Kathmandu, Oct. 30: Hiking and cycling enthusiasts in the Kathmandu Valley have new attractions ready in Chandragiri Municipality.
The city has recently developed a 1.5 kilometre hiking trail and 5 km cycling track in the jungle of Chandragiri hill.
The hiking trail begins at Matatirtha, a famous pilgrimage site to pay homage to mothers, and ends at the foothill about 300 metres away from Matatirtha, making a half circle in the jungle.
New hiking trail is fresh and organic. No concrete structures are used, only stones and wooden pieces are used to make stairs to develop the trail up the hill. One can enjoy the greenery, birds’ chirpings, cool breeze and a magnificent view of the Valley from the south-western side.
A landing area is constructed about half-way of the trail where hikers can enjoy a panoramic view of the Valley and snow-capped mountains in the north in a clear day. Ward Chairman of Chandragiri-6 Sanjaya Sigdel said that wooden waste baskets will soon be installed at various locations along the track.
The developers of the track have also designed a shrine at the highest point of the trail where a couple of stones are set as they would be in any Deurali, a point on the way after climbing a hill from where the trail goes down. There is a culture of installing stones at Deurali where travellers offer flowers in a wish to make their travel safe.
Although the initial climb is steep, the dense forest makes the journey refreshing. Since the length of the trail is just 1.5 km, it is perfectly suitable for family hiking or short time out from the bustling life of the city.
The cycle track also stretches along the jungle at the foot of the hill. Mohan Raj Khatri, Chairman of the Tourism Development Society in Chandragiri, said that the trail will be promoted as the adventure sports product. “We had organised a 22-km cycle rally in the past and we have applied the lessons learned in developing this track,” he said.
Chandragiri Municipality has some of the most attractive tourist destinations and pilgrimage sites like the Chandragiri Cable Car, Bhaleshwor Mahadev Temple, Matatirtha, Indra Daha and Tribhuvan Park which attract hundreds of thousands domestic and international tourists.
Mayor Ghanashyam Giri informed that the new infrastructure will help in supporting the development in the community and municipality.
The cycle track and hiking trail are developed under the Sustainable Tourism for Livelihood Recovery Project (STLRP) jointly executed by the Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
They have enrolled the Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal (TAAN) as an implementation partner of the project. The programme aimed at employing 3,000 workers for 10-40 days in various infrastructure development and maintenance programmes.
The project aims at employing the tourism sector workers who lost their jobs and income due to the COVID-19 pandemic. National Programme Coordinator of the STLRP Mani R. Lamichhane said that the NTB and UNDP funded project plans to employ about 100,000 tourism workers.
Workers from the tourism sector are selected by TAAN in cooperation with the trade unions.
Abhishek BK, a mountain guide from Solukhumbu who had been guiding tourists to the Everest Base Camp and Annapurna Base Camp, has worked for eight days in the construction of cycle track.
“I was trained by National Academy of Tourism and Hospitality Management in 2012 and earning more than 250,000 in a season but for the last two years the income source is disturbed,” he said.
However, BK has not lost hope and expected to be back in his job by the next season.