Khopra Danda Trek

Arrival City

Kathmandu

Departure City

Kathmandu

Lodging level

Accommodation: Hotel and Lodge (Tea House)

Meals

3 Course Meals

Trip Grade

Modrate

Maximun Altitude

4660m

Attractions

Hike to sacred Khayer Lake(4660m) at the foot of Annapurna South.

Sunrise and sunset over Dhaulagiri and the Annapurnas

Activity

Trekking and Sightseeing

Overview

Experience the enchanting Khopra Danda trek, also known as the Khopra Ridge trek, an excellent alternative to the popular yet crowded Ghorepani route. Embark on a journey that elevates you even higher, granting access to another spectacular vantage point of the Annapurnas. Recently unveiled, this trail promises an off-the-beaten-path adventure in the heart of the Annapurna region.

Throughout your expedition, wander through the enchanting rhododendron forests, where Himalayan wildlife, such as pheasants and yaks, will greet you. Should you desire a spiritual detour, don’t miss the opportunity to visit the sacred Khayar Lake. Moreover, the journey will lead you to the renowned Poon Hill (3,210m / 10,531ft), from where breathtaking views of the Annapurna massif, Dhaulagiri, Nilgiri, Hiunchuli, and Machhapuchhre await. Khopra Danda trek for an unparalleled adventure, combining nature’s splendors with the allure of hidden gems in the heart of the Himalayas.

Itinerary

You will be greeted by a panoramic view of snow-capped mountain peaks sprawling down below once you fly in the sky of Kathmandu. A representative and driver from our office will meet you at the airport and escort you to your hotel. The representative will help you check into your designated hotel. At the hotel you will be briefed about your daily activities. Overnight at Hotel.

Kathmandu is the historical and cultural heart of Nepal and has been a popular destination for tourists ever since Nepal opened its doors to visitors. The city presents a wonderful mix of Hinduism, Tibetan Buddhism and Western influence. There will be a guided tour to UNESCO World Heritage Sites namely Boudhanath- the largest Buddhist Stupa in Nepal, Pashupatinath- the most popular Hindu shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva and Patan or Lalitpur (the City of Artisans), which is 5km away from Kathmandu. At Patan Durbar Square, you will delight in the architectural wonders of Malla era. Mahaboudha Temple, Kumbeshwor Temple, Krishna Temple and Golden Temple are the major attractions at the square.

After breakfast and will take you on a scenic drive from Kathmandu to Pokhara. The 6- to 7-hour drive offers breathtaking views of the countryside, including rural villages, lush forests, and terraced fields. When you arrive in Pokhara, you will check into your hotel and have some free time to rest and explore the city. Pokhara is a lovely city with a rich cultural heritage and stunning natural surroundings, making it the ideal place to unwind before beginning your trek. Spend the evening taking in the vibrant atmosphere of the city and getting ready for the adventure ahead. Enjoy a relaxing overnight stay in Pokhara.

After having breakfast early in Pokhara, you will set off to Ghandruk village by jeep. Due to black top going on in main Ghandruk road, we will follow alternative route. Get off from the jeep and walk for 45 minutes to reach Ghandruk village. Have a lunch in Ghandruk village. Then, make your way towards Tadapani which will take approximately 3 hours.

You will have your breakfast in Tadapani and set off for Dobato. You will walk through rhododendron and oak forests for most of the time. If you get lucky, you might encounter musk deer and red fox as well. You will ascend the trail after crossing the forest to the ridge of Deurali. You will continue walking upward, following the relatively steep trail to reach Dobato. It takes about 6-7 hours to in total. You will spend your night at a tea house in Dobato.

Wake up early in the morning and Hike up to Mulde View Point which will take about 30minutes.You can see mesmerizing sunrise view in snow capped peak. Then descend down have your breakfast and set off to Chistibung. In this day you have to walk down as well as up through woods. With an hour’s walk, you will reach to Bayli Kharka. From Bayli Kharka, we descend through forests to reach Chistibung.

After a hearty breakfast in Chistibung, we will set out on the trek to Khopra Danda, which takes around 3 hours to reach. This ridge is one of the main highlights of the trek, offering panoramic views of the stunning Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges. The trail to Khopra Danda is challenging, but the breathtaking views from the top make the effort worth it. As we make our way up, we will pass through beautiful forests and witness the changing landscape, from rolling hills to snow-capped peaks in the distance. We might get chance to see some Yak on the way to Khopra Danda. Once we reach the top, we will be treated to some of the most magnificent views of the Himalayas. It is a perfect place to relax and soak in the beauty of the surrounding mountain ranges. We will spend the night in a lodge or camping site on Khopra Danda, surrounded by the breathtaking beauty of the Himalayas.

