Langtang Trek Information on – Culture, History, Trail & research findings

How & why people trek/tour Langtang region in general?

Pic: View of Langang range seen from Buddha Temple – Buddha Temple is in between Laurbina and Gosainkunda lake

“Do you have heart?”, if not please do not attempt to view the stunning spectacular Langtang trekking region in Nepal. It is needless to describe the heaven, if someone have reached the KyanjinRi – a peak at 4773 meter from where one can view the 360-degree of high snow capped mountains,namely the breath taking panorama of Mt Dorjelakpa and Mt Langtang Lirungand uncountable other Himalayas of Nepal representing Langtang mountain range. It would not be more to express as a live paradise in the earth.

On the Langtang trekking route, it is possible to meet (Hindu holy god) cows, goats and friendly pets in Syabrubesi. Whereas herd of Himalayan sheep or Yaks are common to see while trekking in altitude higher than 3500 meters (snow covered grazing land in winter) in Langtang Valley of KyanjinGompa.

Trekkin to Langtang is the nearest mountain trekking destination from Kathmandu. Tourists start from Kathmandu in the morning and reach to Syabrubesi by bus in the evening. The next day, they trek to Lama hotel via Bambo village.

Religious story from the history

Pic: Chhorten by the side of trail near Kyanjing village – Kyanjing village is at an altitude of 3800 meters above the sea level

People in Langtang trekking can view the nectar of two giant eastern civilizations – Vedism and Buddhism for Moxya or Liberation. Geographically, Langtang has over 70 glaciers of varying sizes, the Langtang glaciers and the glacier forming from Ganesh Mountain.

High-altitude lakes including Gosainkunda, Parvatikunda, Bhairavkunda, and Dudhkunda are attraction among trekkers and pilgrimage. These lakes are very important lakes religiously to Vedic civilized people. Tamang and Bhotias are the earliest settlers who are believed to be migrated from Kerung, Tibet, before the mid-1600s.

The people in Langtang valley are almost entirely Tamangs whose culture goes back to ancient times to their origins in Tibet. The craftsmanship, costumes, traditionally built stone houses, and the beautifully carved wooden entrances reflect their rich heritage. Thus, the place is holy land of both civilizations and cultures of the country.

Earthquake 2015 & village

Pic: Local village seen on the trail of Tamang heritage Langtang trekking – The community is mainly dominant by Tamang

The disasters never happen with notifications. The devastating earthquake of 2015 has killed 243 people including some tourists and guides. A big Iceberg has fallen down and destroyed a whole area around 4 square km forest including a long suspension bridge connecting to Langtang village. The iceberg is still melting down and it may take few more years to melt it out.

The whole valley was buried under the lump of stones and mud resulted due to the landslides and avalanche breakdowns. It brought with it giant boulders, much of the glacier, and the entire frozen lake. This avalanche brought an estimated 40 million tons of rock and ice. It produced a gust of wind so powerful that the air pressure flattened every tree for many km on the opposite side of the valley downstream.

The quake has serious impact in geology, geography and socio-anthropology of the Langtang area. Although, the people are getting out of earthquake trauma and reviving slowly back in normal livelihood.

Gosainkunda Lake Nepal

Pic: View of Gosaikunda lake seen from close range – The gosiakunda lake is also known for sacred lake and freshwater lake of Nepal.

The most wonderful fact is that these Buddhists Tamangs are preserving the holy lakes of Vedic people. Anyone who wants to view the religious harmony has to visit Langtang or Rasuwa. Gosaikunda Lake is situated at 4380 meters, is one of the most famous and scared lakes of Nepal. The whole of Gosaikunda region is supposed to have about 108 lakes. High up in the Himalayas; the Gosaikunda sits amidst the mountains of Langtang.

During the winter, the lake freezes up completely, it’s for that reason, the lake is famous as Frozen Lake as well. Close to the Gosaikunda lies another big lake, the BhairavKunda. Explaining so, it is not recommended to trek to Gosainkunda trek in the winter, if you hate frozen lakes.

