Want to experience a little bit of Nepal’s recent violent past? If you are the adventurous sort and have some spare time, here’s the opportunity to put on your trekking shoes and start.
On Tuesday, Nepal formally opened Guerrilla Trek, a 19-day trail through the region under control of Maoist rebels during the 1996-2006 Civil War, to tourists.
The trek was launched by Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’, chief of Maoists rebels who fought government forces during the unrest before giving up arms to join the political mainstream.
Nepal hopes its effort at promoting ‘war tourism’ through the trek will bring in foreign tourists, which in turn could help revive the economy shattered by political instability.
“Nepal has seen enormous political changes in past few years, but to sustain them we need a strong economy. The Guerrilla Trek can play a prominent role in that direction,” said Dahal.
The trek has been divided into three sections, the short trail being one week long, and tourists will be able to see places where Maoist rebellion began and how it spread.
Besides the beautiful waterfalls, lakes and beautiful views of the Dhaulagiri range, trekkers will also witness the caves where Maoist rebels hid, the routes they took to carry out strikes or ferry wounded comrades.
Though there are hotels and lodges along the route, one can set up camps for night halts or even stay at homes of residents to get a feel of the culture and traditions of the region.
A book on the trek written by American travel writer Alonzo Lyons can provide details of the options available.
Rukum, Rolpa and Myagdi districts which fall on the trek route were hotbeds of violence during the civil war with Maoists controlling most parts and even running parallel administration.
Most of these places, where tourists were not allowed to venture, were heavily bombed by government forces during aerial attacks, the remnants of which are still visible on the trek.
Sounds interesting? Now start packing.