Gosaikunda is becoming one of the favorite trekking place among everyone these days, but everyone needs some sort of information regarding the place or on how to reach there. Well, I just wanted to write something about it, trying to give the descriptive information regarding the trek, a brief itinerary and what and what not to do during the trek! I hope the information will be useful to you all who run into this blog seeking to learn a few things about the Gosaikunda trek.
Gosaikunda lake is a high altitude and a very sacred lake situated in Rasuwa district of Nepal. It falls under the Langtang region trek and the Langtang National Park. High up in the Himalayas, the Gosaikunda region has numerous pristine and sacred lakes. The most famous and largest being the Gosaikunda Lake (4380 meters), which is one of the most revered and holiest lake for Hindu pilgrims and the lake has a mythical importance in Hinduism.
“As per the myth when the world was facing a possible destruction, Lord Shiva had to drink poison out of the sea to save the world. Upon drinking it he faced a possible dehydration and to quench his thirst he drove his Trident (Trishul) into one of the mountains, from where burst out a river filling up the spaces around Gosaikunda area. It is believed that there are around 108 Lakes in the surrounding areas of Gosaikunda Lake.”
The most notable lakes around Gosaikunda are the Bhairav kunda and the Surya kunda. Surya kunda is a small lake surrounded by mountains and offers an amazing view of mountains towards the west. From Manaslu to Ganesh himal range, the view from the area is majestic. Lauribina la pass 4610 meters, connects the Langtang region with Helambu region.
The gateway to Gosaikunda is Dhunche or Syafru besi (Rasuwa) or Sundarijal (Kathmandu), but personally I would recommend you to do it from Dhunche, it would be lot easier that way than compared to the other two. You can get a bus from Machhapokhari, Balaju to Dhunche. There are three different types of buses available;
- Local- that stops almost every two minutes to pick up everyone it sees on the road – Price : 280 Nrs
- Super- that doesn’t stop at all until Dhunge, Trishuli, from there onward it almost turns into a local. 480 Nrs.
- Deluxe- that doesn’t stop to pick up anyone at all, goes as smoothly as it can, but the problem is, its not the kind of fancy deluxe that we get other parts, specially those of Terai regions. Its almost the same Deluxe bus with a little more comfort and a television, apart from that there’s nothing new. It does take you faster than other two options.
P.S. Important thing to remember is Pre-buy the ticket a day before you leave! There aren’t that many buses and you might not get a good seat if you go to buy the ticket the same day you want to leave.
Now then, what do you do after you take the bus?
The distance from Kathmandu to Dhunche is about 130 kilometers, it’s not much but it usually takes a long time to reach there with the state of the roads and security check at few places. So the ideal thing would be to take the earliest bus possible so that you can reach Dhunche in time! For those people who’d not want to stay in Dhunche and would love to move on with the trek the same day, taking the first bus would be a good choice. The bus then makes its way out of Kathmandu and enters Nuwakot, as we go pass Ranipauwa we start to see the mountain ranges, Langtang Lirung looming ahead of us. The bus ride from Kathmandu to Dhunche is a fun ride, specially once we leave Nuwakot and enter Rasuwa district at Betrawati. As the bus climbs higher on the serpentine roads of Betrawati to reach the top of Kalikashtan, before actually crossing the section there’s a check post on Kalikasthan. The bus staff will ask you to close the windows of the bus, and even if they forget to do so (In most cases they won’t) you can close the windows by yourself to avoid trouble. Since it’s a national park area and that its close to the border the checking in this area is pretty scrupulous. From there onward continue our journey to Dhunche, as we pass different villages along the highway such as Ramche Grang Thade. The road sections after Kalikasthant to Dhunche is pretty torturous for those people who are not used to crazy roads and are Acrophobic. Anyways, about 24 km from Kalikasthan lies Dhunche, the headquarter of Rasuwa district. Dhunche looks small as you just pass along the main Bazar into the road that leads to the trails of Gosaikunda. But if you’re going to Syabru Besi, and as you pass a turning you’ll see that the town is pretty big with houses all over the hill.
