This is new and unspoilt homestay route with basic facilities in the shadow of Dhaulagiri and Gurja Himal. A low altitude trek not exceeding 3250 metres it offers brilliant views, village homestays, unspoilt trails and forest walks in a 6 day route Pokhara to Pokhara. Though the facilities cannot compare with Everest or Annapurna regions nevertherless it is a rewarding walk away from the beaten track.
Discover the isolated, hidden village of Gurja Khani nestling beneath Gurja Himal. The trek features traditional villages, varied scenery, excellent views of Dhaulagiri 1 (8172m) and Gurja Himal (7193m). The return journey is by the same route.
Who should join this trek?
A good choice for regular hill walkers, moderate level of fitness required.
1) Walking times: average 6-7 hours walking per day
2) Altitude: up to 3,250 metres
3) Terrain: for most of the time following well-travelled village trails.
4) Remoteness:usually not too remote; there are basic hoemstays - some locations have mobile phone connectivity as well.
Trek Leader - The trek will be led by Sujoy Das along with an experienced Nepali guide
This itinerary is courtesy Joy Stephens from Off the Beaten Treks.
Day 1 Flight from Kathmandu to Pokhara to Beni to Darbang drive 5 hours; Darbang (1000 m) to Dharapani (1500m) walk 2 hours
We leave Kathmandu on a early morning flight 7 am. From Pokhara we drive to Beni in our own transport around 3 hours and then after a short tea break at Beni drive up from Beni to Darbang another 2 hours. The road from Beni to Darbang is a dusty rough track. We have our lunch at Darbang and then start the walk to Dharapani on the first day around 2 pm. From Darbang there is a rudimentary bus service (2-3 per day) to Phalyagaon beyond Dharapani, but the road is extremely bad and it makes better sense to walk and soak in the views. From Darbang, cross the suspension bridge over the Myagdi Khola and follow the jeep track northwards along the right bank. Cross a side tributary after 30 mins. And follow a cement staircase which zigzags up a pine-clad spur to an important local Hindu shrine. The footpath rejoins the track and finally levels out to arrive at the attractive village of Dharapani with one homestay - Prena Guest House. True to its name (tr: spring water) there are stone-clad water-spouts at the entrance, as well as splendid views of Dhaulagiri and Gurja Himal.
Day Two: Dharapani to Lulang 6 hours
Dharapani 1500m to Phalyagaon 1800m 2-3 hrs/ Phalyagaon to Lulang 2400m 2-3 hrs
This is a scenic day, sprinkled with picturesque villages, and back-dropped by the Dhaulagiris. Continue on the rough jeep track which has little traffic except mule-trains. After passing through terraced fields, where villagers are busy with ploughing, planting, harvesting or threshing, you arrive an hour later at the even more picturesque village of Takam with homestays with houses of ochre and white mud plaster and a pagoda temple set amid a wide crescent of rice fields with the ever-present Gurja and Dhaulagiri peaks.
From Takam, follow the jeep track as it climbs to negotiate a landslide-prone cliff section and winds around to reach Sibang (1790 m) [teashop lodges] in 30 minutes. For several years the jeep-track ended here, but in 2016 the route was bull-dozed as far as Phalyagaon. From Sibang, follow the footpath and after 15 minutes take the upper fork which climbs up to pass near the lower part of Machim village. There are good views up the valley which leads to French Pass. From here the trail is level to the school at Phalyagaon where we stop for an early lunch at a teashop.
A footpath descends gently from Phalyagaon, passing below the village of Muna, to reach a bridge across the Dar Khola in under an hour. Upstream, the mountain ridges interlock in a fat braid. Shortly after the bridge there is a choice of trails - Either are okay. The lower (left) trail keeps closer to the river and climbs gently to Lumsung, via an attractive waterfall, while the upper trail climbs directly to the main village of Lulang, directly above Lumsung. We recommend spending the night at Lulang as this shortens the next day and allows one to reach the Pass before clouds obscure the view. The upper trail can be hot in the afternoon sun as the slope faces south and there is little shade on it.. Whichever route you take, you must negotiate a gigantic gash in the landscape carved by a landslide in 2016. Check for falling debris before crossing, and when you go, do not stop until you reach the other side. At last Lulang comes into view and you think you have arrived – but the final climb on stone steps up to the village is very steep. There are a number of homestays in this village.
