Kathmandu Valley Sightseeing
Trekking Agencies' Association of Nepal (TAAN) western chapter Pokhara with the financial support from Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) had organized one night and two days home stay trip to Yanjakot. The main aim of the trip was to promote Yanjakot as a home stay destination and also to analyze and suggest the infrastructure needed for home stay program.
( Tribhuvan Poudel, a journalist crossing the bridge over Madi River)
Rup Narayan Dhakal, reporter of the Himalayan Times and I joined the rest of the crew in the bus from Prithivi Chowk. There were around 60 people associated with Tourism or media. We then headed towards Jyundu. It was two hours rough road journey. After reaching Jyundu, we crossed the bridge over Madi river and walked towards Yanjakot.
(Steep uphill road to Yanjakot)
The first forty minute walk was breath taking as we had to walk uphill on a very steep road and then two hours walk on a mild steep way. The cloud somehow helped us to walk uphill as it provided shade by curtaining the sun. In the mid way in Kush ko danda, we were provided tea, mohi (a beverage made by churning the curd) and lunch by Deurali mother’s association. The food provided us the energy to walk uphill.
(Road to Yanjakot )
(Refreshing in Kush ko Danda )
The villagers were waiting for us on the top of the hill and on our arrival; they gave us a royal welcome by flower bouquets, abir, dosallaha and traditional music. They led us to the village where more villagers were waiting to welcome us. I then got busy in interviewing the villagers to find out about the village.
(Childrens welcoming us in Yanjakot )
( A girl waiting to welcome us)
(Royal welcome in Yanjakot by the villagers)
According to Mr. Tek Gurung, officer of ACAP, the village was situated at an altitude of 1473 m from sea level and has around 168 houses belonging to the Gurung community and 30-40 houses belonging to the people from other caste.
Seeing the less participation of the youths in the program, I inquired for the reason with Mr. Arjun Gurung, a social activist of the village. According to him, most of the youth has gone aboard for foreign employment and some have migrated to the valley for better life or for higher education. He even admitted that they are not able to motivate the youths remaining in the village to participate in the social activities like this.
After spending some time with the villagers, Mr. Som Thapa, acting president of TAAN divided us into groups and then accommodated each group into different houses of the village for homestay. He requested everyone to assemble in the VDC hall as there was small program organized by the villagers.
We then disseminated and headed towards the assigned homes. We were served with local brew, local chicken and batta. Mr. Girdhari Dhakal, head of tourism office, Pokhara and Mr. Madhav Sharma, senior journalist entertained us with their jokes and true stories derived from their experience. We all went to bed early as the program in the VDC hall was cancelled due to very heavy rainfall.
( Having snacks with the local brew)
The mother’s association of the village had organized a breakfast program in the camping site of the village, so we all gathered over there. The camping site was an empty ground suitable for camping and had a great sightseeing. From there, magnificent view of Machhapuchhre and Annapurna peak could be seen but as it was cloudy, we could only see a part of it.The southern part of Pokhara valley could be also be seen from here. After that, small entertainment program followed by an interaction program with the villagers was organized. Mr. Girdhari Dhakal, Mr. Madav Sharma, Mr Som thapa were the guest speakers on the event. They focused their speech on the utilization of local resources, organic food, eco-tourism and proper sanitation service for the visitors of home stay program.
(Rup Narayan Dhakal, a journalist busy in the sightseeing the view seen from Camping Ground)
(The mother association of Yanjakot serving us the morning breakfast)
(Mr. Girdhari Dhakal, head of Tourism Office, Pokhara, entertaining us with his melody voice and harmonium's music )
At around 1 pm, we walked downhill and reached Jyundu where a bus was waiting for us. On our way back to Pokhara, we sang and danced. The villager’s hospitality and the organic tonic had really energized everyone and had brought back the youthfulness for some who could shake their body like Shakira inside the moving bus.
Article and Photography by Ravi Shrestha