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NEPAL: Revolution Becomes A Tourist Destination

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By Countercurrents.org

Other than ecotourism, there are varieties of tourism including village tourism, development tourism, pro-poor tourism, slum tourism, outer space tourism, tiger tourism, learning from people tourism, education tourism, and war tourism. Climate crisis tourism, civil war tourism and military intervention tourism may follow. Whatever it's, it fetches money. The distribution of tourism money is a different and deep question. Environment, ecology, culture and heritage are also important questions related to these tourisms.

In Nepal , The Guerrilla Trek, a trekking trail has been opened. It has been inaugurated by Pushpa Kamal Dahal, better known as Prachanda. The trail moves through one time strongholds of guerrillas following Mao Tse Tung thought, popularly known as Maoists.

Citing a Kathmandu datelined AFP news The Himalayan Times reported [1]:

Pushpa Kamal Dahal, the one-time leader of Nepal 's Maoist insurgency on Tuesday launched the tourist trekking trail, giving visitors the chance to retrace the guerrillas' footsteps.

The Guerrilla Trek, a three-week hike, which stretches across central and western Nepal , is designed to draw in more foreigners as the Himalayan nation seeks to rebuild an economy devastated by the 1996-2006 "People's War".

"I hope this will be a new chapter in Nepal 's tourism. Many countries that have emerged from war have tried to capitalize on the memory of war," Maoist chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, told reporters.

"A huge political change occurred in Nepal but we cannot sustain it unless there is an economic transformation. I hope the Guerrilla Trek will play an important role."

The trek passes through Nepal 's lush valleys that stand in the shadow of mountains including Dhaulagiri and through dramatic waterfalls, lakes and the country's only hunting reserve, the organizers said.

"Everest, Annapurna are famous. But if you want to take a unique route, this is the one," Alonzo Lyons, an American travel writer who trekked the route last year, told AFP . "Its natural scenery is simply captivating. You also come across diverse cultures."

He said trekkers would be able to see the remnants of the war and become familiar with the recent history of Nepal .

A BBC report [2] on October 3, 2012 said:

Prachanda hopes the trek will give tourists an insight into the insurgency.

Prachanda also launched a map and a guide book, Guerrilla Trek , co-produced with American author Alonzo Lyons.

The trail will give walkers the chance to see routes and hideouts used by the guerrillas.

Prachanda, the former agriculture student and teacher went on to be prime minister of his country from 18 August 2008 to 25 May 2009 , derived his inspiration from Peru 's Shining Path rebels and dreamt of setting up a communist republic to address the plight of the rural poor and bring an end to Nepal 's ceaseless political bickering.

The BBC's Surendra Phuyal in Kathmandu says that while trekking activities in Nepal are generally confined to the Everest, Annapurna and Langtang regions, the new route winds its way through villages and valleys that saw some of the bloodiest moments in Nepal 's recent history.

The trail is divided into three sections in western Nepal over rugged mountains, caves, villages, rivers and paddy fields along the route where thousands of Maoist guerrillas once dug trenches and ambushed the army.

Prachanda said at the launch that Guerrilla Trek "has the potential of becoming a war tourism product similar to those seen in Vietnam , Russia and China ".

"The vision is more or less showing visitors how the people's war began and spread from [the district of] Rukum," he said.

"As all know, Nepal has seen big political upheavals and the people's revolution will be of no value unless the country goes through an economic transformation. I hope the Guerrilla Trek will play an important role."

For those who find the idea of four-week trek to be a little ardous, it is possible to opt for a shorter itinerary of 13 days.

The rebels ran their revolt from remote western and central Nepal

The route starts west of Pokhara and goes through Rukum and the Dhorpatan hunting reserve. It includes areas where the rebels carried their wounded along the mountains before ending in Rolpa district.

Travel operators in Nepal have welcomed the move, pointing out that it will open up parts of the country seldom seen by outsiders or tourists who tend to visit the country's better-known areas.

"It will surely attract visitors interested to know how the guerrillas operated and fought during the conflict," tour operator Ang Tshering Sherpa told the BBC .

Source :

[1] “Ex-Nepal rebel chief launches guerrilla tourist trail”, October 2,  2012

http://www.thehimalayantimes.com/fullNews.php?headline=Ex-Nepal+rebel+chief+launches+guerrilla+tourist+trail&NewsID=349481&a=3

[2] “ Nepal Maoist leader Prachanda opens 'guerrilla trail'”, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-19815779

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