Chandra Prasad Rijal is not a new name for those involved in tourism industry. Born on Ashadh 3 in Khalte-3 of Dhading district, he has been with the Nepali tourism for more than two decades. He is the managing director of See Nepal Travel and Adventure and a promoter of Mum’s Home. This dynamic private sector leader is the President of Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal (TAAN) — the umbrella organization of nearly 1250 trekking agencies in the country. Continue reading
Though only in his 30s, Rajan Simkhada has already created a niche in tourism industry
Rajan Simkhada is a young and energetic entrepreneur with Nepali tourism industry. Born in 1976 in Darkha of Dhading district, Simkhada leads a number of companies including hotels, resorts and trekking agencies, among others.
But Simkhada, who wanted to be a chartered accountant when he completed graduation in first division, said he never imagined he would make a career in tourism industry. “It just happened,” he shares. “I used to see trekkers heading toward Ganesh Himal through my village and wonder who are they, where are they from and where are they heading to. I entered tourism sector searching answers to these questions.”
After completing early school education in his birthplace, he came to Kathmandu at the age of 16. He passed SLC examination from Shanti Vidya Griha and started studying commerce in Shankar Dev College. As he was in Kathmandu on his own, he did many odd jobs to eke out a living. His first job in the tourism industry was a front office attendant in a Thamel hotel. There he quickly learnt the trade and found himself getting more immersed into the industry. Eventually, he opened Earthbound Expeditions in 1997.
“As I am an outgoing person by nature, tourism is the most suitable career for me,” he added.
Today, he is involved in number of companies like Earthbound Expeditions, Thamel Eco Resort, Pokhara Eco Resort, Mo Mo Hut and Nepal Yoga Retreat, among others.
“I have been trying to introduce new dimensions in the tourism sector,” he said referring to his venture Nepal Yoga Retreat and Spa Centre in Chhaling of Bhaktapur. Nepal Yoga Retreat is a yoga center where one can find simple and wholesome organic food and learn yoga philosophy by trained experts.
Explaining the reasons behind opening yoga center, Simkhada said many people are in need of peace of mind. “Once can stay in our yoga center, learn yogic activities under guidance of trained expert and enjoy serenity of the place. They are served pure organic vegetables,” he said, adding, “This is a part of our effort to promote spiritual and health tourism.
He also unveiled his dream plan of running a spiritual resort in Nepal. “I want to open yoga and spiritual resort hotel or retreat having four or five star facilities because I have seen the prospect that this sector offers. If things go as planned, I will do that,” he added.
Simkhada is a man of multi-faceted personality. Not only a successful entrepreneur, he is a popular face in Nepali television as well – known mostly for comic roles. “I have acted in dozens of television films. People have appreciated by roles. Sometimes they even call me by my screen names,” he added.
As someone who started career in tourism industry as a front office attendant, Simkhada today employs more than 200 people. “Though I couldn’t be a chartered accountant, I am in a position to hire couple of them,” the successful tourism entrepreneur said.
Simkhada feels tourism is one sector which can stop exodus of youth to foreign job destinations and top brain drain. “My 16 cousins are plying their trade in foreign countries. But I am staying in Nepal. I want young people to realize that there is endless possibility in Nepal. You only need to know how to tap it,” he said, adding that with hard work and honesty there is nothing that cannot be achieved.
Simkhada is a busy bee. As he is busy in his different ventures, he has been failing to give proper time to his family. “As I started everything from scratch, I have to devote lot of time to my business. But my family is understanding,” he said. Simkhada married in 2006. The couple is blessed with two cute sons.
The young entrepreneur sees great potential for tourism development in Nepal. “We have tremendous possibilities. But we are failing to exploit it,” he said. “The government should do something for stopping exodus of youth. If young blood is in foreign land, who will build this country,” he wondered.
– Kishor Basnyat
Padam Ghale is a seasoned mountaineer, accomplished mountaineering instructor and a successful adventure tourism entrepreneur
Padam Ghale is a man who has thoroughly enjoyed his life while creating a niche in Nepali mountaineering sector. Born in 2008 BS in Barpak of Gorkha district, Ghale is a qualified International Mountain Guide, an accomplished mountain instructor, and a successful tourism entrepreneur.
But Ghale, who has no formal education, didn’t imagine in his childhood days that he would come this far.
“Life was difficult in my village. Villagers could earn square meal only after toiling in others homes and farmlands. It took us a four-day walk to reach district headquarters – Gorkha Bazaar,” Ghale said, adding, “The situation forced many families in the village, including ours, to migrate to lowlands.”
The Ghale family moved to Chitwan. “In Chitwan, I started working as a farm worker. I also worked in different shops in Narayanghat,” he added.
At that time, many Burmese of Nepali origin were coming to Nepal and settling in Chitwan. Most of them were into cow and buffalo farming. They used to make butter which was not finding market. “I felt I could take the butter to the market and make some money. Thus I started buying butter from the Burmese and selling it in Kathmandu,” he said, adding, “I used to sell butter to Dairy Development Corporation (DDC) which had just opened.”
Soon he started making money and enjoying the life in Kathmandu. Once or twice a month, he used to visit Chitwan to buy butter. Then he used to board the flight to Kathmandu from Bharatpur.
