Asmall gossip turned into real trip. Dhorpatan Hunting reserve is one and only hunting reserve in Nepal. It covers 1,325 Sq.Km and encompass to three districts Baglung, Myagdi and Rukum. DHR is famous for hunting nationally and internationally but for us Dhorpatan is famous for Potatoes. I still remember people form there used to visit our place to trade potato, sheep and horses. Form my childhood days I have been told stories relating to Dhorpatan. In secondary level our school used organize an educational tour to Dhorpatan . Unfortunately our school stopped to organize such type of tour to DHR because of recent ongoing civil war. That lacking always push me to visit Dhorpatan one day to explore and experience its’s landscape, living style, culture and many more. I always visualized Dhorpatan as a flat meadow land where I can sit in one corner and unwind myself looking into to amazing landscape grazing cattle in lush green grass, in front of mirroring mountains and dense forests.
It was on 26th of September, 2017. I and brother in-Law started our journey form Galyang. I choose to reach DHR via motorcycle. We started our journey riding through Mid Hilly Highway. The road was ok, semi gravel and semi black topped up to Burtibang. I commenced my journey riding along with Dharam Khola till Kharbang. Kharbang is a small city lies between the bank of Dharam Khola and Badighat river is also a connecting pint of Baglung and Gulmi district. From Kharbang I left Dharam Khola behind and rode along with Badhighat. I was in same direction with DharamKhola but, with Badighat I was riding opposite of its direction till Burtibang. Burtibang, the getaway to DHR located at the bank of Badighat and Taman river, is also one of the 10 cities along with Mid Hills Highway and North south link road in all five development regions to establish as new cities by government of Nepal. The objective is to reduce migration from hill and mountains by facilitating health, education, transportation, communication and increasing the possibility of the development of economic potential. I was desperately eager to see Burtibang. When I reached there initially I observed modern houses (RCC) built everywhere. I saw basic infrastructure like bus park, a hospital work in progress, many groceries, restaurants, lodges, school, unpaved road, etc. Suddenly I had question in my mind, all empty land has been occupied and no more land to expand city in future, how government will establish it as a sophisticated city to accommodate 50,000 people ? having the limitations of land because of not remaining open spaces. Burtibang is the modern town where we can find necessary things to purchase. Being the last town I refill petrol and checked motorcycle condition to avoid mechanical failure to my trip.
Onward Burtibag is unknown to me, according to the map I need to ride only 34 Km from Burtibang to DHR. Soon I Crossed Burtibang I noticed road was rough, uncomfortable, bouncy and bumpy. Crossing Badighat river through suspension bridge was challenging as well as exciting. I found nature unspoiled and pristine. We left mid hilly highway form Burtibang and connected to North South link road (Slajhandi – Dhorpatan) highway. This highway connect south (Saljhandi Kapilvastu)to north (Dhorpatan Baglung) could be backbone for the development of economic activities in future. Blue clear sky, green hill, diverse landscape, pristine climate, traditional lifestyle, fresh flowing Bhuji Khola all together contribute to create enchanting environment. In motorable road there was high traffic of pedestrian, mules, horses and sheep not vehicle. I saw people use their horses and mules to transport goods. Riding opposite direction of beautiful Bhuji Khola was challenging and interesting. Form Bobang the road condition went even worse, I road to tough terrain which comprise of water, bouncy terrain, red wet mud, and full of small round stone. Really, that was the toughest terrain I had ever rode in my life. Although, I rode to many remote places in Nepal like Muktinath, Lomangthang, Manang, Kalinchowk etc but, I find this track very tough. After two hours of ride we stopped in small shop to refresh ourselves. There we meet Mr. Anand who came form Rukum. He shared his experience about the hidden beautiful landscape which lies in between way to Dhorpatan and Rukum which are not exposed yet and very few people know about it. Further, he said none of the vehicle were reach to Dhorpatan this year followed by monsoon so you need to be very careful. His saying put me in dilemma what should I do? Should I leave motorbike here and start trek or shall I take risk to reach Dhorpatan via motorcycle? I had debated myself for five minutes. After my own debate I decided to reach Dhorpatan via motorcycle.
The real adventure started from there, I lost my motorcycle stand spring while riding to tough terrain. I tied my stand with the help of rope and kept riding. Because of worse condition of road I need to stop in between but, not having spring in my stand I manually need to untie the rope and stop the bike. This was really headache to me. My pillion (Brother in law) many times got off form the bike and pushed the bike to escape form difficult trail. Few hours of struggle we reached to the place where we need to cross Bhujiriver is also the starting point to climb hill till Deurali. I went and saw the condition of flowing water. Though, Bhuji is small at the point of crossing but, all water is following form one point which has high vigor so, I choose not to cross form river. The alternate path is narrow wooden bridge (Phadke). I crossed river using phadke which was thrilling moment for me. After crossing Bhuj iriver we climbed hill till Deurali. In between I was badly stuck in red wet mud. My front and back tires of bike were submerge in wet mud. I and brother in law made our own way by arranging stones. We fought forty minutes to escape from there. Slippery, sharp turning, rough surface, water on road and tough incline were the features of that road. We met and talk to village boys who came forest to collect firewood and grass for their buffaloes. We had interesting talk to them this reminds my childhood days, their simplicity and humanity truly touched me. They helped me in difficult terrain to escape without asking help. My pillion was habituated to get down form the bike in difficult situation. In some places its like a trap to ride. But, in front of our dedication, courage and hard work those terrain did not stop our journey. Skidding and tilting were become normal for us. My right looking glass, gear liver and brake liver got problem while tilting and scratching in rough road.
