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Tsum Valley Trek – A sacred trek in the Nepal Himalayas

It wasn’t until 2008 that the Tsum Valley Trek was made available to hikers. And a smattering of details is publicly available now. Located in the northern part of Gorkha, Nepal, the Tsum Destination is a sacred Himalayan Buddhist pilgrimage valley. Tsum, meaning “vivid,” describes this tranquil Himalayan valley, home to a wealth of old art, culture, and religion and set against the breathtaking backdrop of the Ganesh Himal, Sringi Himal, and Boudha Ranges. Most of the population is of Tibetan descent and uses a distinct Tibetan language.

There are hundreds of stone slabs engraved with images of deities and prayers lining the Mani walls that flank the trekking trails in Tsum Valley. Located in the heart of the Trans-Himalaya, the famous Kyimu Lung is a pilgrimage circuit renowned for being a hub for spiritual development and intellectual inquiry. The Tsum Valley, Nepal’s Manaslu region, and southern Tibet are all visited on this circuit. The Tsum Valley is steeped in the Buddhist tradition. Some think the Buddhist saint Milarepa meditated in the mountains’ caves. Tsum Tso Chuksum, which translates to “Thirteen Provinces Ruled as One Territory,” is the traditional name for the valley, which reflects its historical and cultural significance.

Trekkers during Tsum Valley Trek
Trekkers during Tsum Valley Trek

Tsum Valley Trek Residents and Their Faiths

Tibetans make up most of the local population, and their distinct language is widely spoken. Today, polyandry is still common in some households (or having more than one husband at a time). Researchers have discovered that these families are better managed and more prosperous than average. Buddhism has been around for a long time. Milarepa, a Buddhist saint, is said to have meditated in a cave here. Folklore has said that this area has a good ambiance. The Buddhist faith is firm among the Tsum population. In addition to Buddha and Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava), they also pray to a few bodhisattvas.

Chame
Chame

They believe in the reincarnation of Lamas and practice rituals like hanging prayer flags, building Khata or Mani walls, and lighting butter lamps in monasteries. So, supernatural beings and the legends surrounding them have long been a part of popular culture. To rid a space of evil spirits, however, Prayer Flags, Khata, or Mani walls may be erected, and juniper may be burned in rituals. Many festivals and ceremonies in Tsum are meant to ward off demons. However, sacrifices of animals on an altar are not practiced. Some Lamas and laypeople perform rituals designed to drive away evil spirits. Locals widely practice two forms of astrology, “Black” and “White,” for selecting lucky dates.

Himalayan Festivals

Throughout the year, residents of the Tsum Valley celebrate various festivals while continuing to follow centuries-old rites and customs. Loshar: Happy Loshar is the Tibetan New Year, and it is celebrated by lighting huge bonfires filled with incense to please the local spirits, deities, and protectors by the Tibetan Lunar Calendar. Tsumbas observe Loshar in the lower Tsum Valley before those in the upper Tsum. Dhachyang, also known as “The Horse Festival,” is the region’s second-biggest holiday and is held a little later than usual in December or January.

It is a festival dedicated to the good of the people, and during the day, the men compete in horse races while the women participate in the festivities later with dancing and singing. Saka Dawa, the full moon day, is a celebration of the life, enlightenment, and death of Lord Buddha. Good deeds performed on this day (fall in May) are multiplied by a factor of one hundred million. According to a Vinaya document referenced by Lama Zopa Rinpoche called Treasure of Quotations and Logic. Therefore, devotees fast and attend rituals at nearby monasteries and nunneries. Fanning:- Celebrated in the middle of August, this festival honors the gathering of vitality from any source, be it food or water.

Things to See and Do on the Trip:

The Buri Gandaki valley is home to a population of Tsumbas of Tibetan descent. Whose speech, dress, and customs are almost exclusively Tibetan. The valley is also home to several Buddhist Mani walls, ancient Buddhist monasteries and Nunnery, and picturesque villages.

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