Langtang Valley Before and After Earthquake

Since the 2015 devastating earthquake, what is the situation of Langtang Valley before and after earthquake? Stay tuned with us until the end for the complete information.

The Langtang Valley lies in Nepal’s north-central region and borders Tibet on the north. It is one of the country’s remote and lesser-known trekking regions. The off-the-beaten trails of the Langtang Valley Trek take you to picturesque valleys, gorges, Tibetan settlements, waterfalls, rivers, and glacier lakes. You will also witness mountains like Ganesh Himal, Langtang Ri, Ganjala Peak, and more.

Similarly, the trail goes through Langtang National Park so trekkers can witness the region’s unique and diverse biodiversity. You will trek through subtropical forests of rhododendrons, oaks, conifers, and highland pastures. If you are lucky, you can glimpse endangered animals like red pandas, snow leopards, Himalayan Tahr, and more.

langtang valley 2

Aside from raw nature, trekkers can experience unique cultures and traditions. Langtang Valley is home to ethnic groups like Tamang, Sherpa, and Gurung. You can see the massive influence of Tibetan Buddhism in the regions. Therefore, you will pass by numerous age-old monasteries, stupas, prayer flags, chortens, and Tibetan settlements. You can also take the Tamang Heritage Trail to Langtang Valley.

Rich in natural beauty and cultural and religious heritage, Langtang Valley suffered heavy damage during the 2015 earthquake. It destroyed villages, houses, and heritage sites, and hundreds of locals lost their lives. Langtang Valley was one of the most severely affected areas of Nepal.

Let’s learn more about how the earthquake impacted the Langtang Valley and its after-effects.

Langtang Valley Settlement in Different Places Before Earthquake

Before the earthquake, it was routine daily at Langtang Valley. Tamang, Sherpa, and Gurung people mostly populate the region. They had a traditional lifestyle where most residents were farmers. Likewise, they did animal husbandry aside from agriculture to sustain their lives.

While most locals were involved in agriculture and animal farming, some also worked as guides and porters. Around 4500 locals lived within the Langtang National Park area. They depended on the national park for firewood and timbers. Locals spend their daily lives working on the farms and herding yaks and goats at pastures.

Tourists slowly began pouring into this serene region in the 1970s. More and more tourists visit Langtang Valley to enjoy its unspoiled nature, flora, and fauna and observe the gorgeous mountain views. The ancient Kyanjin Gompa also became popular with Buddhist disciples. It opened new doors for locals to earn their livelihoods. Locals slowly began opening homestays and lodges. Tourism became an important element of the local economy.

Langtang Valley gradually became popular among adventure seekers, nature enthusiasts, and cultural and spiritual seekers. The popularity slowly grew until the 2015 earthquake halted the region’s progress.

After the Earthquake in Langtang Valley

On April 25, 2015, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake shook Nepal. It was 11:56 AM when the daily routine of the whole Nepalese people came to a halt. Langtang Valley region suffered the worst from the rest.

A large glacier and frozen lake sat above the Langtang Valley. The earthquake caused the entire frozen lake and the sustainable part of the glacier to fall. Additionally, a massive landslide came off the Langtang Lirung. The avalanche and the landslide fell, burying the entire Langtang village.

There were 243 casualties, among whom 175 were villagers, 27 were tourist staff, and 41 were foreign trekkers. Since the aftershocks continued for a few more days, small pieces of loose rocks and ice continued falling. Landslides also blocked the roads, making it difficult for aid to reach.

Kyanjin Gompa Langtang

It has been approximately 9 years since the 2015 earthquake. The region has almost returned to its former glory. A new village has been built near the old, buried one. One can still see the remnants of destruction. The haunting memory remains fresh in the locals’ minds.

The locals are still in the process of rebuilding everything that the earthquake destroyed. Most tea houses have been rebuilt, and the beautiful Langtang Valley still looks spell-binding and captivating. Likewise, trials are safe and have been open to trekkers. Furthermore, new infrastructure is being built in the region.

How Did The Village Recover From the Earthquake?

