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Dharan (Devanāgarī: धरान) is a sub-metropolitan city in Sunsari District of Nepal 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.


धरान उपमहानगरपालिका
Dharan from hillside
Dharan from hillside
Queen of The East, Beautiful town of east Nepal, City of Lahurey
"To build an environmentally sound city, functioning as the centre of education, health, tourism and business with fully developed infrastructure"
Dharan is located in Province No. 1
Location of Dharan in Province No. 1
Dharan is located in Nepal
Dharan (Nepal)
Coordinates: 26°49′0″N 87°17′0″E / 26.81667°N 87.28333°E / 26.81667; 87.28333Coordinates: 26°49′0″N 87°17′0″E / 26.81667°N 87.28333°E / 26.81667; 87.28333
Country   Nepal
DistrictSunsari District
Founded byChandra Shumsher
 • MayorVacant
 • Deputy MayorMrs. Manju Bhandari (Subedi) (NCP)
 • Total74.26 sq mi (192.32 km2)
 • Water1.7 sq mi (4.4 km2)
Highest elevation
(Near Bhedetar)
5,833 ft (1,778 m)
Lowest elevation
(at Tarahara)
390 ft (119 m)
 • Total141,439
 • Rank3rd (Province No. 1)
15th (Nepal)
 • Density1,901.9/sq mi (734.33/km2)
 • Ethnicities (Minorities)
Magar, Gurung, Tamang, Dalits, Marwari, Sah (Rauniyar), Jha, Gupta, Roy, and other Madeshi
 • OfficialNepali
Time zoneUTC+5:45 (NST)
Postal Code
56700 (Sunsari), 56702 (Mangalbare)
Telephone code025

Dharan sub-metropolitan city organised a Golden Jubilee celebration of Dharan from 28 to 31 January 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.[1]



Ancient historyEdit

The capital of Morang as part of Pallo Kirat was Bijaypur, now in modern day Dharan. During last conquest of Shah dynasty, Bijaypur was ruled by a King Budhhi Karna Rai.

Rise of King MawrongEdit

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 son Mabo Hang succeeded him in 865 AD and ruled until 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 but 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.

Rise of King SirijongaEdit

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 (khebang). He was succeeded by his descendents, who also bore Hindu names. Kirti Narayan Raya (khebang), Aap Narayan Raya(khebahang), Jarai Narayan Raya (khebahang), Ding Narayan Raya Ing, and Bijay Narayan raya (khebagn).

King Bijay Narayan Raya (khebang) 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 Budhhi Karna Rai. Budhhi Karna Rai succeeded the last Sen King of Morang Kama Datta sen and sat in the throne of Bijaypur Palace in 1769 AD.

Modern eraEdit

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.[2]

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. It is also the place Indian Gurkhas and their pension office is located in Busare above zero point. This city also the home town for lots of Nepalese Army. There are few citizen of Dharan who is now serving the United States Army. They went to USA as students and joined the United States Army through MAVNI program. To join the United States Army is the very hectic and long process.

In 1962, Nepal was divided into 14 administrative zones and 75 districts, and Dharan was made the zonal headquarters of Kosi Zone.

Municipal timelineEdit

  • 15 November 1960: Dharan Municipality was founded. Initially, the town was divided into eleven wards,
  • 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.
  • 8 May 2014: Panchakanya village development committee of east, was merged with Dharan Municipality.
  • 2 December 2014: Bishnupaduka village development committee of West, was merged with Dharan and 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.

Local governmentEdit

The local administration body is the Submetropolitan. Dharan Submetropolitan city is headed by an elected mayor. There are 27 electoral wards in Dharan. Dharan 15 is the largest electoral ward with regard to population and area. A corporator is elected in each of the wards, and people of Dharan directly elect the mayor by majority vote. Dharan has a range of public facilities open to the community.

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.

Entertainment and sports facilitiesEdit

Dharan has three cinema halls featuring Nepali, Hindi and English-language films. These are Ganesh Takij, Shiv Cinema and Gorkha Cineplex. A museum is being constructed on the way to Bijayapur, a historical Limbuwan Kingdom.

