Padamarga is Crowded.
Tara BK, who has been operating a boat in Fewatal for 20 years, has been enjoying it since before the age of ten. He doesn't know if the Nepalis who have come to visit Pokhara have been taken to the Barahi temple by boat or while walking around the lake. Giving a boat to a Nepali tourist, she said, "The boat has finally got a job, there is no time to talk."
This was his arrangement during the tourist season before the outbreak of the corona virus. Entrepreneurs have said that more Nepalis have come to Pokhara this year than in the tenth season of last year. According to Rudra Bhujel, secretary of the Boat Entrepreneurs Committee, the boats of Barahi Ghat have got work at full capacity at this time.
Barahi Ghat has the highest number of boats. Visitors to the Barahi temple pass through the ghats here. At present, 356 boats are kept at Barahi Ghat alone. According to Bhujel, all these boats are working now.
"Before, we had to wait for a week for a boat to arrive," Bhujel said.
Not only boating but also paragliding is the first choice of Nepalis in Pokhara. At present, 400 people are paragliding daily, said Sharmila Sharma, a member of the Nepal Air Sports Association. Last year, the number of paragliders in Pokhara had increased. Sharma believes that more Nepalis will come to paragliding this year than last year.
There are currently 60 paragliding companies in Pokhara. In which 350 parapilots work. Sharma said that paragliding in Pokhara has been made safer as per the directives of the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal.
Paragliding, which was closed in Lockdown, was reopened only on September 30. The paragliding business is in full swing within 15 days of opening. Sharma, who is also the operator and parapilot operator of the Open Sky Paragliding Company, said, "Additional safety, security and insurance arrangements have been made for paragliding tourists."
Hotel and restaurant entrepreneurs in Pokhara have also become enthusiastic due to Nepalis coming to visit on the occasion of Dashain. Chairman of the Hotel Association of Nepal (HAN) Western Region Laxman Subedi said that the hotels in Pokhara were half full.
There are 30,000 beds in about 700 tourist hotels in Pokhara at present. Not only in Pokhara, but also in Mustang and Annapurna region, the hotels in Pokhara have got business due to the tourists going for trekking.
According to Subedi, 85 percent of the tourists visiting Pokhara are Nepalis. 10 percent are Indians and 5 percent are tourists from other countries. Subedi said that the tourism market in Pokhara could be revived if Nepalis could be encouraged to travel like now.
Sweat of Nepalis on the Annapurna Parikrama Padmarga.
Savitri Khadka of Baglung completed the Annapurna base camp trek just before Dashain. Earlier, Savitri, who had visited Dhorpatan, Mustang and other areas, had trekked to Annapurna for the first time.
Savitri, who reached the foot of the Annapurna First (8091 m) mountain, said that she met many Nepalis during the five-day trek. "When we went there was a little less. On the way back, we found a crowd of Nepalis," she said. "There were also a few foreigners."
Entrepreneurs have said that foreign tourists have started entering Nepal after the government relaxed the health standards for foreigners visiting the country. Krishna Acharya, director of Pokhara-based Ethical Tour and Travel Agency, said that two foreign groups have been sent the upper Mustang this season.
Similarly, a group of foreigners who have gone to Mustang from Besishahar of Lamjung via Manang, passing through Thorang-la and going to Mustang for Annapurna Phero are also on foot. Acharya said that even Nepali hikers are now contacting the trekking agency for a 'tour package'.
Due to Nepali pedestrians, the hotels on the footpath have also become operational. According to Ram Gurung, the manager of Hotel Kokar at Forest Camp of Mardi Himal Footpath, almost all the hotels along the footpath are full now.
Sudip Gautam, manager of Hotel Trekkers Paradise at Mardi Footpath, also said that the hotel was full of Nepali tourists. This footpath, which is a short distance from Pokhara, has become popular among pedestrians in a short time. According to Gautam, the hotels in the high camp have already started filling up.
"Nepalis have started coming to Mardi after the lockdown," he said. "After ten o'clock, the hotels are full."