A masterpiece of the Newari architecture, the Gorkha Durbar is everything – a fort, a palace, and a temple.
Perched on the hilltop stands the prestigious palace of Gorkha, the birthplace of the brave king Prithvi Narayan Shah, the unifier of modern Nepal. The kingdom of Gorkha is from where the Shah dynasty hailed. The Shahs conquered the dozens of small states of Nepal was in, in the past. Built during the reign of Ram Shah in the 17th century, seven Shah Kings ruled in the palace before Prithvi Narayan Shah. The majority population in Gorkha are of the Gurung and Magar ethnic groups, who earned praise, respect and were honored for their bravery in both world wars.
A masterpiece of the Newari architecture, the Gorkha Durbar is everything – a fort, a palace, and a temple. Rested on the ridge at the hilltop, the complex serves a stunning view of the Manaslu, Annapurna, and Ganesh Himalayas. The Manaslu circuit also starts from Gorkha itself. The perfect location of the Gorkha fort feels like a short trek climbing the 1500 steps up to the top and overlooks the splendid natural view of the lush green hills surrounded by the Himalayan ranges.
The Durbar has significant religious importance; so, leather items like shoes, belts, etc., are not allowed. On entering from the western gate, one stands on an open terrace in front of the well-crafted Kalika temple. The exquisite Kalika temple is decorated with extraordinarily carved timber with pictures of peacocks, demons, and serpents. Only the brahmin priests and kings and enter the temple; non-Hindus are only permitted to look at it from the terrace.
On the Eastern side, lies the former palace of King Prithvi Narayan Shah, the Dhuni Pati; also covered with beautiful wood carvings. Neighboring is the mausoleum of Guru Gorakhnath, the spiritual saint of the Shah Kings. Near the northern gate is the former Royal Guest House.
The magnificent palace complex of Gorkha is a historical landmark of the Gorkha district. The phenomenal Newari Architecture in which it is built is eye-catching and praiseworthy. Once in this place, the palace is a must-visit to have a glance at the historic fort of the late King Prithvi Narayan Shah. It may also be called the starting point of the unification of modern Nepal, now in existence. Although the 2015 earthquake had severe damage to some of the structures of the fort, followed by the renovation, you may also see some scaffoldings.
The new bus park at Gongabu in Kathmandu has frequent buses leaving for Gorkha, which will be about 6 hours ride.
Or, you can take a morning bus and get off at Abu Khaireni and then take the local bus up to Gorkha.
From Pokhara's old bus park, it is only a 4-hour ride to Gorkha.
You can either walk up the 1500 steps to the hilltop. Or, take the road to the car park below the northern gate.