Manang and Nyeshanba

View of Manang from the SouthBeautiful village of Manang is not unkown to lovers of Nepal trekking. It lies in elevation of 3,540 m above sea level on the popular Annapurna circuit trek. Manang has around 700 inhabitants. They belong to the ethnic group of Nyeshangbas, living in the upper part of Marshyangadi valley, at 3,000–3,600 m height above the sea level. Not much numerous ethnic speaks their own language and enjoys hundreds years old cultural tradition. Nyeshangbas confess popular form of Tibetan buddhism enriched with local shamanistic tradition. They are proud, strong-minded people, toughned by the life in unhospitable environment below the mountain massifs.

Cruel winters, scare rainfalls and infertile soil which were unfavourable conditions for agriculture and pasturage – pushed Nyeshangbas into trading with Tibetan salt. Due to the ancient privilage acquired during the unification of Nepalese kingdom at the end of the eighteen century, Nyeshangbas were freed from customs fees; they began to make use of it in the course of the twentieth century. First they expanded their trading activities in Burma, Golden Triangle, Malaysia, Singapure and Hongkong. During the Seventies many Nyeshangbas became one of the most significant traders in Nepal. The number of population in villages decreased as the villagers who were only a bit successful in international trade, preferred moving to Kathmandu.

Nyeshangbas before the traditional house The break in this development came up thanks to the growing interest in adventurous tourism during the Eighties and Nineties. Numerous trekkers arriving in Manang brought new business oportunities to its inhabitants. Many of Manangis even welcomed the possibility to leave smoggy and busy Kathmandu at least for a while, and return to the mountains, where their ancestors came from. They invested quite big capital into construction of new hotels in Manang and its vicinity.

Exhibition set Manang 30 Years After is illustration of these processes which transformed remote and poor village into booming tourist hub.

Manang on the map of Nepal

View Manang in a larger map