By Rup Narayan Dhakal–Before crossing the Madi River, I had my lunch with fish (Ashala) curry and took an uphill trek where one of the local families provided me testy mohi that made my sweating body cool. The morning was almost finished and the bus also completed a risky off-road drive to arrive at Thumsikot, a village in the Madi shore, for a lunch break
Besides Mohi, oranges and big lime were the further catalysts to carry my jumbo team up to the Bhachok village situated at the elevation of 2,200m from the sea level, in the hilltop. Youths with marigold garlands in their hands were waiting to welcome me and my journalist fellows in the village gate. Then we were guided to the fair site right after the offering of the garlands and the tika in our forehead. The stage was decorated with traditional wooden utensils and flower of rhododendron.
It was amazing moment for me that I was seeing a red rhododendron for the first time in the off-season of December. I have been seeing such flower only in the month of March and April. So, it was memorable moment for me with rhododendron. The fair was actually about Lhosar, one of the biggest festivals of Nepal’s Gurung people, and we were here to promote the village and observe the fair.
I tasted wild yam, Narepa (locally brewed millet liquor), milk with ghee, radish pickle and dried meat of buffalo during my stay in the village. Chelo throwing, Ghatoo and Lhosar dances in traditional Gurung clad, duet songs, chamrale ping (swing), 7aside football competition, were some of the attractions of the fair where hundreds of villagers were present. Villagers most of them live in city areas like Pokhara and Kathmandu for employment, study and luxury life, leaving their native village, also arrived to their village to take part in the Lhosar celebration that went for whole the night in 30th December of 2008.
Mother Group’s then President Sabitri Gurung, laborious youth trio Laxmi, Manisha and Bhupal Gurung and their fellows were behind the success of the 3-day long fair ended on 31st December. The fair was organized by local Lamtari Youth Club to develop the Bhachok village as a new tourist destination of 2-night 3-days in the world famous Annapurna Region of Nepal.
There are about 80 households in the Bhachok settlement and most of them belong to the Gurung people who developed that settlement coming from Kola shothar, which is believed to be their real origin in Mid Nepal, centuries ago.
Traditional Gurung culture, typical houses, natural beauties and wildlife are the major attractions of that village. Rani Pokhari (pool) and temple of Lamtari goddess are also here. There is no hotel in the village. So, the tourist who comes here should stay inside the tent or as a paying guest in the villagers’ house. The off-road connects the village to the Prithvi Highway. This village also is one of the sections to trek to sacred Dudhpokhari (Milky Lake) and just 4-hour away from Nepal’s most popular tourist destination Pokhara. Few years ago, trekkers used to come here from Pokhara via Tangting, Sikles, Yangjakot and used to leave for Beshishahar to end their trek.