Tourists flock to Manungkot to watch white clouds and sunrise


By Amar Raj Naharki, Tanahu, Nov. 21:As the cold weather sets in, both domestic and foreign tourists are flocking to Manungkot in Byas Municipality-5 of Tanahu to witness the enchanting fog and sunrise. 

The mist, resembling a lake, blankets the surroundings of Damauli in the morning, creating an illusion of a field of white clouds, which serves as a major attraction for tourists.

As the sun rises and the fog dissolves, the Madi River, originating from the mountaintop and descending down the hills, becomes visible. In the backdrop, framed by the Himalayas, one can gaze the picturesque mountainous landscape. 

Every time people climb, they are greeted with a breathtaking view similar to this scenic beauty. To witness this spectacle, people are converging in Manungkot, resembling a swarm of ants. The influx of both domestic and foreign tourists has experienced a rapid surge over the past decade. According to local tourism professionals, around 1,000 tourists visit the area every day.

Chudamani Dahal, director of Hotel View Tower, said that amid a slowdown in the tourism business, the surge in the number of domestic and foreign tourists has generated excitement among hoteliers operating in the area. 

Manungkot, situated at an altitude of around 1,200 meters above sea level, is located about eight kilometres west of Damauli Bazar.

Tourists coming from far away have come to stay at the hotel the previous day to watch the sunrise. Tourists who come to stay here have a lot of fun watching the sunset in the evening as well as the sunrise the next morning.

Residents from around Damauli market typically arrive to witness the sunrise before 5 am. Dahal mentioned that there is a larger crowd on holidays compared to other days. The mist, resembling a lake, that envelops Damauli in the morning, creates the appearance of a field of white clouds.

With the sunrise and the dispersal of fog, the Madi River originating from the mountaintop and flowing down the Nagbeli River, becomes visible. The mist enveloping Byas Cave and Parashar Ashram, coupled with the resounding beauty of the sunrise, has captured the interest of domestic tourists. The Damauli market, in particular, experiences a surge in crowd as people gather to witness the captivating spectacle of the mist-covered landscape. 

The enchanting view during sunrise and sunset adds to the allure of the landscape. The fog blanketing the Damauli market is also linked to a religious occasion. There are stories of Sage Parashar, the father of Maharishi Byas, creating fog to conceal the moments of his union with Matsyagandha, the daughter of a Majhi. 

Senior advocate Kamala Mohan Wagle, who visited Manungkot, expressed, "Manungkot is beautiful from every angle; it is a piece of heaven on earth." 

The influx of domestic tourists to Manungkot has surged from various parts. The breathtaking view from Manungkot includes the Dhawalagiri, Machhapuchhre, Annapurna, Manaslu, Lamjung, and other snow-capped mountain ranges.

The panoramic view from Manungkot includes the Damauli market, Madi River, Sange River, Tanahu hydroelectric dam, and various construction sites. From this vantage point, all 14 wards of Byas Municipality become visible, providing a broad perspective of the surrounding landscape.

Hoteliers excited

The surge in tourists to Manungkot has brought prosperity to hotels in and around Damauli. Hoteliers are delighted with the increased influx of visitors. Prem Raut, a tourism businessman, expressed, "There is an excitement since hotels began to get booked."

The rise in tourist activity in Manungkot has not only benefitted hotels but has also boosted business of small tea shops around Damauli. Additionally, the increased influx of tourists has led to a surge in business for motorcycle workshop operators and tent renters in Damauli. 

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