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Tsum Valley was a restricted area until it was opened for trekking in 2008. The word "Tsum" comes from the Tibetan language "Tsombo" which means vivid. The Valley of Himalayan pilgrimage, Tsum Valley is situated in northern Gorkha district of Nepal. The trail heads up the valley of the Budi Gandaki River through wild and unexplored country inhabited mainly by members of the Gurung ethnic groups. Good cup of the local cultivated natural coffee and Tatopani hot springs will help you to relax on this intensive trial. Upper Tsum valley (part of the Inner Himalaya) open from Chhokangparo, where hospitable local people (Tibetan group "Tsombo") welcome you with traditional Tibetan Chiya (butter tea) and local meal. The Tsum Valley is extremely rich in cultural assets. The valley is dotted with gompas (Buddhist monasteries), chortens and mani walls. The longest mani walls (over 250m) are at Dzong and Phurpe. The valley preserves steps of the great Buddhist Yogi Chyuchin Milarepa and story about Guru Padmasambhava circumbulation. The people here never slaughter animals, even as sacrifice to the gods. The Tsum Valley is surrounded by the Buddha Himal and Himal Chuli to the west, Ganesh Himal to the south, and Sringi Himal to the North.People in Tsum Valley still practice polyandry system and they have their own unique culture, tradition, and dialect. They celebrate unique festival like Lhosar, Dhacyhang, Saka Dawa, Faning & others. Many residents of this valley reported that they have seen or found the signs of Mehti, commonly referred as the Yeti or 'Abominable Snowman'.
The Tsum Valley has long history of Buddhism; Buddhist saint Milarewa is believed to be meditated in the caves of these mountains. Traditionally, the valley was a culturally distinct geographical called “Tsum Tso Chuksum”, which means thirteen provinces ruled as a single territory. The ancient remains of the Tsum Kingdom are still visible today. Due to its remoteness and inaccessibility, this sacred valley and its people have been bypassed by mainstream development for centuries. As a result, the unique culture of this valley has remained intact.
The valley is drained by the Shear Khola, which originates from the western glacier of Ganesh Himal and east and southern glaciers of Sringi Himal and meets the Budhi Gandaki at Nyak.
Arrive to Kathmandu, an exciting and memorable experience with the panoramic view of snow-capped Himalayan range greets your sight.
Independent Himalayan Adventure's Airport Representative will meet you at the airport and take you to your hotel.
Sightseen tours of Kathmandu including Pashupatinath Temple, Bouddhanath Stupa and Swoyambhunath Stupa.
Pashupatinath Temple is One of the most sacred Hindu shrine in the world. The two storied pagoda houses a sacred lignum or the phallic symbol of Lord Shiva. Although the temple dates back to the 4th century, it was brought into its present shape in the early 18th century. The temple is most noted for its gold-plated roofs and silver-coated doors.
Bouddhanath Stupa is the world's largest stupa of its kind. The unique aspect of this great Buddhist monument is that it is set in the octagonal mandala design.
Swoyambhunath Stupa is the world's oldest Buddhist shrines, Geologists believe that the Kathmandu Valley was once a lake and legends relate that the hill on which Swoyambhunath stands was an island in that lake.
Drive from Kathmandu to Arughat Bazaar in Gorkha district.. Cross Trishuli River bridge, the drive proceeds to Dhading Beshi passing Muralibhanjyang, Nigalpani, Golbhanjyang, and Taribeshi before finally arriving at Arughat in lower altitudes of 600 meters.
The village of Arughat is in two parts, on opposite sides of the Budii Gandaki. Arughat Bazaar is large, clean and prosperous with hotels and shops selling cloth, food and hardware. It would take us 6 to 8 hours drive
Follow the route first enters the eastern part of Arughat bazaar and turns west across the bridge over Buri Gandaki. The trail further passes through the forest of monkeys to Sante Bazaar (630meters) where you have views of Sringi Himal (7187meters). The trail becomes steeper and crosses the Arkhet Khola on a suspension bridge, before coming to Arkhet (760meters). Descending from the small Magar and Gurung village of Kyorpani (820meters) then you will reach to Soti Khola (710meters).
We trek from Soti Khola to Machha khola (Fish river). The trek crosses the bridge and onwards through the beautiful forest and reaches Khursane (820 meters). The rocky trail climbs up around to the Gurung village of Labubesi in altitudes only 880 meters. Machha khola (930 meters) is a village situated above a stream with the same name.
Today the trail makes some minor ups and down from Machha (machha=fish) Khola village . Crossing Tharo Khola you reach to Kholabesi and climbing over a small ridge, then making another step climb the route reaches Tatopani; where you can relax in the natural hot springs.
From the hot spring Tatopani the trail climbs over the ridge and reaches Dovan (1000m). Cross a 93m long suspension bridge over the Yaru Khola and climb some stone stairs to reach into the Tharo Bharyang. Trekking along the river for a while and climbing through small villages you get to Jagat (1410 meters) which is a beautiful flag stone village.
