Plan a trip into this pristine part of Eastern Nepal, where beautiful valleys meet snow-capped mountains smiling back at you. Walk through breathtaking meadows and untouched coniferous forests, where you get to meet local ethnic people of quaint old villages. Hike through forests colored in pastel shades of red, pink, and white, covered with resplendent Rhododendron blooms, Nepal’s national flower.
Ganesh Himal is named after the legendary elephant-headed Hindu God Ganesh. The Ganesh Range Peaks (Ganesh I, Ganesh II, Ganesh III, Ganesh IV) stand out like crystals, forming a "Great Himalayan Chain" in the skyline.
Drive up to the gateway between Langtang National Park checkpoint. The drive is through the roads of Dhunche a mountainous village situated 2,030 m above sea level, in the Rasuwa district. After an almost 8-hour drive through scenic gorges and valleys, we arrive at the first stop at Parvati Kunda, a pristine alpine freshwater lake that derives its name from the famous Hindu Goddess Parvati, consort of Lord Shiva. Here colorfully dressed up villagers from the local Tamang ethnic group gather around to greet us. Enjoy an evening de-stressing at a campfire where you are entertained by some local dancing and singing.
Wake up early morning to a breathtaking sunrise, with the Ganesh Himal range in full view, then pack your bags and ascend through quiet trails filled with mesmerizing pine and Rhododendron forests to Yuri Kharka (the lunch spot). There are further ascents through magical pine forests past creeks and trees covered with moss. The trail is a paradise for flora lovers and researchers who are interested to learn more about Alpine forests, as there are more than 100 species of wild flora on the trail. The view that unfolds is of endless rolling valleys covered with pine forests, as we slowly enter Khurpu Bhanjyang before dropping down to Somdang Valley, which is an enchanting gorge with sprawling green meadows, featuring the beautiful 200 m Chukarma waterfall. The first camp is beside an old abandoned mine.
This hike tests one’s endurance and strength, as we take a steep trek up to the highest pass along the border of Rasuwa and Dhading districts called Pangsang Kharka, one of the most scenic trails on the route; the ascent is up to 4,400 m (14500 ft), where the top resembles a terrace with a stunning viewpoint of the broad panorama of the surrounding terrain. Enjoy the view of the majestic Mt. Manaslu to the north, and the entire Ganesh Himal range. The large meadow is graced with a giant entry gateway and is a sensational location for camping and for taking in the breathtaking scenery. The locals here plan to build basic lodge accommodation at the right pass of the Pasang. Since there is no accommodation at the moment, trekkers are recommended to bring a tent for a night halt or spend the night in the poor conditions of a yak hut. Dry fruits or food should also be carried for dinner.
The highlight of the trip is when we enter Tipling village, an old village, inhabited mostly by the Tamang people. This village is the furthest one can experience away from city life, as the terrain is dominated by a culture rich in Shamanism and Tantrism. They are influenced by both Hinduism and Buddhism, interwoven with the worship of natural forces. The main feature of this village is the two Tibetan Gompas covered with colorful flags, where you often find local village children with bright red cheeks and dirty clothes perched to welcome tourists with Rhododendrons flowers in their tiny hands.
The next village on the trail is a mixture of tradition, culture, color, and vibrancy. Shantung (1,875 m) is a village largely inhabited by Tamangs. The name Shertung means “place of gold”. Legend has it that two brothers in search of gold were led here by what they saw in a dream and thus the settlement was born. The people here are warm and welcome visitors to their homes and offer warm meals. One of the highlights of this village is the Shaman or Jhakri dance, performed as a healing ritual. The Ghode or Horse dance is also performed which is said to have been derived from Tibetan culture. The hospitable people of this area have unique customs and craftsmanship and traditional dances, including a welcome dance, the Ghatu dance. Dohori is also a popular pastime with locals singing in a call and response fashion between male and female participants. It is a type of courtship ritual, complemented by folk music. Some dances like the Maruni dance depend on the time of year and take place during festivals such as Dashain and Tihar.
The next day’s trail descends to Borlang and then to Ukhum for lunch. The trail then takes a turn, as we pass through the Lishne jungle, crossing several suspension bridges, till we eventually arrive at Jharlang village, another fine point for a panoramic view of the peaks. This charming village’s main attractions are its huts with black slate stones. Walk through fields of barley and maize to be rewarded with a scenic view of Ganesh Himal I and II.
Walk through lush green forests, and paddy fields to arrive at Kimtang Phedi, a river basin spot, perfect for camping and unwinding, or take a dip in the cool waters of the Ankhu River. Take a jeep or a bus back to Dhadhing Besi, where you can catch a bus back to Kathmandu.
Important things to remember