Even if trekking revives, lodge owners here worry that there will be too much competition and rates will go down as lodge owners try to undercut each other. There are 40 tourist lodges in Kyanjin alone, in what used to be a tiny monastery village. Most are padlocked and their owners are away in Kathmandu, but others are using the pandemic to rebuild in anticipation that tourism will pick up again.
Alone in his empty Panorama Guest House, Karma Tamang sits by a shrine in his dining area with photographs of his wife, son and nephews who perished in the disaster.
“The earthquake was such a shocking tragedy that for a time, people here became spiritual and believed that it was divine retribution for being selfish, and for leaving the path of the dharma,” he says. “But six years later, everyone is now back to building bigger houses, they are heavily indebted, and Covid has killed tourism. There is a lot of anxiety in the people.”