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Annapurna-Manaslu Tourism Sector

Annapurna-Manaslu Tourism Sector is one of the tourism zones among 18 tourism zones of Nepal, consisting of four districts of the Western Himalayan Region, namely Gorkha, Lamjung, Manang and Mustang. It is surrounded by Langtang-Gaurishankar Tourism Sector in East, Rara-Karnali Tourism Sector in West, Tibet in North, and Pokhara Tourism Sector in the South. Among the four districts, Manang and Mustang are situated in the rain shadow area. They are also known are the deserts of Nepal. This tourism sector is suitable for trekking with different levels suitable for beginner to expert trekkers. Most of the area lies in the Annapurna Conversation Area and Manaslu Conservation Area. So the trekkers need to take the permits of those conservation areas. Besides this, Upper Manang and Upper mustang area requires the group trekkers with Restricted Area Permits. This tourism sector is also suitable to learn the culture, traditions of different ethnic groups. Gorkha and Lamjung is connected with the Prithvi Highway. However, Manang and Mustang are connected with the off-road through the corridor of Marshyangdi and Kaligandaki Respectively. Jomsom Airport (JMO) of Mustang operates the regular flight from Pokhara. However, Humde Airport (NGX) of Manang operates charter flights. Here is the information of tourism destination enlisted with the possibilities of tourism of the respective districts.

Gorkha District is located in Province No.4 (Gandaki Pradesh) covering an area of 3,610 sq. km. Gorkha is the administrative headquarter. It is surrounded by Dhading in East, Manang, and Lamjung in West, Tibet in North and Tanahun, and Chitwan in the South. It is connected historically with the creation of modern Nepal and the name of the legendary Gurkha soldiers. It is the location of the Manakamana Temple. Also, the temples of great sage Gorakh Nath and goddess Gorakh Kali temple are located in the district, after which the district got its name. Four major rivers run within and along with it - the Chepe, Daraudi, Marsyangdi, and Budhi Gandaki.

Tourism in Gorkha

The historical significance alone is enough to lend Gorkha the importance needed to become a popular tourist destination. The fascinating durbar, lure of the treks, and beauty of the sceneries - Gorkha becomes your perfect offbeat destination for a weekend trip. The place has immense historical and cultural significance and is dipped in tremendous natural beauty. Gorkha’s attraction is the historic old Durbar, the original palace of the Shah dynasty which has been maintained well and is the major tourist destination. Perched on a hilltop, the palace also commands a sweeping view of the surroundings. Many trekkers start the great Manaslu circuit from Gorkha town while also enjoying the sights of the historic remains of an old dynasty and culture of the local populace. 

Places to visit in Gorkha

Manakamana Temple

The Manakamana Temple is the sacred place of the Hindu Goddess Bhagwati, an incarnation of Parvati. The name Manakamana originates from two words, “mana” meaning heart, and “kamana” meaning wish. Venerated since the 17th century, it is believed that Goddess Manakamana grants the wishes of all those who make the pilgrimage to her shrine to worship her. The Manakamana temple lies 12 km south of the town Gorkha. The temple is located on a distinguished ridge 1,302 meters (4,272 ft.) above sea level and overlooks the river valleys of Trisuli in the south and Marsyangdi in the west. The Manaslu- Himachali and Annapurna ranges can be viewed to the north of the temple. The temple is approximately 140 kilometers from Kathmandu and can also be reached via bus east from Pokhara in around three to four hours. The cable car rides over the distance of 2.8 kilometers (1.7 mi) takes us to the Manakamana Temple. And the bottom Station of the cable car is placed at Kurintar on the Prithvi Highway. 

 

Gorkha Durbar 

Regarded by many as the crowning glory of Newari architecture, the 16th-century Gorkha Durbar is a fort, palace and temple all in one. Within the palace is the sacred Taleju temple of the tutelary deity of the last ruling dynasty and displays a wealth of Nepali architecture. The view from the palace is awesome. The giant peaks of Manaslu, Himal Chuli, Baudha, and others stand majestically against the skyline towards the north. The east wing of the Durbar is the palace, where Prithvi Narayan Shah was born. Much of the building is done in the Newari-style by artisans brought from Kathmandu. It is only open on the 10th day of Dashain. 

 

Gorkha Museum

Housed inside the Tallo Durbar, a Newari-style palace built-in 1835, the museum’s exhibits are limited but interesting. It’s set in a large garden, which is nice for a stroll.