We will embark on a breathtaking journey to the breathtaking Khayer Lake. This magnificent high-altitude lake is located at the base of the Annapurna South Glacier and can be reached through a steep and challenging trail. However, the views of the stunning landscape and the crystal clear blue waters of the lake will be a reward in itself. The round-trip hike to Khayer Lake will take approximately 9 to 10 hours, so it's important to be well-rested and prepared for a physically demanding trek. Upon reaching the lake, we will be captivated by its natural beauty and serenity, making it an unforgettable experience. After taking in the sights and sounds of the lake, we will head back to Khopra Danda for a well-deserved overnight stay.

After exploring the Khopra ridge, you will descend to the Swanta village on the 8th day of your journey. You will descend almost about an hour to get to Upper Chistebung village. Descending further down, crossing the potato and barley farms and beautiful villages along the way, you reach Swanta village. You can spend the rest of the day exploring the village, Magar people and their lifestyle.

You’ll have your breakfast at Swanta and set off to Ghorepani. You will descend through a beautiful trail covered in green forests. You can catch the glimpse of Annapurna range during the trek. When you get to Ghorepani, you can spend the rest of the day with the people of the village. You will have closer exposure to their culture and tradition.

On this day, you will be rewarded with a view of a glorious sunrise over the Himalayan range from Poon Hill. You will hike early in the morning to Poon Hill to witness this mesmerizing view of sunrise which capture the views of Mt. Annapurna I (8091 m), Annapurna South (7219 m), Annapurna III (7855 m), Machhapuchhre (6993 m), Dhaulagiri (8167m), Tukuche Peak (6920m), Nilgiri (6940m), Varaha Shikhar Annapurna IV (7525 m), Annapurna II (7937 m) and Lamjung Himal (6931 m). After grasping the view, you will trek down to Tikhedunga. Take a jeep drive to Pokhara via Nayapul crossing the beautiful forests and enjoying the Himalayas on the background. You will check into a hotel when you reach there. You can sit back and relax celebrating the success of your trekking journey. You can spend your evening walking by the lake, shopping the souvenirs or exploring the streets.

From Pokhara you will fly back to Kathmandu which is about 25 mins flight. Rest of the day in Kathmandu is free for your individual activities. You will have enough time to spend on your own. Wander in Thamel to find an ideal souvenir of Nepal, revisit or visit the place of your interest or stay in your hotel, choice is yours!

Our Nepali support team will take you to the airport for your flight home. (Or stay longer for short tours such as game drive at National parks, rafting, Tibet tours, and mountain biking, etc. – please ask us).

General Information

TRIP GRADE- Moderate to fairly challenging

This is a long trek that goes right into remotest corner of high mountain country and over high pass. Physically quite tiring, it involves approx. 6-8 hours trekking along rocky ridges. No previous experience is required, you should be moderately fit, used to some regular exercise and enjoy walking in the high-altitude conditions.

 

TREK TYPE

Camping trek (no lodge available)
Includes: Guide, Porters, Cook, All meals and tents

 

ACCOMMODATION

Camping trek means sleeping in tents. On a camping trek, the tents provided are ‘Two men dome’ or ‘A’ shaped. Foam mattress with insulation underneath is provided for sleeping. Clients need to have their own sleeping bag. Bags or cloth packs are used as pillows. If you wish, you can bring your own ‘Air pillow’.

We have a pool of hotels in Kathmandu under 3 Star categories which we provide to clients in connection to this itinerary, unless it is mentioned otherwise, or clients have a special choice. You can check on the description of such hotels through our website.

 

MEALS & DRINKING WATER

We provide three tasty, plentiful and nutritious meals daily with a variety of local and Western dishes. To start the day, breakfast consists of a choice of porridge, muesli and cereal followed by omelet, fried or scrambled eggs with chapattis or bread. Lunch is generally a selection of salad, cooked vegetable dishes, pasta and traditional breads. After a long day on the trail, dinner is a hearty 3 course meal – soup, followed by a variety of vegetable, meat, rice and pasta dishes and completed with a simple dessert. Tea, coffee and hot chocolate are also provided at all meals. We use as much fresh produce as possible and special diets are regularly catered for. The leaders are able to maintain very tight controls on health and hygiene in the kitchen with respect to general cleanliness and food preparation and also within the group with respect to personal hygiene. This has allowed us to maintain remarkably high standards of health over many years of trek organization – and good health is vital to an enjoyable and successful trek and climb. All foods are well cooked and vegetables are treated by potassium permanganate or iodine. Boiled water is served for drinking. Antiseptic soaps and potassium or iodine treated water are provided for washing. Special dietary requirements can always be catered for.

