Indigenous Peoples Trail (IP Trail)

Tourism features

A soft 8-day trekking product, the first of its kind in Nepal, the ‘Indigenous Peoples Trail’ offers unique, living exposure to one of the most culturally diverse areas of Nepal. The ‘Indigenous Peoples Trail’ offers scenic trekking at relatively low elevations from 3,146 m to 533 m. Bound by Thulo Sailung peak in the North, the aqua-blue Sun Koshi flowing along the south and the fast-flowing Tama Koshi in the east, the ‘Indigenous Peoples Trail’ presents an incomparable and natural blend of cultural, linguistic and ethnic diversity coupled with breathtaking Himalayan panoramas, stretching from Dhauligiri and Annapurna in the west to Numburchuli and Kanchenjunga, the world’s third highest peak in the east. The ‘Indigenous Peoples Trail’ is possible almost throughout the year, although the best season is October to December and March to April when the Rhododendrons are in bloom. Against a magnificent Himalayan backdrop visitors gain invaluable insight to the culture and lifestyle of several local Indigenous Peoples including Tamang, Newar, Sherpa, Thami, Yolmo and Majhi. The two predominant religions, Hinduism and Buddhism, are ever present with the variety of gods and goddess, temples, stupas and monasteries.

 

MAJOR TOURISM ATTRACTIONS

 

The ‘Indigenous Peoples Trail’ presents an incomparable and natural blend of cultural, linguistic and ethnic diversity coupled with breathtaking Himalayan panoramas and scenic landscape. Major tourism attraction of the area is described below.

 

Major Tourism Attractions (IP Trail)

 

Mountain panorama : From Kanchanjunga to the east to Annapurna to the west. Best visible panorama is Numbur range, Rolwaling range and Langtang range

 

Other mesmerizing landscape : Folded Mahabharat hills, rolling terraced farmlands, waterfalls (Surkey), Serpentine Sunkoshi River

Major Valley : Sunkoshi River and Tamakoshi River valley

 

Major ethnic groups : Sherpa, Thami, Newar, Tamang, Yolmo and Majhi

 

Sacred pilgrimage sites : Thulo Sailung, Rajveer, Khandadevi, Augleshwori and Sunapati

Best view points : Sailung, Augleshwori, Khandadevi, Sunapati

 

Beautiful monastery : Rajveer, Doramba, Domgme

 

Beautiful flora : Sub-tropical to temperate vegetation, Sal forest, Pine forest, Alnus and blooming rhododendron

 

Beautiful fauna : Various species of birds, Deer, Langur Monkey, varieties of endemic fishes

 

Socio-economic-practices : Terraced farming, ethno-botanical practices, thatched houses, mechanical grinding of rice and millet, ploughing

 

Socio-cultural practices : Lhosar celebration, Janaipurnima festival, Buddhapurnima festival, Sorashraddha, Shamanic performances, Lama Dances

 

 

MAJOR TOURIST ACTIVITIES

 

A visit to IP Trail provide visitors the rare exposures to the unique culture, traditions and rituals of at least six indigenous people while making a gentle trekking across the Mahabhat. The ‘Indigenous Peoples Trail’ is a relatively easy trekking package and perfect for those wishing to avoid extreme high altitudes as the trail takes you from a starting elevation of 3146m and continues down concluding at elevations below 500m.

 

Target international tourists include repeat visitors, adults and children (soft trekkers), mediators, researchers, university and college students, backpackers/budget tourists and short-duration holiday makers. Target domestic tourists include university and college students, cultural researchers, and religious pilgrims and short-duration holiday makers.

 

Visitors can enjoy the following tourist activities at the IP Trail:

 

 

Major Tourism Activities (IP Trail)

 

Exciting driving through the mountain: From Kathmandu –Mudhe-Dhunge.

