The Guerilla Trek or Shangrila Trek has been a new tourist attraction in Nepal since October 2012. This trekking route gives you the opportunity to meet Nepalese people who are not yet affected by commercialization. Many races populate the route including Brahman, Chhetri, Dalit, Gurung, Magar, Newar and Thakuri.
As the name suggests, the Guerrilla Trek or Shangrila Trek follows in the footsteps of the Maoist guerrillas during the decades-long uprising. The trek extends in the western parts of Nepal and passes through the still very natural and sparsely populated areas of Myagdi, Rukum, and Rolpa. It starts in Beni, goes through Baglung and leads through the Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve. The guerrilla trek is designed to commemorate the more than 16,000 people killed between 1996 and 2006 in the conflict between Maoist rebels and the royal government.
Trekking Type: Teahouse-Homestay-Camping Trek
Trekking Degree: ▲▲▲ (?) Maximum altitude: Phalgune Pass (3915 m), Myagdi Jaljala Pass (3414 m), Rolpa Jaljala Pass (3090 m)
Best season: March-May and September – December (also possible in January, February)
Accommodation: Simple lodges, tea houses, homestays, camping
Duration: 18, 23 or 31 days, depending on the detour and route choice.
The picturesque beauty of this region is second to none. You can have breathtaking views of the Dhaulagiri Himal and the vast meadows with the conifers. The altitude ranges from around 800 m in Chaurjahari to the summit of the Pyutha Himal at 7245 m above sea level.
The local nature is blessed with extensive natural resources and biodiversity. Fascinating waterfalls, rivers, caves, and lakes such as the Kamala Daha, the Sun Daha and the high Himalayas in the north are some of the most important sights. The culture of the Kham is an important feature of the northern Rolpa and the eastern Rukum. The Kham is a subset of the Magar community and speaks the unique language of the Tibeto-Burman family.
Rice is grown up to the level of the middle mountains, barley, corn, millet, wheat, and potatoes as well as apples and apricots in the upper hills of the region. The area also offers many beautiful alpine meadows that are used as monsoon pastures for the cattle and buffalo. Here the Yarshagumba, the valuable caterpillar fungus, is also known in the rugged highlands here as the Himalayan Viagra.
The hill tribes in this area of great tranquility, beauty and hospitality are friendly and willing and willing to welcome tourists with an open heart. The trails are a good experience for travelers to get to know the real indigenous Nepal, its natural beauty and cultural wealth, which is why this trek is also known as the Shangrila Trek.
The starting point Beni is about five hours away from the sea and garden city of Pokhara. The place lies between the Kali Gandaki River and the Myagdi Khola River and is an important place on the famous Annapurna Circuit, the most popular trekking route in the country with around 80,000 visitors per year.
The guerrilla trek leads through Tatopani (hot water), a village known for its medicinal hot springs, which attracts many visitors all year round. The path leads steadily uphill through some quiet villages to Jaljala (3414 m), from where you have a panoramic view of the Dhaulagiri massif (8167 m). The Dhaulagiri is the seventh highest mountain in the world.
From this high plateau the path begins to fall, it follows the Uttar Ganga River to Dhorpatan. The valley through which you walk is not shown on the postcards. You will also pass a Tibetan medicine school (Sowa Rigpa) near Gurjaghat, where students learn the practice of traditional Tibetan medicine to use the high-growing Himalayan herbs as a remedy for their patients. If you are interested, you can get a consultation with an Amchi (healer) from the seminary.
You will now reach the Dhorpatan hunting area, with a permit over 3000 NRs. you can enter the extensive park. Here you can see blue sheep and tahr (mountain goats) grazing on the slopes. If you are lucky, you can also watch barking deer, wild boar, pheasants, and other wild animals.
In Dhorpatan two of the 3 guerrilla trek routes meet. The longer one leads north, the shorter one goes along Uttar Ganga to the west to the small villages of Taka, Sera, and Bacchigaon. These are mainly inhabited by people of the Magar and Gurung. The language of this area is Kham-Magar. It is a region where the unique Magar culture is established.
If you continue on the way, you will soon come to some thermal baths between Thulo Jarlung and Pelma. You see that you have many opportunities to revitalize your mind and recharge your body along the guerrilla trek. Another highlight of the guerrilla trek is Sisne Peak (5849 m), which stands wonderfully alone and looks something like the famous top of the Macchapucchre near Pokhara. By the way, both mountains are still virgin and unclimbed.
On your long tour, you will reach the beautiful Syarpu lake (1305 m). Stay on its banks for a while and keep your eyes firmly on the wild mountain landscape and the overwhelming beauty of nature, of which you are now apart. A little above the trail is Radhijhula, one of the gates to the Dolpo district. The police station in this small village was one of the first to be attacked by the Maoists in February 1996, which started the Maoist revolt.
You will soon reach Rukumkot with its calm lakes, none is more beautiful than the Kamal Daha, Lotus Lake or Rukmini Tal (lake), which is filled with blooming lotus flowers in summer. As you look at these sights and walk through the tranquil valleys, keep in mind that many of these places were the scene of fierce fighting barely a decade ago.
Guerilla Trek or Shangrila Trek Highlights
Typical Nepali dishes: Daal Bhat Takari (rice, lentil soup, and vegetables), Dhido (corn or millet porridge with lentil soup and vegetables)
Typical Nepali drinks: Chiyaa (sweet milk tea). Fermented chhyang, a type of beer (undistilled) and the high-proof rakshi (distilled) are made from locally grown corn, rice, millet and sometimes fruit.
Highlights: heartwarming hospitality of the Nepalese, sensational views of the Himalayas, moderate-high mountain scenery and terraced fields, old villages, the youngest historical sites of a post-war zone, Kham – and other indigenous cultures, sacred caves, lakes, beautiful waterfalls, the Jaljala passes, local food and drinks.