Hidden Paradise Guest House is a small hotel ran by a friendly Nepali family in the hills of Nepal just north of Pokhara. Guests enjoy the quiet surroundings and the view of the lake that Pokhara nestles on.
What a lot of the guests don’t know is that the place is managed by a very charming Nepali man that will often convince guests that his life, and that of his family, is a struggle and they could benefit with the help of the wealthy tourists.
This post comes from personal experience as well as talking with others that have experienced the manipulation by Laxman at Hidden Paradise. First, I will be honest about the level of how personal things got with Laxman and myself. I arrived in Nepal after a 2 week volunteer trip with 3 other American women in Odisha India. I met Laxman in Kathmandu the day we arrived. He was very charming and clearly smitten with me from the beginning… or was he? As I have learned, Laxman tends to target women of a certain age that have a big heart, are strong, dominant and appear to have money somehow or another. Whether he had true feelings for me or if he knew how to play a game that he had won several times, I simply do not know.
During my stay he continued with his charm. He would ask me to walk up the hill with him in the evening to sit and talk while watching the stars and the view of the lake in the moonlight. He would horseback ride with me and ask me to follow him in a field then want to stand and talk. When I was away he would message me on Facebook with a “Hi” and “How are you?”. Which was more than any man I had been with would do, so he was ahead in my book. My last day during that first trip he took me on a date and we enjoyed a romantic kiss as he hid me from his family. Sneaking around became a regular thing for him as he didn’t want not only his family to know, but other guests at the hotel and the people in the village. I don’t like to lie, and being sneaky about a relationship made me very uncomfortable, but he was worth it. I visited a couple more times both for a few months each. I stayed at Hidden Paradise and the relationship I had with Laxman grew… or so it felt. He never once ever told me he loved me. He ignored me during the daytime, but then snuck to my room in the evening. There were few days we did spend some time together during the day, but it was mostly when I was working on designing the website for Hidden paradise or helping him with marketing through TripAdvisor, AirBnB, Facebook and setting up the Booking.com listing. He gave me just enough attention to keep me interested, but kept his distance enough to be able to say that this was not permanent as someday he would be forced by his family to marry a Nepali woman. When I was in the US away from him he would message me often, then disappear for days, even weeks at a time. When he would talk with me he would talk of worries that Hidden Paradise was not making enough money to support the family. At times struggling so much to even buy food. He had debts that were piling up and he continued to borrow money from a friend here and another friend there. I continually grew frustrated with the coming and going and the borrowing of money that I eventually pulled away. I ended it with him on a few occasions, but he didn’t seem to understand it was over. At one point I was frustrated with him so much that I told him not to come to my room at night anymore. He was angry with me and very rude to me the next day in retaliation. We ended up talking all day and working it out, but that was the last argument we would work out. Each time I ended it with him, he would not talk to me for a few days or a week and then would contact me asking for help with Hidden Paradise. Each time he needed help, he started with a sincere thank you for all that I had done and then followed with the ask, whether it was that no one was contacting him from the website, that no one was responding to the Facebook page, that the AirBnB listing wasn’t generating requests, or that the TripAdvisor ratings and responses weren’t what they used to be. I worked hard on the marketing each time since my time was not giving money directly, but as my time spent on Hidden Paradise was taking away from time I needed to spend on clients that were paying upwards of $250/hr my time became money and I had to put a stop to it.
Laxman seemed to me to be a very experienced man when it came to love and how he treated me as a woman. I asked him if he had been with other women and he told me of a great love he had many years ago that ended. He was very devastated over not being with her anymore. Friends and family began telling me stories of women that were guests at Hidden Paradise around my age that he was close with, they then became close with the family as well. They stayed a short time the first time, but alwys came back with their stays with the family getting longer and longer. Only a couple of them began helping and working around the hotel just as I did by cleaning up in the kitchen, helping with marketing, helping with the bookings, with financials, etc. He would encourage the desire to want to help by his worries that the family wasn’t pulling their weight. That Milan and Nisha were lazy. That they didn’t see what needed to be done and just do it without his having to tell them. That Manish wasn’t good with the guests or that he spent too much money buying pasta. It sparked a need to chip in and get things running smoothly.
Now I have been replaced by a Japanese woman, with an American woman and a woman from New Zealand both on the line ready to take her place when she has had enough or he doesn’t need her anymore.
But it doesn’t stop with women. He also befriends men that seek approval, have big egos of their own, or have the compassion to help others. Those men will give up thousands of dollars in gifts or loans as investments in the business to help grow Hidden Paradise. Each building in the hotel was funded by some man that either simply asks that they always have a place to stay, or would like some sort of realistic payment on earned interest on the loan. Not only are the buildings funded by guests of Hidden Paradise, but his Paragliding training, equipment and certificate to fly tandem was funded by guests (yes multiple guests because I even chipped in some). That’s right, every room you stay in at the hotel was the vision of Laxman but funded through the manipulation of provocation care with his submissive approach claiming he is in financial calamity. When the fact is that he is not in the financial ruins he claims to be, he is simple taking advantage of the guests kindness.
Unfortunately Laxman isn’t the only Nepali that behaves in such a way. His sister-in-law Nisha is one to add to the list. She has learned that the guests will give money if she behaves in a certain way and says just the right things. Her Daughter has become a pawn in their game as well, which is even more sad to watch now that I know what is going on. When a guest arrives Nisha and Laxman will encourage the little girl to hug and greet the guest. Nisha will tell her Daughter to go play with the guests when she is in the kitchen to either get a break, or encourage the guests to become attached so that they will help with clothing and the private school she is enrolled in. At one point Nisha was behind several months in payments for school that she needed me to come help. I swooped in with a donation from a friend to pay the late bill so that the little girl wouldn’t get kicked out. Nisha showed me a ledger she keeps with all the money that guests send her. One woman from Germany sends quite a lot of money each year. Nisha said she never asks, so in her mind it was all ok.
For the sake of the family do not let this discourage you from staying at Hidden Paradise in Pokhara. That is not what this is about. I often recommend Hidden Paradise to anyone coming to Pokhara. I have told friends that said they will change their booking because of what has happened during my time there, to please not change their stay. The location is like none other. The rooms are carefully crafted by a man with impeccable vision. The family are all very kind, helpful and caring. Enjoy your stay, but don’t give your money to them, any Nepali (or anyone period) directly. Always go through a legitimate charity.
I worked with Nisha and her sister on a few projects. We give school supplies to the children attending the school in the village they grew up in, and Laxman’s Aunt lives. Nisha’s sister, Manisha, worked for me at my shop, and now that Laxman has told her that as long as she works for me she can’t stay at Hidden Paradise with her Sister, she moved in with me at my apartment in Pokhara near the shop. She was one of our scholarship recipients. We send young girls to University for a year. All of the money goes through Tika Nepal and the Community Development Network which is a 501(c)3 in the US and NGO in the UK. I am very careful with who I work with now and always process the money through the organization. Many Nepali often come to me with their sob stories manipulating me for my money, but I refrain from handing over cash and always work through the organization to avoid this happening again.