 

Private home-stay experiences: Kholakharka, Surkey, Doramba, Khandadevi and Lubughat

 

Monastery/community lodge experience: Kholakharka, Rajveer and Dongme

 

Monastery visit: Rajveer, Doramba, Dongme

 

Pilgrimage visit: Thulo Sailung, Rajveer, Augleshwori Temple,

Khandadevi temple, Dongme Monastery

 

Cultural performance: Sherpa (Rajveer), Thami (Surkey/Tinghare), Tamang (Doramba), Yolmo (Dongme), Majhi (Lubughat)

 

Slow food experiences: Potato, barley, mushroom, other wild foods

 

Soft trekking: Dhunge-Sailung-Lubughat

 

Sunrise/sunset view observation: Thulosailung, Doramba, Khandadevi, Sunapati

 

Paragliding: Sailung, Sunapati

 

Mountain biking: Throughout the trail (from Mudhe to Lubughat)

 

Rafting: Lubughat-Seleghat

 

Fishing: Lubughat, Seleghat

 

Wilderness walk: Khandadevi-Hiledevi section

 

Bird watching: Dhunge-Sailung, Kholakharka-Rajveer, Surkey-Doramba, Khandadevi-Hiledevi section.

 

Bio-diversity study: Temperate to alpine vegetation types, rhododendron, conifers, birch, colored pasture grasses, NTFPs

Different bird species, Deers, Jackle, Fox, Clouded leopard.

Agri-tourism activities: Participating rice and millet cultivation as well as harvesting,

 

Fish and pig BBQ: Lubughat, Seleghat

 

 

PACKAGE AND ITINERARY FOR ‘INDIGENOUS PEOPLES TRAIL’

 

The ‘IP Trail' allows you to stay overnight in private homes in traditional villages far from commercialized tourist trails. Rooms in local houses are renovated, but otherwise expect a few tourist-style comforts. Host families are trained to prepare meals hygienically. When staying with a Nepali family guests live the life as the local people do, and are treated like part of the family. The homes reflect the traditional and simple atmosphere of the people. Apart from the pleasure of being amidst peaceful and serene environment, tourists can also enjoy the traditional folk dances and music presented by the local men and women in their colorful traditional attire. The focus for the guests is on experiencing and learning from an authentic and enriched culture. Visitors are often involved in local activities that range from cooking classes through to attending a traditional wedding, watching a local cultural dance and farm work activities. The Home-stay allows visitors to discover the real Nepal and to enjoy the untouched countryside. Unlike highly commercialized routes, trekkers walk through uninhabited areas and meet few fellow travelers. No fees or permits are currently required for this trek.

 

Following itinerary has been recommended for IP Trail.

 

Day From To Accommodation type Elevation (m) Time (hours) Special features

1 Kathmandu Kholakharka Community lodge 2950 7.00 Sailung, panoramic views

2 Kholakharka Rajveer Monastery 2630 1.30 Monastery, Sherpa culture package

3 Rajveer Surkey Home-stay 1850 3.30 Thami culture package, Newar culture

4 Surkey Doramba Home-stay 2025 3.30 Tamang culture package

5 Doramba Khandadevi Home-stay 1985 4.30 Khandadevi Temple, Hindu pilgrimage

6 Khandadevi Hiledevi Monastery 1980 4.00 Yolmo culture package, Monastery

7 Hiledevi Lubughat Monastery 533 4.00 Majhi culture package,

lodge Koshi River

8 Lubughat Kathmandu Home-stay 4.00 Roshi river

 

 

DAY-WISE PACKAGES

 

DAY 1: KATHMANDU-MUDHE-DHUNGE-KHOLA KARKA

 

The Starting Point is Dhunge village in Dolakha District reached by local bus from Mude (on the Kathmandu-Charikot-Jiri hardtop road), a 3-hour drive from Dhulikhel or 4.5 hours from Kathmandu. From, Dhunge, there is a short ninety-minute climb up to Sailung Peak. Follow the short trail down to the Sherpa village of Khola Kharka where you will spend the night in the newly established Khola Kharka Community Centre (for independent traveler, and if coming from Kathmandu, the other option is to take a bus to Mude, spend the night there, and next day walk to Khola Kharka via Dhunge: start early, because it will take almost a whole day).

