Spiritual leader Sadhguru, who has been on his yearly pilgrimage tour in Nepal for over two weeks, today said the Nepali economy can make tremendous progress through the tourism sector alone.

The venerated Indian Yogi, said at a press meet today after completing a nine-day pilgrimage from Simikot to Limi Valley in Humal district, said that Nepal's GDP can increase to 30 to 35 per cent from the current 2.5 per cent from various kinds of tourism. He also stressed that along with spiritual or religious tourism the country should focus on adventure and luxury tourism to attract a wide range of tourists.

Sadhguru, who is revered as spiritual mentor by thousands of followers throughout the world, also said Nepal can benefit from 400 to 500 million Indian visitors who can afford to visit the country for spiritual and religious reasons. Sadhguru, an ardent Shiva disciple, and his team have been visiting Nepal every year for the last 17 years for pilgrimage to holy Mt Kailash and the holy lake Mansarovar that now lies in Tibet, an autonomous region of China. Mt Kailash is believed to be the home of lord Shiva.

The team who did not get permission to enter Tibet due to COVID-19 pandemic, had taken an arduous trekking route from Simikot of Humla district towards Limi valley.

From Limi valley one can see the holy Mt Kailash and the holy Mansarovar lake with their naked eyes.

Sharing the experiences of the rural life of the remote district, Sadhguru said that we must respect the desires of the local community for roads and the modern amenities it brings. But, development should be done in a controlled manner and not by wasting natural and cultural assets.

"Everybody is so excited a road is going to come, vehicles are going to come, and modern amenities are going to come.

So you cannot deny these to human beings. It has to happen.

It is just that, it is very important that it happens in a planned way. It does not have to mushroom."

He also stressed that any country can prosper only when economy prospers and for that the nation's politics needs to be disciplined. Sadhguru stressed mature political understanding between India and Nepal. "Both nations should come up with a mature understanding that no matter what political differences it should not destroy business."

He said that unlike political misunderstandings which can be fixed in no time, if business is destroyed it will take decades to come to the right track.

A version of this article appears in the print on September 5 2021, of The Himalayan Times.