October 27, 2018 07:50 AM NPT
By: DB BUDDHA
Tents for tourists outside a hotel in Khalanga, Jumla. | Photo: DB Budha/Republica
JUMLA, Oct 27: With a large number of domestic tourists visiting Jumla of late, the image of Karnali as an under developed and remote region of the country is about to change.
According to tourism entrepreneurs, around 20,000 people visited Jumla in the last one week to enjoy their festive holiday. However, in lack of an authority to keep exact record of tourist arrivals, it is hard to mention accurate number of tourists, they said.
Tanka Raj Pandit, housekeeping manager of Pauwa Hotel said that currently, they are serving around 100 tourists per day. “Although the number of tourists is increasing in Jumla, there is lack of proper services and facilities to offer our visitors,” Pandit said,
“If infrastructure and proper accommodation could be managed for visitors, Khalanga in Jumla district could become a tourist hub,” he said. “Generally more domestic tourists than foreigners visit Khalanga.”
At present, more than two dozen hotels are catering to the increasing flow of tourists in Jumla.
Shanta Maharjan from Kathmandu reached Karnali to spend his festive holiday. “We have an illusion about Karnali as we have been taught that Karnali is a backward zone in the country,” he said. “But I have experienced a real Karnali and it is full of natural beauty that attracts tourists.”
He further said that Jumla could be an all-season tourist destination if proper road connection and accommodation could be managed for tourists.
“In lack of proper lodging, visitors have to sleep in conference hall, lobby and couch as well,” Pandit told Republica. “Tourists are happily sharing their experience of hearing about remote areas and directly experiencing it. In lack of rooms, we are even letting visitors to sleep at our staff’s room.”
Major attractions of the Karnali region are Rara Lake, Chandannath Temple, newly constructed Peace Pagoda, apart from many other lakes and rivers.
Pewa Lama, owner of Hotel Kanjirowa said: “To manage the crowd of visitors, we have put on tents at our back garden. At least 20 visitors are staying under tents every night.” He also said that visitors were facing trouble to reach Jumla in lack of road connection, but the government was reluctant to pay attention toward the problems of Jumla.
Karnali province would be prosperous if only the provincial government could construct roads to Rara and Phoksundo lakes, he added.
The provincial government of Karnali is celebrating 2018 as Rara Karnali Tourism Year.
Ram Prashad Thapaliya, principal secretary of the Karnali Province, said that Nagma Gamgadi road connecting Rara should be extended to a two-lane road for the convenience of tourists. He further claimed that the provincial government was concerned about tourism development and it would work on it in the coming days.
Vehicular movement has increased in Jumla recently after the Jumla airport has been halted for upgrading works. Karnali Tourism Promotion Area Development Committee has been established for promotion of tourism in the district.