Manaslu & Ganesh Himal
The big mountain scenery of Manaslu and Ganesh is astonishing. There’s the two-horned massif of Manaslu (8156m), the circumnavigation of which is a meditation on the wonders of Himalayan geology. There’s Ganesh Himal (7406m), named for the serpentine southern ridge that evokes the elephant-headed Hindu god of good fortune. And then there’s Himalchuli (7893m), which rises an incredible 7000m from the Marsyangdi River. Nestled in between these Himalayan giants are villages that draw from Hindu and Buddhist influences. Add a sprinking of butterflies amidst forests from sal to pine, and you’ll be convinced you’ll catch a sight of the shy red panda.
The Manaslu and Ganesh region is poised between past and future – the villages still unfrequented, but already welcoming visitors – now is the time to go for a taste of the unbeaten trail in the next trekker’s Mecca.
Manaslu and Ganesh have long been overshadowed by the established trekking regions to either side. But both the ‘spirit mountain’ and the ‘elephant mountain’ are so spectacular, and so easily accessible by bus, it’s a mystery why it’s taken so long for guides and trekkers to discover them.
Manaslu lies north of the historic fortress town of Gorkha, from where the last kings of Nepal ventured forth to conquer the rest of the country in the 18th Century. The Manaslu Circuit has recently become a teahouse trek, opening up the misty wood-shingled villages of the Nupri Valley. But hikers are free to explore the many other trails being forged right now. The Tsum Valley trek has beautiful views of the four 7000m peaks of the Ganesh massif, and visitors can experience the distinct Tibetan-influenced culture of the Tsumba people, who prohibit the slaughter of all living beings.No doubt this enhances the protection afforded to such endangered species as the Snow Leopard and the Red Panda.
You can also enjoy a culturally enchanting homestay with the Tamangs, the original horse traders of Nepal. The adventurous can venture higher for a ‘walk in the clouds’ above Tiru Danda, from where gorgeous views stretch from the Annapurnas to Ganesh Himal.
With a variety to rival the Annapurna region, it’s no exaggeration to say Manaslu’s time has come. Forget the jams of the more established routes. Barring the busy teahouses, you’ll have the trails here mostly to yourself – if you don’t mind sharing it with blue sheep, langurs, yaks andthe myriad butterflies weaving in and out of the thundering waterfalls.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.
Tourism entrepreneurs, government officials and the locals are gearing up to intensely promote Gorkha as a tourism destination. With Mt. Manaslu, the Manaslu Circuit trek, the Tsum Valley, Nubri trek and the Manakamana Temple, the Gorkha and Manaslu region has a lot to offer.
…and a big thank you to plate tectonics for creating such beauty 55 million years ago!” So spoke my geophysicist friend, Raimon, summing up for the benefit of the camera. After a fortnight of tramping around the big mountain scenery of the Manaslu Circuit
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.
The Annapurna Circuit trek is legendary. It has a little of everything: a deep river gorge, beautiful traditional villages, the desert-like landscape of Lower Mustang , of course, mountains in abundance. But these days it is increasingly offering more roads.
Treks in this Region
- The highest peak in this region is Manaslu, which at 8163m is the 8th highest peak in the world
- Ganesh Himal is named after the Hindu God of Good Fortune. The Tiru Danda offers breath taking views of it.
- The area is highly diverse, being home to Brahmin, Chhetri, Tamang, Magar, Tibetan and Gurung peoples
- Manaslu was first climbed on May 9, 1956 by Toshio Imanishi from Japan and Gyalzen Norbu of Nepal
- The region shelters endangered animals such as the snow leopard and red pandas – especially in the northern reaches as Buddhist Lamas prohibit the killing of animals.
- A hidden gem here is the Tsum Valley. Really worth a visit.