The City Library, operated by young people, opened in 1950 and is situated at Chhata chok. A major refurbishment was undertaken in 1999 and a further minor refurbishment was implemented in 2011. Public accessible wifi is available. Current Library services and collections can be accessed from the Dharan Libraries website.

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 an increase in popularity for bboying among the youths in the recent years,[when?] and bboy/bgirl performances are now common in the major events of Dharan.[citation needed]

The sporting activities are mainly centered in the multipurpose stadium Dharan Stadium. The most common sports include 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 an attraction for adventure activities such as paragliding and mountain biking.[citation needed] Adventure sports such as cycling, paragliding, and canyoning are targeted towards tourists.[citation needed]

Various musical programs and festivals are organized frequently.

Parks and gardensEdit

Dharan has extensive parks and gardens. These include the Saptarangi Park, Sakela Park, Panchakanya Park, Yalamber Park, Hariyali Park and so on.


Dantakali temple, Dharan

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, and from terai district like Saptari, Rautahat, Janakpur 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" "Kirat" Rai Huilung chhauwaa, Kirat Rai festival with Sakela dance and Kirat Rai kulung chakchakur or toshkham,("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 Shiva. Shiva's temple, named Pindeswari Dham, is visited by people from many parts of Nepal and India.[citation needed] On every Monday of Shrawan month, devotes flock over the temple wearing yellow or orange clothes. On those Mondays Devotees bring holy water from river Koshi, which is about 30 km west of Dharan, as offering to Lord Shiva. Usually there are five Mondays for the Devotees to worship on the month of Shrawan.

Attractions in Dharan and nearbyEdit

Dharan city from Buda Subba height 2013

Tourism plays a major part in the Dharan economy. Dharan is a tourist destination in its own right. Communication is mainly in Nepali and English. Bagarkot, which is actually located in the bank of seuti river. There you can enjoy food like Sekuwa food and other Limbu and Rai cuisines. [3]

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 Mountain, Kanchenjunga, Makalu Barun National Park, Arun Valley, Tinjure-Milke-Jaljale (TMJ) area (Rhododendron Protection Area), Gupha Pokhari, Hyatung Falls, 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. There is the statue of the our first poet Bhanu Bhakta Acharya in Bhanu Chowk. The mega city Itahari is popular with the local population of Dharan.[citation needed]

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 Panchakanya. These temples are of historical and archaeological importance as much as religious. These temples are centers for rituals, fairs and events.

Langhali Road Dharan

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.

Pindeswori Babadam

Other potential tourism prospects include:

  • Paragliding from surrounding hills and Bhedetar for the dare-devils
  • Development of Panchakanya, a Natural Park into a mini zoo
  • Protection and development of flora and fauna of Chaarkose forest
  • Cable car at Dharan-Bishnupaduka-Barahachhetra
  • Better advertisement of Babadham fair
  • Construction of an airport in Dharan

Some measures taken by the Submetropolitan of Dharan to promote tourism:

  • Emphasis on the development infrastructures of the city
  • Support development and management of Pindeshwor Babadham fair, Barahachhetra fair and Bishnupaduka fair to promote religious tourism
  • Budha Subba Gold Cup Football Tournaments coordinated by the municipality every year
  • Annual publication of a brochure and city information of Dharan
  • Publication and distribution of postcards and photographs of Dharan and Bhedetar
  • Promote Dharan festivals. E.g. Dharan Mahotsav
  • Dharan clock tower (Ghantaghar)
  • Development of the Saptarangi Park (Park of Seven Colours) and Panchakanya Natural Park
  • Financial and other assistance to the development of a privately run Yalambar Park
  • Thousand Big Buddhas (under construction)

