Nepal is home to several national parks and protected areas which conserve the nature, its flora and fauna in their natural habitat. The first himalayan national park of Nepal, Langtang national park is situated in the north of Kathmandu valley. This easily accessible national park is the nearest park to the Kathmandu. Inside this protected high altitude area, small subtropical forest is found. The national park is home to oaks, chirpine, maple, fir, blue pine and various species of rhododendron. Inside the national park wild animals such as wild dog, red panda, pika, muntjac, musk deer, himalayan black beer, etc. are found. Also Langtang national park is abode to more than 3 hundred species of birds along with the migratory birds from Tibet and India on spring and autumn season.
Inside the Langtang National Park lies a hindu pilgrimage, Gosainkunda Lake. However, both hindus and Buddhists visit this site. Designated as Ramsar site in September 2007, Gosainkunda is one of the holiest lakes in Nepal. The lake froze for half of the year from October to June. This lake holds religious significance and is a sacred holy place of pilgrimage in Nepal. There are total of 108 lakes in Gosainkunda area. Among these lakes the popular ones are Gosainkunda, Bhairabkunda and Saraswatikunda.
The high mountain lake Gosainkunda is located at an altitude of 4,380 m in Rasuwa district. Gosainkunda and its religious significance is mentioned in the important hindu scriptures like Bhagvat Puran, Vishnu Puran and the hindu epic Ramayan and Mahabharat. According to an important Hindu mythology, gods and demos were in the process of Churning of Ocean milk, also called Samundra Manthan. During this tug war various precious things came out of the ocean. Likewise a lethal poison also came out. All gods and demon were terrified by this poison which would destroy the universe. Thus to protect the universe from being destroyed, Lord Shiva drank all the poison. The poison started to burn Lord Shiva’s throat. To get relief from the burning throat, Lord Shiva struck his trident ‘Trishul’ in the ground which formed the lake, Gosainkunda.
Pilgrims from all over India and Nepal pay homage to this sacred site. Thousands of devotees visit this holy place on festivals like Janai Purnima. Besides religious significance this remote and spectacular valley of Langtang is also trekked by the enthusiast trekkers. Gosainkunda area lies in the popular trekking routes of Dhunche – Gosainkunda – Rasuwa trek. Trekking to Gosainkunda can be extra-ordinary experience with amazing mountain views, spectacular valley and the lush vegetation around. Breathing the fresh, pure and cold air in a scenic beauty is a lifetime experience. The trekkers get to see varied landscapes, evergreen forests, waterfall and streams on their way. Oak, rhododendron forest, Tamang village of Langtang, Kyangin gompa and the local yak cheese are the delights only trekkers can enjoy.
There are different trekking routes of Gosainkunda. The famous one is from Dhunche to Helambu trekking route. The other trekking route is from Sundarijal to Gosainkunda. Also this lake can be reached via Melamchi. However the easiest, shortest and the most preferred route is from Dhunche.The trek starts from Dhunche village or Syabru besi, a Sherpa village. Dhunche is only 117 km by road from Kathmandu. From Dhunche the trekkers need to walk towards Chandan Bari (3200 m). From there trekking continues towards Laure Binayak (3700 m). Upon reaching Laure Binayak the trekkers may choose to stay or continue his journey towards Gosainkunda. However, it is wiser to stay for climate acclimatization. Then start trekking towards Gosainkunda. Upon reaching Gosainkunda the trekkers forget all the pain they endured during their journey. They are rewarded with the beautiful scenery around where fascinating sight of white-mountain is reflected on the lake. It takes around 45 minutes to circumambulate the lake.
Then the trekkers return from the same routes i.e. Gosainkunda to Laure Binayak, Chandan Bari, Dhunche and Kathmandu. Usually the trek takes 3 or 4 days. There is no need to worry about foods and lodges as there are enough fooding and lodging houses along the routes.
There are many remote places of Nepal that is waiting to be discovered, reached and trekked. Many potential tourism destinations are hidden here. Discoveries of more tourists’ destinations in Nepal will increase more tourists in the country and erase the curiosity of the foreign people on where is Nepal.