Ghalegaun: The Jewel of Rural Tourism in Nepal’s Mountains

Jhurupp Basti on Thaplo of Danda. Houses made of stone and mud. Colored roofs covered with zinc plate. In the background Jhalmal mountains. A piece of heaven! The country’s first smart village-Ghalegaun (2,070 meters).

Ramaniya Basti of Khonlasonthar Rural Municipality-3, Lamjung District, Gandaki Province. There are 125 houses of Gurung, Ghale and Dalits in the village. A village famous for Gurung culture, Himalayan scenery, friendly behavior and sweet food. The body and mind are recharged in the clean environment of the village. Energy increases.

Ghalegaun

Rural tourism has been practiced in Ghalegaun since Chait 20, 2056 with homestay facilities. Homestays were started from 12 houses and now homestays are being conducted in 40 houses.

Ghalegaun is located in Uttarkanya village of Sawik. The government has merged Baglungpani, Maling, Uttarkanya, Bhoje, Singhdi, Geelung and Bhujung boroughs to form Khonlasonthar Rural Municipality. The village is named after Khonlasonthar, the ancestral home of the Gurung community.

Confluence of nature and culture – Ghalegaun. From the village Machhapuchche, Annapurna II, Buddha, Himalchuli, Lamjung, Dr. Hark Gurung Peak and Manaslu are visible. The view of sunrise and sunset is also mesmerizing. There is snow in the village in January-January.

Ghalegaun, a model destination for rural tourism, has heritage such as tea gardens, Gurung Museum, View Tower, Uttarkanya Temple, Koivo Dhin. Similarly, hiking can be done in the neighboring villages of Ghanpokhara, Bhujung and Baglungpani.

Under the leadership of village leader Prem Ghale, rural tourism has been practiced in Ghalegaun since 20th of Chait 2056. The Tourism Management Committee organizes the ‘Ghalegaun Festival’ every year from 23rd to 25th Baisakh. The festival, which has been celebrated since 2057, features badminton, basketball and football competitions as well as cultural programs.

Ghalegaun has been declared Smart Village on 17th November 2076. The village has basic facilities such as roads, schools, drinking water, electricity, telephone, internet, hotels, homestays.

Lifestyle in GhaleGaun

The main occupations of the villagers are tourism, agriculture, animal husbandry and foreign employment. In the village, there are scenes of farming, milking cattle, rearing goats and chickens, weaving radipakhi, dokonamlo and bhakari. Similarly, social development, rivers, forests, wild animals etc. can be studied. The courtyards of the village are clean. There is a collective spirit in the villagers. They work together for development.

Ghalegaun

Culture

Gurung community is considered to be culturally rich. Ghalegaun is an open school in terms of Gurung language, art, culture, tradition and lifestyle. The villagers practice Bon, Buddhism and Hinduism. They celebrate Tamu Lhochar every year on January 15th. Similarly, Buddha Purnima, Saune Sankranti, Maghe Sankranti, Dasain-Tihar etc. are celebrated with great pomp. They dance and sing in festivals. At present, according to the demand of tourists, Krishna Charitra, Ghantu, Rodhi, Ghyapri, Serga and Pachyu dances are performed in the village. They don’t even want guests with them. Koivo Dhin

Ghalegaun

Gurung community are nature worshippers. They worship streams, forests, soil and climate. They have their own customs and culture. Pachu, Bonpo Lama and Ghyapri are their idols. On one side of Ghalegaun is Koivo Dhin. There are statues of Bon devotee Zhankri (Pachyu), Bon Guru Ghyapri and King Kalpo.

Uttarkanya Temple

Often from the north the water source breaks and flows in other directions. In the Uttarkanya temple of Ghalegaun, the water has flowed towards the north due to a root bursting from the south. There are no stones or figures in the temple, the water source itself is worshiped as a goddess.

It is customary to stay awake all night on the last day of the month of Pus and return home on the morning of the 1st of January after bathing with the water of the same root. Sacrifices are not offered in temples. Instead, pigeons are flown wishing for world peace. It is customary to offer bells in the temple. Those who join the army also offer bells to protect their livelihood.

Ghalegaun

Next to the temple is the Satakanya well. There are seven wells where the water is sweet. Earlier, the villagers used to drink this water. Now there are water pipes in the village.

Khonlasonthar

The primitive site of the Tamu community is Khonlasonthar. There is a history of migration of Gurung community from Khonlasonthar located in the southern lap of Annapurna and Lamjung mountains about 1200 years ago through Gandaki province to different parts of Muluk.

Khonlasonthar is reached by two days’ walk from Ghalegaun. There are ruins of old settlements. The topography of Khonla is at an altitude of 3,300 to 4,200 meters. The Khonla region is also a repository of herbs.

Calvo Raja had settled in Khonla. The Konla kingdom of Tinta extended from Karu, the head of the Madi river in the west to the head of the Midim river in the east, and Krabuchho in the south and Dudhpokhri in the north.