 

Gorakh Kali Temple

Near to the Gorkha Durbar, there is a Kali temple known as Gorakhkali. According to the history, it is said that due to the boon of Gorakhkali, King Prithvi Narayan Shah was able to unite Kathmandu as a valley and make it a kingdom and rule it. Nepalese people visit this temple to fulfill both the purpose of paying homage to the goddess Gorakhkali and seeing the ancient Gorkha Durbar.

 

Gorakhnath Cave

Gorakhnath Cave is the home of the Gorakhnath Baba- a sage who legends say made the prediction of King Prithvi Narayan Shah unifying Nepal. It is also believed that Gorkha got its name from this holy sage. A cave carved out of solid rock, it is a revered site for followers of Gorakhnath. The cave is situated ten meters below the southern side of the Royal Palace of Gorkha. People from different parts of Nepal and followers of Hindu religions from different parts of the world come to worship Gorakhnath.

 

Ligligkot

Liglig, better known as "ligligkot" is a hilltop located at the height of 1,437 meters (4790 feet) from the sea level. It is the place where the former monarchy of Nepal was established. Drabya Shah, then brother of King Narahari Shah of neighboring Lamjung District established the small kingdom at around 1616 BS / (1559 AD). Still, the remaining stones of the ancient palace could be seen in the hilltop at Ligligkot. Liglig is a word used in Magar language which means clear, pristine, and beautiful view. The Ghale Gurungs were the rulers of the Liglig fort area.

 

Upallokot

It is situated at a 20 minutes walking distance from Gorkha palace. There is a viewing platform at an altitude of 1520 meters in Upallokot from where the spectacular view of Gorkha palace and the sliver shining snow-fed peaks can be enjoyed.

 

Manaslu Circuit Trekking

Manaslu trek is an emerging tea-house trekking adventure in Nepal that takes you to the base camp of the Mt. Manaslu, 8163m, through the Manaslu circuit trail. The trekking adventure that caters to moderate challenges of the trek begins from Arughat Bazar. This trek offers pristine natural views that encounter with the uniquely rich culture and some of the best breathtaking mountain scenery. The highest point of this trekking is the Larkya-La Pass (5,214 m). Samagoan is a final settlement of the Manaslu Region before crossing the Larkya La pass. For acclimatization, a couple of rest days in Samagoan, allows us to visit the old Sama monastery, which is one of the most popular monasteries of the region among many other sprinkled ones. Trekkers can explore incredible Birendra Glacier Lake and Manaslu Base Camp from Samagaon.

 

Lower Manaslu Eco-Trek

Lower Manaslu trek offers experience of moderate trekking, Historical tour, Pilgrimage tour, Agrotourism, and Community Based Home – Stay. Lower Manaslu trek also includes inside the Manaslu region, which is the most interesting area of Nepal. A fantastic panoramic view of Mountain ranges from Dhaulagiri, Annapurna, Manaslu, Ganesh Himal mountain ranges can be seen. The gateway trail goes to upper Manaslu also, divided from the day the second camp called Khanchok-Ghampesal to Arughat and towards along with the Budi Gandaki river. This trek mainly promotes all home stay facility for the individual trekkers who has aims to visit and explore with local people, their culture and the taste of traditional organic products foods and beverages are even more attraction of this area. The trek starts from Manakamana temple after taking a 10-minute scenic cable car from Kuringhat. And the trek goes to Gorkha bazaar the ancient capital of Gorkha and the district headquarter of the Gorkha district. You will spend one night in Gorkha Bazaar exploring the royal palace, Gorknath cave, Gorkha museum and the life in town. You will pass the famous Gurung village-like Barpak, Laprak, etc.

 

Tsum Valley Trekking

Explore the Hidden Gems of Manaslu Region that match the 1950th lifestyle, Tibetan culture, and Shamanism believes by local nearby Tibet border insight into the Manaslu Conservation Area. A beautiful valley ringed by the Himalayan giants Tsum is dotted with sacred highland monasteries... "Tsum" is a Tibetan word derived from "Tsombo" which means vivid and its people are called "Tsumba". It is famed as a "hidden valley" with unique characteristics of mystery, myth, and majestic beauty. The region was a restricted area until 2008 and is relatively less tracked by hikers. Against the lofty backdrop of the Ganesh Himal, Siringi Himal and Boudha Himal ranges, this tranquil Himalayan Valley is also rich in ancient art, culture, and religion. The altitude of Tsum Valley trek varies from 1,905 meters in Lhokpa to over 5,093 meters at Ngala Dhojhyang pass on the Tibetan border. The Valley is bounded by high passes- the Ngala Dhoj Hyang (5,093m) to the west and Yamcho Pass (5,326m) to the north.

