There is nothing quite like an alpine mountain lake with its incredibly blue waters reflecting the surrounding white snowcapped peaks in its surface. Mountain lakes are incredibly calm, and display a setting of peace and serenity. But some mountain lakes are very special. One of those is Damodar Kunda which is an important pilgrimage place for Hindus, especially at the full moon in August.
Every year at the full moon in the month of August, there is a very colorful and lively festival here at Damodar Kunda. This is a high place, with an elevation of 4,890 meters. Located just north of the Annapurna Range, it is considered in the rain shadow of these mighty mountains. The monsoon rains touch the Annapurnas and then cease their movement north. This makes Damodar Kunda and the Mustang region an ideal place to visit during the monsoon season when the summer skies are clear.
The Damodar Kunda lies just three days from the main trail to Mustang, the ancient forbidden kingdom on the salt trail to Tibet. From an overlook above the lake, you can easily see the Tibetan plateau along with the snowy peaks of the Annapurna Range to the south. There are several mountain lakes here, and it is said that this area is the source of the important Kali Gandaki River that flows southward and eventually its waters join the sacred Ganges River in India.
Swiss Nepal Family Trekking & Expedition is very pleased to be able to offer this incredibly beautiful trek deep into the mountains for a unique experience that combines natural scenic beauty with the local culture and spirituality. We invite you to participate in this camping trip to a place high up in the mighty Himalayas.
DAY 1 – Arrival and transfer to hotel in Kathmandu
DAY 2 – Full Day of Sightseeing in Kathmandu Valley
DAY 3 – Fly to Pokhara, spend night in city.
DAY 4 – Fly to Jomsom, Trek to Kagbeni (elev. 2800 m) 4 hours
DAY 5 – Trek to Tsaile (elev. 3100 m) via Tangbe/Chuksang. 6 hours
DAY 6 – Trek to Syangmochen (elev. 3800 m) via Samar. 7 hours.
DAY 7 – Trek to Tsarang (elev. 3560 m) via Geling and Ghami. 7 hours
DAY 8 – Trek to Lo-Manthang (elev. 3840 m) 4 hours
DAY 9 – Explore Lo-Manthang and surrounding hills.
DAY 10 – Trek to Yara (elev. 3900 m) via Dhi. 6 hours
DAY 11 – Trek to Ghuma Thanti (elev. 4800 m) via Luri Cave. 7 hours.
DAY 12 – Trek to Damodar Kunda (elev. 4890 m) 10 hours.
DAY 13 – Acclimatization and exploration around Damodar Kunda.
DAY 14 – Trek to Ghuma Thanti (elev. 4800 m) 8 hours
DAY 15 – Trek to Yara (elev. 3900 m) 7 hours
DAY 16 – Trek to Tangye (elev. 3240 m) 8 hours
DAY 17 – Trek to Tetang (elev. 3040 m) via Paha. 10 hours
DAY 18 – Trek to Muktinath (elev. 3700 m) 6 hours
DAY 19 – Trek to Jomsom (elev. 2720 m) 5 hours
DAY 20 – Fly to Pokhara (elev. 820 m)
DAY 21 – Fly to Kathmandu
DAY 22 – Departure
DAY 1 – Arrival: Arrive at Tribhuvan International Airport where you will be met by your representative of Swiss Nepal Family Trekking & Expedition. You will be escorted to your hotel where there are complimentary welcome drinks and a short briefing with plenty of time to relax from your flight.
DAY 2 – Kathmandu: Your day will be spent visiting several of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. This is a great day to get a feel of the culture, spirituality and the beauty of the famed Kathmandu Valley. The Valley is larger than the country of Singapore and is known for its temples, shopping and great hospitality.
DAY 3 – Pokhara: It's a short flight (just 35 minutes) from Kathmandu to Pokhara, but what a view! This flight literally flies the backbone of the mighty Himalayas as you look down at the snowcapped peaks. You will see the ranges of Langtang, Ganesh Himal, Manaslu and finally the peaks of the Annapurna Massif. Once you land, you will check into your hotel and then be able to do some sightseeing around Pokhara. The city is beautiful, as it is located on the shores of a mountain lake. There's plenty to see and do in Pokhara.
DAY 4 – Flight to Jomsom, Trek to Kagbeni (elev. 2858 m): This morning we rise early to catch a 45 minute flight into the mountains to Jomsom. This is a principal village on the Kali Gandaki River. It has always been a major destination point, being on the ancient trans-Himalayan trail to Tibet. Our trek begins today as we make our way to the windswept village of Kagbeni. We will camp in Kagbeni. Trekking time is 3 – 4 hours, a short day.
DAY 5 – Trek to Tsaile (elev. 3100 m): Today we enter the restricted region of Upper Mustang. We follow the left bank of the Kali Gandaki River. The first Mustang village we come to is Tangbe which has a medieval atmosphere. The trail continues upwards to Chhusang Village. Further up, we pass 16 caves along the Kali Gandaki. We see some of the snowcapped peaks like Mt. Nilgiri Himal as we approach our destination of Tsaile Village where we will spend the night in camp. Trekking time is 5 – 6 hours.
