Gorkha tourism entrepreneurs to offer ‘Home Stay’ in temporary settlements

Simjung, March 12

A tourism entrepreneur couple in Gorkha district — the epicentre of the massive 7.6-Richterscale earthquake which rocked Nepal on April 25 — is all set to attend to tourists again, but this time around from a makeshift settlement.

After her house collapsed during the massive earthquake, Dil Kumari Lamichhane, bounced back to life from a temporary settlement where she now runs a ‘Home Stay’ — a tourism concept in the remote parts of the country popular as ‘home residence tourism’ in which tourists are accommodated in owners’ residences.

During the earthquake, most of the residences in the village were razed down, including hotels and restaurants leaving a bleak prospect for reinvigorating tourism. Lamichhane said she started ‘Home Stay’ at her temporary and makeshift residence so that visiting tourists may not have a problem.

Many tourists, including employees of various national and international organisations, officials of the authorities involved in reconstruction and relief effort and tourists are forced to walk downhill for at least an hour to Baluwabazaar or travel for three hours on foot at the north-western direction towards Sirankot to find a hotel.

Lamichhane had a three-storey house before the earthquake, in which she had allocated seven rooms as part of her ‘Home Stay’ tourism. Now she has a makeshift settlement built on corrugated zinc sheets where three rooms have been separated for guests.

Dil Kumari’s husband, Chandra Lamichhane, says that if the money promised by the government for the quake-stricken was provided soon, they would have built a concrete building and allocated separate rooms for ‘Home Stay’.

“We have had an opportunity to know many people,” Chandra said adding, “It is not only the economy, but we get to know new faces, know their stories, among other things.”

Dil Kumari, who is also chairperson of Buddha Himal Community Home Stay, related that those who used to criticise her when she allowed guests into her house were now running ‘Home Stay’ programmes.

Simjung lies at a distance of two hours’ walk from Baluba, which can be reached on a track road leading from Khaireni-Gorkha road stretch. The village which lies 35km north of Gorkha headquarters offers mesmerising views of Annapurna mountain range, Mt Manaslu, Mt Himchuli and Mt Ganesh Himal.

The trained ‘Home Stay’ operators are most favourable to attend to tourists in remote Nepal, with their homebred hospitality, familial ambience and cultural goodwill leading to a humble greeting and caring.

Tourists often consider themselves fortunate to be able to mingle with the local culture and relish their organic vegetation, fruits and scrumptious local dishes in remote Nepal due to the new tourism concept of ‘Home Stay’.