Manaslu Region lies under the shadows of the Mansiri Himal and Manaslu (8,163m), the eighth highest mountain in the world. Home to some of Nepal’s spectacular off-the-beaten path treks. The region opened for commercial trekking as recent as 1991.
Manaslu Region is located in the historic Gorkha district in west central Nepal, between the Budhi Gandaki and Marshayngdi river valleys.
The soaring mountains and lush valleys provide a nurturing environment for several rare species of flora and fauna. Its rich bio-diversity is protected by the Manaslu Conservation Area Project (MCAP).
The region is famed for its unique and diverse culture. While the hilltop villages around the Budhi Gandaki river are predominantly Hindu, settlements to the north practice Tibetan Buddhism. The northern section of this region, the Tsum Valley, borders Tibet.
Named after Manaslu peak, known as the ‘Spirit Mountain’, Manaslu Region receives less number of trekkers than Annapurna and Everest regions. The region’s trekking routes pass through pristine scenery, epic views of Himalayan peaks and ancient settlements untouched by modern civilization.
As the trails are quite new, teahouse facilities en-route are mostly basic and utilitarian. While visiting remote places like the Tsum and Nubri valleys, which has remained untouched by outside influence for centuries. One may have to rely on camping or homestays lodges or teahouses may not be available.
Some of the most popular trekking trails in the Manaslu Region include the ones leading to Manaslu Circuit, Nubri Valley and Tsum Valley. Manaslu Circuit Trek is one of Nepal’s most popular and challenging treks. The route covers a distance of 177km and goes around the Manaslu mountain. The circuit which starts from the Gurung villages, goes up to the Bhotia settlements of Nubri Valley and ends at the Marshyangdi River Valley in the Annapurna Region after a challenging crossing of Larkya La, a high mountain pass.
The route to Tsum Valley and Nubri Valley takes you to the ancient villages of Tsumbas and Bhotias whose lifestyle and culture are similar to the Tibetan highlanders. They are devout followers of Tibetan Buddhism. Some of the oldest Buddhist monasteries in Nepal are situated in Tsum Valley. Mu Monastery, established in 1895 and Rachen Gumba, a nunnery established in 1905, are two of the most important monasteries in the region.
Tsum Valley, also known as the ‘Hidden Valley’, was closed to outsiders till 2008. Milarepa, a Buddhist saint is said to have used the caves in this valley to meditate.
A rich storehouse of endangered flora and fauna, the area under Manaslu Region is protected by the Manaslu Conservation Area Project (MCAP). Covering an area of 1,669 sq. km., the conservation area provides a safe habitat for endangered animals like snow leopard, red panda, blue sheep and Himalayan musk deer.
The region is home to 110 species of birds including Tibetan snow cock, golden eagle, Himalayan griffon etc. The forest area is covered by rhododendron shrubs, Blue pine, fir, oak and juniper trees. The snow covered peaks of Manaslu, Baudha Himal, Singri Himal, Ngadi Chuli, Himalchuli and Ganesh Himal stretches across the region.
Trekking routes in the Manaslu Region offers you solitude and an immersive cultural experience. Far removed from modern civilization, the ancient trails and villages en-route take you to a forgotten era.
Hiking through this region is like taking a time travel to the past. Life in most of the villages seem medieval and untouched by modernity.
If you want to experience a slice of this unique region, you can choose any of the trek routes given below.