also known as Sudurpaschim province, it has many tourist destinations that await promotional development.
The Province No. 7, also known as the Sudurpaschim Province covers 19,539 sq km area (about 13.22% of the country’s total area). The capital city is Godawari and the three major cities are Dhangadi, Bhimdutta (Mahendranagar), and Tikapur; Dhangadi being the largest city. The province has Tibet on its North, Province No 5 and 6 (Karnali Province and Lumbini Province respectively) on its East, states of India – Uttarakhand to its West, and Uttar Pradesh to its South. The province has a 40.6% Himalayan region, 34.54% Hilly region, and 24.86% Terai region in total. It lies to the far West of the country.
There are a total of 9 districts in this province: Achham, Baitadi, Bajhang, Bajura, Dadeldhura, Darchula, Doti, Kailali, and Kanchanpur. There is 1 sub-metropolitan city, 33 municipalities, and 55 rural municipalities in the province. According to the 2011 census, the population is 2,552,517 which is 9.63% of the total population of Nepal. The majority of the people follow Hinduism (i.e. 97.23% people).
MAJOR RIVERS AND LAKES
The major rivers in this province are the Seti river and the Mahakali river. The Seti River is a tributary of the Trishuli river and is considered one of the holiest rivers of the Hindus and is worshipped as Lord Shiva. The river is also famous for rafting as the water is warm due to underwater heat. Similarly, the Mahakali river is also called the Sharda river that originates from the Kalapani in the Himalayas. It joins the Ghaghra River, a tributary of the Ganges.
Some of the other rivers in this province are Chamelia, Budiganga, Darganga, Surnaya, Dhikgaad, Hoparigaad, Rangoon, Doteli Gaad, Spalgaad, Khuwataya, Banara etc.
The major lake here is the Kailali Ghodi Lake – the wetland jewel of far west Nepal as it also has religious importance. Moreover, there are other lakes like Jhilmil lake, Bedkot lake, Dadeldhura Aali lake in Kanchanpur, Chatiban lake in Doti, etc. Also, the Khaptad lake in Doti, Achham, Bajura, and Bajhang area is a popular tourist attraction.
MAJOR RELIGIOUS SITES
There are many religious sites in the Sudurpaschim province that can help boost tourism from cultural aspects. Also, the Indigenous Tharu community has lots to offer to tourists. However, this province still awaits to be explored as promotion of this area is far behind as compared to other destinations.
Badimalika in Bajura, Surma Devi in Bajang, Jalfadevi, Masta, Durga, Marlakarjun in Darchula, Tripura Sundari in Baitadi, Ugratara of Dadeldhura, Baijanath of Accham, Godawari in Kailali, Nainadevi, and such many more major religious temple are situated in this state.
MAJOR TOURIST DESTINATIONS
Having an open border to India, this province mostly attracts Indian tourists. Nevertheless, American, British, French, and German national also visit this province as tourists, but mostly for official purposes. Some of the destinations include Khaptad National Park, Budinanda Devi, Suklafata, Sursasrobar Lake, Mahabharat Hill, Patal Bhumeshwor, Karnali Pool, Api Mountain, Tikapur Park, Aali Lake, and more.
However, the government departments of Nepal do agree that Province 7 has a lot to develop in terms of infrastructure and promotional activities. With various planning projects on the way, Sudurpaschim Province awaits to experience growth in tourism.