 

The old town

The old town is dotted with temples. Immediately above the bus stand is the fortified Ratna Temple. A little uphill is the two-tiered temple dedicated to Vishnu; a white temple with a Nandi statue that’s dedicated to Shiva and a small, white Indian-style temple dedicated to Ganesh. Further up that road is a small square with a miniature pagoda temple dedicated to Bhimsen, the Newari god of commerce.

Lamjung District is located in Province no. 3 (Gandaki Pradesh), covering an area of 1,692 sq. km. Besisahar is its administrative headquarters. It is surrounded by Gorkha in East, Kaski in West, Manang in North, Tanahun in South. Lamjung lies in the mid-hills of Nepal spanning tropical to trans-Himalayan geo-ecological belts, including the geographical midpoint of the country (i.e., Duipipal). The elevation of this district ranges from 450 m. to 8,163 m. (Mt. Manaslu). It has mixed habitation of casts and ethnicities. It is host to probably the highest density of the Gurung ethnic population in the country.

Tourism in Lamjung

Lamjung is enriched in historical temples, palaces as well as the culture and festivals. Dura and Gurung families enjoy the “Rodhi” singing and dancing program every day after the Dinner. One of the famous festivals of Nepal Ghatu: the slow and long dance related with tantrism is celebrated by Gurungs. Lamjung has famous four lakes Dudh Pokhari, Ilam Pokhari, Meme Pokhari and Barah Pokhari. The worlds famous Trekking, Annapurna Round starts from Beshisahar of Lamjung. The Annapurna area Conservation Project (ACAP) covers 1/4th (Including 8 Village Development Committees) of the total area of Lamjung. It has the most extensive views of the country’s chief attraction, the Himalayas; Annapurna (7,939 m), Lamjung Himal (6,988 m), Himal chuli (6,747 m) Dhaulagiri, Machhapuchre (Fishtail), Buddha Himal (6,974 m), etc.

Places to visit in Lamjung

Ghale Gaun Trek

Ghale Gaun is a SAARC eco model village that lies in the Lamjung District (inside the Annapurna conservation area (ACAP) reflects the lifestyle of the indigenous Ghale (Gurung community). Ghale Gaun trekking is one of the best newly opened trekking routes in Nepal which passes through nature and discover the rich culture of the region. Ghale Gaun is one of the alluring villages of the Annapurna region, where we can observe enrich different ethnics culture, their lifestyle, typical Nepali houses, and tradition of Gurung and Ghale community people. This trek offers the breathtaking view of majestic western Himalayas including Machhapuchhre (6,693m) Annapurna (8,091m), Annapurna II (7,939m) Annapurna IV (7,525m), Lamjung Himal, Bouddha Himal (6,974m), Himalchuli (6,747m) and many more smaller peaks. The trail passes along the dense forest of rhododendron flowers, beautiful villages and waterfalls, lush valleys, an amazing landscape of Annapurna region. Bhujung is the largest Gurung village which is less influence by modernization than Ghale Gaun. Generally, people prefer to hike to this village from Ghale Gaun return the same day. Similarly, Ghanapokhara is a beautiful village heading towards development with a concept of eco-tourism. It lies in the proximity of Ghale Gaun at the top of Dashthar Danda at an altitude of 2,100 meters. Activities around Ghale Gaun include bird watching at Talangyo Lake and visits to the Utter Kanya Temple, Pempro Fall, Batase Cave, and the Khudi hydroelectric dam site.

 

Honey Hunting Trek

The Honey hunting in Nepal has been practiced for a thousand years and it is a vital part of Nepali culture. The honey hunters of Nepal documents Gurung tribesmen of west-central Nepal entering the jungle in search of wild honey where they use indigenous tools under precarious conditions to collect honey. The practice is strongly upheld by the indigenous Gurung and Magar tribes of Bhujung and Pasgaon villages. The practice has continued for hundreds of years. The honey hunting trek offers them a chance to earn living through potential tourism. The trek is designed to accommodate the local culture, lifestyle, and traditions in the trip. Camping may be required for a night at the honey hunting site. Honey hunting has become one of the major attractions in the annual Siurung Festival being held in the Lamjung district currently. Honey hunting program is launched to protect the tribal ways of life and keep the tradition with the help of sustainable tourism in Ghale Gaun. The practice of honey hunting is in the steep hills of Ghanpokhara, Khudi, Taghring, Bhulbhule, Bhujung, Dudhpokhari areas of Lamjung. It has become a source of income and has been attracting tourists from all over the world.

