© Dmitri Alexander
Humla is the most remote district in Nepal, and one of the poorest. There are few tourists, and those you meet will most likely be headed to the border town of Hilsa, a stepping-stone to Mount Kailash in Tibet.
From the district capital of Simikot, spread across a ridge at 2900m, the Great Himalaya Trail follows the old salt trading route to Tibet. The trail threads along towering green cliffs above the roaring Karnali, the longest river in Nepal. You’ll pass clusters of flat-roofed mud houses, encountering Thakuri women wearing heavy gold and silver jewellery, and Thakuri men leading flocks of long-haired goats up and down the muddy trail to Tibet.
As you approach Hilsa and the northwestern border, the landscape becomes drier, and the context, Buddhist. It’s possible to turn southeast into the Limi Valley’s incredible red rockscapes and mediaeval stone villages. Beyond lies aglacial valley below the 5000m Nyalu pass, with the aquamarine Tshom Tsho Lake providing remarkable contrast with the burnt sienna of the treeless expanses.
The Humli people, like Nepalis across the country, are incredibly diverse. About 85% of the 56,000 people who live in this sparsely populated district are Hindu. Buddhists, some of whom practice polyandry, occupy the highlands. According to anthropologist Carol Dunham:
“Humla is one of the most culturally fascinating places in all of Nepal, a cultural tapestry woven from ancient Khasa kingdoms, ancestors of the grand Zhangzhung kingdom of the north, with Rajput and Thakuri blended into the mix.”View more on Flickr
In addition to capacity building of local service providers like teahouse owners, guides and porters etc., the GHT Development Programme is investing in infrastructure development in the countries' emerging trekking destinations in East and West Nepal.
The head of UKAID Nepal, GHTDPs funding partner, visited Humla recently to follow-up on the progress made by the programme and the positive impacts of the Great Himalaya Trail on the livelihoods of local people in this impoverished region of Nepal. We met with him upon his return to Kathma...
This trek is the shortest but one of the most culturally rich trips you can do in Humla. The valley is reached in a day’s walk from Simikot. Nyinba, a Bhotia community also called Bara-Thapalya...
In his novel "Little Princes", American Connor Grennan, a former volunteer in the Little Princes Orphanage in war-torn Nepal, reveals the destiny of the so-called "Lost children" and takes readers on a journey to Humla and along on his mission to reunite the "little princes" with their fam...
55-year old German Gerda Pauler embarked on an epic journey on the Upper Great Himalaya Trail to raise awareness and funds for the Nepalese NGO Autism Care Nepal, an active organisation supporting parents of autistic children in Nepal.
Treks in this Region
- Humla is often known as the ‘Hidden Himalaya’ due to its remoteness
- The highest mountains of the region are Mt Api (7132m) and Mount Saipal (7031m)
- scape is part of a sacred Buddhist mandala, which has its centre at Mt Kailash and points in the surrounding landscape, stretching for hundreds of kilometres, corresponding to spiritual concepts
- Buddhist families practise polyandry, or the practise of a woman marrying a family of brothers. This has the practical benefits of preserving land in the family and keeping population down and Buddhist families are often more wealthy than the Hindu families of the region
- The ancient salt trade has traditionally been carried on goats rather than Yaks or mules as in other parts of Nepal