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Manaslu is considered as one of the most challenging treks in Nepal. Manaslu Circuit will reward the adventurous with an unparalleled alpine experience. Opened in 1992, this area offers a combination of rich culture heritage, unsurpassed beauty, and biological diversity. The journey around these legendary mountains is among the most enjoyable.
Welcome to Kathmandu, the capital. You will be met on arrival and transferred to your hotel; here you will be formally introduced to your Guide and the activities to be enjoyed over the next few days. We will also ask for your passport photographs and any other details required for your trek permits, at this stage.
After breakfast, you will start an interesting tour around Kathmandu. We will arrange a guide of your chosen language to give you a tour and introduction to our rich culture amongst our ancient and fascinating history and religion. In our sightseeing tour you go to Monkey temple Swayambhunath, Pashupatinath and Kathmandu Durbar square.
Durbar Square: -This complex of palaces, courtyards and temples, built between the 12th and 18th centuries, used to be the seat of the ancient Malla kings of Kathmandu. There is an intriguing 17th century stone inscription set into the wall of the palace with writings in 15 languages. The Durbar square, protected as an UNESCO world Heritage site, is the social, religious and urban focal point of the city. There are also museums inside the palace building. There is an entrance fee of Rs.250 for foreign visitors. Your ticket to the Square entitles you to visit all the museums.
Swayambhunath, situated on a hillock 6.5 kilometres west of Kathmandu, this 2000 years old Stupa is the world’s most glorious Buddhist shrine and is surrounded by several small pagodas. The main temple is capped by a pinnacle of copper gilt and is painted on the four sides with all seeing eyes of Lord Buddha.
Pashupatinath, dedicated to Lord Shiva, is the holiest and most famous Nepalese temple. Situated 5 kilometres northeast of Kathmandu on the bank of the sacred Bagmati River, it is an impressive pagoda style structure with gilt roof and richly carved silver doors. It has bathing and cremation ghats, which are of absorbing interest to the tourist, particularly in the mornings and on festival days.
Today, we will drive to Arughat Bazaar.
Trek head north, following the Burigandaki. In the low country path surrounded by rice paddies and picturesque hamlets. After climbing briefly to Kyoropani, path descends once again to the river and our campsite at the confluence with the tributary of Soti Khola. It is not a long day, and perhaps we have time for a refreshing swim sometime during the day for it is hot in the low country.
The country changes, the broad valley narrows and at times the trail is cut into the steep valley side, which is densely forested. We pass a number of small villages, tucked into the hillside, until we reach a widening of the valley, opposite the point where a large tributary stream enters the Burigandaki. The terraced farmland here belongs to the village of Lapu besi. Trek descends once again to the wide, sandy riverbed and follows a path, which runs below the steep, craggy valley side. At length, we have to climb up once again on a trail to Macha Khola. We camp outside the village, which has a number of teashops.
We cross the Macha Khola- Fish Stream- and head upstream to the tiny village of Khola Besi and the hot springs at Tatopani (which I want to investigate). The valley sides steep until they are impassable and the route then switches to the left bank by way of a suspension bridge. The trail is quite exposed and challenging in places. After a short section of forest path we reach the single teahouse at Doban. Above Doban, the Burigandaki descends an impressive series of rapids. Beyond this steep section, the river is much more placid, meandering across a broad gravel bed. At Lauri, we recross the river on a suspension bridge and then climb on a high path to the fields of Jagat, where we camp.
After descending a long series of stone steps to the river, trek climb a terraced hill to Saguleri, from where we can see the impressive Sringi Himal, 7187m. Crossing the river again, at Gata Khola, the path splits, with the right–hand branch heading off towards the Mustang. Our route continues upstream, through a gorge section with towering walls. We cross the river three more times in the next two hours to avoid difficult valley sides and then climb up over a further steep spur to reach the village of Deng, where we camp.
The valley is still steep- sided and most impressive. We cross to the village of Lana, and start to see mani stones, a sure signs that we are entering high country Buddhist regions. After only about four hours we reach our camping place at the village of Ghap, which straddles the river. We have entered the Tibetan areas and the cultural change is obvious, and the climate change is also obvious the trekking is pleasantly cool now, as we start to fain the altitude.
We gain altitude to take us into alpine territory and increasing mountain views. There are more mani walls and 3 more crossing of the Burigandaki on our route to Namrung, where our permit is checked. Above this village the valley opens out and there are extensive pastures. Climbing climb gently now, and cross a large stream flowing down from the Lidanda Glaciers, and reach the Tibetan village of Sho, 3000m. We camp just above the village we get our first incredible views of the Manaslu North and then of Manaslu main ahead.
