Tilicho Lake at 4,949 m collects the glacial melt of the entire northern slopes of Annapurna Mountain range and the Thorong Peak. Altough, Nepal proudly claims it to be the highest lake in the world, India has close competitors. Whether it is the world’s highest lake or not, it is one of the worlds most beautiful lakes with an equally dangerous trail.
I read it somewhere online, that in 2001, Hindu pilgrims from around the world flocked to the lake convinced it is a holy spot mentioned in the Ramayan – a holy book of the Hindus. Well, I am happy for them for doing this treacherous trek.
Basically what you see in the pictures is a landslide with a narrow trail. One small mistake, you are going down the hill reaching the river on the bottom. Your survival is left to Lord Rama, may be ?
It is a 3-4 days detour from Annapurna Circuit trek. Everyone on the circuit trek will pass through Manang village and stay extra day for acclimatization. This is the point where trail to Tilicho starts.
From Manang one has to hike to Khangsar Valley, Tilicho Base Camp, and to Tilicho lake.
The view point of the lake is at 5,200 m. This hike makes it a great acclimatization for Thoroung La Pass. However, the hike is very hard as I mentioned earlier.
From the base camp to lake it’s a 1000m elevation gain and it took us 5.5hrs to get to the top and another 2.5hrs to walk back. It’s a lot of elevation gain at that altitude. So, one has to walk extremely slow to avoid altitude issue.
One important thing to note here: There is no water source on this trail. You have to pack enough water from the base camp. I drank at least 4liters of water hiking up.
At the top, there is a small tea house that is open till lunch time. There are 3 tea houses in Tilicho Base Camp. And one of these owners also operates the tea house at the lake for lunch and refreshments. If the weather is bad, don’t expect the tea house to be open.
In order to get back to Annapurna Circuit after this detour, there is no need to go back to Manang. You can join the trail from Yak Kharka.
To deal with altitude sickness and to acclimatize better, it is recommended to take a rest day after 1000m elevation gain.