The landslides of Ramche, Grang and Thade are crazy, and its worth taking a photos of those areas. We then reach a check point again, and Dhunche bazar is just a kilometer away from the Check post.
Now then, lets move on to the trekking part. We get off at Dhunche and depending upon what time you get there, If you take the earliest bus, a Super that leaves at 7:30 then you might reach Dhunche before 2 (Which can never be certain though) (Also local bus leaves earlier, but I don’t recommend local bus if you’re thinking of starting your trek the same day! Unless you want to stay in Dhunche the first day and start your trek the next day, I’d not recommmend you to take a local bus.)
Gosaikunda lies to the east of Dhunche Bazar, as we walk along the road of Dhunche bazar we can see the mountains that surround Gosaikunda. From there onward we take the road for about 5 minutes and reach a turning where you can see a small temple, from there you go on straight. For the first 15-20 minutes you walk along the road, after that you have descend down to river (There’s a sign with an arrow that says: Gosaikunda). You might want to refuel yourself before you start the trek.
From there we go down the trails and reach the River. To this point the river is called Gosaikunda river, which falls down from the Lake itself. From there we cross the river into Ghattekhola where the actual trek starts. Now, here’s the fun, the part that starts right away is an almost steep climb for about 15 minutes that goes up the stairs, and even after that until you reach a place called Deurali which is roughly 2 hours away from Ghattekhola. The trails goes up, well its not that steep but it does go up gradually. Walking through the silence of dense forest all you can is hear birds chirping or insects making sounds. The trails continues as we go higher and higher, about an hour into our trek reach a small tea house. From there, Deurali is about 45 minutes to 1 hour walk in normal pace. And if you don’t make noises and walk quietly you might see Barking deer and Himlayan Langur along the way after you leave the small tea house. Depending upon when you reach Dhunche you can stay either in Deurali if its too late or you can move on to Chandanbari if you reached Dhunche early. So here’s what I’d recommend:
If you reach Dhunche between 12 to 2 pm : Aim for Chandanbari
If you reach Dhunche after 3 Pm: Aim for Deurali (Or Dhimsa- Dhimsa has only one hotel and not more than 3 rooms so if you have a large group, going to Dhimsa might not a good idea, but Chandanbari is only 30-40 minutes walk from Dhimsa)
Now, where were we? Yes! We almost made it to Deurali, Lets say that we did and its almost dark , then you can stay at Deurali, there’s only one hotel there but has enough rooms. Chandanbari is about 2 hours from Deurali so its better to stay at Deurali if its already getting late. If not then you can move on to Chandanbari or Dhimsa.
The climb from Deurali to Dhimsa is a very steep one, it goes up just like that, you can see tons of birds and butterflies along the trail and also squirrels. After an hour (Hour fifteen, or something like that, just think of it as, Chandanbari is 2 hours from Deurali (Unless you can walk fast) or so you’ll reach Dhimsa, from there its just about 30-40 minutes walk and not a tough climb. As you go up from Dhimsa towards Chandanbari, there a thick forest of shrubs, where you can see different Pheasants, Kalij is very common in that particular area. Chandanbaari has to the be largest settlement in the area, its a beautiful small village over looking the Mountains surrounding the Gosaikunda. Chandanbari also known as Sin Gompa is famous for its Cheese factory and of course the Gumba. Since you’ll be starting early next morning its better to buy Cheese for the road if you want.
