Nepal is safe to Visit
As you are well aware on 25th April and 12 May 2015, massive disaster earthquakes struck in the northern part of Gorkha, Laprak-Barpak the epicenter of western Nepal, causing catastrophic destruction of infrastructures development in 11 districts of Nepal. Harrowing pictures of magnificent beautiful landscape, villages, temples, stupas etc turned to rubble and concrete hotels collapsed on their foundations were beamed around the world. Five months from the disaster, Nepal has declared itself open for tourism, NEPAL IS SAFE. It is now the right time to come back to Nepal and what exactly will you find when you get here?
Trekkers from France in Samagaon of Manaslu region
After Nepal earthquake, in the International Medias and Travel advisors mentioned that Nepal is not safe to travel. Nepal is completely destroyed and it’s all astonishing cultural heritages are in ruins. The truth makes for less sensational headlines: while 130 historic temples collapsed across the country, only 11 of Nepal's 75 districts suffered damage. Out of 35 famous trekking routes only 3 trekking routes Langtang, Manaslu and Rolwaling were damaged but now it is operation as it now repaired. Out of 8 UNESCO world heritages and monuments only one is damaged. All the domestic and International airports, hospital and clinics, communication, 90% of hotels are in operation and out of 18 National Park and conservation area 3 are affected.
Even after the aftershock of the disaster, many foreigners were coming to Nepal for trekking and volunteering. Many foreigners from the around the world were involve in volunteering work in the affected parts of Nepal. In Kathmandu, Pokhara and other major cities of Nepal, the majority of hotels reopened within days of the earthquakes, only some of the old with historic heritage hotels remaining closed for repairs. And now it is in operation and giving the service to all the customers.
This is not the first time that Nepal had faced an earthquake and other natural disasters. In 1934, Nepal had faced with big disasters of earthquake where many infrastructure and building were demolished.
Bhaktapur Dubar Square just after the disaster.
Kathmandu Durbar square
Four of the iconic temples in the UNESCO-listed Kathmandu Durbar Square collapsed completely – including the multi-tiered Maju Deval Temple, one of Kathmandu’s most famous landmarks – but the majority of temples still stand and the square is once again open to sightseers. The royal palace of Hanuman Dhoka remains closed due to structural damage to the southern courtyards, but work is underway to reopen the museum and palace chambers. The Kasthamandap, Maju Dega & Narayan Vishnu Temple, Trailokya Mohan, Krishna etc are collapsed.
Kathmandu Dubar Square after earthquake
Dharhara (Bhimsen Tower)
Dharahara also known as nine-storey is being totally collapsed by the earthquake. It is collapsed completely for the second time in its history (it was also destroyed in the 1934 earthquake). Today, it stands as a ruined plinth, but developers have pledged to rebuild it. Its rubble trapped around 200 peoples.
Dharhara (Bhimsen Thapa Tower) after earthquake
Many of Swoyambhunath’s structures suffered considerable damage in the earthquake of April 2015. The Anantapura shikhara to the left of the steps toppled and there was serious damage to buildings on the west side of the stupa. Restoration work has repaired the most obvious damage and the most tangible evidence for the disaster is some lingering scaffolding.
Swoyambhunath after earthquake
Boudhanath Stupa was only mildly affected; restoration work has repaired the most obvious damage and the most tangible evidence for the disaster is some lingering scaffolding
Boudhanath After Earthquake
The sacred Hindu pilgrimage site of Pashupatinath temple is untouched by earthquake. The funeral cremations sites, temples, chaityas etc were mostly undamaged.
Pashupatinath Temple after earthquake
The old city and city of temples Patan suffered a lot of damage. Most of it occurred in Patan Durbar Square. Cracks and breaks are showing on many buildings around the square. To the north there is good news as the Golden Temple remains intact. Likewise the Kumbeshwar Temple Complex has survived though the main temple is leaning slightly. To the south the Machchhendranath temple remains relatively unscathed. Kumari house to the west is also safe.
Patan Dubar Square after earthquake
Bhaktapur took a heavy damage than any of its three main squares. The iconic Nyatapola temple and most of Taumadhi square remains standing. Dattatreya Temple in Dattatreya Square is also relatively unscathed. However, Bhaktapur Durbar Square did lose some icon temples and buildings
Elsewhere in the Kathmandu Valley, the damage was patchy. Some places escaped with minor cracks, while towns like Changu Narayan, Sankhu and Bungamati saw temple after temple crumble to rubble. While the valley is definitely open to travellers, it's worth checking with locals before heading off from Kathmandu to be clear on which areas are still off-limits due to reconstruction following the disaster.
The historic towns of Gorkha and Nuwakot were badly affected due to the epicenters. The quakes caused extensive damage to the road to the Tibetan border and the Langtang Valley. The east and west of the country were not seriously affected by the disaster and most damage is restricted to trekking routes in remote areas. The tourist and trekking hub of Pokhara was effectively untouched and the trekking routes around it have been surveyed and declared safe. Despite damage to some villages along the trails, trekking in the Everest region has also been declared safe.
Mustang Trek after Earthquake
In the lowlands, the towns and national parks of the Terai were almost entirely unaffected. Wildlife safaris in Chitwan National Park and Bardia National Park continue as normal and the number of tigers in Nepal is actually on the rise, bucking the regional trend. The birthplace of the Buddha at Lumbini an increasingly popular stop on the overland route between India and Nepal – also escaped unharmed.
Annapurna Trek after earthquake
Trekking after the disaster
The majority of Nepal’s trekking trails are open. The most affected 3 trekking destinations Langtang, Manaslu and Rolwaling are also in operation. In Manaslu and Rolwaling the lodges are in operation as the destruction of trekking trails were constructed in the active involvement of local peoples and businessmen. Trekking to Gyangin Gompa and Langtang remain close as there are big destruction of trekking trails and lodges. But trekking to Tamang heritage Trail and Gosainkunda Lake is in operation. The Team of Miyamoto International had assessed the structural stability of routes and lodges in the Annapurna and Everest regions, and both regions have been declared safe for trekkers. Kangchenjunga and Makalu regions in the far-east and the Dolpo, Dhaulagiri, Mustang, Nar Phu Valley Trek and Rara Lake regions in the far-west are quite safe to do Trekking.
Helambu Region after earthquake
So should I go?
After earthquake, in the world-wide travel advisories wrote Nepal is not safe to travel. Most western travel companies postponed the trip to Nepal 2015/16 winter and spring seasons. Still many travelers and travel agencies of worldwide are thinking that Nepal is not safe for tour, Trekking and other adventures activities which aren’t true. Recently some of Nepal Trekking companies are even offering special packages to attract more tourists in Nepal
Manaslu after Earthquake
Of course, Nepal still has its problems – including a fuel shortage caused by a political disturbance in the southern parts, blockage of India-Nepal boarder and stand-off India over the new Nepali constitution – but these kinds of issues are part of the landscape when travelling in the subcontinent. Despite these problems, in many ways now is a great time to visit Nepal.