Neither snow nor rains: Winter charm eludes Solukhumbu, upsets populace


February 14, 2024


Neither snow nor rains: Winter charm eludes Solukhumbu, upsets populace

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SOLUKHUMBU: Shankhar Bahadur Gurung of Salleri in Solukhumbu finds present weather quite unusual in the district.

“Winter is exiting soon, but we have neither experienced winter rain nor snowfall this time. What’s happening?” he is intrigued.

The septuagenarian shares that this is the first time he has noticed such aberration in the weather pattern in his life.

In the absence of snowfall, Solukhumbu, the mountainous district in the Koshi Province, no longer seems as it used to be. The hills and mountains blanketed with snow are now bare, wearing deserted looks.

“We have started feeling temperature rise with the beginning of the month of Falgun and lost hope for snowfall ahead,” he said.

According to the Meteorological Station at Salleri, the temperature is recorded seven degrees Celsius.

It is on the rise for the past five days. Locals said that winter days are not as chilly as they were.

Until four to five years ago, they would brave bone-chilling cold, but this time, the days are hotter.

Farmers in the region had hoped for snowfall and rains, as the lack of snowfall adversely affected winter crops as wheat, potato, and barley.

Prem Kumar Basnet of Likhupike rural municipality-4 shared plight that cardamom farming was suffering due to lack of winter rains.

Cardamom farming takes place in Likhupike, Sotang, Mahakulung, Mapya Dudhkoshi, and Nechasalyan areas, usually conducted on 158 hectares of land.

Tourism entrepreneurs are also worried over weird situation.

The Sagarmatha (Mt Everest), world’s highest peak, lies in the Khumbu region of the district, which failed to witness sufficient snowfall this time.

Although the highland recorded a light snowfall, it was meagre and partial, according to Lamakaji Sherpa of Namche.

The area is now entirely dry, and tourism entrepreneurs fear losing the winter charm that usually attracts visitors.

Damu Sherpa from Lukla said that snowfall in the Khumbu region is an essential attraction for tourists, both domestic and international.

However, this time, the situation is different, and concerns are rising how other upper hilly areas are faring.

Moreover, the populace here is gripped with fear of wildfires to be caused and flared by dry winter.

Last Saturday, the Khamding Mulabari Community Forest at Kanku of Mapya Dudhkoshi rural municipality-5 and Mendopake Community Forest at Chyalsa of Mendopake of Solududhkunda municipality-7 reported fires.

According to Ramji Shah, officiating forest divisional officer at the Forest Division Office, the fires destroyed a large stretch of vegetation, affecting the precious wildlife.

The office data shows that community forest areas cover 105,330 hectares of land, with a total of 72 community forests in the district alone.

Environmental expert Rajan Thapa informed that forest fires not only create adversity but also impact wildlife, human settlements, and the overall ecology.