DAY 6 – Trek to Syangmochen (elev. 3800 m): The scenery changes as we follow on an unstable pebble road that takes us into canyon country. There are many large canyons to see here, and we follow the trail that is carved into a high cliff. We find a small pass near Samar Village where we will have lunch. From here, it is a steep descent then upwards again to climb onto the plateau. We will be visiting Ranchung Cave whose large stalactites resemble Buddhist chhortens. These were created by nature and are fascinating to behold. It is said that the great Buddhist guru Rinpoche meditated in this cave back in the 8th century. The hills surrounding the cave are home to the Himalayan griffons. We will camp overnight in the village of Syangmochen.
DAY 7 – Trek to Tsarang (elev. 3560 m) via Geling and Ghami: Today's trek takes us soon after breakfast past an unusual square chhortens. We climb to a small pass which affords us an ample view of the beautiful Ghiling Valley below us. We will descend toward Ghiling, crossing a steam and then trekking next to stone walls and farm fields. There are two large monasteries here and we will stop to visit them. We climb upwards now on the main trail that we have rejoined as we continue toward Nyi-La. Once we cross this pass, we are now in the center of the Kingdom of Mustang. We cross a suspension bridge, walk past Mani Walls and by rocky cliffs that display unique colors of red, blue, white, etc. These painted cliffs are natural phenomena, and are a most unusual sight to behold. We will climb to the top of Tsarang-La for an absolutely amazing view of the Annapurna mountains to the south. We finally enter the village of Tsarang with its massive chhortens at the very entrance to the village. The village is long and narrow, with lots of vegetation. Here we will spend the night. Trekking time is 7 hours.
DAY 8 – Trek to Lo-Manthang (elev. 3840 m): Today we reach the ancient capital of Mustang. The city still contains a king. Until 2008, he had the title officially from the government of Nepal. In that year, the country became a republic, but the people of Mustang do not necessarily recognize the change. Here their king is a very honored and revered figure and is shown respect. We will start the morning visiting before we get to Lo-Manthang the old palace near Tsarang as well as its monastery. Our journey will take us through desert like landscapes. At Lo-La, we will be able to get our first view of the walled city of Lo-Manthang below us. We will descend and arrive at the capital city. Trekking time is 4 hours.
DAY 9 – Exploring Lo-Manthang: We will spend the day exploring Lo-Manthang with its temples, narrow alleyways and palace. Later, we will explore the mysterious hills around the city as well as the local villages of Garphu and Nyaphu. There are a number of monasteries in the cliffs and caves that surround Lo-Manthang. We will return to the capital to spend the night.
DAY 10 – Trek to Yara (elev. 3900 m): After breakfast, we leave the ancient city of Lo-Manthang behind. The trail gently climbs the ridge where we have many scenic overlooks of the mountains, the Tibetan plateau and the valleys below. After we reach a small pass, we will descend to the village of Dhi and enjoy a pleasant lunch. We will cross a suspension bridge over the Kali Gandaki River and make a short, but steep climb up the side of the cliff. We will be following the Puyang Khola where some of the finest scenery on this trek will unfold before you. We will spend the night camping at Yara Village.
DAY 11 – Trek to Ghuma Thanti (elev. 4800 m) via Luri Cave: The land today is barren as we climb a mountain pass of 5100 meters for some great overlooks. Our highlight of the day is the Luri Cave Monastery. We will cook lunch on the trail as there will be no place to buy lunch on this part of the trek. This land is sparsely populated. We will camp overnight near Ghuma Thanti. Trekking time is 7 hours.
DAY 12 – Trek to Damodar Kunda (elev. 4890 m.): We will begin exploring the high altitude lakes today. We will be crossing some very high altitude passes, including one at 5600 meters! We will cook lunch at Damodar Kunda and then camp for the night. Trekking time is 10 hours, so it is a longer day.
DAY 13 – Exploring Damodar Kunda: We will spend a day exploring the several small mountain lakes in this region. It is a day of breathtaking scenery as we are high in the Himalayas. We will be camping at this high altitude, enjoying a sunset as well as a sunrise over the mighty Himalayas.
DAY 14 – Trek to Ghuma Thanti (elev. 4800 m): Today is a return over the high pass of 5600 meters. We are now doing some high alpine trekking, and will camp near Ghuma Thanti for the night. Trekking time is 8 hours.
DAY 15 – Trek to Yara (elev. 3900 m): We are now descending the same trail we took to get to Damodar Kunda. Our destination is the village of Yara where we will camp for the night. Trekking time is 7 hours.
DAY 16 – Trek to Tangye (elev. 3240 m): Today will be one of trekking over difficult terrain, so our trek will start early. There are short ascents and descents over some very steep terrain, but fortunately, we will have some long flat sections. In this area, there are fossils of black Saligrames (marine animals) from an age long past when this land was under the sea. We will take our lunch with us as there are no really appropriate places to stop and cook lunch. We cross a large plateau as we make our way the village of Tangye where we will camp for the night. Tangye has several very large Buddhist chhortens. Trekking time is 8 hours today.