 

LUGGAGE WHILE TREKKING

During trek your main luggage will be carried by porters. You simply carry a day pack with water bottle, camera, sun-screen, spare jacket, etc. – a small load that allows full enjoyment of the trek. A trek bag is ideal for your main luggage, plus a small lockable bag for travel clothes or anything that you do not need during trek which you can leave at hotel’s locker room/safe deposit box in Kathmandu for free of charge. Weight allowance at Nepal’s domestic airlines is 15 Kgs, excess weight is chargeable at USD 1 or more per Kilo depending on sectors.

 

GROUP LEADER AND CREW

We provide different options concerning leadership in order to match your requirements:
1) Western leader
2) Trained Nepali Trek leader (experienced and knowledgeable)
3) Sherpa Guide (handles the logistics and guides you and your team on the trek)
The Sherpa guide (commonly called Sirdar) will be accompanied by a crew of porters. On camping trek, there will be 2/3 porters for each members.

 

JOIN A GROUP OR PRIVATE TRIP

Our trips are available on both fixed departure and private basis. If you are looking for a group to join this trip please check our ‘Fixed departures’ link for availability, dates and price. If you would like to travel independently, or with your friends, families & colleagues you are invited to choose any of the trips at your convenient timeframe for any number of people (minimum 1 pax & maximum 20 pax at a time).

If you want to do something that is not included in our trip list we are ready to tailor a trip to suit your exact requirements. In short, we will make every effort to get you on the trip you want, when you want.

 

GROUP SIZE ON FIXED DEPARTURE TRIP

If you opt to join our ‘fixed departure trip’, you are likely to be joining people from different countries of any age group except minors. The size of group varies, minimum no of persons required to operate a trip is 2 pax and the maximum is 15 people.

For a Private Booking, any number size from 1 pax to 20 pax is acceptable and can be comfortably organized. We go for special planning for handling group size bigger than 20 Pax.

 

PERSONAL EXPENSES

On this trek all meals will be provided. You only need money for table drinks (alcoholic/non alcoholic beverages), snacks while walking (a few smaller shops are available along the trail in some areas) tips, souvenirs, hot shower (available in some places).
Tips are appreciated by your support team after the trip. The amount depends on your budget and appreciation of their work. As a suggestion, we advise you to allocate 5 – 10% of the total tour cost as tips.

 

COMMUNICATION

While trekking in the remote parts, you may not have access to telephone facility for some days or weeks. However, en route there may be few places where telephone facilities may be available and likely to be working.
If it is crucial for you to keep in contact with your family or others, EXPLORE HIMALAYA can provide you a mobile satellite phone (rental charge on request).

 

FLIGHT AND LAND TRANSFERS

You can choose any mode of transport to commute from Kathmandu to Pokhara. From Kathmandu, you can take a 30 minutes’ scenic flight to Pokhara Or you can drive for 6/7 hours from Kathmandu along the Prithvi Highway to Pokhara. You will drive to Ghandruk from Pokhara which is the starting point of this Trek.

 

TREKKING GEARS & EQUIPMENT

You will need walking boots, sleeping bag (4 seasons/ -20C rated), waterproof jacket and trousers, fleece jacket, warm hat and gloves, sunglasses, water bottle, sun-screen and day pack.

 

GEARS AVAILABLE IN KATHMANDU

It’s not necessary to spend a lot of money buying extra equipment and clothing before your trip. Majority of these gears can be bought or hired at reasonable rates in Kathmandu. Explore Himalaya will thoroughly help you to buy or rent trekking gears in the outlets of Thamel, which sell or rent both international and local gears.

 

TYPICAL DAY ON TREK

Your typical day begins with a hot cup of tea brought to the tent at about 6 am, followed by a bowl of hot water for washing. After packing all your bags and having a good breakfast, we set off on the morning’s walk. All you need to carry is a small day pack containing water bottle, camera, sun cream, hat, rain jacket and a warm jumper, just in case. The porters will carry the rest of your gear for you. After walking for 3-4 hours, we stop for lunch at around midday. The afternoon’s walk is generally shorter and we arrive at camp in time for afternoon tea. The remainder of the afternoon can be spent exploring the nearby villages, doing a bit of washing or simply relaxing with a good book. On some days, we will arrive at camp by lunchtime and the entire afternoon will be free. Dinner is usually served between 6 and 7 pm. After dinner, the evening will often be spent playing cards and talking with the crew, or perhaps even joining in some singing and dancing, before heading off to the tent for a well-earned sleep.

