The Tsum Valley is a sacred Himalayan pilgrimage valley situated in northern Gorkha district of Nepal. Tsum comes from the Tibetan word “Tsombo” which means vivid. The trail heads up the valley of the Budi Gandaki River through wild and unexplored country inhabited mainly by members of the Gurung ethnic groups. Good cup of the local cultivated natural coffee and Tatopani hot springs will help you to relax on this intensive trial.
Upper Tsum valley (part of the Inner Himalaya) open from Chhokangparo, where hospitable local people (Tibetan group “Tsombo”) welcome you with traditional Tibetan Chiya (butter tea) and local meal. The Tsum Valley is extremely rich in cultural assets. The valley is dotted with gompas (Buddhist monasteries), chortens and mani walls. The longest mani walls (over 250m) are at Dzong and Phurpe. The valley preserves steps of the great Buddhist Yogi Chyuchin Milarepa and story about Guru Padmasambhava circumbulation. The people here never slaughter animals, even as sacrifice to the gods. The Tsum Valley is surrounded by the Buddha Himal and Himal Chuli to the west, Ganesh Himal to the south, and Sringi Himal to the North.
It's a panoramic thrill flying into Kathmandu on a clear day. The views of snow-capped mountain peaks sprawling down below you are almost ecstatic, beginning a whole chain of memorable experiences that stay with you for a long, long time. And as your plane hits the tarmac, our waiting support team will meet and greet you at the airport and escort you to your hotel. Welcome drinks will be served and over night at your hotel..
We take an 8-9 hrs bus ride to Arughat Bazaar in Gorkha district. The village of Arughat is in two parts, on opposite sides of the Buri Gandaki. Arughat Bazaar is large, clean and prosperous with hotels and shops selling cloth, food and hardware..
From Arughat Bazar we trek to Soti Khola. Along the way we enjoy splendid views of Shringri Himal. We trek through Gurung and Magar villages, past fields and cascading waterfalls, till we reach Soti Khola.We set up camp on the banks of the Soti Khola(‘khola' means river in Nepali)..
We trek from Soti Khola to Machha khola (Fish river). Machha khola is a village situated above a stream with the same name. We camp for the night by a wide campsite. .
The trail from Macha Khola to Doban involves some steep ascents and descents. We climb a well – crafted staircase over a ridge to Doban. Doban lies at the confluence of the Shiar Khola, which flows from the east, and the Sarpu khola, which flows from the west..
The route climbs ona rugged rocky trail. We climb up and down ravines and notched trees. We get good views of Sringri himal as we continue up to the village of Philim at 1550m.This is a large Gurung village with fields of corn and millet. There are several good campsites and we set up camp surrounded by alder, blue pine and poplar trees..
We take the trail up through Philim and head up over a ridge that leads to Ganesh Himal Base camp and Chumling( Lower Tsum). We camp for the night at Chumling. There are several good campsites at Chumling..
From Chumling we trek to Chhokangparo. Upper Tsum valley (part of the Inner Himalaya) open from Chhokangparo.Chhekamparo is a village situated on flat land and made up of two settlements Chhekam and Paro. From the valley, the Ganesh Himal range can be seen directly to the south where it provides spectacular views of the Baudha and Himal chuli peaks to the south-west. Some households in this village practice polyandry..
From Chhokangparo we trek to Nile/ Chulle. This is the last village heading north in the upper Tsum Valley. Nile is on the western, sun-side of the Shiar Khola, about 20 minutes walk across from Chhule. On the way we pass the Piren Phu cave. Piren Phu (pigeon cave) is one of the most sacred caves in the Tsum valley. It is located at the foot of a rugged cliff near the village of Burji. Milarepa, the famous Tibetan saint, was believed to have meditated here. There are two separate gumbas attached to the rocky cave. Richly painted Buddhist murals, excellent artistic scripts carved on stones, long prayer flags and significant Buddhists paper scripts make this cave one of the most important socio-cultural asset in the valley. Beautiful views can be had of the Shiar Khola, Rachen Gumba, the mountains and settlements amidst vast agricultural land. .
From Nile the trail gradually ascends to Mu gumba, the largest monastery in the region. Mu Gumba is located at the highest and farthest point in the Tsum valley. Mu Gumba was established in 1895 AD and is situated at an altitude of 3510m.The monastery houses religious books, including Kangyur, a life sized statue of Avalokiteshwara, and images of Guru Padmasambhava and Tara..
We take a hike up Mu Gumba and reach the base of Pika Himal (4865m).We are quite close to Tibet and get a good view of the Tibetan peaks as well as the Ganesh Himal range. After the day's excursion we return to our camp at Mu gumba..
From Mu Gumba we take the trail to Rachen Gumba, a nunnery. The nunnery is situated in the Shiar Khola Valley in the foothills of the mountains bordering Nepal and Tibet. Rachen Gumba was established in the year 1905 AD and is one of the largest nunneries in the Tsum valley. It houses nuns belonging to the Ngak-pa sect, which does not allow animal slaughter. The nunnery houses one thousand clay, moulded statues of Avalokiteshwara, a brightly colored, carved throne and pillar, and a large prayer wheel. The interior is richly painted with murals about Buddhism and its history..
From Rachen Gompa we proceed towards Dumje, a small village with about eight houses and adjoining cattle shed. .
From Dumje we trek to Philim and cross Ripchet. On the way we pass one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the Lower Tsum Valley, Samba Tingding Chhupyang. .
From Phillim we trek to Tatopani. There is a hot spring at Tatopani. You can relieve your tired muscles by soaking yourself in the hot spring..
From Tatopani we trek to Soti Khola. We pass through terraced fields and tropical waterfalls and finally set up camp at the village.
As we make our way from Soti Khola to Arughat Bazar, we come to the last leg of our journey..
We drive to Kathmandu..
Our Nepalese support team will take you to the airport for your flight home. (Or stay longer for short tours such as game drive at National parks, do some wild-water rafting, a Tibet tour or even mountain biking). .
Being back for two weeks in Belgium, after another splendid Himalaya trek in Nepal. I wanted to thank you for the great job you have done, in the difficult days in the beginning of October. The Tsum trekking was great, but still we are thinking what it would have been like up there in Dolpo. After reading so many books about the Cristal mountain and his surroundings we are still hoping to get there once… I prefer May 2011 for the new Dolpo trekking.
We work with the motto "Tourism for Development". Explore Himalaya Community Service Project was conceived to empower underprivileged segments of Nepal.