Tilicho Lake Trekking with Ghorepani 19 days

Tilicho Lake is one of those places that have had mythic connotations. The Annapurna undoubtedly provides some of the world's best trekking routes, including as it does a greater variety of scenery and culture than can be found in any other comparable area. The route via Tilicho Lake and the two passes (Masokanto La 5099m and Tilicho Pass 5230m) that guard it from the Kaligandaki Valley beyond is still used and offers the adventurous and fit trekker high mountain scenery at its very best.

Tilicho Lake situated at the highest altitude in the world at 4919 meters, scenic Manang valley attached with Annapurna and Thorong Peak. Tilicho is not a prohibited area but virtue of its remoteness and altitude, few tourists takes off the popular Annapurna circuit to hike up to the lake Annapurna Region. The most popular trail Annapurna circuit attaches the area. The rugged and picturesque trails show you crystal-clear lake Tilicho, dotted wild flowers, close and superb giant Himalayan panorama.

Day 1:
Drive from Kathmandu to Besi Sahar (823m.) and it takes almost six hours. You drive along the Kathmandu-Pokhara highway to Dumre and then follow the narrow and paved road by the Marsyangdi River to Besi Sahar (823m.). Beshishahar is the district headquarters of Lamjung district. All the local government offices are situated here. From here, you can see some of mountain peaks, natural sceneries surrounding the valley and the daily activities of local people. This headquarter is the centre from where the daily usable commodities are supplied to the different villages and numerous towns.

Day 2:
Trek from Beshishahar to Bahundanda (1305m.) and it takes about six hours. The first part of the trail passes thorough flat level along the bank of the Marshyangdi river. You can enjoy the sceneries and the local culture of Gurung community. After lunch, the trail goes steeply upwards to Bahundanda which takes about 2 hours. At this point, you can see the area surrounded by eye-catching scenarios with snow capped mountains.

Day 3:
Trek from Bahundanda to Chamje (1410m.) which takes about six hours. A steep trail descends for early half an hour and then follows flat path through rice terraces, before crossing a stream at the bottom of a small waterfall. It then climbs again and traverses the hillside high above the river before reaching the village of Lali Gaon. Ahead, the Marsyangdi valley forms a steep V-shape, and you follow the winding mountain path down through Syange (1100m.) where there is a beautiful waterfall above it and along the river for some distance. The trail then climbs steeply and the path is cut into the sheer cliff-face some 200-300m above the riverbed. Eventually you descend to the stone village of Jagat (1330m.) situated on a shelf which juts into the precipitous Marsyangdi valley. Now the trail begins to observe small ups and down to Chamje through the forests.

Day 4:
Trek from Chamje (1410m.) to Dharapani (1960m.) and it takes about six hours. The first part of the trail descends to the river and after crossing a suspension bridge, you begin a climb to Sattale (1550m.) on a path so steep that it seems one slip would send you hurtling down into the valley. You continue on an undulating path above the river, and at one point, where a tributary flows in from the opposite bank, the main river becomes covered with huge boulders that hide the water. Climbing the zigzag path to the top of the hill, you see the level, plain of Tal (1700m.) before us. Though it is enclosed by cliffs, the level area looks reassuring after the harrowing mountain paths just traveled on. You descend to a grassy riverbank which leads to Tal with its hotels and teahouses. Beyond Tal, the valley narrows and the path becomes high and winding, and in several areas hewn from the rock itself. Beyond the small village of Karte (1900m.), there is a bit more cliff-walking before the path drops again to the river. You cross a suspension bridge, and climb the short distance to the stone kani marking the entrance to Dharapani (1960m.), and our camp for the night.

Day 5:
Trek from Dharapani to Chame (2675m.) which takes about five and half hours. As you cut through a narrow field from the village, the Dudh Khola, which originates from the south face of Manaslu, enters on the opposite bank. The Marsyangdi then veers to the left, and as Annapurna II becomes visible ahead, you arrive at Bagarchhap, a Bhote village with prayer flags fluttering in the breeze around Buddhist monastery. Continuing to climb through forests of pine and oak, you pass through Danaque (2210m.). There comes a small wooden bridge which takes you to follow steep ascent path upto Timang. It lies at the bottom of Lamajung Himal. The trail goes through flat level until you reach Chame where there are government offices, shops, and hotels. Chame is the administrative headquarters for the Manang district.

