Home Features Example of community tourism: ‘Khopara-Khayar Bharani’
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Example of community tourism: ‘Khopara-Khayar Bharani’

Kamal Khatri

Benny. Paudwar village is a cluster of houses in one place. At the head of the village are six forests and mountains. There were many cowsheds in Paudwar village in Annapurna Gaonpalika-5 ward.

In the lower part, there was a cowshed, a buffalo herd up to Khopara (Khopra) hill and above there a sheep herd could be seen. Now the time has changed. Until a few decades ago, tourists have started living on the slopes and hillsides.

Khopara, which can be seen all around, has recently developed into an excellent and attractive tourist destination. It has been developed as an excellent tourist destination under the leadership of the community by covering the area from Paudwar to Khopara through Khayara Bharani Lake at the foot of South Annapurna Himal.

The Paudwar-Khopara-Khayar Bharani route has been prepared for the observation of Annapurna and Dhaulagiri mountain ranges, Guranse forest and Khayar lake in the foothills. “It’s a place where our ancestors used to come. When we were little, we used to come here with cows, buffaloes and sheep. Now there are sheep and goats in the upper part, which are now tourist attractions,” said Pun, a tourism engineer in the area.

The identity here has changed. The biodiversity of the area, which can be seen from a high mountain, has turned it into an excellent tourist destination. “In 2021 BS, I also lived in a buffalo herd. At that time, there were 80-90 herds. It was very enjoyable and sad to live in a herd on a high hill. Later, I lived in exile for a long time. We are committed to building tourism infrastructure, “said Pun.

Pun has been leading the construction of infrastructure since 2069 BS with the aim of developing tourism in Khopara-Khairbharani area, a beautiful place like ‘Queen of Hills’. In this decade, the construction of infrastructure has become meaningful so that it can be developed as a model tourist destination with the active participation of the community.

Engineer Pun, who is also the coordinator of the fund, said that the fund has been set up by setting up a Khairbharani Than and Area Conservation Fund after collecting Rs. The people of Paudwar at home and abroad and the migrants from neighboring villages have contributed significantly to the fund.  Bhim Bahadur Tilija Pun, chairman of the fund, said that the footpaths have been constructed by constructing stone steps in the forest, hills, and awkward places from Paudwara to Khayar.

“In the past, there was a normal lane, there was a problem of slipping when it rained, now there is no awkward place to walk, we have built a resting place in the footpath,” he said. The locals of Paudwar have collaborated in the campaign to build a footpath with the religious spirit of ‘remembrance and wish’ in memory of the deceased relatives and on the occasion of the family’s joy and success.

There are lodges and hotels in Khopara for tourists to eat and stay under the footpath. Pun said that temporary plastic houses, toilets, shelters and shelters have been set up in the Khayar Lake area as there is no hotel facility in Khayarkhola for the next day’s stay from Khopara.

A special pooja is being performed on the occasion of Janapurnima, believing that the aspirations of the people will be fulfilled if they worship at Khayar Lake. Even at other times, domestic tourists have started visiting here. “When there was no shelter, people had to stay in the sheepfold. When a large number of people came, they had to stand outside as the capacity of the sheepfold was not enough. Now that problem has been removed,” said Pun.

Drinking water has also been provided in Khopara and Khayarkhola under the footpath. The Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) and the village municipality have also provided assistance under the tourism infrastructure construction campaign started by the locals.

Chairman of the fund Pun said that the footpath was constructed from the budget of Rs. 1.3 million allocated by the village municipality in two phases. As a budget of Rs. 2 million has been allocated by the Tourism Board this year, the budget has been prepared to be mobilized for the construction of tourist accommodation in Khopara.

Historical Reconstruction of Khairathan Locals have been worshiping at Khayar Bharani Lake at the foot of South Annapurna Himal. In the year 1848, in the Khayar Bharani Lake area, surrounded by snow-capped mountains at an altitude of 4,630 meters above sea level, the shepherds had built a stone gate.

After the completion of the construction work of the place where the foundation was laid on July 22, 2069 BS, worship was started in the place from the Janapurnima of the same year. In this place of the lake complex, every year on the occasion of Janapurni festival, crowds of people take vows to fulfill their aspirations.

‘Queen of the Hills: Khopara-Khayar-Bharani’

The Khopara-Khayrabharani area, which is included in the Annapurna-Dhaulagiri community footpath, is a potential area in terms of natural beauty and religious significance. Khopara has recently become a center of attraction for domestic tourists as it is located at a short distance from Beni, the district headquarters of Myagdi. Dozens of mountains of Annapurna, Dhaulagiri, Machhapuchhre and Manaslu mountain ranges can be seen from Khopara Lake at an altitude of 3660 meters.

The green slopes from Khopara to Khayar, colorful flowers, sheep and goats in the grazing area have been attracting tourists. Every now and then, when you look at the beautiful view of the mountains unfolding from the cloud cover and the beautiful view of the birds, wild animals, etc. in a secluded place, the tourists will not find the day gone by. Tourists who trek from Paudwar stay at Khopara.

From there you can stay in Khairkhola for the next day. From there, you can reach Dudhkund through Khayar Bharani and come back to the same place and stay there. Engineer Pun informed that a five-day trek has been prepared from Paudwar to Khayar area to reach Kali Bharani and Gorse Bharani lakes the next day.

Plans that need to be made

Emphasis has been laid on promoting the natural and religious significance and glory of the Khopara Khayar Bharani area, which has been constructed with the objective of attracting internal and external tourists under the leadership of the community.

As it is a high mountainous area, helipads are planned to be constructed at Khairkhola and Khopara for the emergency rescue of tourists. It seems to be more beneficial for the tourists if the temporary tents made for accommodation in Khayarkhola can be covered with zinc sheets.

As the construction of footpaths is still going on, there is a need to give more continuity to the plan of constructing footpaths through various agencies. Now, even if tourists reach Khopara at any time, the journey from there to Khayar is considered as adventurous, so it is necessary to move ahead in a planned manner with publicity and reliable housing infrastructure to lift the tourists even in this region.  

Hotels through tourism cooperatives

A 20-room hotel with a capacity of 40 people is in operation in Khopara. The cooperative has run a hotel with a capacity of accommodating 50 to 60 people daily including camping. Rajesh Tilija, chairman of the cooperative, said that the hotel was run through the cooperative with the objective of providing equal benefits to all the locals of the village.

At present, 126 people of Paudwar have invested Rs. 86.25 million in the cooperative. Locals have invested Rs 25,000 to Rs 200,000 in cooperatives. The cooperative has called upon all the households in the village to be included in the cooperative and also the locals who have been left out to invest.

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