The locals’ resilience played a massive part in the village’s recovery from the 2015 earthquake. Recovering does not only mean rebuilding what was destroyed. It also includes healing the communities and restoring their lives to normal. It was a small step toward healing the catastrophic and traumatic event in Langtang’s history and the whole country.

The first step they took was to reconstruct the homes. It was an urgent task as villagers needed shelter. Then, they started to repair the blocked roads and paths. It reconnected the village with the outside world, which gave access to aid and essential supplies. Likewise, medical aid was also an urgent need for injured ones.

After completing the necessary urgent matters, the villagers restored water and electricity. Then, they moved to reform local businesses and rebuild damaged schools. Community engagement was crucial during the recovery process. The locals aligned their rebuilding efforts with what the community needs. While the locals focused on rebuilding, they did so while considering environmental sustainability.

The locals and all the supporting organizations made a commendable effort. While the locals have almost healed from the incident, the physical structure re-building is still in process. However, trekking to Langtang Valley is open to trekkers. The trails are safe to travel, and tea houses are open to welcome visitors.

Who Helped During the Recover of Langtang Valley?

Various national and international supports were crucial in Langtang Valley’s recovery. Their aid was crucial for the locals in rebuilding their lives and the village. Among the different support organizations, some were:

The Langtang Relief Fund

The fund was set up specifically for the region’s immediate needs. It included food, shelter, and medical supplies for the villagers. The Langtang Relief Fund launched a campaign on Facebook and collected considerable relief funds. The fund keeps its work archive from the 2015 earthquake on Facebook.

Sunaulo Sansar

Sunaulo Sansar was among the support team who played a crucial role in building around Barbal, Langtang. This NGO from Kathmandu provided the locals with housing components like cement, iron, sand, steel, etc. Various individuals from Italy, Germany, and Switzerland funded the project.

Himalayan Climate Initiative

The Himalayan Climate Initiative (HCI) is a youth-driven NGO in Kathmandu. It aided in rebuilding the Langtang village’s houses and infrastructure. Volunteers from within and outside the country, as well as students, participated in the rebuilding campaign. Likewise, they installed solar panels in the village.

Langtang Valley Trek Itinerary

Take a look at a general overview of the Langtang Valley Trek itinerary:

Day 01: Drive from Kathmandu to Syabrubesi
Maximum Altitude: 1550 meters
Accommodation: Hotel

Drive through the winding Prithvi Highway towards Syabrubesi. It is a 7 to 8-hour drive. Syabrubesi is the starting point of the Langtang Valley Trek.

Day 02: Trek from Syabrubesi to Lama Hotel
Maximum Altitude: 2380 meters
Accommodation: Hotel

From Syabrubesi, it is a 6-hour trek to the Lama Hotel. The trail goes along the Langtang Khola, ascending and descending on varied terrains. Likewise, it goes through the dense forests of rhododendrons and oaks.

Day 03: Trek from Lama Hotel to Mundu
Maximum Altitude: 3543 meters
Accommodation: Teahouse

It is an uphill climb from the Lama Hotel. You will pass several waterfalls, green meadows, and small settlements along the way. After 6 to 7 hours of trekking, you will reach Mundu.

Day 04: Trek from Mundu to Kyanjin Gompa
Maximum Altitude: 3870 meters
Accommodation: Teahouse

Several prayer wheels, watermills, hillocks, and mani walls are along the trail to Kyanjin Gompa. A 4 to 5-hour trek from Mundu brings you to Kyanjin Gompa, famous for the monastery.

Day 05: Acclimatization and exploration of Tserko Ri
Maximum Altitude: 5000 meters
Accommodation: Teahouse

During the acclimatization day, you will explore Tserko Ri and the surrounding village of Kyanjin Gompa.

Day 06: Trek from Kyanjin Gompa to Lama Hotel
Maximum Altitude: 3870 meters
Accommodation: Teahouse

You will descend downhill while passing the charming Tamang villages. You will retrace your steps back to the Lama Hotel. It will take you 6 to 7 hours of trekking.

Day 07: Trek from Lama Hotel to Thulo Syabru
Maximum Altitude: 2230 meters
Accommodation: Teahouse

The trail descends to the banks of Langtang Khola. It is an easy 6 to 7 hours of trek to Thulo Syabru.

