Lantang Valley is quite a famous trekking destination in the north-central Himalayas of Nepal. Lying on the borders of Tibet in Nepal, the valley has always been known for its aesthetic beauty. Snow-capped mountains and a unique blend of culture here have always attracted people here. This beautiful valley, however, had to endure a devastating earthquake back in 2015. People believed this calamity would actually be the end of the Lantang Valley trek. However, it was proved wrong.
The Langtang Valley before and after comparison based on the earthquake is a wide topic to cover. The 2015 earthquake of Nepal massively affected major parts of Nepal. Lantang, however, was one of the places that was hit with the most devastation.
The valley was not only hit with an earthquake but also suffered a subsequent avalanche. This caused the Valley to be utterly destroyed, with no homes, loss of life, etc. The entire valley was left with the rubble of house remains, rocks, boulders, sand, and snow from the avalanche. This disaster led loss of lives of more than 400 locals.
Despite such huge devastation, Lantang Valley bounced back. Here is a short timeline of Lantang Valley before and after as well as during the earthquake.
How was Lantang Valley before the earthquake?
Lantang was a simple yet beautiful village with a very mundane lifestyle. The valley primarily thrived with people working in agriculture, livestock, animal husbandry, and lodging business. People from Tamang, Sherpa, and Gurung communities inhabit the lands of Lantang. This was the case before the earthquake, too. These people used yaks and goats for herding as their regular work. The local lifestyle was quite wholesome and traditional.
People were also involved in the trekking business. A lot of tea houses and lodges were there to accommodate trekkers. Various homestays were available where tourists could live with the locals. Tourism was flourishing quite well within the valley. It was on the verge of being the major and best source of income for the locals.
However, all this regular lifestyle was disrupted on April 25th, 2015. A huge 7.3 Richter scale earthquake hit Nepal and ended up killing almost 9 thousand people. It destroyed many cities and villages, and Lantang was among the ones that got the worst of it. Almost all of the houses in the valley were destroyed, and many people lost their lives.
Lantang Before vs. After Earthquake
How is Langtang Valley now?
Lantang Valley is quite different but still has the same spirit as it had before 2015. Despite the destruction caused by the 2015 earthquake, the valley succeeded to bounce back. However, post-earthquake, the architect of the valley is a little different.
The hamlets consist of infrastructures that are made up for temporary purposes. The houses that were rebuilt are a little less sturdy. The community still exists as a great tourism destination. However, many of the hamlets have more concrete structures than the conventional architecture of the past. Significant infrastructures like the monastery of Kyanjin Gompa have also been rebuilt. New health centers and schools can also be found now. The tourism business is also back and running like it was pre-earthquake.
The Lantang Valley, even now, is known for its vibrant local communities and popular tourism destination. This town’s resilience is quite a testament to human spirit and strength.
How did Lantang Valley bounce back?
The journey of building back Lantang was quite a process. The first thing to do post-earthquake was to ensure there wasn’t further damage and the locals were rescued. After the first wave of earthquakes, people were immediately rehabilitated to safer places. Temporary camps were made in open spaces to ensure safety from aftershocks.
The rebuilding of the infrastructure began shortly after people were rehabilitated. Locals started putting in their own effort to get back on their feet. Help from outside wasn’t necessarily accessible as roads were blocked due to avalanches. People from the village started building temporary camps and houses using timber and stone. Teams were deployed to clean debris that had formed due to the ruins of the disaster.
Several months later, Lantang was able to receive outside help to rebuild itself. Several national and international volunteers came to the remote villages and helped the locals. Homes, local tea houses, monasteries, and hotels started getting reconstructed. Aids helped construct new schools and clinics in the villages, too. A brand new community center was also built during this reconstruction phase.
Various organizations have taken part in helping Lantang get back on its feet. One of the major ones was a fund literally meant to help Lantang specifically for earthquake relief. It was called the Lantang Relief Fund. This organization helped to resettle victims of earthquakes. Food, shelter, and medical supplies were transported through aid. Campaigns to send resources were started through social media sites as well.
Another organization called the Himalayan Climate Initiative also was a massive help. This organization helped rebuild houses and helped in installing solar panels in the villages. Many youths from Nepal and outside Nepal were involved.
An NGO based in Kathmandu called Sunaulo Sansar also helped in rebuilding Lantang. Their primary location of work was in the Barbal area of Lantang. This NGO was supported by people from Germany, Italy, and Switzerland for rehabilitation projects. People who were displaced by the earthquake were benefitted from it. Locals also got hold of resources like sand, cement, steel, iron, etc. to build their homes.
Is Lantang suitable for trekking now?
If you want to trek the Langtang Valley now, it is 100% possible. The roadblocks and rubble from the earthquake almost a decade ago have been wiped off the trails. Moreover, this extraordinary valley has been bounced back to its glory. You can enjoy the same type of aesthetic beauty that these trails held before the earthquake. Mountain views, wildlife, the subalpine forests, and the locals, everything is very vibrant. You would not believe it if someone told you the valley was thought to have been obliterated 8 years ago.
So if you want to do the Lantang Valley trek, we highly recommend it. The earthquake of 2015 has no negative effect on the trekking scenario in Lantang now.
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