Friday, June 3, 2011

Trekking Of Manaslu

The Manaslu region offers a variety of trekking options. The Manaslu trekking route goes around the Manaslu massif over the pass down to Annapurna. The trekking trail follows an ancient salt–trading route along the Budhi Gandaki river. The trek lasts for three weeks, and starts and ends at Gorkha village. From Gorkha, the route passes through green foothills, the Burhi Gandaki valley (at Arughat), crosses several gorges, and arrives a week later at Deng, further north of the Ganesh Himal range (Trans-Himalayan ranges). From Deng, the slopes of ravines ease the bend below Peak 29 (Himalchuli and Nagad Chuli). Snow peaks start appearing from Ligaon (a tributary valley) and further from Lhogaon, an impressive view of Manaslu, with its double-edged peak, appears “a soaring monarch with a double-edged summit towering above fields of barley”.

The route follows the pine-forested Syala village, which has the backdrop of many horseshoe-shaped peaks, and reaches the village of Samagaon (Sama) at the foot of Manaslu. There is a Buddhist shrine at Samagaon, where the monks and nuns reside. After half a day’s trek from Samagaon, the village of Samdo, the highest village in the Buri Gnadaki valley inhabited by Bhotias, is reached. This village commands a view of the valley and Pang Phuchi village with a backdrop of the Tibetan border. Further trekking leads along a major secondary valley to the Larkha La. Along this route, Cheo Himal, Himlung Himal and Kang Guru are seen, along with occasional views of the Annapurna massif. From here, the meadowland of Bumthang (Bimdakhoti) at elevation 1,500 metres (4,900 ft) is reached, from where Manaslu is clearly visible. From Manaslu, the circuit passes through Dudh Khola (a tributary of Marsyangdi river), criss-crosses Marsyangdi River before reaching Bhulbule, Tarukha Ghat, crosses the Chepe Khola and Dorandi Khola before returning to Gorkha.

Two alternative routes are also popular. One is on the Annapurna trail but leaves it at Dharapani to reach Manang, crossing Thorong La and Jomsom (Kali Gandaki valley). From Jomsom flights depart to Pokhara. The other alternative route is from Bhulbule, crossing Marsyangdi to Khudi, divert from Annapurna trail and trek cross country through valleys and ridges to Sisuwa town on the bank of Begna Tal. From here a road approach is available to Pokhara.

When trekking through the Manaslu region, ten peaks of over 6,500 metres (21,300 ft) in height are visible, including peaks of over7,000 metres (23,000 ft) elevation. People add Tsum Valley and the Ganesh Himal Base Camp as acclimatization trips before going on expeditions through the high passes. The Tsum region, which was restricted for tourists for a long time, is now the centre of attraction for intrepid trekkers, with the government of Nepal recently opening it for group tourists. In order to retain its pristine culture and sustain its fragile ecosystem, the Tsum Welfare Committee is involved in the promotion of responsible tourism in Tsum. However, local participation for sustainable tourism is still a challenging task with a long road ahead.


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