GHT starts from Besisahar, headquarter of Lamjung District or from Khudi Village and passes through the Gurung villages like Pumagoan, Bhalamchour, Baglungpani, Ghalegaun, Ghanpokhara, Bhujung, Pasgaaun, Nagidhar, Pakhurikot, Gahatebesi, Thumsikot of Kaski District and finally ending at Pokhara through bus via Surya Bhanjyang or can follow the trekking trail via Begnas Lake (Kaski) those who wants to extend their trip. One can also see wonderful views of the Annapurna range, Dhaulagir Range, Machhapuchre and Mansalu massif too on the route. The local communities in these villages perform cultural shows for visitors on request. Accommodation is available at community-run home-stays.
The brand name Gurung Heritage Trail (GHT) has been coined based on the rich Gurung culture, traditions and lifestyle that can be experienced in the area. The unique blending of beautiful landscape in between two beautiful river Marsyandi in the east and Madi river in the south and west. Within the boundary of two beautiful rivers, the area comprises other small river valleys like Khudi river valley, Midim river valley and Rudi river valley which have a number of side tributaries. The terrain is mild steep and bisected vertically at several places. At the extreme north, the Lamjung Himal bisects the landscape into Lamjung district at south and Manang district at north. The rich biodiversity, the panoramic mountain view at the north and historic palace, forts, remnants of late Ghale King and the rich culture and tradition of Gurungs have made the GHT as highly potential cultural tourism product.
The GHT also constitutes larger areas of forest and rich biodiversity. The forest types comprises lower temperate, upper temperate, sub alpine and alpine vegetation types. The area comprises Utis, Rhododendron species, Quercus, Bamboo species and various mixed species. Major wild animals include Barking deer, Musk deer, Wolf, Langoor Monkey. Likewise bird species like Kalij, Danfe, Monal and other several bird species are found in forest along the trail. The area is very rich and popular for wild bee. The upper part of the GHT comprises beautiful rangeland and rangeland species. The forest nearby the Pasgaaun comprises varieties of orchid species.
SOCIAL AND CULTURAL FEATURES
GHT comprises one of the beautiful, best preserved and largest numbers of Gurung villages with some mixed cast of people like Bishwakarma, Chhetri and Brahmin along the trekking trail.Puma village, Baglungpani, Kapurgaaun, Bhalamchour, Roplephant, Ghalegaaun, Ghanpokhara, Bhujung, Pasgoan, Singdi, Rabaidanda, Nagidhar, Pakhrikot, Gahate, Gahatebesi and Thumsikot are the major settlements in GHT. Ghalegaaun which is also called as Koimle Nasa is supposed to be the origin place of Ghale People.It represents the various remnants of Ghale King who ruled out the area during period of Baiesee Chaubiesee Raja period, Ghanpokhara as a Palace of Ghale King and Bhujung as the largest Gurung settlement (village).
Baglungpani provides best opportunity to see the best scene of Lamjung Himal, Annapurna II and Manaslu Himal range from the lower elevation. Likewise Khumeru Danda provides best opportunity to see all mountains and lower mountain landscape.
From the Rabaidanda and Pakhrikot, the terraced cultivated lands, patches of forest and river valley. It is equally suitable for observing the sunset and sun rise views. GHT also provides best opportunity to observe the natural caves, cliffs and geological formation. Just within the 2 to 3 hours walking distant from Bhujung and Ghanpokhara, visitors can see the beautiful caves like Rani cave in Bhalamchour, Khagi cave and Tanji cave in Singdi/pasgaaun.
Half an hour north of Ghalegaun lie two other beautiful Gurung settlements – Nayu and Ghanpokhara. Ghanpokhara is known for its honey extracted from the hives of giant wild black bees. A nice way to pass time is to seek out the ‘honey hunters’ so famously depicted by Eric Valli and Diane Summers in 1988. After listening to stories of their perilous adventures in the cliffs where the bees are found, you can take a two and a half hour walk to reach Bhujung.
Bhujung contains the largest Gurung population in the area, with over 400 households that pride themselves on their rich cultural heritage. They have even generated their own electricity supply, and are considered pioneers in conservation and development in the area.
After a five hour up and down hike from Bhujung you will reach a pristine village of over 200 houses called Pasgaaun. Untouched by modernity, this village has retained its traditional feel, evident in its architecture (e.g. slant-roofed houses), culture, and food. the visitor can observe the unique mount up of stones of various size and shape forming different metaphors. This area can be developed as stone park/garden. Likewise at the top of the Pasgaaun village (Baghkhor jungle), visitors can observe the enjoyment of cave walk in Singdi/pasgaaun and slate extraction process (Stone mining) which is used for roofing the house. Anyone can melt down by the warm welcome and hospitality given by gurung to the guest at Pas gaun.
