into service on these days by bus operators for the convenience of devotees.

Phulbari (Manimukunda Park)

Phulbari, the winter palace of Palpali Sen clan is very fascinating from natural and archaeological values. There are ruins and antiquities of the majestic palace of Manimukunda Sen an ancient Palpali King containing 6 large rooms as well as royal residence, administrative and fascinating scenic grandeur of Butwal, Siddharthanagar and other neighbouring villages of Rupandehi district can be vividly seen from here at night also. His Majesty's Government, archaeological department has attempted to maintain it in 1991. Now Butwal municipality has formed council for the conservation of Manimukunda Sen Park to conduct Phulbari Development Programme and attempted to make it an amusing and a tourist resort.

Jitgadhi

Jitgadhi a fortress during Angol Nepal war, Narayan temple built by (1864 B.S.) Hanuman temple and Shivalaya of Hanumagngadhi, Jalabinayak Mehadev temple, Siddababa temple, Nuwakot etc. are famous centres of attraction in Butwal.

Sainamaina

Located about 12 Km. west from Butwal and to North from Banakatti, Sainamaina as an open museum is very famous and fascinating resort from historical archaeological culture and natural points of view. Among the different Gramas villages of Shakya King, it was in the samgrama site. An Indian queen (Begam)because of the revolution in her kingdom came to this area with her soldiers and porters (‘Sena’ and Mena’) and finally this area came to be known as Saina Maina. It is an exquisite treasure trove of ancient ruins and antiquities statues of dancing saints, ruins of palace, well etc. The statue of Buddha (Jogidanda) was very significant different ruins of having the values of classical art are scattered here and there. This famous archaeological site is being occupied by homeless and landless people. Some of the antiquities of this site are seen thrown around the Lumbini museum.

Notes

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