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Day 5 Chame to Pisang

Day 5

Chame

Pisang

North

28°33.28'

28°36.89'

East

84°14.63'

84°9.00'

Altitude

2,600m

3,400m

Ascent

800m

Time

4 hours 30 minutes

Distance

16 kilometres

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Walk out of Chame past the prayer wheel wall outside the village. You should walk past all prayer walls with the wall to your right (Britons and Australians can treat them like roundabouts)

Twenty five minutes out of Chame is another prayer wall and views of Lamjung Himal. Kreku (30 minutes) contains the Namaste Hotel and Lodge. There is a prayer wall here. Continue to Bhratang [28°33'71"N 84°11'69"E] ( 1 hour 35 minutes) past a water powered prayer wheel, a prayer wall, and apple orchards. Bhratang is a wonderfully peaceful and clean little village. It must have been very different in the 1960s when this was Tibetan refugee camp and guerrilla fighter camp. Bhratang has 2 hotels:

  • Hotel Raju
  • Maya Hotel

Fifteen minutes later the path enters a section where it is cut out of a cliff on the right bank of the Marsyandi. The remains of an old bridge may be seen down on the left, but DO NOT walk and look at the same time!

On the right, the huge slabs of the Oble Dome (2 hours 10 minutes) may be seen. The Oble Dome is significant in the Buddhist and Bon Po rituals of the Gurung people of Taje village, above Bagarchap. The spirits of the dead are believed to ascend the Oble Dome on their final journey back to their ancestral home of Tibet.

Five minutes further on the path crosses a new bridge to the left bank of the Marsyandi River. From here, the path climbs steeply for 40 minutes. The air is full of the scent of pine as the path levels out in a beautiful pine forest. Sadly many of the trees are being felled to build new hotels, such as the Trekker's Inn. It is finally possible to see westwards up the valley. The fields of Upper Pisang may be seen in the distance. Continue westwards along the dusty path, strewn with pine needles and pine cones. A shallow lake provides watering for horses and ponies in the fields. The environment is so different from what has gone before, that its like being transported to another country.

Continue along the path until you reach the many high-rise hotels of Lower Pisang. (4 hours 5 minutes) Lower Pisang is almost entirely devoted to the trekking industry. To see a real Manang Bhot village, climb 250 metres uphill to Upper Pisang (4 hours 30 minutes).

If you are charmed by snotty nosed kids, then mediaeval Upper Pisang is the place for you. To be fair to the Pisang children and their parents, Upper Pisang is very dusty. No one seems to mind though. Whilst I was there in October, the children helped their parents carry the harvest from the fields to the village.

In the Shanti Hotel, guest meals are prepared on a traditional Tibetan hearth. Japanese visitors may notice the similarity between the traditional hearths used here and those in Japan. Guests may be invited to sit around the fire. You will be glad of the warmth for it can be quite cold up here. The lodges in Upper Pisang serve the official menu, but they also serve Tibetan Tea, which tastes like liquid stilton cheese. Another speciality is 'Dozo', a sort of barley porridge is served with a dollop of chilli sauce in the centre.

Sadly, Upper Pisang is showing some signs of deterioration, although it has a new school, health post and electric power. Lets hope the people of Upper Pisang realise what a gem their village is before it is too late.

If you have the time, or stay in Upper Pisang for a day's acclimatisation, then visit the fields and forests above Upper Pisang. Before Pisang became a cultivated village this area was a communal hunting forest. That is the origin of the name Pisang. Above the fields behind the village are the remnants of the forest. It seems ideal for the courting couples of Pisang.

Copyright Ian P Johnson October 1998