Helambu is a beautiful valley which is villages of highland in Nepal. This beautiful valley is about 80 km far from Kathmandu. It is the home of the Hyolmo people. The Yolmo or Hyolmo are an indigenous people mainly from the Eastern and Northern Himalayan Regions of Nepal. They refer to themselves as the “Hyolmo” or “Yolmopa” and are native residents of the Helambu valleys and the surrounding regions of Northeastern Nepal.
The word Helambu derives from the word Hyolmo. The Helambu region begins at the Lauribina La pass and descends to the Melamchi valley. It is situated in the upper belt of Sindhupalchok district and the sacred place of Lord Padmasambhava, Milarepa, and Guru Rinpoche, awaits exploration.
Despite its alluring natural beauty, culture, and heritage and proximity to the Kathmandu Valley, only a few hundred visitors visit this place annually.
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People/Lifestyle of Helambu
Helambu, the homeland of the Hyolmo people now comprises people from various other castes and ethnic groups. After the introduction of the federal governance system in Nepal, Helambu now is the name of a rural municipality which has now made this region apparent not only as of the place of Hyolmo and Buddhism but also as a place of Brahmins, Tamangs, Hinduism and many more.
Houses with small doors and windows (modernizing these days), people with flat noses wearing Bakkhu and other thick clothes who drink Tsajya (salty Tibetan tea), young boys and girls with red cheeks, people speaking the native Hyolmo language characterize the upper belt of this region. Beautiful mountains, snow, and chilly weather add to the beauty of the place.
Monasteries of Buddhist deities, caves of Gurus and Dakanis, flying prayer flags, and spinning prayer wheels give unique and extraordinary experiences to every visitor visiting this region. For people in Kathmandu and other cities willing to escape from their busy city lives, Helambu can be an appropriate destination. It is among the best trekking routes in Nepal as well.
The upper belt of Helambu which also comes under the area of Langtang National Park is home to red pandas, snow leopards, and musk deer.
Helambu has the potentials for not only trekking and culture-based tourism but also mountaineering and wildlife. The mountains like Langtang, Dorje Lakpa, Ama Yangri encircle this region.
Trekking in Helambu
There are three major trekking routes to enter Helambu. The first is via Melamchi Bazar- Timbu, second via Sundarijal –Kutumsang and the third via Dhunche-Gosaikunda. You can choose your route as your time and budget availability. But One thing is sure that you will love the Helambu trekking.
Also one can trek Helambu to Langtang valley. We will be discussing about the trek route in upcoming posts.
Helambu offers very well-facilitated hotels and lodges at reasonable costs. But here you cannot find luxury hotels. Internet facility is also available. There are community health centers and health posts to provide health services.
One can get public vehicles plying from Kathmandu to Timbu at the Aama Hyolmo bus park in the capital. A bus ride to and back from the town of Timbu can cost around Rs 400.
While visiting Helambu during Losar, expect to be served traditional homemade Aarag, Hyolmo wine; a plateful of fruit and bhabar bread, known as derka; meat, thunse; and butter tea. Moreover, the Hyolmos grow maize, potatoes, carrots, barley, wheat, lettuce, millet, apples, among other things, and raise sheep, yak and other animals. Almost every appetizing meal in the Helambu region are organic and straight from a farm.
Hyolmo families are known for keeping the interiors of their houses very tidy, and they decorate in a unique way. They also have an equally unique style of hosting guests—most families are quick to offer their guests a mug of butter tea.