 

DAY 2: KHOLAKHARKA-RAJVEER

 

Rise early to reach the summit of Thulo Sailung as the sun rises over the Eastern Himalaya. At 3,146 m Sailung offers magnificent views over Kalinchowk to the Annapurna, Langtang, Ganesh Himal, Rowaling, Everest and Kanchenjunga ranges. To the south the Mahabharata hills roll over the Sun Koshi River and down to the Tarai lowlands below. Thulo Sailung is regarded by the Tamangs as the abode of the territorial deity, Sailung Phoi Sibda Karpo, Sailung’s ‘White Male Lord of the Earth’. The chorten atop the hill of Sailung is the seat of this divine protector and the Tamang Community are the ‘custodians of the land’.

 

The souls of the ancestors together with the ‘Lord of the Earth’ guarantee the wellbeing of the people and the fertility of the soil. The four groups of stone chhorten on the summit are related to the Tamang Communities in the surrounding area – the groups on the highest point facing south over Ramechhap, today in ruins, are the largest. At the chhortens Buddhist Priests perform ‘mandala offerings’ for the rebirth of the souls of the deceased. The lingoes surrounding the Chorten were erected during Tamang death rituals and are left there to succumb to the forces of nature. The main rituals held here are Buddhist offerings to the souls of the deceased. During the festival of Janai Purnima (Saun Purnima), held on the full moon of July/August during which Tamang pilgrims crowd around the ruined Chortens at the

highest point of Thulo Sailung. Nowadays, no blood sacrifices are permitted on Thulo Sailung.

 

The shamans have surrendered to Buddhist Dominance and refrain from offering blood to the fierce female deities. Other sites of interest around Thulo Sailung include three rocks - tiger, snake and cow representing the Hindu, Buddhist and Shamanic simultaneous rivalry and co-existence. The King of the Tigers lived on Thulo Sailung. One day he was pursuing a cow grazing on the meadows of Thulo Sailung. Suddenly a snake appeared from the soil and came between the tiger and the cow. The three turned to stone and the cow was saved from the tiger. Two rocks below Thulo Sailung bear the footprint of Padmasambhava and his sword. Located below the summit of Thulo Sailung is Gaurighat cave, it is believed that on full moon nights ‘milk’ is said to ooze from the stalagmites inside the cave. The cave is believed to be a source of fertility and health. Pilgrims pray there for sons, relief from illness and for personal success and wealth. The cave is also considered the entrance to the netherworld, the realm of the nagas serpent deity. Legend has it “when a yogi meditates inside the cave for five years, a door leading to the interior of the mountain appears”. A second cave locally known as ‘Buddha’s Gate’ or the ‘Door of Dharma’ has an exit hole that almost too small for human passage. Only the most devout Buddhists who have not committed any sins can pass. Squeeze through in the hope of ridding yourself of sin and emerge pure! In the third small cave, Godavari cave, it is believed that every twelve years at the full moon of August/September white water is said to flow in which Hindu’s take a sacred bath to ritually purify the body. These caves are also associated with the Hindu God Mahadev, the popular form of Shiva, together with his female consort Seti Devi, the ‘White Goddess’ Parvati. A shepherd discovered his cow was giving milk a large phallic rock inside the cave. According to legend the rock was Mahadev himself. Enjoy lunch in Khola Kharka and continue along the trail, passing through rhododendrons blossoming along the way amidst the chirping of birds and insects. A short downhill stroll brings you to the Monastery in Raj Veer built by the Bhutanese Drukpa Kagyu School in 1972, and providing overnight accommodation. The monastery also offers meditation stays. The craftsmen responsible for the paintings and frescoes came from Bhutan. The patron Lama Kalsang has donated comfortable accommodation quarters where you will spend the night. Rise early to the sound of chanting Monks and receive a blessing before continuing on your journey. Enjoy an evening Sherpa cultural performance at Rajveer.

