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MANANG - Jewel of Himalayas
Manang district consists of 13 villages and is divided into two valleys-the upper Valley and lower Valley and is home to just about 9000 people. The upper reaches of Manang are about a five day walk from the nearest road head in Besisahar in Lamjung. The Valley's harsh landscape has so far, prevented roads from being built. Travel is possible through man-made trails on horseback or foot. Goods are usually transported by mule trains or by the porters. A STOL airstrip at Humde (11000ft) allows to operate from and to Manang.
Manang boasts spectacular mountain scenery, the vibrant colors of nature, wild flowers, herbs, tranquil lakes and the plenty of outdoor adventure opportunities.
Wonder and fear fill the heart of those who visit Braga. Built into a wall of towering cliffs, the settlement has been tightly structured for protection against all possible dangers of the Himalayan frontier. Inhabited by six hundred people, its aged monasteries tell the tale of warn and pious people who have survived the odds.
The Lord Milarepa is known to many Buddhists and Bonpo communities of Himalayas. As he wondered across the land, he found this cave complex and mediated and lived there for many days. A hunter of the Nyeshange people, Gompo Dorje brought food and comfort to the saint and he, in turn gave Dorje and his people much wisdom. The lords of caves are honored with meditation, offerings and an annual festival.
Brake Gompa is believed to be at least 500 years old situated in Bharka valley, a place of Khangu-pasect of Tibetan Buddhism. The monk Marpha who in the 11th century thought to make Tibetan Buddhism more spiritual, inspired Kangu-pa mysterious and powerfully atmospheric Gumba amongst the local people.
At nearly 500m above sea level - high up in the scenic Manang Valley - Lake Tilicho is the collected glacial melt of entire northern slopes of Annapurna and Throng Peak. Tilicho is not a prohibited area but by virtue of its remoteness and altitude, few tourists take off the popular Annapurna circuit to hike up to the lake, which lies within the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP). Roughly a day and a half walk from Manang Village, visitors are treated to spectacular views of the icy rampart of Annapurna and Tilicho peak glaciers which plunge down to the lake itself.
The shores of the idyllic, crystal-clear lake, dotted with wild flowers in spring are ideal for camping.
Manang museum is a must see attraction. Situated on the main street of the village, near the Himalaya Recue Association and almost opposite the safe drinking water station, the museum is a typical Nyeshang house. With assistance from the Government of New Zealand, it was constructed by the people of Manang in 2004, to celebrate Badhe Festival and to share Nyeshang culture and customs with visitors.
The house is constructed in traditional style and manner, using demolition materials and traditional furnishings donated by resident all over Manang District. A special feature is the fine collection of costumes and masks worn at Manage's unique festivals. Entrance to the Museum is inexpensive and proceedings go to the local community projects.
The Hyeshang and Gyalsumdo valleys fall on the circuit trekking trail where tourism business has become the main source of income for the people whereas Nar and Phu valley has been a restricted area for foreigners for a long time. Now, the government has opened most of the restricted areas for foreigners including Nar and Phu.
Nar-Phu valley comprises two village Development committees namely Nar and Phu, which are the remotest part of the district that lies on the north east of Koto. Both villages are isolated, untouched by present modernization and culturally, naturally and religiously enriched.
The trek to Nar and Phu provides magnificent views of Kangaru Himal, Ratna Chuli, photogenic landscapes and allows experiencing living culture and way of life of locals. Khampas (Tibetan rebels) once captured the valley and lived illegally at Jhunam, Chyakhu, Meta and Kyang. Old Khampa settlements can be seen along the trail on the way to Nar and Phu. Today, Narbas and Phubas use these old settlements as a place to pass the winter, avoiding the cold in their villages.
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