Wednesday, October 27, 2010

NRN DAY TOURISM PROMOTIONAL HIKE – DHULIKHEL TO NAMOBUDDHA

After having signed the MoU between NRN (Non Residential Nepalese Association) and NETIF, NETIF was honoured to assist NRN in arranging the hike from Dhulikhel to Namobuddha. On the auspicious occasion of Dashain, the group of around 100 hikers (70 members of NRN, Volunteers, local community members and NETIF Staff) left Dhulikhel and headed for the climb up the Hajar Sidhi (1000 steps). This stone staircase which climbs above the picnic grounds in Dhulikhel through the jungle and to the Devistan temple was constructed with initial funding from NETIF board members and then completed with further funding from Dhulikhel Community. The concept was designed and supervised by Mr Keshav Kunwar who also contributed substantial finical support during the initial stages of the project.

Along the staircase you can find the 25 meter tall statue of Lord Buddha which was constructed by the NGO Shantiban. Hikers proceeded to Devistan and the temple there. Here trekkers paid special homage to the statue and underwent a blessing and tikka ceremony. This beautiful spot on the ridge commands panoramic views of the snow capped Himalaya from Annapurna in the East to Everest in the West and the rolling valleys around Dhulikhel below. In this place the NTB (Nepal Tourism Board)and the Department of Urban Building and Construction is presently constructing a viewing platform for visitors.

At Devistan the official inauguration ceremony began with the gathered group, media representatives, dignitaries from Dhulikhel, Local Politicians and noted public figures present for speeches. The theme of the event was the pledging of NRN to help promote local level development through tourism and NRN’s commitment to promote tourism in Nepal and support local level communities in tourist related industries, and underlining their working commitment with NETIF, as well as NRN’s pledge to spread the message abroad about visit Nepal year 2011.
 
During the ceremony, speeches where given by dignitaries. The NRN President, Mr Deb Man Hirachan presented a speech on the NRN’s commitment to promoting tourism abroad and helping develop local communities and improve infrastructure. Chief Guest, Senior Everest Summiteers Mr Min Bhadaur Sherchan’s speech covered the importance of promoting hiking routes around the Kathmandu Valley, this was followed by NRN’s Chairman who presented and emphasised NRN’s commitment. NETIF’s Vice President Mr Khesav Kunwar talked about the Dreamland Concept Project to be started in Dhulikhel and encouraged NRN to keep an ongoing commitment and enthusiasm for the project. The former Mayor of Dhulikhel, Mr Bel Presard Shrestha spoke enthusiastically about the potential of Dhulikhel as a premier tourist destination with its close association with nature, adventure and splendid mountain views. Finally Mr Arun Shrestha, President of NETIF addressed the gathering, speaking about the importance of environmental conservation for the future of tourism development in Nepal.  He also emphasised the point that all stakeholders involved should maintaining ongoing interest and collective action in environment preservation and tourism development.  Mr Shrestha also passed comment on NETIF’s acceptance in the joint venture with NRN and the positive aspect of building future projects together given both organizations similar objectives.

Before the hiking program commenced there was an authentic Newari Dashain celebration which was a Samaya Bhoj with Aqilla. The Bhoj was much enjoyed and great appreciation was shown to the Dhulikhel Community Group who arranged it.
 
At the closing of the speeches, the group of eager hikers where placed in the capable hands of guides from the Guides Association of Kavre and led on the hike to Namobuddha via Karve Bhanjyang. The beautiful trekking trail affords stunning views of the mountains and valleys and passes through quaint rural villages. With Dashain having arrived, the village atmosphere was festive, cheerful and welcoming. On arrival at Namobuddha, a traditional lunch and welcome was arranged by the Namobuddha Committee.


The event was deemed a success, a combination of NRN’s commitment to promote and support local communities and NETIF’s knowledge and technical support. We hope that many such events in the future may be arranged.

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