With the diverse range of culture and custom, Nepal has thirty-six different ethnic groups with are four main religion and other as well. Although the town and city area of Nepal is now enjoying the modern lifestyle, most of Nepal is still remote and deprived of infrastructures. These remote villages which are mostly located in mountain and hilly region consist of the distinctive ethnic groups of Nepal.
You may find it hard to believe, but the rural villages of Nepal are named after the ethnicity. Those villages represent such ethnic groups. They speak the ethnic language, built and live in traditional houses, totally insolating themselves from the modern way of life. There are villages like Rai Gaun (Rai Village), Sherpa Gaun (Rai Village), Bahun Gaun (Bahun Village) and so on.
Like many of these villages, Bridim is one of such distinctive villages formed by Tamang ethnicity. This village is in the near to the area of Langtang National Park.
Tamangs are the main inhabitants of Bridim. But most of the people in Bridim are Tibetans. They came from Kerung in Tibet across the border and settled in Nepal. During those days, Nepal didn’t allow the citizenship to the real Tibetans, so they changed into the Tamang ethnicity, which is why the culture and tradition of people in here are so very similar to the Tibetans.
Bridim is a Z shaped village and is a total refection of Tibetan culture and tradition. In Bridim, the Dukcha Gompa is one of the main attractions. Dukcha Gompa is a sacred site chosen by Guru Rimpoche for meditation. It will be excellent if you visit Bridim during the festivals like Dawa Dangbo in February, Lhosar in February, Yarsang in June, DukpaChhiju in August and Chuwa Chhiju in November: these are the major festivals of Bridim. However, the village celebrates several other festivals as well. In Bridim, there is some popular Tamang dance like Syabru Nach and Mane Nach. During the festival Chhiju, an altar is raised at the Gompa, and more than 15 different dances are performed around it.
The people of Bridim uses the local products like wheat, maize, soybean, millet and potato for food. The village also makes traditional handicraft like friendship band, belt, gloves, muffler, woolen bag, etc.; this encourages on sustainable living. The villagers are also involved in agriculture, livestock farm and trade with Kerung in Tibet.
While in your visit to Bridim, you can also explore the rare flora and fauna as Bridim lies near the Langtang National Park. Established in 1976 as the first Himalayan national park, it is the fourth national park of Nepal. The area of park exceeds the altitude range of 6,450 meters and is spread in the area of 1,710 km2. In the northern and eastern border, the park coincides with the international border of Tibet, and the western side follows the Bhote Koshi and Trishuli river. You can different types of vegetation and wildlife in this region. The main attractions are a red panda and musk deer. In the flora side, there is oak, chir pine, maple fir, hemlock and so on.
Bridim is an ideal choice for a perfect destination where you can experience the rich culture and tradition and witness the amazing natural beauty of this place. Bridim is an oasis of culture, environmental education, sustainable living and perfect for your trekking destination. It will be best to pay a visit to this excellent village from September to December and March to May.
Bridim in “Tamang Heritage Trail”
Tamang Heritage Trail is an excellent trekking trail which takes you to the Himalayas offering an opportunity to look inside the life everyday life of Tamang people who are the Nepalese mountain dwellers of the Langtang region.
Looking at the history, about 150 years Nepal fought Tibet for salt and some of the biggest are where his fight took place is in the region of Langtang. The area is connected to the Tibet, and traders used the trails in this region from Tibet for bartering salt and mountain goats for meat with foodstuffs from the south.
Now, that trail is developed as “Tamang Heritage Trail” for Rural Poverty Alleviation Program. It is a newly developed trail with off the beaten track, which offers a complete package of magnificent views, the unique lifestyle of the Tamang community and an easing and healing bath in natural hot springs.
Trek to Bridim
The trek to the Bridim will take you close to the Tamang rituals, their culture and tradition, unique festivals, traditional architecture, costumes and the famous local dance, the “Syabru dance.”
Your journey begins with your arrival at the Kathmandu. From Kathmandu, you will drive to the Syabrubesi which is at an elevation of 1,467 meters through the Trishuli River. Trishuli is a roaring river popular among tourist for rafting. You will pass through scenic foothills and ridgeline views. You will also get the glimpse of Ganesh Himal while passing along the road at the bank of Trishuli River.
