Gosaikunda Lake Trek
Nepal is famously known for its towering peaks in the Himalayas; however, formed from the same snow-capped mountains are lakes – Himalayan lakes. Gosaikunda is one among many Himalayan lakes in Nepal located at an elevation of 4380m/14,370 feet.
The shimmering blue lake in the lap of mountains at such a height– it is definitely a piece of art. Its enticing beauty in the serenity of mountains and ridges has made Gosaikunda one of the most popular and sought-after lake of Nepal. So today let us get all the information relating Gosaikunda: from weather and climatic condition to best places to visit, from trekking towards the lake to the cost to scale it.
WHERE IS GOSAIKUNDA LOCATED?
Gosaikunda – this Himalayan lake of lies in the Rasuwa District of Nepal within the periphery of Langtang National Park. Sometimes the lake is also spelt alternatively as Gosainkunda or Gosain Kunda.
Gosaikunda is an alpine freshwater oligotrophic lake designated as a Ramsar site in 2007 at the height of 4,380 meters/14,370 feet with a surface of 13.8 hectares.
Gosaikunda trek is not just about the main lake; there are many exotic glacier lakes from small to medium size spread around the Gosaikunda region with glorious mountains, stunning landscapes, verdant forests and serenity of nature around them.
Another interesting part about Gosaikunda is that it remains frozen for half of the year, eventually melting and sipping down to form the Trishuli River.
WHAT IS THE RELIGIOUS ESSENCE OF GOSAIKUNDA LAKE?
Apart from natural beauty, Gosaikunda is also famous for its religious importance. It is one of the revered sites by both Hindus as well as Buddhists (Sharmans).
The lake becomes extra vibrant and lively during the festival of Janai Purnima that falls in the morn of Bhadra (August full moon day). Thousands of pilgrims both Hindus and Buddhist pay homage to this sacred lake from around the country. Hindu pilgrims come to worship Lord Shiva while Sharmans, who are also called Bon-Po in Tamang dialect and Buddhists pays a visit on the full moon of the festival.
The water of Gosaikunda is considered holy and of special significance during the festival of Janai Purnima. Pilgrims visiting the lake often take a dip in the lake no matter how freezing is the temperature.
On their journey to the lake, Shermans perform spiritual song and dance until they reach the lake and on that junior Shermans receives graduation form their masters.
As per Hindu mythology, Gosaikunda lake was created by Lord Shiva when he thrust his holy Trident into a mountain to extract the water to quench this thirst and cool his stinging throat after he had swallowed poison. It is also believed that the lake is the adobe of Lord Shiva and his wife, Goddess Parvati.
In many Hindu scriptures like Ramayan, Mahabharat, Bhagvat Puran, and Vishnu Puran, they refer to Samundra Manthan which is a relation to the origin of Gosaikunda.
WHAT IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT GOSAIKUNDA?
This season is regarded as the best time for trekking in Nepal and for Gosaikunda trek as well, autumn season serves the best.
Autumn gives you the best experience of trekking in Gosaikunda as the weather is excellent, the temperature is moderate, days are clear giving you the perfect view of captivating mountains. Days are moderate but the night gets chilly in higher regions.
Winter is obviously cold and bitter, and at the altitude where the lake is located, it gets quite extreme. Days are usually clear, but the temperature is often below zero, and during the night it even gets to -5 to -8. ‘
Trekking in this season has a risk of snowstorm, winds and cold temperature. It will be best to avoid Gosaikunda trekking in winter, however, if you are up for the challenge, prepare yourself with extra-warm clothes and equipment. Also, the lake remains frozen and covered in snow during winter.
Spring is another perfect season to embark on Gosaikunda trekking. This season makes your journey full of colours as the wildflowers and variety of rhododendrons bloom beautifully on your way. Days are clear, the temperature is mild in the lower region, and above 4,000 meters it is moderate.
You will witness so much naturalness during this season of trekking.
It is a season of rain and monsoon with scorching sun and hot days. There is always a possibility of storm and rain and even when it is not raining days are often cloudy. The visibility of the mountains is very weak, and the trails also get muddy and slippery.
It will be best if you wait for some time more and trek in a feasible season.
Climatic condition and Temperature of Gosaikunda
The weather of Gosaikunda region is moody and unpredictable. You are basking in the warmth of the sun, a minute later it can get all cloudy with no trace of sunlight. In the rainy season, skies are heavy with monsoon rains. In August, the average monthly rainfall reaches a peak with 500mm.
