04 Jun, 2019 Great Nepal Treks
The area that was once restricted for trekking opened its arms to the travelers and trekkers of all sorts in 2008. Welcome to Tsum Valley, the land that lies on the norther part of Manaslu Region, in Gorkha District. Tsum Valley is considered as a scared land, most probably because it hasn’t been explored much. Also, it is a very significant pilgrimage site, especially for Buddhists, with so many culturally and religiously significant Gompas situated here. Tsum Valley has so many things to offer, and the best way to explore this region is through Tsum Valley Trek.
Tsum Valley is one of the most amazing places to visit in Nepal, with the amalgamation of beautiful nature, untouched culture and traditions that goes back to over a hundred of years, and religious heritages and pilgrimage sites. For quite some time, Tsum Valley was out of the reach of people from other parts of the country. Lack of transportation facilities prevented the travelers from going in and the general population of Tsum Valley from going out.
This prevented their cultures and traditions from intermingling with that of others. There are absolutely no foreign influences, so, it seems like the people out there live in the past, and have been doing the same things that their ancestors did decades ago. The majority of people here have a Tibetan decent, but years of living here have caused them to come up with their own twist on traditions. Quite a few villages in the valley still practice polygamy, where a woman marries multiple men from a single family.
The majority of people living in Tsum Valley are Buddhists, and so, a lot of Buddhist influences can be noticed here. The major pilgrimage sites of Tsum Valley are Rachen Gumba, Mu Gumba and Lungdang Gumba. Throughout the region you’ll find many chortens and mani walls inscribed with Buddhist symbols, prayers and mantras. It is said that the famous Tibeten Buddhist monk Milarewa meditated in the caves of Tsum Valley, and introduced major influences of Buddhism here.
When it comes to nature, Tsum Valley is absolutely stunning. You’ll be able to have amazing views of Mt Ganesh, Mt. Shringi, Mt. Manaslu and other mountains in the Manaslu Region from here. During your stay here, you’ll come across numerous species of wildlife and vegetation. Few of the widely seen animals include Blue Sheep and Himalayan Tahr. The best way to know about Tsum Valley is to experience it, which you can easily do, as Tsum Valley is open for travelers.
Tsum Valley Trek is the best way to explore Tsum Valley without a doubt. Going on a Tsum Valley Trek will give you enough time to not just experience the wilderness and natural beauty, but also have an insight into the language, religion and culture in Tsum Valley. Interacting with people is going to be a great experience for you. Apart from that, all the attractions mentioned above will definitely keep you engaged throughout your stay in Tsum Valley.
The core trekking lasts for a period of 15 days. We start our journey from Arughat, a serene village in the region, and make our way all the way up to Mu Gompa. From there, it’s the same way back to Arughat. The highest altitude of the trek is 3700 m, which is that of Mu Gompa. One day is spent here for rest, or acclimatization, which give the trekkers ample opportunity to explore the area. So many beautiful villages are covered during Tsum Valley Trek. Few of them are Nile, Burgi, Chisopani and so on.
Like any other trek, you need to do a level of preparation to go for Tsum Valley trek. Keep the following things in mind, or rather, do them to prepare yourself for Tsum Valley
Talk to your trekking partner in Nepal well in advanced to know about the kind of trek you’re going to do. Whether it’s going to be a tea house trek, or a camping trek. It’s a high possibility that you’ll spend most of your nights in camps. You should also ask about the things that you’ll need to trek in the region, if you need to bring it from home, or you can buy them here. These will include trekking gears, clothing and accessories, essential everyday use items, and so on.
Before going on a trek to Tsum Valley try to research a little bit about the people living in this region, their cultures, religion, lifestyle, and so on. As mentioned above, during your trek, you might come across quite a few who’ve not seen the rest of the country, forget about the rest of the world. So, prepare yourself for a little bit of awkwardness. Nevertheless, the people are friendly, and provided that there’s a translator in your group, you could have amazing conversations with them.
When you go for Tsum Valley trek, make sure to carry a Tsum Valley trek map as it will come in handy in situations like if you get separated from the group, and need to find a way to either rejoin the group, or make your way to the next pit-stop. However, keep in mind that this is highly unlikely, especially if you’re traveling with a trekking company. Having a Tsum Valley Trek Map will better prepare you for what’s coming next. The attractions, the views, the settlement areas, and so on!
While Tsum Valley Trek offers the trekkers quite a lot of features to explore on its own, if you want to explore further, making a good use of your time in the region, you could extend the trek to include Manaslu Trek, also known as Manaslu Circuit Trek, in your itinerary. Manaslu trek will not just make your itinerary longer, but it will also make your trek more adventurous, challenging, and full of fun.
The trek starts from Arughat itself, and the trekkers make their way north up to Mu Gompa, which is the regular Tsum Valley Trek. From there, they take the same way back to Chumling. Once they reach here, instead of heading south to Arughat, the trekkers head west towards Deng, joining the Manaslu Circuit Trek route. The trekkers then make their way, covering numerous villages, attractions and high altitude passes to the settlement of Basisahar, where the trek comes to an end.
With the itinerary extended to include Manaslu Trek, now the core duration of the trek will be around 22 days which includes 2 days of acclimatization in Mu Gompa and Samagaon. Apart from all the attractions that the trekkers get to experience in Tsum Valley Trek, they would come across further more when the itinerary is extended.
One of the major attractions is Larkya La Pass, a mountain pass situated at an altitude of 5160 m. You’ll have to cross Larkya La Pass when you go from Dharamshala to Bimthang. Larkya La Pass adds the challenging aspect to the trek, as the altitude and the weather around Larkya La pass is quite extreme. Another such attraction that you’ll come across is Pungyen Gompa. A significant Buddhist religious heritage of the region. You can access the gompa from Samagaon. The trekkers tend to take a couple of hours of side trip to Pungyen Gompa and back on the day of acclimatization at Samagaon.
Adding Manaslu Circuit Trek route to the itinerary will offer you better views of mountains like Himalchuli, Ngadichuli, Manaslu, Manaslu North, and so on during the trek. The views are excellent especially from Samagaon, as it is situated at a closer proximity to the mountains, especially Mt. Manaslu, in comparison to other settlement areas.
Trekking in Nepal is one of the best ways to explore the country. It has so many things to offer which you can’t possibly cover in a short trip on a reserved vehicle. Trekking in Nepal allows you to be a part of the nature more exclusively, and gets you a deep insight of the villages, the people living in them, their cultures, lifestyle, religion, along with all the heritages, and so on.
Trekking takes you to places, which is difficult to access in a vehicle, and Tsum Valley is a perfect example of it. Such an amazing place that had been out of the reach of people for such a long time is now all open, all thanks to trekking. So, if you’re thinking of going on a trek, especially in a robust country like Nepal, try out Tsum Valley Trek. And if situation allows extend it to include Manaslu Circuit Trek to your journey. This way you’ll be able to explore the entire region. You won’t regret it, for sure!
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