‘Guterres Point’ under construction at Pumdikot

Gandaki, Jan 20:

Anyone visiting Pokhara can not remain unaffected, seeing the bewitching mountains surrounding the valley. The Machhapuchhre peak’s shadow in the

Phewa Lake further mesmerizes the tourists.

In a recent past, the ace tourist destination in Nepal welcomed a special foreign guest. It was the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres. He got opportunity to see the snow-clad mountain during his visit in Pokhara.

Guterres was lucky that he was greeted with snow-clad mountains and clear sky as he climbed up the Pumdikot hill from the Pokhara Valley on October 30, 2023.

Pumdikot, which is being developed as a site of religious tourism of late, was not in Secretary General’s schedule, but he climbed up from the valley to have better look in the vicinity. He entered the premises of the colossus of Lord Shiva, watched the Phewa Lake down in the valley and sighted the majestic mountains.

The onlookers could easily observe the elation exuded on Guterres’ face upon the relish of natural beauty.

Guterres had reached there at 4:30pm and standby were Mayor of Pokhara metropolis, Dhanraj Acharya, and coordinator of Mahadev colossus construction campaign, Chandra Kant Baral. They were accompanied by Chairman of Ward No 22 of Pokhara metropolis, Him Lal Baral.

The special guest stepped toward south west corner of the colossus premises. He was as if stuck to the nature’s beauty he was observing from there. He also went upstairs. After he came down the stairs, he again went to the same south west corner and stuck his eyes to the mountains!

Those standing in line to Secretary General Guterres’ welcome were observing him closely.

Later, the people here concentrated on the south west premises of that colossus Mahadev and decided to develop it as a ‘Guterres Point’.

The Pumdikot Development Committee has now decided to develop the south west corner of the religious spot as ‘Guterres Point’, according to Committee Chairman Chandra Kant Baral.

From the south west corner of the Shiva colossus, ridges of snow-clad mountains can be viewed. As many as 11 peaks including the Annapurna I, II, III and IV, Khangsarkang, Annapurna South, Machhapuchhre, Ghandruk Himchuli, and Mardi are some to enchant the visitors.

As the UN Secretary General visited Pumdikot, the local here have been encouraged and excited to further develop the place as a modern tourist destination. Baral further said they were happy to welcome special guest in their town, which could help make Nepal further known to the world.

Guterres however spent only 45 minutes at Pumdikot, said another Rudra Paudel, manager of Pumdikot Development Committee.

The 51-feet tall giant statue of Lord Shiva built at Pumdikot with active participation of the public has become an attractive tourist destination of Pokhara at present. The Committee initially had set the target to build 105-feet tall statue but following the recommendation of Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal, the Committee installed 51-feet statue, paying heed to concern of aviation security.

Committee’s Chairperson Baral gushed that the influx of tourists-both domestic and foreign, was on rise at Pumdikot with the installation of the statue. To build the colossus along with other infrastructures incorporated in the Master Plan, over Rs 260 million was invested so far, informed Baral.

The Committee has taken forward works as per the Master Plan of Rs 400 million estimated cost for the installation of the giant statue and construction of other infrastructures at Pumdikot.

Visitors there, 13-km away from the major city in Pokhara, could soak up the panoramic view of Pokhara Valley, Phewa Lake and various mountain ranges, such as Dhaulagiri, Annapurna and Machhapuchre among others besides the gigantic statue.

Considering the growing attraction towards the Lord Shiva’s colossus at Pumdikot, the Committee is confident that Pumdikot would be established as the second most important pilgrims’ site after the Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu.

With the objective of fund-raising to harness tourism potential here, a religious event, mahashiva purana, was organized in 2017 where 20 ropanis of land was received in donation along with Rs 60 million. Another mahayagya organized in 2022 had raised around Rs 30 million funds for tourism promotion at Pumdikot, shared Baral.

The Committee is accelerating the remaining works of the Master Plan according to which administrative building, monorail and Shivalinga, replica of Sumeru mountain nearby Guru Maharaj Ashram and entrance among others have been constructed.

Moreover, plan is afoot to install electric chair car connecting Kailash, where the statue is erected, with replica of Sumeru mountain and to construct a well-organized parking place, according to the Committee.

The Committee envisions building Shanti Ashram, senior citizens meeting centre and a garden. Installation of a projector to project the deeds of Lord Shiva and life cycle of animals through the laser light to the visitors is also in the agenda of the Committee.

Committee member Matrika Baral claimed that Pumdikot had become a must visit destination for the visitors arriving in Pokhara. The arrival of VIPs and distinguished visitors, including Secretary-General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres last October at Pumdikot has immensely excited the local residents and helped promote its global recognition.

The colossus of Lord Shiva at the foothill of Machhapuchre mountain has further added to the charm of Pumdikot. With the installation of enormous statue of Lord Shiva, the glory and dignity of Pumdikot has assumed a greater height.

More and more infrastructures are being built, drawing tourists and pulling the migrated local residents back to their village.

Dharmendra Jha and Basudev Paudel/RSS

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