So carry spare clothes, sunglasses, raincoat, and all the items preparing yourself for every possible situation.
What is the trek difficulty of Gosaikunda?
Although Gosaikunda sits at an elevation above 4,000 meters, the journey is not so challenging as you are thinking. It is a short trek of 5-8 days in the Langtang region of Nepal.
You can go on Gosaikunda trek any time of year; however, their difficulty may add up if you embark in an unfavourable season.
The overall trek involves moderate difficulty; you don’t need experience in trekking or any technical skills. Good physique and exercise before 3-4 weeks of the journey will help you.
What is the cost of Gosaikunda Trek?
Usually, the cost of Gosaikunda Trek ranges from around USD 400 to USD 550. The cost depends on factors like a number of days, trekking routes, trekking season, size of the group and so on. However, the itinerary is customizable as per your need and comfort, and the cost is accordingly.
If you choose to combine Gosaikunda trek with Langtang Valley trek, then it adds extra days of 4-5, which automatically increases the cost. Gosaikunda trek with Langtang Valley trek cost you from USD 650 to USD 1000.
This combined trek gives you more opportunity for exploration. The trek takes you to Langtang Valley and Kyangjin Gompa first. Then after halfway return through the same route to Pairo, the trail towards Gosaikunda begins.
Along with the immense beauty of Gosaikunda lake, you will also enjoy a nature walk through alpine forest, grasslands and high ridges. You will also come across Tibetan-influenced villages of Tamang settlements.
What does the cost include?
Your paid cost for Gosaikunda trek includes the cost of trekking permits, transportation cost, accommodation with full board meals throughout the trek and cost of guides and porter.
Trekking to Gosaikunda requires two permits: TIMS and Langtang National Park Entry Permit.
Wildlife and Biodiversity in Gosaikunda Trek
As your journey takes places within the area of Langtang National Park, you will get a chance to witness some of the rare flora and faunal species.
Langtang National Park homes more than 1,000 species of plant, out of which 21 are endemic. In the lower region from 2,000 – 2,600 meter, the vegetation includes Chir pine, Rhododendron, and Nepalese Alder. Then in the temperate zone of 2,600 – 4,000 meters, there are oaks, silver fir, and silver fir. While in the higher region above 4,000 meters, juniper and rhododendron shrubs slowly merge in the wildland of alone grassland meadows.
Speaking of wildlife, there are 46 mammal species in the park. Some of them include snow leopard, clouded leopard, red panda, Tibetan sheep, and musk deer.
Also, there are more than 250 species of birds including Himalayan monal and satyr tragopan. In the same list comes 12 globally threatened bird species like a red-headed vulture, wood snipe, greater spotted eagle, cinereous vulture, Nepal wren babbler, and imperial eagle.
Detailed Gosaikunda Trekking
If you are short in time, yet you want to relish your soul staying close to nature in tranquility, then Gosaikuna trekking is an ideal decision. It is a short and accessible trek from Kathmandu that takes from five to eight days.
The initial phase of this trek is Sundarijal which takes an hour of a ride from Kathmandu. Sundarijal is popular for a day hike and scenic spot for picnic and recreation. Waterfalls in Sundarijal is another attraction.
From Sundarijal, it takes two hours of walk to reach Mulpani and another three hours of walk through the verdant forest to Chisapani. Chisapani is another popular hill station of Kathmandu Valley to enjoy the view of snow-capped mountains and landscape hills.
After observing the views from this vantage point and we will take a rest for a night and continue our journey the next day. Our next stop is Tuksang, which takes 5-6 hours from Chisapani. Stopping at a certain point and catching our breath we will pave our way through the forest to Tuksang.
Now, Tuksang is predominated by Tamang ethnicity with traditionally built houses with prayer flags. This quaint settlement is even more impressive as the Himalayas sits in the background of the Tuksang.
As we scale higher, the settlements get thinner. On our next stop to Ghopte, the number of peoples is relatively low than in the latter villages. From Ghopte, be ready to arrive at the ultimate destination – Gosaikunda lake. The hike is of around 6-7 hours, but despite the long walk, the feeling of excitement will keep on your energy. The whole Gosaikunda complex with associated lakes, it covers the 1,030 hectors of the area.
In your return journey, you can opt to choose a different way from the one you have come. The next route takes you to the district headquarters of Rasuwa, Dhunche. From Dunche, you can easily catch a bus to Kathmandu.
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