 

Lamjung Himal Trek

Lamjung Himal Trek offers an impressive view of the north-central Himalaya of Nepal. The journey traverses 4000 m above the Marshyangdi Gorge and quite near Lamjung Himal. This trek is famous for village life, Tamang and Gurung culture, lush green forests, terraced farmlands, and soaring Lamjung Himal with giant Annapurna Mountains. Manaslu west face and Peak 29 (Ngadi Chuli) adds more attraction to this trek. This beautiful trek commences from Besi Sahar through the beautiful villages of Ghale Gaun, Bhujung, Ghanpokhara. The area offers homestay facilities in the villages. Local dance and singing are programmed per the visitor’s interest while trekking in Lamjung Himal Base Camp which offers insight experience of rural life in the mid-western life of Nepal.

 

Lamjung Durbar

The first Royal Palace of Lamjung, also known as Lamjung Durbar, is the birthplace of the Royal family of Lamjung in 1663 AD. Kalu Shah was the first king. It is also the place where King Yesho Bramha Shah, the founder of the Shah Dynasty in Nepal ruled the small principality of Lamjung. Lamjung Durbar was believed to be built in the 15th century and religious places as the Kaulepanidevi Temple and the Lamjung Kalika Temple. This palace was the capital of Lamjung. Lamjung Kalika Temple is a temple nearby to Lamjung Durbar which is the big sister of the Gorkha Kalika. It usually opens four times a year.

 

Puranokot

Puranokot is comprised of two words, Purano + Kot (old + fort), and has a very important significance in establishing first Shah Ruler in the lower part of Lamjung against the Ghale Rajas of upper Lamjung. This course of action has ultimately changed Nepal’s history. This historical village is a Gurung village situated on the lap Purankot peak. Tourists will soon have the opportunity to hike between these beautiful villages with breathtaking views of the Annapurna mountain range. They will stop along the way to experience cultural activities, sample local cuisine, and enjoy the hospitality of village families while staying the night in one of their charming traditional homes.

 

Baraha Pokhari Lake 

Situated at an elevation of 3,100 meters from sea level, Lake Baraha Pokhari is a place of outstanding natural beauty. This is a trek mix of Home Stay and Camping. Baraha Pokhari also has a huge religious importance to the community. People believe that the Goddess of Baraha Pokhari is a wish-fulfilling one. This trail offers breathtaking views of Manaslu, Annapurna II Himalchuli, Machapuchhra, Lamjung Himal Bhouda Himal. Baraha Pokhari Community Trail does not stop here, you can continue your trek up to Mim Pokhari (4,700 m) as well as Dudh Pokhari (4,800 m).

Manang District is located in Province no. 4 (Gandaki Pradesh), covering an area of 2,250 sq. km. Chame is the administrative headquarter. It is surrounded by Grokha in East, Mustang in West, Tibet in North and Myagdi, Kaski, and Lamjung in South. Except for the forested southern side of Manang Valley (northern slopes of Annapurnas), the region is out of monsoon climate and is very dry and desolated but with amazing landscapes. Central and northern zones of Manang District are the old Mustang kingdom, very like to Tibet.

Tourism in Manang

The district of Manang is divided into two sections, Lower and Upper. Throughout the region, households are decorated with Buddhist prayer flags and other totems of the ancient Bon religion. All of these villages are heavily influenced by the Tibetan culture and still retains and practices ancient rites and rituals. That will be an interesting cultural experience for you, which you wouldn’t have been able to witness in other popular trekking trails due to commercialization. Pisang, Chame, Nar, Phu, and Bhakra are just some of these excellent mountain civilizations to name. Nar and Phu trek in Manang is an excellent choice for trekkers who are looking for a very remote and isolated Himalayan destination. Tilicho Lake and Gangapurna Lake are the popular lakes of Manang.

