11 Days Gosainkunda Lake Trekking
Gosainkunda Lake Trekking presents a wonderful opportunity to trek through Langtang National Park’s pristine natural environments to one of Nepal’s holy pilgrimage sites. It is a relatively short trek that takes trekkers through Langtang’s amazing natural environments embedded with woodlands and other beguiles like unadulterated wetlands and untouched habitats of many endangered species of animals and birds. It is a journey filled with mesmerizing Himalayan views paired with a beautiful natural landscape that is also home to the ethnic Tamang people.
Gosainkunda Lake is a famous Himalayan lake that holds a high socio-cultural and religious importance. Every year, during the event of Janai Purnima (a full-moon festival in August), The Gosainkunda Lake is visited by hundreds of Hindu and Buddhist pilgrims. Formed by the melting of glacial sludge, the Gosainkunda Lake is a wonderful facet that highly compliments the Langtang Himalayas decorating the horizon. The sapphire-blue lake also harbors unique biodiversity in the mountains.
According to Hindu myth, the Gosainkunda Lake is believed to have been formed when Lord Shiva struck his trident in the mountain to drink from the gushing water after swallowing poison that was threatening to destroy the world. The lake is also believed to be the abode of Lord Shiva. As such, the Gosainkunda holds religious connotations as well as natural allusions. The lake is one of the important attributes of Langtang National Park. The Gosainkunda Lake Trekking thus is an amalgamation of Langtang’s best features.
The trekking trail starts from Kathmandu and Sundarijal. The pathway of the journey then passes through many of Langtang’s prominent villages and settlements, like Tharepati, Dhunche, and the Shin Gompa. Moreover, the path also includes crossing the Lauribina Mountain Pass. It is a breath-taking journey that is filled with spectacular Himalayan views amidst some of the most immaculate natural terrains in Nepal. The Gosainkunda Lake Trekking is a relatively easy trekking journey that takes trekkers to the northern borders of Nepal and presents the region’s idiosyncratic Tamang culture along with its gorgeous terrain that holds many natural hallmarks.
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Geography: River Valley
Location: Langtang Valley
Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Duration of Trek: 11 Days
Max Altitude : 4,610 meters
Religions: Hindu, Buddhists
Ethnic People: Tibetan Buddhists, Rai, Tamang, Limbu
Accommodation: Hotel, guesthouse
Transportation: bus, car
Minimum Pax: 2-3 people
Visit the holy Gosainkunda Lake situated in the Himalayan foothills of the Langtang Range
Trek through Langtang National Park’s wonderful natural terrains filled with waterfalls, thick woodlands, and vast pastures
Enjoy panoramic views of the Langtang Lirung Himalayan range from many vantage points along the journey
Experience the ethnic Tamang culture of the region
Visit the region’s Shin Gompa- an important Buddhist prayer site
Day 1: Arrival in Kathmandu
You may arrive in Kathmandu at any time. Upon your arrival, you will be taken to the Hotel for your overnight stay. There are no planned activities for the day, so you may check into your Hotel and relax. Overnights stay at the Hotel.
Day 2: Drive from Kathmandu to Sundarijal, 1460m, and trek to Chisapani, 2215m
Sundarijal is a beautiful viewpoint from where the sights of the Langtang Peaks are quite amazing. You will have a drive from Kathmandu towards Sundarijal. From there, it is a four-hour hike to Chisapani. You will be trekking through the Shivapuri National Park, walking through woodlands to Borlang Bhanjyang. The path then ventures down to Mulkharka. Further from here lays Chisapani. Overnights stay at the guesthouse.
Day 3: Trek from Chisapani to Kutumsang, 2470m
Ascending to a ridge, you will trek towards Gul Bhanjyang from Chisapani. From here, you will then climb to Thodang and descend to Chipling. The trekking trail meanders through the valley until it descends to Thankune Bhanjyang. It is an easy walk to Pati Bhanjyang from there. A steep drop then takes you to Kutumsang. Overnights stay in a guesthouse.
Day 4: Trek from Kutumsang to Tharepati, 3690m
From Kutumsang, you will take a pleasant walk through small streams and rolling green hills, passing through pine and rhododendron forests. Ahead of the woods, the path merges with the famous Helambu Trail. Passing the settlement of Mangengoth, you will finally reach Tharepati. Overnights stay in a guesthouse.
Day 5: Trek from Tharepati to Phedi, 3630m
From Tharepati, you will be trekking through the pastures that open up after the woods clear. The pastures provide you with wide-open views of the vast expanses of meadows and the distant Himalayas. It is a pleasant journey to Phedi from where you can get panoramic views of the valley below as well. Overnights stay at the guesthouse.
Day 6: Trek from Phedi to Gosainkunda Lake, 4380m, via Lauribinayak Pass, 4610m
Entering the Gosainkunda basin, you will be making your way towards the highlight of the trek- the Gosainkunda Lake. You will steadily cross the Lauribinayak Mountain Pass and then ascend down the other side. The basin includes many lakes, but the main lakes are three — the Bhairav Kunda, the Saraswati Kunda, and the Gosainkunda itself. The sapphire lakes are quite beautiful and the terrain covered in snow makes for a beautiful experience. Overnights stay at the guesthouse.
