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A Journey to Ganesh Himal and Ruby Valley: Trekking Nepal’s Hidden Gems

Home » Getting Around Nepal » A Journey to Ganesh Himal and Ruby Valley: Trekking Nepal’s Hidden Gems

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Nestled between the popular tourist circuits of Annapurna and Langtang lies a treasure trove of natural beauty and cultural diversity – the Ganesh Himal and Ruby Valley region. This part of central Nepal remains one of the last bastions of undisturbed wilderness and unaltered local tradition. For the brave souls daring to venture beyond the well-trodden trails, a trek through these territories presents an extraordinary peek into the essence of the Himalayas.

The Call of Ganesh Himal

Named after the elephant-headed god of good fortune, Ganesh Himal is not as frequented as its more famous counterparts, which only adds to its allure. The Ganesh range is a series of peaks, among which Ganesh I stands tall, earning it the local name “Yangra.” Trekking here means walking paths less trodden, through dense forests and alpine meadows, past glacial rivers, and over soaring passes.

Unveiling the Majestic Peaks

Embarking on a trek in Ganesh Himal is equivalent to an odyssey of breathtaking mountain vistas. The quest begins with a captivating journey from Kathmandu, leading you to the trail’s inception, typically in the serene Dhading district. From the beginning, the peaks engage in a playful dance of conceal and reveal, gradually baring their grandeur as you climb to greater heights.

A Cultural Mosaic

What truly sets Ganesh Himal apart is the cultural tapestry it weaves. Home to various ethnic groups, including Tamang, Gurung, and Brahmin communities, each village offers a different hue of tradition, language, and lifestyle. The warmth of the local people complements the cold air of the highlands, making for a heartwarming experience.

The Enigmatic Ruby Valley

Ruby Valley, so named for the precious stones found within its soil, is an extension of the Ganesh Himal trek. It has diverse topography, ranging from subtropical forests to highlands. The valley, draped in shades of green and dotted with rustic villages, promises an adventure for those who seek the serenity of an untouched landscape.

The Trail Less Traveled

Trekking the Ruby Valley is an immersive experience. As you trek along the trail, you’ll intersect with the daily routines of local communities, traverse terraced fields, and be greeted by occasional glimpses of waterfalls and streams. It is common to be invited for tea and to exchange smiles with the villagers – a genuine interaction that is becoming rare in more commercial trekking routes.

Embarking on Ganesh Himal and Ruby Valley Adventure

The expedition to explore Ganesh Himal and Ruby Valley spans a week or two, tailored by the selected path and walking speed. Typically, it kicks off with an enchanting drive from Kathmandu, delving into the countryside’s rustic charm.

Days 1-3: Journey to the Ruby Valley

Day 1: Kathmandu to Syabrubesi (1,503m)

  • Drive Duration: 7-8 hours
  • Accommodation: Guesthouse

Start with a drive from Kathmandu to Syabrubesi, a town at the edge of the Langtang National Park and a common starting point for treks.

Day 2: Syabrubesi to Gatlang (2,200m)

  • Trek Duration: 5-6 hours
  • Accommodation: Community lodge or homestay

Ascend to the Tamang settlement of Gatlang, perched upon a hillside adorned with meticulously terraced fields. Spend the night in a local lodge or homestay.

Day 3: Gatlang to Somdang (3,271m)

  • Trek Duration: 6-7 hours
  • Accommodation: Local lodge

Ascend to Somdang, passing through the Parvati Kund, a sacred lake, and lush alpine terrain.

Days 4-6: Ascend to Ganesh Himal Base Camp

Day 4: Somdang to Pangsang Pass (La) (3,842m)

  • Trek Duration: 3-4 hours
  • Accommodation: Camp

Scale the heights to reach Pangsang La Pass, where a breathtaking vista unfolds, offering expansive views of the surrounding peaks, with the majestic Ganesh Himal range as the crowning glory.

Day 5: Exploration day or rest day at Pangsang Pass

  • Accommodation: Camp

Spend a day acclimatizing or exploring around the Pangsang Pass, with options for short hikes to view the Ganesh Himal up close.

Day 6: Pangsang Pass to Tipling (2,080m)

  • Trek Duration: 6-7 hours
  • Accommodation: Local lodge

Descend to Tipling, a large village home to two Buddhist monasteries and a Protestant church.

Days 7-9: Discovering Ruby Valley

Day 7: Tipling to Shertung/Chalish (1,875m)

  • Trek Duration: 4-5 hours
  • Accommodation: Homestay

Trek to the twin villages of Shertung and Chalish, renowned for their hospitality and hot springs.

Day 8: Shertung/Chalish to Borang (1,700m)

  • Trek Duration: 5-6 hours
  • Accommodation: Homestay

Walk to Borang, passing traditional Tamang and Gurung villages and more terraced fields.

Day 9: Borang to Darkha Gaun (850m)

  • Trek Duration: 5-6 hours
  • Accommodation: Homestay

Continue descending through different climatic zones, enjoying the warmer air and lush vegetation.

Days 10-11: Returning to Kathmandu

Day 10: Darkha Gaun to Darkha Phedi and drive to Dhading Besi (700m), then to Kathmandu

  • Trek Duration: 1 hour
  • Drive Duration: 6-7 hours
  • Accommodation: Hotel in Kathmandu

Trek down to Darkha Phedi and take a local jeep ride to Dhading Besi, followed by a bus ride back to Kathmandu.

Day 11: Kathmandu

  • Rest day or sightseeing in Kathmandu, prepare for departure or explore the city.

This itinerary gives you a mix of cultural immersion and natural exploration in a relatively unexplored part of Nepal. It combines stunning views, local cultures, and diverse ecosystems. Always check with a local trekking agency for the latest route information and advice on acclimatization and itinerary planning.

Preparing for the Ganesh Himal and Ruby Valley Trek

Physical Preparation

Trekking in high altitudes demands good physical health. Cardiovascular and strength training should be part of your preparation months in advance.

Packing Essentials

The right gear is crucial for a comfortable journey. Acquiring top-notch trekking boots, attire adaptable to diverse weather conditions, a trustworthy sleeping bag, and a robust backpack is crucial.

Permits and Guides

Independent trekking is not recommended. A local guide not only helps with navigation but also provides valuable cultural insights. Trekking permits and TIMS (Trekkers’ Information Management System) cards are required and can be arranged by trekking agencies.

The Takeaway

Embarking on a trek to Ganesh Himal and Ruby Valley presents a chance to encounter the Himalayas in their most untouched state. It’s an expedition that challenges your boundaries and grants you unadulterated natural splendour. You’ll come back from these mountains with more than just memories; you’ll carry the essence of adventure and the peace that comes with it.

Embarking on this trek is not just about finding new landscapes but also about finding new aspects of yourself. It’s about discovering the joy of simple things – a warm meal, a stunning sunrise, and the smile of a stranger. In Ganesh Himal and Ruby Valley, you find the rare opportunity to journey not just across land but also into the depths of your soul.

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