22 Oct, 2019 Himalaya Land Treks
Nepal is a name synonymous to heaven for every trekking enthusiast. As such, there is a myriad of attractions here which highlight many different aspects of the country. Further, on the country's chronicles of glorious trekking trails like Langtang Valley Trek, Everest Base Camp Trek, and Gokyo Valley Trek, the Annapurna Region has its charisma. Settled by the Buddhist community of majorly Gurung, Manangi, Thakali, and Tibetan tribes, the region also offers a take into the cultural side of things. Thanks to an amazing array of such landmarks, this enchanted land does not fail to mesmerize its visitors.
Annapurna region is located in the mid-west, with Kali Gandaki River to the west and Marsyangdi River to the east. The region boasts numerous mountains including the majestic Mount Annapurna (8091m), Mt. Machhapuchhre (6997m), Hiunchuli (6441m), and Gangapurna (7454m) and other ranges as well. This place is suitable for everyone is looking for mountaineering, trekking, cultural trip, or anyone who loves to gaze at the wonders of nature.
Trekking in the Annapurna region is perhaps the most entertaining way to explore its wonders. As such, the Annapurna Base Camp Trek is the most famous trekking trip in the region. Along with the ABC Trek, there are many other treks like Ghorepani Poonhill Trek, Khopra Danda Trek, Mardi Himal Trek, Annapurna Circuit Trek, and Nar Phu Valley Trek. These treks allow you to relish the wonders of the region and also display the ethnic culture of the locals.
The unique topography and the location of the Annapurna region make it possible to be visited throughout the year. However, the best time is during autumn (September - November) when the days are warm with an average temperature of 15 degrees. Likewise, the skies will be clear during this time and offer splendid views on the mountains. Similarly, during spring (March- April), the snow will have just cleared up and forests are vibrant with blossoming floras.
Below are some of the famous trekking trails in this locale with their basic outlines and special features.
The moderately difficult Annapurna Base Camp Trek with Safari takes 9 days to complete and starts with a drive to Nayapul from Pokhara. Then, the trekkers head north and trek upwards to Ulleri and pass Tolka, Chommrong, and Dovan to reach the Machhapuchhre Base Camp (3700 meters) and eventually Annapurna Base Camp (4130 meters), followed by a descent to Dovan. Next, the pathway turns towards Jhinu Danda and returns to Pokhara. On the return journey to Kathmandu, the trip heads to Chitwan and indulges in a Jungle Safari in the Chitwan National Park. The notable features of this journey are:
Passes through the alluring Gurung/ Magar villages
The picturesque scene of the Fishtail and Annapurna Range and other nearby peaks like Nilgiri (7061m), Gangapurna (7454m), and Manaslu (8163m)
Natural Hot spring on Jhinu Danda
Jungle Safari in Chitwan National Park
Starting from a drive to Besisahar from Kathmandu, the trail begins as you trek along the Marsyangdi River. After trekking uphill through Tal, Danakyu, Chame, Bagarchhap, Pisang, Ngwal and Braga, you head to the Manang village. Here you spend a day acclimatizing and continue to the Tilicho Base Camp via Khangsar village. After exploring the Tilicho Lake, the return journey begins and heads to the Thorung La Pass (5416m). Here, you can relish the views of the entire Annapurna, Nilgiri, and Dhaulagiri ranges. The trek ends on reaching Jomsom via the Muktinath temple. Some of the attractions of the trek are:
Thonje Monastery at Bagarchhap and Braga Monastery at Manang
Explore the Tilicho Lake, the highest altitude lake of the world (4920m) and Thorung La Pass (5416m)
Manang village and its extraordinary Tibetan Buddhist lifestyles
Views of the majestic Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges
This week-long, the easy trek begins from Pokhara with a drive to Nayapul. Trekking uphill from Nayapul to Ghorepani via Hile, you reach the Poonhill viewpoint (3193 meters). Next, the trails on the trek begin to descend. The return journey includes the villages of Tadapani, Pothana, and Ghandruk, and ends at Pokhara. Spending a day at Pokhara, you indulge in a rafting trip on the soaring Seti Gandaki river. The scenic outlook of the Himalayan Range remains the most special feature while others include:
Watching the sunrise from the Poonhill
Panoramic views of Annapurna, Dhaulagiri, Tukuche, Fishtail, Hiunchuli, and Nilgiri ranges
Natural hot spring at Jhinu Danda (while going towards Pothana from Ghandruk)
Rafting at the Seti Gandaki River
