Sikles, a beautiful tourist destination in Kaski district, which offers majestic panoramic views of the mountains has been attracting a large number of domestic tourists recently.
The destination is home to the indigenous village of the Gurung communities and was declared as one of the 100 most important tourist destinations in Nepal by the government. This has also boosted its appeal to foreigners visiting Nepal.
Hom Raj Bhattarai, a businessman from Pokhara, was spotted in the tourist village, visiting with his spouse and infant in tow alongside 11 relatives.
“Trekking to the village was a wonderful experience and I am blessed to witness such a view,” said Bhattarai.
“The beautiful villages with the houses roofed by stones and the warm hospitality shown by the locals are the other attractions of Sikles,” he added.
Laxman Gurung who was leading another group of youth from Pokhara to Sikles shared feelings similar to Bhattarai.
“There are lots of tourist destinations within the country but this place is totally different and gives a unique experience,” said Gurung. “I am glad that I visited in time.”
Locals of Sikles were equally excited by the influx of tourists as it has boosted the economic activities of the place. The surge in flow of tourists has prompted locals to open hotels and home-stays. Currently, there are 12 hotels and 15 home-stays operating in the indigenous village. But the number is not enough to accommodate the large number of people visiting Sikles recently. “There is an immediate plan to provide home-stay service at 10 additional houses in the village,” said Gehendra Gurung, a local of the village.
The indigenous village that lies on the lap of the Annapurna range is famous for ecotourism. “Gurung tradition, cultural dance, peaceful environment and hospitable locals are the unique selling propositions of Sikles,” said Dhan Gurung, a local who is operating Namaste Guest House in the village. “Now, we are promoting a campaign to make this a model village.”
According to him, many domestic tourists from cities like Kaski, Kathmandu, Chitwan and Butwal among others are visiting the village these days. The tourist arrival has also halted the migration in the village which was rampant in the past. “But, these days, those who migrated to cities like Pokhara are willing to come back,” said Dhan Gurung.
According to locals, the village can accommodate around 500 tourists. Currently, around 400 tourists are visiting the place daily and locals are willing to add the number of home-stays if the existing facilities become inadequate to accommodate the visitors. The number of people visiting the tourist destination increased after the village was connected with a motorable road.
“It has become easier for people from nearby cities to visit our place after transportation services started,” said Dhan Gurung who was also euphoric about the recent government decision to include the village as one of the important tourist destinations of the country.