Manaslu lies north of the historic fortress town of Gorkha, from where the last kings of Nepal ventured forth to conquer the rest of the country in the 18th Century. The Manaslu Circuit has recently become a teahouse trek, opening up the misty wood-shingled villages of the Nupri Valley. But hikers are free to explore the many other trails being forged right now. The Tsum Valley trek has beautiful views of the four 7000m peaks of the Ganesh massif, and visitors can experience the distinct Tibetan-influenced culture of the Tsumba people, who prohibit the slaughter of all living beings. No doubt this enhances the protection afforded to such endangered species as the Snow Leopard and the Red Panda.
You can also enjoy a culturally enchanting homestay with the Tamangs, the original horse traders of Nepal. The adventurous can venture higher for a ‘walk in the clouds’ above Tiru Danda, from where gorgeous views stretch from the Annapurnas to Ganesh Himal.
With a variety to rival the Annapurna region, it’s no exaggeration to say Manaslu’s time has come. Forget the jams of the more established routes. Barring the busy teahouses, you’ll have the trails here mostly to yourself – if you don’t mind sharing it with blue sheep, langurs, yaks and the myriad butterflies weaving in and out of the thundering waterfalls.
Tsum Valley Trek
The remote Tsum Valley is one of the hidden gems of Nepal. Tsum Valley is known as the Beyul Kyimolung, the holy hidden valley of happiness, first described by Guru Rimpoche (Padmasambhava) in the eighth century. Milarepa meditated in the caves of Piren Phu and there are centuries old nunneries.