In a regrettable incident last week, Mount Saramati in Kiphire faced extensive damage due to a fire sparked by trekkers attempting to combat the cold. According to Tsuyamkiu Yimchunger, one of the village guards investigating the incident, the trekkers halted near the mountain’s summit, lit a fire, and unintentionally ignited a significant area, exacerbated by strong winds.
On January 26, a team comprising two village councils and six village guards visited the site to assess the aftermath. Yimchunger revealed to this newspaper that the incident is currently under investigation, and the case is scheduled to be heard at the Pungro Customary Court on January 30, 2024.
Mount Saramati, a renowned tourist destination, suffered not only physical damage but also a loss to its rich rhododendron population. Despite the devastation, Yimchunger expressed optimism, stating, “The flora and insects have been burnt, but it will grow back like it used to. Some Rhododendrons were also burnt.” He highlighted that the regrowth is anticipated, with the rhododendron bloom usually blooming between March and April.
Mount Saramati’s ecotourism is particularly promoted by Thanamir village offering homestays to trekkers. The mountain, known for its beautiful rocky and plain terrain on the top, usually boasts vibrant rhododendron displays.
As the mountain recovers, locals stay hopeful for resurgence, emphasizing that nature’s resilience will prevail. With snowfall expected during this season and the river likely to freeze, Mount Saramati still continues to be a tourist destination.