Sherpa Heritage Trail
Understanding the life of Nepali Sherpas
Khumbu – the roof of the world. Home of the highest mountains of our beautiful planet and home of probably the most famous mountain people in the world: the Sherpa. Especially the 8.848 m high Mount Everest has made this formerly extremely remote mountain region one of the most sought-after destinations for hikers and mountaineers.
And with good reason: there will hardly be a traveler whose mouth did not drop open at the first sight of Mount Everest and all the other six-, seven- and eight-thousanders. In addition, there is a cultural heritage that will accompany and fascinate you on the whole trip: Buddhism characterizes the life of the Sherpa and is visible at almost every corner. Just think of the Buddhist flags hanging everywhere, the gompas with their monks and the chortens in every village. Combined with the hospitality of the Sherpa people, this makes for an almost irresistible package for open-minded outdoor enthusiasts.
On the “Khumbu Heritage Trail” not only the landscape, but above all the life of the Sherpas is the central theme. You will travel with them and take part in their daily life and culture. Discuss with them how they farm or what significance the yak has in one of the highest inhabited regions on earth. You will travel off the beaten track and be guests of Sherpa families – and always accompanied by Mingma Sherpa, our well-traveled Fair Trails expert from Namche Bazar. If you return home feeling that the region has so much more to offer than “just” Mount Everest, then we have achieved our goal!
01 — THE MYTH
The landscape shapes life: The Sherpas from the Khumbu region at the foot of Mount Everest are probably the most famous indigenous people in the world and live in one of the highest areas on earth. © Anuj Adhikary
The region was extremely secluded until the start of tourist interest. The Sherpas, like any mountain people, had adapted perfectly to the remoteness and the harsh and barren local conditions. They were farmers and lived from trade over the passes of the Himalayas. Life was strongly influenced by Buddhism, as evidenced by the many gompas and chortens.
This life is still visible today. But of course tourism and the better accessibility especially through the adventurous airport in Lukla has changed the life of the Sherpas. In places along the famous trekking routes more and in villages far away much less. Along the famous trekking routes, many Sherpas work as guides or in lodges, while others engage in farming. Many Sherpas also spend a period of their lives abroad – outside of the Khumbu, the second most Sherpas are found in New York.
This is how the Sherpas have learned to master the balancing act between tradition and change. On the Khumbu Heritage Trail, accompanied by your Fair Trails expert Mingma Sherpa, you can gain a deep insight into the life of the Sherpas between tradition and modernity – off and also in the middle of the famous trekking trails. And – we bet – you will be so impressed that you will take home a part of the Khumbu in your heart.
Yak caravans along the historic trail from Paiya towards Everest: In the past, expeditions without this important form of transportation were unthinkable. © Trail Angels
02 — THE EXPERIENCE
of the Sherpas
However, you will not approach the Khumbu by flight to Lukla like most tourists, but you will drive like the locals with off-road vehicles a breathtaking route to Phaplu and further to Paiya, where your trekking begins. Now you follow the historic trail towards Everest, which was walked by all the Everest pioneers before the airport was built. This part of the trek via Surke and Chaurikarka is very quiet and paints a pristine picture of the Khumbu region and the Sherpa people, before you meet the popular main trek towards Mount Everest between Lukla and Phakding. It is like a shock of civilization after the quiet time, but this is also an inseparable part of today’s Khumbu. The landscape becomes more and more spectacular: rugged gorges are traversed, suspension bridges are crossed and more glaciated giants line your path. So it goes on via Monjo to the famous Sherpa villages of Namche and Thame. From Thame, you can climb the approximately 4.800m high Sundar Peak, the highest point of the trek and a fantastic vantage point, before reaching the two villages of Mende and Khumjung off the main trail, along paths only used by locals.
Now it’s downhill back to Namche and via Monjo to Lukla. Here it is time to say goodbye to the Khumbu and the Sherpas: From the adventurous airport in Lukla you will take the plane back to Kathmandu. Here you still have time to enjoy this breathtaking city before heading back home.
THE FAIR TRAILS EXPERT
THE FAIR TRAILS PROJECT
Nowadays, however, helicopters and porters from other regions of Nepal have taken over many of the yak’s transportation functions. At the same time, more and more other livestock species are entering the Khumbu and displacing the yak – last but not least, more and more Sherpas are pursuing activities outside agriculture. This leads to the fact that the yak disappears more and more from the landscape and the culture of the Khumbu.
For this reason, Mingma Sherpa – your Fair Trails Expert at the Khumbu Heritage Trail – has started a Yak Farm. With the aim to re-establish the Yaks in the Khumbu region. For you, this means a good opportunity to have a close encounter with the yak and to better understand the ancient relationship between Sherpa and the Yak.
Your impact on the project: Part of the proceeds from your participation in the Khumbu Heritage Trail will go towards the maintenance of the yak farm and the ambitious attempt not to let ancient traditions be forgotten.
03 — THE OFFER
The Fair Trails® Experiences
Media Explorer Tour
Guided trekking tour
Start date: 27. März 2022
Duration: 17 days
Price: € 2.318,- p.P.
SHERPA HERITAGE TRAIL:
Fair Trails Experience®
Guided trekking tour
Start date: november 2022
Duration: 17 days
Price: from € 2.550,- p.p. in shared rooms
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