 

MEETING AND GREETING IN KATHMANDU

You need to pass on your international flight details to us for a “meeting and greeting” service at airport. You just pass on the Customs and come out of the Terminal building where you will see someone standing with a placard with either ‘Explore Himalaya’ or your name written on it. Our airport representative or tour officer will greet you and welcome you with a garland.

 

CLIMATE AND BEST TIME TO GO

The best seasons for trekking in Nepal are Autumn (from mid-September till November end), and Spring (from the beginning of March until mid-May). Temperatures will drop considerably as you trek higher every day. The nights are cold (between -10 C to 5C) but the days are sunny and hot (between 10C to 20C). The mornings are usually clear, with clouds building up during the afternoon, disappearing at night. Trekking during the monsoon and winter is not recommended, as the visibility during monsoon is limited, upper parts and high passes could be covered with snow in winter.

March, April, October and November are the most favored months. Please choose the date that is convenient for you.

 

ITINERARY CHANGES

Depending on the prevailing situation, you can modify it to some extent after consulting with your guide. However, the date of trek completion should always coincide with the original itinerary. You should keep in mind that this is an adventure trip into the remotest region, where many unforeseen events may contribute to the need for a change in itinerary. Sometimes due to bad weather conditions, the flights may be cancelled. In such cases, we or your guide will suggest the best alternative depending on circumstances.

 

TREK DURATION

We ensure liability as per indicated itinerary and list of services. If the holiday is cut short or completed earlier than the projected period upon client’s wish, we shall not be responsible or make refund against unutilized days or services. Clients need to pay extra for Hotels/services incurred in Kathmandu or elsewhere in such cases.

 

VISA

All visitors except the Indian nationals must hold passport and valid visa. Visa can be obtained at the Nepalese diplomatic missions and consulates abroad. You can also get “On Arrival Visa” at entry points. For doing Annapurna Trek, you can come with a 30 days visa which costs US $ 50. You should have a passport size photo to get it at airport upon arrival. Some countries’ nationals need to get visa prior their arrival. Please check http://www.nepalimmigration.gov.np/page/tourist-visafor detailed information.

 

HEALTH ISSUES

As vaccination requirements change frequently, we suggest you consult your doctor at least 2 months prior to the beginning of your trip. We recommend protection against malaria, tetanus, typhoid, hepatitis and polio.

The main health consideration in high altitude is Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). You may experience some mild symptoms initially, such as headache, lethargy, nausea and difficulty sleeping, but these should lessen within a few days. To avoid Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), people take pills called ‘Diamox’. You can also use these pills after consulting with your doctor and purchase them in Kathmandu. For your safety, we also carry the ‘Portable Altitude Chamber’ or ‘Gamow Bag’. Our itinerary will allow your body to acclimatize properly and to handle the low oxygen rate. For your service, we carry a medical kit with standard prescribed medicines along with a users’ manual which you can use upon your own risk. We do not take any medical liability since our staffs are not qualified to prescribe medicines.
If you have ever suffered from altitude sickness, or have a heart or breathing complaint, we highly recommend you consult your doctor about your suitability for trekking in high altitude area before booking. We suggest that you take some pain-killing pills with you and enough medicine for cold, diarrhea, nausea and fever. Some nasal ointment and throat-moistening pills will greatly be of help for those who are sensitive to chilly or freezing weather conditions.

 

RESCUE / EVACUATIONS

In case of a serious sickness or a casualty, which we believe will not happen; we will do everything to transfer you to the nearest hospital. Since you are entirely liable for all the expenses incurred in evacuation, please make sure that it is covered by your insurance before assigning for it or be prepared to pay on your own after getting back to Kathmandu.

 

INSURANCE

Before joining a tour, we recommend you take a travel insurance which should cover cancellation, medical expenses, helicopter evacuation and emergency repatriation.

 

RESPONSIBLE TRAVEL

We are among the few companies in Nepal to receive Travelife Certificate Award https://www.travelife.info for our long-term efforts in sustainable practices.

1.Care for porters and staffs

We ensure that all the porters and other staffs going into high altitude conditions during treks are provided with adequate clothing and equipment. All our porters carry less than 30 kg and underage porters are strictly prohibited in our operations. We run the trek according to the guidelines of the International Porter Protection group (IPPG – www.ippg.net)

 

2. Environmental Responsibility

Wonderful environment of the Himalayas is also an extremely fragile one. Increasing population density and numbers of trekkers threaten the very beauty of Nepal. At Explore Himalaya, we are extremely conscious about the environment and aim to minimize our impact as much as possible. As deforestation is one of the greatest environmental threats, we do not have campfires and use LPG gas or kerosene for cooking as an alternative fuel to wood. We don’t use plastic bottles. We also discourage trekkers from using wood-fuelled hot showers in lodges along the way. Many lodges, however, now provide solar hot showers, a far eco-friendlier alternative.