After Pasgaun, travellers can stop at Nanghidhar or Pakhrikot, make a last stop at Thumsikot, and take a bus to Pokhara, before ending the experience of the ‘Gurung Heritage Trail’. Those willing to postpone the end of their trip can go off road and hike to Begnas Trial and Rupa tal lakes, then take a car or bus to Pokhara, the most beautiful city of Nepal
The best time to visit these villages is from September to November, or from March to May, when the blooming rhododendrons are a sight to behold. The Tourism Management Sub Committee (TMsC) handles all the home stays in the region. Houses are solar lit, and boast toilets and bathroom facilities. Food is also provided for by the TMsC.
Five per cent of the guest’s payments goes towards the committee’s fund for conservation and community development, and there is also an entry fee to enter the Annapurna Conservation Area (ACA). This under-promoted tourist trail is indeed a welcome change from the Poon Hill circuit and its cousins; why not get off the beaten path and get comfortable?
HOW YOU CAN ENJOY ?????
The natural and attractive setting of Ghalegaaun, Bhujung, Pasgaaun, Singdi, Pakhrikot and Gahate village can be used for the village walks programme.Baglung Paani, Rabaidanda and Pakhrikot as looking for sunrise and sun set. The beautifully carved windows, wooden and stone roofed houses, typical round shaped houses can be the prime interest of visitors during the village walks.
Visitors can also have a look of NTFPs, harvesting particularly the MAPs species such as Yarsagumba, Panch aule, Bikh, Nirmasi and other several species of herbs.
In some traditional practices such as weaving the clothes, making butter from milk, using indigenous tools for farming, playing local music, cooking meals at typical kitchen etc are the activities, where the visitors themselves may participate and enjoy the local practices.
Apart from these, visitors can also enjoy the following traditional activities in GHT:
1. Traditional system of grinding of rice, millet, maize by Dhiki
2. Traditional way of extracting butter (by using Theki and Madani)
3. Traditional drying of food grains, meat in the Bhar (above the cooking fire)
4. Local wine preparation
5. Seasoning and storing style of the Maize
6. Preparing local meals like Rice, Dhindo, Gundruk, Masu Khole (meat cooking
7. with millet powder)
8. Harvesting seasonal local vegetables at the kitchen garden
9. Traditional livestock farming
10. Taking part in the Rodhi : A traditional practice of Gurung community to gather at the Rodhi house for sharing pleasure and showing love and affection through the folk song. Visitors can enjoy by seeing or buying the costumes of Gurung community likes Gunyu Cholo, Ghaleg, Bakkhu (white spotted), Bhangra (from local nettle fiber/Puwa is produced from the nettle after cooking in the water) and Khadi. Some material items of these traditional practices and rituals are in display at small quantity at Gurung Musuem existed at Ghalegaaun.
Visitors could also see and buy the following handicrafts at GHT:
* Woolen craft: Radi, Pakhi, Bakkhu, Carpet,
* Nettle craft: Bhangra, Bag, Sac (Thailo),
* Bamboo craft: Doko, Namlo, Mandro, Bhakari, Thunce, Ghum Presently, following activities have been doing by the visitors in GHT:
* Cultural trek * Village walk * Nature trek
* Honey hunting (October-November and May to June)
HOW TO GO THERE ???????????
The trail’s altitude ranges from 785m at Besisahar to 2100m at Kumero Danda, Pasgaaun. GHT can be reached both from Besisahar side of Lamjung and Pokhara/Lekhnath side of Kaski district. From Lamjung side, GHT can be started either from Besisahar or from Khudi Bazar. Besisahar is linked to Kathmandu by black topped road.
From Besisahar, visitors can drive up to Kapur Gaaun through the seasonal green road and can start trekking towards Ghalegaaun. From Khudi side, visitor should start trek right from the Khudi Bazaar, take lunch at Bhalamchour and reach Ghalegoan at the evening. From Kaski side, Trekking can be started either from Thumsikot or from Begnastal. A 27 km long road to Thumsikot is linked to Prithivi Highway at Bijayapur Bridge. Ghalegoan can be reached from the following three routes:
• 5 to 6 hours walk from Besisahar via Baglungpani
• Besisahar-Khudi Simpani-Bhalamchour-Ghalegoan/Besisahar Khudi-Rople
• Very few visitors also come to GHT via Damauli (Capital of Tanahaun District) -Bhorletar Gilung route.
As a whole, GHT lies at the laps of Lamjung Himal and Annapurna II range, a visit to GHT also provide unique opportunity to see the panoramic views of Lamjung Chuli/Himal (6988m) and Annapurna II (7939m) in the north and Tail of Machhapuchhre in the west. The mesmerizing scene of Buddha Himal (6674m), Manaslu (8163m), Manaslu south (7939m), Peak 20 (Nadhichuli), Himalchuli (7647m) and Ganesh Himal range could also be seen from the GHT. Ghalegaun is the best point to see the panoramic view of all mountains.Ghanpokhara and Pasgaun are gud to observe Honey Hunting and Bhujung the most largest and clean village with high gurung hospitality.The living Gurung culture and the beautiful landscape including surrounding mountain, caves, lakes historical fort, rivers, jungle walk have been taken as the prime tourism attractions for GHT