The Charinge lake that lies at the Ghorahi Sub-metropolis-1 in Dang is welcoming an increased number of tourists these days.
As locals cite, the pond would remain relatively calm in the past, but lately arrivals of visitors here have soared.
It is also becoming a picnic spot. Mainly on Saturday and public holidays, a larger number of domestic tourists arrive for picnics and to watch the pond which is surrounded by a dense forest.
Until a few years back, the pond was unheard of. It was not as appealing as it is now, according to local Kamala Pokhrel.
As she remembers, the pond was small and in a state of neglect. With the realization on the part of locals to protect it, developing into a touristic site, it got the present shape and status. With this realization, the locals formed the ‘lake conservation committee’ and the same committee worked for raising funds for its preservation, encouraging locals for voluntary labour. “But it is yet to be included in the priority list of the local government,” said local Thaneshwor Pun.
Leela Sapkota of Tulasipur who had been to see the pond said she found the pond beautiful with peaceful surroundings and a serene location. She had been here with her daughter who recently returned home from Australia after five years. Sapkota stressed the need for physical infrastructure development targeting the pond.
In the view of Sapkota, the number of foreign visitors will increase if the road leading to the lake is asphalted and a wall constructed around it. She also underlined the need of managing facilities like restaurants, drinking water and other amenities for the convenience of the visitors.
Locals said that the visitors are charged entry fees for the preservation and beautification of Charinge lake. The lake which was otherwise hidden inside the forest is now open and expanded. Bushes around the lake have been cleared, picnic spots constructed and even a temple built towards the north of the lake which spreads on three hectares.
Charinge Lake Conservation Committee convenor Kamal Pokhrel shared that the locals have contributed their voluntary labour for the conservation of the lake while various government organisations have also provided financial assistance for this purpose. He however complained that the local government has not paid much attention towards the conservation of the lake in recent years.
The District Forest Office provided Rs 2 million to the Committee last year. A wall was constructed around the lake with this money. Pokhrel said they have heard the Ghorahi Sub-metropolitan City has allocated some budget this year for building a pitched approach road to the lake, but have no idea how much budget and when the works would be started.
According to him, although the cooperation of all sides is necessary for developing the lake as a touristic place in the district, construction of necessary infrastructures has not been possible due to shortage of funds.
Before this, the then District Development Committee, Nepal Tourism Board, the Charinge Daha Community Forest Consumers Group and five local women groups had mobilised assistance for conservation of the lake.
Locals of Rampur, Ward No 6 and 7 had also started rearing fish in the lake in a bid to make it a reliable means of income. They even earned Rs 100 thousand in a season by selling fish. The lake lies about 15 kilometres to the north-east of Ghorahi, the district headquarters of Dang.