Lalupate Trek Kiss to Reddishness of Poinsettias
– Anupama Wagle/Nepalayatimes
Pokhara – The Lalupate (Poinsettia) Trek is named by German Trekker Andrees de Ruiter. It’s jointly developing by Prem Rai, Andrees, ACAP, local authorities including Arjun Gurung (the chairperson of Masyangdi Rural Municipality, Lamjung), Purna Gurung and their entire team.
Prem and Andrees have been doing researches on the matter of developing new trekking routes to connect local products; such as festival, culture, dress, and nature, etc. They have given the name of their mission is; Natural Annapurna Trekking Trail (NATT). Lalupate Trek is (NATT)’s first trail section from Besisahar to Tal or a round trip of Besisahar – Tal or Thoche – Siurung and Khudi, where you can avoid more than 95% motor horning road and can enjoy the joy of nature, landscape including mind-blowing snow peak or mountain sceneries, paddy rice fields, villages, people and their daily lifestyles, numbers of breathtaking waterfalls, etc. It is heard about the poinsettia plant (Lalupate) in Europe or western countries, where it gets only small in size. But in Nepal more than bushes, nearly like a tree, so for many people it would be interesting to step the paths full of poinsettia flowers!! It is sure that for short holiday holders; the Lalupate trail gives you full satisfaction.
This type of trail marking system Prem and Andrees brought first time in Nepal. One of these guys Prem Rai believes that “Lalupate concept will bring more wealth, health and happiness for those who inhabited along with it, is created by Andrees and Prem. Actually, Prem named the NATT (New/Natural Annapurna Trekking Trail”
In a question of Nepalayatime, How have had you motivated to this work?
Rai answered that in the records of 2005 – 2009, the number of tourists who visits the Annapurna found much less because of the road development destroyed all the trekking routes to Manang on Marsyandi side and up to Muktinath on Kaligandaki valley. Annapurna was the world’s one of the most famous trekking destination, unfortunately, the government of Nepal has no single planning to save it from being destructed!
So Andrees and I thought seriously about it in 2010, that what can we do to rescue this beautiful Annapurna trekking routes?! Finally, Andrees brought a concept of marking it with paints along the existing old trails as people do in the European Alps. It sounded very good to me and I said yes let’s do it. Then in August of 2011, we both did visit at the ACAP headquarter in Pokhara and talked to project director Mr. Lal Prasad Gurung, tourism officer Mr. Narendra Lama and all their area in charges. They liked our vision and agreed to proceed it from Besisahar to Thorong La pass, whole Kaligandaki valley and ended at Kande in the north of Pokhara. To each area of ACAP, we were accompanied by an ACAP man and we all together searched new trails and marked it. Red/white markers mean Annapurna main trekking route and blue/white is sub trails of Annapurna.
In 25th of October 2011, we published 1st edition NATT book and map. Kept remarking in 2012, 2013 and in 2014 published 2nd edition book including south of Annapurna like Khopra and Mardihimal. Again remarked many side trails and published the 3rd edition in 2016. And in 2019 we have published 4th edition including Lalupate Trek and North Annapurna Base Camp (Maurice Herzog) trek. Now, we are working for the 5th edition. And yes NATT trail is branded now, more than 95% of the whole route you can avoid the broad dirt road.
Mr. Rai added his words saying this project we are doing in our own efforts, no one has given us a single rupee in the sake of this project. In the last years, while I worked with Andrees, he paid me on a daily basis for my living. And in last April we both worked through the whole Lalupate Trail including Siurung and I paid all my expenses and Andrees did himself lodging, flooding, transportation, etc, it was so kind of ACAP that Andrees got a gratis permit. And like Khopra, Mardi Himal, Annapurna Seven Passes Trek, North Annapurna Base Camp (NABC) or Maurice Herzog Trail and many other types of research I paid by myself and even some helpers I took with me, I paid everything for them including their salaries, etc.
Even though Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) has billions of rupees, Trekking Agency’s Association of Nepal (TAAN) also earns lots of money and about government; nobody tried to understand yet the value of Nepal mountain trekking trails. Only building road everywhere and destroying the beauty of routes or off the beaten tracks is not development.
Instead, you could bring much more money by saving and selling the beauty of our Annapurna and the rest Himalayan routes in Nepal. We easily may sale food, culture, the beauty of nature, etc. Tourists come to Nepal to see and experience our distinct and uniquely multi-cultures, languages, food, world’s highest peaks, way of our daily lifestyles, etc., and many people can take advantages from this highly respected industry, so let’s be sensitive to these issues…
If you want to kiss with redness of Lalupate (Poinsettia), Please make a schedule to visit. Here we mentioned detail Itineraries and major attractions.
