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Mundum Trek

Abhishek Subedi August 8, 2020

Mundum Trek is a newly explored trail in the mid-hill region of eastern Nepal, enriched with natural beauty, cultural beauty and the rich biodiversity. It is one of the 100 destinations selected for tourism promotion by the government as of late. The trail prominently features Kirati {Rai/Limbu} civilization and their unique culture and heritage. The trail passes through rhododendron, pine and bamboo forests that is home to many rare wild species such as Red panda, Himalayan honk eagle, Bhir mahuri etc. The Kirati {Kirant or Kiranti} people are one of many ethnic groups in Nepal Himalayas living dominantly in the Eastern parts of Nepal whose communities extend even up to Northeast India. They are known as the handsome mountain people and the hunters of the forests. Kiratis have been closely associated with the history of Nepal for thousands of years.

Mundum Trek

About the trek

Mundum trekking trail falls on the border of Bhojpur and Khotang districts. Sherpa, Tamang, Gurung, Brahmin, Chhetri, Magar and Dalit communities are in minority. Temke, Meherung, Maiyung lauri, Salpa Pokhari and Silichung Hills are the ancient points of settlements. Locals consider Salpa Lake 3750m as sacred where they take bath to purify their souls. Silichung peak located at 4155m is another impressive viewpoint. The trail meets Arun valley trek at Kulupankha Bhanjyang Pass 3348m, and follows the romantic trail of lush green forests and wonderful landscape. Towards the south of Chakhewa pass 2250m, 3 hours of gradual ascent take us to Tempke Danda or hill perched at an altitude of 3010m. 

The pristine hilltop is perfect for sunrise, sunset and spectacular 180 degree views of Himalayan panorama of Everest, Kanchenjunga, Lhotse, Manaslu, Langtang, Dorje Lakpa, Numbur, Karyalung, Gaurishankar, Kwangde, Cho Oyu, Kusum Kanguru, Thameserku, Kangtega, Kyasar, Mera peak, Nuptse, Chamlang and Kumbhakarna. The Kirat Rai cultural trail trek is suitable for all age groups and trekking here is possible in all seasons. 

Mundum Trail

The steady and gentle trek from Chakhewa Bhanjyang (2300m) northward, follows a long ridge-walk. The highlands have been a livestock grazing area of local people for centuries. The vast pastureland is rich in wildlife and vegetation. A researcher said more than 12 species of rhododendrons bloom during spring season. There are several ponds along the ridges which are main sources of water for the wild animals and livestock. A moderate 5-6 hours trek along the ridges reaches Dhotre Deurali (2752m). There are few herders’ homes where Nepali food and basic homestay facility is available. The trail continues the next day with a similar altitude level passing through pastureland of sub- tropical, temperate and sub-alpine forests. Uninterrupted flat ridge-walk, breathtaking Himalayan ranges throughout the trek along the forested land with mid-hill landscapes view far and wide keeps the journey interesting.

An easy 4-5 hour gentle hike reaches Haans Pokhari (Duck Pond, 2962m). Maiyung Danda (3333m) lies to the north-east standing tall at a few hour climb – a viewpoint worth climbing. The dense forest has a variety of flora like rhododendron, oak , orchid, chinquapin, juniper and medicinal plants, etc. Walking through open ridges with clear blue sky, the amazing landscape views are a lifetime experience. The area is peaceful and quiet and simply an unbelievable journey in no man’s land. Just a few hours below the ridges lies the scattered Rai settlement. While the upper area is covered with meadow and forest richly inhabited by wild animals. Such as, wild boar, thar, barking deer, red panda and birds like peasants, wild duck , partridges and others.