This is another easy and short trek that takes just about 4 days to complete. Starting from Nayapul, you trek through the rhododendron forests to reach Ghorepani village. From here, you take a short hike to the top of the Poonhill vantage point. It grants a surreal panorama of the Himalayas in the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges. The return trip passes through Tadapani, Ghandruk, and Kimche before reaching Nayapul. The unique qualities of the trek would be:
Watching the sun rising over the Himalayas, early morning, from Poonhill
The panoramic view of Annapurna range and Fishtail
Gurung village of Ghandruk and Magar village of Ulleri
Warm villagers and their heart-winning hospitality
Beginning with a drive to Beni from Kathmandu, the trek heads north to Tatopani. Following the Kali Gandaki River, the trip passes Ghasa to reach Marpha. Next, you head to Kagbeni while enjoying the Thakali culture and lifestyle. The temple of Muktinath is just a day from Kagbeni. After exploring Muktinath, the way back begins through Jomsom. This trek is suitable for people of all ages; hence it is a perfect family trek with easy path and short time duration. The note-worthy points of the trek are:
Natural hot spring at Tatopani
Taste the famous apple and apple products at Marpha
Explore the temple of Muktinath and its premises
Visit the Kag Chode monastery in Kagbeni and its semi-arid terrain
Established as an alternative to Ghorepani Poonhill trek, the road diverges from Tadapani towards Bayeli Kharka instead of Kimche. Ascending ahead towards Khopra ridge through Chistibung, and then descending to Ghorepani, again elevating to Poonhill, the trip includes a lot of ups and downs. From Poonhill, the trail goes further uphill to Mohare Danda before descending for the final time to Nangi village. Returning to Pokhara via bus, this 12-day trek comes to an end. The distinctive attributes of the path are:
Explore the Khayar Lake situated to the north of Khopra Danda
Sunrise from Poonhill and the view of Annapurna range and other peaks
The places of accommodation on the way are community-run, directly aiding to the local economy
Just taking 5 days to complete with easy pathways, Mardi Himal trek has been gaining momentum in recent times. Following the way through Kande and Deurali, you reach the Forest Camp. Following another trek to Low Camp, you will eventually reach the High Camp. Taking a day to reach and explore the Mardi Himal Base Camp (4500 meters), the return to Pokhara begins on heading back to the Forest Camp followed by a descent to Lwang village. The quirky traits of this trek are:
Experience the authentic village lifestyle and Gurung culture
Trek through dense colorful rhododendron filled forests and summer pastureland
The scenic outlook of Annapurna, Dhaulagiri, Mardi, and Machhapuchhre ranges
Relatively less-crowded and off-beat trekking trails
Starting from Kathmandu with a drive to Jagat, the 17-day Nar Phu Valley Trek begins. Walking from Dharapani to Phu village through Meta and Koto, the journey moves ahead. Stopping at Phu for acclimatization, travelers enjoy the mesmerizing ancient culture along the trading route between Nepal and Tibet. Then on, traveling further to Nar village, you ascend to the top of the Kang La Pass (5360m). Finally, the trails take a turn towards Ngawal and continue ahead to Thorung La pass via Manang marks the return trip. Crossing the pass and descending at Muktinath and then moving ahead to Jomsom, ends the trek. The unique attributes of the Nar Phu Valley Trek are:
Explore Tibetan culture influenced villages
Baffling scenery of Annapurna, Gangapurna, and Tilicho ranges
Extraordinary trekking experience through Tibetan Buddhist settlements
Upper Mustang, the forbidden kingdom of Nepal, recently opened for exploration has been intriguing its visitors. With arid landscape and exotic culture with no urban influence, this place shades medieval vibes. A ten 10 day-long journey to Upper Mustang is an out of this world experience, in a faraway untouched land. Tracing the way through Jomsom, Kagbeni, Chele, Syanbochen, Ghami, and Tsarang before reaching Lo Manthang, and Dhakmar, Ghiling, and Chhusang before getting back at Jomsom, it attains a height of only 3810 meters. However, the topography might make the travel uncomfortable, especially for the kids and the elderly.
Few of the features of the trail include:
Explore the five-storied mysterious Jhong caves
World’s largest prayer wall on a big red cliff (demon’s intestine as per legend)
Visit the Buddhist-Tibetan monasteries like Thinggar and Namgyal Gompa
Each route in the Annapurna region has something magnificent and unique to offer to its explorers. Hence, the region is referred to as one of the best trekking destinations in the world for its outstanding beauty. Every wanderer’s voyage is not complete without trekking through at least one of the trails in the Annapurna region!