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Major Facts and Attractions of Manang Valley

Abhishek Subedi June 25, 2020

Manang Valley is the major tourist destination of Nepal where the travelers can experience the many thrilling and adventurous activities.  Manang district is located at an elevation of 3519 m above sea level. The magnificent fusion of numerous mountain peaks, glaciers, passes, valleys and human settlement make it a wonderful place. Manang is surrounded by Gorkha and Lamjung in the east, Mustang and Lamjung in the west, Mustang, Gorkha and Tibet in the north and Parbat, Kaski, Lamjung and Mustang in the south. It is known as the land beyond the mountains. Manang village is a hidden treasure of Nepal. The high peaks around Mustang halt the rainy clouds to enter the territory of Manang that causes the low rainfall in this region. This is the barren land of Nepal, also known as Desert of Nepal. 

Major Facts and Attractions of Manang Valley

The natural attractions of Manang are much unique in itself, surrounded and back grounded by many barren and snow-covered peaks. it’s amazing to observe the valleys there. The valleys, Long and short passes, human settlement and lifestyle, narrow and gravel paving are the main attractions of Manang region. It feels like heaven to be here, the astounding sceneries and local lifestyle consolidate more beauty to this rural land. Compared to other nearby regions, Manang is more wealthy due to the incredible natural resources, artifacts, herbs and gems, culture and traditions. There are many monasteries in the Manang region. The influence of ancient Tibetan Buddhism practices and devotion can be seen in this place. Manang is the real heaven of Nepal. The local settlement, mountains and glaciers, the surrounding makes an unforgettable experience in this wonderland.

There are many similarities between Tibet and Manang in terms of daily life, religion and the festivals they celebrate. Among many festivals in the region the horse racing festival called Grand Yartung is one of the interesting and major festivals in the rain shadow area. This festival demonstrates the strength of the horses and the rider’s skills in horse riding and it is an ancient festival of the Manang area and is believed to be one of the oldest festivals in the Himalayas. 

1. Natural Beauty

Manang is a beautiful district with lots of natural attractions. This beautiful village is surrounded by high peaks and villages. The Annapurna massif circuit lies around this region. Besides the spectacular, barren and colorful peaks, the mountain ambience is very wonderful.  The moisture is low because of low rainfall, so is the vegetation. The Thorong- La- Pass, one of the highest passes lies in Manang. 

The ancient 11th-century Monasteries and Stupas, undiscovered valleys, trekking trails and the world’s highest altitude lake-Tilicho Lake lie in Mustang. It is also considered to be an ancient Trade route between Nepal and Tibet. At the Nepal Lhasa border, the mesmerizing natural beauty along with the astounding peaks offers the mind-blowing experiences. Full of attractions, the yet undiscovered Manang region offers the world’s finest natural settlement in the lap of the Himalayas.

2. Experience Grand Yartung Festival

Grand Yartung is one of the interesting and major festivals in the rain shadow area. This festival demonstrates the strength of the horses and the rider’s skills in horse riding and it is an ancient festival of the Manang area and is believed to be one of the oldest festivals in the Himalayas. The Males in the area take it as an opportunity to show the strength of their horses and their ability of horse riding. 

Major Facts and Attractions of Manang Valley

Picking up the khata (silk ritual scarf) from the ground in full gallop is one of the challenging things they have to do and it requires good skills in horse riding. The races, which are held in between Manang and Braga villages, are followed with the interesting and colorful rituals in the local temples. Most people in Manang, both men and women, would wear their traditional dress and nearly all villagers would take part in the feast.

July, the month when the Yartung festival is celebrated, is actually a very good time to visit Manang. The landscape is lush green and flowers of different colors make this event a grand ceremony. Since the valley lies in the rain shadow area rain falls are rare here and during July, which is the season of heavy monsoon in other parts of the country, here it is short rainfall and rains very seldom. The temperature during July is very pleasant but the Mountain View is not as good as in autumn. 

3. Flora and Fauna

Due to the range of geographical and climate regions in Manang there is a very diverse variety of Flora. The more tropical parts of the area is filled with terraced paddy fields most of the year, and it is also famous for its winter crop of oranges that can be bought along the trails in the foothills. As you progress further into the higher regions that vegetation changes to more temperate plants and trees eventually changing into pine forests. In the rain shadow to the north, the landscape is quite barren, being an extension of the Tibetan plateau and mostly only stunted bushes and shrubs are found.

Manang is home to many different varieties of birds and animals. It is known for its musk deer which were hunted to near extinction for their musk. From December to early March, the Nyeshang Valley is covered with thick snow. This is when the snow leopard descends from its rocky lair high in the mountains in search of blue sheep.

4. High Passes

Manang has amazing high Passes. The connecting passes in this region offer astounding views and sceneries. Kang La pass and Thorong La pass are the renowned passes in this region. Thorong La Pass is a common route for connecting many villages in Mustang region (at the height of 17769 ft). It is one of the highest passes in the world. It connects many villages to Manang, among them Muktinath and Ranipauwa villages trek are popular. Thorong-la Pass is the longest (300 KM) subway that lies in the Annapurna Base Camp trekking area.

