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Nepal - Rural Tourism Information

Langtang
Brief Overview

Langtang, at 3,307m above sea level, extends from north of Helambu to all the way up to the Tibetan Border. It is the largest village of the region despite its small size. Its upper valley is a grazing paradise, rich in flowers and grass and dotted with stone huts used in the summer time for butter making. Sewn in skins and exported to Tibet to flavor tea and fuel monastery lamps, butter was once the region's major industry.
It is generally a thirteen day trip, counting transportation time and a day above Kyangjin and Gosaikunda, the sacred lake devoted to Lord Shiva.

Langtang has over 70 glaciers; the Langtang and Ganesh Himal mountain ranges and high altitude lakes including Gosaikunda, Parvatikunda, Bhairavkunda, Dudhkunda etc., this region also comprises rich Tamang art and culture at Gatlang and Goljung, ancient Buddhist monasteries such as Kyangin and Singgompa, Tatopani and the historic fort of Rasuwagadhi in the Sino-Nepal border.

Statistics

District Area:
1544 sq km
Highest Peak:
Langtang Lirung, 7245m
Population:
44731 (in 2001)
Ethnic groups:
64% Tamang (both Tamang and Tibetan speaking). Others include Brahmin, Gurung, Sherpa and Newars
Literacy:
only 34% (female-24.5%; male-42.5%)
Weather:
warm temperature climate up to 2000m; higher valleys north and north-east of Syabrubesi are in the rain shadow and comparatively dry. 2-3000m – cool temperature climate. Above 3000m – alpine humid climate; temperatures fall to sub-zero in winter months.
Economic occupations:
83% Agriculture Less than 5% in service sector
Access:
By bus from KTM to Dhunche (8 hours) or Syabrubesi (9.5 hrs). Jeeps can also be hired for the journey.

Places of Interest

Gosainkunda
Gosainkunda Lake (4,300 m) in the Syabru VDC on the southern slopes of Jugal Himal, is a mini trek by itself and can be done in about five days. Gosainkunda is a sacred lake for Hindus and Buddhists alike, and is said to have had its origin when Lord Shiva swallowed poison to save the world. It is believed he pierced the earth with his trishul (trident) from where a fountain of water sprang forming a lake where the burning Shiva jumped to soothe the burning in his throat. There are 108 lakes in this region some of which are named Saraswati, Bhairav, Surya and Ganesh. Gosainkunda is considered one of the holiest pilgrimage sites in Nepal.

The trail to Gosainkunda climbs from either Dhunche or Syabru through lush rhodo­dendron hillsides to Sing Gompa. East of the lakes Lauribina (4,600 m) pass leads to Helambu. The trail descends to Tharepati, where it divides into two return routes to Kathmandu. The shorter way rides the ridge south through cool rhododendron forests passing several Tamang villages, and crests toward the Kathmandu Valley rim at Burlang Bhanjyang, some 1,100 m above Sundarijal. This ridge forms the divide between two of Nepal's major river systems - the Gandaki, which extends west to Dhaulagiri, and the Saptakosi whose tributaries extend east to Kanchenjunga on the border with Sikkim.

The other trail from Tharepati plunges 1,000 m to a tributary of the Melamchi Khola (river) and above it the sherpa village of Helambu. Stone houses scatter across the terraced fields above an old gompa (monastery) dressed with tall prayer flags. A gompa set on the ridge above Tarkeghyang com­mands excellent views of the Himalaya, looking north toward Ganja La pass and Dorje Lakpa (6,966 m) and a number of peaks over 6,000 m.

During Janai Purnima (full-moon festival in August), around 25,000 Hindu and Buddhists pilgrims visit the holy Gosainkunda Lake in about a one-week period. At this time jhankris (Shaman priests) come from all over Nepal to dance in an induced trance to all night singing and drum beating. The trail to Gosainkunda involves rapid ascent to 4,380 m, and therefore, it is best done after acclimatizing in Chandanbari, Lauribinayak or Tharepati.

Langtang National Park
The Langtang Valley was declared a national park in 1976 and remains the second largest in Nepal covering approximately 1,700 square km (660 square miles). Stretching up to the Tibetan border, it has a high level of biodiversity including 15 forest types, 3,000 species of flowering plants like oaks, fir, blue pine, spruce, and various species of rhododendron. The Park is also a rich area for medicinal plants. Extensive forests and varied vegetation types provide a habitat for approximately 32 mammals and 283 species of birds, including musk deer, snow leopards, red panda, wild dog, Himalayan black bear and the clouded leopard.

Twenty five percent of the Park's total area is covered by forest, starting at sub-tropical forests below 1,000 m to alpine scrubs and grasslands at the higher altitudes. The wild dog, red panda, pika, muntjac, musk deer, Himalayan black bear, Himalayan tahr, ghoral, serow, rhesus monkey, common langur, and the snow leopard among others have made the Park their habitat.

Remote and practically unknown, the area had not seen a Westerner until H.W. Tilman visited there in 1949. The next European visitor was Swiss Tony Hagen who carried out geological surveys in 1952. His exciting descriptions of the area aroused the interest of Warner Schulthess, a Swiss agricultural adviser for the United Nations. Schulthess subsequently established a Swiss cheese factory in the valley.

Tamang Heritage Trail
The Tamang Heritage Trail takes you to verdant midlands of Nepal experiencing the beauty of this mountain region and the culture of the people who live here. The trail passes through traditional Tamang villages where life, culture, and crafts have remained unchanged since the beginning of the settlment. Warm traditional welcome hosted by the locals, their elaborate costumes, rich architecture of their mountain houses, and the ancient monasteries and places of pray add color to the experience of this trail. In addition to cultural experience, the trek also offers wilderness experience through beautiful landscapes of alpine terrain, flat meadows, and rhododendron forests. more

Briddim Village
Briddim is a Tibetan Buddhist village in the bosom of Langtang Himal. It is located at an elevation of 2229 m. Around 43 houses are spread in Z shape. Most of the houses are made up of stone and have roofs of splitshake. Though the inhabitants of this place are Tamang by ethnicity, they are largely influenced by Tibetan culture. It is a live museum reflecting the traditional culture of the Tamangs, and their lifestyle. Their lifestyle is an interesting facet of the village. The major features of subsistence of the villager include livestock production, agriculture and trade with Kerung (Tibet).

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