After Prithvi Narayan Shah seized Bandipur in 1768, Newar traders from Bhaktapur in the Kathmandu valley established it as a commercial funneling point. They developed it into an important halt along the India-Tibet business route by taking advantage of its malaria-free environment. They carried their cultural legacy and architecture with them, which has mostly remained untouched since their arrival.
In the early nineteenth century, it was a simple Magar settlement. Bandipur grew into a rich commercial center and a village with town-like characteristics, including big buildings with neoclassical brick walls and shuttered windows, as well as roadways paved with silverish slate slabs. Bandipur was at its peak during the Rana era (1846-1951), when it was granted special permission to create its own library as a symbol of its authority and respect (still existing).
With the completion of the Prithvi Highway in the 1970s, trade declined considerably. It was naturally erected in the Marsyangdi valley for technical reasons, leaving Bandipur alone atop the mountain.
Bandipur also lost prominence as a result of its low accessibility, when the district headquarters of Tanahun were relocated to Damauli. Bandipur’s traders were compelled to relocate to Dumre, with many opting to go to the Terai; Bandipur became a ghost town. The population has shrunk dramatically.
Bandipur has been the scene of unrest on two occasions. The construction of the road did not go unnoticed by the locals, who pushed for a different path during the planning phase. When the first democratic demonstrations in Nepal took place in the 1970s, the people of Bandipur seized the small garrison. The soldiers escaped after several people were killed.
People protested and occupied the administration once more when the district headquarters were to be relocated. During the night, the public servants escaped. To defuse the tension, the king was transported in by helicopter. The small town’s downfall, however, could not be reversed. Some vestiges of the city’s prosperous past survive. Despite the fact that many of the dwellings are in poor condition, the traditional Newari architecture has been retained. A covered veranda runs virtually the whole length of Bandipur’s main street on the northern side, which is a unique feature. The majority of the structures still feature small stores.
The slate slabs on the main street were destroyed by large vehicles for which they were not constructed, but they may still be seen along the margins and in the back alleyways. The library is still usable and was meticulously updated in the year 2000. A soccer-field-sized Tundikhel to the northeast of Bandipur is another legacy, as is the village’s significance as a center for schooling for the surrounding towns.