Manaslu is the eighth highest mountain in the world and rises to 8,163 metres (26,781 ft) above sea level. It is located in the Gorkha District of west-central Nepal, bounded by the Buhri Gandaki Valley system to the east and by the Marsyangdi Valley to the west. Like its two westerly neighbours of Annapurna and Dhaulagiri, the mountain stands entirely within the borders of Nepal therefore facilitating its circumnavigation by way of the 5,135 metre Larkya La Pass. The main peak of Manaslu has two very close and significant neighbours within the Gorkha district itself; dominating the Pungen, Lidanda and Chhulung Glaciers are the substantial satellite peaks of Himal Chuli, 7,893 metres (25,896ft) and Ngadi Chuli (aka Peak 29), 7,871 metres (25,823ft)
The name Manaslu comes from the Sanskrit word manasa, meaning "intellect" or "soul". The mountain culminates in a serrated wall of snow and ice that towers steeply above its surrounding landscape and is a dominant feature when viewed from afar. Its long ridges and valley glaciers offer feasible approaches from several directions and on three sides they fall to terraces sparsely inhabited and turned to agricultural use. Manaslu was first climbed in 1956 by members of a Japanese expedition and it is said that just as the British consider Everest to be their mountain, Manaslu has always been Japanese.
The Manaslu region offers a variety of trekking options, the most popular being a 177 kilometre ancient salt-trading route along the Burhi Gandak River and over the Larkya La Pass down to Annapurna. The Nepalese Government only permitted trekking of this circuit in 1991, and even then only to groups operating with a liaison officer. An alternative approach to Manaslu and the Larkya La can be made from Gurkha, by heading north through the fertile Darondi Khola valley, crossing the 4,643 metre Rupina La Pass and descending the beautiful and unspoilt Chhulung Valley to reach to main trail at Nyak.
In 1997 the Nepalese Government finally established the Manaslu Conservation Area Project with the primary objective of achieving conservation and sustainable management of the delimited area.