Ghalepark

Ghalegaun has a history of being ruled by Ghale Raja. According to the genealogy, Chedelke, the ancestor of the Ghale race, was the king of Namruchyukhyalasa. In time his sons Khaenl, Khool (Khonal) and Poncho became the kings of Koimlinasa. The first king of Ghalegaun was Thopkuichyu and the last king was Kalpoerujakle. In Gurung language, Ghalegaun is called ‘Koimli’, Ghale is called ‘Lke’, King is called ‘Mru’ and the state is called ‘Khyalsa’. Ghalepark has been built in Ghalegaun with the statue of the last king Kalpo.

Ghalegaun

Museum

The village has a Sark Village Model Museum where there are decorated materials, pictures and paintings reflecting the Gurung community’s birth to death rites. Kuta, spade, weapons used in the forest, clothes and ornaments used by them in agriculture are kept. Similarly, items used in the kitchen can be viewed.

tea garden

There is a tea garden near the village with 200 plants. One can enjoy the greenery of tea. The mountains laugh in the background of the garden. With the help of the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP), tea planting has been started since 2057. District Land Conservation Office Lamjung assisted in its conservation. You can walk around the garden and take photos.

lamb Grazing

The villagers raised sheep. During Dasain-Tihar, sheep are kept in the village for a month. In the first week of November, they are weeded to make the field fertile. From the last week of February, they are taken to the village again. As the summer heats up, the sheepfold is moved to the mountains. From May to August, it is taken to the foothills of Lamjung Himal. And when the snow starts to fall, it slowly descends towards the valley.

Honey Hunting

Bee honey is considered to be Okhti. Bees live in Bhir near Ghalegaun. Honey is hunted there twice a year in October-November and Chait-Vaisakh. There is a traditional style of hunting. The deity is worshiped before hunting. Hunting in Bhir is not easy. Hunters hang with ropes and bamboo supports and drive away the bees with smoke from the wheels. And they extract honey.

Gurung dress

The joint mothers group of the village has given the facility to the guests to take pictures wearing Gurung dress. After paying a certain amount, men and women can dress up in traditional clothes and take photos. The photo taken in this way remains a sweet memory of Ghalegaun.

Ghalegaun

Trekking

It takes a week for the camping tech to leave Pokhara via Ghalegaoun, Ghanpokhara, Thullek and Sikles. Similarly, from Ghalegaun through Thurjulek and crossing Namun Bhanjyang to reach Timang in Manang, one should go camping for a week. One can also do a three-day trek from Ghalegaun to Begnas Lake via Ghanpokhara, Bhujung, Pasgaon and Pakhrikot.

food

Dal, rice, vegetables, millet piles, pickles, roti, millet pancakes, local chicken meat, sukuti, nari-pa (millet liquor) etc. are available in Ghalegaun homestays and hotels. Similarly, there is millet cell roti-vegetables, corn-soybean and gundruk, zhilinga etc. for lunch. Seasonal local vegetables are cooked. In hotels and restaurants, dishes such as Bikase liquor, mum and chowmin are also available.

Homestay

Rural tourism has been practiced in Ghalegaun since Chait 20, 2056 with homestay facilities. Homestays were started from 12 houses and now homestays are being conducted in 40 houses. Two of these houses belong to Dalits and the rest belong to Gurungs. Community homestay and hotel ‘Ghalej Home’ can accommodate 250 people at a time. There is a family atmosphere. The villagers welcome and bid farewell to the guests with garlands and tika.

Koselli

When you go to any place, you have to return with koseli. Local tea, honey, millet flour, soybeans, gundruk, radipakhi, dokonamlo, barkhe alu and seasonal vegetables can be brought from Ghalegaun as koseli.

How to reach Ghalegaun?

You can visit Ghalegaun throughout the year. Kathmandu – Bensishahr 172 km, 5 hours by bus. Or Kathmandu-Pokhara 25 minutes flight. Pokhara-Veshisahar 110 km. Benisahar-Ghalegaun 24 km. It takes 6 hours to reach Ghalegaun via Baglungpani from Bensihar while trekking. Similarly, Ghalegaun can be reached even after climbing for 6 hours from Khudi.

Ghalegaun in Map


Travel Tips

1. If you are going to stay at a homestay, you should inform in advance. If that happens, the villagers will have time to prepare the necessary welcome, hospitality and food. Another thing is to reach the village before the sun sets.

2. Tourists are distributed among households by the Tourism Management Committee. He maintains a homestay on a rotation system. Even if you eat at home, the price of the package is the same.

3. Stay modestly in homestays and hotels. Do not demand things that are not on the menu. Do not sit in the kitchen after 10 pm. You can’t even shout.

4. Local culture, dialect, religion, dress etc. should be respected. Do not argue with the villagers about politics, religion and caste.

5. Bringing gifts for the host family while visiting a homestay deepens the intimacy. Also, it is good to help the family in planting vegetables, cleaning, weeding the vegetable garden, etc.

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