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Tal, Dharapani 33500, Nepal
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Dodging goatherds enroute to a heavenly Buddhist village Dharapani  Nepal

Dodging goatherds enroute to a heavenly Buddhist village

The village of Tal is the gateway to the Manang district of Nepal and the first Buddhist settlement you reach along the Annapurna Circuit. The trail to reach Tal is a grueling series of switchbacks and steep rocky inclines. The climb is made all the more challenging as you dodge goatherds and mule trains, Nepal’s version of Mack trucks carrying food and supplies across the country along the "Annapurna Highway."

The fiery sensations you feel in your muscles are worth the entry to this heavenly little town. After you crest a long, dusty hill, Tal emerges in a quiet valley where the blue, grey river widens and bends creating sandy beaches in its slow meander. Spilling from the hilltops around the village are tall, glittering waterfalls that seem to fall from out of the clouds. Spin the prayer wheels as you enter the Kingdom of Manang.

Tal is a good place to stop for the night and there are several side treks to some of the major falls from the village. But if you are just hitting your stride and make it to the village at midday, stop at least for lunch and meditate for a minute over some black tea and pumpkin soup.