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Langtang & Helambu Region Legend has it that a Lama, while following a stray Yak, stumbled into the Langtang Valley - hence the name Langtang ("Lang" means "Yak", and "Tang" means "Follow"). A beautiful alpine region to the North of Kathmandu and bordering Tibet, Langtang-Helambu is an easily accessible natural paradise. While the area cannot boast any of the Himalayan giants, the scenery here is every bit as spectacular as most of the better known destinations. In particular, Helambu is ideal for short duration treks and especially suited to winter season trips. Here there is a series of north-south running valleys that provide a variety of possible trekking routes. At the head of these valleys is a ridge that separates Helambu from the east-west running Langtang valley. Here the high alpine scenery, with mountains visible from their base to their peak, and the sparsely inhabited nature of the country makes this an ideal destination for trekkers who are on a tight time schedule. Though the closest trekking area to the capital, Langtang has not achieved cult status like the Annapurna and Everest regions, yet fewer tourists should make the Langtang region a very attractive trekking option. Home to green, sprawling pastures, the Valley of Langtang was once introduced as "the most beautiful valley in the world" by the British mountaineer and explorer H W Tilman, who was among the pioneers to visit this area.

The region features snow-covered peaks, a mild climate, and friendly hospitable inhabitants making it the ideal trekking destination the year round. Designated as the first Himalayan National Park in 1970-71, the 1,710 Langtang National Park hosts a variety of natural spectacles, from green valleys to towering oak and rhododendron forests. The region is sandwiched between the main Himalayan range to the north and a slightly lower range of snowy peaks to the south. Langtang Lirung (7246m) dominates the valley to the north; Gang Chhenpo(6388m) and Naya Kanga Ri (5846m) lie to the south; and Dorje Lakpa(6966m) protects the East end of the Valley. This high and isolated region is inhabited by Tamangs whose religious practices, language and dress are much more similar to those of Tibet than to the traditions of their cousins in the Middle Hills.

Helambu, a mid-elevation part of the south or the region, is a study centre of Tibetan Buddhism. About 75 km north of Kathmandu, the Langtang area is inhabited by Sherpas and Tamangs who maintain a rich cultural heritage, evident in ornately carved wooden windows, lively dance festivals, and skilled weaving traditions. Trekkers can enjoy these sights using any one of three main trekking routes of Langtang.

The Langtang Gosainkunda trek was opened for trekking enthusiasts not so long ago. This trek offers considerable spectacular views of mountains, meadows, forests, different wild animals, birds, glaciers and many more to feast the eyes of visitors. Cheese factories, monasteries, and other monuments are other specialties of this trek. Gosainkunda is a holy lake dedicated to Lord Shiva and as legend would have us believe, was created by Lord Shiva when he pierced his Trident to obtain water to quench his thirst after having swallowed "Kalkut", a most dangerous poison. It is possibly to return from a trek in Helambu/Langtang by returning to Kathmandu via the holy lake at 4300m, or you can make a short trek from Dhunche to Gosainkunda. The lake is sacred to Buddhists as well as to thousands of Hindu pilgrims who visit the lakes during the full moon festival in August. With a diverse range of brilliant green valleys, misty rhododendron forests and distant horizons of snowy peaks, Helambu is the ideal short trek. There are simple teahouses along this route, yet the area remains relatively unspoiled by tourism. You will experience the Yolmo culture of high mountain villages, marvel at vistas of lonely high mountains and watch enthralled as the farmers toil in the fields using hand-made tools and teams of bull and water-buffalo.

The variations in altitude and topography within the Langtang region, along with the existing forest cover (approx. 25% of the total area) provide habitat for a wide range of animals including wild dog, red panda, pika, muntjac, musk deer, Himalayan black bear, Himalayan tahr, ghoral, serow, rhesus monkey and common langur. The Trisuli-Bhote Koshi River forms an important route for birds on spring and autumn migrations between India and Tibet. Just as in most of the other trekking areas in Nepal, the best times to trek in Langtang region are during the spring and autumn. Spring is the time for rhododendrons while the clearest skies are found after the monsoon in October and November. At these times the weather is generally mild and there is very little rainfall.