The next morning start early, you’d not want to miss the mountains range view from Lauribina or even Cholangpaty. Start early, the trails goes up right at the start of the 2nd day but then goes gradually and relatively flat until you reach a dense and Gothic-y forest. Then you have to climb the wooden stairs, well technically its not stairs but just some sort of Timber laid down along the trails to make it easy. During the post winter season this area will be covered with snow and can be slippery at times. About half an hour into the forest, you start to climb gradually and then reach a flat turning a minute into the turning will take you to Cholangpaty. There are two lodges there, you walk right in the between the lodges and start going up the hill. By the way, after you leave Dhunche, you might not get a phone network along the way, apart from few areas below Deurali and of course in Deurali. But strangely enough, as you go up the hill from Cholangpaty there’s a small house with a roof of blue steel sheet, there’s a good Ncell network there. And about 30-40 minutes from that place will take you to the base of Lauribina, from there you climb the steep Lauribina face, which will take you about 1 hour or so to reach the famous Vantage point of Lauribina, the Buddha statue that you could see from Dhunche, before the Earthquake of 2015 brought it down. But the climb can be tortorous for people who are not used to trekking much. Make all of your phone calls from there before you go into the Gosaikunda Path and on your way to Gosaikunda, Also update your status or send in few tweets before heading, because you can actually get such a good network that even internet data works there. You can see an amazing view of the Ganesh Himal range and Langtang range from there. Also towards the North West you can see the distant lands of Tibet and mountains ranges of Tibet.
Ganesh Himal Range, seen from Cholangpaty
View from Lauribina
From that point onward its relatively easy, you only have to climb slightly or at one point slightly steep but overall its a easy compared to all the arduous trek you’ve done so far. About 10 minutes into the trails, you see the first Lake below you, Saraswoti kunda. From there you continue along the trails and then reach another vantage point from where you can see the hotels around the Gosaikunda lakes, and also a striking view of Bhairav Kunda. Then gradually you finally reach the Gosaikunda lake. There are 3 different hotels and finding a room might not be a problem during the off seasons of even during the season it might not be much of a problem. But it surely will be around Janai Purnima.
The best place to view the Lake would be to climb the hill behind Hotel Peaceful, there’s a view points, about 4600 meters high, from there you can actually see both the lakes and amazing mountain views. You can also go to Surya kunda and surrounding lakes, you can see mountains and of course an awesome view of Gosaikunda from top.
Getting down is the easy part, you can follow the same route, or if you want a new one then you can either descend down to Cholangpaty and then go to Syabru besi via Thulo Syabru- which is a beautiful place). Or you can take the Lauribina pass into Helambu or Chisapani. I’ll just include the Itinerary of that section below.
Which season would be the best?
I’ve been there in almost all seasons possible, from winter to rainy to spring all of it but the best season I’d recommend would be post winter, unless you’d want to see the blue unfrozen lake. 2nd, 3rd week of Falgun (March? I think) would be the best season to see it all, of course it will be cold but the mountain views are awesome, there will enough snow to make the scene picturesque for your photographs, the lake will be frozen, the weather will be clear. If you don’t want to enjoy the frozen Kunda and cold weather, then the best season would be late August and early September, right after the end of Dashain. The weather will be good, skies clear and and unfrozen lake.
What do I need for the trek?
If its post winter, take warm clothes, don’t forget woolen hats/caps, gloves, mufflers, it can get extremely windy around Lauribina. Take few medicines with you, move sprays and stuff. Also take Dimox, just in case you fall prey to Altitude sickness. Avoid drinking at high altitudes, drink lots of water.
Gosaikunda to Chisapani
Start early from Gosaikunda, making your way to Surya kunda and other lakes you then reach Lauribina pass, from there onward you have a long descend ahead, as you reach Phedi and then Ghopte and then finally to Thadepati, the last time I was there there were no lodges at Ghopte because of the earthquake, so I had to walk down to Thadepati, which is a long walk. But where ever you stay that day, the next days trek will take you to Kutumsangu or Gulbhanjyang, and from there to Chisapani.
Gosaikunda is an amazing trek, and probably the best trek to start off as your first trek! It’s not boring at all, trust me I’ve been there 7 times and I’d go there over and over again. I wrote this blog as a comprehensive review of the trek, so that it could be easy for people who are about to go there and need information about it! I’m not sure if I have included everything I need to in the blog, if you need to know something more, feel free to contact me!
Walking around the Frozen Gosaikunda Lake
Aama Kunda (on the way to Lauribina pass)
Frozen Gosaikunda and Lodges above the Lake