Gosainkunda Lake, Nepal's most famous religious places of pilgrimage, (4,300 m) in the Syabru VDC on the southern slopes of Jugal Himal, is a mini trek by itself and can be done in about five days. Every year during Janai Purnima in August, thousands of Hindu pilgrims come here to lake holy bathe in the lake. Gosainkunda is a sacred lake for Hindus and Buddhists alike, and is said to have had its origin when Lord Shiva swallowed poison to save the world. It is believed he pierced the earth with his trishul (trident) from where a fountain of water sprang forming a lake where the burning Shiva jumped to soothe the burning in his throat. There are 108 lakes in this region some of which are named Saraswati, Bhairav, Surya and Ganesh. Gosainkunda is considered one of the holiest pilgrimage sites in Nepal. The best approach to Gosainkunda is through Dhunche, 132 kilometers north-east of Kathmandu. Dhunche is linked with Kathmandu by a motorable road. The trekking to Gosainkunda from Dhunche takes two days.
The trail to Gosainkunda climbs from either Dhunche or Syabru through lush rhododendron hillsides to Sing Gompa. East of the lakes Lauribina (4,600 m) pass leads to Helambu. The trail descends to Tharepati, where it divides into two return routes to Kathmandu. The shorter way rides the ridge south through cool rhododendron forests passing several Tamang villages, and crests toward the Kathmandu Valley rim at Burlang Bhanjyang, some 1,100 m above Sundarijal. This ridge forms the divide between two of Nepal's major river systems - the Gandaki, which extends west to Dhaulagiri, and the Saptakosi whose tributaries extend east to Kanchenjunga on the border with Sikkim.
The other trail from Tharepati plunges 1,000 m to a tributary of the Melamchi Khola (river) and above it the sherpa village of Helambu. Stone houses scatter across the terraced fields above an old gompa (monastery) dressed with tall prayer flags. A gompa set on the ridge above Tarkeghyang commands excellent views of the Himalaya, looking north toward Ganja La pass and Dorje Lakpa (6,966 m) and a number of peaks over 6,000 m.
During Janai Purnima (full-moon festival in August), around 25,000 Hindu and Buddhists pilgrims visit the holy Gosainkunda Lake in about a one-week period. At this time jhankris (Shaman priests) come from all over Nepal to dance in an induced trance to all night singing and drum beating. The trail to Gosainkunda involves rapid ascent to 4,380 m, and therefore, it is best done after acclimatizing in Chandanbari, Lauribinayak or Tharepati.