Day 6:
Trek from Chame to Pisang (3100m.) which takes about five hours. With Lamjung Himal (6893m) sparkling in the morning sun, you set off for Pisang. The mountain disappears as you climb the path up the valley, passing a huge apple orchard. You continue through a fir and pine forest, climbing to a high, rocky area as the opposite bank becomes an impassable cliff. From this point the valley becomes extremely steep-sided as you follow the path to Bhratang (2950m.).In the past this was the military station for troops who fought against the Khampa tribal revolution, but the dilapidated buildings are all that remain of that era. A short climb from the village brings you to a rock-strewn area where you cross a wooden bridge and follow a high, winding path, before crossing back to the right bank again. You now walk through a pine forest and as the forest ends, the valley changes from a V-shape to a gentle U-shape, opening up a wonderful vista before us. You can see the east peak of Annapurna II as well as Pisang Peak (6091m.) to the north-east. Continuing on, you come to a long mani wall by a bridge and the lower village of Pisang.

Day 7:
Trek from Pisang to Manang (3440m.) and it takes about five and half hours. Beyond Pisang, the trail climbs a steep ridge which affords good views of the Manang valley and Tilicho peak (7145m.). Descending past Manang's airstrip at Hongde (3320m.), you come to a level area from where the north-east face of Annapurna III rises majestically above you. From the wide plains of the Sabje Khola Valley, Annapurna IV (7525m.) also becomes visible. Just beyond this point you cross the considerably reduced flow of the Marsyangdi Khola via a wooden bridge to the tiny village of Mungji. Cultivated fields appear on both sides of the path and off to the right, below a craggy mountain, you can see the village of Bryaga with its splendid monastery. Large chortens and mani walls abound and the tall peaks of the Himalaya spread out before us - Annapurna II, Annapurna III, Annapurna IV, Gangapurna (7455m.) and, to the rear, Tilicho Peak (7145m.). After a short steep climb you reach Manang which is a surprisingly large village for this remote mountain region. You camp here for the night, amidst the fluttering prayer flags, which adorn the houses

Day 8:
Rest day at Manang and hang in and around town. This is an important rest and acclimatization day today before crossing the Thorung La. There are optional day walks such as crossing the river to see the tremendous icefall coming down from the Annapurnas, or climbing high above the village for a full panorama of the Annapurna range and the Manang Valley. There is also a Himalayan Rescue Association [HRA] aid post in the village which makes an interesting and educational visit. Moreover you can visit Ganagapurna Glacier Lake to make your rest day a memorable one.

Day 9:
Trek from Manang to Khangsar which takes approximately five hours. The path is gradual descent and you cross a suspension bridge over Jharsing Khola (stream). You trek through dry land though you can see shrubs on the both sides. The panoramic views of Annapurna range completely mesmerize you. Khangsar is a Gurung village. There you find a small monastery, chorten, mani walls and prayer flags.

Day 10:
Trek from Khangsar to Tilicho Lake and it takes about six hours. This day you trek gradual up until you reach destination. The path is quite covered by small crystals and shrubs can be seen on both sides. Somewhere in trekking you cross few streams. Tilicho Lake is situated at the highes. From here you can enjoy the closer and panoramic views of Tilicho Mountain and many others. Day 11 Trek from Tilicho Lake to Mesokanto Pass (5315m.) and it takes about seven hours. The path is full of ups and down until you reach Mesokanto Pass. The trail is quite narrow and you trek over icy path. The panoramic views of Annapurna range, Tilicho, Dhaulagiri along with more than ten mountains completely mesmerize you.

Day 12:
Trek from Mesokanto Pass to Jomsom (2741 m.) via Thimi (2760 m.) which takes about six hours. From Mesokanto Pass, the trail goes steep down to Jomsom. This day you trek through pine forest. Before you reach Jomsom, you cross Thimi inhabited by mostly Buddhists. There are not tea houses available from en route from Tilicho Lake to Jomsom.

Day 13:
Trek from Jomsom to Kalopani (2530m.) which takes about six hours. Your trail follows flat level along the bank of Kali Gandaki river until you reach Kalopani, a Thakali village and the southern-most limit of Tibetan Buddhism. En route, you find Larjung which is situated near Dhaulagiri Glacier. The first part of the trek passes through the windy area covered with pine forests, rhododendron forests and birches are seen. At Kalopani, you are quite amazed at the panoramic view of Annapurna I (8091m.), Dhaulagiri I (8167m.) and Tukuche peak (6920m.).

