Where Yarsagumba serves as cash

DIPAYAL: Besides selling the Yarsagumba for a good price and bartering goods with it, Bajhang folks also use this prized herb as cash.

From small tea shops to big lodges located at Dahabagar, Kanda, Kachali of Bajhang, people can barter the Yarsagumba with food or goods of their choice.

Locals have fixed the price of each piece of Yarsagumba at Rs 100.

Pratap Bohara — a hotelier in Bajhang's Kachali Village Development Committee -- said, "We also accept a piece of Yarsagumba instead of the cash." The single meal costs Rs 100 in local restaurants.

According to Bohara, the commoners, who turn penniless but still possess the herb, can foot their bills with the herb.

Dhale Khadka of Kanda says the contractors have also been exchanging food with Yarsagumba in the highlands.

Bed Bhatta, who reached Dahabagar from Dipayal, said, "We gave them two pieces of Yarsagumba and got sumptuaous meal in return."

Interestingly, winners in Deuda song and volleyball competitions in the district are also given away Yarsagumba.

From the second week of Jestha to first week of Shrawan, residents of the highlands go to the foothills, leaving back their children and elderly members back home in search of the aphrodisiac herb, lured by its high price.

According to traders, a kilogram of Yarsagumba costs Rs 6.5 lakhs in the district.

In upper Bajhang, schools are closed for over two months, as students and teachers venture out in search of the potent herb, during the picking season every year.