December 3: The work of upgrading the Mardi Himal trekking route has moved forward in full swing. This foot trail is being upgraded as the mountain can be reached in a short time following this route.
With the increasing attraction of domestic and foreign tourists in recent years, the Mardi Himal trail has managed to grab the attention of the state as well. The government started the work of upgrading the foot trail with the help of the Department of Tourism. Under this project, 4,200 steps have been constructed up to the low camp view point and 250 cubic meters of machinery wall has been constructed as well.
Similarly, the work of placing railings weighing 4,000 kg in various difficult places of the foot trail has been completed, said Sudip Gautam, a tourism entrepreneur and founder s well as chairman of Mardi Trek Tourism Management and Entrepreneurs Committee. He said that the Mardi Trek has been the top choice of domestic and foreign tourists in recent years as it is a trekking route that is convenient for people of any age group.
Stating that every scenic view of this trekking route is full of natural beauty, Gautam shared that trekking activities in the area have also been affected due to the impact of Covid-19 pandemic.
People of all age group can walk along this trekking route. Along the route, trekkers can enjoy the view of blooming rhododendrons, see and hear the birds chirping in the forest. Mountains like Machhapuchre, Mardi, Annapurna South, Gangapurna can be observed at the same time.
Gautam expressed his confidence stating that the tourism industry in this region will return to normalcy after the end of the Covid-19 pandemic. According to him, there are about 100 hotels on this trekking route from Dhampus up to the View Point. In his opinion, all the entrepreneurs and workers in the region need to be vaccinated against Covid-19 to restore the trekking and tourism business.
Hoteliers say that the beauty of the place intensifies during the months of April and May since the national flower of Nepal, rhododendron blooms along the foot trail throughout the jungle. According to him, another important part of the trek is that even if you see a pink rhododendron at the beginning of the trek, you can find the rhododendron blooming in dark red color.
Som Thapa, former president of the Trekking Agencies Association Nepal (TAAN) Western Regional Association, said that the tourism sector has been badly affected due to the impact of Covid-19.
Stating that upgrading of foot trails in the middle of the pandemic would further support tourism activities, Thapa, who is also the former chairman of Pokhara Tourism Council, emphasized on the need to vaccinate all entrepreneurs and workers on the trekking route.
According to Sudip Gautam, who is also the manager of Hotel Trekkers Paradise at Mardi High Camp, the construction of hotels at other places along the foot trail area has gained momentum ever since the hotel was opened at Mardi High Camp in 2007. Starting from Kande of Kaski, this trekking route leads to Mardi High Camp via Australian Camp, Pothana, Pritam Deurali, Forest Camp, Low Camp and Badal Danda. Hotels have come into operation for food and stay in all of these places.
Mardi High Camp is situated at an altitude of 3,550 meters above the sea level, from which, the View Point located at an altitude of 4,200 meters can be reached in about two hours and from there, Mardi Base Camp which is located at an altitude of 5,500 meters, can be reached in two hours. The trekkers starting the trek from Kande can return back from Siding of Machhapuchhre rural municipality. Tourists can reach Pokhara in about two hours by jeep from Siding. Established as a nature-based foot trail, the foot trail will have 4,200 steps from the low camp to the viewpoint. It will make the trekking safer, say tourism entrepreneurs.
In order to rescue the trekking and tourism business which was affected greatly due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Nepal Tourism Board and UNDP have made joint efforts to promote trekking and tourism targeted programmes.