Helambu great trail to be 69 Km long, pass through mountains, lakes and National Park

Kshitiz Siwakoti, Sindhupalchowk, Mar. 10: Helambu Rural Municipality in Sindhupalchowk district has embarked on an ambitious project of constructing a 69 km Helambu Great Trail with an aim to attract tourists.

If the ambitious project of building the trail is completed, Helambu could see a surge in tourists.

Helambu is known as a peaceful getaway that is within close proximity to Kathmandu. Despite its perfect position to serve as a tourist hotspot, the naturally beautiful mountainous area has been not been a place that has been much frequented by tourists.

Data shows that tourists entering Langtang National park from Helambu are the least as compared to the other two entry points from different places. According to the data from Langtang National Park, for the year 2020-2021, 1341 tourists entered Langtang National Park from Dhunche, followed by 234 tourists from Kutumsang entry point and finally a meager 164 tourists from Helambu entry point. The data includes domestic as well as foreign tourists.

However, this was not always the case. Tashi Hyolmo, a resident of Sermathang village in Helambu, said that Helambu used to have a lot of visitors prior to the armed conflict that broke out in 1996. “The war saw a decline in tourists and after the war, most of the young moved out of Helambu in search of better opportunities in Kathmandu and abroad,” Hyolmo said.

The Helambu great trail is a 69 km trail that starts from Nagidada Buddha Park near Sermathang village and ends in Ghopteghang or vice-versa. The Trail is expected to traverse through Jhyomothang, Sermathang, Aama Yangri peak (3771 meters), Dhuppu, Gyangjala pass, Semisidang, Thadepati, Pakedanda and finally end in Ghopteghang.

The trail is also expected to connect the Langtang trail in the north, Gosaikunda Lake, Suryakunda lake, and east of the Baden Powell peak (5825 meters).

Although it has been two years since the construction of the trail began, not much progress has been made, as evidenced by the fact that only a few hundred meters of the trail has been built so far.

The trail will comprise stone steps with sidewalls. Nima Lama Hyolmo, a member of the provincial assembly from Sindhupalchok Constituency 2, said that the construction is still in its early phase.

“The project is undoubtedly going to be an expensive one as we literally have to cut stones to build the trail. We are estimating the cost of building the trail to be around 4 to 5 billion rupees,” Nima Hyolmo said.

“I am working closely with both the provincial as well as the federal government to secure the funding. I would also urge the government to give priority to this project. Given the close proximity to Kathmandu, I believe the trail upon completion will definitely be a profitable venture,” Nima Hyolmo added.

Over 60 million rupees have been spent on trail construction so far. According to the data from the Helambu Rural Municipality, in the year 2018 to 2021, the Helambu Rural Municipality spent Rs. 16.5 million for the construction of the trail. Another five million rupees was contributed by the Bagmati provincial government in the FY year 2018-2019. In FY 2019 – 2020, Nepal Tourism Board had contributed another Rs. 39.2 million for the construction of the trail.

The ‘Helambu Great Trail’ which is still in its nascent phase has only seen a few hundred meters of construction in the villages of Sermathang, Nagidanda and Ghopteghyang.

The chairperson of the Helambu Rural Municipality, Nima Gyaljen Sherpa, however, argued that there has been an increase in internal tourists in the last few years with an exception of the pandemic. “There has been an influx of internal tourists in Helambu but we still face the issue of lack of hotels and other required infrastructure to accommodate the tourists,” Sherpa said.

The trail upon completion will traverse alongside two majestic peaks, two lakes, a national park, and various villages of indigenous nationalities. The trail combined with Helambu’s genuine hospitality along with its proximity to the nation’s capital could serve as a perfect ingredient to drive tourism in an area that deserves to be explored and enjoyed.

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