Lo-manthang losing its originality to concrete structures

Published On: September 8, 2019 03:25 AM NPT By: Dhana Basnet

LO-MANTHANG, Sept 8: Known as a virgin tourist destination until lately, Lo-manthing is being disfigured by a growing number of concrete houses. On the one hand, temperature rise in the recent years in the high altitudes has taken its toll on the ambiance of the place, while on the other hand, growing human activities have left it disturbed. According to stakeholders, Lo-manthang is fast losing its original beauty and form.

"There are a number of reasons behind the changing scenario in Lo-manthang. People are building new houses also because their old houses are no more manageable," said Bikash Adhikari, accountant of Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP). "The original houses, almost 90 percent of them are now leaking," he added.

On August 4, Lo-manthang was flooded. Heavy rainfall that lasted for long hours hit the settlements hard. The old houses made of mud got further damaged. The earth surface turned even more fragile.

"Earlier, floods were rare occurrences in this part. People did not need to bother about floods. But for the past some time, different climate patterns, weather have drawn people's attention. It may be due to climate change," said Adhikari, adding that building the new houses with concrete roofs and walls has become the norm now in Lo-manthang.

The old houses used to be warm in winter and cool in summer. Mud built structures were the identity of this historic land. "Visitors would not feel the brunt of harsh weather when inside home; such were all the houses here. And similarly, they used to have an aesthetic value. New houses which have replaced them lack both the qualities," Adhikari lamented.

Adhikari was posted here eight years ago. In his earlier years here, he never noticed rain here. "I used to think this place never receives rain, but now, maybe for the last two, three years, Lo-monthang has received rains," he said. "And this has forced people to think about the structure and the strength of their houses," he added.

According to a local hotelier, Ram Bahadur Gurung, even gumbas are being rebuilt in view of the recent rains. This has put a threat to many historical structures which are the major tourist pullers.

"Our old structures are risky. Our gumbas are also leaking. So, the new ones are being built. Rains have literally taken their toll on Lo-manthang's originality," he sounded worried.

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