The Helambu ( Nepali हेलम्बू ), called Yolmo by the residents , is a cultural and geographical unit about fifty kilometers as the crow flies northeast of Kathmandu in Nepal and corresponds to the Village Development Committee (VDC) of the same name .
At the 2011 census, the VDC Helambu had 2564 inhabitants (1258 of them male) in 656 households.
The region is bounded by the foothills of the Langtang Himal in the north and north-west ; in the center is the ridge of the Yangri Danda with the holy mountain Ama Yangri ( ). On its steep slopes, sloping to the valley of Melamchi Khola in the west and Yangri Khola in the east, the Tibetan-Burmese ethnic group of the Yolmopa (also Yolmo-Sherpa) has settled for many centuries . The Helambu / Yolmo is predominantly part of the Langtang National Park . The heights are densely forested up to the tree line , the region is particularly characterized by diverse variations of tree rhododendrons (flowering from March to May).
The Yolmopa are closely related to the Tamang from the Langtang or the Bhote Kosi region north of Dhunche and derive their origin from southern Tibet. The name Sherpa ("East Man") therefore stands for the fact that the people settled east of the Bhote Kosi river. Since they are officially denied the name Sherpa because of reservations for the Khumbu Sherpa in Nepal, many call themselves “Lama” because of their attachment to Buddhism; but recently the name "Yolmo" or "Yolmopa" has also been used. The Helambu / Yolmo is one of the ancient tribal regions of Tibetan Buddhism ; Countless places are ascribed to the work of the saint and magician Padmasambhava (Tib .: Guru Rinpoche ), who brought Buddhism to Tibet in the 8th century, for example meditation caves in Melamchighyang and in Dhukpu in the upper Yangri ridge or in the uninhabited region east of the Yangri Khola, but also individual split stones, hollows and a footprint. In the 10th century, the saint and poet Milarepa meditated in Yolmo (cave near Melamchi Khola below Tarke Ghyang). Accordingly, some of the oldest Buddhist monasteries in Nepal are located in Helambu / Yolmo (the oldest is probably Cherughyang near Tarkeghyang). The Yolmopa are predominantly followers of the (old) Nyingmapa school, which can be traced directly back to Guru Rinpoche, and the religion is everyday and alive. In the course of a renaissance of Buddhism, numerous meditation sites have emerged in the region for more than 20 years, which Buddhists from Nepal, Tibet, India, Bhutan and the countries of the western world visit.
The main villages of the Helambu / Yolmo are located at approx. 2560 m altitude, Shermathang and Tarkeghyang on the Yangri ridge and Melamchighyang (nep .: Melamchigaon ) to the west above the Melamchi Khola. After the very promising agricultural projects of the 1970s and 1980s failed (especially fruit growing), today many Yolmopa work abroad (India, Gulf States, Korea) and have relocated the center of their families to the Kathmandu valley ( Bodnath ). Today, the village of Melamchighyang, which is furthest in the mountains, is the liveliest, with the initiative to create a future for the children in the village themselves.
In terms of tourism, the Helambu is part of three trekking routes . The most popular route leads in the northwest over the Laurebina La (4609 m), a high Himalayan pass, over the sacred lakes of Gosainkund into the valley of Langtang . It begins at the foot of Yangri Danda at 828 m altitude in Melamchi Pul Bazar, leads over the ridge, where it reaches Yolmo in Kakani (1950 m), and over Shermathang and Tarkeghyang and with an intermediate descent via Melamchighyang, steeply up to the Thare Pati pass (3600 m) and further (above Likhu Khola, Nuwakot district) to Laurebina La. The route over the Ganja La (5122 m), which leads directly from Shermathang or Tarkeghyang over high alpine pastures, which are only inhabited in the monsoon, and the high pass, which can usually only be crossed with mountaineering technique, leads directly to the uppermost Langtang near Kyangjin (3750 m) is demanding. An old pilgrimage route leads eastwards from the Helambu / Yolmo over the villages at Yangri Khola and over the sacred lakes of Panch Pokhari (3960 m) at the southern foot of the Jugal Himal over several mountain ridges to Bhote Kosi near Tatopani / Kodari on the border to Tibet.
- Kay Tschersich: Nepal: Trekking through Helambu, Gosainkund and Langtang: The journey is the goal. Conrad Stein Verlag, 2005, ISBN 3-89392-552-X .
- Andreas Stimm, RD Yuyutsu Sharma: The Nepal Trilogy, Annapurna, Everest, Helambu & Langtang: Photographic and poetic journeys through the most famous hiking areas of the Himalayas. A Hasselblad XPan photo documentation. Epsilonmedia, 2010, ISBN 978-3-9810883-2-8 .
- National Population and Housing Census 2011 (PDF) Central Bureau of Statistics. Archived from the original on July 31, 2013.
- Nepal - Trekking in the Langtang and Gosainkund areas.