 

 

 

 

DAY 3: RAJVEER-SURKEY/TINGHARE

Continuing downhill from Raj Veer Monastery the trail leaves behind the thick pine forests and opens up to the green terraced fields. Along the route you pass through the Sherpa village of Dadhuwa-Dara and a Tamang village, each with their own Buddhist gompas. Prayer flags, chortens and mani stones are scattered along the route. The trail continues to descend where the spectacular 40 foot 'Thinghare' water fall crashes onto the rocks below.

 

A short climb brings you to the beautifully terraced settlement of Surke where you will spend the night in one of five newly renovated Home-stays.

 

Spend a day in the village, climb to the viewpoint of Gaurigaun or visit the endangered Thami Community. The local Thami band is on hand to entertain and visitors can sample the local Raksi! Thangmi, known in Nepali as ‘Thami’, is a Tibeto-Burman language spoken by around 30,000 people in eastern Nepal.

 

DAY 4: SURKEY-DORAMBA

As you leave Surke you pass through Thami settlements before crossing over into the Doramba valley where the trail traverses along the forest-covered hillside around to the terraced fields of Doramba. The trail leisurely follows the contours of the valley leading to the bustling Doramba Bazaar, where you can purchase cold drinks, snacks and music cassettes of local Tamang songstress, Shashi Moktan. Tonight you will sleep in a local Homestay. Doramba is one of the largest Tamang settlements in Nepal: in fact, most of the Thangka painters found in Bhaktapur and Bouddha are originally from this remote village. Enjoy a superb Tamang evening cultural performance.

 

DAY 5: DORAMBA- KHANDADEVI

After a pleasant walk out of the Doramba valley, the route ascends to the sacred Hindu shrine atop Agleshwari Danda where you will be rewarded with stunning views of the Himalaya and the rolling Mahabharat hills below. Descend through the local slate mine, through pine forests to emerging at Galpa Bazaar. Perched on a pass between two valleys Galpa Bazaar is a bustling centre where you can purchase cold drinks and snacks, an ideal place to break for lunch. Perched on top of a 1985m, Khandadevi is situated around a captivating Hindu Temple complex encircled by ancient stone walls.

 

The temple, dedicated to Goddess Khada Devi, was discovered in 1458 AD by a shepherd who discovered milk oozing from a sacred stone, an emanation of the Goddess. The site also served as a fortress during the Anglo-Nepal war. The setting

is dominated by high hills of lush green Maharabharat Range with snowy peaks of Numburchuli and Gaurishankar on the northern horizon and southern views over the flat Tarai below. Daily animal sacrifices, ‘panchabale’, are still carried out today. Enjoy your night at the newly developed Home-stay.

 

DAY 6: KHANDADEVI-DHONGHME/SUNAPATI

Leaving Khandadevi, the trail follows a long ridge with views down into the Tarai on one side and up into the snow capped Himalayan peaks on the other. The trail traverses up and down through thick pine forests before crossing into another valley. Amidst the forest you encounter with the several birds and mammals as well as the enormous rock adorned with a Shiva temple before emerging at Dhonghme, an ancient Yolmo or settlement, inhabited by many Lamas.

 

Like the young Tamang's much of the Yolmo youth are employed as Thangka painters in Kathmandu. In the evening, make the gradual climb to the summit of Sunapati, well-known for its spectacular sunrises and sunsets. Here amongst the Buddhist Chortens and Hindu shrines you can enjoy sunset over the Himalaya before returning to the Gumba or Homestay to spend the night and enjoy a Yolmo cultural evening.

 

DAY 7: DONGME/SUNAPATI-LUBUGHAT

After breakfast the next morning you get to enjoy an equally stunning sunrise before the final descent to the village of Lubughat on the renowned Sun Koshi River. En route you will enjoy newly renovated eco trails leading to majestic views of Sun Koshi river confluences. Arriving in Lubughat, you will meet the

Majhi peoples, renowned for their fishing expertise, and subject to the season, meet white water rafting adventure tourists.

