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08.11.2006, 11:19
The journey to Dhumpus Village, one of the paradises of Nepal, begins from Phedi village, nearly a 15 minutes drive from the beautiful lakeside city of Pokhara. From here one treks alongside beautiful views of golden rice terraces and the vast expanse of the Annapurna mountain range. This 2 hours climb to Dhampus continues through magnificent rhododendron forests nesting various species of birds to the village of Chandrakot, inhabited by the warm-hearted and hospitable Gurung people.

Dhampus is also a gateway for Annapurna Conservation Area. The place also serves as one of the main entry points to Annapurna Base Camp and to other trekking trails of Annapurna. The village ranges from an altitude of 800 m at the base to 1,600 m. In terms of climbing technicalities, it is an easy mountain to ascend. The overwhelming altitude differences between the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges make Dhampus Peak a very vantage spot to observe the mountains with Tukuche Peak (6920m) and Dhaulagiri (8167m) spectacularly close to you.

When you emerge from the forest and reach Dhampus, you will be able to marvel at exceptional view of the massive Mt. Machhapuchhare. Popularly known as Fishtail mountain (6900m) for its peak resemble the shape of fish’s tail. From Dhampus one can also grab the exceptional views of Pokhara and the scenery gets even better as the sun goes down.

The small village comprises of enormous beauty of mountains, friendly Gurung people, a small lake from where one can get the reflection of Fishtail, temples, flowers, mustard field, birds and many more.

The total population of Dhampus is 2,766 (1,297 males and 1,469 females). Gurung comprises major population of the village, which consists mostly of ex-army and most of them are older people with an average age above 40. Gurungs are followed by Brahmin/Chhetri, Kami/Damai, and few Magars. Gurungs speak their native language whereas others speak Nepali.

In Dhampus, the villagers started building lodges from where a good view of mountains could be seen. That is the reason why the thick forests with abundant wildlife and natural vegetation was slowly transformed to a site of lodges and houses. Today, these lodge owners are among the wealthiest villagers and have high status in the village. The hotel business has become so popular among the villagers that not only the lower class but the people from the higher class of the society are also indulged in this business.

The main source of income is farming as well as ex-army pension. The literacy rate is very low in this village. The majority of the women above the age of fifty are illiterate.

After seeing some tourists the locals felt that they could attract more, so the entire village got together to improve the facilities and infrastructure of the village. Since then the number of tourists has increased considerably. Similarly, many lodges, teashop and cafes are available now in the village for better services to the visitors, be it locals or foreigners.

Dhampus was famous as a trekking route and was also enjoying all the benefits from trekking but lately after the construction of road joining Pokhara and Baglung, the number of tourist has decreased, say locals. As Dhampus lies on the way to Gandhruk, the tourists normally stay here as a halt point which is the main source of income for us. Some other hotels, which are operating in this village, are Hotel Green Land, Hotel Raju Gurung and Hotel Hill Top.

As said by Dibya Gurung, a researcher, notes, "Tourism development in Dhampus can be broadly divided into two categories: direct tourism-related activities represented by lodges, teashops, cold-drink/consumer stores, and petty trade and indirect tourism-related activities consisting of horticulture and vegetable farming, fuel wood selling, alcohol brewing, wage labor, livestock and poultry.