Saturday, May 9, 2015

Helambu Circuit Trek

Several trekking routes visit Helambu, one of them being known as Helambu Trek. Helambu is famous for its sweet apples and artistic Buddhist monasteries and it is a Buddhist pilgrimage site.



We started our Trek on Apr 16, 2014 from Sundarijal which can be reached by local bus from Old Buspark in 50 minutes .
Sundarijal is basically a small dam and hydro electric station in the north east corner of Kathmandu Valley where the Himalayan Rescue Dog squad is headquartered. We began out trek from west of Sundarijal at the end of the of auto road where the large water pipe comes out of the hills.There is now daily jeep service from Sundarijal to Pati Bhanjyang. To walk begin at the bus park in Sundarijal and the large water pipe. Cross under the pipe and proceed along its west side much of the way is up stairs, continue. eventually turning left to cross over the dam of a water reservoir (1585m) in 40 minutes.
Across the dam we continued uphill crossing the water shed management road which winds around the hillside. This is a scattered Tamang village with lodges and view of Kathmandu Valley can be seen clearly from there. The trail continue up, first in open country and then in oak forest., often in small gully, and enters Shivpuri watershed and wild life Research area, after passing an army station. We reached  Chisapani (2194m) aka cold water after 4 hours of our walk.The trails continues to descend through open farm land to reach Pati Bhanjyang (1768m). There are lodges and police check post there. We passed Jiri Lama's Guest house, climbed up the hill and then downhill to reach Gul Bhanjhyang. We spent our night in one guest house there. Next day we headed towards Khutumsang. There are no permanent villages between Khutumsang and Melamchi Ghyang on this route but if  one leaves Khutumsang in the morning then he should reach Tharepati, where there are lodges. But we took a right turn and instead of going to Tharepati we headed down to Melamchi Khola Valley. More of the trek is described in my YouTube video.. Cheers..!..



Panch Pokhari Trek

Panch Pokhari is a group of five lakes in the Sindhupalchowk District of Nepal. It is 9th highest altitude wetland in the world.This holy lake is decorated with the unsurpassed natural beauty, biological diversity and the cultural heritage. We started our trek on Apr 17, 2014. The whole experience of the trek has been portrayed in the YouTube video. Enjoy it...cheers..
The Panch Pokhari lies in the arms of very beautiful Himalayan range and pristine nature. It is very popular for pilgrimage destination for Hindus and Buddhist. Many Hindus and Buddhist pilgtimages visit this sacred lake in Janai Purnima. It is one of the main feature of Langtang National Park, located in the Nuwakot, Rasuwa and Sindhulpalchok  districts of the central Himalayan region.
Main attraction of Panch Pokhari are are excellent Himalayan view and pristine nature with distinct culture including Himalayan sights of Jugal Himal and others nearby mountains. Government of Nepal Postal Services Department issue a postal ticket featuring this Pokhari in 2011 as well.




Gosaikunda Trek

Gosaikunda is a significant place of interest on the Dhunche-Helambu trekking route. This trek adjoins the famous Langtang Valley trek in the same district. Both treks can be combined. Basic accommodation is quite easily available. Tea houses offer a variety of food and snacks.




Jan 17, 2014, we left Kathmandu in the morning time on a local bus from Macha Pokhari, Balaju that goes to Dhunche. We arrived at around 1:30 p.m. in Dunche. On the same day we started to walk and passed Deurali (2625m) and then reached Dimsa (3000m) to spend our first night. There is only one hotel each at Deurali and Dimsa.

The next day, we started to walk at 8:00 a.m. and passed Singh Gompa aka Chandanbari (3300m). The place is famous for the best Yak Cheese in Nepal. There are so many guest houses in that region.
We started to walk further and passed Cholang Pati (3700m) when it started snowing. We then reached Laurebina Guesthouse at (3950m). We had just 3-4 hours of walk that day when snow stopped us to trek further. We spent the day and night in that guest house. It snowed so heavily but the night came up with clear blue sky and the finest beautiful day after.

Next day we started trek to Gosaikunda (4380m) earlier in the morning. We reached the lake Gosaikunda which was frozen. Only one guest house was open during that time. We treked little further above the lake and reached at the topmost point Laurebina Pass (4600m) near Surya Kunda, another frozen lake. Then We again returned back from there as it was getting so windy and there was no track ahead to get beyond the pass to reach Phedi. We returned back to the same guest house where we spent out last night. we spent our that night in the same guest house.

