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September 9, 2019

Manang: Nepal’s hidden treasure

An encounter with Thorong La pass

  • Sushant Lama
Road to Manang: Photo-Lhakpa Randu Sherpa
Road to Manang: Photo-Lhakpa Randu Sherpa

Manang is one of the most beautiful hidden valleys in Nepal. Manang is one of the largest villages along the Annapurna circuit with a population of 6,527 according to the 2011 Nepal census. It is located on the bank of Marsyangdi River with Annapurna Mountain in the south and Thorong La Pass in the west. It is approximately 250 km north-west of Kathmandu at an altitude of 3,519m.

“The Himalayas conjure images of myth and mysticism. If one place were to embody all of this, that place would be Manang,” says Michelle Welsch.

Manang
Manang

It is the most popular acclimatizing and resting place among trekkers trekking around the Annapurna range and Thorong La pass. Though it is the driest district in Nepal it is very rich in natural beauties.

The seventh highest peak of the world Manaslu, the tenth highest Annapurna I, Dhaulagiri and other Himalayan ranges can be seen up close from Manang. Also, Tilicho Lake, the highest lake in the world, Gangapurna Lake, Ice Lake, Marshyangdi river can be easily accessed from here.

Archai Nepal adventure says “Manang Valley Trekking is a wonderful journey through the mixed landscapes of subtropical forest to arid barren landscapes until 4900m, encountering multiple old Buddhist monasteries portraying the cultural aspects of the area and the magnificence of the beautiful Valley and High Himalayas, which are second to none”

Braga Monastery
Braga Monastery

Green forests, dry land as that of a desert, and different species of alpine flowers make the stay in Manang a memorable one. Sheep and Himalayan goats grazing in pastures, herds of chauri gai, dozens of waterfalls, and chirping of birds in the Himalayan region, adds additional beauty to the existing beauty of Manang.

Manang doesn’t get much rain in the monsoon because southeastern monsoon gets shadowed by the high mountains and is one of the driest places in Nepal.

Peak endeavor Nepal trek says “Manang Valley Trek around the famed Annapurna Massif till Jomsom offers the most diversity of any trek in Nepal: fascinating ethnic groups each with their own language, incredible views of many of the Himalayas famous high peaks, and constantly changing panoramas -from lush, tropical rice paddies and moss-laden rhododendron forests to Tibetan fortresses clinging to rocky cliffs”.

Ngwal village, Manang
Ngwal village, Manang

There are many things to do in Manang. You can enjoy interactions with people as they are the friendliest people. You can know information about their language, cultures, and lifestyles. You can trek to Tilicho Lake, Muktinath and other places.

You can also visit nearby village Braga where you can see one of the oldest monasteries and take photos of the red and white clustered houses whose views will certainly make you fall in love. Pisang, Upper Pisang, Ngwal village are some beautiful villages you can visit from Manang.

Dhaulagir peak seen from Manang
Dhaulagiri-seen from Manang

Transportation

Though it is located in a remote part of Nepal it doesn’t feel far from facilities. There is now a motorable road where goods are transported on jeep or mules or carried by porters. A small airport which started in 1985, located 2.5 km east of the town, has been serving the whole valley for a long time. The development of a trail linking Manang to the Annapurna Conservation Area which finished in February 2011 and has brought many benefits to the villagers and the area.

Pisang valley -seen from Manang
Pisang valley -seen from Manang

Occupations

People of Manang are called Manangis. They were well-known traders of early Nepal. Now they are involved in various occupations like Agriculture, Tourism industry, animal rearing, and Government jobs.

Religions and Festivals

Most of the people in Manang are Buddhists and festivals are also influenced by the Buddhist culture. Archery Festival (Metha) and Horse racing festivals (Yarthung) are one of the popular festivals celebrated here. Other festivals include Badhe festivals, Torkya festivals, Dhuna lake festivals, Tilicho lake festivals, Dawa Dhukpa, Nei festival, etc. They also celebrate Dashain and Tihar as common Nepali.

Roads of Manang
Roads of Manang

Food and Accommodation

There are around 400 hotels for tourists in the Manang district. Lodges and teahouses are also available for tourists. They offer spectacular meals for tourists. All the hotels of Manang offer all kinds of cuisine including local foods like thentuk, thukpa, tsampa, yak steak and many more.

 How to get there?

You can go from Pokhara to Besisahar by bus. Then you can hike or take a vehicle up to Manang but you should remember that it is one of the most dangerous roads in Nepal.

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