DAY 17 – Trek to Tetang (elev. 3040 m): We start early again today because this is a very long day of trekking. We leave the village, crossing a river on a suspension bridge. We climb up a small pass where we will find a porter's shelter where we can make lunch. Our destination is Tetang Village which has a wonderful view of a number of snowcapped peaks, including Nilgiri Himal, Dhaulagiri I (7th highest peak in the world) and Tukuche Peak. We will camp around Tetang for the night. Trekking time is 10 hours.
DAY 18 – Trek to Muktinath (elev. 3700 m): Our destination is the sacred temple of Muktinath, home of the eternal flame that has been burning here for thousands of years. The temple is sacred to both Buddhist as well as Hindu. It is said that one visit to Muktinath Temple sets one free of being reborn, thereby escaping the cycle of birth, death and rebirth. There are 108 brass water spouts that deliver water for washing. The temple is dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu. Nearby is a Buddhist monastery that is dedicated to the five elements. From there and along the way are great views of the high Himalayas. Trekking time is 6 hours.
DAY 19 – Trek to Jomsom: This is our last day of trekking as we make our way to the district village of Jomsom. The first village we encounter is Jharkot where there is the ancient Sakyamuni Buddhist Monastery and Traditional Medical Center. We pick up a dirt road that will take us to Eklebatti village where we will stop for lunch. Once we reach Eklebatti, we can follow the Kali Gandaki River all the way to Jomsom. We will camp overnight at Jomsom; trekking time is 5 hours.
DAY 20 – Fly to Pokhara (elev. 820 m): It will be a short 45 minute flight in the morning, leaving us the rest of the day to explore the lakeside city of Pokhara. It is a great place, with many things to see and do as well as some good places to eat. We will spend the night in a Three Star hotel where you can get a good, hot shower and sleep in a real bed rather than a sleeping bag.
DAY 21 – Fly to Kathmandu: We will leave Pokhara in the morning, taking the 25 minutes flight back to Kathmandu along the backbone of the Himalayas. If you sit on the left side of the plane, you will enjoy great views of the various mountain ranges. We will transfer to your hotel where you can have free time to relax, go shopping or explore further in the Kathmandu Valley. In the evening, enjoy a cultural farewell dinner. Spend the night in a Three Star Hotel.
DAY 22 – DEPARTURE: All good things must come to an end, and your trip to Nepal is no exception. Before leaving, why not talk to your representative at Swiss Nepal Family Trekking & Expedition about returning to Nepal for your next holiday. The vast majority of people make a return trip to Nepal because they are impressed by not only the beauty, but also the local people. Swiss Nepal Family Trekking & Expedition offers trips into neighboring Tibet, Bhutan and India. Be sure to discuss your interests and plans with them today.
Your safety is of paramount importance while traveling with Swiss Nepal Family Trekking & Expedition. Please note that your leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Every effort will be made to keep to the above itinerary. However, since this adventure entails travelling in remote mountain regions, we cannot guarantee that we will not be forced to make last minute changes due to weather conditions, health conditions or any member of the group, unexpected natural disasters, etc. The team leader will do everything possible to ensure that the trip runs according to plan. Be prepared for any last minute changes. The Himalayas are big and wild, and worthy of your respect.
THE TREKKING GROUP
For the Mustang Damodar Kunda Camping Trek, there will be one team leader/guide. We also provide an assistant leader (1 assistant per six trekkers), and Sherpa porters for carrying luggage (usual compliment is one porter for two trekkers). This arrangement ensures that anybody in the group gets sick; the trip can still go ahead as planned. Swiss Nepal Family Trekking & Expedition can run this trek for any size group, but the maximum size is 12 people in order to make it a pleasant and enjoyable trip. However, if you would like to have a larger group, Swiss Nepal Family Trekking & Expedition can make the appropriate arrangements as well.
All accommodations are included in the trip cost and SNFT has chosen the best deluxe accommodation for Three nights in 3-Star Hotels in Kathmandu and Two nights in Pokhara. For the remaining Sixteen nights in comfortable two-men camping tent. To sleep in tent, 4 season sleeping bag and foam mattress will be provided. We maintain standard comfort in every matter based on the enforceable conditions such as weather calamities. All hotel and camping accommodation is on twin sharing basis, Solo travelers may share a room or tent, or if requested, you may indicate your preference and get single room/tent on request by paying additional fee.
During the Mustang Damodar Kunda Camping trek, we can enjoy freshly cooked, hygienic and delicious typical Nepali meals on full board basis prepared by our experienced and trained cook during the trek with different ethnic cuisines as well as all types of international cuisine (Tibetan, Continental, Italian, Indian, etc.). We can even enjoy hot chocolates, variety of breads, drinks and snacks. Lunch will be served on the way to our destination and usually along the trail. Note that at the camping trek, the food is good, although the menus will be limited. A farewell dinner with cultural show and breakfast will be served in our stay in Kathmandu as well as breakfast served in Pokhara.