Day 7: Exploring the Lakes
This day is reserved for exploring the Gosainkunda Lakes. The beautiful water bodies present a calm atmosphere where the peal of Himalayan eagles flying high above is the only sound that break the silence of the snowy terrain. It is a grand sight to behold- the turquoise lake contrasting magnificently against the ivory terrain. Overnights stay at the guesthouse.
Day 8: Trek from Gosainkunda Lake to Shin Gompa, 3330m
Making your way through the woodlands, you will be trekking to the Shin Gompa today. Aside from the famous Cheese Factory of Langtang, the Shin Gompa and the village that it is situated in is also known for its cheese delicacy made from the milk of the herded yaks that you came across while trekking. The path passes through lush green forests home to endangered animal species such as the Red Panda and the Musk Deer. If you are lucky, you can also catch the glimpse of the animal perched high on the branches of the moss-covered pine. Overnights stay at the guesthouse.
Day 9: Trek from Shin Gompa to Dhunche, 1960m
Going through smaller Tamang settlements, you will follow the path back towards Dhunche, meandering along the outskirts of the valley. The hills are covered in dense canopies of emerald foliage and the horizons are decorated with the giant tapestry of the Langtang Himalayas. Overnight stays at the guesthouse.
Day 10: Drive from Dhunche to Kathmandu by private vehicle
You will bid the Langtang Himalayas goodbye today and have a drive back to Kathmandu. Along the way, you can see the Himalayas fading away and the cityscape emerging once again as you make your way around the hills covered in barley farms and mustard fields. Overnights stay at the Hotel.
Day 11: Departure from Kathmandu
Approximately three hours before your scheduled flight, you will be dropped back at the airport t for your departure.
Best Time to Visit
The autumn and spring seasons are the best time to visit Gosainkunda. The days between the end of February to the beginning of June and the beginning of September to the end of December are often the best time for visiting the lake. Winter months cause the lake to freeze, and thus, the autumn and spring months are suitable for a visit.
Since the Gosainkunda is situated within the Langtang regions, the permits needed are similar to the permits required for Langtang Trek. You will require TIMS Cards; TIMS cards are of three types- blue, green and pink. The blue card costs $10 and is for the foreign trekkers who travel in a group. If you are an individual foreign trekker, you get the green TIMS card, which costs $20. The pink TIMS card is for citizens of SAARC nationals and costs $6.
The Gosainkunda Lake Trekking is a moderate trek that does not require any previous trekking experience. As long as you are in good physical condition, you can do the trip. It is suggested, however, to prepare yourself before the trekking journey by doing regular cardio exercises like running, jogging and swimming. They help to boost the body stamina and can help in the journey as the trek does require extended hours of trekking from one destination to the next on rocky and slanted terrains.
Altitude Sickness and Insurance
Having a Travel Insurance is mandatory. The travel insurance must cover emergency helicopter rescue in the mountains. Similarly, the onset of altitude sickness and its severity of symptoms vary from one person to the next. The occurrence of AMS during Gosainkunda Lake Trekking is very small, and the trekking journey is incorporated with acclimatization. You can also take medicines for AMS, like Diamox. Many trekkers choose to take the medicine from the very beginning of the trip as well, from Kathmandu.
Meals and Drinking Water
Both vegetarian and non-vegetarian meals are available during the Gosainkunda Lake trek. It is advised to bring water-purifying tablets or other suitable forms of water purification with you. It is a better alternative to buying bottled water while trekking.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is there an age limit to do the trek?
There is no age limit for the trek. It is recommended that you prepare for the trek by doing cardio exercises like running and swimming. You should be physically fit to be able to do the trek. Also, it is suggested to get a pre-trek check-up with your doctor to obtain necessary permissions and advice. Also, you can get medications for traveling to altitudes above 3,000 meters.
What kind of toilet facilities is available at the guesthouses?
In city areas, the toilet facilities are quite good. On the other hand, most of the guesthouses along the trek have squat toilet facilities, while some lodges have western-style toilets as well. It is highly recommended to carry your toilet paper and other required toiletries. In many guesthouses, you will have to share the toilet with other guests.
Are there any communication facilities available during trekking?
There are landline telephones available in most villages along the trekking route. Mobile Phone services are available throughout Nepal. You can buy a Ncell or NTC sim card while you are in Kathmandu to take with you on the trek. The quality of the reception may vary from one location to the next. Internet facilities can also be found at few guesthouses along the trekking route.
What about Money?
It is suggested to have the foreign currency be exchanged in Kathmandu into local Nepali Rupees before starting the trek. There are no ATMs or other places where you can exchange foreign currency while trekking. Carrying local currency will make it much easier for you to buy and pay for things during the trip.