Villages in Lamjung seek to boost income with homestaysGuests will be offered a tour of the large cardamom farms and delicacies such as tea, pickles and liquor with flavours of the locally produced large cardamom.
Locals in Marsyangdi Rural Municipality-7 in Lamjung district plan to run homestays with large cardamom as the major source of attraction.
The large cardamom produced in the villages is sold domestically and exported to India as well.
Guests will be offered a tour of the large cardamom farms and delicacies such as tea, pickles and liquor with flavours of the locally produced large cardamom.
“The large cardamom farms and the unique delicacies will be the central attraction of the homestays,” said Chitari Tamang, a local of Chhini Khola.
In the first phase, villagers plan to set up 26 homestays–six each in Chhini Khola and Ludi; ten in Tara Chowk and four in Sherae.
The neighbouring villages such as Bhusme, Khani Gaau, Seuring and Miprak have already started running the homestays.
“We send high-quality large cardamom to the market, but we have no control over the taste that the consumer gets at the end,” said Janaki Thapa of Tara Chowk. “Therefore, we initiated this concept where enthusiasts can taste the cardamom directly from the farm.”
Deu Bahadur Gurung, chairman of the Kaule Paani Community Homestay which is renowned for operating homestays successfully in the region, has been training the locals in developing their hospitality, cleanliness, marketing, management and social media skills.
Eco Himal Nepal, an NGO working on climate adaptation and agriculture, has provided the aspiring homestay operators with technical assistance.
Keshav Raj Bhusal, administration head of the NGO, said that they aim to uplift the local economy via agri-tourism.
“The unique cuisine and the local culture can be an exciting factor to attract tourists,” said Bhusal.
The locals have also formed a bread-and-breakfast committee under the chairmanship of Som Bahadur Tamang which will guide the tourists to visit the large cardamom farms and make the necessary arrangements to coordinate among the local homestays.
The villages, which are in the circumference of the Annapurna Circuit, will be helpful in boosting tourists’ attraction in the entire circuit which has lost its charm in recent years due to the encroachment of the motorable roads, said Til Bahadur Gurung, chief of the ward.
One can reach these villages through a two-hour drive from Besisahar, the district headquarters, via North Khudi-Bhul Bhule route.
The visitors can also make a trip to Baraha Pokhari, Dudh Pokhari and Meme Pokhari, the lakes of historical and religious importance in the district.
“The local government aims to promote their local products in the national and international markets to increase the income sources for locals,” said Arjun Gurung, chairperson of the Marsyangdi Rural Municipality.
The Rural Municipality has also allocated a budget to provide five-day training and technical assistance to locals aspiring to set up a homestay.