Pyuthan District(Nepali: प्युठान जिल्ला), is a "hill" district some 250 km west of Kathmandu in Rapti Zone of Nepal's Mid-Western Region. Pyuthan covers an area of 1,309 km² with population (2001) of 212,484. Pyuthan Khalanga is the district's administrative center.
Pyuthan borders Dang Deukhuri District to the southwest along the crest of the Mahabharat Range and extends about 50 km northeast through the Middle Hills to a 3,000+ meter ridge that is both Pyuthan's border with Baglung district of Dhaulagiri Zone and the main watershed between the (west) Rapti and Gandaki River basins. Pyuthan borders Rolpa district to the west. Of the two upper tributaries of the West Rapti River, Pyuthan contains all of Jhimruk Khola and the lower part of Madi Khola after it exits Rolpa. The Madi-Jhimruk confluence is in southern Pyuthan, in the Mahabharat Range. On the southeast Pyuthan borders Lumbini Zone including Arghakhanchi and Gulmi districts.
The valley of Jhimruk Khola is the core of Pyuthan district. Its alluvial plain is intensively planted in rice during the summer monsoon. Wheat is grown as the winter crop. Madi Khola has eroded an inner gorge and is less suited to traditional irrigated agriculture.
Castes and Occupations
Bahun and Chhetri farmers cultivate irrigated fields along the Jhimruk and unirrigated fields partway up the hillsides. They are served by Newar merchants and service castes such as Damai (tailor/musician), Gaine (minstrel), Kami (blacksmith), Kumal (potter), Sarki (tanner/leatherworker) and Sunar (goldsmith). Highlands around the valley are mostly inhabited by Magars, including Kham Magars at higher elevations. The district center Pyuthan Khalanga is situated on a hillside east of the Jhimruk, some 500 meters above it.
The valleys have a subtropical climate with temperatures reaching 40 celsius in May and falling to single digits in winter. There is a little too much winter chill for bananas and papayas. At about 800m elevation, the Jhimruk Valley approaches the upper limit for mangoes, however Madi Khola is lower. Citrus, asian pear and mulberries are grown as cash crops in surrounding hills. Maize is grown on sloping un-irrigated bari fields up to about 2,000m. Snow occasionally falls on adjacent peaks reaching 2,400m but seldom lasts more than a day or two.
At Cherneta the Jhimruk hydroelectric project exploits the Jhimruk bending within 2 km of Madi Khola while some 200 meters higher. It has a capacity of 12 megawatts and supplies electricity for lighting, electronics and machinery. Electricity is considered too costly for cooking and heating, so firewood is still in widespread use with limited use of biogas.
Jhimruk valley with Madi Khola valley beyond and Mahabharat Lekh on horizon.
Scheduled buses serve Pyuthan via a spur road off the main east-west Mahendra Highway at Bhalubang in Lalmitiya VDC, Deukhuri Valley. An old trade route was upgraded for motor vehicles in conjunction with the Jhimruk hydro project and is now (2010) being paved. A longer, now less-traveled gravel road from Tribhuvannagar (Ghorahi) in Dang Valley traverses the Mahabharat Range to Tiram, then descends toward Madi Khola to join the Bhalubang road at Devisthan. The Madi is then followed 1 km. upstream to Chakchake where a left fork continues further upstream into Rolpa district while the main road climbs to cross a low pass at Cherneta and descend into the valley of Jhimruk Khola. At Bijuwar Bazaar about 10 km. beyond Chakchake this road forks again with a branch continuing north along the Jhimruk while the main road crosses the Jhimruk and climbs to Khalanga the district's administrative center.
Pyuthan was one of 24 small kingdoms in the Chaubisi Rajya confederation before Prithvi Narayan Shah unified modern Nepal in the second half of the 18th century. Since Dang Deukhuri District to the south and Salyan District to the west belonged to another confederation called Baise Rajya, Pyuthan was a western outpost of the Chaubisi and probably a defense perimeter defended by forts, for example at Okharkot.
Pyuthan is the home district of Mohan Bikram Singh (1935-), a founder of the Communist Party of Nepal. Singh's organizational work in Pyuthan and other districts of Rapti Zone laid the basis for the area becoming the so-called "heartland" of the Maoist insurgency 1996-2006 that cost over 12,000 lives but was instrumental in transforming the country from a kingdom ruled by the Shah dynasty into a republic. Other prominent communist leaders from Pyuthan include Mohan Baidhya, Lila Mani Pokhrel, Bamdev Gautam and Navraj Subedi.
Pyuthan is also the home district of Anirudra Sharma (Parliament 1959-1960), Sibraj Subedi (former minister and Parliament 1991-1998), Mukti Prasad Sharma of Nepali Congress Party (Parliament 1991-1914) and Khem Raj Pandit of the conservative and royalist Rastriya Prajatantra Party.
V.D.C.s (and other towns in parentheses)
(Bagdula), Bandikot, Bangemarkot, Bangesal, Baraula, Barjibang, Belbas, Bhingri, Bijaya Nagar, Bijuli, Bijuwar
Dakha Kwadi, Damri, Dangbang, Dharampani, Dharmawati, Dhobaghat, Dhubang, Dhungegadhi
Khabang, Khaira, Khalanga, Khung, Kochibang, (Kwadi)
Libang, Ligha, Lung
Majhakot, Maranthana, Markabang
Narikot, Naya Gaun
Pakala, Phopli, Puja
Rajbara, Ramdi, Raspurkot, (Ratamata)
(Sapdanda), Sari, Swargadwarikhal, Syaulibang
(Tikuri), Tiram, Torbang, Tusara
Historic and Cultural Sites
Bandhikot, Bhagawati Temple, Bhawaniswari Temple, Bhimsensthan, Bhimsen Temple (Kutichaur), Bhimsen Temple (Megazun), Bhimsen Temple (Bijbazar), Bhitrikot Cave, Bhitrikot Durbar, Bhringri Kot, Bhumesthan (Khaira), Bijulikot, Birdisthan
Devi Bhagawati, Devi Bhagawati Temple, Devi Temple, Dhunge Gadhi, Dubanasthan
Ganesh Temple, Ganeshsthan, Gaumukhi, Gorakhnath Temple (Khaira), Gorakhnath Temple (Dakha Kwadi), Gorakhnath Temple (Bijbazar)
Jalpadevi Temple, (Bijbazar – Bhagwati), Jalpadevi Temple (Bijbazar), Jhankristhan (Khaira)
Kalidevi Temple, Kali Temple, Kalika Malika, Khadga Devata Temple, Khalanga Shivalaya, Khungrikot
Laxmi Narayan Temple
Masta Mandau, Mehelnath Temple
Phalaharisthan, Pyuthan Magazine
Radha Krishna Temple, Rameswar Temple, Rani Pauwa
Saraswati Temple, Sarikot, Shiva Temple (Khaira),Shiva Temple (Lung), Shiva Temple (Bangeshal), Shiva Temple (Khalanga), Shivalaya, Siddha Devatasthan (Belbas), Siddha Sansarsthan (Dakha Kwadi)
Swargadwari -- a hilltop temple complex and pilgrimage site celebrating the importance of cows in Hinduism -- is located in the southern part of Pyuthan.
Tatopani Shivalaya, Tripurasundari, Tusharakot Isnasthan