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Langtang Village Before And After Earthquake

Langtang region is the third most popular trekking route in Nepal just behind the Everest Base Camp Trek and Annapurna Circuit Trek. One of the most popular highlights of this trek, Langtang Village is a beautiful high-altitude settlement in the region situated at an altitude of 3,430 meters (feet). But, this New Langtang Village is just the remnant of the old traditional village that was wiped out by the devastating earthquake in 2015.

The inhabitants of the Old Langtang Village originally migrated from Tibet about 600 years ago, they started making a living in the high-altitude region embracing the traditional farming life. The charming traditional settlement passed down for generations was wiped out by the 2015 earthquake and deadly avalanche that followed.

Currently, in the New Langtang Village, there are over 4,500 residents in this charming village inside the Langtang National Park, Tamang, Sherpa, and Gurung are the main ethnic groups residing in the village.

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Langtang Valley Village Before Earthquake

Langtang Village which is situated en route to the main trekking trail of the third-most-popular trekking adventure in Nepal, Langtang Valley Trek was doing abundantly well before the earthquake. The primary business of the village was animal husbandry, agriculture, and dairy products (i.e. yak cheese).

Influenced by the Buddhist and Tibetan cultures, the natives were leading pretty mundane and fulfilling lives going through the regular chores, honoring the traditional values, and living a spiritual life. After its recognition as the third most popular trekking route in Nepal, the lodging business also bloomed in the village.

The traditional natives who were primarily focussed on agriculture and animal husbandry also began hosting the trekking guest in the region in the 1970s. Many teahouses were established to accommodate the trekkers and provide meals to make long journeys more comfortable. Natives also started homestay services for the guests which increased the employment prospects in the region.

With the booming tourism industry, the Langtang Village saw an incline in its economic growth as trekking enthusiasts from all over the world started pouring into the region to explore its magnificent natural allurements and the first-ever Himalayan National Park in the country, Langtang National Park (est. 1976).

However, everything changed after the devastating earthquake leveled the whole village.

Devastating 7.3 Richter Earthquake

On 25th April 2015, a devastating earthquake of 7.3 Richter shook the infrastructure of the whole nation. More than 9 thousand people lost their lives in that deadly earthquake, and thousands more were left injured.

Among the cities and villages with old housing that suffered the most casualties, Langtang’d traditional village also saw the collapse of the whole village. The 7.3 Richter earthquake destroyed the foundation of the traditional style of housing in the village and many people lost their lives.

The natives of the village had just celebrated, Ghawa, a Buddhist festival celebrated in the region just a night before the devastating incident. People from all over the village and neighboring villages had gathered to celebrate the festival, they danced and sang till midnight. Thus, the next day, tired from the celebration till midnight, many of the natives and their guests were still resting at their residence.

Even trekkers who were there to celebrate the festivals were resting and relishing the spiritual ambiance of the region. But, when the 7.3 Richter earthquake hit Nepal at 11:56 am on 25th April 2015 the century-old houses in the Langtang Village were turned into rubbles. Many natives, their guests, and the trekkers who were resting in the Langtang Village post-Ghawa festival were victims of the earthquake and many lost their lives.

However, the people in the region collected themselves from the incident and the situation was somehow under control. But, something worse was making its way toward the village that wiped out every trace of civilization in the region.

Avalanche Right After the Deadly Earthquake

Langtang Village is one of the regions that suffered the most during the 2015 earthquake. After the 7.3 Richter earthquake collapsed the traditional foundation of the region, the natives somehow managed to collect themselves, but they had no idea the worst was yet to come.

The residents, guests, and trekkers who were in agony for the lost lives and the collapse of the civilization were yet hit by another devastating incident, an avalanche that completely wiped out the entire village.

Langtang Village was situated right beneath the south face of the magnificent Langtang Lirung (7,234 meters). A large glacier and frozen lake were sitting in a hanging valley right above the village. The glacier and lake in the hanging valley was the main source of freshwater and a river nourished by the glacier ran past the village on the west side.

As the earthquake hit at 11:56 a.m. a massive avalanche fell off the Langtang Lirung, the snow slide was so massive that it seemed like an entire face of the mountain had fallen off. The avalanche brought a giant boulder along the mountain, hit the glacier, and brought down the entire frozen lake as it poured all over the Langtang Village.

