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April 26, 2023

Tourism business back on track in Helambu

Rupak Puri

The tourism business in Helambu which was hard-hit by the 2015 Gorkha Earthquake and the COVID-19 pandemic after that has made a rebound in recent months.

The number of both domestic and foreign tourists coming to this picturesque typical mountain settlement has gone up after the reconstruction of people’s homes, monasteries, hotels, homestay facilities, and tourism infrastructures.

Helambu, with its typical Hyolmo settlements, the white chortens, and colorful strings of prayer flags and festoons, is a popular trekking destination in the Sindhupalchok district and close to the federal capital.

It offers a wonderful close-up view of the Himalayan Mountains and exotic flora and fauna. Bipul Shakya of Jawalakhel, Lalitpur, says he is fascinated by the natural beauty of Helambu. “I was enthralled by the natural vista of this place. The chortens, and the colorful prayer flags and festoons that dot the route leading to Helambu are a pleasant sight.

Add to this, the local tradition of welcoming the guests at the homestay in Shermathang. It’s been a sheer enthralling experience for me,” shared Shakya. Rabin Maharjan, who arrived in Helambu along with Shakya, also echoed him in describing how he was enticed by the beauty of Helambu.

Moreover, for Maharjan, the local agriculture and apple orchards in Helambu are exemplary. He is all praises for the architectural design of the houses depicting the Hyolmo culture. Annually, around 36 thousand tourists used to trek around this area before the earthquake. They took the Helambu trekking route to Aama Yangri and the Melamchi Ghyang monastery.

The inflow of trekkers has gradually increased in recent months and 40-50 domestic and foreign tourists have been coming to Helambu daily. “More than 10 foreign tourists daily come for trekking purposes. Their goal is to trek up to the higher reaches of Helambu,” said Nima Gyaljen Sherpa, the Chairperson of Helambu Rural Municipality.

The Tarke Ghyang, the Guru Rinpoche cave, Chiri Gumba (monastery), Melamchi Ghyang, Mahadev Paila are the tourist destinations. Aama Yangri, which lies at an altitude of 3,770 meters from sea level, is the first choice among tourist destinations.

It is four hours uphill trek to Aama Yangri from the nearest road head. One can take this trekking route up to Gosainkunda from Helambu. Sherpa, the rural municipality chairman, said two trekking trails are under construction for reaching the Simsisang Mountain and Ganjala pass-Langtang area.

At the same time, a dozen trekking routes are being repaired and improved. These include the Sundarijal-Kuntungsang trail, the Ghopteghyang-Melamchighyang route, the Timbu-Melamchighyang, the Palchok-Kakani, the Nigale-Kakani, the Shermathang-Palchok Bhagawati and the Nindeshwari Mahakal- Aamayangri trekking trails, among others.

The hotels in Kiul and Helambu have been getting a good number of guests and as a result of this increasing business (rss).

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