By Chandra Pandak Taplejung, Feb. 20: The Phungling-Suketar footpath in Taplejung is likely to be an attractive hiking destination. The possibility of hiking from the district headquarters Phungling Bazaar to Suketar has increased after the upgrade of the footpath.
Lately, people are participating in sports activities like morning walk, hiking, badminton, futsal to keep their life happy, healthy, and fit. So, the Phungling-Suketar hiking route can fulfil people’s desire in participating such activities locally.
The footpath, which has the potential to keep the lifestyle alive and develop rural tourism through hiking, had been overshadowed for many years. There is still a need for management and publicity to make it a destination by choice. Kajiman Gurung, a social worker of Phungling Municipality-5, said that it is an attractive destination to hang out from Phulpate Danda of Phungling Bazaar to Suketar.
Gurung said that the footpath, with about two and a half kilometres, has been upgraded and made comfortable and attractive for hiking. He said that hiking would be of special importance as the same footpath would reach the Suketar Airport area through Gumbadanda Community Homestay, Gurung Museum, Gurung Gumba and Multicultural Museum, which is under construction. Similarly, Wange Sherpa, a social worker and hotelier from Phungling Municipality-5, said that the Phungling-Suketar footpath is an excellent destination for hiking.
He said that the development of this footpath as a tourist destination would help in the promotion of rural tourism. Another young social worker, Ambika Hongbang, said that the footpath from Phungling Bazaar to the tourist area Suketar has been upgraded, making it an excellent and attractive destination for hiking. She said that the one-and-a-half to the two-hour trip would be beneficial for health as well as tourism promotion.
Kamal Bhattarai, a resident of Phungling Municipality-7, Dokhu, said that locals themselves should be aware of the potential of rural tourism development by harnessing and establishing the potential in their area through hiking or other means.
According to local tourism entrepreneurs, the development of the Phungling-Suketar footpath as a route for hiking could help in the promotion of tourism. The work of upgrading this footpath in Phungling Municipality-6 started two years ago. So far, a budget of Rs. 5.3 million has been spent. The footpath has been upgraded using cement, sand and ballast, said Manju Basnet, technical officer of the Ward Office.
According to Basnet, the width of the footpath is 1.5 meters. She said that the work of upgrading the footpath is expected to be completed within the current fiscal year. The ward office has allocated Rs. 500,000 to complete the remaining work.