Trekking in Beautiful Helambu
The exquisitely beautiful area of Helambu, situated about 30 kilometers north of Kathmandu in Nepal, is a popular and easily accessible destination for tourists who enjoy trekking. The valley is renowned for its natural beauty and temperate climate which makes trekking enjoyable throughout the year, except during July and August which is monsoon season.
A trek through Helambu generally starts with a 13 kilometer drive from Kathmandu to Chisapani, although there are other starting points. A seven day journey may take trekkers through Kutumsang, Tharepati, Tarke Gyang, Shermathang, Melamche Pul and back to Kathmandu. The scenery all along the way is awe-inspiring as the trail passes through rhododendron and fir tree forest and past clusters of shepherd’s huts and Buddhist monasteries. At 3,640 meters, Tharepati is the highest point on the Helambu trek and on a clear day it may be possible to see the distant snow-capped peaks of Langtang, Tibet and the Khumbu district of Nepal. The village of Tarke Gyang is the largest village in Helambu. Situated at 2,590 meters, Tarke Gyang has cultivated fields, shops selling antiques and other items that may be of interest to visitors. There are also a few hotels and lodges in this village, which is considered to be a good place to take a day’s rest.
Trekkers will come across many Sherpa settlements on their trip through Helambu. Although the local people in Helambu call themselves Sherpa, they have become quite far removed from the Sherpas of Solu Khumbu, with even their language being a different dialect. The name Sherpa means “easterner” describing their origin, which was Kham in eastern Tibet. It is unclear why their ancestors left Kham, but after settling in Tibet, a period of unrest caused many Sherpas to move into the mountain valleys of northern Nepal, forming settlements in Helambu. Sherpa are friendly people who live in a manner that is virtually untouched by the modern world and therefore fascinating to visitors, many of whom are accustomed to the hustle and bustle of city life.
Anyone who is looking for an off-the-beaten-track adventure of a lifetime, need look no further than Helambu in the fascinating country of Nepal.