Memorable Journeys through the Highest Passes in the World
At Himalayan Traveller, we organize trekking journeys to exceptional off the beaten path destinations with quality logistics, professional staff and good food to ensure that your trekking journey will remain memorable!
In order to minimise our impacts on the fragile Himalayan ecosystem and to give you the oppoortunity to fully immerse yourself within the cultures and environments that you visit, the expedition groups will always be small.
Mustang Cultural Trek
Duration : 23 days
Difficulty : Medium
Max Altitude : All must 4000m
Accomodation : Hotel/Lodge
Start Date : 27/12/2020
Price per Person: 2645 €
Upper Mustang trekking in Nepal was officially opened in 1992. Particularly limited numbers of trekkers are only allowed each year. Thus to protect and conserve the local Tibetan tradition and the fragile environment. Mustang trek unfolds the fabled forbidden kingdom’s vast and arid valleys, eroded canyons, yak caravans. Amazing landscape, Further more the colourful – painted mud brick houses next to majestic mountain of Nilgiri, Annapurna, Dhaulagiri ranges.
The remote and mysterious region of Mustang is situated in the far north of Nepal, beyond the mountain giants of Dhaulagiri and Annapurna, and extending into the highlands of Tibet. It is a vast, high, arid valley characterised by eroded canyons and colourful stratified rock formations with a barren, desert-like appearance fringed by snow-capped peaks. Lying in the rain shadow of the Himalaya it is an ideal region to explore in the summer, outside of the normal Nepal trekking season
- Visit a small Buddhist kingdom that until relatively recently was closed to the outside world.
- Attractive Tibetan-style villages with a strong, well preserved Tibetan culture and intriguing long-abandoned cliff dwellings and ancient cave monasteries.
- A dramatic desert landscape with incredible ‘organ-pipe’ cliffs, set against a backdrop of the mighty snow-capped Himalaya.
- While on trek stay in charming teahouses, small hotels and lodges
- hotels in Kathmandu and Pokhara and a combination of teahouses and lodges on trek.
Upper Mustang lies in the rain shadow of the Himalaya, making it a great monsoon trek and open year-round for trekking. The main consideration is the winter, when most residents leave the capital to avoid the cold and snow. Generally, the best time to visit Upper Mustang is from March to early November.
WHY WAS THE UPPER MUSTANG REGION RESTRICTED?
Upper Mustang Permit Cost in Summary:
- Restricted Permit Cost: $500 per person for 10 days. If longer is required, an additional $50 per day is charged
- ACAP Permit: $20 per person.
New Dolpo Gyaekochen Trek
Duration : 4 weeks
Difficulty : Medium
Max Altitude : 5800m
Accomodation : Hotel & Camping
Start Date : 14/08/2021
Price per Person: 4550€
Dolpo Trek is meant for real adventurers wishing for an off-the-beaten-track experience. The trek passes through Shey-Phoksundo National Park, with spectacular mountain scenery, Buddhist monasteries and yak caravans. Our trek through a wooded area, then through rugged canyons in the barren plateau near the border with Tibet. Experience the high altitude tundra and rocks and the microclimate of Lower Dolpo and Phoksundo, with the cold air of the glaciers of Kanjiroba.
The Dolpo Trek is a more moderate trek through Dolpo with its maximum elevation at the Numa La (5238m). It is still high and remote, though. The main attractions are the lively local culture, the charming turquoise lake of Phoksundo (the deepest lake of Nepal) and the snow-capped Himalayan peaks. The locals believe that the lake is the manifestation of a popular female deity, Tara.
Trip Highlights of New Dolpo Gyaekochen trek.
- Adventurous trek to the remote Himalayan region of Nepal.
- Insight into unique Bon and Buddhism culture.
- Visit to the majestic Phoksundo Lake and pristine mountain views.
Phoksumdo (Phug gsum mdo)
Phoksumdo ( Phug gsum mdo ) “the hollow where three rivers meet” refers to the turquoise-colored lake, surrounded by cliffs on three of its sides, whose water flows into the valley through a 150 m high waterfall.
Phoksumdo, a story of communities.
The inhabitants of Phoksumdo belong to a small community, speaking Tibetan and of Bon religion; the two main villages being Tsho (t sho yul ) and Pugmo ( spung mo ). These two communities form the administrative unit called the Phoksumdo Village Development Committee (VDC).
Tsho or Tsho Yul, the “village of the lake” is the local name of the village called Ringmo or Reng on Nepalese maps.
The two villages also form a cultural unit called Reng spung mo whose inhabitants only marry each other, practicing a strict endogamy which notably excludes the inhabitants of Tibetan culture from the villages of the upper Dolpo. This restriction is surprising because, historically, it is possible to trace the origin of some clans of Reng spung mo to scions of Tibetan clans of Dolpo. Likewise the böns gompas of Pugmo, Tsho but also Dho / Tarap and Tsharka are secondary creations of the monastery of Samling, itself a secondary foundation of the Bön monastery of Lubra in Mustang.
Despite the fact that, according to legend, a Bon sage: Drenpa Namkha pacified the region of Pugmo and a Buddhist saint Padmasmabhava did the same in Tsho, the inhabitants of the two villages now follow the rites of the Bon faith.
