Mundhum trail in eastern hills draws trekkersThe new trail passes through hill districts such as Khotang, Solukhumbu, Bhojpur and Sankhuwasabha.
Mundhum Trail, a newly established trekking trail in Nepal’s eastern hills, has seen a greater number of visitors post-Covid. The trail passes through hill districts such as Khotang, Solukhumbu, Bhojpur and Sankhuwasabha.
The word ‘Mundhum’ finds its roots in Kirati culture and history; it’s an oral guide to the Kirati way of life and holds more traditional implications than religious tones.
According to the local authority, the new trail received more than 4,000 trekkers from the US, Switzerland, Jordan and China in the last eight months. There were around 2,500 hikers last year.
Ramesh Kumar Rai, the chairman of Maiyum-Temke-Salpa-Silichung Tourism Promotion Centre, hopes the number of visitors will cross the 10,000 mark by the rhododendron blooming season which begins in January.
“The recent popularity of the trail and promotional activities contributed to the increase in visitors,” said Rai.
Mundhum Trail is among the top 100 tourism destinations listed by the government.
However, the lack of infrastructure has affected the development of the trail, according to Rai. “The provincial government in the last fiscal year had allocated Rs5 million for the construction of trekking trails, but the amount was frozen as it was not utilised by the fiscal year,” said Rai. “Though the same amount has been allocated this fiscal year, the work hasn’t picked up pace in the absence of the provincial government.”
Out of a total of 88 kilometres of the trekking trail, the work on 62 kilometres has been completed through the joint cooperation of local and provincial governments as well as the Swiss government.
“The Swiss government couldn’t get involved in the project last year as the provincial government delayed approval of the project,” said Ramesh.
Construction of trekking trails at Kepilasgadhi Rural Municipality in Khotang, Temke Maiyung Rural Municipality in Bhojpur and Silichung Rural Municipality in Sankhuwasabha has been delayed.
“The project is still in limbo as the contract couldn’t be awarded in time due to the political situation,” said Samir Rai, chief of Kepliasgadhi Rural Municipality. Of the 14-kilometre segment of the trail in the rural municipality, only 15 percent work has been completed.
Of the 31 kilometres of the trail in Temke Maiyu, work on only 19 kilometres has been completed.
Out of the Rs35 million allocated for the section, Rs33.3 million has been spent so far, said Ramesh.
Similarly, Rs20.02 million of Rs28.1 million has been spent to complete the work on eight kilometres of the 12-kilometre-long segment in Salpa Silichung.
The 10.5-kilometre segment in Sakela in Khotang and 12-kilometre in Bhojpur municipality is ready. Rs23.2 million was spent on the construction of these segments.
The Swiss government and Province 1 government have funded 70 percent of the project, while the remaining have been covered by the local governments.
While Rs135 million has been spent on the project to date, the Swiss government has sponsored the construction of resting places, drinking water taps and signboards on the trail.