Madhyapur Thimi gearing up for welcoming tourists
Madhyapur Thimi is going to be an additional tourist spot in the Kathmandu Valley as the local government has come up with a plan regarding this.
Located in Bhaktapur district, Madhyapur Thimi Municipality is working on a master plan for the renovation, preservation and promotion of its historical and cultural monuments.
Although this part has been recognised as one of the ancient towns famous for its temples, cultural and historical places along the trade route between Kathmandu and Bhaktapur, the area was in shadow due to lack of promotion.
Now, the municipality is working to develop the town into a tourist attraction by promoting its traditional culture, religious places and monuments.
Thimi occupies an area of 11.47 square kilometres. This is the third smallest municipality of the country in terms of area. Thimi is an ancient Newari town and is a centre of Newari culture.
The municipality possesses many temples dedicated to different gods and goddesses, including Balkumari Temple, Mahalaxmi Temple, and Thimi Durbar. Other Licchavi-era temples, including Nilbarahi Temple, Siddhikali Temple, Dakshin Barahi Temple, Vishnu Bir Temple, Prachanda Bhairav Temple, Machhindranath Temple are also in the area.
The municipality is famous for its pottery cultural programmes like Bisket Jatra, Gai Jatra and other dancing festivals. The town celebrates various festivals such as Bisket Jatra which falls in mid-April to mark the end of the year and beginning of New Year according to Bikram Sambat.
Similarly, there is a unique tradition in Bode to pierce the tongue of a young man to mark the day of escapement of the evil and the festival begins next to that.
According to Mayor of Madhyapur Thimi Municipality Madan Sundar Shrestha, the municipality has initiated the process of creating a master plan for the promotion of its cultural and historical values to attract more domestic as well as foreign tourists.
“We felt that tourism of the town has become under the shadow of Bhaktapur due to lack of promotion. So, we are aggressively restoring historical and cultural sites, including temples, ponds, stone spouts along with other monuments in their original design in order to attract tourists,” Shrestha said.
The municipality has restored its historical ponds and lakes in Thimi. Now people can enjoy swimming and boating there.
“We have already restored the Bishnu Kunda where people can enjoy swimming. We have also reconstructed Nigu Phukhu by spending around Rs. 10 million,” said Shrestha.
Recently, the municipality inaugurated the restored Nigu Phukhu by boating.
The municipality has accorded top priority to restoring the stone spouts of the area. There are about 68 stone spouts in Madhyapur Thimi Municipality. It has already restored three of them.
In its bid to attract tourists, the municipality is developing the area ranging from Balkumari to Bhimschowk of Chapacho (about 1.5 kilometres) into a walking trail.
The State government has allocated Rs. 10 million for developing the walking trail in the core area of Thimi. The municipality is also in the process of developing Chapacho Chowk as a live museum.
“There are more than 10 alleys at Chapacho Chowk. The modality of the live museum is to show traditional dances, including Mahakali and Bhairav. Locals will perform at least one cultural activity in the area daily. Tourists will enjoy it and be familiarised with our culture,” he added.
Thimi is also famous for pottery and clay works. The Prajapati community of Thimi have been involved in pottery since ancient times. The places such as Chapacho, Nasanani, Tulanani, Kumanani, Wachunani, Janlanani, Duinani, Digutole, Ganchanani, Tahanani, Pacho, Duwaphalcha, Gungachiwa are the pottery squares in Thimi.
Tourists can enjoy making clay ports as per their interest during their visits.
The municipality has reconstructed the earthquake-damaged temples and monuments. The reconstruction works of the monuments are going on under the consumers’ committees. Vishnu Bir Temple, which was fully damaged by the devastating 2015 earthquake, was reconstructed within a year with the locals’ participation.
However, the renovation of other partially damaged monuments, including Balkumari Temple, Siddhikali Temple and Siddhi Goddesses Temple and Nil Barahi Temple of Bode is going on. For the renovation of monuments and tourism promotion, the municipality has allocated about Rs. 70 million. Consumers’ committees are also collecting funds for it.
The municipality will allocate more than Rs. 70 million for the next fiscal year as it is going to develop Nil Barahi Temple, a famous tantric temple that stands on a hillock in the middle of a forest in Bode as an echo-park. The area covers around 300 ropanis of land.
“We will make picnic spots and other attractive places for visitors,” he said.
Renovation of monuments will have completed by the end of 2019.
“Until now, there has been no significant inflow of foreign tourists into our municipality. We are now focussed on luring more foreign as well as domestic tourists.”
The municipality has started consulting travel agencies, Hotel Association Nepal, Nepal Tourism Board and other tourism-related associations. It has urged them to incorporate the municipality in their brochures and tour packages.
As Nepal Visit Year 2020 is going to be organised, we will hold a Madhyapur Festival in Nepali months of Magh/Falgun to promote Thimi. The live museum will be inaugurated during that time to spread the message among the domestic and foreign tourists that Thimi is one of the unique tourist spots in the country.
The municipality is paying due attention toward maintaining sanitation and cleanliness. It has developed five modern chimneys with an investment of Rs. 30 million for pottery to control pollution. The modern chimney can control 90 per cent of the total pollution. Besides, the municipality is going to install electric chimneys.
The municipality has already started managing the garbage by installing a Japanese technology plant at Bishnukunda area. It has begun producing manure from the garbage collected from one of its wards.
“We are expanding this garbage management project to all the wards of the municipality gradually,” he said.
(Kafle is a TRN journalist)
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