Day 08: Drive to Kathmandu
Maximum Altitude: 1350 meters
Accommodation: Teahouse

The trek ends here, and you will drive back to Kathmandu. It is again a scenic drive of around 7 to 8 hours.

Trekking Highlight of Langtang Valley

Here is the highlight of the Langtang Valley trek:

  • Drive through the scenic Prithvi Highway from Kathmandu to Syabrubesi
  • Trek to the remote and hidden gem of Nepal, the Langtang Valley or Valley of Glaciers
  • Walk through the vibrant forests of rhododendrons, conifers, and alpine meadows
  • Get gorgeous mountain views of Langtang Lirung, Ganesh Himal, Dorje Lakpa, Ganjalal Peak, and more
  • Trek through the Langtang National Park while witnessing the diverse biodiversity
  • Climb the Tserko Ri at 4984 meters (16349 feet) elevation.
  • Walk past the ancient monasteries, gompas, prayer flags, chortens, and Tibetan settlements
  • Experience the Langtang region’s unique culture, traditions, local customs, and livelihood.

Kyanjin Ri, Viewpoint of Trek

Kyanjin Ri, which stands at 4773 meters, is the highest point of the Langtang Valley Trek. It is located in the northeastern direction of the Kyanjin Gompa. Although the Kyanjin Ri viewpoint is 3 to 4 hours from Kyanjin Gompa, the hike is physically demanding. The uphill climb is extremely steep.

The steep climb is not the only obstacle trekkers will have to overcome. Other challenges include rugged terrains, unpredictable weather, and high winds. It is best to climb the Kyanjin Ri in spring and autumn. You can avoid bad weather, high winds, and a bad trail at these times. Physical and mental preparation is also crucial for the climb.

Stupa in between Langtang valley and Kyanjin

The Kyanjin Ri viewpoint offers breathtaking views of the surrounding snow-peaked mountains and glaciers. It offers gorgeous panoramic mountain views of Langtang Lirung, Langtang Himal, Dorje Lakpa, Changbu, Gangchenpo, and more. Likewise, you can get the entire view of Langtang Lirung glaciers.

In addition to these, you can witness stunning pasture lands, the Langtang River, streams, and Kyanjin village. The arduous climb is worth taking because of the breathtaking scenery. It will undoubtedly be one of the most memorable trek experiences.

FAQs

  • Where does Langtang Valley lie?

Langtang Valley lies in Nepal’s north-central region. The Langtang National Park surrounds the valley. It is also close to the Tibetan border to the north. Known as the Valley of Glaciers, it is a remote area and is among the lesser-known trekking destinations of Nepal. The Langtang Valley is rich in Himalayan flora, fauna, and unique cultural diversity.

  • How badly did the 2015 earthquake affect Langtang Valley?

The 2015 earthquake, which had a magnitude of 7.8 on the Richter scale, brought devastating destruction to the Langtang Valley. It triggered avalanches and landslides and destroyed many settlements, heritage, and sacred sites. More than 200 residents lost their lives during this catastrophe. It also had mental effects on the residents.

  • What were the obstacles during the rescue operations?

Langtang Valley is a remote region of Nepal with limited infrastructure and roadway access. Due to these reasons, getting to this region at ordinary times is already a challenge. The difficulty further increased after the 2015 earthquake. Local and international organizations had to conquer these hurdles to provide aid and operate rescue operations.

  • Has Langtang Valley recovered since the 2015 earthquake?

Langtang Valley has made a significant recovery since the 2015 earthquake. However, the recovery is still ongoing. Many villages, heritage sites, and religious sites are in the process of recovery. The new villages are being rebuilt with modern structures. This will help rebuild what was damaged by the earthquake and attract tourists.

  • What lessons did Langtang’s earthquake experience teach?

The 2015 earthquake has been a devastating but eye-opening experience. It has taught that the Langtang Valley region is earthquake-prone. Educating locals is crucial, and training programs should be conducted to best prepare at times of crisis. Likewise, it is essential to strengthen infrastructures like roads, communication, and utilities.

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