Lack of functional toilets in Mayadevi temple area compels Lumbini visitors to relieve themselves in the openInfrastructure was built for four well-equipped toilets in the area but lack of a plan on how to operate them has rendered them unusable.
Tourists visiting the Mayadevi temple area in Lumbini complain of a lack of proper toilets in the area.
Edward Tenny, an American tourist, was recently in Lumbini and on a visit to Mayadevi temple. “I needed to use the restroom desperately but there was not a single one to be found anywhere,” said Tenny. “I took a rickshaw back to my hotel to use the bathroom and when I came back I had to pay the Rs 500 entry fee again.”
With the lack of functional toilets, many tourists are compelled to relieve themselves out in the open, said a security guard. A month ago, the country was declared open defecation free.
“The ongoing Lumbini Visit Year 2076 aims to receive 2 million visitors, but if the officials can’t take care of toilets, then I don’t know how the target will be achieved,” said Birendra Mishra, a local. “Toilets might be a small issue but an important one.”
Stately monuments abound but there’s not a single toilet that is accessible and usable in the vicinity, making it impossible for visitors like Tenny to enjoy their visit.
The Lumbini Masterplan, which aims to renovate the Buddha’s birth town across a three square mile area, has built four well-equipped toilets. Due to lack of maintenance and their inconvenient location, three of the four are rendered unusable.
“From the outside, these toilets look nice and well-equipped like those at foreign airports,” said Lilamani Sharma, secretary of the Lumbini Hotel Association. “But nobody uses them. The toilets are in a state of disrepair and need renovation.”
Rajan Basnet, information officer at the Lumbini Development Trust, said that even though the facilities were built, there is the lack of a proper plan on how to operate them. “The Trust cannot operate the toilets employing people,” Basnet said, adding that the trust is soon coming up with a plan to settle the issue.
The Trust had launched e-toilets in 2018 but they are currently out of operation.
According to data by the Lumbini Development Trust, a total of 101,269 foreign tourists have visited Lumbini in the first eight months of 2019. The figure is 7,461 more compared to the same period last year.
Mirroring the condition of toilets in the tourist hub, the state of road leading to Lumbini is also in disrepair which stakeholders say has been hindering the growth in tourist numbers.