Day 14:
Trek from Kalopani to Tatopani (1190 m.) which takes about six and half hours. While crossing steeply descent path through forests you reach Ghasa (2010m.), a Thakali village. The surrounding area of Ghasa is famous destination for bird watching and wild Marijuana. Here you are quite amazed at the panoramic view of Mount Nilgiri North (7061m.), Nilgiri Central (6940m.), and Nilgiri South (6839m.) and others. From here, the trail descends steeply upto Rukse Chhahara (Rukse Waterfall) which is amazing to look at as it is the highest waterfall. There is situated the deepest gorge of the world between two mountains Annapurna I (8091m.) and Dhaulagiri I (8167m.) facing each other near Rukse Waterfall. The trail again descends slightly to Tatopani through different human settlements. You can enjoy the hot spring at Tatopani as the word Tatopani is termed after the natural hot spring situated at the bank of the Kali Gandaki River. It is popularly believed that taking bath in Hot Spring helps you to get rid of skin diseases. Along this, it gives you physical and mental refreshment as well.

Day 15:
A rest day at Tatopani to enjoy the natural hot spring bath. It is believed that one who takes bath get rids of skin diseases. After several days trekking, it is a great idea to take bath at hot spring and relax.

Day 16:
Trek from Tatopani to Ghorepani (2750m.) and it takes about six and half hours. Your trail passes through flat level of the land at some distance. Then the trail begins ascending steeply for at least one hour. Now path goes up through different villages inhabited by the people of different caste and agricultural land. The majority of the people here serve Gorkha Regiment and Indian Regiment as well. While trekking you cross through the Kali Gandaki river with panoramic view of Dhaulagiri and Annapurna ranges. Now the trail ascends gently all the way to Ghorepani passing through small villages like Phalate, Chitre and so on. While trekking you pass through rhododendron forests and come across the wild life such as monkeys and birds of various species. You are accompanied by more panoramic views of different mountains. Ghorepani (Watering to Horse) is a small pass and the village of Deorali. Although there is time enough to continue, it is better to stay here overnight so that you can make the morning trip to Poon Hill (3180m.) for an outstanding panorama of Dhaulagiri I, II, III, IV, Tukuche peak, Dhampus peak, Nilgiri ranges, Annapurna I, Baraha Sikhar (Twelve peaks or renowned as French Fang),Annapurna South, Himchuli, Fishtail and Mardi Himal. The view you can see from here is probably the best view in the world. Not only this, Poon Hill is crowded by different visitors to enjoy the sunrise and sunset over the snow-capped mountains.

Day 17:
Trek from Ghorepani to Poon Hill (3180m.) to Hille (1475m.) which takes about five hours. Early morning trip to Poon Hill (3232m.) to enjoy the sunrise view over Mt. Dhaulagiri (8167m.), Tukuche Peak (6920m.), Nilgiri (6940m.), Varaha Shikhar (7847m.), Mt. Annapurna I (8091m.), Annapurna South (7219m.), Annapurna III (7855m.), Machhapuchhre (6993m.), Annapurna IV (7525m.), Annapurna II (7937m.), Lamjung Himal (6931m.) and other numerous snowcapped mountain peaks. After breakfast, you again follow gradual descent path through the forests of rhododendron and oak upto Banthanti. It is a small village where you can pause for hot and cold drinks. Then the trail descends to Ulleri (1960m.), a big Gurung village from where you can enjoy view of Annapurna South, Machhapuchhre and Hiunchuli. From here the trail upto Tirkhedhunga is steeply descent passing terraces and some villages. After a short walk of 15 minutes from Tirkhedhunga, you reach Hille. It is also a small Gurung village with surrounding green hills. Most of the inhabitants of this village are occupied in agriculture.

Day 18:
Trek from Hille to Nayapul (1050m.) via Birethanti and it takes almost three hours and drive from Nayapul to Pokhara which takes about one and half hours. This day’s trek gradually descends following Bhurung Khola (Bhurung Stream) all the way to Birethanti before you cross the Modi Khola over the suspension bridge. You are amazed to pass small villages, see the magnificent waterfalls and walk through the sparse forests.

Day 19:
Drive from Pokhara to Kathmandu by tourist mini bus that takes about seven hours. While driving from Pokhara to Kathmandu, you head up to Damauli,, Dumre, Muglin and Kurintar where the Nepal's first Cable car is operated to reach to Manakamana Temple. En route, you could enjoy the mountain views, green sceneries, rice terrace fields, vegetable fields and people being engaged in their daily life activities. From Naubishe you climb up to Thankot, the gateway to capital city. You can also fly from Pokhara to Kathmandu which takes about 25 minutes.

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