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POKHARA, KASKI DISTRICT, NEPAL
Tiger Mountain Pokhara Lodge is an Aspiring Fellow Member. Aspiring Fellow Members are properties that are either developing their commerce C (e.g., business) or are in the process of securing or formalising their influence over an ecosystem and wider conservation area. The Aspiring Fellow Member category is only open to those properties that demonstrate a rigorous commitment to the 4Cs and will clearly benefit from the peer learning The Long Run provides.
From the start, Tiger Mountain Pokhara Lodge has enshrined the 4Cs as part of its sustainability journey. While the owned land area of the lodge is only about seven acres, the lodge works with the surrounding community forest to encourage sustainable management for community benefit. Within the lodge grounds, the land is in its natural state allowing a range of native trees, shrubs, and other flora to establish themselves in short grass and longer grass terraces surrounded by typical Schima Castanopsis forest. This has provided a haven for many passerine birds and over 280 species of butterflies on the grounds alone.
A Community Support Partnership Programme strives to support community-based and led initiatives to ensure ownership is retained by the community and activities do not fall into the trap of being ‘donor projects’. A priority is given to enhancing education, as envisioned by the community, and so the lodge has provided a teacher mentoring programme to improve pedagogy, and classrooms, and build a computer hub in the local primary school.
The lodge has been built in the traditional local style using local red-earth mud plastering on the walls of some buildings. This is to encourage a sense of value for the local architecture in the community. As a base in the middle of Nepal, the lodge offers visitors the chance to explore day hikes rather than the classical trekking routes. Yoga, meditation, and massage therapies are also available. The lodge is also evolving a take on Japanese Shinrin Yoku – Forest Bathing – to create Ban Magan (Nepali for Forest Meditation).
Tiger Mountain Pokhara Lodge joined The Long Run in 2022 as an Aspiring Fellow Member embarking on a sustainability journey committing to a holistic balance of the 4Cs – Conservation, Community, Culture, and Commerce – as a means to contribute meaningfully to the biodiversity and the people of their local region.
Natural grounds harbouring bio-diversity – increased sighting of common leopard, sightings of rare Blue-Naped Pitta Hydrornis nipalensis and Nepal’s endemic bird, the Spiny Babbler (Turdoides nipalensis).
Leading Asian Wetland Bureau annual waterfowl counts since 2004 for Pokhara Valley Lakes, forging long-term partnership between conservation and a tourism operation that is rare in Nepal – the other being Tiger Tops, the lodge’s sister company.
Monthly Butterfly Monitoring since 2005 in lodge grounds creating a unique biodiversity indicator dataset for Nepal.
Key mammal species are: Common Leopard (P. pardus), Jungle Cat (F. chaus), three species of Civet: Asian Palm, Masked Palm and Large Indian, Yellow-throated Marten (Martes flavigula) Barking Deer (Muntiacus muntjac), Indian Porcupine (Hystrix indica), Black-naped Hare (Lepus nigricollis), Rhesus Macaque (Macaca mulatta) and a relict population of Black-faced Langur (Semnopithecus schistaceus).
Tiger Mountain was a launch signatory for both the UN Global Tourism Plastics Initiative – to eliminate single-use plastics from tourism – and the COP26 Glasgow Declaration for carbon action in tourism. A carbon reduction plan is being drafted.
Annual subvention to local primary school – Shiva Shakti – to support additional teaching staff and nutrition for pupils.
Several farmers purchase local supplies – mainly vegetables, meat, and millet flour. Two neighbors were making sales of some Rs. 170,000 pre-covid from this business exchange.
Regenerative Action Advisory Group – a staff forum – meets at least twice a year to discuss new ways of being regenerative and to monitor initiatives already undertaken.
Culturally, the community comprised a traditional Brahmin/Chettri hill agricultural community that settled the area gradually over the past 200 years or so.
From rural agriculture to military and local government service, the current working generation is focused on foreign employment to assimilate a capital base for their future married lives – somewhere between 40-60% of households have at least one child abroad. This mirrors wider Nepalese society. Proximity to rapidly expanding Pokhara City has diluted traditional cultural values.
As outsiders, the company can do little to intervene beyond conversations with village employees and encouragement to maintain traditional ways. As such, the company still uses traditional means of celebration e.g. classical clay lamps for Diwali rather than modern flashing lights.
The lodge supports local education initiatives to underpin understanding of cultural values.
The 3Cs cannot thrive in the absence of Commerce. The lodge employs 14 staff from the immediate community (50% of total lodge employees) and this figure is rising thanks to a prioritisation of local employment.
The business is a top tourism taxpayer in Pokhara in spite of being one of the smallest lodges in the area – revenues to the government being only slightly less important than to the immediate community. The lodge considers sustainable tourism as a force for good locally, nationally, and internationally.
The lodge works hard to set the highest ethical standards in commercial as well as all other aspects of operations to show that sustainability and sound financial management is good economics.
Thanks to a grant from Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, The Long...