This year, Nepal has been in the world headlines for a pretty bad reason—the destructive 7.8 M earthquake of April 25, 2015, that left thousands dead and hundreds of thousands homeless, besides destroying precious heritage monuments, quite a few of which were situated in world heritage monument zones. More than three months later, the news is that all of the zones have been opened to the public, and that rebuilding is going on in a big way in all the earthquake affected districts.
Some 14 of the country’s 75 districts, all in the central region in the proximity of Kathmandu valley, were the ones to bear the most severe brunt of the catastrophic quake. Among these, too, it is the Sindhupalchok district that has witnessed the most devastation, both in terms of lives and property. The fact that it is a mere 85 km to the north-east of Kathmandu Valley makes the catastrophic situation there all the more real to the capital dwellers, which means, also, the government as well as numerous national and international NGOs based in Kathmandu.
Relief efforts were quick to reach the district, and now reconstruction is being undertaken with a view to at least provide some sort of temporary shelter to the homeless to protect them from the elements, particularly the monsoon rains. No doubt, it will take some time before some semblance of normalcy returns to the area, but let’s hope it does sooner rather than later, because this district has so many possibilities for tourists looking out for adventure and excitement when in Nepal. Sindhupalchok has some great treks on offer, and spectacular scenery and interesting culture.
The 2,542 sq km district is surrounded by Nuwakot, Kathmandu, Kavre, Rasuwa, and Dolakha districts, as well as by China (Tibet), which add to the diversity of the region. While Chautara, its district headquarters, is a bustling municipality, places like Helambu, Tatopani, Bhairav Kunda, Panch Pokhari, Palanchok Bhagwati, etc. are attractive tourist destinations, with most of them having religious significance.
Helambu is home to the Hyolmo (Yolmo) people, who are also sometimes referred to as the Helambu Sherpas, to differentiate them from the Sherpas of Solukhumbu, and is famous for its apples, as well as for its lovely monasteries. The Helambu Trek is quite popular with tourists without the luxury of too much time to spend in Nepal. The starting point is generally Sundarijal, which you can reach by bus from Boudhanath in Kathmandu. Nagarkot, Kakani, and Sankhu could be other starting points as well. The route goes from Sundarijal to Chisopani, Kutumsng, Tharepati, Tarkeghyang, Sermanthang, and Melamchi Pul, and you’ll be generally hiking for some five-six hours every day through beautiful scenery.