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History of Trekking in Nepal

Nepal's trekking history began with mountaineers' teams who came on expeditions to climb the majestic peaks.

The history of trekking in Nepal started after climbing expeditions of many majestic peaks. Nepal began its career as a trekker’s paradise in 1949 when a British adventurer, Bill Tilman, managed to get permission from the King to make several treks into the Kali Gandaki, Helambu, and Everest regions. Another early visitor was Maurice Herzog, who led a French expedition to Annapurna in 1950. Trekking in Nepal really took off with the first expeditions to the base of Mount Everest; an American led expedition in 1950 and a British one in 1951.

Nepal has attracted trekkers from around the world since the 1960s when Col Jimmy Robert’s organized the first commercial trek. Colonel Jimmy Roberts, a retired Gurkha Officer and a Military Attache at the British Embassy in Kathmandu saw great potential in trekking as a business. He had spent a great many years hiking in the hills of Nepal. He even accompanied Tilman on his first exploratory trek. In 1964, giving birth to Nepal’s mountains’ commercial adventures. His idea was revolutionary for that era.

Lieutenant Colonel James Owen Merion Roberts MVO MBE MC (1916–1997) was one of the greatest Himalayan mountaineer-explorers of the twentieth century; a highly decorated British Army officer who achieved his greatest renown as “the father of trekking” in Nepal. Sir Edmund Hillary stated “Nepal is the only country in the world which is also one of the world’s great trekking paradises and one of the nicest countries in the world for trekking.”

The trekking expeditions were done in a fully supported camping style. The clients were accompanied by a Western leader and a Sherpa support team from a Sirdar (foreman), his assistants, a cook, kitchen boys, and numerous porters to carry all the camping equipment and food.

This trekking style in Nepal made it a luxurious experience and possible for a more adventurous to whom the price was no object of visiting Nepal in ‘comfort.’   The first commercial trekkers were three American ladies who were expatriates in Calcutta. These ladies were a sporting trio of enthusiasts, according to Jimmy Roberts. 

Sir Edmund Hillary stated, “Nepal is the only country in the world which is also one of the world’s great trekking paradises and one of the nicest countries in the world for trekking.”

During King Tribhuwan’s India visit, the King met Boris Lissnnivich, a Russian ballet dancer who was running a club in India at that time. Boris convinced the king that people would like to visit Nepal and would actually pay for the experience, citing to the King that the country could make profit from these visits. Lissnnivich, who was a Russian émigré to Nepal, then went on to establish the Royal Hotel in Nepal, with the purpose of accommodating visitors.

The Royal Hotel was the country’s first Hotel. Delighted by Nepal’s vicinity, the visitors proved to be swayed by the prospect of touring the country. Thus, Nepali tourism had its first beginnings. The Royal Hotel and the Yak and Yeti bar became the meeting place for climbers from the fifties until seventy-one, when the Royal Hotel was closed. Colonel James Roberts was the first person to realize that trekking would appeal to tourists, and was also the first one to do something with the revelation.

Nepal offer brilliant trekking options to visitors from easy walking to excursions to the strenuous climb of the snow peaks. The most rewarding way to experience Nepal’s Natural embellishment and cultural assortment is to walk through the length, breath and the altitude of the country.

Trekking has been the leading activity of tourists in Nepal and thousands take to the Himalayas, some doing a few days of hiking while others take on a month long trek through valleys and high mountain passes. Two of the most popular trekking regions are the Everest and Annapurna where many different trails can be followed while the other popular treks are in the Langtang and Kanchenjunga regions.

The most challenging is the Great Himalayan Trails, an extensive trail system that covers Nepal from Humla and Darchula in the west to Kanchenjunga in the east. The diversity of trekking trails in Nepal cannot be found in any other part of the world. In fact, the lowest point in Nepal is 59 m above sea-level in the Tarai region while the highest point is Everest, 8,848 m above sea-level, the two points being only 200 kilometres apart as the crow flies.

What is trekking and explain the types of trekking?

  1.  Easy Trekking: The individuals specially the beginners are offered easy treaks.
  2.  Moderates Trekking: Moderates treaks are slightly difficult and challenging than easy treaks.
  3.  Strenuous Trekking: Strenuous trekking requires a lot of physical effort energy and determination.
  4.  Difficult Trekking:  Such type fo trekking is suitable only for real adventure seekers

Final Words

Trekking in Nepal today is completely different from that of the 1960s. In all the main trekking areas, the National Parks and Conservation Areas lodges have been established where trekkers can find accommodation, food and meet other trekkers and locals along the way. The lodges are well appointed and have facilities for charging batteries and the larger villages often have email facilities.

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Kulendra Baral

Kulendra Baral is a travel and tourism specialist in Nepal. In 2004, Nepal Visitors was established and promoting the Nepal Tourism. Nepal Visitors is a travel information provider side where Nepalese travel related agencies are affiliated

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