Chitlang, Makwanpur, resorts and homestays that were badly damaged by the Covid-19 outbreak are slowly making a recovery as more domestic and international tourists flock to the historic tourism area after 17 months of devastation.
Chitlang, which is approximately 27 kilometres southwest of Kathmandu, sits on the banks of an ancient trade route that served as the primary link between the city and the rest of the country before the construction of the Tribhuvan Highway, also known as Byroad.
The Tribhuvan Highway, which was cut out of the hills around the Kathmandu Valley in 1956, provided the city with its first motorable road connecting it to the rest of the world. Previously, travellers had to walk the trade route through Chitlang to get to the capital.
The foot track begins at Thankot and climbs above the valley rim at Chandragiri Pass before descending to Chitlang and continuing to Kulekhani, where it meets the Indian border in the southern part of the country.
It was during this time that trucks and buses began to roll over the Tribhuvan Highway, which bypassed Chitlang, and the historic route began to lose its lustre, effectively ending its splendour.
The mediaeval village reimagined itself as a weekend retreat and, before to the arrival of Covid-19, was gaining pace as one of the country’s most important tourist attractions.
As a result of the government’s lifting of the lockdown and a decrease in Covid-19 infections, domestic and foreign tourists have begun to return to Chitlang in large numbers.
In recent weeks, the number of local and international tourists has increased, according to Devendra Nepal, the director of Chitlang Resort. “Resorts and homestays are once again bursting at the seams with tourists,” he explained.
?? “Tourists are travelling from Hetauda,??”
“We have guests from Birgunj and Chitwan, as well as Kathmandu,” Buddha Ratna Manandhar, director of Gurjudhara Homestay, stated. “As the temperature rises, we anticipate an increase in the number of visitors who will come to Chitlang, which is nestled in the shadow of Chandragiri and offers good weather and fresh air.”
Tourists from Kathmandu usually hike from Thankot to Chitlang, passing through Chandragiri on the way.
Hoteliers said that they had begun recalling their employees who had been furloughed as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak.
Because the Thankot, Chandragiri, and Chitlang highways are now under construction, motorists are currently passing through Markhu and Kulekhani to get to their destinations. Locals have been working on improving the road for a long time.
“The number of tourists is likely to expand significantly with the completion of the Thankot and Chandragiri to Chitlang routes,” according to Nepal.
On the island of Chitlang, there are 25 homestays and five tourist class establishments. The majority of visitors to Chitlang Valley and the surrounding areas come to hike, and many also enjoy cycling along the verdant paddy terraces.
It is boating that is the major attraction in this village, which is located along the beaches of the Kulekhani reservoir. The majority of Nepalis travel to Markhu to take pleasure in motorboat rides. Markhu is also becoming increasingly popular for its fish. Chitlang is also known for its goat cheese, which is another attraction.
In Chitlang, there is an Ashoka Stupa, which was built by Indian emperor Ashoka and is a meeting point for people of diverse castes, languages, and cultures. Buddhists from Tibet, China, and other countries travel to the chaitya to pay their respects.
On Fridays and Saturdays, according to homestay and resort operators, their establishments are generally crowded with guests. The majority of the homestays and resorts in this area serve solely organic food to its visitors.
Other attractions in Chitlang include temples, stone stupas, Malla-era inscriptions, and the first police station outside of the Kathmandu Valley, which dates back to 3000 BCE. It used to be that Chitlang was known for its radish farming, but these days it is known for its olive cultivation.
Chitlang is a satellite hamlet of Kirtipur that is primarily populated by members of the Newar ethnic group.
Chitlang, which serves as the primary entry to the capital, is home to a number of vintage rest houses that served as overnight accommodations for travellers in the past. In recent years, many of the artistic constructions have fallen into disrepair, and some have even collapsed completely.
Since the pandemic struck in 2020, the popular tourist destination of Chitlang has taken on a deserted appearance. “However, resorts and homestays are delighted to welcome travellers back now,” Nepal explained.