• Wednesday, 28 September 2022

Village Tourism Exposes Hidden Gems!

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Benazir Ahmed Siddique

Nepal is popular in the world for adventure travels, village tourism, mountaineering, white water rafting, jungle safari, staying at the specially built resorts or the self-pitched tents. 

Village tourism is a new concept in the context of Nepal. If you want to fit with the culture of the warm-hearted local people of Nepal, simple daily life, traditional foods and the diverse nature, you must go to the village. Real warmth and diversity can be found in the rural life of Nepal, which will be engraved in the memory of a tourist forever. Let us visit some prominent villages in Nepal:

Dhampus:- Just a few miles drive from Pokhara valley arrives a beautiful village of Dhampus. It is a major tourist attraction due to its enriched golden paddy field view and the panoramic mountain view. The village of Dhampus is suitable for hiking, mountain viewing, bird-watching, and exploring the Gurung lifestyle. Distant from western influence, you will find people preserving traditional culture to date. Dhampus village is an affordable and easily accessible destination for short hiking from Pokhara valley. The village is a gateway to the Annapurna conservation area. Dhampus village also offers a gorgeous landscape view of the entire Pokhara valley.

Chhomrong:- Chhomrong is located in the Annapurna region, north-west of Kathmandu. Its height is 2,170m/ 7,100ft. Unbelievably, Chhomrong is famous for its European bakeries - the chocolate croissants and apple pies make for a well-deserved treat after a big day on the trails. It appears in the trekking route of the Annapurna Sanctuary trek. Annapurna trek would be incomplete without experiencing the unmatched beauty of Chhomrong village. Chhomrong village offers a spectacular view of some high peaks like Annapurna III, Annapurna south, Hiuchuli, and Machhapuchhre. Do not miss the morning view from Chhomrong village. It is surrounded by dense rhododendron forest. The local people of Chomrong village prepare some delicious ethnic food that you must try during your visit.

Tolka:- Tolka is located in the Annapurna region north-west of Pokhara. Its height is 1,700m/5,570ft. It is a popular stop for Annapurna Sanctuary trek. This village is also a great place to celebrate adventures. Here, if you want, you can easily get together with the local people in the evening chitchat and music session. Sunrise in Tolka is spectacular. Because, when you see the snow-capped peaks of the mountains from here, it seems as if they have turned pink and are welcoming a new day perfectly. The natural scenery of the children going to school along the winding roads of the yaks and the hills along the roads of this village will surely fascinate anyone.

Namche Bazaar:- It is located in the Khumbu region of North East Nepal. Its height is 3,440m/11,280ft. As you get closer to Namche Bazaar, your level of excitement will increase a lot; because, it is the gateway to the highest mountain in the world. Once here, you will get a glimpse of Everest and your mind will pull towards it. 

Namche is the world's largest market and the center of trade in the Khumbu region. From here, tourists get to experience how to survive at higher altitudes. The village is located on a hillside and supplied with electricity from a nearby hydroelectric power station. You will be amazed to see how well a village in the middle of the hills can work here with internet, cafes, accommodation and many shops. You will also find a Saturday morning market and a daily Tibetan market with clothing and cheap goods for sale.

Khumjung:- It is located in North East Nepal, it’s a Khumbu subregion inside Sagarmatha National Park (a UNESCO World Heritage site). It has an elevation of 3,790m/12,430ft above sea level. Khumjung is a beautiful village, where if you go and see small houses, you will feel as if someone has painted white clouds on the green roof. It is also known as ‘Hidden Village’. Khumjung is a rural community and largely inhabited by Sherpa. It is here that you'll find the Khumjung Monastery, which, it is claimed, holds the scalp of a yeti. 

Phakding:- Phakding location is in the Dudh Kosi River valley, north of Lukla. Its height is 2,610m/8,500ft. It is a popular place to stay night on the way to Everest Base Camp. Its height makes it an ideal place to start the adaptation process. The locals are very sincere and friendly, which multiplies the joy of a tourist. There are many guesthouses to stay in this village. Once you like this village, you can take a walk in the beautiful Kosi river in the morning and evening. 

Chhusang:- It is located in the Mustang district of northern Nepal. Its height is 3,500m / 11,480ft. It is an amazingly beautiful ancient village. The majestic Upper Mustang valley, also known as the last forbidden kingdom, is a popular trekking destination among avid trekkers. During the Upper Mustang Trek, 6 to 7 hours downhill from Ghiling village will take you to Chhusang village. 

The tranquil village of Chhusang lies at the bank of the Kali Gandaki river and is 

surrounded by gigantic cliffs. Experience the Tibetan culture and discover the hidden gems of Chhusang village with a pinch of adventure and excitement.

Jiri:- It lies in the Dolakha district, around 190 km from Kathmandu. It used to be the main gateway to the Everest region before the trekking trail was modified to a new route. It is known as ‘Switzerland of Nepal’. It is one of the desired hill stations in Nepal for dating, honeymoon, short trek, vacations, enjoying snowfall, and many more. It is also popular for its cheese production industry. The cheese factory of Jiri produces delicious Yak cheese and chhurpi (Dried cheese). The Tenzing-Hillary Park, dedicated to the late mountaineers Tenzing Norgay Sherpa and Sir Edmund Percival Hillary is also a sight to witness.

During the travelling in the villages of Nepal, you may sweat, you hardly catch your breath, you are dragging your feet uphill for hours and then you arrive an open valley, colorful houses, nestled between the mountains, smiling locals welcoming you and inviting you in their tea houses. In an instant, you forget the struggle: Isn’t worthy for you?

(the author is a pharmacist, writer and social activist) Photo Courtesy:- Rohit Giri, Pokhara, Nepal

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