Langtang village is sometimes referred to as ‘Beyul’ (a hidden valley) and was considered as such for many hundreds of years. The ancestors of the Langtangpa (the indigenous people of Langtang valley) have been living there for more than 600 years. The Langtangpa have their own distinguish and rich language, culture and Buddhist tradition and faith. People of Langtang has been living on yak herding, agriculture and tourism (the main source of income was tourism and 90% families were completely depended on it).
This unique valley, with the high snowy mountains of the Himalayan range surrounding it, its rich flora and fauna and the diversity of wild life was the first national park declared in Nepal. It was also the home of the first cheese factory in Nepal, an idea that later on spread throughout the entire country.
The valley has a long history of famous Buddhist lamas who came to this serene place to meditate and develop their spiritual practice. The Langtapa also follow the Tibetan school of Buddhism called Ningma and a new renovated ‘gompa’ (“monastery” in Tibetan language) was constructed not long ago in the valley next to a 600 years old gompa that needed repairs.
On 25 April 2015 the earth moved and life as it used to be in the valley will never be the same.
As one of the local people of Langtang who was present there at that day describe: “First there was an earthquake and as soon as the earthquake stopped we had avalanches all over Langtang Valley. The earthquake didn't destroy much in the valley but after the earthquake there were huge avalanches that brought indescribable destruction upon our valley. In Kyanjin Gumba village, where I was present during the earthquake, we have been hit by an avalanche’s storm which blew away almost all the roof of the houses and caused other severe damages to the village. In Langtang village itself, which was the biggest and most populated village in the valley and served as the valley headquarter, the earthquake caused an unimaginable damage. The 7.8 magnitude earthquake resulted in a glacier break on top of mountain Lirung exactly above the village. This triggered an avalanche of snow and mud which rolled down the mountain in a matter of seconds. The entire Langtang village, the houses, the people, the livestock… all was covered. Other areas and villages suffered a lot as well by the rolling boulders from the mountains, the avalanches and the strong storms that swept all that were in their way.”
175 Langtangpas lost their lives that day, together with around 100-120 foreign tourists and Nepalese workers. Around 200 bodies have been recovered so far and the chances are very low that more bodies will be found. All the habitats in the valley without exception has been affected from this disaster.
20 married couples died. 5 entire families completely vanished. 32 kids became orphans from both their mother and father. The scars, mental and physical, will remain with us until our last day.
Though the numbers, the sights and the memories are hard to bear we are setting ourselves to rebuild our lives and our community back in Langtang valley. We choose a committee of 26 members, both men and women, to represent us and to guide us through this dark time. The committee was established to take care of the survivors and to provide their basic needs while they are still displaced in the Kathmandu valley, were they were evacuated to after the disaster. The main goal of our displaced community, led by The Langtang Management and Reconstruction Committee, is to form a plan to rebuild the houses trails, infrastructures and community in the valley while working alongside with the individuals, groups and organizations that wish to help and support.