History of Gosainkunda lake and its fest

Pic: Bhiarav kunda lake near to Gosaikunda lake – Apart from Gosaikunda lake you can see many lakes during your trek to Gosaikunda lake

Gosainkunda lake is believed to be created by the Lord Shiva, driving his trident to quench his thirst after drinking poison extracted from the ocean. Trishul-dhara, a place slightly above the Gosainkundalake is the supposed remains of the place where Lord Shiva stuck with his trident. Trishuli river, one of the major river systems of Nepal originates from that very point; gosainkunda lake. Gosaikunda gets thousands of Pilgrims during the annual festival of “Janai Purnima during July. Similarly, about an hour away from the Gosaikunda lake lies Suryakundalake.

Suryakunda is another lake with Vedic religious importance in Langtang trekking region. Surrounding the Suryakunda are many pristine lakes. With a view of Ganesh Himal ranges and Langtang Mountain to the north the area is absolutely magnificent and a must go place in Nepal.

Six Analysis of Region based on research Trek

1 – Local People

Pic: Local woman making the food for guest during Gosaikunda Trekking

People in Lamgtang region are mainly sheep and yak herders, but grow some hardy grains and vegetables.  The daily life of the villagers includes raising livestock, agriculture, and trade with Kerung in Tibet. Wheat, maize, potato, soybean, and millet are their chief food. Nowadays, local people are doing their own tourism business.

The indigenous Tibeto- Tamang people are predominantly the Buddhists. They follow the Himalayan Buddhism. Himalayan Buddhism is a term used to collectively refer to the Buddhist schools of Tibet, Bhutan, and regions of Nepal, and those practiced in the Indian Himalayan regions of Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Darjeeling, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh as well.

2 – Facilities along Langtang trekking trail

Pic: Hotels seen at Kyanjin Village during Langtang trekking – The hotels can be found at Kyanjin Village at an altitude of 3800m

A research Conducted by PSD Nepal and BBC in 2015 has specified the facts.

Tourist facilities are available in Dhunche and Shyabrubesi and there are lodges all along the Langtang trekking route to Kyanjin Gompa and also along the route to Gosainkunda as well. Nowadays, trained guides and porters may available in the villages or can be contacted in trekking agencies in Kathmandu. Those Trekking Agencies are supplying various kinds of trekking related services for Langtang region.

Langtang trekking route, in the district of Rasuwa, Northern Nepal, is located 120km north of Kathmandu from the capital city.  Langtang Lirung peak, standing at 7,245m, is the highest peak, and is situated on the northern side of the valley, with most of the other peaks reaching around 6,500m in its surrounds.

3 – Cultural Findings

Pic: Followers of Buddhism – lamas performing pooja ceremony in the local monastery of langtang

Similarly, the inhabitants of Langtang valley are a mixture of Nepali nationals of Tamang descent or ancestry, and Tibetan refugees, from China, granted asylum by Nepal in history. Local culture reflects this rich and diverse lineage, with traditions stretching back to the ancestors of the present residents.

Local culture is predominantly maintained through oral traditions, such that written records are thin. As such, a rigorous history of the local people of Langtang is the product of harder livelihood. Rather, local stories, family lineages, and heritage traditions are relied on to fill in the gaps and provide an oral account of the various histories of the region. The local language of the Langtang trekking region is a hybrid blend of Tibetan, predominantly, and a dialect of the Tamang Nepali language, forming a localized ‘Langtang language’ as the research report claims.

4 – Festivities & Religious

Pic: Religious place at Gosaikunda Trekking Trail – You have to cross through the Gosaikunda pass to reach the sacred Gosaikunda lake

Buddhism is the overwhelmingly vibrant religion of the valley, with relatively few if any instances of Hindu, Muslim, or Christian belief. Alongside Buddhism, however, there exists a display of mystic faiths including Animism, Monism, and Kirant. The Tibetan calendar continues to inform the temporal structure of the region, though Nepali and Western influences can be increasingly noticed. The Tibetan New Year – called Lhosar – falls in mid-February in the Western Calendar.

