By LB THAPA FOR ONTOTHEROAD.COM
Pokhara has already earned a huge name for its breathtaking natural beauty and adventure tourism. Besides, the town is also the gateway to famous tracking routes. This is the reason why many visitors keep on visiting Pokhara to experience the most awesome excitements that is perhaps only possible in Pokhara.
The city has already carved a niche in the field of adventure tourism like no other city in the country. Adventure activities such as bungee jumping, caving, paragliding, micro-light flight and many more have already become popular among the tourists. Meanwhile, very recently Pokhara is blessed with a new kind of adventure, which has added one more feather in the cap of the town.
This is Zip-flyer. The word Zip-flyer is not an unfamiliar adventure among the westerners, but in South East Asia, Zip-flyer is an object of much curiosity. Over the last one decade or so, Zip-flyer, in many parts of the world has become extremely popular among the adventure lovers.
Speaking with this scribe, Raju KC, chief engineer at High Ground Adventure Nepal, described the mechanical function used in the Zip-flyer. He said, “The Zip-flyer mechanism is installed by the world renowned Zip-flyer American company. It is designed with the most advanced technologies that guarantee safety and comfort. The entire system is manufactured and monitored by the certified engineers of international standard.”
Walking through the beaten track of Sarangkot hill, at which blacktopped road comes to an end, it took nearly half an hour to reach the Zip-flyer station. As soon as this scribe reached the Zip-flying station, the black clouds shrouded the hill and started raining. The tourists waiting for their turn were asked to stay calm until weather gets friendly. Meanwhile, I decided to utilize this time in conversation with Jivan Thapa, the supervisor. He was the responsible person to manage all the Zip-flying ridings.
“I give last minute briefing prior to the riding” said Jivan Thapa and further added “A Zip-flyer riding is too simple. A harness is attached to a removable trolley. Once all the safety straps are properly locked, the rider is all set to go. And one more thing, during the ride legs should be kept wide and also leaning back, so that they will not sway by the strong gush of air. On the whole, the riders will have a wonderful experience of Zip-flying.”
At present Jivan Thapa is the only person stationed at the Sarangkot Zip-flyer station, where he single handedly manages the Zip-flying rides. Besides managing the Zip-flying rides, he is also a rescue expert. “I have done special Zip-flyer Rescue Course. I hold an international certificate as well. In fact the chances of any accident are extremely negligible with Zip-flyer. But in the case of Zip-flyer getting stuck then I swing into action immediately” said Jivan Thapa with the mountain of confidence.
As soon as the patches of the clouds moved off and sky looked clear, the Zip-flyer supervisor Jivan Thapa, called Dev Rajbanshi and Nawaraj Subedi for the last minute briefing. “We are from Kathmandu and by profession both of us are software engineers. We are crazy about adventure related activities. We have already experienced micro-light flight, paragliding, bungee jumping and now it is Zip-flyer. We are very excited to experience Zip-flying, because this is entirely a new kind of adventure for us” said jubilant duos as excitement was oozing out from their faces.
This is monsoon season and tourists have almost dried up in Pokhara. Despite the fact every morning several adventure seekers reach the Zip-flyer station. Sometimes the flow of the tourists is so overwhelming that the supervisor takes help from Lok Nath Chapagain, the security guard. Mr.Chapagain was a former head constable in the Nepal Police and also a local resident of Sarangkot.
The Zip-flyer installed in Sarangkot is the world’s steepest, tallest, longest and fastest zip-line with a vertical drop of 2000 ft (600 meters). The total distance from the Sarangkot post to Hemja post is 1.85km. The Zip-flyer attains over 140kmph for about 20 to 30 seconds. After then the speed subsides gradually. However, the longest Zip-line is in the UK, which is nearly half a mile long and it drops 110m.
Undeniably, Pokhareli tourism entrepreneurs look upbeat with the operation of Zip-flyer in Pokhara. It will definitely draw more tourists who love adventure. It will possibly elongate tourists stay in Pokhara. At present the average stay of tourists in Pokhara is only two days.