BESISAHAR TO BHULBHULE 840 m. (3 hrs approx)
It begins at the endpoint of Besisahar, in 5/8 min. descent at Sahaji bus station, turn left and cross the suspension bridge over Pumakhola and climb through rice fields, forest soon comes to Chanute village. Continue your walk to Tallo Makaidanda Besi-Chautaro – Gotamethok – descent over Bhalamkhola bridge (temporary), the ascent up to Bhalamera (Sera) village. In case you running out of time, you can stay at one of the homes, they can provide you locally prepared Dal-Bhat. Purna Gurung told me, they are going to set a basic restaurant here. Still, keep walking sometimes on the rural dirt road Subedi gaon (village) and to Khudi. It is red/white marked by local authorities.
The road at Khudi makes a long bend and cross a motorable metallic bridge near Maya Hotel and walk about 30 meters further to climb the staircase through the fountain. After 8/10 min, you will go across the rural road near the gompa of Chhabbise village and continue a couple of mins. till the fork of the trail.
NOW, THERE ARE TWO OPTIONS:
A) FOLLOWING BLUE/WHITE MARKERS; CHHABBISE GOMPA TO SIURUNG VILLAGE 1864 m. (4 – 5 hrs approx);
Turn left at the fork of trail and climb up the lower part of Tarafu village, walking through the fields and beautiful village, come to a football ground at upper part 20/25 min, continue on the rural dirt road till Kavre a little village 45 min. There is a little tea shop near the fountain, the couple will provide you noodle soup, tea, biscuit, roasted corn, and soybean, maybe cold drinks, local change and if you asked for Dal-Bhat also possible but will take time. Keep climb in the forest or thick bushy trail walk to Remro field 40 min, at the end you will join again the same road; continue to Kaule with 3 beautiful houses. The couple can make dal baht and tea on request. If you are running out of time then can stay here overnight. At least another hour will take to reach Siurung.
Siurung itself is truly beautiful; the stone slate roofed roundhouses, the mountain and landscape scenery, organic food, if you are the small size in a group then can ask to sit around the fire in the kitchen and seeing live cooking your food, chatting with the family is rarely gotten chance in life. There are several home-stays are available.
SIURUNG TO SILDHUNGA 1574 m. (1.66 – 2 hrs max);
Slight descend to the dirt road for some minute and continue it to Kalaghiring a little village will take about 30 min, there is one home-stay. Follow the blue/white markers; in 1.33 hrs you will reach at Sildhunga a beautiful village. An interesting thing is ~ there is no single officially registered home-stay, even though some houses with enough space can offer you to stay in. An important person to contact at this village is Mr. Baish Bahadur Gurung, his mobile nr: +977 9846429291. It is right near the way you walk through, and his wife said up to 10 people can sleep at once. She requested me to write Sildhunga Homestay on her front wall and I nicely did it.
The main attractions of this village are locally-stay and rock honey hunting ~ there are two seasons in a year to hunt. In spring – 3rd week of April to end of May and in autumn last week of October to 3rd week of November.
SILDHUNGA TO SYANGE 1100 m. (1.58 hrs approx)
Gently descend to Chhapdanda in 40 min, there are few homestays. Another 30 min, to Ngipra, also few homestays and 25 min, to Syange 1100 m, connecting with the main NATT trail. At Syange it will worth to visit the beautiful waterfalls.
B) FOLLOWING RED/WHITE MARKERS:
Turn right side to follow red/white signs to reach Jyamire in 20 – 25 min. Descent to the main road and go further to Thorongla guest house of Bhulbhule. You will already see the long suspension bridge of the main Bhulbhule.
BHULBHULE TO GHERMUPHANT 1100 m. (5 hrs approx)
From the last house of main Bhulbhule, you walk about 100 meters on the road and will follow the red/white signals on the right, passing through the beautiful waterfall and to Nandeswara take about 25/30 min, next 20 min, to Sirubari (also called 1st Ngadi), after crossing a suspension bridge of Ghattekhola, there are two choices: if you follow blue/while markers via Taranche village, then to late Dr. Harka Gurung’s cemetery spot at Tanglichowk and descent at Ngadi Bazaar 30 – 40 min, Or continue red/white trail via Baluwa (middle Ngadi) and to Ngadi bazaar near the hydro-dam. Now, just after the dam turns right and follow the old trail, cross the suspension bridge of Dovanchaur 15 m, few meters on the road and you will see the new trail is being constructed. As Mr. Teju (Til) Gurung said in a month will complete it till Lampata 45 min. From here to Bahundanda (30 min.) is not a problem, most part existing old path and they just need to clean it.
