- Text and Photo by Manraj Gurung
With the expansion of the road network, the world-famous Annapurna Circut trekking trail has become unnaturally short. Therefore, it has become necessary to find alternatives on how to prolong the stay of tourists and take adequate advantage of the situation when the locals and the nation have not been able to reap sufficient benefits.
The circuit trekking trail, which used to take one month before the expansion of the road network, is now limited to one week. The road network has reached Khangsar, a high human settlement in the Manang district.
Khangsar, which used to take a week in the past, can now be reached in one day by car from Benshishahar. Due to the expansion of the road network, the environment for many tourists to start trekking from low land and low altitude is disappearing. Most tourists now start trekking from Chame or Dharapani.
Lamjung’s Khudi, Bhulbhule, Ngadi, and other famous tourist settlements have been transformed due to not halt tourists in the places. Therefore, in high altitude settlements like Manang, as the tourists can reach quickly, to make them stay longer, to protect from high altitude sickness, to make the trek unforgettable, the Ice Lake area at an altitude of 4600 meters north of Braga village is a suitable option.
It takes 5-6 hours to reach there from Manang (human settlement) and 4-5 hours to reach from Braga. Walking and physical fitness also depend on the time of arrival. Ecological & Environmental Friendly is currently the world’s number one priority. Similarly, Nepal’s mountain tourism is based on seasonal tourism.
It is also difficult to bring an area outside the trekking routes like Ice Lake into operation for 12 months. On the other hand, the peaceful and beautiful environment, the view from there is difficult to describe in words. Although information technology has brought a lot of ease to people’s daily life, it has also increased mental stress. In this situation, where is the best place for a short retreat for such peace of mind?
Why Mountain Hut?
To protect the environment, to prolong the stay of tourists, to maintain a clean and hygienic environment, to attract quality tourists, the best option is to leave the mountain without building permanent and many structures (lodges and hotels).
Tourists staying overnight can be accommodated in tents. Adequate water resources and terrain are more suitable.
Who builds and operates?
Environment and eco-friendly tourism are there and sustainability is equally important.
Therefore, the environment should be strengthened from the beginning, and making such a mountain hut must not operate only for the benefit of a limited number of people. We have to adopt a strategy of sharing the benefits as with locals people as possible. There is no sustainability in such work unless there is local peoples’ participation in investment and return. Such action must be made sustainable.
How to mobilize resources?
Bodies like local government (village), provincial government (state tourism ministry), and other agencies, who are working on the field of managing the places and collecting royalties from the tourists can collaborate and build the mountain huts
– Gurung is the joint secretary of Gandaki Alpine Club.
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