The next day we got down to the Dunche from where we took a local bus to Trishuli bazzar and from there to kathmandu.  on Jan 20, 2014. Total 4 days.!.

Gosaikunda: The view was so beautiful. The place was immaculate, awesome, breathtaking, There was snow everywhere, the lake was just like a frozen skate ground as if we could do ice-skating, More you can see on my YouTube video...Cheers.!.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Amazing Lumbini and Chitwan


Visit to one of the most beautiful peaceful places in the world, "Lumbini" indeed,  is the marvelous experience ever. It is  is the Birthplace of Lord Gautam Buddha and thus considered as one of the most important pilgrimage centres for Buddhists all over the world. Within this peaceful environment, many temples and monasteries have been built from different countries and in different architectural styles thereby making this place a peaceful atmosphere for transcendental meditation.


Lumbini lies in the South-Western Terai of Nepal where it evokes a kind of holy sentiment to the millions of Buddhists all over the world-as does Jerusalem to Christians and Mecca to Muslims. Sanskrit for “the lovely”, Lumbini has a fascinating history as the birthplace of Lord Buddha - the apostle of peace and the light of Asia. Queen Maya Devi, in the year 642 B.C., gave birth to the Buddha on her way to her parent’s home, when  she was resting under a sal tree.In Buddha’s time Lumbini was described as “a beautiful garden”, and today it still retains its legendary charm and beauty. A mere 12 miles north of Lumbini lies the dense and picturesque sal-grove. The garden of the Buddha’s birth was lost for a thousand years until the site was rediscovered in 1895 when a German archaeologist came upon Ashoka’s Pillar. The Ashok pillar had been built by an Indian Emperor named Ashoka during his visit to Lumbini, along with four stupas.

We started the tour by taking a bus from Kathmandu. The tourist bus leaves every morning straight to Lumbini. Or one can take a bus from New Bus Park to Bhairahawa, from where one needs to take another bus to Buddha Chowk and from there another bus to the Lumbini. It took a day to reach Lumbini from Kathmandu by bus. We spent a night there in the  Lumbini Village Lodge which had a  a cool central courtyard shaded by a mango tree.

Next day, we hired a bike and went inside the holy premise to visit all the temples and monasteries there. The most important place not to be missed is the Mayadevi temple. It took a whole day to visit all the places there. We spent another night there and left to Chitwan earlier next morning.

  

Next morning, a local bus took us up to Bhairahawa, from where we took another bus to Sauraha Chowk and then another bus to the Sauraha. The purpose was to visit the Chitwan National Park  which is a huge nature reserve, covering sal forest, water marshes and grassland. One can have the chance to spot plenty of wildlife there including endangered species like the one-horned rhino, Bengal tiger, sloth bears, leopard, Gangetic dolphin and the gharial crocodile. It is also  a perfect place for bird watching and spotting a variety of colourful butterflies.

One can also go on walking or jeep safaris or elephant safaris to explore the jungle. From a slightly different angle one can spot wildlife from canoe ride on Rapti River as well. We chose elephant safari and explored the community forest only because the private elephants from the hotels and guest houses are allowed to enter into only community forest. However if one wants to explore the deeper part of the forest, then  the government or the military elephants should be taken and which obviously requires one to have a good contact with the top level personnel there :).

And in the villages around Chitwan national park one can observe the traditional Tharu lifestyle and culture and have the chance to see cultural shows including their famous stick dances and singing.
After visiting the Chitwan National Park we headed to Bhairahawa and then straight back to Kathmandu.




Thursday, May 8, 2014

Lo Manthang and Upper Mustang Trek


Trek to Upper Mustang in Nepal.

Upper Mustang is located north of Mt. Annapurna and at an average altitude of 4,000m. It is geologically and culturally part of the Tibetan plateau which lies in Nepal. The valleys are arid and dry with colourful rock formations containing many cave dwellings high up in the cliffs. The first trekking parties were allowed into Upper Mustang in 1992 and there are still very few people visiting Upper Mustang, as a result it is one of the few places left where one can see undisturbed Tibetan culture. It allows limited numbers of trekkers each year in order to protect and conserve the local Tibetan tradition and the fragile environment.



