DHANGADHI: Schools in the upper region of Bajhang district are closed as students, parents, and teachers have headed to the mountains for the annual collection of Yarsagumba (Cordyceps sinesis).

Most schools in Saipal and Surma Rural Municipalities have remained closed. Similarly, some schools in Talkot Rural Municipality and Bungal Municipality have been shut for the collection.

The schools were closed immediately after the completion of annual examinations in mid-April, a local, Basanta Bohara said.

According to Ujjwal Bohara, a teacher at Saipal Rural Municipality, the main source of income of the people in the region is yarsagumba, due to which schools in the region are usually closed for a period of three months during annual yarsagumba harvests from mid-April to mid-July. The schools will only open after the yarsa collection, he added.

Every year, schools in the remote mountainous areas are closed for three months for yarsagumba collection, along with various holidays in Dashain, Tihar and others festivals, making the academic year short with barely four months of work.

People have started to arrive in hordes to collect yarsagumba, also known as caterpillar fungus, in regions 4,000 metres above the sea level from Bajura, Baitadi, Humla, Darchula and Achham districts.

The locals of Saipal Rural Municipality, isolated from the road network, collect yarsagumba in winters and sustain their livelihood by selling it rest of the year.