The Tibetan-Tamangpeople’s group inhabiting the Langtang in Northern Nepal, are prone to the endangered culture. With significant rural-urban migration toward Kathmandu, the economic opportunities that tourism affords, and the increasing pressure on local habitat and resources, pressure is mounting on a culture that reflects many centuries of rich history.

According to a research conducted by PremSagarChapagain in 2017, there are many attractions for tourists in the valley. It has mountain peaks and glaciers, different types of vegetation including Langtang pine (LarixgriffithianaCarriere) only found in the village. The valley is famous for the endangered wildlife such as Red Panda, Musk deer, Himalayan Thar, Wild-boar etc. While migrating from Tibet, they also brought their animals, high-altitude crops and their culture. Besides them, Sherpa also migrated to the valley.

5 – Buddhism in Nepal and in Langtang a contrast

Pic: Monks playing flute in the local festival of Langtang trekking region

There are four mains, and several smaller, sects of Buddhism which were centered in Tibet but spread to the surrounding Himalayan regions: Nyingma, Sakya, Kagyu, Geluk.

Wikipedia claims that the Newar Buddhism of Nepal, which was cantered in the Kathmandu valley, is older than Tibetan Buddhism and Tibetan Buddhism drew many teachings, particularly Vajrayana teachings, from Newar Buddhism as well as teachings from Indian Buddhism. All these Buddhist traditions are closely related historically, and all include practices of both the Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions of Buddhism. The Buddhism of Mongolia is sometimes considered part of the same cultural milieu, although Mongolia is not in the Himalayan region.

6 – Findings of research in gist

Pic: Beautiful flower with the view of snow-capped hills at langtang village

Langtang – meaning the ‘ox follows’ in the local Langtang language – is one of the longest valleys in Nepal. It is extending from the pleasant tropical forests surrounding Syabrubesi at the base of the valley, at 1250m, to alpine scrub and perennial or perpetual ice at altitude of 7200 meter. Beyond this, the valley continues to the international border with Tibet, in China.

As a diverse and varied landscape, Langtang trekking also claims immense diversity and richness in culture, heritage, language, and ethnicity. The Langtang national park is home to the sacred lake of Gosainkunda, at high altitude (4,300m), and also the DorjeLakpa range (6,988m). The park is also linked with the Qomolangma National Nature Preserve in Tibet, and coincides with international borders with China. The other boundaries of the park are bordered by the BhoteKhosi river and Trisuli river, according to the research.

Make a lifelong memory in Langtang trekking

Pic: Rainbow seen at Tamang Village of langtang region during Tamang Heritage Trek

A hardliner of any sect cannot enjoy the beauty of the place. It is necessary to have a beautiful heart to tolerate the religious and cultural vibes and harmony. One needs a pure heart to help people. Help is surely not any kind of donation.

Langtang people are honest and against any alms or donation. They want to do their own business and have started tourism business after the earthquake. It is a great time of paradigm shift from subsistence Himalayan Agriculture to rural tourism. To view the changing context of livelihood one can, visit Langtang. The visit will be a great help to the local people to recover the wound of the devastating earthquake. One need heart to help people and it is not giving. It is accepting the locality by local tourism. Visit is heartful help for the local people. Go Langtang trekking.

Thank you!!!

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About Author

I grew up in the mountains & got university education in Kathmandu to become an engineer. But with homely environment of mountains interest me to become a trekking & tour guide, by passion. I have been 6574 meter to the highest & fortunately got chance to explore most of Nepal and bit of abroad.

Eventually, passion converted to profession and here i am on behalf of Nepalgram - a Trekking agency in Nepal.

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