Walk to Kaulepani04 Jan 2016 in Tourism by Saurav
I never knew home- staying could be so fun and exciting until I experienced it in Kaulepani. A picturesque village located some kilometers further from the headquarter of Lamjung, Village received the Best Home-stay Award out of 300 villages practicing home-stay in Nepal on September 27,2014 on the occasion of 35th World Tourism Day.
We reached the village at dusk, its cool breeze quenching our tiredness of an hour hike. On the way we could see beautiful fields of mustard and rhododendron plants and a historical palace of Prithvi Narayan Shah built in the 15th century. It is believed the palace had a great role in the unification of Nepal. The village was a continuous uphill hike and upon reaching there, we got welcomed by our host family. They greeted each of us with a flower bouquet, tika and a glass of local wine. We were served light snacks and were allowed to rest for some time.
Home- staying was established in Ward No 6, Gausahar Kaulepani, Besi Sahar Municipality in 2011 AD. The village has 25 houses in total which includes families of Gurung, Newars ,and Bhujels out of which 14 houses have home- staying facilities. They have been charging Rs. 990 per person for one day package. The package includes Welcome Program in Gurung culture, light snacks, entertainment program, dinner, sleepover, bed tea and breakfast the next day and farewell program. Cultural songs, dances and folk stories are presented in entertainment package where the whole village gathers to entertain the guests.
To enjoy the welcome and cultural program, the team of visitors must be a minimum of ten. Shir Khola Aama Samuha manages cultural welcome program and snacks, Sayapatri Milan Samuha manages Panchakanyas, five small girls dressed culturally to welcome the guests upon arrival, and Tourism Board of Kaulepani Village manages the turns of houses to receive the guest as they aim to target each house in the village to receive same number of guests for sustainable development. They receive more Nepalese guests than foreigners.
The houses are minimum 50 meters distant from each other while some adjacent houses are even a 100 meters away. This facilitates the guests as no one is disturbed by their neighbors. The houses usually have two and three bed rooms and a house can accommodate seven guests in maximum. Til Maya Gurung, our host, says that the home stay has a very positive influence over her family’s economy as well as that of the village. Even the families which don’t accommodate guests supply foods and other necessary items which has directly or indirectly boosted their economy as well.
The village is 1600 meters above the sea level and the hiking route has more than 20 varieties of laligurans on the route. Thirty-eight varieties of medicinal herbs are found in the village. The village is rich in language, cultural diversities, traditions and biodiversity and is a role model of unity. A special animal called Charibagh is also found here, which appears like a tiger but is a size of a cat and can even fly. The Marsyangdi dam can also be viewed from the village which appears like a beautiful green lake to any guest. Visitors can get a sight of sunrise as well as a picturesque view of 14 Himalayan peaks like Budhha, Machhapuchhre, Annapurna and Manaslu from this place. Snowfall in Manaslu can also be seen from the village. There are also some historical places like Lamjung Durbar and religious places as Kaulepanidevi Temple and Lamjung Kalika Temple
Dev Gurung, the president of Gaun Paryatak of Kaulepani, and a pioneer of home-staying culture in the village, says that it has not only improved their financial status but also improved their personal hygiene and cleanliness. The village can cultivate green vegetables and other local vegetables properly to serve guests. Rooms, kitchens, toilets and bathrooms are kept clean and maintained properly by each house. The young men of the village no longer need to go to golf countries for a cheap job and they can work in their village themselves. If handicraft and other vocational trainings are given to the young generation perhaps, it can have a good business with the guests.
Home- staying in the touristic village of Kaulepani was a wonderful experience. It was a privilege for me to observe Gurung culture closely. Their hospitality was impressive. We all want to preserve our culture and tradition and it’s good witnessing those cultures. Home stay not only benefits the villagers but we are lucky enough to witness our own cultural diversities as well. I hope all the other villages in Nepal which are rich in culture endorse this business to promote their culture and regain their popularity where modernization has outdated most of the long lost tradition. This is also a very good way of keeping the young men in our own country and investing our work for our own benefit.
Story by : Aarju Basnet