Hiking Nepal’s forgotten trail

A walking trail created to increase tourism in a rarely visited part of Nepal was in its infancy when the massive earthquake struck two years ago today. It remains open but the brave communities en route are desperate for more visitors and investment

The young receptionist at Kathmandu’s Nepal tourist office gaped at me with a quizzical look when I asked about The Indigenous Peoples Trail. It was not a good start to my quest for hiking one of Nepal’s lesser-known treks independently. But I am the stubborn, adventurous type and even if the trail-makers had no idea how to help me, I was resolute about going.

The Indigenous Peoples (IP) Trail is a culture-focused, permit-free, low-altitude trek created jointly in 2011 by the Nepal tourism board and the United Nations in an attempt to increase tourism in the Ramechhap district. This rarely visited region, only 50 miles east of Kathmandu, straddles the Mahabarat, or Lesser Himalaya, range and harbours a mix of Tamang, Newari, Lama, Sherpa, Yolmo, Thami and Majhi peoples – the latter two groups only found in this part of the country.

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