Culture & Lifestyle
Water powered maneys add to Namche’s charmVisitors can see the five spinning wheels at the centre of Namche Bazaar, situated 3,440 meters above sea level.
Namche Bazaar is not just the gateway to Mt Everest but also the dream destination for many. The natural beauty of the town has been captivating tourists for a long time, and now, attractive tourist attractions have been built to entice even more visitors.
As soon as you enter Namche, you are greeted by artistic water-powered maneys (prayer wheels). Along with the maneys, other structures, including stupas, a water park with pretty lotus flowers floating about and a memorial park dedicated to the late mountaineer Pemba Doma, have been constructed in the town. Tourists visiting Namche are amazed by the centuries-old chortens (cairns) that are also being rebuilt.
Looking around at these new additions and the old religious, archaeological and tourist heritages amidst the beautiful mountainous surrounding feels almost magical. Visitors can see the five maneys spinning in sync at the centre of Namche Bazaar, which is situated at an altitude of 3,440 meters above sea level.
The local households collected over Rs40 million to build these structures. Besides that, Tourism Board invested Rs840,000 and some fund was contributed by Nepal Mountaineering Association as well.
“The locals, hoteliers and individuals working in the tourism industry of Namche, raised funds for the projects ourselves. We were tired of waiting for years (for the structures to be built) by the government,” said the coordinator of the construction committee, Chimikalden Sherpa.
Lamas living in the monasteries of the region and those living abroad also helped in the construction process. “We have also reconstructed a centuries-old stupa,” said Sherpa.
According to some legends, people from Tibet settled in the region about 500 years ago because they found the water flowing from the middle of the forest—exactly where the five maneys are now constructed.
“In the Sherpa language, the forest is called nakche, it changed to nauze after, and much later, Nepalis started calling the place ‘Namche’ as it is easier to pronounce,” said Angfinzo Sherpa, a local culture expert. “We built the maneys to symbolise how the origin of Namche’s settlement.”
“These heritages have helped prolong the stay of tourists,” observed Nima Nuru Sherpa, president of the Nepal Mountaineering Association. The new properties are significant from a religious point of view too.
The stupa, which was damaged after the 2015 earthquake, has been rebuilt with expensive and ornamental materials. Locals hope these heritage structures will help promote religious tourism.