Tsum Valley was a restricted area until it was opened for trekking in 2008 and there is a little information available on the area. The Tsum Valley is a sacred Himalayan pilgrimage valley situated in northern Gorkha, Nepal. Literally “Tsum” means vivid.
Against the majestic backdrop of the Ganesh Himal and Sringi Himal, and Boudha ranges, this serene Himalayan valley is rich in ancient art, culture and religion. The local people are mostly of Tibetan origin and speak unique dialect. Trails are strewn with artistic chortens and lined with mani walls made of thousands of stone slabs carved with drawings of deities and inscribed with prayers. The famous Kyimu Lung, a pilgrimage circuit in the central Trans-Himalaya, is well known for its center of learning and meditation. This circuit traverses the Tsum Valley the Manaslu area in Nepal, and southern parts of Tibet.
The Tsum Valley has long history of Buddhism. The 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. The valley is uniquely rich in wildlife, especially the Himalayan Thar and Blue Sheep which congregates in herds of 50 to 200. Hunting, fishing is not permitted in the Tsum Valley. The valley also boasts some unique and historic monasteries, including Rachen Gumba and Mu Gumba, which lie on a pretty plateau nestled in the lap of the valley, and Gumba Lungdang, situated at the base of a conical hill against the main slope of Ganesh Himal. Expectations of the trek Visiting Tsum Valley is like walking back in time. Other than a handful of small changes, the sights and ambience of this sacred valley remain timeless. Patches of purple-hued amaranth interspersed with fields of brown barley, dzos and yaks grazing in grassy meadows, rustic stone houses hugging the trail, long stretches of hand-carved mani stones and stacked mani walls, ancient villages dotting the landscape, rock chortens perched high on ridges, waterfalls cascading off soaring cliffs, rivers tumbling wildly down precipitous gorges, snow-capped Himalayan peaks scratching the deep blue sky, high remote mountain passes threading into Tibet, maroon-robed Buddhist monks and nuns fingering prayer beads, and hard-working kind-hearted villagers warmly welcome you into this scenic and soaring valley where Tibetan culture is still celebrated today. Sites, side trips, volunteer work Milarepa Piren Phu cave Mu Gompa monastery Rachen nunnery Gumba Lungdang nunnery Dheron Gumba nunnery Health camps Trash clean-up School visits Ganesh amphitheater Cascading waterfalls Medicinal plants and herbs -over 50 varieties Wildlife, including musk deer, Himalayan tahr, blue sheep, ghoral and the elusive snow leopard Handicrafts, including bamboo baskets, wooden masks and teacups, wood jugs and kitchen implements, musical instrument (dhagen), yak wool blankets, kimonos and mattresses Participation in local activities Festivals, including Losar (Tibetan New Year in Jan/Feb), Dhachyang (Horse festival in Jan/Feb), Saka Dawa (Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and death in May), Faning (food celebration in Aug), Mask dance in June/July When open for Trekking.
Day 01 : Kathmandu Arrival (1300m) Welcome to Kathmandu, the capital city of the Himalayan kingdom of Nepal. You will be met on airport and transferred to your hotel.
Day 02 : Kathmandu Sightseeing.
Day 03 : From Kathmandu drive to Arughat Bazaar by bus (7-8 hrs) and trek to Arkhet Bazar (2 hrs) We take a 7- 8 hrs bus ride to Arughat bazaar in Gorkha district. The village of Arughat is in two parts, on opposite sides of the Buri Gandaki. Arughat Bazaar is large, clean and prosperous with hotels and shops selling cloth, food and hardware. From the bus stop we trek for two hours to Arkhet bazaar. We pass through Gurung and Magar villages and terraced fields along the way.
Day 04 : Arkhet Bazar to Machha Khola (6 hrs) From Arkhet Bazaar we take the trail to Machha Khola. Machha Khola is a village situated above a stream with the same name. We set up camp at a good campsite.
Day 05 : Machha Khola to Yaru khola (6 hrs) From Macha Khola we trek to Yaru Khola. The village of Yaru Khola at 1,330m has a good campsite near the Buri Gandaki river. The river meanders serenely among gravel bars.
Day 06 : Yaru khola to Lokpa (6-7 hrs) from Yaru Khola we trek to Lokpa. Lokpa is the first village as you enter the Tsum Valley. The local people are farmers and grow potatoes, gucchi mushrooms and soya beans.
Day 07 : Lokpa to Chumling (Lower Tsum) (4-5 hrs) From Lokpa we trek to Chumling Tanjo. We can see the Baudha Himal(6672m) and Ganesh Himal VI on a clear day. Chumling has three monasteries: Panago Gumba, Mani Dhungyur and Gurwa Gumba. There are also several good campsites. There is a telephone service and health post too.
Day 08 : Chumling to Chhokangparo (Upper Tsum) (7 hrs) From Chumling we trek to Chhokangparo. Upper Tsum valley (part of the Inner Himalaya) open from Chhokangparo, where hospitality local people (Tibetan group “Tsombo”) welcome you with traditional Tibetan Chiya (butter tea) and local meal.
Day 09 : Chhokangparo to Nile/Chhule, visit Milarepa Piren Phu Cave on the way (4-5 hrs) 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. Piren Phu(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 can be had of the Shiar Khola, Rachen Gumba , the mountains and settlements amidst vast agricultural land.
Day 10 : Nile/Chhule to Mu Gompa (3700 m), visit Dhephyudonma Gompa (4060 m) (4-5 hrs) Dephyudonma gumba is one of the oldest monasteries in the Tsum Valley and 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.
Day 11 : Mu Gompa to Rachen Gompa, visit Gonhgye Gompa (Nyigma-pa Buddhist sect) (5 hrs) The trail ascends to Mu Gumba, the largest monastery in the region. Mu Gumba is located at the highest and farthest point in the Tsum Valley.On the way to Mu Gumba
Day 12 : Rachen Gompa to Dumje (6-7 hrs) Rachen Gumba is one of the largest nunneries in the Tsum Valley, with 80 nuns currently studying.It was established in 1905AD.Iyt houses the nuns belonging to Ngak-pa sect, which does not allow animal slaughter.Dhumje is a small village with about eight houses and adjoining cattle shed.
Day 13 : Dumje to Philim (cross Ripchet) (7-8 hrs) From Dumje we trek to Philim and cross Ripchet. on the way we witness one of the most beautiful falls in the Lower Tsum Valley, Samba Tingding Chhupyang. Phillim, at 1550m, is a large Gurung village with fields of corn and millet. The trail that climbs through the village and heads up over the ridge leads to Ganesh Himal Base camp.
Day 14 : Philim to Tatopani (7-8 hrs) 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.
Day 15 : Tatopani to Lapubeshi (6-7 hrs) From Tatopani we trek to Lapubeshi, a Gurung Village. We pass through terraced fields and tropical waterfalls. We camp at the village.
Day 16 : Lapubeshi to Arughat Bazar (5-6 hrs) As we make our way from Lapubeshi to Arughat Bazar, we come to the last leg of our journey.
Day 17 : Drive to Kathmandu by bus (6-7 hrs) We drive to Kathmandu.
Day 18 : Kathmandu free day of your own. This is the free day and you can use it for your shopping .In the evening we will drive you for farewell dinner with cultural dance.