Tourism can become an essential component of community development, a potential source of much-needed employment and income in these beautiful but disadvantaged regions. In the Gauri Shankar area, due west of Everest, agriculture can sustain the local population for only about three quarters of the year Faced with increasing impoverishment, many people are forced to seek employment elsewhere, usually as unskilled labourers. Income from tourism could help improve local living conditions and reduce rural outmigration. However, experience throughout the Himalayan areas has shown that the development of tourism must be carefully planned and monitored if it is to prove both culturally and environmentally sustainable.
Within the framework of promoting sustainable tourism and training, in 1996 Eco Himal set up the Rolwaling Ecotourism Project in the little-visited area south of the holy mountain of Gauri Shankar This area is often referred to as 'Rolwaling", although the Rolwaling Valley proper constitutes only the northeastern corner of the region. The project works to pave the way for locally empowered ecotourism in settlements along the main communication and trekking routes. An over-arching principle is that all measures should benefit the local population - in addition come the advantages that improved facilities may offer to visiting tourists. (For further details, see Afterword).
This guidebook was conceived within the framework of Eco Himal's Rolwaling project. We wish to make trekkers aware of the many opportunities offered by this unspoilt area, and to increase their understanding and cultural sensitivity. It is our hope that this manual will provide a useful introduction to the Gauri Shankar area and its people.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
Art & Culture (777)
Emperor & Queen (486)
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