Suryodaya Municipality in Ilam district has brought boat service into operation in Antu Pond, a popular tourist destination.
The boat operation, which had gone out of business for the past two years owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, has been reopened at the initiative of the municipality.
In the past, the tourists who visited Ilam to see sunrise used to ride boats in the pond, a service operated by the locals. But now, the municipality has stepped in to bring the service into operation.
According to Ran Bahadur Rai, Mayor of the municipality, the municipality has bought three boats to operate in the pond.
“Tourists were frustrated by the long absence of boat operation. But as the operation has been restarted, not only has the revenue from the boat gone up, tourists have been able to enjoy the service to the fullest,” remarked Mayor Rai.
After viewing the sunrise, the tourists reaching Antu have another choice of taking a boat ride. The municipality is planning to bring in more boats to the pond if needed to meet the rising demand, Rai added.
The city is also working on developing infrastructure of Antu Danda as well as the pond. Tourists are lured to Antu Danda especially during weekends to enjoy the view of sunrise from the hill from November to December.
Chudamani Baral, an official at the municipality, said that the municipality was collecting revenue of up to Rs 100,000 from visigtors in a single day on Saturdays.
The municipality has been charging Rs. 50 per person for the boat ride and additional Rs. 50 to reach Antu Danda to enjoy the sunrise view.
Rudra Ghimire, a local homestay operator, said that tourists like to take pictures while admiring the picturesque scenery of the tea plantations around the pond.
Antu Danda has been considered one of the best destinations in Nepal to view beautiful sunrise.