Similarly, Kang -la Pass is another pass that lies in Manang district that leads to Chulu East Himal and joins the ACAP trekking route near Nar-Phu valley. Passes are very unique here because trekkers walk in the rhythm of Yak bell step by step on narrow and gravel pavers on high altitude. In the daytime, because of heavy wind, it becomes hard to indulge in outdoor activities. That’s why the trekking in this region is best if done in the morning. The weather conditions before trekking should be checked. The unpredictable weather conditions might lead to harsh experiences.

5. Adventure

Manang regions offer the finest trekking experience. The spectacular views, sceneries and astounding natural beauty make a wonderful place to visit. The trekking in the Manang region offers a wonderful experience. The Manang is full of adventure. The trekking, or mountain biking, lasts and ends up being an amazing lifetime experience in the beautiful terrains of Nepal. Manang offers a distinct experience with lots of adventure and natural beauty.
In Manang, there are lots of trekking options available depending upon the time and destination.

  • Nar Phu valley 
    The trek is a great escape for adventure aspirants. It offers wonderful Himalayan beauty and lifestyle. Not much explored in contrast to Annapurna region, it is untouched and offers picturesque medieval villages, gorges, spectacular Cliffside trails and passes. The alpine scenery and alpine off the beaten path, natural habitat, glaciers, canyons, forests and wonderful formation of rocks makes an everlasting experience in the Manang region. The scenic views of Manang and Mustang valley, Kaligandaki and Marsyangdi river and majestic views of the Himalayas in the rural settlement are major attractions of this trek.
  • Mountain Biking 
    Another adventurous activity in this region is mountain biking. The adventure enthusiasts undertake this activity in the Mustang region. This activity is daring yet full of joy and offers unique biking experience in the high terrains of Nepal. The high passes and gorges along the trail give more adventure and excitement in this region.
  • Skating
    Skating is another adventurous activity in this region. The snow and glaciers in this region made it a wonderful skating destination. This region is not yet trimmed for skating but it can be done. The skating gears, frontal lights, crampons, Gore-tex boots and safety measures should be taken before undertaking this activity. The skating might be sometimes deadly, because of the slides, and avalanches in this region.

6. Tilicho Lake

Tilicho Lake is a wonderful lake situated at the highest elevation in the world. It is situated at an altitude of  4919m. It is also one of the most famous trekking points that falls in the Annapurna Conservation area. While starting a journey you can see the amazing natural scenery. Walking through a narrow and muddy lane with Yak and local peoples adds a unique flavor to your journey to Tilicho lake. For the trekking purpose,  people need to carry heavy calories dry foods so that you can gear up and maintain instant energy for the journey. Cool air with crystal clear panoramic views of nature is amazing. On the way, the finest deep gorge and high peaks and Massive Annapurna range add more excitement in the journey.

Major Facts and Attractions of Manang Valley

7. Undiscovered Nar Phu and Ney Sang Valleys

Nar Phu is an isolated valley. It is an undiscovered remote valley at high altitude to 13944 ft. Buddhist is the main religion and not much open up to the world. Covered by high peaks and harsh climate is the challenge to this valley. It lies in the north region of Manang, neighboring the Annapurna Summit. The ancient Buddhist region, influenced by the Tibetan culture, is prevalent in this region. This trek was opened in 2002, but it is largely untouched by the modern world. This is the hidden gem of Nepal. The cultural values with the mix of natural attraction in a settlement, it truly offers one of the wonderful trekking experiences.

It has emerged as a camping site with beautiful flora and faunas. The Kang la pass is a significant place during the trek as it gives a chance to see a myriad of peaks including Annapurna II(7937m), Himlung Himal, Gangapura (7455m) and Tilicho Peak (7134m). The snow leopard can be spotted in this region. The Neysang Valley lies on the way to Kang La pass after Nar Phu valley. It also offers the spectacular beauty of rural settlement and wonderful Himalayan beauty.

The trek starts at Besisahar and leads to trails taking to the remote Nar and Phu valley, emerging the traditional Annapurna Circuit. Bypassing the deep canyons and gorges along with the Chorten and prayer stones, spending time observing the lifestyle of natives and staying at Nar monastery give a wonderful vibe in the rural settlement. This trek offers the great alpine sceneries with medieval Tibetan culture and majestic Himalayan views. This area is protected by Annapurna Conservation Area. 

8. Restrictions and Permit

Lying in the Annapurna Conservation Area, trekkers need to get an ACAP permit to enter this region. Also, some restricted areas like Nar and Phu valley, trekkers have to get special consent and permit. Some safety measures and permits should be taken before trekking in this region. Also, the favorable time to visit this region in March, April, May, August, September, October, and November. However, some understanding about weather conditions, rules and regulations will be beneficial for the trekkers.

Trekkers need to get a TIMS Card for trekking in Nepal. TIMS Card fees for Group trekker: NRs. 1,000 (USD 10); Free individual trekker (FIT): NRs. 2,000 (USD 20), per trekking route per person per entry. For SAARC countries TIMS Card fees for Group trekker: NRs. 300(USD 3); FITs: NRs. 600(USD 6), per trekking route per person per entry.

The part of the collection will go into maintaining the trekkers’ database and in the rescue of trekkers in need of emergency services. Similarly, an ACAP permit is required to enter the Annapurna region. The ACAP permit costs NPR 3000 (30 USD) for individual trekkers. It’s free for children less than 10 years old. Also to enter restricted areas, another permit is required. The restriction permit to enter Nar Phu Valley costs around 90 USD for 7 days in the months of September to November whereas in December to August it costs 50 USD.

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