Day 3: Lulang to Gurja Khani 8 hrs Lulang to Gurja Pass 3250m 3-4 hrs Gurja Pass to Dar bridge 2500m 3 hrs Dar Khola to Gurja Khani 2700m 1 hr
This is a long day as there is no habitation between Lulang and Gurja Khani except for a rudimentary teashop at the Pass, so it is wise to eat something before starting and carry some packed lunch. It is a moderately strenuous route with two ascents and one descent, but a good, easy-to-follow trail. Snow is possible in winter, but the path is rarely closed. Follow any footpath through Lulang to reach the main trail which emerges from the village on the upper left side as you look uphill. Once on the trail it is impossible to lose the way since the route is well travelled by mule trains and women with bamboo baskets heading out to gather firewood. It is a pleasant climb through oak rhododendron forest, the tree-trunks are almost hidden by a thick cloak of moss, ferns, and orchids. In 3 hours or so Gurja Pass is reached with a rustic teashop run by a delightful Dalit family and stupendous views of Gurja Himal – if you arrive before noon. The best views are obtained by walking a short way above the teashop, to the east. The teashop closes for 2 months from December – check in Lulang whether it is open or not. Follow the only path down the north slope of the ridge. A landslide in the monsoon of 2014 felled many of the Himalayan cedar trees and destroyed sections of the path. The path has been repaired and the landslide opened up views of Gurja Himal which can be enjoyed much of the way down. In December and January you may encounter snow After descending moderately steeply, the gradient lessens as the path heads in a more westerly direction for the final hour of the descent to the bridge over the Dhaula Khola, 3 hours from the Pass. On the opposite side you will see fields and temporary dwellings of the Gurja people, who descend to live in these when snow falls up in the village. The river crossing used to be a single cedar log spanning the narrowest point of the gorge, but nowadays there is a modern suspension bridge installed by the Gurkha Welfare Fund. The last leg to the village involves another climb. It is not far, but it is steep when legs are tired. Follow the main track upwards. By this hour you are likely to encounter villagers heading home with farming tools or loads of firewood and grass on their backs, so there is no risk of getting lost. The path arrives at a flattish meadow. There is a water tap and an empty building on the right, with the sheer face of Gurja Himal partially visible above this. The dense roofs of Gurja Khani are visible to the left and the village is reached in a gentle 15 minutes.
Day 4 : Rest day or Day Hike to the foot of Gurja Himal.
R&R day: Gurja Khani is a pleasant place to spend a few nights. The villagers have built a community bathhouse with hot showers heated by green hydropower. Things to do include pony riding, walks (flora & fauna; temples; village crafts; mining tunnels), and day-hike to foot of Gurja Himal with packed lunch.
Days 5: Gurja Khani back to Lulang same route 6-7 hours
Day 6 Lulang to Dharapani 5 hours and then drive back to Pokhara. 5 hours
This is a long last day as we reach Dharapani for lunch and then drive back to Pokhara in our own transport which we reach in the evening. Night at a hotel in Pokhara.
Day 7 Rest day in Pokhara after the trek
Day 8 – Fly early morning Pokhara to Kathmandu and then back to home destinations.
Dates will be advised depending on the end of the coronavirus pandemic and considering safety of the clients and the hotels/homestays etc.
The cost of this trek is USD 1050 for foreign passports and INR Rs 65,000 for Indian citizens. Meals are included excepting lunch and dinner in Kathmandu and Pokhara. Exclusions apply.
Kathmandu to Pokhara return flight
Private transport from Pokhara to beginning of the trek and back again to Pokhara.
All permits for the trek including ACAP and TIMS.
All accommodation on the trek on twin sharing basis in basic available homestays.
All meals on trek in basic homestays – fixed menus.
Transport of guide and porters from Kathmandu to Pokhara and back.
All meals and accommodation of guide and porter is included.
In the cost Hotel is included with breakfast on twin sharing basis in Kathmandu for 2 nights and Pokhara for one night.
Costs not included
Lunch and Dinner in Pokhara and Kathmandu not included.
Desserts, drinks, and exotic items listed in the lodge menus are not included.
Alcohol, cold drinks (coca cola, sprite, beer), juices, ice cream etc on the trek.
Bottled drinks; boiled, filtered or bottled water; alcohol; snacks etc
Client travel and medical insurance of any kind.
Emergency evacuation costs if needed.
Hot showers (Rs 200-300 per shower); Personal clothing and equipment; sleeping bag; down/ goretek jacket, medicines for personal use etc.
Air fare from residence country to Nepal and back Tips to porters and guide at the end of trek.
