When the full moon rises over Gosainkunda Lake in the midst of the Langtang Range, the shoreline is lined with people who have come to celebrate the annual festival of Janai Purnima (Full Moon Festival). Thousands of Hindu pilgrims from Nepal, India and around the world come each year to celebrate special healing pujas done by the Shamans.
The festival is colorful and exciting. The 108 lakes are at a high elevation in the Langtang Mountains at 4,380 meters. The full moon shines brightly, reflecting its light on the dark surface of the lakes. There is lots of singing and dancing in the ceremonies as the Shamans perform their rituals. Jhankris or apprentice shamans will be elevated to the full rank of shaman at this festival, having graduated from their studies.
This is also the day when the Brahmin and Chhetri men change their Janai or three cord yellow thread that each man of those Hindu castes wears every day of his life. It is a three-fold cord of yellow cotton, which symbolizes body, speech and mind. When the knots in the cords are properly tied, it symbolizes that the wearer has gained complete control over his body, speech and mind.
Each Brahmin and Chhetri boy receives his first cord in a special initiation, and this may be done here at Gosainkund Lake. It is a very impressive and colorful ceremony which symbolizes a boy's rite of manhood. The ceremony itself is called Bratabandhan.
The cord is only changed if it becomes frayed or if the wearer becomes ceremonially unclean, like if he touches a woman during her monthly menstruation. However, it must be changed annually on this date when the moon is full during the month of August.
The religious festivals in Nepal are a fun time to visit this country. Visitors are welcome to come and join the festivities. Swiss Nepal Family Trekking & Expedition is pleased to be able to offer this exciting shamanism festival trekking opportunity to combine culture and scenic beauty of the Langtang Range in the summer months.
DAY 1 – XX August, 2016 – Arrival in Kathmandu and transfer to your hotel.
DAY 2 – XX August, 2016 – Full Day of Sightseeing in Kathmandu Valley
DAY 3 – XX August, 2016 – Drive to Dunche (elev. 2030 m) by private vehicle (6 – 7 hours)
DAY 4 – xx August, 2016 – Trek to Shing Gompa (elev. 3250 m) 4 – 5 hours
DAY 5 – xx August, 2016 – Trek to Gosainkund Lake (elev. 4380 m) 3 – 4 hours
DAY 6 – xx August, 2016 – Festival Day at Gosainkund Lake
DAY 7 – xx August, 2016 – Trek to Sing Gompa (elev. 3250 m) 3 – 4 hours
DAY 8 – xx August, 2016 – Trek to Dunche (elev. 2030 m) 4 – 5 hours
DAY 9 – xx August, 2016 – Drive to Kathmandu by private car – 5 – 6 hours
DAY 10 – xx August, 2016 – Final Departure
DAY 1 – XX August, 2016 – Arrival: Arrive at Tribhuwan 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 – xx August, 2016 - 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. Spend night in your Three Star Hotel.
DAY 3 – xx August, 2016 – Drive to Dunche (elev. 2030 m): After breakfast, we will go by private vehicle to the village of Dunche via Trisuli. The road is good until we reach the rural city of Trisuli and then becomes gravel. The views are wonderful today as we move northward toward Langtang National Park. There are terraced villages and many villages belonging to the Tamang people. We will get our entry permit into Langtang National Park and spend the night at a lodge in Dunche. We will also have an opportunity to visit the Tamang Museum in the village to learn more about the fascinating culture of the Tamang people. It is about a 6 – 7 hour drive.
DAY 4 – xx August, 2016 – Trek to Shing Gompa (elev. 3250 m): Today is our first day of trekking. After breakfast, we leave the village and begin to follow the trail past terraced farms. The trail is easy at first, then becomes steep as we pass through forests and trek up the cliff to where we will enjoy great overviews of the valley and the surrounding mountains. We see the mountains of the Gosainkund Range with their snowcapped peaks from here. We will pass by rhododendron forests. After lunch, the trail finally starts to level off as we join the trail from Kyanjin Gompa. We will soon arrive at Shing Gompa where we will find a small cheese factory and an old Buddhist monastery. We will check into our lodge and visit these places in the evening. Trekking time is 4 – 5 hours.
DAY 5 – xx August, 2016 – Trek to Gosainkund Lake (elev. 4380 m): Today we will arrive at the holy lake of Gosainkund. The trail is not as steep today, but we will be rising in elevation. We will be able to see the snowcapped peaks of Langtang Lirung and the Ganesh Himal range. As we rise higher in elevation, more snowcapped peaks will become visible. Soon we will see the trail highlighted with Buddhist prayer flags that flap in the ever-present breeze. We will start to pass several of the lakes as we make our way to Gosainkund Lake. There is a lingam here that honors the Hindu god Shiva. We will overnight at the local lodge.
DAY 6 – xx August, 2016 – FESTIVAL DAY!: Today is the day of Janai Purnima and the devotees will be arriving. Most of the activities will take place at night under the full moon. There will be singing and dancing all through the night. You will be able to see and even participate in some of the ritual activities. We will spend the night at our local lodge.
DAY 7 – xx August, 2016 – Trek to Sing Gompa (elev. 3250 m): We start our descent with other pilgrims, heading down the trail until we reach Lauribinak where we will stop for lunch. We will return to Shing Gompa, all the while enjoying some superb views of the snowcapped peaks. We will stay in a local lodge at Sing Gompa. Trekking time is 4 – 5 hours.
DAY 8 – xx August, 2016 – Trek to Dunche (elev. 2030): It is our last day of trekking. We descend through rhododendron forests and past terraced fields until we reach Dunche. We will stay at the local lodge. Trekking time is 4 – 5 hours.
DAY 9 – Drive to Kathmandu: Today we return to Kathmandu by private vehicle, checking into our Three Star Hotel. In the evening, enjoy a Farewell Dinner with local culture, food and dancing. Travel time is around 5 – 6 hours.
DAY 10 – 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 this 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 for Shamanism Tour & Gosainkund Trek are on twin sharing basis with inclusive trip costs and are chosen based on standard hygiene, standard of service and food, location and more. There are two styles of accommodations during the trip. We will spend three nights in 3-Star Hotels in Kathmandu. For the remaining six nights, we will stay at local tea houses or local lodges. Some of these places have shared toilets and washing facilities. Solo travelers may share a room, or if requested, we can arrange for a private room for an additional fee. However, please understand that in some remote places single rooms might not be feasible, even if the extra fee is paid. These are remote villages that we are dealing with. We at Swiss Nepal Family Trekking & Expedition will do all we can to make your trip as pleasant and enjoyable as possible.
During the trek, we can enjoy typical Nepali food, different ethnic cuisines as well as all types of international cuisine (Tibetan, Continental, Italian, Indian, etc.) from pizza and chips to apple pie. We can even enjoy hot chocolates, variety of breads, drinks and snacks. Breakfast will be served from the tea house or lodge menu where we spend our night. Lunch will be served on the way to our destination and usually along the trail. Dinner and breakfast will be served at the tea houses where we will spend the night. Note that at the tea houses and lodges, 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.