At Bahundanda yet you can take the rural dirt road to Lilibhir with nearly no traffic takes about 1.33 hrs But in the long term there are an alternative trail Andrees and I already walked it. It is not marked yet. Near the big tree at chapter of Bahundanda, you have to turn right to come behind the school, turn left and descend through the rice field, climb up to Basthople and Khaijara village, walking through the field, soon join the bigger trail turn left to descend at Khoriya that and the bridge, then few mins, climb up to Liligaon (I think it will make 40 min. longer in minimum).
Cross Lilibhir (it’s being opened motorable track). In 20 min, reach to Khanigaon has some interesting story according to Mr. Kamsarki Gurung: “Khani – mine” and “gaon – village”. Till last seventy years, there was a “salt-mine” right 200 meters below this village (currently the Marsyangdi River flows over it). Just above the village is a naturally made rock-garden. There is a legend believed that in the antique era; there was a tiger’s mouth shaped massive hill, sometime in the past it collapsed and the jaw of that tiger dropped over the existing garden. Gurung people call; “kanbu–jaw” and “on – tiger’s back”. In the time of Ghale King of Ghermu used this place as a shelter for his horses and sheep. Continue to the last hotel of Ghermu Phant will take 25 min.
GHERMUPHANT TO JAGAT 1300 m.
(a) Upper trail ~ 3 – 4 hrs maximum
At Rainbow lodge of Ghermu Phant, turn right walk through the water fountain, passing the rice fields, in some minutes turn left (do not climb directly up) continue to the school of lower Chipla. It is marked with blue-white so enter the village. There are few homestays are actively running. Both Chipla people are aware of the importance of the tourism business.
In the middle of this village, you have to find the markers will lead you through a football ground, keep going soon you come along the big hydro water pipe, now you even can see the trail where to go and descent at the suspension bridge. Now, you will have to climb very steep stairs but it is safe for fit trekker for 50 min, last time Andrees and I met a 70 years old Australian guy was climbing up without a problem! Come at the trail junction, you need to turn left and continue to the basic lodge of upper Chipl’s lowest part. You already see Jagat and further view including the Marsyangdi valley below. Another 30 to 45 minutes descent to the suspension bridge and come at the village of Jagat. This trail is very beautiful yet I recommend it just to fit trekker to walk.
(b) Trek to Jagat via Srichaur 3 hrs approx
From Rainbow lodge continue on the classic trail to Syange and walk some min, on the road, soon you will see the red white marked trail, just climb it and continue beautiful walk pretty far above the road with the joyous musical sound of Marsyangdi River to come at Boomerang lodge of Srichaur. There is just made the hot spring pool at the shore of Marsyangdi.
To continue further walk you can see blue white and red white signals at the suspension bridge. Just after bridge right directions lead you to hot spring, the left side will bring you near the hydropower station house. You come just above it and turn left, follow along the rice fields and come to the suspension bridge that is same you cross while coming via lower Chipla.
(c) Directly trek to Jagat 1.5 hrs max from Srichaur
Or you continue to Jagat from Srichaur most of the time on the road, well about 40% you still can skip the road that some parts are made staircases.
JAGAT TO GHATTEKHOLA 1290 m. (30 – 45 min)
Walk on the road to the last house, there are two choices to hike; a) entering the narrower gorge to Ghattekhola on the road, or b) newly built trail marked with red-white will take some time longer but it definitely will worth. There is a nice lodge belonging to Mr. Pancha Gurung. He has been playing an active role against wild animal poaching. Also in his activeness – there are made two hot spring pools. It takes about 30 – 40 min as round trip either to Ghattekhola or to Jagat.
GHATTEKHOLA TO CHAMJE 1430 m. (45 min to 1.75 hrs)
Now, there are two options to go to Chamje:
a) Directly to Chamje; you just need to follow the beautiful pristine classic red white marked trail instead of walking on the road. I saw many time guides come from Kathmandu, who force their clients to walk on this road! The views of surrounding sky-touching massive hills, mind-blowing waterfalls, and gorgeous landscapes are truly unforgettable.
b) Via old Jagat to Chamje; in the leading role of Mr. Purna Gurung and his entire team with Marsyangdi Rural Municipality (Chair Person Mr. Arjun Gurung), ACAP, Andrees and myself did mark it with blue-white (including Siurung, Nache – Tamrang gompa, etc).
