One of the many things that Nepal is known for is its diverse geographical landscape, allowing for the making of many great adventures. Our rugged terrains, fast flowing rivers, high cliffs provide ample opportunities for many adventure sports that range from whitewater rafting to mountain biking. Naturally, a country of mountains is bound to have a plethora of beautiful trails for mountain biking. Many such trails lie in the hilly town of Panauti and its neighboring towns.
It is not just the landscape that Panauti is known for though. In fact, once a relatively unknown tourism destination, Panauti is now known for its community-based tourism model that promotes Panauti’s vibrant culture and rich heritage after the establishment of the Panauti Community Homestay in 2012. The growing number of visitors, who come to Panauti to experience the local culture and to seek calm outside of Kathmandu’s chaos, has given flight to the dreams of the local youth who want to create something bigger.
Ashish Gupta, a tour leader at Royal Mountain Travel along with his friends Bipin Shrestha, Sujan Ranjit, Sandeep Basnet and Santosh Aryal are a few examples of local youths who want to promote sustainable tourism and empower other young people who may otherwise seek better employment opportunities abroad. Ashish and his friends had already witnessed the positive impact of tourism in their communities. They had seen families, including their own, benefit socioeconomically from the community homestay project. At the same time, many local youths had a growing interest in becoming involved with tourism. Therefore, it seemed natural to Ashish and his friends to start a sustainable tourism business and provide employment opportunities to the local youth. With guidance and support from Royal Mountain Travel and Community Homestay Network, they established a mountain bike tour company called Panauti Bike Station, which provides a full range of services for cycle tourism.
Although mountain biking is an activity loved by many in Nepal, the logistics remain challenging with bike renting services available only in major towns like Kathmandu and with the responsibility of transporting the bicycles to and from trails left to the cyclists themselves. Many cyclists must navigate through the chaotic city traffic and in the process, end up tiring themselves before even reaching the trails. With the establishment of Panauti Bike station, cyclists can now travel leisurely to Panauti and rent a mountain bike there and then without having to worry about unnecessary logistics.
The company, which was established in January 2020, also offers guided cycling tours around Kathmandu valley to surrounding destinations such as Namo Buddha, Dhulikhel and Nagarkot. So far, the company has trained and hired 10 local youths but post-COVID, it hopes to engage and train more young people to inspire them to stay in their country. Through the business, Ashish and his friends hope to positively impact other people’s lives, just as tourism has done to theirs.
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Article by: Aadyaa Pandey
Congratulations to every member of Panauti Bike Station. #together_we_can #panauti_bike_station