Slowly climb over a rocky ridge to salleri (1440m) where you have excellent views of Sringi Himal. The trail descends to Setibas (1430m) and climbing some while you reach to Ghatta Khola.From here you climb up to Philim; a large Gurung village. You will see the Manaslu Conservation area Project (MCAP )headquarters. Turn your trek to the north and you will reach to Ekle Bhatti (1600 meters).
The steeps enter to uninhabited gorge of Buri Gandaki, cross metal bridge of Buri Gandaki, the trail to Manaslu leads its way up the western side offering a pleasant walk through bamboo forests to the Deng Khola and to the tiny village of Deng (1800 meters) but our way would be divert to the Tsum Valley trek ways to Chumling in altitudes of 2363 meters ( Lower Tsum). Our overnight stay for the night at Chumling. There are several good campsites at Chumling.
Chumling to Chhokangparo (3010m.) (Upper Tsum) will take us 5 to 6 hours on trekking.
From Chumling we trek to Chhokangparo; Upper Tsum valley (part of the Inner Himalaya) open from Chhokangparo.Chhekamparo is a village situated on flat land and made up of two settlements Chhekam and Paro. The Ganesh Himal range can be seen from the valley, directly to the south where it provides spectacular views of the Baudha and Himal chuli peaks to the south-west. Some households in this village practice polyandry.
Chhokangparo to Chhule-Nile (3361m.) From Chhokangparo we trek to Nile Chulle. This is the last village heading north in the upper Tsum Valley. Nile is on the western, sun-side of the Shiar Khola, about 20 minutes walk across from Chhule.
On the way we pass the Piren Phu cave (pigeon cave); is one of the most sacred caves in the Tsum valley. It is located at the foot of a rugged cliff near the village of Burji. Milarepa, the famous Tibetan saint, was believed to have meditated here. There are two separate gumbas attached to the rocky cave. Richly painted Buddhist murals, excellent artistic scripts carved on stones, long prayer flags and significant Buddhists paper scripts make this cave one of the most important socio-cultural asset in the valley. Beautiful views of the Shiar Khola, Rachen Gumba, the mountains and settlements amidst vast agricultural land.
Chhule-Nile to Mu Gompa (3700 m), visit Dhephyudonma Gompa (4060 m) (4 hours)
From Nile the trail gradually ascends to Mu gumba, the largest monastery in the region. Mu Gumba is located at the highest and farthest point in the Tsum valley. Mu Gumba was established in 1895 AD and is situated at an altitude of 3510m.The monastery houses religious books, including Kangyur, a life sized statue of Avalokiteshwara, and images of Guru Padmasambhava and Tara.
Dephyudonma Gumba is one of the oldest monasteries in the Tsum Valley and it is situated in the rugged mountains, a 2 hr walk from the village of Chhule and Nile. The history of this monastery is directly associated with the dawn of Buddhism in the valley. The monastery is run by Lama Serap of Nile Ladrang from the Kangin sect. There are a few campsites and dinking water facilities.
Extra day for excursion Mu Gompa (3700 m), take a hike up Mu Gumba the monastery and reach the base of Pika Himal (4865m). This area is quite close to Tibet and get a good view of the Tibetan peaks as well as the Ganesh Himal range. After the day's excursion we return to our camp at Mu gumba (3700m.).
From Mu Gumba we take the trail to Rachen Gumba (3240m.), a nunnery situated in the Shiar Khola Valley in the foothills of the mountains bordering Nepal and Tibet. Rachen Gumba was established in the year 1905 AD and is one of the largest nunneries in the Tsum valley. It houses nuns belonging to the Ngak-pa sect, which does not allow animal slaughter. The nunnery houses one thousand clay, moulded statues of Avalokiteshwara, a brightly colored, carved throne and pillar, and a large prayer wheel. The interior is richly painted with murals about Buddhism and its history.
From Rachen Gompa we proceed towards Dumje (2440m.), a small village with few houses and adjoining cattle shed. It would take us around 6 to 7 hours.
From Dumje we trek to Philim and cross Ripchet (2468m). On the way we pass one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the Lower Tsum Valley, Samba Tingding Chhupyang.
From Phillim we trek to Tatopani. There is a hot spring at Tatopani. You can relieve your tired muscles by soaking yourself in the hot spring water.
From Tatopani we trek to Soti Khola. We pass through terraced fields and tropical waterfalls and finally arrive our nightstop at the Soti Khola.
As we make our way from Soti Khola to Arughat Bazar, we come to the last leg of our journey where we started our trek from this point.
From Arughat Bazar drive back to Kathmandu (8-9 hours). Check into hotel and celebratory meal in Kathmandu.
A spare or contingency day in case of delays. Free day for shopping in Kathmandu.
Transfer to the International airport with Independent Himalayan Adventure's representative for your onward journey. (Or stay longer for short tours such as Everest Mountain flight of early morning Jungle Safari at Chitwan or Bardia National parks, do some wild-water rafting, a Tibet tour or even mountain biking).