Plan a trip into this pristine part of Eastern Nepal, where beautiful valleys meet snow capped mountains smiling back at you. Walk through breathtaking meadows and untouched coniferous forests, where you get to experience the quaint old villages of the local ethnic people. Hike through forests filled with pastel shades of red, pink and white, as you enter forests covered entirely of Nepal’s national flower, the Rhododendron.
Ganesh Himal is named after the legendary elephant-headed Hindu God Ganesh.The Ganesh Range Peaks (Ganesh I, Ganesh II, Ganesh III, Ganesh IV) stand out like crystals, forming a “Great Himalayan Chain” in the skyline.
Drive up to the gateway between Langtang National Park’s check point. The drive is through the roads of Dhunche a mountainous village situated 2,030 m above sea level, in Rasuwa district. After nearly 8 hours of drive through scenic gorges and valleys, we arrive at the first stop at Parvati Kunda, a pristine alpine fresh lake which derives its name from the famous Hindu Goddess Parvati, also the consort of Lord Shiva. Here colorfully dressed up villagers from the local Tamang ethnic group gather around to greet us. Enjoy an evening de-stressing, with campfire and some local dancing and singing.
Wake up early morning to a breathtaking sunrise, with the glimpse of Ganesh Himal range, then pack your bags and ascend your way through the quiet trails filled with mesmerizing pine and Rhododendron forests to Yuri Kharka (also lunch spot). The day starts with a further ascent through magical pine forests past creeks and trees covered with moss . The trail is a paradise for flora lovers and researchers who are interested to learn more about Alpine forests, as there are more than 100 species of wild flora on the trail.The view is of endless rolling valleys covered with pine forests, as we slowly enter Khurpu Bhanjyang and then dropping down to Somdang Valley, which is a beautiful gorge with sprawling green meadows ,featuring the beautiful 200 m Chukarma waterfall. First camp is besides an old abandoned mine.
This hike is the test of one’s endurance and strength , as we take a steep trek up to the highest pass along the border of Rasuwa and Dhading districts also called Pangsang Kharka, one of the most scenic trials in the route, the ascent is up to 4,400 m (14500 ft), where the top is like a terrace with a stunning viewpoint of the broad panorama of the surrounding terrain. Enjoy the view of the majestic Manaslu to the north, and the entire Ganesh Himal range. The large meadow is graced with a giant entry gateway and is a sensational location for camping and taking in the breathtaking scenery. Locals are initiating to build a basic lodge accommodation the right pass of the Pangsang but have not built yet, so trekkers are recommended to take own tent for the night camp or just pass your night sheltered in poor yak hut. Dry fruits or food highly recommend taking for your dinner.
The highlight of the trip is when we enter Tipling village, an old quaint village, inhabited mostly by the Tamang ethnicity. The village is the furthest one can experience away from city life, as the terrain is dominated with a culture rich in Shamanism and Tantrism. The religious influence is of both Hinduism and Buddhism, interwoven with the worship of natural forces. The feature of this village are the two Tibetan Gompas covered with colorful flags, where often local village children with wind dried red cheeks and dirty clothes, perch, to welcome tourists with Rhododendrons in their tiny hands.
The next village on the trail is a mixture of tradition, culture, color and vibrance. Shertung 1,875 m is a village largely inhabited by Tamangs. The name Shertung means “place of gold”. According to legend , two brothers in search of gold were led here by a dream and thus the settlement was born. The people here are warm and welcome visitors to their homes and offer warm meals. One of the highlight of this village, is the Shaman or Jhakri dance , performed as a healing ritual. The Ghode or Horse dance is also performed which is said to have been derived from Tibetan culture. The hospitable people of this area have unique customs and craftsmanship and traditional dances, including a hospitable welcome dance, Ghatu dance, Dohori is also popular with call and response between male and female participants, a type of courtship ritual, complemented by folk music. Some dances depend on the time of year and take place during festivals including the Maruni dance during Dashain and Tihar.
The next day’s trail descends to Borlang and then to Ukhum for lunch. The trail then takes a turn, as we pass through the Lishne Jungle, crossing several suspension bridges, till we eventually arrive to Jharlang Village, another fine viewpoint for a panoramic view of the peaks. This charming village’s main attractions are its huts laid with black slate stones, it is a small village with a colorful vibrance. Walk through fields of barley and maize, to the scenic view of Ganesh Himal I and II.
Walk through lush green forests, and paddy fields, and arrive at Kimtang Phedi, a river basin spot, perfect to camp and unwind, take a dip in the cool waters of the Ankhu River. Take a jeep or a bus back to Dhadhing Besi, where you can catch a bus back to Kathmandu.
IMPORTANT THINGS TO REMEMBER
- Take your own tent, as hotels and lodges are very scarce or not found at all.
- Take lighter clothes for day trail as the temperature could soar to 70-80 F and don’t forget warm gore tex jackets for colder parts. Some parts of the trail are prone to heavy snowfall.
- Take dry food and snacks, as villages are few in numbers and if in case one has to take refuge by nightfall food is scarce in this region.
- Take rain gear, as the Pangsang Pass is famous for heavy rains and hailstorms.
- Take altitude sickness precautions – take medicines and emergency kits.
- Make sure you spend at least a day, exploring the local villages and get to know the local people.