Dalit homestay is foreign tourists' first choice

01/13/2020

Tanahu, Jan. 13: Around 200 foreign visitors have enjoyed the homestay service at Aanpswara community homestay at Pokhari Bhanjyang, Byas Municipality-13 in Tanahu in 2019. Aanpswara community homestay is the country's first and model homestay and it is about five kilometers from Damauli, the headquarters of Tanahu district. This homestay is attracting more foreign tourists compared to the domestic visitors. The homestay management committee at Aanpswara has a target of welcoming higher number of visitors to the homestay during the Visit Nepal Year 2020 campaign compared to the previous year. Tourists, especially from America, Switzerland, China, Japan, Germany, Australia and France, have come to the homestay. However, the number of domestic tourists is negligible. People from 24 households belonging to Bishwokarma community in the area had started the homestay service from November 2016. The homestay at Aanpswara can accommodate maximum 100 visitors. Nepali dishes made of organic products, local chicken, mutton and pork are the specialty of Aanpswara community homestay. Committee president Resham Bishwokarma said the homestay has helped in raising the local economy and the income for the people providing this service. According to him, the viewpoint of other communities towards the dalit community has also changed after they started running homestay service. This has also helped reducing the caste discrimination to some extent. Besides enjoying the local culture and milieu, the visitors also get to observe the panoramic and enchanting view of Machhapuchchhre, Dhaulagiri, Annapurna and other Himalayan peaks. A monitoring team from the Gandaki state government's ministry of tourism had also observed the homestay at Aanpswara. Bishwakarma said that the state government's monitoring team has given them useful suggestions. The committee has constructed steps and laid down stone slabs along one kilometer path as well as built a welcome gate in the locality at a cost of Rs 1.1 million. Byas municipality has so far released Rs 1. 1 million for the promotion of homestay facility. The budget has been used in the arrangements of homestay facility like the construction of bathhouses, stone-plastering on the courtyards and purchasing beds, said Chairperson Bishwokarma. Cultural programmes are organised in a bid to entertain guests, said the committee's treasurer Madhu Maya BK. "There have been positive behavioural changes in the local people following the launch of the service. It has also provided job opportunities to them," she said. The committee has a plan to construct a Dalit museum with the aim to conserve traditional occupation of Dalits amidst their traditional occupations like tailoring, plough making, shoe repairing and blacksmith being on the verge of disappearance, said Bishwokarma. - Sane Bahadur Nepali, RSS

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