All of the boulders, rocks, snow, glacial segment, and frozen ice the avalanches carried while gaining momentum funneled down the couloir above the village straight onto the top. This deadly avalanche hit Langtang Village right after the earthquake when the people in the village were trying to assess the situation and buried every single trace of civilization in the village.

This avalanche that wiped out the entire Langtang Village produced such a strong gust of wind that it even wiped the treeline up to several kilometers on the opposite side of the valley downstream. The people in the main part of the Langtang Village were completely wiped out by the avalanche, only people living at the edges of the village survived the two deadly disasters.

On that dreadful day, 243 people died in the small high Himalayan settlement that struggled to survive a 7.3 Richter earthquake and a devastating avalanche. Among the 243 casualties, 175 were the natives, 41 were the trekkers exploring the region and 27 were the tourism staff supporting the trekking expedition teams in the village.

Langtang Village After Earthquake

The Langtang Village took serious damage in the 2015 earthquake, besides one house in the entire village that stood tall after the earthquake and avalanche, the rest were totally flattened. It took quite a while for the village to recover from such a state, New Langtang Village was built 100 meters above the ruins of the old village with a modern infrastructure approach rather than the traditional methods.

Although the Langtang Village looks different in appearance compared to the traditional artifacts of the old village, the spirit of this charming high-altitude settlement is pretty much the same. Unlike the old village, the New Langtang Village has more concrete and sturdy structures and has welcomed modern conventional architecture. Significant infrastructures of the region like gompa, chortens, schools, and health centers were rebuilt, and now the village is back to its former glory.

It took about 2 years after the devastating earthquake for the trekkers to return to the region, the New Langtang Village which was still working on the rebuilding process saw it as a ray of hope and economic stability. When trekking in this third most popular trekking route in Nepal, you can still see the old Lantang Village in rubbles as you move along your trekking trails heading toward the New Langtang Village.

Old Langtang Village to New Langtang Village

When trekking in the Langtang Region, there is no evidence of the old Langtang Village except the ruins left by the earthquake and avalanche. More than half of the local population lost their life during the devastating incident, and the only remnants of the village are the houses that were built by the cliffs and those too are left empty.

The natives of the village took the first step to rebuild their village as the road was blocked due to an avalanche and they knew that help wasn’t coming anytime soon. Thus, they started building temporary camps near the ruins of the old village using time and stone. However, after the rescue operation was conducted on the village after the earthquake and avalanche, the natives were moved to a safe camp. Several teams were deployed to clear the debris and the roads, and several months the Langtang Village started receiving help from outside to rebuild itself.

Some of the major organizations that helped in the rebuilding process of the Langtang Village were the Himalayan Climate Initiative and an NGO based in Kathmandu, Sunaulo Sansar. A relief fund named Langtang Relfied Fund was also established to assist the rebuilding process financially. The Langtang Relief Fund helped the people of the region by providing assistance with food, shelter, and medical supplies. Similarly, the Himalayan Climate Initiative helped the village rebuild houses and install solar panels.

Marked Safe For Trekking in 2018

Although the trekkers had started exploring the third most popular mainstream trekking route in Nepal within two years after the devastating incident. Foreign researchers gave the green signal for trekking in the region only after three years in 2018. The rebuilding process was ongoing before that as the New Langtang Village was being built above the ruins of the old. The primary focus during the first part of the rebuilding process was on the significant infrastructure like housing, medical institutions, and religious sites.

After trekkers started to visit the region, the locals re-established the hotels and teahouses again to accommodate the guests and to stabilize the economy of the region. By 2018, the New Langtang Village completely bounced back to the status of the mainstream trekking route in the country. The trekking trails that were destroyed by the avalanches were rebuilt again, stronger and ever, and once again the trekking in the Langtang region was open.

For a while, the natives of the Langtang, not as densely populated as before, had lost all hope of building a life witnessing such devastating ruins. However, within a short while when they started rebuilding their village, stronger than before, they started regaining hope that all was not lost. And, in a short while the Langtang Village was able to bounce back to its former glory as one of the favourite trekking destinations in the country.