Garbage disposal is another major problem and some of the busier trails can, at times, appear strewn with litter. Our staff members are well motivated towards eco-friendly practices. Our staff carry garbage bag with them all the time and collect our garbage and other litters they find on trail, and dispose them on the designated area. We also volunteer to bring garbage down to Lukla while returning back. Our aim is to help protect and preserve this beautiful environment for future generations of trekkers to enjoy.

 

3. Social Responsibility

Explore Himalaya works with the motto ‘Development through Tourism’. Keeping in line with this motto, Explore Himalaya Community Service Project (EHCSP) has been conceived to empower underprivileged, marginalized, poor and minority segments of Nepal. Since its inception, EHCSP has been incessantly facilitating and advocating for school education, health, community development, forest conservation, agro practices and culture preservation. A certain amount of your trip money goes to these projects. For more details on our CSR initiatives, please visit https://www.explorehimalaya.com/csr/

    The Trip Cost Includes
  • • Lodge trek with guide, accommodation & porters only (Standard rooms on twin sharing)
    • All meals during Annapurna trek only
    • English speaking local expert guide, porters (2 members= 1 porter: 15 kg only per member)
    • Annapurna Conservation Area Permit (ACAP)
    • Trekkers’ Information Management System fees (TIMS)
    • Transfer from Kathmandu to Pokhara by private vehicles
    • Domestic Airfare: Pokhara to Kathmandu
    • Trek transfers as per the itinerary
    • 3 nights hotel accommodations in Kathmandu on twin sharing with breakfast
    • 2 nights hotel accommodation in Pokhara on twin sharing with breakfast
    • Sightseeing tour in Kathmandu with English speaking local guide
    • Entrance fees to sightseeing monuments
    • Airport transfers and tour transfers in private vehicle
    • Insurance for all staff & porters
    • Equipment & clothing for all staff & porters
    • First aid kit bag (carried by guide)

    The Trip Cost Excludes
  • • Nepal visa fees
    • International flight and airport taxes
    • Lunch and dinner in Kathmandu and Pokhara
    • Personal expenses (like, communication, laundry, bar bills, internet, camera/mobile battery recharge, hot water/shower on trek, extra meals, snacks while walking etc.)
    • Personal gears & clothing
    • Tips for guide, porters, drivers, local staff etc.
    • Personal insurance and medical expenses
    • Any expenses incurred in emergency evacuation/rescue due to any unforeseen reasons
    • Any other services other than mentioned under “Price Includes”

try

Pay Now

BOOKING PROCEDURE

Your booking of this Khopra Danda trek will be confirmed by email once we receive your deposit of $500 and the signed copy of booking form and contract. The balance is due no later than two months prior to departure. If you book a tour less than 2 months prior to departure, you must send the full payment within 7 days of confirmation by us.

CANCELLATION POLICY

If you cancel your booking, the following scale of charges will apply: • 2 months before departure – Loss of deposit (US$ 500) • 29 days to 2 months before departure – 30% of total trip cost • 10 to 28 days before departure – 60% of total trip cost • Less than 10 days before departure – 100% of total trip cost

TRIP EXTENSIONS

In addition to your Annapurna Trek, we can organize extensions both within Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan etc. You may want to try water rafting or a jungle safari in Nepal or Nepal Cultural Tour. You may as well take a trip to Tibet or Bhutan, whichever seems more appealing to you.

DISCLAIMER

It is fundamental to acknowledge that Annapurna Trekking is an adventure tour. This requires some flexibility. The day to day itinerary is taken only as a guideline. We cannot be held responsible for any delays caused by International or domestic flights, strikes, Government regulations, weather or natural casualties etc. In such cases, Explore Himalaya shall provide suitable alternatives which will be decided upon mutual agreement. If you have any questions regarding Everest region, please feel free to contact us at enquiry@explorehimalaya.com or directly by phone: 977-1-4518100. We answer all enquiries within 24 hours.

ANNAPURNA REGION

Annapurna region lies in the western part of Nepal covering Gandaki and Dhaulagiri zones. Known around the world for its exemplary trekking trails, the region boasts of being the home to some of the highest peaks in the world including Annapurna, world’s deepest Valley Kali Gandaki river Valley, world’s highest navigable Pass Thorong-la, world’s highest freshwater lake Tilicho, diverse flora and fauna and the native homeland of world class Gurkha tribe the Gurungs and Magars. The region is regulated and managed by Annapurna Conservation Area Project, the first Conservation Area and the largest protected area of Nepal. The region’s biological diversity complimented by equally fascinating cultural diversity have made it a dream destination for trekking in Nepal.

