About Birgunj, founded in 1897, is a sub-metropolitan municipality and the headquarters of the Parsa District in the Narayani Development Zone. It is situated in the South-Central part of Nepal in the Terai plains, about 89 km South of the capital, Kathmandu, and shares a border with the Indian city Raxaul in the State of Bihar. As an entrance point to Nepal from Patna and Kolkata, Birgunj is known as the gate to Nepal.
Birgunj, the second largest city in Nepal and the largest in the Narayani Zone is a multilingual and multiethnic city. The 300,000 population comprises various ethnic groups, the largest being the Tharus. Many people are of Indian origin, having migrated mainly from Bihar and Rajasthan over a period ranging from 50-200 years. The town speaks several languages, including Bhojpuri, Nepali, Maithili, Newari, Marwari and Hindi.
Birgunj has been a vibrant and busy industrial and commercial city for more than 60 years, owing to its strategic location as the principal transit point for trade between Nepal and India. Many industries have been set up on the industrial corridor between Birgunj and Pathlaiya, producing a significant volume of products such as steel, textiles, cement, plastic, cigarettes, aluminum, pharmaceuticals, vegetable ghee, etc., for domestic consumption and exports. Birgunj is also a big market for the import/export of different merchandise.
The town has significant economic importance for Nepal as a large proportion of Nepali trade with India and other countries is done through the customs post. Birgunj Customs is also the most significant revenue earner for the Government of Nepal. A Dry Port has been established in Birgunj to handle the large volume of goods.
Important landmarks in Birgunj:
(i) Shankracharya Gate
(ii) Ghantaghar (Clock Tower)
(iii) Town Hall
(iv) Ghadiarba Pokhari Udyan/Surya Mandir
(v) Vishwa Buddha Vihar
(vi) Dry Port
Connectivity of Birgunj:
By Road: Birgunj is connected to Kathmandu and all other cities of Nepal by road. There are several road routes between Birgunj and Kathmandu. The way of the main Tribhuwan Highway via Bharatpur is 283 km long and takes about 6-7 hours.
By Train: Indian Rail Network is available from Raxaul Station (4 km from Clock Tower)
By Air: Simra Airport, about 20 km from Birgunj, has several air flights daily to Kathmandu. The flight duration is 15 minutes.
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The tall Ghantaghar (clock tower) in the middle of the busy city is a dominant landmark .
Town Hall was built in the year 1975-76. It’s architecture combines the traditional Nepalese temple design with those of a modern civic utility.
Ghadiarba Pokhari Udyan
Ghadiarba Pokhari Udyan, with a walkway leading to a hindu temple (Surya Mandir) in the middle.
Vishwa Buddha Vihar
Vishwa Buddha Vihar is located on the outskirts of the city. Vishwa is shaped like a stupa and has Lord Buddha’s engravings facing the universe’s cardinal directions. This place has a tranquil ambiance, attracting tourists who want to flee the city’s bustling life. Vishwa is derived from the word vicchu-wa, translated as a resting place for vicchu(s) or Buddhist monks, and means a resting place. In ancient times, the pilgrims stopped at Birgunj amid their journey between Lumbini and Bodh Gaya (India).
Landlocked Nepal’s ‘only’ rail-connected Inland Clearance Depot (ICD) at Sirsiya (Birgunj) became fully operational in 2005 due to an agreement with India on rail access. The rail link is a 5.4 km long spur from the border town of Raxaul.