Rudra Tall is located near to Deuarli which not only rich in natural biodiversity but also carries the religious values. Local believes that this is the inception of Rudwati Ganga which connects RURU area in Palpa. Army Batalian Shree Hanuman Dhoj Gulma from Dhorpatan is involved in the protection and marketing of Rudra tall.
Deurali, it is a connecting pass to Dhorpatan valley. Where there is a check post established by DHR and one tea shop. Form here partial Dhorpatan valley can be viewed. After crossing standing hill, view of beautiful valley from Deurali was fantastic. Grazing cattle and fresh flowing Uttar Ganga river added value to that scenery. This view took our all tiredness and we felt like recharged. There are two trails form Deurali right one lead to the Girnachur and left one lead to Uttar Ganga temple and Rukum district respectively. We decided to visit Uttar Ganga Temple first and headed left form Deurali. The inception of Utter Ganga is itself the Utter Ganga temple premises which is a also famous religious place in Dhorpatan. There are 22 natural water fountains right to the temple. Amazing thing is that goddess of this temple doesn’t like roof on it. That is why Uttar Ganga temple is roofless including natural pound inside. Every year on the day of “Janai Purinima” religious fair is held. Where local devotees participated in that fair. The mysterious thing is that, “ pond inside temple turned into black color to consume blood on the day of Janai Purnima so devotee sacrifice sheep to Uttar Ganga goddess as a means of worshiping ” said local youth Mr. Binod. The scenery form the periphery of Uttar Ganga temple is beautiful to the long end we saw flat meadow grazing cattle in front of Dhaulagiri Mountain. Different DHR blocks are lies right and left side of valley. Although the height of DHR valley is 2850 meter but those blocks heights range up to 5500m height. Hunting is permitted to specific blocks only. For hunting hunters cannot hunt as per their wish because DHR consists of endangered animals also. Female and young animals are not allowed to hunt mostly hunters are allowed to hunt overcrowded old male animals like Thar and Jharal said officer of DHR. Hunters should go through legal process and must arrange necessity by themselves.
BK and Magar are the inhabitants of this area however we saw Tibetan refugee as well. Local people coordinate with Tibetan refuge to breed and sale of horses. Life is so tough in this altitude. Normally people in this area have house in lower altitude and higher attitude area Bobang and Dhorpatan valley respectively. According to the climatic situation they shift Bobang and Dhorpatan. Local said in winter people shift to Bobang lower altitude area and in summer live in higher altitude area Dhorpatan. Potato is the main production in this area beside potato apple also produce by local farmers. I also saw tomato, radish and carrot grown there. The quality of potato is famous not only nationally but also internationally. “Before 6, 7 years ago, potato used to export directly to Japan, chartered air craft use to land in Dhorpatan Airport to transport potatoes. Now, none of the airlines does not schedule flight here” said owner of community guest house. At that moment bushes were grown inside the fence of the airport area and the airport was converted into play ground for football & volley ball and remaining into grazing field.
I saw very less infrastructural development in DHR. Basic facilities for tourism supply like food, accommodation, clean drinking water, health information center and security must available within DHR. Another my experience is that why should people visit DHR if you are not hunter? To see only flat meadow and wet land a temple and a gumba? Apart from this how tourist can spend his or her time either domestic or international? In my view different types of activities can organize for longer stay of tourist could be cultural, sport, natural etc. Likewise, Introduce of Gurilla trek could be another source of tourism attraction connecting Myagdi and Rukum district. At present time DHR is unspoiled, untouched and pristine destination. I heard 300 MW hydro power electricity DPR is under process. What if the pride of DHR all flat meadow land and Uttar Ganga temple submerge in huge dam? Concern stakeholders of tourism development must coordinate with hydro project team for the sustainable development of tourism. If that open land converted into a big dam or lake certainly there is possibilities of increase in water tourism but, the zest of DHR and Uttar Ganga temple must be protected. Idea could be a temple above the water like Tal Barabhi in Fewa lake. Being protected area carrying capacity must be clearly identified for the longer benefits of tourism. According to Nepal tourism statistic 2016 only 91 foreigners visited to DHR at the same time 87391 foreigners were visited to Chitwan National Park. A massive variation can be figure out form this data. Question appears here why DHR was unable to attract foreign travelers? Is it a fault of tourism policy or else? In my point of view DHR is hidden paradise yet to expose nationally and internationally. Strategic plan for adventure, eco, rural tourism should be formulated, executed and monitored to flourish tourism.