ANNAPURNA CONSERVATION AREA PROJECT (ACAP)
ACAP was established in 1986 under the guidance of King Mahendra Trust for Nature Conservation. The project encompasses more than 7600 sq km. of the Annapurna range. As an innovative approach towards environmental protection, this area was declared a “conservation area” instead of a national park. In an effort to avoid any conflicts of interest, ACAP has sought the involvement of local people and has emphasized environmental education. ACAP projects include the training of lodge owners, with an emphasis on sanitation, deforestation and cultural pride. They have trained trekking lodge operators and encouraged hoteliers to charge a fair price for food and accommodation. ACAP encourages the use of kerosene/gas for cooking and made its use compulsory above Chhomrong in the Annapurna Sanctuary and on the route between Ghandruk and Ghorapani. ACAP is supported by ACAP entry fee collected from all trekkers who obtain permits for the Annapurna treks.

 

CLIMATE, FLORA & FAUNA

The climatic zone that you find during the Annapurna Trek varies from subtropical to alpine. The southern slopes of the area has the highest rainfall rate in the country- 3000mm per year, whereas the northern slopes lying in the rain shadow has the lowest rate – less than 300mm per year. The difference in the climatic conditions in this region is responsible for its varied flora and fauna.
The Annapurna region possesses a variety of flora and fauna. It stretches from the subtropical lowlands and the high temperate rhododendron forest in the south, to a dry alpine steppe environment in the North. The Southern lowlands are lush with subtropical forests consisting of chirpine and alder. In the Northern highlands temperate forests of oaks, rhododendron, fir, and blue pine are found. The wet regions yield a variety of bamboo species. The higher altitude further North give rise to forests of birch, blue pine and juniper trees, which are replaced by juniper and rhododendron in the far North. In the semi-desert rain shadow region, behind the Himalayas, bushes of caragana and juniper species are evident. It has several species of wildlife. There are around four hundred and seventy-four species of birds, and around a hundred species of mammals. The Annapurna region serves as an excellent habitat for rare and endangered mammals like the snow leopard, musk deer, blue sheep, red panda and many of Nepal’s brilliantly plumaged pheasants.

 

ANNAPURNA PEAKS

The Annapurna massif contains six major peaks over 7,200 m: Annapurna I (8091m), Annapurna II (7937m), Annapurna III (7555m), Annapurna IV (7525m), Gangapurna (7455m) and Annapurna South (7219m), all of which can be seen at close quarters during Annapurna Base Camp Trek. Annapurna I, standing at a height of 8,091 m, is the tenth highest summit in the world. It is located east of a great gorge cut through the Himalaya by the Kali Gandaki River, which separates it from the Dhaulagiri massif.
Annapurna was the first 8000m peak scaled by a climber. Till 1948, Nepal was closed to all foreigners. It was in the year 1949 that the kingdom opened its doors to mountaineers. In that year two foreign teams received permission to enter the country, one Swiss and another American. In 1950, a French mountaineering team led by Maurice Herzog succeeded in climbing Annapurna, an 8000m peak. They had no information about the peak they would climb. With little or no information, they decided to take on the Annapurna. On 3rd June, Maurice Herzog and Louis Lachenel reached the summit of Annapurna I, after climbing for eight hours. They had to suffer from severe frostbite which cost Maurice Herzog his toes and fingers. Herzog has written about the climb in his book The Conquest of Annapurna 1950.

Annapurna II, the eastern anchor of the range, was first climbed in 1960 by a British/Indian/Nepali team led by Jimmy Roberts, via the West Ridge, approached from the north. Annapurna III was first climbed in 1961 by an Indian expedition team led by Mohan Kohli. The summit party comprised Mohan Kohli, SonamGyatso, and SonamGirmi. They climbed from the Northeast Face.

Tharpu Chuli (Tent Peak), shaped like a tent, at 5663m is an ideal peak for a short expedition. Lying across the Annapurna glacier, the peak offers excellent views of its neighboring peaks from its summit.

Pisang Peak (6091m) forms part of ManangHimal. Towering above the Marshyangdi valley, this peak was first ascended by J.Wellenkamp, a German climber, in 1955.The start of the ascent to this peak starts at a village which shares its name: Pisang.