Langtang Village at the Present Time

It has been a long time since the charming high-altitude villages suffered from the two devastating calamities in a single day. Although the trekking route was opened in 2018, it still took a few years to enhance the quality of the experience as the rebuilding process at the different corners of the region was still going on.

However, as of now, you can completely enjoy your stay and exploration with better infrastructure and enhanced amenities. You will be able to enjoy the modern services and technology on your trekking trail, from a full western-style accommodation facility at Lama Hotel to the improved telecommunication services at the Kyajin Gompa. Similar to the classical trekking adventures, the trekking adventure today also starts from Syabrubesi after a long drive from Kathmandu.

Moving along your trekking adventures, you will first head toward the well-facilitated Lam Hotel known for its modern range of services and amenities that equal the quality of service in other mainstream trekking routes like Everest Base Camp Trek and Annapurna Circuit Trek. In general trekking packages, your Day 3 adventure will take you to the New Langtang Village and you will pass the ruins of the old village on your way.

Proceeding further in your trekking trail, you will head toward Kyanjin Gompa which was rebuilt after the earthquake damaged its premises. You will also be able to enjoy the panoramic views of the Langtang Peak and the Langtang region from the popular vantage point of Tserko Ri, the highest point of this entire expedition at 5,450 meters (17,880 feet).

So, overall the third-most-popular trekking route in the country is living up to its name, compared to other remote Himalayan explorations, you will find the services and amenities in the Langtang region quite advanced. The modern amenities in this trekking route are on par with other mainstream trekking and you will also be able to enjoy an extensive set of delicacies.

Even if you want a customer-tailored trekking package, you can 100% enjoy it in this trekking route. Now, there are options for a personalized trekking experience where you can determine the quality of the services and amenities in your trek, the itinerary days of your adventure, and overall highlight exploration.

What Can You Do for the Locals of the Langtang Village?

After learning about the hardship of this beautiful high-altitude settlement in the Langtang Valley, you might be wondering if there is anything you could do to help it. Nepal received massive support and aid globally after the earthquake, however, due to the lack of proper management and chain of supply, the aid hardly reached the true victims of the devastating calamity.

The best way you can support the Langtang Village as of now is to explore the region and enjoy the Langtang Valley Trekking adventure that is going on a full swing. Langtang Valley is now completely safe for trekking adventures and the enchanting natural allurements of this mainstream trekking region will simply take your breath away.

By doing this trek with your friends and family, you will assist the economic development of the region which will create further employment opportunities and see more infrastructural development in the region. Instead of roundabout aid that may or may not even get into the hands of the true victims, your direct involvement in the Langtang Valley Trek will certainly assist in the development of the region.

Instead of charity, the self-reliant and the proud nativities prefer to make a living working elegantly. The old traditional village was already adapting to the teahouses trekking route, however, the New Langtang Village with modern infrastructural and technological development is making guest hosting even more comfortable and efficient. So, make sure to drop by when you feel like setting out on an epic Himalayan quest that has been growing in popularity recently for its unparalleled natural beauty, diverse vegetation, endangered flora and fauna, rich culture, traditions, and warm hospitality.

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Final Say

The trekking adventure in the Langtang Valley is one of the most exhilarating and remarkable experiences. This third most popular trekking route in the country doesn’t compromise on anything when it comes to providing quality services and thrilling adventures in the region. As one of the closest Himalayan expeditions from the capital, Langtang is just about 80 km away from Kathmandu, this is an ideal exploration if you are looking for a family vacation or get-together with friends.

Although Langtang Valley Trek is a mainstream popular trekking adventure in this beautiful Himalayan country, unlike the other base camp adventures, it’s really easy. There aren’t any technical segments on the trekking route and you don’t need any kind of previous trekking experience to do this expedition.

On top of that it is completely safe, you can do this trek without worrying about anything and all the highlight parts of the region are better than before. As the saying goes ‘Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow’, although the Langtang Village did suffer a devastating loss, the natives who kept looking at the brighter side helped the charming settlement to spring back to its former glory. You should definitely give the exploration of this third-most visited trekking route in Nepal at least a chance to enchant you with its beauty and tell a beautiful story that redefines strength and will that can even bend the most unpleasant realities.

This post first appeared on Trekking In Nepal, please read the originial post: here

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Langtang Village Before And After Earthquake


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