Manang is seldom travelled exclusively. It is always travelled as a part of trek itineraries like Annapurna Circuit Trek and Thorung La Trek. But, if there is one place in Nepalese mountains that embodies both myths and mysticisms, it would be Manang. Perched into cliffs rising 3,518 meters above the sea level, Manang district is set north of the Annapurna region. Although the Marshayngdi River lies to the east, the region is dry and barren. A dwindling, treacherous road leads into the Manang settlement, which is one of the largest villages along the Annapurna Circuit. In the past, it was only travelled on foot or a horse’s back, but, these days, jeeps, bikes, and few ambitious buses make the trip. Here we have listed reasons to visit Manang for your next trek.
Tilicho Lake is a breathtakingly beautiful lake that’s situated at an elevation of 4,919 meters. The lake is believed to be the highest lake for its size in the world. For many people, the lake itself is the main highlight of the whole trip to Manang. The view of the stunning emerald lake and the Annapurna range guarding it is beyond a person’s imagination. On a clear day, the mountains perfectly reflect on the lake, elevating the experience even further. The good news is that trekkers no longer need to camp when trekking to the lake as there is now accommodation available between Manang and the Lake.
However, you have to be extra careful as the trail leading to the lake is challenging and landslide-prone. But, once you reach the lake amidst glaciers and hear the ice crackle on its surface, you will forget about all the hardship taken to reach the lake.
The Manang district is divided into two sections, Upper and Lower. Throughout the district, you can see that the households are beautifully decorated with Buddhist prayer flags and other icons of ancient Bon religion. The district boasts of several traditional, picturesque villages that are more than a century old. All of these villages are heavily influenced by the Tibetan culture and still retains and practices ancient rites and rituals. That will definitely be an interesting cultural experience for you, which you wouldn’t have been able to witness in other popular trekking trails due to commercialization. Pisang, Chame, Nar, Phu, and Bhakra are just some of these excellent mountain civilizations to name.
Treks to Mustang, Annapurna Base Camp, and Poon Hill receive thousands of trekkers every season. However, despite being in close proximity of all these regions, Manang receives significantly lesser number of tourists. If you decide to trek here, youwon’t have to pass through crowded trails, encounter flocks of trekkers heading towards the same destination, and jam-packed viewpoints. Sometimes, these factors might hamper the kind of serenity and isolation a trekker is looking for. But, Manang, despite being one of the finest trekking options in Western Nepal, receives significantly lesser number of tourists. For instance, Nar and Phu trek in Manang is an excellent choice for trekkers who are looking for a very remote and isolated Himalayan destination. Here, you could be the only customer a diner will receive all day, and you will be greatly appreciated and thanked for that.
Although very remote and far-flung, Manang is a very old settlement with an illustrious past. One may wonder, how on earth is it possible to even live in such trying conditions, let alone build a civilization. But, the several monasteries that are still standing tall and sturdy are the testament of Manang’s glory. Here, you can visit numerous monasteries that are more than a century old. All of these monasteries are intricately built and architecturally magnificent. On top of that, these monasteries house several important artifacts, paintings, and statues that depict the Gautam Buddha’s life. Here, you can also seek blessings from Gurus, Lamas, and spend some spiritual time with monks and nuns. Sher Gompa, Satek Gon, and Braga monasteries are few of them to name.
Thorung La Pass
At an elevation of 5,416 meters, the Thorung La Pass is the highest in Nepalese Himalayans. This nervewrecking and exciting pass connects the Manang to Mustang. Crossing this enthralling pass is only suitable for the best of trekkers as it takes a lot of effort, energy, and willpower. But, the views of the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri range that you get from the top of the pass is worth every bit of hassle that it took to reach there.