 Places to visit in Manang

Tilicho Lake

Tilicho Lake is situated at an altitude of 4,919 meters (16,138 ft) in the Annapurna range of the Himalayas. Tilicho Lake is the destination of one of the most popular side hikes of the Annapurna Circuit trek. The hike takes an additional 3–4 days. No camping is required, as new lodges have been built between Manang and the lake. The final approach to the lake is done in a day hike from the lodge at Tilicho Base Camp. Trekkers attempting the Annapurna Circuit route usually cross the watershed between Manang and Kali Gandaki valleys over the 5,416 meters high Thorong La pass. The alternate route, skirting Tilicho Lake from the north, has been gaining popularity. This route is more demanding and requires at least one night of camping. There are no teahouses or lodges past the Tilicho Base Camp lodge some kilometers east of the lake and the next village of Thini Gaon in the Kali Gandaki valley. Most groups spend two nights between these places. Two passes are leading to Thini Gaon and Jomsom; Mesokanto La and Tilicho North pass known also as Tilicho "Tourist pass". These routes via Tilicho Lake are more often closed by snow than the higher Thorong La.

 

Gangapurna Lake

Gangapurna, a glacial lake located in the Annapurna circuit trekking route is becoming shallower as sediments and particulates glide in the lake with inflowing waters at an alarming pace. The glacial lake situated at the height of 3,540 meters is formed from the glaciers from Mt Gangapurna (7,454m), Annapurna IV (7,525m), Khangsar Kang and Glacier Dome. Gangapurna Lake which appears cyan during the spring and autumn, white during monsoon and gets covered in snow in winter is considered the second most desired tourist attraction after Tilicho Lake.

 

Nar Phu Valley Trek

Nar Phu Valley Trekking, opened for tourism only in 2003, is the least explored and most exotic trek in Nepal. Due to its isolated existence, the Tibetan culture of Nar Phu has remained undisturbed for centuries. They have retained their age-old nomadic yak-herding lifestyle. Nar Phu is a true hidden gem that offers trekkers a rare opportunity to explore unspoiled valleys that feature a mix of raw Himalayan nature and ancient Buddhist culture. The trek through the Nar & Phu valleys combines high peaks and passes, glaciers, remote villages, narrow canyons, lovely forests, amazing rock formations, yaks, Buddhist Gompas, majestic mountains, and unique ethnically Tibetan cultures.

 

Seven Passes Trek

Annapurna Seven Passes Trek is a relatively new trekking adventure around the Annapurna region. It is a fairly challenging trek that takes you through high passes, thick jungles, fast pacing icy streams. With three passes at over 4600 meters and four at over 5000 meters, it will be a real test takes you Kuchurmo pass, Yarcha pass, Meta pass, Phu pass, Nar pass, Kangla pass, and the famous Thorong La pass. In addition to the challenge of the high passes, this trek offers a mix of wilderness and culture that is missing from treks that run through villages. It is one of the rarest and most exciting trekking routes of Nepal. You will walk through some untouched forests and if you are lucky enough, you may also see Red Panda. World-famous mountains like Annapurna, Dhaulagiri, Lamjung Himal, etc will be your traveling companion. The Annapurna 7 Passes trek is about three weeks long fairly challenging circuit trek that takes you along the part of the Annapurna circuit, the remote villages of Naar & Phu.

 

Ice Climbing Festival

The nine-day Manang ice climbing festival in Humde, located at an elevation of 3,200 meters in the central Himalayas in February of every year. Every winter in Manang when the temperature plunges below minus 20 degrees Celsius, and the rivers and waterfalls freeze over, people flee to the lowlands to escape the extreme cold. Adventure lovers are expected to gather in Humde at the height of winter to see the Manang Ice Climbing Festival. Water flowing down from Mt Annapurna plunges 500 meters to create a spectacular waterfall in Humde. During the winter, it is completely frozen. Besides ice climbing, there are many recreational activities like traditional archery, skiing, slacklining, and ice climbing course.

Mustang District is located in Province no. 04 (Gandaki Pradesh), covering an area of 3,573 sq. km. Jomsom is the administrative headquarter. It is surrounded by Manang in the east, Dolpa in the west, Tibet in the north, and Myagdi in the south. The elevation ranges from 1,372 to 8,167 meters (Mount Dhaulagiri, the 7th highest mountain in the world), with several peaks above 7,000 meters. Mustang is an ancient forbidden kingdom, bordered by the Tibetan Plateau and sheltered by some of the world's tallest peaks, including 8000-meter tall Annapurna and Dhaulagiri. The name "Mustang" is derived from the Tibetan word meaning, "Plain of Aspiration."

