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Makawanpur offers more attractions to tourists

By Bhupendra Man Pradhan, MAKWANPUR: With numerous scenic places and cultural diversity, Makawanpur district holds huge tourism prospects. The trekking trail that connects Daman with Chisapani is one of the major tourist attractions in the district. Having developed at the initiative of academician and former lawmaker Hiranya Lal Shrestha, the trail now attracts a lot of trekkers as well as other nature lovers.

Shrestha had also lobbied hard with the government for building up necessary infrastructure for the development of mountain tourism in Simbhanjyang, Daman and neighbouring arreas. Because of his constant efforts, the areas were connected by roads. At present, home-stay facilities are available at various places of the district. Tistung, Palung, Chitlang and Kulekhani areas welcome a large number of domestic and foreign tourists annually. The life of the people living in these areas has now become easier following the development of tourism.
The government now needs to play a vital role for giving a boost to the tourism sector of these areas. The Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) must pay due attention towards promoting unlimited tourism resources available in those areas. Hospitality management and tourism-related training programmes should also be conducted in the areas. These places are not only naturally beautiful but also rich in ancient civilisation and culture. For example, Chitlang is derived from ‘Chi La’. Chi means Chiwa or Chaitya and La means way. So, Chitlang denotes a way to stupa.
Historians believe that the stupa located at Chitlang was built by the then Indian Emperor Ashoka, who had been to Kathmandu through Chitlang for promoting Buddhism. Taking the historical, cultural and scenic beauty of this area into consideration, knowledgeable locals suggest that the Kathmandu-Chitlang-Markhu-Kulekhani-Bhimphedi Road should be renamed as the Ashoka Highway. They hope that that it would be helpful for the promotion of the area as a Buddhist tourist destination. The motorable road being constructed and the seven-km reservoir built for the Kulekhani Hydropowr Project have linked Markhu and Kulekhani. Earlier, this route was limited to trekking alone. Three hydropower projects—Kulekhani I, Kulikhani II and Kulekhani III—have now been generating a total of 116-kilowatt hydropower. The Kulekhani reservoir is the country’s only reservoir to generate energy in a sustainable manner. The reservoir itself has become an important tourist attraction.
These places look more attractive during the snowy season. Currently, the Kulekhani reservoir lures more tourists interested in watersports activities like boating and rafting. Like Pokhara, the area has become a centre of attraction among the people from Kathmandu and neighbouring areas. Streams and rivulets flowing from Daman, Simbhanjyang, Palung and other vicinity areas have contributed water to the reservoir. Daman and Simbhanjyang are famous for having breathtaking mountain sceneries.
For the ecological conservation of the Kulekhani reservoir, trees have been planted. Shrestha was instrumental in protecting herbal plants and developing orchid gardens at Daman and Simbhanjyang.
Similarly, the haudas (elephant back cots) that had been used by various foreign guests while hunting have been preserved at Bhimphedi. The elephant centre based in Bhimphedi has been registered with the National Museum that is open to tourists. The elephant back cots prepared by George V and the then Prime Minister Jung Bahadur Rana are now at the museum on display. They are of special significance.
If all these places are promoted in an effective manner, they are sure to become a preferred tourist attraction. It is high time that the local governments took the initiative to focus on tourism as a vital source of income generation and job creation in the district.

(Bhupendra Man Pradhan is a tour operator)

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