Helambu, gosaikunda and langtang

Helambu, Gosaikunda and Langtang

Langtang Valley: This is perhaps the most fascinating short trek available in the Himalayan region. The east west running valley is the land of spectacular alpine scenery as well as the place of unique culture and tradition. A minimum of one week is required but the trekkers are advised to add few more days for the acclimatization and some side trips in the region.
There are regular bus services to Syabrubesi from Kathmandu that takes about 6-8 hours depending up on the road condition. The trek starts from the following morning after reaching Syabrubesi. There are two possibilities from Syabrubesi, the best follows the north bank of the Langtang Khola through the villages of Khangjung and Syarpa Gaon after which the trail from Dhunche joins. The trail passes through cultivated field that ultimately gives way higher altitude vegetation that leads to Langtang Village. Above Langtang, the only habitation is at Kyangjin Gompa, a very popular monastery that was built centuries ago. Above Kyangjin, the viewpoint of Tsergo Ri gives splendid views across the valley to Ganja La. Likewise, Langtang Lirung and Dorge Lakpa can also be viewed.

To return from Langtang there are couple of options, either to cross the Ganja La pass, an adventurous undertaking or to backtrack down the valley.

Gosaikunda: Gosaikunda is one of the most popular pilgrimage for Hindu. It is the biggest lake in the region. Legend has it that the lake was formed when Lord Shiva plunged his Trishul ( trident ) in order to obtain water. The river originated from this lake is called Trishuli. The lake can either be taken as part of the Langtang to Helambu trek or it can be made sole destination starting and ending at Dhunche. The trail that starts from Dhunche climbs steeply through the forest of rhododendron, oak and conifer to the minastery of Shin Gompa and Chandanbari few minutes away from the Gompa. There are few teahouses at Chandanbari along with a cheese factory that manufacture yak cheese. The other trail that originates from Syabru joins main trail just an hour from Chandanbari. You can have a spectacular view of Manaslu, Ganesh and Langtang ranges while walking through this trail. In fours hours you reach Gosaikunda.

The Helambu Circuit: It is a low altitude yet perhaps the most fascinating as well as convenient of short treks close to Kathmandu. It can be completed in seven days and the trail is well supplied with teahouses. Unlike other trekking areas no special permits are required for Helambu circuit, however, an entry fee should be paid at the check post at Shivapuri National Park. The Helambu area is predominantly populated by the Tamangs with Sherpas in the villages in higher altitudes such as Melamchi Gaon, Tarkeghayang and Shermathang.

There are various routes to make Helambu circuit but the circuit starting at Melamchi Pul and ending at Sundarijal is the most common. There are regular bus services to Melamchi Pul that takes about 3-4 hours. From Melamchi Pul the trail ascends up to Palchok Danda and passes though the villages of Palchok, Sharmanthang and Tarkeghayang. Beyond the Melamchi Khola is popular Sherpa village known as Melamchi Gaon. The trail now climbs up onto the highest elevation of the circuit, the Tharepati pass ( 3600m ). From here the more spectacular mountain views are possible. The trail now heads south through the villages of Kutumsang, Chipling and Pati Bhanjyang where the trail leading to Kathmandu should be taken. From these villages the trail passes through Chisapani and Sundarijal. From Sundarijal local transport is available that takes an hour to reach Kathmandu.

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