I travelled to the Himalayas and the country of Nepal to look at how the devastating 2015 Gorkha earthquake had affected the country’s landscape and its people. While there I wanted to see first-hand how the great Himalayan Mountains had been shaken by this earthquake and many others like it. I also wanted to speak to the people whose lives were constantly having to adapt to this changing environment.
When arriving in Nepal I soon realised that the culture was like nothing I had ever experienced before. The capital city of Kathmandu was alive with activity; everywhere you looked there was something new and exciting. The city was so busy and densely populated that it would be easy to get lost in it all. Thankfully every local we met and spoke to was so friendly and welcoming it made me feel a lot more at ease.
The contrast between the densely populated inner city and small mountain towns was quite extreme. After driving 4 hours to the north east of Kathmandu we arrived in an area called the Bhote Kosi – a river valley near the Nepal: Tibet border. This area was one of the places most severely affected by the Gorkha earthquake and we were able to see a lot of evidence of that. Vast landslides covered the sides of the valleys – some km’s long. In one shocking instance a landslide had been so large it had dammed the river flowing down the valley and flooded an entire village upstream of it.
Since the earthquake tourism to the area has dropped significantly; due to the dangers of the landscape. We spoke to one local who said that the Bhote Kosi used to be a very vibrant place which attracted a lot of trekkers each year. However now the only visitors were aid workers, and local’s incomes from the tourism industry had taken a rapid drop. It was therefore nice knowing that our presence in the area was very much welcomed.
Welcome sign at Nepal:Tibet Border in Bhote Kosi
Traditional Nepalese temple – 3KM above sea level
Although it was upsetting to see such destruction after the earthquake the Nepalese peoples ‘make do and mend’ mentality was very admirable and made the situation a little less sad.
After time spent looking at the earthquake’s effects in the Bhote Kosi we travelled to an area known as the Lamjung District and to a world famous Annapurna Circuit trekking route. Here I looked at how the extreme nature of the Himalayas can be put to good use in the form of hydroelectric power. While trekking along the Annapurna Circuit I studied the great Marsyandi River. Looking specifically at hydroelectric dams which provide a substantial amount of power to the Nepalese people, and how the rivers characteristics influenced these structures.
My trip to the Himalayas and Nepal was one of the most exciting and valuable experiences of my life. I am very thankful to the Principal’s Go Abroad Fund for making this amazing experience possible for me. This experience has made me very passionate to go and explore even more of our fascinating planet.
Part of the Annapurna Circuit trekking path – make-shift road on cliff face above a 1KM vertical drop!
Sunrise behind Manaslu mountain range (the 8th highest mountain in the world at 8KM high)
Morning view from hostel in Chame (point at 3km a.s.l. on Annapurna Circuit) looking towards Manaslu mountain range