Geography and climateEdit

Climate data for Dharan (1981-2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
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)[4][5]
  • Surrounded by hills in three directions, Charkose Jhadi (forest) is to the south, to the east and west are Seuti and Shardhu rivers respectively
  • Temperate climate
  • Great change of altitude at a short distance (305 m to 700 m at a short distance of 4 km)
  • Sloped terrain
  • Midpoint between Hills and the Terai plains (Bhawar region), and a gateway to the hills

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.[6]

Media and communicationEdit

  • Newspapers: The people of Dharan are served by several daily local newspapers and national newspapers. There are 11 local newspapers in total. These include The Blast Times and The Morning Times. National newspapers are also provided to the people of Dharan on a daily basis. National newspapers include The Kathmandu Post, Kantipur, Annapurna Post,[7][8] and Himalayan Times. Several monthly neighborhood papers serve the town.
  • Radio: The state-owned Radio Nepal is broadcast on the medium wave on 648 kHz in the city. Five private local FM stations are available. They are Star FM - 95.6 MHz, Vijayapur FM - 98.8 MHz, Dantakali FM - 88.5 MHz, and Radio Dharan FM - 88.8 MHz. BFBS Gurkha Radio 107.5 MHz and Radio Ganatantra FM 95.1 MHz are a community radio station.
  • Television: Nepal's state-owned television broadcaster, Nepal Television's relay station is present near its border, which provides two free-to-air terrestrial channels. A mix of Nepali, Hindi, English, and other international channels are accessible via cable subscription and direct-broadcast satellite services. Dharan Cable Network broadcasts Kriti Television Channel as a local television channel that covers events in the city.
  • Internet: Internet facilities are provided by Nepal Telecom, WorldLink, Classic Tech, Broadlink, Subisu and Techminds Network. To promote public WiFi, Nepal Telecom has installed hotspots at various public places like Bhanu Chowk and Mahendra Campus.


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 3 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 four termini:

  • Dharan Bus Parks(Bhanu Chowk)
  • Night Bus Service Bus Stand (Sadan Road, Dharan-15)
  • Panmari Bus Stand
  • Chatara Bus Stand

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.


  • It is one of the largest cities of Nepal beside Kathmandu, Biratnagar, Pokhara and Birgunj.
  • Population: 95,332 (census 2001), of which male 55.514%, female 44.486%, census 2011 116,181, including 2 merged VDCs: 141,439.

Civic administrationEdit

Dharan Submetropolitan office 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 8 May 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.

  • Zone: Koshi Zone
  • District: Sunsari
  • Number of wards: 27
  • Development Region: Eastern Development Region


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 campuses of Tribhuvan University, where Food Technology and Nutrition, Dietetics and Microbiology 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. Among them, Public High School and Sarada Balika Higher Secondary School, Shree Sikshya Sadan Higher Secondary School are the most notable educational institution in the town of Dharan.

  • Notable private school, Bijaypur Boarding school, Summit secondary Boarding School, Bishnu Memorial Boarding School, Secondary Boarding School, Buddha Adharsha Boarding School. etc.

Notable peopleEdit


  1. ^ "धरान नगरपालिका स्वर्ण महोत्सव (2067 माघ 14 देखि 17)". Retrieved 8 September 2018.
  2. ^ Khanal, Binod. "Dharan | Nepal". Retrieved 2 July 2012.
  3. ^ : Website for the tourist attraction in Dharan
  4. ^ "Silchar Climatological Table Period: 1971–2000". India Meteorological Department. Retrieved 27 April 2015.
  5. ^ "Ever recorded maximum and minimum temperatures up to 2010" (PDF). India Meteorological Department. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 May 2013. Retrieved 27 April 2015.
  6. ^ Pant, Narayan Dutt; Poudyal, Nimesh; Bhattacharya, Shyamal Kumar (7 June 2016). "Bacteriological quality of bottled drinking water versus municipal tap water in Dharan municipality, Nepal". Journal of Health, Population, and Nutrition. 35 (1): 17. doi:10.1186/s41043-016-0054-0. ISSN 2072-1315. PMC 5025974. PMID 27267213.
  7. ^ " - is for sale (Clickdharan)". Retrieved 8 September 2018.
  8. ^