We did this trek in March, 2014 just after experiencing the world's awesome walk "The Annapurna Circuit" along Manang valley with my four Nepalese friends Anup Kc, Bijay Limbu, Sailesh Dahal and Sujin Gwatchha. After crossing huge Mountain pass Thorong La, we arrived and spent our night at Muktinath. Next day we headed towards Kagbeni and finally towards Upper Mustang. This was one of the best historical remote trek ever. The trek unsealed the once Forbidden Kingdom of Mustang, tucked away from the rest of the world.



The Upper Mustang lies just north of the main Himalayan range of Nepal. Mustang, a land where the soul of the man is still considered to be as real as the feet he walks on: a land said to be “barren as a dead deer” but where beauty and happiness abound is spite of hardship, was a part of the Tibetan Kingdom of Gungthang until 1830’s. The wall city of Lo Manthang, unofficial capital of Mustang still remains a kingdom within a kingdom. The early history to Lo Manthang is embellished in myth and legend rather than the recorded fact. Mustang has maintained its status as a separate principality until 1951.





The trek into this fabled forbidden kingdom of vast, arid valleys, eroded canyons, ochre valley, yak caravans, colorful-painted mud brick houses on the back dropped of majestic immaculate mountain of Nilgiri, Tukche, Annapurna and Dhaulagiri had brilliantly made our medieval walled kingdom Mustang trek a very special one.
Foreigners have to pay USD 500 per person for the first 10 days and USD 50 per head for each extra days. 
For Nepalese, its free. Only they have to pay Rs. 500/head while getting inside the Jhong Cave.




We moved along the Kali Gandaki river, which has formed the world's deepest gorge there.

We further traveled beyond Lo Manthang to Chhosar Village to see the Jhong cave which is a cave complex 5 stories high with 42 rooms inside. The cave was almost 2500 years old and has been inhabited on and off.

One can see so many such caves over there and still many of them have not been explored yet.








Lo Manthang and Upper Mustang Trek


Trek to Upper Mustang in Nepal.

Upper Mustang is located north of Mt. Annapurna and at an average altitude of 4,000m. It is geologically and culturally part of the Tibetan plateau which lies in Nepal. The valleys are arid and dry with colourful rock formations containing many cave dwellings high up in the cliffs. The first trekking parties were allowed into Upper Mustang in 1992 and there are still very few people visiting Upper Mustang, as a result it is one of the few places left where one can see undisturbed Tibetan culture. It allows limited numbers of trekkers each year in order to protect and conserve the local Tibetan tradition and the fragile environment.



We did this trek in March, 2014 just after experiencing the world's awesome walk "The Annapurna Circuit" along Manang valley with my four Nepalese friends Anup Kc, Bijay Limbu, Sailesh Dahal and Sujin Gwatchha. After crossing huge Mountain pass Thorong La, we arrived and spent our night at Muktinath. Next day we headed towards Kagbeni and finally towards Upper Mustang. This was one of the best historical remote trek ever. The trek unsealed the once Forbidden Kingdom of Mustang, tucked away from the rest of the world.



The Upper Mustang lies just north of the main Himalayan range of Nepal. Mustang, a land where the soul of the man is still considered to be as real as the feet he walks on: a land said to be “barren as a dead deer” but where beauty and happiness abound is spite of hardship, was a part of the Tibetan Kingdom of Gungthang until 1830’s. The wall city of Lo Manthang, unofficial capital of Mustang still remains a kingdom within a kingdom. The early history to Lo Manthang is embellished in myth and legend rather than the recorded fact. Mustang has maintained its status as a separate principality until 1951.





The trek into this fabled forbidden kingdom of vast, arid valleys, eroded canyons, ochre valley, yak caravans, colorful-painted mud brick houses on the back dropped of majestic immaculate mountain of Nilgiri, Tukche, Annapurna and Dhaulagiri had brilliantly made our medieval walled kingdom Mustang trek a very special one.
Foreigners have to pay USD 500 per person for the first 10 days and USD 50 per head for each extra days. 
For Nepalese, its free. Only they have to pay Rs. 500/head while getting inside the Jhong Cave.




We moved along the Kali Gandaki river, which has formed the world's deepest gorge there.

