For some people trekking doesn’t only mean experiencing the beauty of the mighty Himalayan peaks, but also learning about the cultures and traditions of the people that inhabit the foothills of the Himalayas. There are some treks that offer better insights into the culture of the ethnicities living there than others. Here is our list of suggestions of treks that you can make that we believe will enhance the cultural aspect of your journey.
Mohare Danda is a fairly unknown trek located in the Annapurna area. Even though this area is quite accessible for tourists Mohare Danda still belongs to the off-the-beaten-track trails, which is a shame since it is perhaps one of the best short treks in the region. The Mohare ridge (3300m) is basically a hill station situated 100-200 meters above the popular Poonhill station and offers stunning clear views from Dhaulagiri, Machhapuchhre and Annapurna I, among many others. A virgin trek in the true sense of the word, the route takes you from thick forests to steep ridge trails and high pastures. There are two possible starting points for this trek: Beni and Nayapul (near Pokhara). What makes this trek truly special is the fact that the only accommodation opportunities en route are solely home stays. With the help of a foreign aid, the trail was made completely community based which means that the income that comes from tourism in the area is shared by the members of the community that participates in the project.
The Tamang heritage trail is located in the Langtang National Park which is primarily inhabited by the Tamang people. The Tamangs are an ancient community that has lived in this region since time immemorial. They practice Buddhism, speak their own language and have a very distinct culture and tradition. The heritage trail is primarily aimed for those who want a slow-paced trail with plenty of local culture on the way. Located perfectly between the Ganesh Himal and the Langtang Valley/Gosainkunda region, this small region dotted with beautiful villages is a wonderful combination of both. The accommodation on the route is facilitated both with lodges and homestay options, enabling a intimate peek into the lifestyle of the local community.
Ghandruk is a charming village located in the Annapurna region. It is the biggest Gurung community in Nepal, a hilly ethnic group that inhibits this region. The village will charm you with its traditional stone houses and narrow stone alleys. It is nestled by the Annapurna mountain massif and Fishtail that stand in a full grandeur behind the hills. Ghandruk also has two museums filled with local artifacts and many small restaurants that serve traditional Nepali dishes. Ghandruk is only one and a half hour walk from the nearest road and it’s a splendid way to experience the Nepali way of life in the Himalayas without too many physical challenges.
Similar to Ghandruk, Dhampus is a small Gurung village in the Annapurna region dotted with charming traditional stone houses and temples. Not a heritage trail per se, Dhampus is for the people who are looking for a short getaway flavored with tradition or for the ones that do not want to engage in challenging treks. There is a road that leads to the very village, so taking a jeep or a private vehicle is also an option. In Dhampus you can enjoy the idyllic view of the combination of traditional houses and the Himalayas in the backdrop, eat tasty traditional dishes and meet the local and find out more about their way of life.