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Manaslu

Lying to the west of the popular Annapurna Himal in west-central Nepal Himalayas, Manaslu region is a relatively untouched, restricted area full of mystery, charm and sensational scenery just waiting for the intrepid adventurer to explore. Entering Manaslu is like stepping back in time as you follow an ancient salt-trading route that snakes along the sides of Budhi Gandaki, a tributary of the larger Gandaki before crossing Larkya Glacier and rapidly descending to connect with the Annapurna trail. There are two main ethnic groups inhabiting the Manaslu region: Tsum and Nubri. Of these, the Tsum have remained a relatively untouched traditional culture and can be best appreciated by including a visit to their secluded valley, one of the eight sacred valleys known as “beyuls” in the inner Himalayas and its century old Tibetan traditions, as part of your adventure.
Manaslu Circuit is a 177 kilometre walking trail which was recently included in the Great Himalaya Trail; it circumnavigates the mighty Mount Manaslu (8156m) and offers a plentitude of options for side trails and camping. In addition, a collection of basic teahouses have also popped up along the trail to ensure that Manaslu is more accessible to the traveller. From the viewpoint of the 5160 metre Larkya Pass, a glacial saddle and the highest point on the trail you will be overwhelmed by the sensation of feeling on top of the world: gleaming white walls with jagged peaks as far as the eye can see. To the east you will see Ganesh Himal and the Buri Gandaki River gorge, while to the west the deep fissures of Marshyangdi Khola accompanied by the Annapurna range of hills.
The two-horned Mount Manaslu is coined from a Sanskrit word “manasa” meaning intellect or soul. In the Tibetan language the region is known as “Kutan I” where “tang” means flat place. As you trek in and around the circuit you will become mesmerised by the massif which is seemingly sculptured into a serrated wall go snow and ice hanging in the sky. Added to this are the ten peaks of over 6500 metres that add to the fabric of the rugged, snow-capped mountain environment. It is little wonder that many efforts have been made to sustainably manage this wonder and so the 1663 square kilometre Manaslu Conservation Area was declared in 1998. The area is not only abundant in natural beauty but also in rich cultural heritage with different ethnic groups scattered across the trail.
Manaslu region may be dominated by some towering giants but it also offers a range of climatic zones and ecosystems that will keep you equally captivated. From the trailhead of Gorkha (also known as Arughat) to the Larkya Pass you will find six zones ranging from sub-tropical foothills (1000m – 2000m), temperate (2000m – 3000m), sub-alpine (3000m – 4000m),alpine meadows (4000m – 5000m) to the extreme conditions experienced in the arctic zone beyond 4500 metres. The dominant vegetation as classified into low hill, middle mountain and high mountain types. In particular, the valley basin has a rich biodiversity which includes 19 different types of forests although rhododendron and Himalayan blue pine are the most common. Moreover, the landscape is accentuated by long ridges and glacial valleys which create endless opportunities for trails. To really feel like you are walking on clouds we can achieve this by taking you to the heights of Tiru Danda.
Manaslu region is the home to many endangered animals such as snow leopards and pandas and other exotic animals including Lynx, Himalayan Black Bear, Grey Wolf, Dhole, Assamese Monkey, Himalayan Musk Deer, Blue Sheep, Himalayan tahr, Mainland Serow, Himalayan Ghoral, Wooly Hare, Horseshoe Bat and Black Lipped Pika. If that isn’t enough fauna to feast your eyes on, Manaslu also has over 110 bird species featuring golden eagles, griffons, pheasants, 33 mammal, 11 butterflies and 3 reptile varieties recorded. Partnerships with monasteries to impose hunting bans has been particularly effective in allowing wildlife to prosper.
Overall, Manaslu is a stunning region invoking mystery in its unusual geography and local superstitions. Trekking here is pure meditation for the mind and body as you contemplate the eighth highest mountain and its many surrounding peaks such as Ganesh Himal (7406m) which is so named for its southern ridge which conjures the image of Ganesh, the elephant-headed Hindu god of good fortune and Himalchuli (7893m).

Manaslu Circuit Trek

19 Days

Price: USD 1650 Entering Manaslu is like stepping back in time as you follow an ancient salt-trading route that snakes along the sides of Budhi Gandaki, a tributary of the larger Gandaki before crossing Larkya Glacier and rapidly descending to connect with the Annapurna trail.

Manaslu Tsum Valley Trek

22 Days

Price: USD 2100Entering Manaslu is like stepping back in time as you follow an ancient salt-trading route that snakes along the sides of Budhi Gandaki, a tributary of the larger Gandaki before crossing Larkya Glacier and rapidly descending to connect with the Annapurna trail.