We further traveled beyond Lo Manthang to Chhosar Village to see the Jhong cave which is a cave complex 5 stories high with 42 rooms inside. The cave was almost 2500 years old and has been inhabited on and off.

One can see so many such caves over there and still many of them have not been explored yet.








Annapurna Base Camp Trek

Did this amazing Annapurna Base Camp (ABC) trek during the last week of December 2013 with an unforgettable x-mas celebration in the remote village of Sinua with khukri rum and timely returned back to Pokhara for new year 2014 celebration.


The trek started on 22nd Dec after leaving Pokhara around 2 p.m. from Baglung Bus park towards  Nayapul. We arrived Nayapul around 6 p.m. We stayed in one small Lama Lodge there. Left to ABC earlier in the morning. Passing Birethanti (first ABC check post for tourist), Syauli Bazaar (1190 m), Kliu (1390 m), Kimche (1760 m) and beautiful Ghandruk village (2000 m), we reached Kimrong Danda around 6 p.m. on that day. We had the best insight into the Nepalese village lifestyle, ethnic diversity and a moderate adventure even on our just first day walk. More you walk up more you will come across the several viewpoints with world famous Himalayan views. During the day, we had a lunch in Kimche. We had a very hospitable service from an old lady in one guest house in Kimrong. We were treated like family there.

Next day we left Kimrong Danda around 7 a.m after experiencing a breathtaking sunrise view over the Mt. Annapurna and Mt. Fishtail, that was just amazing... After light breakfast there, We headed towards Chhomrong (2170 m), yet another stunning place in our trek and finally reached Sinua village (2340 m) around 5 on our second day walk. We had a lunch at Chhomrong on that day. Chhomrong is a large Gurung village at the corridor of Annapurna Sanctuary. The village offers the upclose view of Mt. Annapurna South (7,219 m), Mt. Machhapuchhre ( also called Fishtail at 6,993 m). We stayed that night in Sinua after seeing the beautiful late sun over the mountains from Sinua. Celebrated x-mas with nepalese rum, Khukri rum.

Next morning after having a light breakfast we left Sinua at 7 a.m. We passed Bamboo (2190 m), Dovan (2505 m), Himalaya (2873 m) and finally reached Deurali (3231m) at 5 p.m to spend our night there.

Next day, left Deurali at 7 a.m. Passed a spectacular MBC (Machhapuchhre Base Camp, 3703 m). At MBC, valley opens up wide and bright with marvellous view of Mt Machhapuchhre and Mt. Annapurna I (8,091m ). We We had a lunch at MBC then headed towards ABC (4130 m). On the way to ABC from MBC, the vegetation disappears. We saw snow boulders melting and forming small streams. The trail to Annapurna base camp climbs gradually to the snowfield and the the edge of glacier. At ABC, we are at the base of world's highest mountains surrounding us in 360 degree. After arrival at this view site, we did savor the mesmerizing views of the Machhapuchhre, Annapurna south, Annapurna I, Hiunchuli and other peaks. We spent the night in one lodge at ABC with a little breathing difficulty while sleeping, that was because of the high altitude.



We did relish the magnificent sunrise over the Himalayas from ABC. After breakfast, we spent like 3 hours there then only started descending from ABC to Bamboo back through Machhapuchhre Base Camp, Deurali, and Dovan until we finally reach Bamboo. But unfortunately we didn't any room available for us during that night, so we headed even down hill to reach Sinua around 8 p.m. Had a different experience of walking in the night with torch light. Climbing back down to the valley is much easier than climbing up.

Next day, we followed the same trail that we took to climb up till Chhomrong. Climbed down steeply on the stone steps to the village of Jhinu. We settled into one lodge, left our baggage and then headed down half an hour to natural hot spring pool in the shore of Modi river. Enjoyed the natural hot spring there, such a wonderful relaxing moment there..Then we moved up back to the lodge and enjoyed our lunch then headed towards New Bridge and finally reached Himalpani to spend our last night in the mountain. There was one very huge and beautiful waterfall.

Next morning, after having breakfast we left Himalpani and headed towards Australian Camp at Pothana by passing Landruk and Tolka. We spent a night at Australian camp.

Earlier next morning had a completely different view of sunrise there. After having breakfast we then headed towards Dhampus and Phedi and finally took a bus back to Pokhara. Thats how we ended our trek in nine days and we were in Pokhara to celebrate new year 2014.