Let the exploring start! We will discuss with locals what our best option is to get to the gompa. Our Sherpa reckon it could be a very nice walk to take the smaller direct trail…. We pass thru Lho, a large village at 3150m where there is a lovely little monastery and numerous chortens and manis. Looking back Ganesh I is visible. Leaving the village, we follow the Right Bank of the river, with views of Peak 29 ahead. At a fork in the trail, we take a detour to the left, which leads up to Honsansho Gompa and the Pungen Glaciers, from where there is a stunning view of Peak 29 and Manaslu. We will camp somewhere around here and explore and acclimatize for the next few days.
Surrounded by mountains in a peaceful forest, we take a rest day to acclimatize and relax. It is a good time to catch up on those book or wash clothes.
Now that we are more used to the altitude we take some time to have a good look around. We may camp higher in the valley.
Descending to the main trail via a direct route, we soon reach the fields of Samagaon, 3500m. We camp at Sama Gompa, 20 minutes beyond the village, or Samdu, near the Tibetan border.
The once large Burigandaki is now merely a stream as we continue to follow its course ever upwards. Everywhere you look are mountains, as spectacular as they get and Manaslu is particularly impressive. After crossing to the East bank of the river, we reach the last permanent settlement in the valley, which is called Samdu. Above the village we cross the stream which runs down the Gya La (pass), the pass to Tibet, and there is the ruins of another village here known as Larkya Bazaar. Presumably this village thrived on trade with Tibet over the nearby Gya La, a trade which is now much diminished. Nearing the Larkya Glacier, we reach a lodge at 4450m, which has been built to serve the travelers crossing the Larkya La.
Still climbing we take an easy day to admire the mountains. We camp by a lake.
After a short climb above the lodge, we reach the ablation valley on the North side of the Larkya Glaciers. There are views of Cho Danda and then of Larkya Peak. Finally, we walk across the moraines of the glacier, making a gradual ascent, which becomes steeper only in the last section to the pass. From the pass, there are outstanding views of Himlung Himal, Cheo Himal, Kangguru and the huge Annapurna II. Initially, there is a steep descent over snow and then steep, to reach the ablation valley trail to Larcia Kharka. A further hour on a moraine ridge path leads to Tanbuche 3900m in pleasant forest. (Note that the Larkya La is normally quoted at 5115m or so, I have it from a surveyor that the correct altitude is more like 4910m)
The valley system here is huge and well worth exploring – or perhaps for the rest day.
Below us is Bhimthang, a broad and level ablation valley with a number of mani walls and deserted houses. Crossing this high pasture, we descend the valley of the Burdin Khola to the area of the Base camp for the West Side of Manaslu. From a ridge at 4150m, we have excellent views of Manaslu to the SouthEast and Annapurna II to the Southwest. Rhododendron forests and follows a trail through a narrow valley until we reach the highest cultivated land in this valley at Karche, 2785 m.
We climb through terraced fields to the Karche La, and can see ahead a green and heavily forested valley, dropping down to the distant Marsyandi River. At thonje village is our final restricted area checkpost. Here we cross the Marsyandi River and join the main Annapurna Circuit, and the hoards of trekkers.
Communities: The Gurungs are a distinctive and interesting ethnic group found mainly in the central hills. They provided the Gurkha army with many of its men and so occasionally your greeting of “Namaste” is returned in fluent English with a cheery “and a good morning to you”! Their religion is a combination of Hinduism, Buddhism and Animism. Wheat and maize form the main diet staple, which is “Dhero”. Sometimes you may see groups of men carrying ancient muskets hunting game to supplement their diet.
The people become more distinctly Buddhist as their links with Tibet increase. These are the Bhotia (from Tibet) who are similar to the Sherpa. Their flat roofed houses boast Gompas (monasteries) with embossed prayer wheels. Stone-built sacred monuments called Chortens often mark the entrances to villages. The last large village, Samagoan (also called Ro) is flanked by a long “Mani wall” carved with Buddhist prayers. (As a sign of respect for local beliefs always walk past, or round, Mani walls in a clockwise direction.
All too soon it’s time to bid Nepal farewell and one realizes that we can never be intimate, only acquainted with this amazing country.
The accommodation in cities such as Kathmandu, Pokhara, Chitwan and Bandipur in this itinerary includes in good 3 star category hotels. The accommodation in Kathmandu, Pokhara and Bandipur includes bed & breakfast whereas in Chitwan includes breakfast, lunch, dinner, jungle activities and other cultural programmes.
The accommodation during trekking in this itinerary includes in tea houses/lodges. The accommodation in tea houses/lodges in the trekking region is very basic and it is not possible to book an accommodation in advance. Although, in some tea houses/lodges you will be able to have your own room, in many others you will be sharing a dormitory with other fellow trekkers. All amenities such as bathrooms, corridors but not limited are shared. The hot water and hot showers may be available but subject to extra charges so you will have to borne costs for these services. Your guide will arrange a place for your stay when you arrive in each place. Please note that, there may be no or very little choice as it all depends on what times of the year you are trekking, how full the lodges are and how late in the day you arrive at that destination. Normally, during peak season such as September, October, November, Feb, March and April lodges operate in extremely full occupancy
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