JIRI - The Switzerland of Nepal

  • 1946 meters

When the first of the mountaineers passed through Jiri on their way to Everest, they must have acknowledged the landscape of Jiri. The alpine forest and chilled out climate must have reminded them of the Alps. With time, the Swiss became heavily involved in the transformation of this sleepy village into a bustling town. The road to Jiri, the famous Cheese Factory, the hospital and many other development activities happened under the Swiss assistance. This relationship between Jiri and Switzerland which goes back to the 1930s has led to Jiri being called "The Switzerland of Nepal" Thanks to the road built by the Swiss, Jiri was the only Gateway to Everest base camp route for many years. However, the construction of the Lukla, Syangboche and Phaplu Airports took away a huge number of trekkers. Also, during the Maoist insurgency, Jiri lost its popularity as trekkers were forced by the insurgents to pay NPR 5,000 as permit fee.

Once the busiest market of Eastern Himalayan region, Jiri now stands as a regular town with few memories and fewer dreams. The Jirels remember the town in its brightest days when the town held the Big Farmer's market every Saturday, the biggest trade market in the Everest Region. Now the roads crawling through every small village seems to have taken the crown off Jiri's cranium.

However, the town of Jirels still stands proud and popular among internal tourists. Every year thousands of internal tourists and trekkers fill Jiri with their clatter of joy.

Today, when Nepali tourists exclaim upon arriving at Jiri, "Is Switzerland really like Jiri?" locals reply that the houses constructed by the Swiss development mission and the weather does indeed provide a little piece of Switzerland in Nepal.