Recently, a Spanish lady from Barcelona, Ana Torres Mari had the trekking trip to Tsum valley. Her solo trek was organized by Explore Himalaya. She enjoyed the trek a lot. She discovered the breathtaking beauties in the Himalayas. Her mission was to just experience the high altitude and its acclimatization. She shared few of her trekking experiences with us.
Trial to Tsum Valley.
“Since, the higher altitude already had the severe winter, the people in the higher altitude came down and hence the way to Tsum valley was almost deserted. There were very few people seen on the way. The nights at the Gompas and the personal residence were pretty good. I shared the meals with the monks in the Gompas and with the family members in the houses and I enjoyed that experience. At Rachen Gompa I was more comfortable to share my meals and room with nuns.”
Traditional habitat on the Himalayas.
“I would recommend for the tea houses in this particular trekking trial. The place is very beautiful and the presence of tea houses on the way will no doubt lure the groups of trekkers in this region. The place is untouched. It would never be a problem for a person to shelter a night at the personal residence or Gompas but for a group it could be a problem. So I would recommend the tea houses and lodges in the area because I love this place.”
Explore Himalaya let her acknowledge that the Tsum valley trek is normally a camping trek for the group. Since, she was alone the camping trek for her possibly could have been doubled in terms of cost. So we arranged everything to minimize the trek cost considering her interest in the area.
She was convinced and happy with the consideration.
“The guide, porter and the cook were always there to help me. I knew I was always safe and secure traveling with these beautiful people.”
“I had no complains at all. I enjoyed the trek very much. I would love to thank all the people for arranging such wonderful trip. I know to make perfect the arrangements for the trip of a person to the isolated place like Tsum valley is pretty tough but I thank Explore Himalaya for arranging such beautiful journey for my sake only.”
Tsum Valley Festival was inaugurated by Prime Minister Dr. Baburam Bhattarai in Chekkampur, Gorkha District yesterday (25th April). During the inaugural ceremony venerable Lama Ngawang Khenrap Drukpa Rinpoche, the re-incarnation of the then Lama Sherap Dorje Drukpa Rinpochhe, declared Tsum Valley as a valley of non-violence. In Tsum Valley, locals refrain from killing animals. This custom came into practice in 1920 when Tsum Valley experienced a severe drought and many people died of starvation. Seeing how the people were suffering , the then Lama Sherap Dorje Drukpa Rinpochhe prohibited local people from slaughtering animals. The local people, nuns and monks readily obeyed him and signed a document written in their local language to this effect. They reaffirmed their commitment again in 1972. In 2009, the local people in Tsum Valley expressed a desire to continue this commitment as part of their Buddhist faith. Now in 2012, continuing with their tradition, Tsum valley has been declared a non-violent zone.
The Tsum Valley Festival will run till 27th April and will showcase the unique culture of Tsum Valley through cultural programmes (dances, songs, rituals).Indegenous local products will also be exhibited during the festival.
Tsum Valley (Pic: Valeriy Garkaln)
Trek to Tsum Valley
With no television, theatre halls, restaurants to dine out or recreational facilities, ever wondered what the folks living in the remote mountains do for entertainment? For them Festivals and community gatherings are very important as those are the only occasions for merry making and enjoyment. They get to forget their day to day worries, catch up with old friends and relatives and enjoy during these rare occasions. On a recent trek to Tsum valley, our Sherpa and Ole Andersen from Denmark got the opportunity to witness such an occasion at the village of Sama Gaon. Here we share some pictures taken by them.
A family dressed in their finest clothes hurry towards the celebration venue
Paying homage to the learned lamas before the start of the festivity
A round of dancing
and some singing
meeting old friends
Playing dice. Gambling is not frowned upon and is allowed during festive occassions. Men, women and even children indulge in it.
Women playing cards
Tiny tots club
(pics: Explore Himalaya & Ole Andersen)
Trek to Tsum Valley
The images below have been captured by our trekking sirdar, Phurba Pasang Sherpa while accompanying clients on a trek to the Tsum Valley in autumn this year.
Mu Gompa – Mu Gompa or monastery is situated at an altitude of 3510m. and is ten hrs walk away from the village of Chhekam.
Grazing pasture at Mu Gompa
The majestic Ganesh Himal range
Chorten at Chhule
Camp at Chhekamparo
Inside Mu Gompa -This monastery was established in 1895 and is headed by a Lama of the Drukpa Kagyu sect. Mu Gompa is the largest monastery in the Tsum Valley.
View of Kipu Himal from Rachen Gumpa
Tsum Valley Trek Itinerary
Photos: Phurba Pasang Sherpa
This article was published in the July 2009 issue of TravelTimes magazine.Details and photos for this article has been provided by Nadia Neupokoeva (Explore Himalaya’s agent from Russia) and Valeriy Garkaln.
Download the full article in PDF format here.