Manaslu Himal draws mountaineers and tourists in droves2,030 foreign tourists, including 17 from SAARC countries, visited the Manaslu region.
According to the Manaslu Conservation Area Project office, 98 men and 29 women conquered the eighth highest mountain in the world — 8,163-metre above sea level — during two weeks starting from September 11. Project chief Narendra Lama said year on year, the number of mountaineers in Manaslu Himal has been climbing. “The climbers use the route through Sama village to reach the summit,” said Lama.
Lama said that the actual number of climbers could be even more as the government run check-post at the village records only foreign visitors. “It has come to our notice that many Nepali visitors had also conquered the summit this season,” he said.
Manaslu, which is also known as Killer Mountain, is popular as one of the most riskiest climbs. Normally, a mountaineer takes an average of 20-22 days to reach the summit if the weather is favourable. “It is one of the main attractions for adventure lovers,” said Lama.
As per the project’s record, 2,030 foreign tourists, including 17 from SAARC countries, visited the Manaslu region during mid September-mid October. In the previous month, 452 visitors had made their way to the Manaslu Circuit.
Lama said tourists choose mainly the month of October to visit the region. According to him, Chum and Nrubi valleys of the conservation area are also popular with visitors. Tourists use the Larkepass, situated at an altitude of 5,200 metres, to visit these two valleys. It takes around eight days to cross Larkepass. “The place is popular for its panoramic views and cultural aspects.”
Manaslu Conservation Area houses rare species of animals and birds. It also offers a panoramic view of mountain ranges, gumba and has a pleasant environment. Apart from this season, the months of March, April and May are suitable for tourists to visit the area.
Lama said they are considering launching special programmes as part of Visit Nepal 2020 promotions. In 2018, a total of 7,640 tourists visited the conservation area. The figure was 6,928 in 2017. “We have planned to improve the trail roads and to launch targeted programmes providing the flavours of local tradition and culture,” said Lama.
The lion’s share of foreign tourists were from Germany and France. Visitors from Netherland, Brazil, Spain, Argentina, Jordan, Finland, Uruguay, Poland, Japan, China, Turkey, the US and South Africa were also recorded in the area.
Lho, Prok, Bihi, Chumchet, Chhekampar, Sirdibas and Samagaun rural municipalities are among some of the popular tourist destinations in the conservation area. With an increasing flow of tourists, hoteliers are also increasing their investment to build accommodations. Investment amount ranging from Rs1 million to Rs10 million have been invested in hotels.
Sukman Gurung, a denizen of Sirdibas, said visitor numbers jumps mainly after the end of the rainy season. “With the rise in visitors, hotels are doing brisk business,” Gurung said.