© Corinne and Noel Fenech 2019

Shots and Tales - Enabling Independent and Responsible Travel

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    Lukesh Tilija Pun, Bam Purja Pun and Gam Paiga Pun were our trekking guides, porters and companions for the Annapurna-Dhaulagiri Community TrailOur experience with Lukesh and the team was one of great human respect and care.  They went above and beyond their duty of guiding and carrying our bags, enriching us with an experience and friends we'll treasure a life time. 

    When we were planning our trek, we were introduced to Lukesh who would be our guide for the community trail.  Originally from the beautiful mountainous village of Nangi, Lukesh currently lives with his family in Pokhara, which is the nearest tourist hub.  He is graduated as an accountant, and also carries out the job of a trekking guide.

    During our trek, Lukesh, who is extremely knowledgeable of culture and customs, explained to us what we were seeing in great detail.  He made sure that we were welcomed like family in all the places we visited, and that the three hungry Maltese trekkers had a great choice of food to keep them going.  It is in great part due to his encouragement, as well as guidance, that we have such fond memories of our time in the Annapurna-Dhaulagiri Community trail.

    Lukesh is also very active in Community work.  He constantly participates and leads afforestation projects, as well as environmental awareness campaigns for children in rural Magar villages.

    Bam and Gam, are two men of great dignity. They were the people who took care of carrying our bags and also caring for us even in the evenings.  Despite the fact that we could not communicate with ease due to the language barrier, we managed to get truly meaningful conversations with them.  

    We will never forget the evening we arrived at Mohare Danda.  It was cold and Lukesh had already advised beforehand that there was no water. Bam and Gam went to the sleeping quarters and with their bare hands collected snow and put it in a tank, so that when it melts we would at least have enough water for flushing the toilets! 

     

    When we arrived at Khopra Danda, which was the highlight location of our trek, once again the weather was extremely cold. Lukesh, Bam and Gam slept outside in the tents without uttering a word of complaint, whilst we had frozen up even though we were sleeping in the cosy community lodge bedroom.

    When he is not working as a guide, Lukesh takes care of his family and loves to spend time with his beautiful daughter Sheyal and his wife Kumari

    When he is not working as a porter, Bam is a family man, husband and father of two kids, a great farmer, chef and honey cultivator

    When he is not working as a porter, Gam loves to play music, hangs out with friends and cares for his family who live across the valley from the village of Swanta

    Lukesh, Bam and Gam are people of admirable stamina and deserve great respect. Their kindness, way beyond their call of duty is one of the greatest examples anyone can give us.  For this, we truly hope that they are blessed with work that feeds their family, keeps a roof on their head, and friendships to last a lifetime.

    We would definitely be very happy if you choose Lukesh as your Trekking Guide!

    You can email him on: lukehstilija@gmail.com

    Nangi is the main village in the Magar area. It hosts the school as well as the health centre. Some children walk for more than two hours every day to reach school

    Swanta, which is the village where Gam lives, is on the main tourist route around the Annapurna Circuit.  It is equipped with more main stream hotels, including Gam's sister hotel, The Candle Inn

    Danda Kateri is a very small hamlet close to Nangi and this is where Bam lives with his family.  It has picturesque views and you can have a lunch of momos on a terrace whilst marvelling at the Himalayan Mountains

    There are no car roads leading to Nangi, but a tractor with supplies heads up to Nangi once a week.  It is also a sweet custom, that whenever people are travelling from the towns to the villages and vice versa, they act as delivery people for goods and items for their fellow villagers

    Given the remoteness of Nangi, the health centre is connected via internet to a Kathmandu hospital and diagnoses can be carried out remotely

    The story of Dr Mahabir Pun has made a big difference to the Magar community

    Magar people believe in Mother Nature and they have a temple in a sacred forest dedicated to her. Once a year all Magar people go on a pilgrimage to this temple, to pray and give thanks together

    Did you know? Here’s what Lukesh, Bam and Gam shared about their region