The Annapurna Sanctuary is a high glacial basin lying 40 km directly north of Pokhara. This oval-shaped plateau sits at an altitude of over 4000 metres, and is surrounded by a ring of mountains, the Annapurna range, most of which are over 7000 metres. With the only entrance a narrow valley between the peaks of Hiunchuli and Machapuchare, where run-off from glaciers drain into Modi Khola River, the Sanctuary was not penetrated by outsiders until 1956. Because of high mountains on all sides, the Annapurna Sanctuary receives only 7 hours of sunlight a day at the height of summer. The unique combination of heights and depths on the 5-7 day trek into the Annapurna Sanctuary give rise to an extraordinary variety of ecosystems. The south-facing slopes are covered in dense tropical jungles of rhododendron and bamboo, while the north-facing slopes, in the rain shadow, have a drier colder climate similar to that of the near-by Tibetan Plateau.
The entire sanctuary was held as sacred to the Gurung people, one of the many native people to inhabit the area. They believed it was the repository of gold and various treasures left by the Nāgas, the serpent-gods known in India. The sanctuary was believed to be the home of several deities, from Hinduism and Buddhism as well as older animistic gods. The peak of Machapuchare at the entrance was believed to be the home of the god Shiva, and the daily plumes of snow were thought the smoke of his divine incense. Until recently, the local Gurung people forbade anyone from bringing eggs or meat into the Annapurna Sanctuary, and women and untouchables were prohibited from going there as well.
The south face of Annapurna from the trekker’s lodgings in the Annapurna Sanctuary.
In recent years, the number of trekkers to the Sanctuary has increased substantially, in part because the Sanctuary forms the base of one of the major routes to the peaks of the Annapurna range. The Annapurna Sanctuary is now part of the Annapurna Conservation Area Project, which places restrictions on number of outside travelers, gathering of firewood, and domestic animal grazing.
Day 01: Arrival at Kathmandu Airport
Day 02: Full Day Sightseeing at Kathmandu
Day 03: Drive to Pokhara from Kathmandu
Day 04: Drive to Nayapool and trek to Ghandrung (1950 M)
Day 05: Trek to Chommorong (2170 M)
Day 06: Trek to Himalayan Hotel (2920 M)
Day 07: Trek to Machapucchre Base Camp (3700 M)
Day 08: Trek to Annapurna Base Camp (4130 M)
Day 09: Trek to Doban (2600 M)
Day 10: Trek to Chommorong (2170 M)
Day 11: Trek to Landrung (2590 M)
Day 12: Trek to Dhampus (2860 M)
Day 13:Trek to Phedi and drive to Pokhara
Day 14: Drive back to Kathmandu from Pokhara
Day 15:Final Departure
***End of Arrangements***
Day 01: ARRIVAL AT KATHMANDU AIRPORT
If time permits, visit Swayambhunath.
Day 02: FULL DAY SIGHTSEEING AT KATHMANDU
Visit Bhaktapur, Pashupatinath and Boudhhanath. Lunch at Bhaktapur.
Day 03: DRIVE TO POKHARA FROM KATHMANDU
Evening: Boating at Phewa Lake.
Day 04: DRIVE POKHARA TO NAYAPUL & TREK TO GHANDRUNG (1950 M)
After a early breakfast meet the Trek Guide at the hotel lobby and walk up to the bus and drive from Pokhara to Nayapul (1 ½ hour drive). Upon arrival, meet rest of the team and make a final adjustment before we commence the trek. The trek immediately begins with a downhill walk and passes through the small yet bustling town of Nayapool, from midway take left side ill defined trail which drops to a steel bridge, cross the river over it and then climb up to the main village located on the other side of the valley. Follow the trail along the Modi River for about 20 minutes to arrive at the settlement of Birethanti. There are plenty of local shops that cater the nearby locals as well as the trekkers. There is also a TIMS (Trekkers Information Management System) check post were our documents will be checked prior to the start of the trek, after the formalities we continue our adventure. From the check post, we arrive at newly constructed steel and concrete bridge, through on cobbled stones and then after crossing the bridge, there is a check post where the National Park entry permit must be purchased prior to starting the trek.