 Tourism in Mustang

Mustang district is famous for its natural beauty and cultural heritage. Mustang holds the world’s deepest gorge, Andhra Galchi was also known as Kali Gandaki gorge. The 14th-century ancient monasteries also situated in this region. The temple in the highest altitude of the world, Muktinath, is also in Mustang which is the common Pilgrimage for Hindus and Buddhists. The fossils found in Kali Gandaki River, The hot spring water, the salt lake, panoramic views of Nilgiri, Dhaulagiri, Annapurna, ancient monasteries, cliff-hanging monasteries, colorful fields are some of the attraction in the place. Cultural trails in the region take into the homes of Gurungs in the lowlands, the hospitality of Thakalis around Jomsom, Manangis in the east, and Tibetans in the arid north. Upper Mustang was a restricted demilitarized area until 1992, which makes it one of the most preserved regions in the world due to its relative isolation from the outside world, with a majority of the population still speaking traditional Tibetic languages. Lo Manthang there are few big beautiful monasteries which were built in 15 century. Thubchen Gompa is one of the examples. People who come to visit Lo Manthang can see the palace of the king here. Visit to Dumba Lake, Marpha Apple Garden, Marpha Monastery, Snow Leopard Cave at Thini gaun, etc. are the major activities in the Jomsom area. 

Places to visit in Mustang

Jomsom

Nestled below soaring Nilgiri and Dhawalagiri mountains, Jomsom is a beautiful town in Mustang. Jomsom is also known as a gateway to the forbidden Kingdom of Lomanthang in Upper Mustang. Trek or vehicle trip to the Kingdom of Lo and Mustang region begins here. Lomanthang remained restricted to foreigners until 1992. Since the culturally and naturally bestowed area opened its doors to the world, Mustang quickly became a destination of choice for local and international trekkers. Mesmerizing natural beauty, alpine desert-like landscape, and exotic Thakali, Lopa, Gurung, Magar, Tibetan, and a mix of Hindu and Buddhist culture attract thousands of footfalls every year. The town is a part of the Annapurna Circuit and Annapurna foothill treks. It connects with off the beaten trails like Dhawalagiri Circuit and Upper Dolpo. It is located at an altitude of 2,740 meters above sea level within the Annapurna Conservation Area, thus you need ACAP permits to visit the Jomsom area. 

 

Kagbeni

Situated at an altitude of 2,800m, Kagbeni is a unique famous village of Baarah Gaun (lit. twelve villages) region in Mustang district. It is about 10 km from Jomsom. It lies in the popular Annapurna Circuit Trek route and is a gateway to Upper Mustang. It is a fascinating medieval village with closely packed mud-brick houses, dark alleys, and imposing Chhortens. The village stands in a little green oasis dominated by its red monastery. The village maintains the characteristic appearance of a fortress town and is culturally very rich. The town played a very significant role during the "Salt Trade" era that flourished between Tibet and Nepal. 

 Attractions of Kagbeni

Festivals: Kagbeni celebrates four annual festivals, Chhongu (New Year) in January, Dhajyang in April/May, Fangel in August, and Yartung immediately after Fangel. Chhongu is celebrated for 7 days while Dhajyang for 5 days. During these festivals, men test their skills in bow and arrows with a belief that good performance ensures success in the years to come. Fangel is celebrated for good health while Yartung is a traditional horse racing festival. Men in their traditional costume dance praising Kag Khar (royal family) and villagers which is called Bhatein Shayk. Feasting, merrymaking, and drinking local beer -Chhyangis an integral part of all these festivals.

 

Lhungfu Cave: This is a holy Buddhist cave located near Phalyak and Dhakarjhong villages, about two and half-hours walk from Kagbeni. Local people believe that deity of this cave stays there in summer and Gurusangbo Cave (near Kobang) in winter. Many Buddhist pilgrims visit the cave each year and worship here for rain. Padmasambhava (Guru Rimpoche) is said to have meditated in this cave.

 

Phudzeling: This is a site of very interesting archeological excavation, where some of the most important findings for Mustang's archeology have been made. Some of the findings are displayed in Mustang Eco Museum in Puthang, Jomsom airport (Five minutes' walk south from Jomsom airport). The ruined settlements and caves stand as the evidence to ancient civilization of the Muktinath valley. The present Kagbeni was shifted from here. It is about an hour walk along Jhong River, located opposite to Khinga.

 

Marpha (The town of Apple Orchards)

The village of Marpha is located at an altitude of 2,650 meters in the Kali Gandaki valley of the Annapurna Conservation Region in the Mustang District in northern Nepal. Marpha is notable for its many-storied old stone houses, built by hand without benefit of mud or mortar, and for the delicious apples grown in the lush valley that snakes between the Nilgiri and Dhaulagiri Himalayan ranges. The main attraction of Marpha is numerous beautiful apple orchards. Harvesting time is September. A pleasant walk in the field and the village gives an insight into traditional village life. Women are seen traditionally like Nhakun Chulo, Tutum with jewelry during the festival, and social events.

