“This isn’t an easy time for Nepal, people’s feelings are naturally muddled, after such a devastating catastrophe. People are slowly getting back their focus, some chain of command emerging out of the confusion, as industry and common people recognize the priority to get their life back to normal, as normal can be.
Over 50% of staff working in the tourism sector including hotels, had fled Kathmandu to their homes in the countryside, those who had family near the epicenter have either lost their homes or their families, or both.
Among the hotels, Hyatt Regency, the Dwarika and the Shangrila are open for business, they operate with a reduced workforce, and limited F&B services! The roof of the legendary Hotel Shankar has collapsed!
The areas around Pokhara and the Annapurna Sanctuary are not touched and domestic airlines fly there as before.
Further South in the plains the (Chitwan National Park) has not been hit. All is well here. There is good connectivity (albeit a bit chaotic at times) relief supplies come overland on this only road linking Kathmandu with the southern border of India.
BABAR MAHAL (re-visited) is open, after remaining shut for 5 days because of aftershocks. A wall at the entrance has collapsed. But thats about the only damage. The restaurants and the stores in the complex are all open for business including Chez Caroline.
Bhaktapur is among the worst affected. Whole streets of houses ‘have collapsed. Two temples reduced to a pile of rubble including the temple of the Living Goddess at the Durbar Square Bhaktapur. The Nyatapola temple still stands as majestic as the Himalayas and the other temples that have survived the quake.
Patan. The least damaged of the three historic sites. Only 2 temples collapsed on either side of the main Krishna temple. The museum and all other temples are saved. Without doubt, this site will be the first to open.
Thamel. It was swarming as usual. No damage to structures, No worries here. The crowds will start coming back in a few weeks and it should be business as usual
Durbar Square. Ground ZERO. A complete loss, of the temple “Kasthamandapa” nothing remains, as are some other temples around and the Old Royal Palace. It will have to be demolished because the structure is very unstable.
Namobuddha. Place of pilgrimage and a prominent Buddhist monastery – saved.
Bodhnath and the SANCTUARY of Pashupathinath – not a scratch. My faith in miracles and Karma is restored.
So, what can we do for Nepal?
Show solidarity with our Nepali friends, and give them all the support we can provide at this time. It may take some time for Tourism in Nepal to get back on its feet and hit the road running. But they will get there sooner than later.
The Casino at SOALTEE and the SHANGRI-LA have opened too.”
(The author is the founder CEO of Incent Tours. An incoming DMC based in New Delhi, it operates high end leisure travel and organises events and Incentives since 1982)