A trekking route connecting the mountainous, hilly and flat ecological regions of the country has been envisaged and is in the process of being developed.
The trekking route is named Buddha Peace Trekking Route and it links the trans-Himalayan district Manang in Gandaki state with Lumbini, the birthplace of Gautam Buddha in State 5.
The trekking route will also pass through the birth place of Bhanubhakta Acharya, the pioneer poet of Nepal, Maharshi Ved Byas, the creator of the Vedas and Gautam Buddha, the apostle of peace and non-violence, encompassing all the three ecological regions of the country.
The route runs through Manang, Tanahu, Syangja and Lamjung districts in Gandaki state and through Palpa and Rupandehi districts in State 5. It starts from Timang Valley of Manang and ends in Lumbini of Rupandehi district.
The route is about 350 kilometres long. Trekkers using this route will get to see and experience the enchanting nature as well as the social and cultural diversity along the way. It is like an open museum of various ethnic communities. Settlements of various castes and ethnicities as Gurung, Magar, Newar, Tamang, Dura, Darai, Tharu, Muslim, Brahmin, Kshetris, Thakuri, Khand Dalit etc. lie along the mountains, valleys and the plains along this route. These communities have their unique culture which can be of interest to the visitors.
There are many historical and cultural places and heritages at many places along this trekking route. The section of this proposed trekking route from Dhor of Tanahu to Kolma Barahachaur of Syangja district has been already developed as the Millennium Trekking Route.
Similarly, the section of the proposed route from Ranighat through Palpa to Syangja, known as the Ranimahal Track, is also seeing a good number of trekkers. Local levels that are touched by Buddha Peace Trekking Route include Chame of Manang district; Marsyangdi, Kolhasonthar, Besisahar and Sundar Bazaar of Lamjung district; and Bhanu, Byas, Bandipur, Myagde and Shuklagandaki of Tanahu district.
Likewise, Putali Bazaar, Bhirkot, Waling and Kaligandaki of Syangja district; Tansen of Palpa district; and Butwal and Lumbini of Rupandehi district are the local levels that lie along the trekking route. Byasnagar municipality of Tanahu has geared up and taken initiatives for promoting and developing the Buddha Peace Trekking Route, enlisting the cooperation, participation and commitment of the national, international, governmental and non-governmental organizations in its overall development and promotion in view of the Visit Nepal Year 2020.
Municipality mayor Baikuntha Neupane said they have begun initiatives for creating the environment for building coordination and collaboration among the federal, state and local level governments for the development, promotion and publicity of the trekking route.
He said a meeting of the chiefs and representatives of the local levels lying along the trekking route and the stakeholder bodies was convened in Bandipur to discuss and exchange views regarding the all-round development of the trekking route.
It is believed that the operation of this new trekking trail will contribute to improving the economic condition and the living standards of the local communities through promotion of rural tourism. It will also help identify, protect and promote the natural and cultural heritage.
According to chairman of Central Nepal Tourism Development Committee, Hari Singh Gurung, the concept of the Buddha Peace Trekking Route however was started in 2011 in the context of the Visit Nepal Year 2011. He said a on-site observation tour was also conducted that time to assess the feasibility of the route.
The study tour was organized by the District Administration Office Tanahu with the coordination of the Committee. The trekking route not only connects the various geographical and ecological regions of the western Nepal but it also links to various short trekking routes in the region. These shorter trekking routes lying along the Peace Trekking Route are the Namung Bhanjyang Pass, the Bandipur-Damauli trekking route, the Damauli-Manahukot route, the Millennium Trekking Route and the Ranimahal track.
Senior manager at Nepal Tourism Board (NTB), Planning and Monitoring Division, Lila Baniya said this trekking route that traverses through the mountainous, hilly and Tarai geography will attract both domestic and foreign tourists alike. Baniya said that the collaboration and cooperation of the private sector would be vital in promoting this route. According to him, the mountainous stretch of the route will be especially attractive to the foreign tourists while the hilly section to the domestic tourists. It is expected that a planned programme for the development of the trekking route will make significant contribution to the goal of bringing 2 million visitors in the Gandaki State Internal Tourism Year 2019 and 2022 announced by the State Government.