Not far from the Tibetan border, Langtang is a mountainous area located north of Katmandhu. On good weather days, its summits form a snow-covered range visible from the Nepalese capital. Very touristy in late spring as well as in autumn, this altitude valley is completely isolated each year during the long winter months. Benefiting from warmer temperatures, we sought to meet these Nepalese of Tibetan origin before the arrival of the first tourists, thus opening the "trekking season".
After a one day bus ride, the village of Dhunche will be our starting point. Simple formality, crossing the military station enables us to properly enter the mountain valley.
A few hours walk in a forest in which the colors and the density curiously brings us back to the Canadian Rockies, we meet Chorten coating her long hair with a flower oil. This vain Tibetan manages a small rustic-style "guesthouse" accommodating trekkers during the tourist season. Not far from there, in the village of Changtang, it is Tsering which proudly shows us the goods she just stacked for the sunny days which, she hopes, will bring with them many hikers in late spring.
 
Arrived at the village of Ghora Tabela, we take the advice of an old logger who announces the arrival of snow, so we stop for the night in his hut. The next day offers to us a splendid landscape of immaculate Langtang summits under a large blue sky. Whereas we cross the hamlet of Gompa, where the few stalls are still unusable, Nyima greets us and proposes to share a reinvigorating soup. She's happy to welcome us in her family house because, according to her, our arrival announces those of the long-awaited tourists.
 
 
We reach finally the village of Langtang. It holds its name from the highest peak in the region, the Langtang Lirung, which culminates to 7.426 m of altitude. It is at the foot of this imposing snow-covered pyramid that the Tamang people, originally from close-by Tibet, settled down to live in northern Nepal.
 
These Buddhists brought their traditions from the high Tibetan plateaus, from which their ancestors came. Although their living conditions are difficult here, today, this valley is theirs and they would not wish to leave it as quickly as one might think. Fatalists and optimists at the same time, each year, they wait for spring's arrival which announces brings the promise of a better future.
 
But before these beautiful sunny days, time like is suspended here: they gather in the common room, near the fire, drink tea, prepare meals, work a little and pray Buddha. Upon this season, they especially wait for snow to melt and start to unearth potatoes. A warmer climate will especially enable them to weed their fields, plant barley here, millet there, and perhaps also some vegetables…
 
 
In addition to the daily difficulties of the persistent cold, the winter is a period of imposed rest which generates some frustration because it prohibits many farming activities. If this season is the occasion to gather families and meet neighbors, it's with a relative serenity, succeeded by a held-back impatience, that the villagers await spring's beginning to finally start working the fields.

Maoistes népalais, Langtang Himal, Népal

To spend the last days of snow, the young people find themselves around glass of "chang", this Tibetan beer so popular in the mountains. For others, a simple bowl of yak butter tea will make it possible to rest and gather near the fire, speaking about the cold which holds on and the future arrival of tourists…
Tanguy&Violette © 2007-2008 - All rights reserved.