 Attractions of Marpha

Rhisum Gompa: Rhisum Gompa is a big, triangular-shaped white stone seen to the north of the village, on the hill about 50 meters higher. “Rhisum” means Long life and “Gompa “means holy place. Usually, worshipping takes place during the change of “Mukhiya” (village leader). The place offers an excellent view of Marpha village.

 

Chhertosum (Marpha Hill): Situated at an altitude of 4360m, Marpha hill is a suitable place for a daylong side trip. It takes 4 to 5 hours to get there. Its main attractions are the numerous Yaks, grazing on a beautiful high altitude pasture (called "Yak Kharka"). It is a gateway to Dhaulagiri base camp and Hidden valley, offers bird's eye view of Muktinath and other villages, and the overwhelming views of Mt. Nilgiri (7060 m), Tilicho Peak (7139 m), Yak Kawa (6482 m), Mesokanto La (pass to reach Tilicho Lake, the highest lake in the world).

 

Marpha Village: The village is characterized by traditional flat mud roofed house with piles of firewood neatly stacked upon it. Wooden carved windows, long main spotless flagstones, and paved alleys are some of the unique features of Marpha. It is worth visiting a small library at the center of the village or horticulture farm on the southern end of it.

 

Tashi Lha Khang Gompa: This is the monastery of the Karma-Pa sect located at the center of the village. The monastery was built more than 200 years ago. Being an offshoot of the Karma-Pa Kagyut-Pa sect foundation of Sam telling of Mustang. It is also known as Samteling Gompa of Marpha. The Monastery depicts images of Amitabha (Red Buddha), Chenresig (Avalikiteswora), Channa Dorje (Vajrapani), and Guru Rimpoche (Padmasambhava) along with other deities and beautiful frescoes. Visitors might encounter Dhekep, a masked dance performed by monks in October/November.

 

Muktinath Temple

Situated at an altitude of 3,710 meters (12,172 feet) at the base of the Thorong La mountain pass in the Mustang district, Muktinath is a highly venerated sacred place for both Hindus and Buddhists. Hindus call the site Mukti Kshetra, which means the "place of salvation" and it is one of the most ancient temples of the God Vishnu and the Vaishnava tradition in Nepal. Behind the temple is a semi-circular wall with 108 stone faucets at a height of seven feet. The faucets all have the same shape as the head of a bull and are separated by approximately one foot. Buddhists call Muktinath Chumming Gyatsa, which in Tibetan means 'Hundred Waters'. The site is believed to be a manifestation of Avalokitesvara, the Bodhisattva of Compassion and Virtue. The Tibetan Buddhist tradition states that Guru Rimpoche, also known as Padmasambhava, the founder of Tibetan Buddhism, meditated here on his way to Tibet. After completing prayers and worship at the Muktinath temple many pilgrims, both Hindu and Buddhist, visit Mebar Lha Gomba, the small monastery of `miraculous fire', which is situated near the entrance gate of the temple. This monastery, dedicated to Guru Rimpoche (Padmasambhava) and containing a statue of the Buddhist deity Chenrezig (Avalokitesvara), is famous for its continuously burning natural gas fire, which Hindus worship as Jwala Mai, the Goddess of Fire.

 

Lo Manthang

Lo Manthang (3,800m) is an isolated Tibetan settlement that was founded in 1380 and Capital ancient city of Upper Mustang. It is 90 kilometers from Jomsom. The city was one of the kingdoms when Nepal was in a monarchy system. The village is covered by the wall so that Lo Manthang is also called a walled city of Upper Mustang. Further to Korala is about 20 kilometers which are Tibetan boarder. Local peoples are still trading goods via this route from Tibet. Lo-manthang culturally rich as Tibetan origin. The area is mostly held by ethnic group Lhobas, which cultures are similar to Tibetan. About twelve caves discovered near Lo Manthang village which is ancient Buddhist paintings and set in sheer cliffs at 14,000 feet. Silver and gold painting contains in Tibetan script shows dates of the 13th century. Most of the paintings are in Newari influence. Decorative caves are rich in art and painting depicting various forms of Buddha. Many Buddhist Stupas found inside the caves. The village is noted for its tall whitewashed mud-brick walls, gompas and the Raja's or Royal or King's Palace, a nine-cornered, five-story structure built around 1400. There are four major temples: Jampa Lhakhang or Jampa Gompa, the oldest, built in the early 15th century and also known as the "God house"; Thubchen Gompa, a huge, red assembly hall and gompa built in the late 15th century and located just southwest of Jampa Gompa; Chodey Gompa, now the main city gompa; and the Choprang Gompa, which is popularly known as the "New Gompa".

