Israeli mountain-climber Doron Erel in Nepal.

Nepal is one of the top target destinations for Israeli backpackers. The chances of hearing Hebrew spoken in guesthouses in Kathmandu or along the trails of the Himalaya Mountains are very high.

So, it made sense for the Israeli Embassy in Nepal to inaugurate an Israel Trail of its own in a national park on the Himalayan range. The idea originated at embassy headquarters in the capital, and together with Nepalese authorities and Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund, the new three-kilometer walkway for hikers in the Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park came to fruition.

Some 200 Israeli hikers and members of the Nepal Shalom Club (for alumni of programs sponsored by MASHAV, Israel’s international aid agency), along with Israeli Ambassador to Nepal Hanan Goder, the Nepalese minister responsible for national planning, and Aviv Eisenband, director of forestry and professional development at KKL-JNF, took part in the trail’s inauguration ceremony.

The Israel National Trail has been dubbed one of the world’s best. Now, the Israeli Embassy in Nepal is hoping the Israel Trail in the Himalayas gets the same foot traffic.

The hikers and Shalom Club members posted metal signs along the route prepared in KKL-JNF’s production workshops in Israel, with information about 22 species of trees characterizing the Himalaya forests.

The participants also helped build 100 wooden steps in difficult parts of the hiking area.  

A similar reciprocal event is set to be held in Israel with the inauguration of a “Nepal Trail” in one of the KKL-JNF forests.

Earlier this year, Israeli sculptor Jo Jo Ohayon crafted a monument comprising two stones from the lowest point on earth – the Dead Sea – and erected it at the base camp of Mount Everest – the world’s highest peak – to promote culture and tourism between Israel and Nepal. Then he set rocks from Mount Everest near the Dead Sea as a symbol of the friendship.