Machhapuchhre (6997m) lies in the center of the Annapurna Himal. Machhapuchhrepossesses the rare beauty that makes it one of the world’s most photographed peaks. In 1957 Wilfred Noyce and David Cox climbed Machhapuchhre (6997m) up to about 6947m, within 50m of its summit. After this attempt, the government prohibited further climbing the mountain on the ground of it being sacred to locals. So, technically Machhapuchhre is unclimbed.

Poon Hill (3193m) is the westernmost crest of a spur that juts into the Kali Gandaki. The hill is named after the Magars called Poon, who lives in that area. To watch the sunrise over the Dhaulagiri and Annapurna Himal from this hill is an experience of a lifetime.

 

PLACES

Pokhara (827m)
Pokhara is the main town in central Nepal. It is the starting point of most of the major treks in the Annapurna region. Situated at an altitude of 827m, it is warmer and more humid than Kathmandu. This town is known for its picturesque spots like Phewa Tal (lake), which reflects one of the most unforgettable images of Mt. Machhapuchhre and the Annapurna Himal. Pokhara is one of the major travel destinations in Nepal.

Muktinath (3710m)
Muktinath, a sacred place both for Hindus as well as Buddhists, is located at an altitude of 3710 m at the foot of the ThorongLa  pass in Mustang district. The Hindus call the place MuktiKshetra, which means the “the region of salvation, while the Buddhists call it Chumig Gyatsa, Tibetan word for ‘Hundred Waters’. For Tibetan Buddhists Chumig Gyatsa is a place of Dakinis, goddesses known as Sky Dancers. Jwala Mai Temple, Vishnu Temple, Marme Lhakhang and Gompa Sarwa are some of the religious shrines to visit. The springs from the Gandaki River spurts out of the 108 waterspouts near the Vishnu temple, from where the Hindu pilgrims take ritual bathe. One special thing that is unique to this place is the Saligrams (Ammonite fossils). These are black stones that when broken open, reveal the fossilized remains of prehistoric ammonites formed about 130 million years ago. The old specks that appear on many saligrams are pyrite (fool’s gold). Hindus believe that the saligrams represent Lord Vishnu.

Jomsom (2713m) 
Jomsom serves as the centre for Mustang valley. It lies on the banks of the Kali Gandaki River. There is an airstrip with scheduled service to Kathmandu. The increase in the frequency of flights has brought more tourists to this area. Jomsom has a bank, post office, telecom office, a hospital and numerous hotels and lodges. The place is a popular stopover during Annapurna Circuit Trek.

Manang (3520m)
The Manang area was opened to outsiders in late 70s only. The dry and arid region of Manang called Nyeshang lies at an altitude of 3520m. There is an abundance of large chortens and maniwalls .The people of Nyeshang were granted special trading privileges by the King of Nepal hundred years ago. The businessmen from these parts are reputed to be both keen and astute. The tall peaks of the Himalaya – Annapurna II, Annapurna III, Annapurna IV, Gangapurna (7455m) and Tilicho Peak (7134m) are visible from this place. There is also a Himalayan Rescue Association (HRA) aid post in the village which makes an interesting and educational visit. This place falls in Annapurna Circuit Trek.    

  
Kagbeni (2810m)
Kagbeni is the northernmost village in this region that foreigners may visit on a normal trekking permit. The police check post at the northern end of the village fastidiously prevents tourists from proceeding towards Lo-Manthang, the walled city of Mustang without proper documentation. A green oasis at the junction of Jhong Khola and Kali Gandaki river, Kagbeni looks like a town out of the medieval past, with closely packed mud houses, dark tunnels and alleyways, imposing chortens and a large, ochre-colored gompa perched above the town.

Chomrong (2100m)
This is the highest permanent settlement in the valley. Chomrong is divided into New Chomrong and Old Chomrong. New Chomrong at 2040m is the upper part. It has resort hotels, a school and a helicopter pad. Old Chomrong at 2060m is the main part of the village with shops offices and lodges. There is a tremendous view of Annapurna South, which seems to tower above the village. There are good views of Machhapuchhare, the fish tail mountain across the valley. Beyond Chomrong, camping is limited to certain ACAP- designated camp sites and hotel construction is strictly prohibited.

Ghandruk (1940m) 
Ghandruk, a popular Gurung village that falls in Annapurna Base Camp trail, is a cluster of slate-roofed houses. It is the second largest Gurung settlement in Nepal after Siklis. Its actual Gurung name is Kond. Surrounded by neatly terraced fields, the village has electricity and an extensive water supply.  There are many hotels and lodges to cater to numerous trekkers and tourists that pass that way. The headquarter of the Annapurna Conservation Area Project is located here. Over here one gets to witness the unique culture, tradition and custom of the Gurung community. Ghandruk offers excellent views of Annapurna South, Gangapurna, Annapurna III and Machhapuchhre.

