A spectacular view of Manaslu from Bhimthang.

This monsoon, I found myself embarking on yet another enchanting journey—a five-day trek along the Manaslu Circuit.

Monsoon is deemed an off-season for trekking in the northern Himalayas. However, when I started the trek, it was proven otherwise. Neither rain, nor storms seemed to hinder the beautiful route that kept surprising me ever so often. The circuit was unlike anything I had in mind.

Imagine a waterfall, at least a 100 feet high crashing down from the gorges thundering an inconceivable roar. Imagine the serpentine Marsyangdi ambling below, while hills suffused in vibrant green towering up high. And the wild flowers, red and purple, in full bloom.

As I navigated through the circuit, sometimes exhausted, the mountains didn’t quite allow me to quit. They invitingly asked to be captured, and capture I did.

On our way back home, we stumbled upon the quaint settlement of Bhimthang, slouched along the foothills and past it awaited the Ponkar Lake. Situated 4100 m high on the lap of Manaslu, the lake is spread across in the shape of the map of Nepal, flanked by a garden of flowers of many hues. I could however neither capture the Nepal-like shape of the lake nor the peaks surrounding it.

The disappointment aside, this trip to the Manaslu was one that will be etched in my memory for years to come. More so, because it remains relatively less popular than other trekking circuits in the country, making you feel that you have the Himalayas all to yourself.

Text and Photos: purnima shrestha

An elderly woman processes wool, sheared from sheep, in Tilche village of Manang. 

Flowers surround the Ponker Lake in full bloom.

Mustard flower in disguise. A rare breed of Himalayan flower that only blooms during monsoon. 

A mule heaves its last while the locals take it away for burial.

A year-long waterfall along the Annapurna Trek Circuit in all its splendour.

The myth has it that Ponker lake is where Mahadev bathed. 

Manang is known for its potatoes, perhaps it’s because they are grown with love.

Manaslu hiding behind a sudden mist.

Just around the corner. 

The weather in this circuit changes every five minutes.

A panaromic view of Taal Gaaun (lake village)—a night stop for tourists–at the gateway to Manang. 

–  THE KATHMANDU POST

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