Peak season attracts tourists to MustangTourist arrivals in Mustang district in north-western Nepal, which is famed for the Muktinath Temple, have swelled
Tourist arrivals in Mustang district in north-western Nepal, which is famed for the Muktinath Temple, have swelled. An increasing number of domestic and foreign visitors have been travelling to Muktinath to visit various religious sites as this is the pilgrimage season. The favourable weather has also led to more people visiting Kagbeni and Muktinath by both road and air.
“Autumn is the most appropriate time for people to visit Mustang,” said Bel Pun, a tourist assistant under the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP), Jomsom. According to him, the number of people going to Muktinath to offer worship on the occasion of Sorha Sraddha has increased lately.
This is the time when the days are sunny and the Himalaya can be observed clearly. Indian tourists have also been arriving in large numbers. After the April 25 earthquake, tourist arrivals had shrunk. But the recent upturn in tourism has reinvigorated the local tourism industry, entrepreneurs said.
Laxmi Tulachan, proprietor of Urica Inn, said the increased flow of tourists in recent days had given relief to them after the earthquake disaster.
The Jomsom office of ACAP, which keeps records of Indian and foreign tourist arrivals, said the number of domestic and Indian tourists had been impressive. It added that a total of 15,478 tourists had arrived in Mustang as of September this year, Last year, Mustang received 31,232 tourists.
Trekkers coming over Thorang Pass from Manang return through Muktinath, and this has helped the tourism business here. This route forms part of the Annapurna Circuit trekking trail.
The Civil Aviation Authority Office here said that the number of people visiting Mustang by air had also gone up in the recent days. “As tourists are receiving the message that the Annapurna area has not been touched by the earthquake, a large number of religious tourists have been visiting Muktinath by air from Pokhara,” said Surya Bahadur Khatri, deputy manager of the authority. “The current arrival trend should be considered as fine.”
According to Tulachan, 50 percent of the tourists visiting Mustang are Indians, followed by Nepalis and other foreign nationals. Currently, seven to 10 flights arrive in Mustang from Pokhara daily, compared to two-three flights during the off season.
Tara and Simrik Air conduct flights between Pokhara and Jomsom. Tara added one flight after seeing a rise in tourist numbers. Kagbeni, Muktinath and Damodar Kunda in Upper Mustang are important destinations for pilgrims.