About the Trail

There are several Chautara (resting places) built by Kirati ancestors every couple of hours. Then the trail heads north, after a few ups and downs the path reaches Saatdobate (3122m). The lunch can be taken near Saatdobate and Hyakule as sources of water are easily available around. While trekking along the ridges, one will encounter shepherds’ huts at  a distance of every few hours. The steep climb from Lauri Danda  to Rawa Dhap (3426m) takes about 2 -3 hours, where few goths (cowsheds) are available. The herders usually built shelters close by water sources which was a great help for us to set up camp. The next day  it was a gentle trek of 5-6 hours. We came across chhorten , prayer flags, and Choutara. One will reach Salpa Bhanjyang (3348m) a pass that adjoins with Arun Valley trek. 

Salpa Pokhari (3500m), a sacred  pond is just 500m north from the pass where hundreds of devotees gather to pay homage to fulfill their wishes. The trail returns the same way from Salpa Bhanjyang towards Rawadhap, Hyakule, Saatdobate, Maiyung, finally descending to Pakhuwa Bhanjyang then Suntale to Bhojpur Bazaar. Alternatively, the route of Arun Valley trek can be followed. It takes 10-12 days to complete the trail.

Side Trips

Silichung

The highest point of Bhojpur district, also a common pilgrimage center for Buddhist, Hindus and Kirati. It shares a common border with Solukhumbu, Bhojpur, Khotang ,and Sankhuwasabha. Moreover, it takes about 3-4 hours of steep climb to reach the top from Salpa Bhanjyang. It provides excellent sunrise and sunset views. The hilltop offers close-up stunning views of Dorje Lakpa, Numbur, Karyalung, Gaurishankar, Shishapangma , Kwangde, Choyu, Kusum Kangaroo, Thamsekrku, Khangtega, Kyasar, Mera Peak, Nuptse, Mt. Everest, Lhotse, Chamlang (Dhurbe hatti himal), Makalu to Kanchenjunga in the east. The ridge has great religious importance for Kirati people. It is the final summit where Mundumi receives the final blessing from their gurus.

Mundum Trek

Halesi Temple and Rupakot

Halesi Mahadev Cave lies in the Khotang district of Nepal. Among several religious sites of Khotang district Halesi Mahadev bears a significant importance. It is around 222 kilometers away from Kathmandu following the way of Dhulikhel, Nepalthok, Khurkot all the way to Ghurmi, Okhaldhunga, Jayaram and Halesi. As we travel through the narrow road it takes around 8 – 9 hours to reach Halesi Mahadev. Halesi Mahadev is two feet tall Shiva Linga that enshrines inside the Cave. There are two pillars close to each other on the north of the Shiva Linga making a narrow pass. It is believed that sinners cannot pass through this passage. But confessions of the wrongs committed would enable access through. Thousands of devotees come to worship the symbol of Lord Shiva with the belief that Halesi Mahadev. Moreover, it blesses the poor with prosperity and the ignorant with knowledge and wisdom. 

Halesi Temple and Rupakot

Highlight of the Trek

Mundum trekking trail is a newly explored trail in eastern Nepal. It is an easy ridge-walk, which passes along several ridges. Such as, Tempke, Chakhewa, Dhotre deurali, Maiyung, Satdobate, Raba Dhap and Salpa bhanjyang. The trail is suitable for all age-groups, and promoted as an all season trekking destination. Experience the wide ranges of Himalayan views from Mt. Everest to Mt. Kanchenjunga, and long stretches of snow-clad mountains in the north, while passing through the rhododendron and himalayan bamboo forests. There are ponds, meadows, rivers and streams. It is an easy and excellent trek with altitudes ranging from 2000m to 4000m for 8-10 days. Fascinating panoramic Himalayas, landscapes, mid-hill views. Likewise, Kirati – Rai people with their rich culture and lifestyles along with indigenous cuisine are major highlights of the trail. 

The trail was recently explored by Temke Salpa Silichung Tourism Promotion Center with support from Nepal Tourism Board and TAAN. In addition Tempke Maiyung Rural Municipality , Bhojpur Municipality and Diktel Rupakot Majhuwagadhi Municipality extended assistance during exploration. A team of tourism experts from Concept Nepal cooperated on the exploration program.

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