Talking with this scribe Suraj Tamang, a long time tourist guide from Dhading, presently stationed in Pokhara, said, “I have already taken over two dozen foreign tourists for the Zip-flyer riding. They had wonderful experience indeed. Nowadays, however, I found more domestic tourists showing their inclination for Zip-flyer riding.”
Zip-flyer has definitely added more excitement among the tourists, who seek thrill and adventure in tandem. The operation of Zip-flyer has made Pokhara a unique destination, which has no equal in South East Asia. Zip-flyer will sure to play a decisive role to promote Pokhara tourism like never before.
Zip-flyer will add more thrill and excitement among the adventure seekers: Sharad Golchha, managing director
Zip-flyer has attracted not only foreign tourists but also many domestic visitors. Indisputably Zip-flyer is going to be proved one of the most liked adventure activities in Pokhara. The other day LB Thapa, frontlinenepal editor spoke with Sharad Golchha, managing director of High Ground Adventure Nepal Pvt. Ltd., about his latest venture in the field of tourism sector. Mr.Golchha spoke frankly about his business enterprise. The excerpt:
Why have you decided to invest in tourism? Especially when you are already doing well in other business sectors?
As an entrepreneur we are involved in various economical activities. Our interest however has always been to augment Nepalese economy. This is the reason today the word ‘Golchha’ has become synonymous with development. We are therefore committed to business and the prosperity of the country. Diversity in nature has made Nepal a unique nation in the world with ample amount of tourism potentiality. High Ground Adventure Nepal is only the first step; we have more business plans to introduce in the tourism sector.
Will you shed some light about Zip-flyer? It is entirely a new gift to adventure seekers. Isn’t it?
Yes, it is. We have imported the whole technology from the USA. Zip-flyer USA is a brand name of the USA, which is famous for manufacturing hi-tech Zip-flying technology. This is the most advanced technology and had delivered a state of the art Zip line ride. Every part of this equipment is designed to provide unpatrolled ride, comfort and safety, and the entire system is engineered to surpass safety standards set by agencies such as ANSI-B77 Tramway, ASTM, and TUV SUD codes.
How safe is Zip-flyer ride?
Zip-flyer USA is the world famous brand name for safety, comfort and reliability. We have however taken extra precaution to avoid any untoward situation. Hence, we have spent more money on the safety side. We have trained staff who are always ready to rescue the riders if they stuck in the Zip-line. To make sure every ride safe and secured, every morning all major equipments are properly checked, after then a test flight is conducted. When flight supervisor and the engineers on duty give green signals only then are passengers allowed to take a ride.
How is this Zip-flyer different?
Statistics are there to speak volumes. This Zip-flyer in Pokhara is the world’s steepest, tallest, longest and fastest zip-line with a vertical drop of 2000 ft (600 meters). The total distance from the Sarangkot post to Hemja post is 1.85km. The Zip-flyer attains a speed over 140kmph for about 20 to 30 seconds. After then the speed subsides gradually. However, the longest Zip-line is in the UK, which is nearly half a mile long and it drops 110m.
How optimistic are you about the success of Zip-flyer in Pokhara?
I do not have an iota of doubt in my mind about the success of Zip-flyer. Pokhara is a hub for adventure activities. The city which has already accommodated micro-light and paragliding with remarkable success, Zip-flyer will rule the hearts of the tourists at large. It has been about three months we have started the Zip-flyer riding service, yet not started a full-fledged commercial ride; the number of adventure seeking tourists has started coming to ride the Zip-flyer. This is a healthy indication of the success of Zip-flyer. Isn’t it?
Do you think political instability might overcast tourism activities?
This is the only worry on my mind. Political stability is the prerequisite to the success of tourism. I hope the country will definitely witness rosy days ahead. To make all this possible our politicians must come out of the political quagmire and work for the national interest.
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