POKHARA, Sept 23: The Muktinath Temple located in Mustang that has been closed for the past six months due to the COVID-19 pandemic will be reopened from September 26, Sunday. Tourism entrepreneurs in Pokhara believe that tourism activities will increase after the reopening of the temple.
According to Chief District Officer of Mustang, Shreenath Poudel, both local and foreign visitors will have to follow certain health standards. Foreign tourists will be allowed to enter Mustang only if they show a negative PCR test report within the last seven days. However, the vaccination card against COVID-19 will not be mandatory if the PCR report is negative.
“The 72-hour PCR report is applicable to Indian tourists as well. As the chances are high of Indian pilgrims visiting the temple, we have taken necessary precautions to avoid further infections,” he said. In case of domestic tourists, they can simply show their vaccination card and if they are not vaccinated, they can show a negative report of antigen test to enter Mustang.
According to Poudel, hotels and inns in the Muktinath area will also be opened along with the temple. However, guests staying in the inns will not be allowed to be in a group of more than 25 people.
Hariram Adhikari, vice-president of Nepal Association of Tour and Travel Agents (NATTA) Western Regional Association, also said that now that the checkpoint has been opened, it will be easier for Indian guests to come. “This is also the time for Indians nationals to visit Muktinath. Besides this, they are also expected to come to Pokhara,” he said.