 

Mustang Caves

Mustang Caves or Sky Caves of Nepal are a collection of some 10,000 man-made caves dug into the sides of valleys in the Mustang District of Nepal. Several groups of archaeologists and researchers have explored these stacked caves and found partially mummified human bodies and skeletons that are at least 2,000–3,000 years old. Explorations of these caves by conservators and archaeologists have also led to the discovery of valuable Buddhist paintings, sculptures, manuscripts, and numerous artifacts belonging to the 12th to 14th century. The caves lie on the steep valley walls near the Kali Gandaki River in Upper Mustang.

 

Damodar Kunda

Damodar Kunda trekking is a less frequented restricted trekking route in the Annapurna Mustang region. Damodar Kunda trek offers superb panoramic views whole Annapurna range, lush valleys, beautiful landscape, Tibetan monasteries. On your three-weeks, long trek to Damodar Kunda, explore the Upper Mustang Region and learn a lot about Tibetan Buddhism. It lies at an altitude of 4,890 m at the rain Shadow of Annapurna region. Damodar Kunda holds strong value among Hindus. Every year in the full moon of August, hundreds of pilgrims go to Damodar Kunda to pay homage to Lord Shiva. On your way to Damodar Kunda, you will get breathtaking views of mountains like Dhaulagiri, Nilgiri, Annapurna, and more. As you walk through the remote upper Mustang region, you will get a chance to explore the unique culture, tradition, and lifestyle of the people of Upper Mustang. Lo-Manthang - the ancient walled city is another attraction of this trek. From Damodar Kund, the views are great from some viewpoints a bit higher than the lakes, just a short climb up some of the hills offer the Tibetan plateau & Damodar Himal to the north and the Annapurna Himalayan massive to the south.

 

Thini Village

Thini is the most important village in the lower part of the Mustang in terms of culture. The village is naturally beautiful with landscape and the scenery and it has a complex biodiversity as well. The endangered carnivore species, the queen of the mountain – the snow leopard can be found in the pasture land of the Thini. Given the proximity of the ruined fortress of Garab Dzong which used to be the seat of power before things settled down enough for people to start residing alongside the river. Thini is one of the oldest settlements in the region. It offers some site trips and attractions as well such as; Kuchep Terenga Monastery, Dhumba Lake, Leopard Cave, Yharu-Zhu viewpoint, Thakali Museum, Eco-Grow Mustang, Nilgiri Base camp, Neramakhu Pasture, Yungdung (Bon) Monastery.

 

Thasang Village

Thasang Village is located along the Annapurna trekking route, one of the most famous and scenic destinations of Nepal is next to Tukuche. It offers a marvelous 360°view with Dhaulagiri, Tukuche peak, the Kali Gandaki River and the Nilgiris in full splendor. The neighboring villages include Naurikot (2,730m), Larjung (2,550m), Khobang (2,550m), and Tukuche are collectively referred to as Thasang by the Thakali people. Naurikot is an old typical Thakali village high above the Kali Gandaki valley. It is a wonderful place with one of the best mountain panoramic views. The village is also interesting as a gateway to one of the holiest places in Lower Mustang, the caves of Guru Sampo. Naurikot also has a Bonpo Monastery which the caretaker claims is older than the one at Lubra which is dated at around 1200 AD.

Moreover, there are many other tourist spots and adventure activities that are introducing to the tourism markets. The places here listed can play the important to describe the potential of tourism development as well as to attract the domestic as well as international tourists. The brief information supports to explore those places, culture, and tradition in the national as well as international tourism markets. 

If you have any queries or need any support, please comment here. If you are planning to make your trip to Nepal, I shall be grateful to help you to organize your trip of Nepal. Please connect me via Whatsapp, +977-9860804860.

Suraj Bhattarai

I discovered my passion on travel and Tourism Sector and had started to write travel blogs since 2018 with the aim to promote the Tourism of Nepal in national and international level of tourism market. I am also a government certified Trekking Guide of Nepal.

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