Annapurna Dhaulagiri Community Eco-Lodge Treks - New Trekking Trail for a Cause!
Development is important for Nepal. Though inevitable, it is not a harmless process. Usually we pay its price, compromising on the environment and its beautiful assets. Further on, the impact is on culture and tradition too.
Due to road construction in the main trekking trails, the charm of rural trekking experience in Nepal has become a thing of the past, especially in the areas of lower Everest and mainly Annapurna, which used to be some of the world’s best adventure trekking trail destinations.
Some years ago (2010), we explored this superb Myagdi community area from Beni to Khopra with great anticipation and enthusiasm. It was a week long trip, that had gone perfectly well. We realized that we could play a unique participatory role in promoting this area as it was still untouched by environmental degradation, and had great tourism potential. The best part was that the communities, were very supportive and genuinely happy to have visitors.
Myagdi area (district) is located next to the spectacular mountains of Dhaulagiri, Annapurna and Machhapuchhare (one of the most beautiful and sacred mountains in Nepal). This area houses famous Annapurna I and Dhaulagiri I, both of which are over 8000m.
There are also many other stunning and sacred peaks here; which makes this one of the most amazing trekking trails in Nepal. Besides, the pristine natural forest, sacred valley and lake, Himalayan rivers, beautiful waterfalls in the backdrop of rich cultural ethnicities and bio-diversity, makes this a great trekking and hiking destination. The area is both beautiful and inspiring at the same time.
Regardless of certain claims of disagreement that surface time and again, projects of community tourism can be highly sustainable in many areas of Nepal. Partnerships with related organizations could play a key role to take such projects further. Nature-treks.com Himalaya is one such organization that has been working with the communities of Myagdi for a very long time. Lately, many other organizations have also joined the bandwagon. Individual efforts of people there, has actually reaped a very positive result.
This trek is now promoted purely as community based tourism, which is harvesting viable and better economic benefits and supporting locals in the real sense. It has helped in creating employment opportunities, ensuring education, saving the environment, conserving nature and marketing local handicraft industry. Tourists can enjoy the homestay facilities, community halls and lodges that are equally well equipped and managed by the locals. They can meet real people, experience their culture and be a part of this great trail in such close proximity to the Himalayas.
Trekkers can now also choose treks to suit their schedule and fitness. Some of these are as short as 4 days while others span over some 10 days. All of these start from Pokhara. These treks are suitable for all ages. Also for a variety of groups - for families, students, scholars or anybody else looking to contribute for a cause to remote communities. You take away just as much, if not more from the beautiful experiences you gather in these treks.
This trail in Myagdi, delightfully showcases community based tourism in Nepal. Tourism here, is benefiting the community; promoting local industries and making development sustainable. Projects like this, shall eventually educate rural communities in Nepal, and put them on a path to progress, which is the need of time.
Come visit communities in Myagdi to witness how they are working for conservation of nature, involving themselves in community forestry, harvesting plants that are used for paper production, women groups contributing with their enhanced local skill, farmers involved in organic production of oranges, fish and mushrooms.
Progress has been such that the local students now have internet facilities to support their education. Also health workers are using telemedicine (the use of telecommunication and information technologies in order to provide clinical health care at a distance), to help people in need.
If you are visiting, you shall also have access to the internet to connect back with your families and loved ones almost every day.
We are promoting this trekking trail with a cause and we invite you to visit.
Article & Photography: Vimal Thapa