Annapurna region practically dominates the trekking destination in Nepal. And why it won’t? – when it has a diverse array of trekking trails that offers good scenery of stunning range of the high Himalayas and lowland villages and valleys.
Forget what trekkers have to say on this, even the survey conducted by Modern Maturity (USA) has recognized Annapurna trek as one of the best trekking trails in the world. Also as the name suggests, the trail homes the tenth tallest mountain in the world Annapurna I at 8,091 meters in the center. Adding more surprise, you can also witness another tallest mountain above 8,000 meters, Dhaulagiri which is located in west of Annapurna I.
In between these two giant peaks lies Kali Gandaki River forming the deepest gorge in the world. Verdant and undisturbed natural forest, lush, fertile farmland, snow-capped mountains and quaint settlement of diverse ethnic groups adds exciting experience making it one of the most deserving and satisfying trekking destinations in Nepal.
Keeping aside the fact that Annapurna trek is exceptionally beautiful, it is also one of the fascinating lands of biodiversity in the world. Annapurna Conservation Area covering 7.629 km2 is the largest protected area of Nepal Himalayas. Established with an objective of achieving a balance between environmental conservation and social, economic development through local community participation, Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) is the most successful sustainability project of Nepal.
Annapurna region welcomes a large number of visitors from around the around, who travel all the way to admire the remarkable beauty of this place. However, the environment is already fragile and under pressure due to overpopulation and tourism has added more cause on it. ACAP serves as a new approach in the protected area management with its modalities based on integrated conservation and development programs. The project became an exemplary project in Nepal, and several other project has been launched on ACAP modality.
The incredibly diverse flora and fauna, the scenic grandeur in combination with multicultural and multi-ethnic diversity along with amazing participation of locals for a greater cause make Annapurna trek one true accomplishment.
Annapurna trek destinations
Although the Annapurna region is spread in a vast area offering several beautiful trekking destinations, however, there are three which tops them all. They are only popular in Annapurna but whole of Nepal as well. Here are the three Annapurna trekking destination which is most visited and most wonderful.
Annapurna Circuit Trek
Annapurna Circuit trek takes you along the incredible range of the Himalayas filled with pristine natural beauty along with a wide variety of culture and religious diversity.
Annapurna Circuit is a favorite trekking route of Nepal, and it has been often voted as one of the best long, long-distance treks in the world. The trek offers exotic experience as it combined with its old form has a wide variety of climatic zones from tropics to 600 meters to the artic of 5,416 meters at Thorong La pass, the highest point of the whole circuit.
The cultural experience in Manang Valley and lower Mustang exhibits Tibetan Buddhism practice. You will find several villages from Hindu to Buddhists in lower foothills region. With the construction of roads, the face of villages has changed, and some trails have been shortened. But, it has enabled mountain biking, and especially in the Mustang region, the popularity has really heightened.
Annapurna Circuit trek consists of a very moderate level of difficulty and one of the longest trekking route in Annapurna region. So, for beginners who are trekking for first time without any training and preparation, you will have to put on a bit more endeavor. However, the underlying beauty en route will boost your energy to continue the trek.
Annapurna Base Camp Trek
Annapurna Base Camp is one of the most popular and loved trekking destinations for national as well as international travelers. The camp is located along the foothills of the great Himalayan range, Annapurna massif, that lies in the northern part of Nepal.
The base camp trek is a once in a lifetime journey to the base of Annapurna I at 8,091 meters which is the tenth tallest mountain in the world. Now, although you won’t scale the towering peak of Annapurna, you will certainly get the feel of exhilaration at the base camp which is at 4,130 meters elevation. It is an exceptional trekking journey into the dazzling natural amphitheater formed by the glorious peaks of Annapurna massif. The whole trail of Annapurna base camp is encircled by peaks like Machhapuchhre, Gangapurna, Annapurna I, Annapurna South and many others.
The trek is a wholesome natural tour with snow-capped mountains and verdant green forest. Also, the trail has many traditional settlements inhabited by various indigenous groups depicting traditional lifestyle, culture, and custom. Gurung, Magar, and Thakali are the main ethnic clans of this region, whose hospitality and manners for guest is heartwarming.
Ghorepani, a typical Nepal village is one of the most loved destinations on this trek. A litter further from Ghorepani lies Poon Hill from where you can witness the breathtaking view of sunrise and sunset. The whole atmosphere and scenery of this trek will give you an unforgettable memory for life.
Another best part is of the trek is, you will get a chance to observe some of the endangered species of flora and fauna. Snow leopards, tigers, and Himalayan there are some wildlife found in the Annapurna region, so if you are lucky, you will notice on the way.
While in Annapurna Base Camp trek, you won’t have to worry about altitude sickness or trekking skills. However good health and prior exercise will help, but unlike other trek, it has no such difficulty and isn’t very demanding too.
Jomsom Muktinath Trek
Jomsom Muktinath trek is another remarkable route of Annapurna trek. In this trek, we will trek in the beautiful Annapurna region gradually entering to the Mustang. Quaint settlement, verdant forest, heartwarming people and their warm hospitality, cascading waterfall and almost barren leeward side of the Himalayas will keep the charm and entice us throughout our journey.
One of the major highlights of the trek is the Kali Gandaki gorge, the deepest gorge, in the world at 7,337 meters lower than Annapurna I, which originates in Tibetan plateau and eventually flows into Ganga river in India.
Jomsom is an exquisite village in Nepal from both natural and cultural point of view. There are deep valleys and high mountain peaks that encircling the giant Annapurna massif embraces a wide range of people and terrain, from subtropical jungle to a high, dry landscape resembling the Tibetan Plateau.
The settlements around the area are very intriguing too. The whole layout and design of houses are very unique which are built to protect the inhabitants from the strong winds that blow up the valley every day from late morning onwards. You might want to be careful scheduling the flight to Jomsom, as the wind prevent flights from taking off from Jomsom after 11 am, so plan cautiously in advance.
While Muktinath is a sacred pilgrimage site for both Hindu and Buddhists, there are various legends surrounding the area on how Muktinath temple was established as per Hindu mythology. On Buddhist belief, Padmasambhava, the founder of Tibetan Buddhist mediated at Muktinath on his way to Tibet. The 108 bulls face in the outer courtyard of Muktinath is believed to be holy water which has healing power.
In overall, Jomsom Muktinath trek is a sacred and serene journey in some of the most exotic places in Nepal.