Budget USD 60 per trekker for tips to the common pool.
|Duffle Bag||All the equipment listed below other than what you need for the day should be packed into a duffle bag, locked and handed over to the ponies in the morning. The duffle bag should not weight more than 10 kgs!|
|1||Sleeping Bag||Warm sleeping bag is needed at least three season rated to 15F|
|2||Daypack or Hipbelt||To carry water, one jacket some nuts, chocolates, cap, camera to keep with you in the day, maybe gloves and cap as well, hiking poles etc. - 25 to 30 litre size should be sufficient|
|3||Boots or Trekking Shoes||one pair|
|4||Slippers or Sandals for camp||lightweight to wear in the evenings|
|5||warm Socks||2 pairs to carry and one pair to wear|
|7||Underwear||1 to wear and 2 to carry|
|8||Warm Cap||one- Wool or fleece is usually good|
|9||Heavy jacket||the warmest you can get as nights and early mornings are cold - down is usually preferred otherwise a warm synthetic filled jacket.|
|10||Thermal Underwear ( top and bottom) - long johns||inner layer to wear at night and early morning ;|
|11||Mid Layer||Usually a jacket of fleece or wool which can be worn over a thermal layer or by itself while walking|
|12||T shirts for walking||one to wear and 2 to carry - if the sun is hot you can walk in a T shirt|
|13||Trousers /tights etc||one to wear and one to carry light weight preferred|
|14||One Rain Jacket /Wind Jacket/Soft Shell jacket / Rain Poncho||useful in case of wind ... you may need it in light rain though we would usually take shelter and wait for the rain to stop. Ladakh is in the rain shadow so we do not expect heavy rain.|
|15||Torch or headlamp||one small needed carry one set spare batteries Petzl is one of the best|
|16||Sun bloc||one small tube should be ok spf 50|
|17||some essential medicines||vitamins, headache, fever, pain killers, diamox for altitude, your own specific medicines etc|
|18||Hiking poles||if you have bad knees then this is recommended especially on the down hills!!|
|19||Water bottle||one no 500 ml or 1 litre is ok you can use the 500 or 600 ml empty coke or pepis bottles|
|20||Sun glasses||the sun is strong in the day|
|21||Cap for the sun||ditto!|
|22||small towel||for baths and wash up in case you can use the hot shower|
|23||toothbrush, paste, soap, shampoo, vaseline, comb||and any other toilet items you may need!|
|24||wet tissues - wet ones for bathroom||called wet ones in India|
|25||some washing powder surf etc small||to wash clothes en route if needed|
|26||Nuts, raisins etc all mixed up||can be divided into small packets for daily use|
|27||Chocolates /Energy Bars/Amul cheese slices/tea bags||Carry some chocolates or energy bars to have on the way. Amul cheese slices are very useful and can be had as snacks when you are tired of sweets!|
|29||Volini gel/ Bengay etc for aches and pains||or any other equivalent|
|30||Iodine or chlorine tablets for water purification||Potable Aqua is one of the available brands fr iodine|
|31||Electral or any other rehydating salts||Carry a few small packets of electrolyte - useful to have mixed with water if dehydrated|
|32||some spare plastic bags to pack wet stuff, dirty clothes etc|
|33||Book in case you want to read on the way and IPOd for music optional!|
|34||Two small locks one for your duffle bag and one as backup|
|35||Clothes line with hooks on either side in case you want to hang up your wet clothes to dry outside!!|
|36||Super Glue||To patch up boots that may give way!|
|37||Face mask||For dust, cold winds etc available in kathmandu|
|38||Extra shoe laces||one pair|
|39||Small mug for tea coffee hot chocolate||In case you want to use your own mug for this and not the trekking supply!|
Sujoy Das - India and Nepal
Lok Silwal - Nepal
+977 98510 22984
The cancellation policy and refunds available are given below:
0-7 days before the start of the trek =75%
8 -15 days before the start of the trek = 50%
16-30 days before the start of the trek = 35%
31-45 days before the start of the trek = 25%
46 days and above = 15%
IN CASE OF LEAVING THE GROUP
If due to illness or any other reason a client has to leave the group and go down or wait at a campsite for the group to pick him/her up on the way back, all expenses including lodging, fooding and any porter/guide related expenses if any are to be borne by the individual client over and above the trek fees paid for the trek. There are also no refunds for leaving a trek before completion.
HIRING OF PONIES ETC
In the eventuality of a client needed the services of a pony to come down to lower altitudes, the cost of hiring the pony will be paid by the client.
CAMPSITES/LODGES/HOMESTAYS ON THE TREK
The choice of campsites/lodges/homestays to be used on the trek will be decided by South Col and clients will have to stay at these designated places.Clients are not permitted to choose their own campsites on the route.
The trek route and day wise schedule will be fixed by South Col and will have to be followed by the client.
RISKS AND LIABILITY
The trek is in a remote mountain area and has certain additional dangers and risks, some of which include: physical exertion for which the client should be prepared; weather extremes subject to sudden and unexpected changes; remoteness from normal medical services; evacuation difficulties. In the event of injury or illness South Col Expeditions (Sujoy Das) or its Staff can, at the clients cost arrange any medical treatment and emergency evacuation service as it or they deem necessary for the health and safety of the client. Waiver of liability form as per link attached to be signed by the client. https://www.southcol.com/waiver-of-liability-release/