Thursday, March 1, 2012
Karnali Bridge (Chisapani)
The bridge over the Karnali river(500 metre) is the second of its kind in Asia. The single-pillar bridge was constructed by the Japanese government. But this is not the only attraction in this region. The Bardiya National Park connected to the area, Karnali River and the beautiful scenery with the delicious fish have enhanced the beauty of the region. After the decade-long conflict, economic activities in the area had diminished. But such activities are now on the rise.
Chiasapani bazaar had given the feeling of a cemetery when three ordinary people and three Maoist combatants were killed beside the Karnali bridge in a clash that took place in the last month of Paush 2061 B.S.
At that time, Parwati Thapa, an operator of Dolphin Hotel, who served delicious fishes to the visitors, was not only injured but her entire hotel had been destroyed. There was a total loss of about Rs. 475,000.
Netra Bhujel, operator of Sunrise Hotel, said that after the conflict there were no visitors in the area, except for police personnel. But after the peace agreement, Bhujel sells 25-30 kgs of fish daily to the visitors.
Bajir Singh Dhami, sub-inspector of police, said that as the area was secure and peaceful and also a nice place to visit. About 2000-2500 tourists visit the area daily. Bhujel said that he had a daily business of Rs. 12,000. Like Bhujel, there are other 13 hotels operating in Chisapani.
Dinesh Raj bhandari, president of the Kailali Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that hotel business had flourished in Chisapani bazaar also because they presented as a main centre for visitors walking in the circuits of Sugarkhal, Pandaun of the northern hilly Village Development Committee (VDC) in Kailali, Doti district, Surkhet, Achham, Jumla, Humla and Kalikot.
He added that as Karnali Chisapani was the entry point of the Far-west, the chamber planned to build an entry gate in the area. For this a district level committee had been formed under the presidency of the Chief District Officer (CDO).
Man Bahadur Bishwakarma, an owner of local Look Hotel, said that the all the visitors who came to Kanchanpur or the Far-Western Region through airways said that they came to the view the Karnali bridge and also taste the delicious fish. According to him, an average of 20 kgs of fish was in the 13 hotels and daily 2 quintal 60 kgs of fishes were consumed.
Dhami said that though the bazar had been in a deplorable condition after the conflict,it has revived such that about 1500-2000 vehicles operating in the area stop these for snacks.
He said that there were crowds of people came to the area on Saturdays for picnics. Local businessmen said that foreigners came there for tours and delegates from the UN, INGOs and NGOs also came there for their programs.
Raj bhandari, president of the Kailali Chamber of Commerce, said that Chisapani bazaar was also a popular destination as it was connected to different areas and local products such as honey, ghee and dry meat were available there. The area is special also because though the market and producers were of small scale there was a daily business of about Rs. 2,000,000 – Rs. 2,500,000.
Though Chisapani is an attraction for tourists, it has its hazards as well. The security bodies are worried as mishaps take place during summer for swimming sites have not been built in Karnali River. Under the Far-western region campaign, the Chamber has taken initiatives to build an entry gate, disseminate information on the tourist destination of Far-west and construction of swimming pools.
If the far-western region is connected with the tourist destinations, the Karnali bridge of Chisapani could be a major tourist attraction.