|Around Annapurnas Trekking: Manang - Thorung La
in April, our group started our march from Besisahar, the district headquarters
of Lamjung district. The beginning seemed auspicious in the sense that
at Bhulbhule, en route to Manang, we had our first lunch on trekking
consisting of dhal bhat and chapati.
we had to spend our first night near a place where a journalist had had
a fall while trekking on that route a couple of years ago. Now iron fence
was put up at this particular section of the route, thus making it much
safer. However, there are still many areas along the trail which are far
were a number of landslides along the way to Chame, the district headquarters
of Manang district. Walking on the trails over the slides was extremely
difficult as the trails were too narrow for a proper foothold and at times,
we had to rely on our sticks for support. Any faltering or slip could mean
severe injury or death from falling into the river Marsyangdi. Just as
we had finished negotiating one such narrow trail at Barthang, we
saw a number of mules approaching the trail.
We stopped the driver and
pointed out the danger lying ahead. However, he did not heed our advice.
We heard that evening that a couple of his mules had fallen into the river
and broken their legs.
Himal is a magically beautiful place. Just one look at them makes the
journey to Manang well worthwhile. Manang has also an airport in
Manang nearby. One day of rest was also helpful for our acclimatisation
(we were at 4200 metres).
Manang village, one has a number of options: to see Lake Tilicho,
the highest lake in the world lying at 5300 metres or to visit nearby villages
from where one can enjoy the sights of the Annapurna Himal or to
head straight for the Thorong pass.
our way to Lake Tilicho, we stopped briefly at Khangsar village before hurrying towards the lake base camp. Khangsar village is
small village of fifty-plus houses and it has the distinction of putting
up a gilt-coated statue of Buddha at the western entrance of Swayambhunath
temple in Kathmandu. In Khangsar there are the night's refuges available.
There are only a few hotels here, but they were probably the dirtiest in
the entire Manang route. We knew that April it was not the proper season
for lake viewers.
next day, early in the morning, we proceeded to our next stop, Yakkharka.
The trail was not frequented by people and was slippery and dangerous.
With a lot of difficulty and caution, we managed to cover the distance.
Yakkharka has a well-furnished restaurant. Letdar is only two hours
walk from Yakkharka, yet we decided to while away the rest of the day in
Yakkharka by collecting information regarding the route from the hotel
following day, we started our ascent at 5 a.m. along with other groups
who opted to pass the night at Thorong base (alt 4200 metres). This
ascent had to be done slowly and cautiously, often stepping on the marks
made by those ahead of us. Our going was all the more difficult since we
were using wooden sticks which are of little help while negotiating snow-covered
ground. Yet, somehow we managed to reach the top of the pass (5416 metres)
at 9:30 a.m. Upon reaching this point, everyone started hugging and congratulating
each other. We had the mistaken notion that being on top would be the last
hurdle. We quickly realised the truth that the descent is equally important.
written by D.B. Thapa
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