The Guerilla Trail is a trekking trail that is just recently being explored as a tourism destination in Midwest Nepal. Passing through the districts of Rolpa, Rukum, Baglung and Myagdi, the roadspresent the views of the massive Dhaulagiri range, Mount Sisne and parts of the Annapurna range. Looking around and walking along the hilly paths, adventurers will get to seea variety of flora species, including rhododendrons and pine trees, and will come across hot water ponds, springs falls, fresh lakes, the vast Dhorpatan hunting region and apple faming lands. Furthermore, along the trail are several Magar villages whose locals, the Magars, still maintain their own unique lifestyles and culture.
The Magar ethnic group is one of the 125 ethnolinguistic castes that has been recognized in Nepal, and is one of the 59th indigenous communities with a distinct language, culture, rituals and history. The descriptive terms, Kham Magar or Western Magar, are also used to describe these locals. A majority of the Kham Magar settlements are stretched over the western and southern edges of the Dhaulagiri Himalayan range and eastwards to the Gandak River Basin. They inhabit the highlands (3,000–4,000 meters above sea level) extending through Eastern Rukum and Northern Salyan, Rolpa and Pyuthan districts in the Rapti, Dhaulagiri and Bheri zones. Their native tongue is a distinct Tibeto-Burman called Magar Pang, which is one of the three languages derived from the Pali language, a Middle Indo-Aryan languagethat originated from the Indian subcontinent.
Having established the basic characteristics of the region and its inhabitants, we now shift more of our focus to the specific components of the guerilla trek. The guerilla trek was named so because the trailing area was also the epicenter of the people’s revolution (1996-2006) that claimed more than 17,000 lives.The trails we will now walk along were mostly used by guerillas during the Maoist insurgency, namely during the Myagdi attack. The villages and people along the trails tell the travelers stories of their 'cause', their hardships and give accounts of life before and after the Maoist war. The region holds the long history of the people’s revolution and can be of interest to the more academically inclined— researchers, historians and students—as well.
Most conflict-hit countries adopt a "don't mention the war" attitude in attempts to boost tourism, but we hope that by inviting trekkers to follow in the footsteps of the Maoist fighters, this trek can destigmatize the country's decade-long conflict from something dark, traumatic and worthy of forgetting, to an event of great historical valuewith an important role in shaping the socio cultural and socio political context of Nepal. The 14 days trail climbs steeply up to altitudes of nearly 4,000meters (13,000ft) and temperatures are subzero during the winters. Trekkers pass through remote settlements, approximately more than 30 villages, that experienced the effects of the insurgency where rebels once sought cover from army bombing raids during the insurgency. The trail winds along the preserved battlefields of the decade long people’s war where tourists can explore, study and analyze the different dimensional effects of the conflict. The guerilla trail is one of the new trekking routes that has been opened into previously closed areas since Nepal Tourism Year 2011.
To make this trek possible, AMTREK is working with the Nepal Magar Tourism Society (NMTS), a tourism based not-for-profit, non-governmental, and non-political organization has been working to preserve and promote cultural tourism, eco-tourism, rural tourism and home-stay tourism in several rural Magar communities that have dense settlements and who have their own distinct rituals, cultures, lifestyles, and languages and belief systems.