is one of the most unspoiled national parks of
Nepal. Situated North of Kathmandu, it is the
most easily accessible highland sanctuary from
the capital. Langtang covers 1,710 sq. km. forming
the upper catchment areas of two of Nepal's largest
river systems - the Trishuli and Koshi. There
is great latitudinal variation, starting at 1,500
m. and ascending to the top of Mt. Langtang Lirung
at 7,234 m. As a result the park has immense ecological
diversity. Some of the most attractive areas of
the park include the Langtang Valley, the holy
lakes at Gosainkunda, and the forested hillsides
above the village of Helambu.
The deep gorges
of Bhote Koshi and Langtang Khola are thickly
forested with rhododendron, oak, maple and alder.
The stretch of forest around Ghoda Tabela in the
lower Langtang Valley and below Gosainkunda is
inhabited by the red panda, a rare and threatened
symbol of a healthy Himalayan ecosystem. Other
animals, common to these forests are wild boar,
Himalayan black bear, ghoral, grey langur monkey
and leopard. The rare Himalayan hony guide has
been sighted here and the park is also the home
for Impeyan, Tragopan and kalij pheasants among
others. Larch, a rare deciduous conifer, is also
found in the forest of lower Langtang Valley.
Further up, Himalayan tahr, musk deer and snow
leopard can be found. The upper Langtang Valley
is one of he few known breeding grounds of the
ibils bills besides the Tibetan snow cock and
Like other Himalayan
nature parks, Langtang has to be explored on foot.
There are several possible trails to choose from
depending on preference and time available. The
langtang Valley is easily approached from Dhunche
town and park office, which is a day's drive from
Kathmandu. The upper reaches of Langtang can be
reached in four days of easy walking, however,
it is advisable to spend a few days around the
forest at Ghoda Tabela to watch for the red panda.
Once above Langtang village and the monastery
at Kyangin, visitors can explore the high valley
of Langshisa Yala peak and Tsero, Ri. These and
other villages of upper Langtang are inhabited
by people of Tibetan descent whereas the villagers
of Dhunche, Bharkhu and Syabru further down are
home to the Tamangs of Nepal's middle hills.
LNP represents some of the best examples of graded
climatic conditions in the central Himalaya. Elevational
gradients (ranging from mid-hills to alpine) coupled
with complex topography and geology have produced
a rich biodiversity.
Sub-tropical vegetation characterized by Sal (Shorea
robusta) forest in the southern section of the
park is gradually taken over by hill forest (2000-2600m)
consisting of Chirpine, Rhododendron, and Nepalese
alder. The temperate zone (2600-3000m) is covered
mainly by oak forest fading to old growth forest
of silver fir, hemlock, and larch in the lower
sub-alpine zone (3000-3600m). The Nepalese larch
(Larix nepalensis), the only deciduous conifer
in the region, is found in this park and few places
elsewhere. Throughout these zones different species
of Rhododendron such as R. arboretum, R. barbatum,
R. campanulatum, and R. lepidotum (scrubs) to
name a few, form a colorful under story. Tree
species such as birch, silver fir, Sorbus microphyla
and twisted Rhododendron campanulatum are found
near the tree line. It is here at 4000m Juniper
and Rhododendron shrubs (R. anthopogon) slowly
dissolve into expansive alpine grassland meadows.
high meadows provide summer habitat for numerous
ungulate species such as musk deer and Himalayan
tahr. The park is also well known for its populations
of red panda, Himalayan black bear, snow leopard,
wild dog, ghoral, serow and more than 250 species
The park also offers
a rich cultural diversity. The three main ethnic
groups in LNP are the Tamang, Yolmo, and Bhotia.
Each thought to have originated from Tibet. The
cultures are discernible by language, house style,
dress ornaments, and customs. The tamangs are
traditional framers and cattle herders of the
region. Their religion is related to the Bon and
pre Buddhists doctrines of Tibet. While the people
of langtang valley are mostly bhotias with recent
Tibetan origin. Many have intermingled with local
tamangs. The yolmo people of the Helambu region
are often referred to as “ Sherpa”.
However, their language and socio-cultural set
up donot resemble the Solukhumbu Sherpa. They
are rather more akin to Langtang Bhotias and may
also have migrated from the Kyirung area of Tibet.
Other hill tribes and castes such as Brahmins,
chhetri, newar and gurung inhabit the lower elevational
range along the edges of the park.
September through May offers a variety of natural
splendors, from lush temperate river valleys with
screeching langur to spectacular old growth forest
and glacial-craved cliffs rimmed by snow-covered
peaks. The weather is also relatively dry except
January-February when one may come across snow.
Autumn is the best time to visit the Park. By
April bursts of red, pink, and while rhododendrons
stretch into towering canopies of fir and oak
forests. Advent of warm weather makes the Yak
and Chauri herds ascend to higher elevation, making
occasional camps in the pasturelands, to follow
years of tradition. From June to August, skies
are heavy with monsoon rains. During August, a
lively festival at Gosaikunda Lake attracts thousands
of Hindu pilgrims and September witnesses spectacular
display of wild flowers, while livestock herds,
once again, return to lower pastures.
Three main trek routes; 1) Langtang Valley, 2)
Helambu and 3) Gosaikunda Lake cover much of the
Langtang National park and the southern Helambu
region. Langtang and Helambu regions are connected
through Lauribina La. All routes have the facilities
of locally operated hotel/lodge, teahouse, and
campgrounds for groups. The park offers a choice
of moderate to more difficult hiking with duration
ranging from 3 days to 3 weeks. Lodges operate
year round except during the peak winter when
the trails are blocked.
Trekkers who take
extra time to explore trailside wilderness (e.g.
near Ghora Tabela and Kyanjin) hill top view point
(Kyanjin), and cultural sites (notably in Langtang
village and Melamchighyang. Tarkeghayang and Shemathang)
will be well rewarded. One has to be self sustaining
to venture remote areas of the Park such as Panch
Pokhari (five lakes), east of Helambu, the toe
of Langshisa glacier, and upper level valley from
Kyanjin: and over the challenging Ganja La pass
in upper Langtang Valley.
High altitude Sickness (HAS) can be life threatening
if elevation is gained too rapidly without proper
acclimatization. Medical doctors advise against
ascending more than 400m a day once above 3000m
elevations. Alternatively, one can spend an extra
night at 3000m and 3500m before ascending higher.
Over exertion and
dehydration contribute to HAS. Drink at least
3-4 litters of water everyday besides tea and
coffee which act as diuretics. Watch the health
of your companions and porters. Symptoms of HAS
are headache, dizziness, trouble in breathing
and sleeping, loss of appetite, nausea and general
fatigue. If someone develops HAS symptoms, take
the person to lower elevation immediately.
trails are rocky and slippery after rain or frost.
Watch out for falling rocks while crossing landslides
but do not stop. Never hike alone. Hiring local
guides is strongly recommended on Ganja La (5120m)
trek and on Lauribina La (4600m) during winter.
Carrying a comprehensive first-aid kit is advisable
as there are no medical facilities out of Dhunche.
Telephone facilities are available at Singh Gompa
and at major settlements in Helambu.