If you are on your way to Karnali province by road ways, your most interesting and joyful destination could be the Gabhar Valley homestay, in Banke. Gabhar valley is a Tharu village, with some migration from the hill areas and near by places. It’s a community joint effort. Families in the location are slowly getting themselves registered to run homestay and change their lifestyle. In the beginning, it was not easy to convince the villagers, but now they take their own initiation in welcoming the guests. “We have started the homestay in order to bring prosperity to the community here. Our dream is to develop it as a model for other people at national and international level. We have succeeded to a lot extend in giving it a practical and concrete form,” says Krishna Chaudhery, the chairperson of Gabhar Valley Community Homestay Management Committee.
” We don’t have the compulsion to wait for the season to come; it runs throughout. We have guests pouring in in all the seasons. We provide extra facilities to our guests. As per the demand, we organized the cultural shows also,” added Chaudhery. It is not only limited to stays, many organizations approach them to conduct various trainings, seminars and workshops. Though the programs may be formal, one gets to witness the real tharu life and culture. The food served is purely based on tharu delicacies and other varieties are also served as per the demand. Locally produced vegetable, local chicken, fruits etc are served. Some of the products are also collected from neighboring villages. Mushroom is always available here.
It was started in 2070, the big applauds goes to Chaudhery for the pioneering in the effort. It’s story began with the establishment of Banke National Park in 2067. The National Park also extends till the base of Chure hills. People also visit the homestay for bird watching and endangered wild animals are seen in their natural habitat. One can directly visit the National Park from Banke airport through jeep safari.
The families involved in the homestays are given trainings as per the need. They also make a visit in the other homestays and share their experiences. But most of the time they are busy welcoming others, who want to start homestays. Bhada homestay of Kailali and Dalla homestay of Bardiya, were models for them, reveals Chaudhery-the founder. They used to here about them. Now they themselves are making news. Nepal Government has listed Gabar in the list of 100 destinations for tourism year 2020. There are 17 total homestays in Gabhar valley now. Still more to be added !
Women grow lemons
Local women grow organic lemons in the 8 biga community land. It has been recently added to the valley with 1200 lemon plants growing in the farm. 30 women have put up the effort to grow the lemons. Once the plants grow, the farmw is also expected to attract tourists.
A Parijat (blue mimosa) garden has been established near the homestay village. It is a natural garden with the flowers blooming in their natural habitat. It was already there in the wilds, we have just given the name as ‘Parijat Garden’. It has gained a lot of attraction and people throng the place for religious and refreshment reasons. It covers the 50 biga of land and this has also assisted in flowing the value of the herbal plant. It was actually a community forest. Indian tourists come to the garden for worship purpose; as it is directly linked with the mythology. The parijat tree is worshiped here. It has the medicinal value to cure jaundice and diabetes.
Once you are in the garden, you can even enjoy cycling. A new route around the garden has been built for cycling fans. One can bring your own cycle or could hire one from the homestays.
One can also enjoy the 5 hour package of Chure hike. It has been newly introduced. The hikers are given packed lunch, as there are no hotels on the route. One has to return back by evening. However due to seasonal constraint, the hikes are planned only during the 6 months of winter.
Any family interested in joining the homestay could get the financial support with the interest rate of only 4 percent. The Geological society of London had donated 7 lakh and 20 thousand rupees, as the seed money. A fund has been established from the amount for the same. I has been mainly used to help the families from the Gabhar Chhyama cluster. It has been a new village added to Gabhar Valley Homestay.