Jiri also known as the Switzerland of Nepal was the main gateway to Mount Everest in the past. It is a beautiful valley with stunning landscapes, hill stations and mountain ranges. This place is the perfect escape from the daily boring lifestyle and hustle and bustle of the city life. Surrounded by the hills and beautiful landscape, the place gives the vibes of Switzerland. The scenery of the Jiri is known to be the attractions to the many nature admirers and photographers. It is covered in the green grass, shrubs and trees which have increased the natural beauty of the place. All the early Everest expeditions including Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary also passed through this route. So Jiri is also called the ‘Gateway to Mount Everest’. Jiri offers cultural diversity with the mixed population of Jirel, Sherpa and Tamang.
Jiri is the municipality located in the Dolakha district in the Bagmati province of Central Nepal at the altitude of 1905 m above the sea level. It lies about 190 km from the Kathmandu valley. Jiri was set up as an agricultural development centre by the Swiss Government Aid in 1938 AD. There is also another reason behind calling it Switzerland of Nepal . During the 19 century Swiss Government started living here to develop the agricultural project in Nepal so people started calling it Switzerland as it was the home of the Swiss government. It is the perfect place for the adventure lover as it is the longest hiking route to Mount Everest.
Jiri was far away from the road of development and was not known to the people of other districts before it was under the Swiss Development Assistance Mission. When the Swiss geologist Dr Toni Hagen made his way to Jiri in 1950 AD, he was considered the first known foreigner in the land. Dr Hagen started economic empowerment and a trek route from Jiri to Lukla. While the inflow of tourists increased, the 110 km road from Khandi Chaur to Jiri was blacktopped about 4 decades ago. From the 60s to the 90s , Jiri dominated other places of Dolakha district in terms of development.
The Jiri is making efforts to attract internal and external tourists with the slogan of Clean Jiri, Green Jiri and Organic Jiri. The municipality of Jiri has already invested money to develop the natural parks at the top of the Hills and improve the conditions of other important shrines and monasteries.
Cherdung is the hill at the altitude of 3200 from the sea level. It is the best hiking spot from Jiri’s Linkan Bazaar. The hike takes about 6 hours from the bazaar to reach the top of the hill. The hiking route consists of the narrow paths and green forests with the large green valleys. Even though the hiking is tiring, after reaching the top of the hill people forget their tiredness. They relax their tired mind, soul and body with the views of Himalayan ranges, hills and landscapes.
It is located on the way to Cherdung and takes about 4 hours to reach from the Jiri bazaar. From this hill station we can get the glimpse of three major towns Charikot, Dolakha and Jiri. It is the massive piece of rock that stands on the top of the cliff. It is hard to stand on the top due to its steep height.
It is also known as the picnic Danda . It takes about half an hour to reach its top from the Linkan Bazaar.
It is at the top of the Jiri valley. The park is a famous destination for the internal tourists as only few International tourists know this place. It has the golden statue of Gautam Buddha at the top of the hill surrounded by the Buddhists sacred clothes and flags.
Jiri also has the small airstrip which used to operate Pilatus porter aircraft till 1980s. As the Lukla airport came into operation in 1968,the airport lost its own utility.
It is the natural pond in the middle of the valley surrounded by the beautiful landscape, grassland , hills and mountain ranges. The pond has fresh and tasty trout fish. These trout fish can be enjoyed by the tourists at the different local restaurants of the Jiri.
It is the famous bazaar of the Dolakha district. Fresh, clean, green and organic food are the main attraction of the market. Tourists can also buy the famous yak cheese and churpi( it is the snack made from the drying the cheese under the sunlight) in the market.
I went on a Jiri trip with my friends during the summer of 2018. We hired the Scorpio from the Koteshwor. It was about a 6 hour ride from the stop. During the whole time, I enjoyed the outside views of the Hills, landscapes, big rocks and mountains. Although the trip was the good one, the road was a little bumpy due to some puddles. We reached the Bazaar, the bazaar was clean and surrounded by the beautiful hills. We stayed at the hotel near the market area. The very next morning we went on a hike to Cherdung. It was about 6-7 hours of hiking through the narrow trails and vast green lands and forest.
Even though we were tired from hiking, the views of the mountain ranges, hills and landscape took away all our tiredness and wariness. The same day we went to enjoy the natural fish pond and came back to the local restaurant to enjoy the fish. Fried fish was too delicious and fresh. The next day we roamed around the Jiri market and bought some souvenirs to take home . And came back home in the same hired Scorpio.
This place is the natural heritage of Nepal which is rich in both cultural and natural beauty. One can enjoy the fresh and organic food with the beautiful view of the mountains and green lands. We can get Jiri from Micro buses from the Bus park and hire our own vehicle.
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