 

Roaming through the rivers, man, women and children repeatedly hurl nets into nearby water in hopes of trapping passing fish. You will spend your last day and night here in Lubughat participating in Majhi fishing and cultural experiences before rising early the next morning, and crossing the river to catch the bus for the one-hour journey up Dhulikhel where you can enjoy the luxurious hotels and stunning Himalayan views, before returning to Kathmandu. The Majhi fishing and BBQ experiences at Lubughat have additional business potential as standalone products for short duration tourists because of the proximity to Kathmandu. The same experiences at Lubughat and Seleghat (further down the Sun Koshi River in south Ramechhap at the confluence with the Tama Koshi River) can be promoted with rafting adventure companies.

 

DAY 8: LUBUGHAT-DHULIKHEL/KATHMANDU

Travel back to Dhulikhel/Kathmandu by public bus or micro bus from Nepalthowk after a 45 minute walk from Lubughat.

 

MAJHI FISHING EXPERIENCES

 

Fishing with the Majhis offers an experience not found elsewhere in Nepal. On the white sand banks of the renowned Sun Koshi river you will learn traditional fishing skills from the Majhi peoples, enjoy a fresh fish BBQ and/or pig roast, and gain appreciation for Mahji culture throughout the day and during the Majhi music concert. If that isn’t enough you can challenge the locals to a game of volleyball, badminton, a sand sculpture contest, hackeysack, fisbee, or just relax on the sandy riverbank and sunbathe.

 

Majhi Music

Following the BBQ, the locals proudly display their culture through a traditional song and dance. With utmost enthusiasm your hosts glide atop the sandy beach as they dance and harmoniously sing traditional songs. This unforgettably experience gives you a real appreciation and insight into the culture of the facinating Majhi people.

Locations

 

The Majhi Fishing Experience is located in the riverside Majhi villages of Lubughat and Seleghat in the remote west and southern parts of Ramechhap district.This unique experience can be added to your Sun Koshi rafting trip (Seleghat) or can be a day trip arranged from Kathmandu/Dhulikel (Lubughat).

Following itinerary is recommended for Majhi Fishing Experiences.

Day From To Accommodation type Elevation (m) Time (hours) Special features

1 Kathmandu/ Dolalghat Lubughat Home-stay 533m 6.00 Rafting, Majhi cultural performances, fishing

2 Lubughat Seleghat Hotel/lodge 3.00 Rafting, Majhi cultural performances, fishing

3 Seleghat Dhulikhel Lodge/Resorts 4.00 Bus travelling by bus through Koshi and Roshi

4 Dhulikhel KathmaHotel/Lodge 1350m 1.00

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Majhi Indigenous Peoples

The Majhi peoples are indigenous to Nepal and are known throughout the country and world for their fishing expertise. From the dawn of time the Majhi have had a special and intimate relationship with the rivers of Nepal and hence inhabit the banks of Nepal’s rivers. Possessing their own language, dress, and culture, the Majhi people are very proud of their heritage and communicate this through their own traditional songs, dances and many ritual functions. The ancestral occupation of the Majhi people is to help other people in crossing the many rivers of Nepal in their Majhi made boats. However modern bridges and government interference in their traditional working areas is destroying the traditional Majhi way of life.

BEST SEASON AND EVENTS

 

IP Trail is possible almost throughout the year. However, March to June and September to December are the best seasons for trekking in IP Trail. Saune Sakranti (mid of July), Sorha Shradda (mid of September) and Maghi (mid of February) are important time for Majhi cultural and ritual events. Janaipurnima (full moon of August) is important for Janaipurnima festival at Sailung. Lhosar, the new year of Tamang Yolmo and Sherpa is celebrated during February and Buddha Purnima is celebrated in the whole trail during May.

 

TOURIST FACILITIES -- Accommodation facilities

 

IP Trail is primarily a home-stay accommodation based trekking trail build on the culture as core tourist experiences. The ‘Indigenous Peoples Trail’ has comfortable accommodation available every night. Accommodation on this trek changes in each village and is either in a local family home-stay, a monastery or a community home-stay, all of which are upgraded locally to meet the basic tourist standards. Hygienically tiled toilets are available at all accommodation options.