From Syrabrubesi you will head towards Gatlang. Gatlang is at an elevation of 2,238 meters. You will get to see the excellent views on the way as well as get to know Tamang culture. You will walk through the villages of Goljung and Gatlang where you will get to experience the cultural show. Gatlang is situated on the hillside among the terraced field with Tamang settlement. You can also visit the Tamang monastery and beautiful Parvatikunda Lake in Gatlang.
After Gatlang, you will trek towards Tatopani. While trekking towards Tatopani, you will see the magnificent views of Ganesh Himal and Langtang range too. The place “Tatopani” is named for its great feature, which is the hot water spring. In Nepali, hot water means “tatopani.” You can take a dip in this hot water and release all your tiredness. Also, there is a belief that this water would heal any sickness. Regarding this believe, yearly thousands of people pay a visit to this place to take a bath.
Then, from Tatopani, you will trek to Thuman, which is at the elevation of 2,338 meters. While trekking through Bimthang to Thuman, you can encounter animals like deer and monkeys. In a place called Nagthali, you will see the panoramic view of Langtang, Kerung, Ganesh Himal, Sanjen ranges. In earlier days, Nagthali used to be a popular place for mediation for local monks and priest. Thuman is also popular for shamanic performances and beautiful views of Langtang.
From Thuman, you will head to Timure (1,762 meters). This trek will take you to the historical place, Rasuwagadi and offers you the opportunity to witness Tibet Burman Tamang culture. Timure falls on the old trade route to the Tibet. You can also see a fort, which is a historical reminder of the Nepal-Tibet relations that has existed for several centuries. You will also see a suspension bridge which links Nepal and Tibet.
Then comes Bridim, which is at 2,229 meters elevation. Bridim is an excellent village which is worth giving an example. This village is rich in culture, and the unity of the local as a community is another thing to praise. You can choose to camp in Bridim and get to know the more of the culture and tradition of Tamang groups which are very similar to the Tibetan culture. As the earthquake greatly damaged the village, you can make some donation as well.
From Bridim you can go for an excellent side trek to Godekang (3,270 meters) which takes about 4 to 5 hours. People of Bridim have used Godekang as grazing land for their cattle. While trekking towards Godekang, you will go through the villages and past the old gompa which was reportedly visited by Guru Rimpoche. The path will take you to the gradual ascent through the delightful forest of bamboo and rhododendron, and you will reach in an outcrop of rock covered in prayer flags. Gradually, the route turns to be steeper, and the forest gets thicker with big old trees. It might take a bit of effort, but the view of the yaks grazing in the beautiful pasture will ease all tiredness. Along with the peaceful view of grazing yaks, you will also witness the awesome view of mountains all around you including Ganesh range, Langtang II and several other peaks of Tibet. Then after having a lunch, you will move further uphill towards Pansang. It will be the best idea if you set up a camp here, where you can sing and dance and have fun sitting around the campfire. After the excellent camping night, you will wake up with the stunning views of mountains all around you. Descending back to Bridim will take about 2 to 3 hours.
From Bridim, you will trek back to Syabrubesi which takes a lot less than the time it took to reach. You will pass the villages, a beautiful paddy field and breathtaking views of hills around. Then from Syabribesi, you will reach Dhunche, from where you will back to Kathmandu.
April 2015 Earthquake
The devastating earthquake which Nepal faced in April 2015 caused a great amount of damage in Bridim as well. For the last 13 years, we have been with this community, providing our assistance for better education, health and sustainable income opportunity to the community.
Bridim is built in the traditional Tibetan style village. During the earthquake, all the houses built with dry stone including a community hall, health clinic, school, and the monastery. We spent the monsoon season after earthquake inspecting the damages in a detailed way. With the help of our dedicated team members, we designed an earthquake-resilient house-model to built Bridim. It was a very vital as we had to keep the cultural and architectural beauty of Bridim.
In our quest, the local community of Bridim also contributed a lot of time and effort in rebuilding the village. We had to demolish the collapsed houses and building and carry the needed supplies to rebuild. Dolma Ecotourism, a non-profit ecotourism project run by Dolma Foundation had to conduct several trips to Bridim bringing the financial as well as psychological aid to the community.
With a training program facilitated by the engineers and contribution on construction from skilled laborers from a nearby village, a new community center has been established in Bridim. The re-building program of Bridim has now started, and several houses have been completed and handed over, while others are still under construction.