Gorkha District is a region of central Nepal situated in the mid hills approximately 110km north west of Kathmandu. It is a town of great historical significance as it was the birthplace of King Prithvi Narayan Shah who, during the last half of the 18th century, united the many states of Nepal.
The well respected King is still greatly revered for his wisdom, tolerance and justice. He was born in Gorkha and his former winter palace is now a tourist attraction as well as the hilltop Gorkha Kalika temple.
Gorkha is also the name of the fearless soldiers of the region, who later became known as the Ghurkhas. The Ghurkhas still serve within the British Army and have a much respected reputation.
The town of Gorkha is now a bustling small hillside town in the foothills of the Himalayas approximately five hours drive from Kathmandu. There is good road access linking the town to other cities of Nepal though roads remain subject to landslides due to the mountainous terrain of the Himalayas and are heavily polluted in Kathmandu valley. Roads have more recently been developed through Gorkha to more rural areas further into the mid hills whilst more remote rural locations in the region still depend on inter village pathways.
Many of the locations where projects take place are several hours drive from the town and roads are often impassable in the monsoon season – June to August. Clearer days from September to April allow unbelievable views and glimpses of the himalayan peaks.
The town now has improved drainage and water supplies in the main area though this remains limited in the outskirts of the town and the rural areas which still lack all amenities including regular water and power supplies.
In April 2015 the area was greatly affected by earthquakes with many lives lost, several villages completely destroyed, most of the 400 schools in the district affected or destroyed, and thousands of houses lost leaving the poorest people living in bamboo/galvanise shelters. GDS supported many projects at this time, for more details see Past Projects support after the 2015 earthquake.
Homes, schools, businesses and the hospital were all damaged throughout the country, especially in Gorkha District – the epicentre of the quake.