Langtang National Park
Langtang National Park is the nearest park to Kathmandu. It is situated Situated in the Central Himalaya. The area of the Langtang National Park extends from 32 km north of Kathmandu to the Nepal-China (Tibet) border. Langtang was designated as the first Himalayan National Park in 1970-71, and was gazetted in March 1976.The main purpose of the Langtang National park is to preserve the natural environment, and protecting the endangered wild lives at the same time allowing local people and tourists to follow traditional land use practices that are compatible with resource protection. Some of the most attractive areas of the park include the Langtang Valley, the holy lakes at Gosainkunda, and the forested hillsides above the village of Helambu. Langtang region predominantly lies in Rasuwa district of Bagmati zone.
6 to 7-hour drive from Kathmandu to Dhunche in Rasuwa district is the most convenient approach to Langtang. From Dhunche it is about three days trekking up the gorge of the Trisuli River (or the Bhote Kosi as it is known above Dhunche) to Langtang Valley. The spectacular track up this gorge once formed an important trade route to the Tibetan fort at Kerung, just over the Chinese border at Rasuwagadi. The trail passes through a dense forest of oak, birch and pine, hung with Spanish moss and hosting delicate orchids. Further on, the valley opens out into alpine meadows and yak pastures. The Park is also accessible from Sundarijal toward the north east of Kathmandu and from Melamchi Bazar, about 3-hour drive from
- Langtang National Park encloses the catchments of two major river systems. One draining west into the Trisuli River and the other east to the Sun Koshi River.
- Some of the best examples of graded climatic conditions in the Central Himalaya are found here. The complex topography and geology together with the varied climatic patterns have enabled a wide spectrum of vegetation types. These include small areas of subtropical forest (below 1000 m) Oaks, chirpine, maple, fir, blue pine, hemlock spruce and various species of rhododendron make up the main forest species. Above these alpine scrub and grass give way to rocks and snow
- The variations in altitude and topography along with the existing forest cover (approx. 25% of the total area) provide habitat for a wide range of animals including wild dog, red panda, pika, muntjac, musk deer, Himalayan black bear, Himalayan tahr, ghoral, serow, rhesus monkey and common langur. The Trisuli-Bhote Koshi River forms an important route for birds on spring and autumn migrations between India and Tibet.
- About 45 villages are situated within the park boundaries, but are not under park jurisdiction. In total about 3000 households depend on park resources, primarily for wood and pasture lands.
- Culturally the area is mixed, the home of several ethnic groups . The majority of people are Tamang, an ancient Nepalese race. The Tamangs, traditionally farmers and cattle breeders, are especially well known for their weaving. Their religion is related to the Bon and the pre-Buddhist doctrines of Tibet. Today this religion has merged with the newer teachings of Tibetan Buddhism.
- The Helambu area, immediately north of Kathmandu, has many scenic villages inhabited by Sherpas and Tamangs who emigrated from Tibet.
- Over the centuries the dependence of people on natural resources has influenced the environment. Their settlements, cultivation patterns, livestock grazing, and daily use of resources which, in combination with the diversity of flora and fauna and views to the Ganesh Himal, make Langtang an attractive national park.