MELAMCHI GHYANG, May 26: Helambu, a highland village situated in the upper belt of Sindhupalchok district and the sacred place of Lord Padmasambhava, Milarepa, and Guru Rinpoche, awaits exploration. Just 80 kilometers away from Kathmandu, the famous tourist destination and habitat of endangered wild flora and fauna and rich in typical Hyolmo culture and tradition, and is yet to be fully explored by visitors.
Despite its alluring natural beauty, culture, and heritage and proximity to the Kathmandu Valley, only a few hundred visitors visit this place annually.
Helambu, the homeland of the Hyolmo people now comprises people from various other castes and ethnic groups. After the introduction of the federal governance system in Nepal, Helambu now is the name of a rural municipality which has now made this region apparent not only as of the place of Hyolmo and Buddhism but also as a place of Brahmins, Tamangs, Hinduism and many more.
Houses with small doors and windows (modernizing these days), people with flat noses wearing Bakkhu and other thick clothes who drink Tsajya (salty Tibetan tea), young boys and girls with red cheeks, people speaking the native Hyolmo language characterize the upper belt of this region. Beautiful mountains, snow, and chilly weather add to the beauty of the place.
Monasteries of Buddhist deities, caves of Gurus and Dakanis, flying prayer flags, and spinning prayer wheels give unique and extraordinary experiences to every visitor visiting this region. For people in Kathmandu and other cities willing to escape from their busy city lives, Helambu can be an appropriate destination. It is among the best trekking routes in Nepal as well.
The upper belt of Helambu which also comes under the area of Langtang National Park is home to red pandas, snow leopards, and musk deer.
Helambu has the potentials for not only trekking and culture-based tourism but also mountaineering and wildlife. The mountains like Langtang, Dorje Lakpa, Ama Yangri encircle this region. According to the chairman of Helambu Rural Municipality, Nima Gyalzen Hyolmo, the local government is all set to establish a base camp and start mountaineering in the near future. Besides, the rural municipality is building a 370-meter long suspension bridge for bungee jumping. “The bungee will be 180 m deep and the tender has already been issued,” Nima shared. This will also introduce adventure tourism in Helambu.
In recent years, most villages well known for trekking have been linked with roadways. Despite all the good fortunes the road has brought to these villages, the trekking routes are gradually vanishing and look deserted. To tackle this problem, the local government has been building a new Helambu Great Trail. The trail is 60km long which runs along the mountains. Once the route is completed, trekkers will be able to reach the Langtang Valley from Helambu within two days, enjoying the panoramic view of the Himalayas and experiencing the wilderness.
There are three major trekking routes to enter Helambu. The first is via Melamchi Bazar- Timbu, second via Sundarijal –Kutumsang and the third via Dhunche-Gosaikunda.
Helambu also offers very well-facilitated hotels and lodges at reasonable costs. The villages nowadays have access to the internet. There are community health centers and health posts to provide health services.