The belief in gods of the territory ( yul lha) is common and the existing relations between these gods help to unite the two communities.
This unity is reflected in marriage practices but also in the joint participation in festivals intended to honor the yul lha , in pilgrimages (Lama Chumik and Jagdul), in the existence of a specific dialect (Phoksumdo-ke) differing largely dialects spoken in the villages of upper Dolpo, further north.
Initially this area was populated successively by members of several Tibetan clans from Tibet, Mustang and western Nepal. These different migrations gradually united to form a religious, economic entity differentiating itself from the neighboring populations.
According to oral tradition, the valley where Pugmo is located was visited for the first time by the sage Bönpo Drenpa Namkha . Riding a ray of sunshine, he applied himself to defeating the local gods, demons and spirits ( yul sa, sadak, gzhi bdak etc.) inhabiting the mountains, valleys, rivers and forests of the region by transforming them into protectors of the Bönpo doctrine.
Bon or Buddhism, Matri or Mani, from the right or from the left?
This text by Etienne Principaud “enlightens” us on the complexity of a striking element of the sacred landscape of the Tibetan cultural sphere, the walls of Mani (which can therefore be walls of Matri )
Bon and Buddhism at Dolpo.
The coexistence between Bonpos and Buddhists in Dolpo is reflected in the sacred landscape of the villages.
The chörtens and matri walls built by the bönpos must thus be bypassed on the right, while the mani walls belonging to the Buddhist religion must be bypassed on the left .
Beware of errors of meaning when crossing the villages!
If one wants to look carefully at the mantras engraved on the stones of the walls, it is possible to define their belonging.
The most important mantra of the Buddhist religion is the famous “Om mani pèmé hung”
This is the six syllable mantra of the boddhisatva of compassion Avalokitesvara (Chenrezi) .
It is easily recognizable.
Its translation roughly means “homage to the jewel of the lotus” and more precisely “the jewel in the lotus” .
Each of its six syllables called bija, symbolizes one of the domains or kingdoms of existence, from the paradises of the devas to the hell. It is therefore to the entire universe that the practitioner sends his compassion.
The most famous mantra of the Bon religion is ” om ma tri mu ye sa le dhu “
Om represents Tonpa Shenrab, the founder of Bön.In Bonpo representations, the syllable Om is five colors corresponding to the five wisdoms and the five elements.Ma represents Sherab Chamma, the loving mother, female counterpart of Tonpa Shenrab. Ma also symbolizes clarity and wisdom and Om symbolizes emptiness and method.From the union of the two emanates the following six seed syllables symbolizing the Buddhas of the six realms of existence. Together also defined under the name of the six teachers of the discipline Dulwa Shen Drug represented in the center of the “wheels of life” bönpos
how to “open” a new trekking route in the heart of Dolpo and above all share information so that the Gyaekochen Trek becomes a classic trek or at least, a little frequented and appreciated. It takes time for a new hiking route to emerge and the idea for this Gyaekochen trek was born during the descent of the putha hiunchuli in the fall of 2016 while taking photos of a small summit north of kakkot that I had never noticed before….
Despite the altitude, the trail to the Gyaekochen Pass 5318 m is very simple.Take the slightly steep trail on the other side of the khola. It leads through pastures then remains on the left bank of the valley on a shoulder. Descend slightly to a river and go up the stony valley opposite, it ends on the large flat area with the two lakes. The last climb to the pass seems steep with slabs, but still very pleasant. The pass is easily crossed. Of course, with prayer flags. Descend slightly and cross ascending to the right to cross the second pass a little higher. Locate the mule trail towards a ridge and join it as best as possible. From the pass, either descend directly if there is no snow. In case of snow…, go up the ridge for about 100 m until you can cross into a large valley, descend into this scree valley then, absolutely cross to the right (towards the pass) to take the classic descent path. It rejoins the flat of the valley which must be descended as simply as possible.
Lower and Upper Dolpo, Means of transport used in Nepal.
Dolpo is a difficult region to access, unless you have several extra weeks to travel on foot from Darbang to Dunai via Dhorpatan and the Jangla Pass. And despite the progress of the Nepalese road network which is progressing slowly towards Dunai and towards Dho.
But the road (in reality, a more or less rough track depending on the season!) Will only make the organization of the logistics a little easier for the Nepalese team.
For us, the duration of the journey but especially the discomfort of the bus trip, causes too much fatigue for a start to a stay at altitude. Which is incompatible with good acclimatization.
And I’m not even talking about the anguish when the bus wheel passes 10 cm from a precipice, on an unstable shoulder.
The use of domestic air flights remains the most relevant solution ( not to say compulsory ).
Obviously there are meteorological hazards because these are small mountain airfields requiring visual flight, and for that we have planned extra days, “of safety”.
Manaslu Circuit Trek
Duration : 3 weeks
Difficulty : Medium
Max Altitude: 5160m
Accomodation : Lodge/comping
Start Date: 13/03/2021
Price per Person: 1785 €
Manaslu region is located in Central of Nepal and was opened to trekkers only in 1991. But lots of mountaineering expedition teams had access for long time. In 1950 a group headed by H.W. Tilman trekked this area for the first time and ever since then this area has been quite popular. This area is still restricted to a limited number of groups and only organized trekkers in groups can trek in this area.