A challenging trekking holiday around Manaslu in the Nepal Himalaya. Manaslu at 8163 meters (26783 feet) is the eighth tallest mountain in the World. Situated close to the border with Tibet, some 100 km (62 miles) northwest of Kathmandu, the valleys to the north and east of Manaslu were a restricted area until the early nineties when Adventure Thirdpole Treks was one of the first companies granted permission to take groups trekking into the region. For the past few years the political unrest throughout the country has prevented groups from trekking into the Buri Gandakhi, but with the ending of the insurgency this classic circuit trek is once again possible. This area has always seen relatively few trekkers when compared to the more popular regions of the Annapurna and the Khumbu, partly because of the greater logistics required. The quiet trails and simple villages, together with the stunning scenery around Manaslu make this one of the classic yet unspoilt trekking adventures in the Himalaya. Travelling via Gorkha on the south of Manaslu, we start from the town of Arughat and ascend the impressive gorge of the Burhi Gandaki for seven days, passing through tiny villages perched on the steep valley sides, to reach the Tibetan world beyond the village of Ghap. Here, the valley starts to open out, and there are remarkable panoramas of the peaks on the Nepal-Tibet border, as well as those of the Manaslu group. Few travelers penetrate this high and mysterious valley, which once had much more important trading links with Tibet than it does today, and we have the feeling of entering a secret Buddhist world of monasteries, MANI walls and prayer flags. The scenery becomes even more impressive as we climb up into the alpine environment on the approach to the Larkya La (5135m), with big peaks on all sides. The principal peaks that we will see on this first part of our trek are Himal Chuli, Manaslu, Cheo Himal and Himlung Himal. Beyond the Larkya La, we drop down into the heavily forested valley of the Marsyangdi River, where we are now trekking beneath the giants of the Annapurna range, following the river down to a meeting with the road head at Ngadi. This is classic Nepal trekking as it used to be.
The permanent snow line is reckoned above 5,000 metres (16,000 ft) elevation. Precipitation in the area is both from snowfall and rainfall; the average annual rainfall is about 1,900 millimetres (75 in) mostly during the monsoon period, which extends from June to September. The temperatures in the area also vary widely with the climatic zone: in the subtropical zone, the average summer and winter temperatures vary in the range of 31–34 °C (88–93 °F) and 8–13 °C (46–55 °F) respectively; in the temperate climatic zone, the summer temperatures are 22–25 °C (72–77 °F) and winter temperatures are -2–6 °C (28–43 °F) when snow and frost are also experienced; in the subalpine zone, during December to May snowfall generally occurs and the mean annual temperature is 6–10 °C (43–50 °F). The arctic zone is distinct and falls within the permanent snow line; there, the temperatures lie much below freezing zone.
Unlike many other regions, this valley is a sanctuary to many highly endangered animals, including Snow Leopards and Pandas. Over 110 species of birds, 33 mammals, 11 butterflies and 3 reptiles have been recorded. Conservation of wild life in the area has been achieved by monks of the monasteries in the area by putting a hunting ban in place. This action has helped the wildlife to prosper. The area is now an important habitat for the snow leopard, grey wolf, musk deer, blue sheep and the Himalayan Thar.
Three main categories of vegetation have been identified in the area. These are categorised on the basis of the altitude as Low hill, Middle mountain and High mountain types with its exclusive types of dominant forests and other associated species. The types of vegetation, however, tend to overlap the adjoining ones at places. Depending on the microclimate and other aspects, an overlap of vegetation is noticed in adjacent areas. However, the forest types are fairly well defined. The flora in different forest types also does not show much variation. The valley basin has a rich ecotone diversity and includes nineteen different types of forests, most prominently Rhododendron, and also Himalayan blue pine, which is flanked by Ganesh Himal and the Sringi ranges. Medicinal herbs and aromatic plants, have also been recorded in different forests types and adjoining vegetation. Overall, the presence of 19 types of forests and other forms of dominant vegetation have been recorded from the area.
There are two ethnicities mainly inhabiting this region; Nubri and Tsum. The branching off of the river at Chhikur divides these two ethnic domains. While Nubri has been frequently visited after Nepal opened itself for the tourism in 1950, Tsum, still retains much of its traditional culture, art, and tradition. In the central hills of the region, Gurungs are the main ethnic group who have joined the Gurkha army in large numbers. Closer to Tibet, the Bhutias (also spelt Bhotias), akin to the Sherpa group, of Tibetan ethnicity dominate the scene as can be discerned from their flat roofed houses, and they are distinctly Buddhists. The region is dotted with austere monasteries, maniwalls, chortens and other Buddhist religious landmarks. The traditional faith of non-violence and compassion augments the wildlife diversity of the region.
|Name Of Trek:||Manaslu Lyarke Pass|
|Grade Info||Moderate / strenuous|
|Season||September to late December and Feb to Late June|
|Transportation||By Bus / Jeep|
|Total Days||18 days|
|Walking Hour||Approx 6-7 hours each day|
|Highlights||Gorkha Bazar, Larkya pass, Tal, Bahun Dada view, Beshin shahar.|