The Tsum Valley and Manaslu, for lovers of nature and Buddhist culture

The Tsum Valley and Manaslu, for lovers of nature and Buddhist culture

The Tsum Valley in Nepal is a beautiful area situated behind the Manaslu, one of the giants of the Himalayan Mountains. The majority of the population here is Tibetan. Here is also the Manaslu, an impressive mountain of 8,163 meters high. This region is, certainly in comparison with the Everest Region, still very quiet. A beautiful trek that you can make here is the Manaslu Circuit Trek. A beautiful trek for the real adventurers but also for those who love Buddhist culture.

About Tsum Valley

The Tsum Valley is a side valley of the Manaslu region. The local people, called Tsumbas, also call the valley ‘the hidden valley of happiness’. The name ‘Tsum’ is derived from the Tibetan word ‘Tsombo’. This means alive.

The inhabitants of the valley still have their own culture which is full of traditions. The Tsumba people speak their own language and they still know the polyandry system, a form of polygamy. For years and years several very colorful and lively festivals have been organized. Some well-known examples are Dhacyhang, Lhosar, Fanning and Saka Dawa.

For a long time the Tsum Valley has remained a very isolated region, not only geographically, but also culturally. This of course has everything to do with the fact that it is a very remote area.

Because of this the Tsum Valley is still a very unspoilt area. This is not only in terms of flora and fauna. You will also find many remains of religious and archaeological buildings, such as various historic Buddhist monasteries, stupas and chortens. This is not surprising, because for the Buddhists the Tsum Valley is one of the most sacred areas.

This is the reason that many Tibetans still live here, mainly in the upper part of Buri Gandaki. This area is also called Nupri or ‘the Western Mountains’. They are descendants of immigrants from neighboring Tibet, who moved here over 400 years ago. The connection with Tibet is still very strong. This is not only expressed in the accent that the Tsumba’s speak, but also in the typical clothing style. There has always been trade with Tibet.

The Manaslu Circuit Trek

The Tsum Valley is one of the most authentic regions of Nepal. The unspoilt nature and many historical religious buildings make it a very special area to trek. The most famous trek is the Manaslu Circuit Trek. This extremely beautiful trekking route that leads you straight through the Tsum valley has only recently been set up. In 2008, the first trekkers were allowed to enter the area.

During this special adventure you will trek through the very rugged Budri Gandaki valley. From here you walk on to the Nupri valley, which lies beyond Manaslu. You will pass through beautiful forests full of rhododendrons. Especially in April, these are beautifully coloured. Spring is also the best period to make this trip. The conditions are then the most ideal and nature is beautiful. You can also choose to go in the autumn. Also the temperature is excellent. The biggest advantage of this period is that the sky is very clear and you have an excellent view of the mountains.

On the way you will also pass many authentic Tibetan villages and the famous mani walls with the characteristic prayer wheels. The most spectacular part of the trip is the crossing of the Larkya La pass at an altitude of 5,100 meters. Almost everywhere during the trip you have a great view of the giants of the Himalayas, such as the Manaslu, Manaslu North and Naike Peak.

Manaslu, mountain of the soul

The most appealing mountain in this area is of course the Manaslu. This impressive mountain is, with a height of 8,163 meters, in the top 10 highest mountains in the world. The name Manaslu comes from Sanskrit and is derived from the word Manasa, which means ‘soul’. Manaslu thus stands for ‘Mountain of the soul’. It is also called Kutange.

The Manaslu is located in the region of Gorkha Himal. This is the northern part of Nepal in the province of Gandaki Pradesh, less than twenty kilometers from the border with Tibet. Unlike Mount Everest, for example, the Manaslu was a great unknown for a long time.

It wasn’t until 1950 that British expedition leader Tilman was one of the very first visitors to the region to come face to face with Manaslu. Tilman had the idea that you could reach the summit via a northwestern route. In years that followed, several explorations were carried out by Japanese expeditions. They hoped to find routes that would lead to the top of the mountain.

It took until May 1956 before Manaslu was conquered. However, not, as Tilman suspected, via a northwestern route, but via the northeastern route. It was the Japanese Maki Yūkō who led this Japanese expedition. The main participants in the expedition were his compatriots Kiishiro Kato, Toshio Imanishi, Minoru Higeta, and the sherpa Gyaldzen Norbu. It was Toshio Imanishi who, along with Gyaldzen Norbu, arrived at the top first.

How to reach Tsum Valley?

If you want to go hiking in the Tsum Valley, you first have to fly from our country to the capital Kathmandu. This is a fairly long flight with a stopover. Read in advance well the passenger rights delay but also cancellations are unfortunately still common.

The Tsum Valley is located about 120 kilometers northwest of Kathmandu. From the airport or your hotel in Kathmandu you go by minibus or car to Gorkha. From Gorkha you then travel on towards the Tsum Valley where the starting point of the Manaslu Circuit Trek is located. Take into account that this will be a long trek and that the comfort is not very comfortable.  Once you have arrived, however, the reward is great.

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