December 21, 2019 08:29 AM NPT
By: DB BUDHA
The famous Chandannath Temple of Jumla is covered in snow in this photo taken on Friday. Photo: Dhan Bahadur Budha/Republica
JUMLA, Dec 21: Tourist arrival in Jumla has come to a halt after heavy snowfall in the region earlier this week.
According to locals, it is difficult to reach the tourist destinations in the region, as the trails are slippery following the snowfall.
Before the snowfall, the number of tourists traveling to Rara Lake via Nagma, Jumla was more than 150 per day. But, after the snowfall, there has been no arrival of tourists.
According to Nabin Sharma, spokesperson for Sinja Rural Municipality, though the government has announced the 'Visit Nepal 2020' campaign, the Karnali region will not be benefited from it. “There is no tourism-friendly infrastructure in Karnali,” he said.
The highway in Jumla is obstructed due to snow in the winter season. Likewise, roads are muddy in the rainy season. So, only a couple of months are suitable for tourist arrival in the region.
Karnali Province has identified Dansanghu, Tribenidham, Chandannath Temple, Patarasi Mountain, and Guthi Chaur as new tourist destinations. But, other than Dansanghu, Tribenidham, Chandannath Temple, it is difficult to reach other destinations due to slippery roads.
After the snowfall, the road connecting Rara Lake to Kalikot has become slippery, making it extremely difficult for tourists to reach the lake. As the roads in the region are not blacktopped, the number of tourists drops every year during the winter season.
According to Jibanta Rokaya, a local of the region, Jumla holds immense possibilities to attract a huge number of tourists every year, but the lack of proper infrastructure has hit the region's tourism sector.
Likewise, tourism entrepreneurs say that bulldozers should be placed on the highways to remove the snow during the winter season. “The roads should be blacktopped, and the government should consult with the tourism entrepreneurs of the region while taking any tourism-related decision,” opined Lalit Mahat, a tourism entrepreneur in the region.
Karnali Province government has a target to attract a total of 100,000 tourists in the region in 2020. The government has also identified several destinations for the 'Visit Nepal 2020' campaign.
Meanwhile, 13 locals who had gone to pick various herbs had gone missing amid heavy snowfall. After getting hit by heavy snowfall, they found a cave and were stuck there for 72 hours. Later, they left the cave for their destination despite the heavy snowfall.