 

PEOPLE 

The Gurungs form the largest group in the Annapurna region. They come from Tibeto Burmese stock. Although essentially Animist and Buddhist, some lowland Gurungs have converted to Hinduism. They inhabit the higher northern slopes of the Annapurna, LamjungChuli and hills around Ganesh Himal. A large number of Gurung men serve in the British and Indian armies.
The immediate vicinity of Pokhara is largely populated by Chettris and Bahuns (Brahmins). They also live around the historic site of the old Gorkha kingdom. The Magars inhabit the lower trail between Baglung and Dana. They live high on the steep ridges along the tributaries of Kali Gandaki.

Another ethnic group of this region is the Thakalis. Known throughout the country as accomplished hoteliers and skilled traders, they are noted for their aggressive trading spirit. They make up one of the few richer groups of people in Nepal. The Jomsom trek passes through ThakKhola, the Thakali homeland.

In the valley of the Muktinath live the Baragaun Bhotiya. Their lifestyle is similar to that of the Tibetans. Another group of people who share a close affinity to the Tibetans are the Lopa people of Mustang, north of Kagbeni. Some of them practice the ancient pre-Buddhist religion of Bon which is infused with animistic and shamanic belief and ritual. The people living in the upper Marshyandi valley are generally known as Mananges. In the Nyeshang area, under which fall the villages of Manang, Braga and Ngawal, people are of Tibetan origin. But their language Nyeshang is not a Tibetan dialect. This area is popularly known by the name of its largest village Manang.

FESTIVALS

Lhosar

Lhosar” means New Year. Known as the festival of mountain people or highlanders, it is celebrated by various ethnic groups following Buddhism like Sherpa, Hyolmo, Tamang and Gurung. Interestingly, these groups don’t celebrate the festival on the same day. There are three types of Lhosars namely Tamu Lhosar (Gurungs), Sonam Lhosar (Tamangs) and Gyalbu Lhosar (Sherpas and Hyolmos) celebrated on different dates based on lunar calendar starting from January to February. During the festival people offer prayers for good health and prosperity at homes and monasteries. They exchange various goods and gifts, organize feasts and perform dances.

 

Tiji Festival

Tiji Festival is celebrated in Lo Manthang, the capital of Upper Mustang. It’s a three-day festival observed annually at the onset of Spring season. As Spring season symbolizes regeneration of life, this festival is also about hope, revival and affirmation of life. The festival features a three-day ritual known as ‘chasing of demons’. Monks donning masks and colorful costumes enact the story of Dorje Jono who fought against his demon father to save the Kingdom of Mustang from falling apart.

 

Yarlung Festival

The Yarlung Festival which literally means “End of Summer” is a three day festival celebrated all over Mustang. It normally falls during August full moon day every year. It is a three day celebration and is celebrated with horse races, drinking and dancing by local Thakali people. As the festival is celebrated at the end of summer marking the culmination of harvesting season, it is all about merry making and showing appreciation to the good lives the summer has offered. People also make offerings to Gods and receive the blessings from the seniors.

 

Dashain

Dashain is Nepal’s biggest festival, and people especially Hindus living in lower region of Annapurna also celebrate this festival. It is celebrated for fifteen days starting from the new moon of the Nepali month of Asoj (October/November). This festival marks the victory of goddess Durga over the demon king Mahisasur, or the victory of good over evil. People visit temples dedicated to goddess Durga. Children fly kites and play on swings supported by long bamboo poles throughout the festival. Tenth day, called as Vijaya Dashami, is the most important day of the festival. On this day people visit elders to receive blessings and tika (rice mixed with red vermilion put on the forehead). The barley sprouts (jamara) that were planted on Ghatasthapana are picked and worn in the hair.

 

Tihar

Tihar, the second biggest festival, lasts for five days. As with the rest of the country people especially Hindus, people living in lower region of Annapurna also celebrate this festival. The five-day festivities mark the worshipping of Goddess Laxmi and different birds and animals like crow, dog, cow and ox. The third day is called Laxmi Puja or Deepawali on which people decorate their houses with lights and flower. On fifth day called as Bhai Tika, sisters worship brothers and exchange gifts. In short, celebration among families, relations and friends. Pujas (worship), lights, colors, flowers, new clothes, feasts and merriment, all these make up the joyous festival of Tihar.

TALK WITH EXPERT

Anuj Pandey

+977 9801024990

sales@explorehimalaya.com

Partners.

Member Of.

Handling Events.

Audited By.