After Ghatte Khola follow the red white for a few mins, while you will see blue-white markers can follow it to old Jagat 1475 m. Then Nepali flat to Naskuche takes 10 min, at both places you can stay at homestays. Easy descent to Chamje, it will make about 1 hr longer.
CHAMJE TO TAL VILLAGE 1700 m. (2.5 hrs approx)
At the endpoint of the village, turn right and descent to the suspension bridge over marsyangdi and tough climb to Sattale, and to Tal. You will skip the road by 100%.
Tal is one of the most beautiful spots along the whole Annapurna circuit trek and, it is laid on Marsyangdi river bed. There is a beautiful waterfall. There are many standard lodges and restaurants. It is the starting point of Annapurna Seven Passes Trek as well.
EXTENDED LALUPATE TREK (ELT) TAL TO NACHE 2260 m. (3.3 hrs approx)
Main Tal to Siran Tal and to the trail junction before the suspension bridge will take 30 min, turn right following the red white signals, climb up to the ridge and continue to landslide area. Watch out sometime may fall rocks and you finally come at Karte, 1 hour. There are couples of lodges with the restaurant. Now, 1.8 hrs straightly climb to Nache a beautiful village. There are a few homestays. This is the gateway to Donalake valley and Annapurna Seven Passes Trek.
NACHE TO TILCHE 2355 m. OR GOA 2544 m. (2 – 3 hrs approx)
Few mins, descent after Donalake Homestay, turn left and flat walk a while and continue descending along the ridge, entering forest soon to cross a suspension bridge, which is claimed Asia’s 5th highest bridge 412 meters high and 130 meters long (Oh poor man..! it’s impossible to cross for my Russian friend Dmitri..!!). And the hike in the pristine forest to Tambrang gompa 2269 m (1 hr), one of the best spot on this trip! There is a beautiful gompa with 4/5 female and male monks live always. If you want to stay overnight here also possible. They have some basic guest rooms, can have Dal-Bhat and Tibetan tea and do chanting in the gompa with monks. Another hour easy walk to Tilche, there few lodges are available. It would be nice to continue 45 – 1 hr more to Goa village is beautiful and quiet.
GOA OR TILCHE TO TACHE 2355 m. (5 – 6 hrs approx)
You directly can walk the beautiful trail to Tache from Goa or Tilche or any people who come from Manaslu circuit may continue it instead of walking on the road to Dharapani. You will see the gorgeous view, especially from Chhipla Bhir.
Tache itself is a huge hidden village of 63 households, majority of Gurung and few Dalit Shilpi families as well. Most of the houses made of stone with a clay roof. Tache is located on the sunny side, the best fertile soil in whole Manang valley and they grow; corn, wheat, barley, potato, buckwheat, beans, vegetable, peach, plum, honey etc. Those stuffs supply to Manang, Nar and Phu. As well as they have yaks, cows and goats. They also collect himlayan herbs like; ban lasun (Fritillaria cirrhosa D. Don), satuwa (paris-polyphylla) and yarsagumba (cordyceps sinensis) and kutki (gentian) etc…
There are 20 home stays. 3 to 5 guest can sleep in each. They cook for you a delicious local food including dal-bhat. You can try raksi (home-made alcohol).
These people celebrate a unique festival in May is called “Ton-pooja.” At this occasion, whole villagers trap few ghorals (wild goat) with a huge net at Chhipla Bhir. They bring it to live and sacrifice at this ceremony. Any interested tourist can join it as well. Even though catching any wild animal is illegal in Nepal but it’s culturally being practiced for hundreds of years. As well as they perform cultural dance and programs on this occasion.
TACHE TO DHARAPANI VIA THOCHE 1960 m. (1.5 hrs approx)
Descend at the field, you will join the dirt road without traffic, turn left see red white signals and continue to Thoche. If you are planning to stay at Dharapnai then Thoche is beautiful, sunny side and more quiet. Hotel California’s owner Kerry Smith and Nanu Chhetri are amazing!! Rooms with western toilet, good food and nice dining hall. And walk few min, to the suspension bridge, a bit climb and you are at the check post of Dharapani.
PREMS NEPAL TREK PVT. LTD.
Lakeside – 6, Khaharemarga
(Street no: 19), Pokhara Nepal.