 

Community/Monastery lodge

 

In Kholakharka, Rajveer and Dongme, visitor can experience the local culture by enjoying the community/monastery lodge run by the locals. At Rajveer and Dongme, you will be enjoying the accommodation and lodging at managed at monastery guest house where as in Kholakharka, it is managed in a community lodge.

 

Home-stay accommodation: Home-stay facilities can be enjoyed at Surkey, Doramba, Khandadevi and Lubughat. Visitors can enjoy the basic accommodation and lodging facilities at the traditionally managed home-stays of various ethnic communities. Boiled and filtered drinking water and hygienically tiled toilets are available at all accommodation options. Bucket hot shower can be available upon request.

 

The ‘IP Trail' allows you to stay overnight in private homes in traditional villages far from commercialized tourist trails. Rooms in local houses are renovated, but otherwise expect a few tourist-style comforts. Host families are trained to prepare meals hygienically. When staying with a Nepali family guests live the life as the local people do, and are treated like part of the family. The homes reflect the traditional and simple atmosphere of the people. Apart from the pleasure of being amidst peaceful and serene environment, tourists can also enjoy the traditional folk dances and music presented by the local men and women in their colorful traditional attire. The focus for the guests is on experiencing and learning from an authentic and enriched culture. Visitors are often involved in local activities that range from cooking classes through to attending a traditional wedding, watching a local cultural dance and farm work activities. The Home-stay allows visitors to discover the real Nepal and to enjoy the untouched countryside. Unlike highly commercialized routes, trekkers walk through uninhabited areas and meet few fellow travelers. No fees or permits are currently required for this trek.

 

OTHER FACILITIES AND SERVICES

 

Guides and Porters

 

Tourist porters are available at Dhunge and Kholakharka. If you like to enrich your trek, don't forget to hire additional local tourist guide besides your professional trekking guide at Kathmandu. Ramechhap district is well represented and well established in the trekking guide industry with a large number of guides and porters calling Ramechhap home. The development of both the Numbur Cheese Circuit and the IP Trail has provided Ramechhap guides with a means of showing tourists where they were raised. These guides and porters are very proud to show you the beauty and share their knowledge of their birthplace.

 

Accessibility

By considering the geographical setting as well as the elevation range, IP Trail is supposed to be started from the top of Sailung and trekking towards the Lubughat, at the Koshi River basin. The real trek starts at Dhunge just after a 4/5-hour drive from

Kathmandu via Mudhe. During heavy monsoon rains, trek may have to be started from Chaichhap or Deurali, just 1/1.30 hours walking distance to Dhunge. The seven days long trek finally reaches you to the Lubughat. Next morning, visitors can catch the bus and microbus at Nepalthowk, at 30 minute walking distance from Lubughat, and reach you to Dhulikhel/Kathmandu.

 

Communication facilities

 

Local phone calling capabilities are available in every village along the way with international connections available in Doramba, Galpa Bazaar, Lubughat, and Nepalthowk. Internet access is ONLY available in Manthali.

 

Health facilities

 

Along the trail in Deurali, Daduwa, Deurali, Doramba, Galpa Bazaar, Pokharidanda, and Nepalthok are health posts providing basic health facilities. As the trek remains at relatively low altitudes there is little chance of altitude sickness.

 

Trekking supplies

 

Currently basic trekking supplies are not available along this trek. Only locally made and imported clothes can be found in local markets throughout the trek alongside local produce. As the trail being a very new, visitors are kindly advised to bring some first aid kits, some fruits and dry food like chocolate etc while making a trek in IP Trail. Visitors are also requested to bring cotton hats, cotton outfits, sunglass, sun cream and lotion with them.

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We are registered with the following government agencies

Company Registrar No: 9579/055/056
Cottage Industry No: 1458/228
Tourism Dept.No: 526/055
PAN No: 500186521
Nepal Rastra Bank No: Travel 493(D-031)