High above Gorkha town is the interesting fortified palace of the Shah rulers of the region. In the second half 18th century the Gorkha king waged several campaigns against the three cities of the Kathmandu Valley. In 1769 that king, Prithvi Narayan Shah, succeeded in taking Kathmandu and, shortly after, the rest of modern Nepal.
The Shah Dynasty ruled Nepal until 2008, when the country became a republic. Until then the old palace was well-maintained and given high status because of its importance to the royal family. Since then is has become somewhat neglexted, but still very interesting and worth a visit.
Gorkha and Gurkhas, the Nepali soldiers that serve in the British army, are related words. The Gurkha forces were first formed from the Shah Dynasty's army, who called themselves Gorkhali, Gorkha-ites. The British misheard the word, and it became Gurkhas. The troops call themselves that, but they remember the original term: "Aayo Gorkhali" (The Gurkhas are coming) is their war cry.
This can be a side trip for anyone driving between Kathmandu and Pokhara. Nearby Bandipur Village makes a wonderful overnight stop halfway between the two cities. In that case consider two nights in Bandipur and visit both Gorkha and Manakamana Temple.