Langtang Valley is a famous trek destination of Nepal. The valley combines picturesque landscapes, snow-capped mountains and unique culture of locals. Being an ideal destination for trekkers around the world, Langtang Valley attracts thousands of tourists each year.
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Langtang Village Before Earthquake
Life in Langtang Village was good. Local people mainly comprising of Tamang, Sherpa and Gurung would wake up early, finish their household chores, take their yaks and mules to graze, and go to the field. Many villagers were engaged in operating lodges for trekkers as trekkers around the world trek to the region. Some villagers worked as Langtang Valley trek guides and porters. Their income was good.
Langtang was becoming better from good. It was gradually attracting more and more number of travelers. Trekkers included both foreigners and internal tourists. Homestays were turning into lodges, locals were earning better than before and there were more facilities being introduced.
Locals found Langtang Lirung looked more attractive as it kept on attracting trekkers. Yak and mule herds in the Valley beautified the place. Gompas attracted tourists and Buddhist devotees as well. Among Buddhist shrines, Kyanjin Gompa was becoming more popular. It seemed like all was going well.
That was until 25th of April, 2015. Who knew their world would come tumbling down in a matter of seconds.
The beautiful Langtang Valley carries a lot of pain within her. When the devastating quake hit Nepal in the April of 2015, entire Nepal shook with fears. Thousands of aftershock followed the quake for months. People lost their lives, homes came tumbling down and there was lack of basic supplies everywhere. Langtang Valley was among the badly suffered areas.
A teenager of Langtang Village who survived that disaster relived the devastating moment, “It was not the quake that accounted for the complete damage, the avalanche that followed was what buried the entire village under a rubble.” The beautiful Langtang Valley was utterly destroyed. Within a minute, the village entirely vanished under mudslide of sand, snow, boulders and huge rocks. Almost everyone died.
Langtang Village on the day of earthquake-triggered avalanche
It was April 25, 2015. The day before, people had celebrated Ghawa – a yearly celebrated Buddhist ceremony. All the villagers had flocked together to sing and dance. People from the neighboring villages had come too. They drank, sung and danced.
As the celebration had lasted until midnight, the next day was a bit different than the normal ones. Other days, people would wake up early, finish their chores and head towards their field to work. Unlike other days, people stayed on their bed longer than the usual. But the day looked just like another normal day of Spring as the sun went further up. The villagers were busy with their work.
Some trekkers had already continued their trek towards their destination whereas some were there resting and enjoying the heavenly environment. Some of them were being ready to head towards their destination.
The clock struck 11:55 and the unexpected happened. The violent shaking of the land made everyone panic and run for their lives. People who were in their house fled outside running. Those who were on the field saw something disastrous was coming towards them. The violent quake resulted in a massive avalanche. It looked like the entire mountain came crumbling down.
The village which was a popular stop for thousands of travelers all those years; which was a home to more than 400 people was buried into ruins. Most of the villagers and travelers lost their lives. Within a minute Langtang Village turned into tattered remains.
A single house stood partly. Only a very few of them were lucky to survive the incident. Those who survived were mourning over their missing ones. Some were searching their loved ones frantically; most of their efforts were gone in vain.
The aftershocks continued for days. Small pieces of loose rocks and snow continued falling down as the result of aftershocks. And the fear remained among the survivors. Gradually, the rescue works began gaining momentum. The survivors and rescuers started rescuing the victims from the sight. They recovered many dead bodies from the mudslide.
Rescuers evacuated villagers by local helicopters to safer villages. Injured people were taken to hospitals and search for survivors and dead bodies continued for days.
After a few days, authorities called-off search and rescue attempts. There was a constant risk of aftershocks, landslides, and avalanches.
Langtang Village After Earthquake
Now, it has already been more than 3 years since the tragedy. Several foreign researchers have studied the region and marked Langtang Region safe. Trekkers have begun trekking to Langtang Valley again.
Villagers have built a new village near the buried one. As the village gradually began picking up the pieces, life is again becoming normal. Barren fields are again turning into green pastures; yaks are seen grazing there. Tea houses are rebuilt and the village is somehow reconstructed.
As tourism took some time to go back to normal in Langtang Region, locals found it hard to survive there. Now, more than three years later, trekkers have begun flowing to Langtang. Teahouses are again filled with travelers in peak seasons. Locals have started earning again to meet their needs.
Although the pain will remain for their lives, locals have slowly begun smiling again. The Sherpas, Tamangs and other communities living there are gradually reconstructing the villages again.
With that said, the locals are still facing difficulty leading their lives. Parts of their cultivable land have now stones and boulders all over them. Capitals are spent in rebuilding their homes and other structures. They have lost their supportive ones and most of them have begun their life from scratch.
What can we do to help locals of Langtang Valley?
Nepal received heaps of support after the earthquake. But, the aids were very poorly reached to the victims. So, if you send money or materials to the people of Langtang Valley, you never know your support will reach to the needy ones or not.
Instead, it’s better to trek to Langtang Village with your friends or family during your vacation. This will help them to live on their own and help to raise their economic condition.
The hopeful locals have cleared the trails and rebuilt lodges and are awaiting trekkers. Now, they have two sides to show you; the ravishing Langtang world and the pain that it carries. Why not give them a visit?
If you are interested in the trek, you can visit Langtang Village with us. You can also contact us further for more information about the trek to Langtang Valley.