Padam’s brother is a British Gurkha solider. Not only his brother, his father and grandfather were also in the British army. “My family members also wanted me to join the army. But I wasn’t interested. Though I applied due to pressure of my family, fortunately I was rejected,” he said, adding, “I didn’t want to join the army because I grew up seeing ex-soldiers with disability due to war.”
While in Kathmandu, he used to hang around Tri Chandra College. Soon he came in touch with Kanak Mani Dixit and other friends who were studying in the college. It was during that time that his friends asked him to take mountaineering training at Hotel Management and Tourism Training Center (HMTTC).
“They told me I should take mountaineering training as I was physically fit and outgoing by nature,” Padam said.
That training changed his life.
“The training was very fruitful. The instructors were also fantastic. I enjoyed it thoroughly,” Padam added.
Once the training was over, Padam started getting offer form trekking agencies. “I led the first group of Kathmandu Travels to Dhampus. I was paid Rs 35 per day. It was a huge amount as other job holders were drawing only around Rs 5 per day,” he added.
In 1979, Padam underwent Basic Mountaineering Training form NMA. “I took the training as a joint expedition was being planned on Everest Nepal and Italy. It was the first training funded by the Yugoslavian government,” he added.
Padam completed the training and embarked on his first attempt on Mt Everest. But he was unlucky; he had to give up the mission after climbing to the height of 7,200 meters. Later, he took Advanced Mountaineering Training and training for instructors.
Though Padam couldn’t summit Everest, he climbed Mt Makalu in 1981. “It was a joint expedition of two Nepalis, two British and two Polish. We were to climb alpine style,” Padam said, adding, “We acclimatized in the area for nearly two months. But when we decided to make final assault, weather deteriorated and we had to abandon the expedition.”
But Padam didn’t give up. He decided to climb solo. With great difficulty he persuaded his expedition members and liaison officer, and headed to mountain promising his friend that he would return after a week. Padam climbed the mountain at 10:30 am on May 10, 1981. “I returned to the base camp on the sixth day. My friends were very happy,” he added.
His second attempt on Mt Everest in 1988 also became unsuccessful. “It was very hard to give up after we have climbed to 8,200 meters,” he added.
After working for different trekking agencies, Mandala and four friends teamed up to open Mandala Trekking in 1987. “I was involved with Mandala Trekking for nearly 12 years. After leaving Mandala, I worked as a freelancer guide for some years and took over the management of Shambala Trekking,” he added.
Padam has planned and implemented number of rescue missions in the Himalayas. One mission he never forgets involved his dear friend Kanak Mani Dixit – a veteran journalist. “Now sooner Kunda (Kanak’s brother) called me and told that Kanak has gone out of contact in the Annapurna region, I swung into action right away,” Padam said, adding, “Kunda told me that Kanak last call his family from Jagat, so I asked him to arrange a chopper and we left for Jagat.”
From Jagat, Padam, Kunda and Padam’s friend Raju descended toward Chamje after a local hotelier told them that a person, presumably Kanak, held left toward Chamje after having tea and light snacks at his place. The next day they spotted a big about 15 meters down the trail near a waterfall. Kunda identified his brother’s bag. “Looking at the site, we guessed Kanak tripped and fell down while trying to jump the small stream near the waterfall. He might have cried for help, but nobody listened due to the sound of water cascading down,” added Padam.
Raju and a porter abseiled down to the suspected site and found Kanak alive. They managed to bring him up and rushed him to a nearby health post. “I shouted Raju to immediately call a chopper. While inside the chopper, I asked the pilot to arrange an ambulance at the airport. No sooner we landed in Kathmandu, Kanak was rushed to Norvic Hospital,” Padam said, adding: “Kanak’s family members were all praises for us. I also felt satisfied as I could do something for my dear friend.”
Padam is the founding vice-president of Nepal Mountaineering Instructors Association (NMIA) and Nepal National Mountain Guides Association (NNMGA). “We formed the associations to give pressure to NMA to recognize mountain instructors and mountain guides. Now, NMA has realized our importance,” he added. He was recently elected as the executive member of Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA).
So far, 29 International Mountain Guides have graduated from NNMGA. The degree comes from ENSA – a French mountaineering and ski school. “NNMGA and Center for Technical Education and Vocational Training (CTEVT) has jointly prepared curriculum for international mountain guides. Very soon we will get degrees from CTEVT as well,” he added.
Padam married in 2000. The Ghale couple is blessed with a son. “I will allow my son to choose his career. But I would be happy if he entered the mountaineering sector and continued my business,” he added.
Asked when he would retire, Ghale said he would continue to lead groups as long as his health allows. “I am already 58. I believe I can lead groups for few more years,” he added.
Pemba Gyalje Sherpa is not a new name to those involved in mountaineering sector. The daring Sherpa from Jubing VDC-8 in Solukhumbu stole limelight when he was involved in one of the most difficult rescue missions in the history of mountaineering in Pakistan’s Mt K2 in 2008. Born on February, 20 1978, he is one of the finest mountain guides and Nepal and also the president of Nepal National Mountain Guide Association (NNMGA).
Pemba is the eldest of the two sons and six daughters of Lhakpa Sherpa and Nimi Sherpa. “My father used to work as a trekking staff. He also used to climb small peaks. During off season, he used to work in his farm in the village,” said Pemba. Continue reading