After completing the formalities, take the right hand trail it will take about 2 ½ to 3 hrs to reach Sauli Bazaar depending upon how we walk, though the first half of the trek is on semi flat and through field (of paddy in summer and mustard in winter) to arrive at Chimrong village after about one hour. Walk further through more terraced fields and bamboo groves on a gradual trail along hillside and through scattered settlements and small shops along the trail till we arrive at a trail junction, the upper trail (left hand side) is a newly constructed road for the vehicle and can be disturbing , instead we take the old trekking trail and take the trail leading into the forest and follow the trail along the hillside and after about 20 minutes to arrive at the settlement of Shauli Bazaar, which is located along the banks of the Modi River. We stop here as this is a convenient place for a hot lunch
After lunch and some rest, the trail continues to climb steadily for about 2 to 2 ½ hours through the scattered villages and terraced farm land, though we will be trekking in the old trail but sadly we have to cross the newly constructed road in between till the village of Kimchi. From this point, we leave behind the motorable road and continue on a trekking trail until we arrive at a gate with a signboard saying “Welcome to Ghandrung”. However, there is a steep climb for another 20/ 25 minutes to arrive at the main village of Ghandrung.
Ghandrung is one of the largest Gurung villages in Annapurna region in Nepal where the sons and male member of the local community have sacrificed their lives to serve for the Gorkha Armies and security Forces around the world. The brave and chivalrous Gorkhas have earned themselves the reputation as the most loyal and indomitable soldiers in the world! The afternoon is free for rest or optional activities such as a visit to the Annapurna Conservation Museum and a tea break at the home of a renowned Gorkha soldier who may show you his Victoria Cross won during the first or Second World War. In the evening the local Gurung women folk will join the campers for a village get together to show their talents in singing and dancing. Guests are welcome to join in. A contribution to the dancing group may be necessary.
Overnight at the lodge in Ghandrung
(Trek Duration: 5 ½ – 6 Hrs)
DAY 05: TREK FROM GHANDRUNG TO CHOMMORONG (2170 M)
annapurnabasecamp-2After a wake up to a marvelous sunrise (weather permitting) and a hearty breakfast, the trek starts with a pleasant morning walk through the main village square and follow the gradual undulating trail for an hour and a half to reach a small settlement at the ridge in KimrongDanda (Hill), at 2260 meters, where we make a brief stop for a tea and to enjoy the views of the surrounding mountains. After a cup of tea, the trail immediately descents through the mixed forest until we reach the bottom of the valley, cross the Kyumun River on a log bridge; across the river is a lonely lodge separate from the main village by the flights of stone steps, where we stop for a early lunch.
After lunch and some rest, the trail immediately starts with a steep ascent for about an hour and a half through the main village and the terraced farm land on a narrow winding trail, we continue to ascend until we meet the trail junction in the middle of the forest, we take the right side and continue further to reach the huge landslide area, and a tiny tea shop at the top of the ridge from here the trail descends through the mixed forest and somewhat levels further down and continue to walk on a gradual trail through the scattered settlements, un till we finally arrive at Chommorong. Chommorong at an elevation of 2170 meters is the gateway to the Annapurna Sanctuary
Chommorong also located on a ridge is the window to the wide expansive view of the Annapurna Range of mountains and valleys towards the Annapurna Sanctuary area. The views of the Annapurna Range are closest
Dinner and Overnight at the Lodge in Chommorong
(Trek Duration: 5 ½ – 6 Hour)
DAY 06:TREK FROM CHOMMORONG TO HIMALAYAN HOTEL (2840 M)
Go down until the suspension bridge which crosses the Chommorong Khola and then climb up the opposite side for about 30 minutes till you reach the hamlet of Tilche carry on for another forty five minutes until you reach Sinuwa (about 2400m) where you will find at least two lodge-restaurants. Here the path leaves cultivated fields to enter the beautiful tropical forest. You can follow the ridge of the hill, about 2500 meters high, but unfortunately the mountain is drained by several small streams and the trekkers are forced to take several ascents and descents. It takes about an hour to reach the locality of Khuldi Ghar (2,477m) where there used to be a check post, but presently abandoned.
After the check post the path suddenly descends until it reaches the hamlet of Bamboo (2300m) with four or five lodges and is a good place to make a lunch break.
After lunch and some rest, we reassume our trek towards Himalayan Hotel, the trail starts with a gentle ascend and becomes a little sever as you gain the elevation through the mixed forest, bamboo groves, and small brooks. As the name suggest, Bamboo marks the beginning of the huge bamboo forest which leads, after about an hour of walking, to Tiptop lodge (2571m). There are two lodges here competing with the lodges established at Doban (2606m). Soon after Doban you will enter the sacred forest of JodeYehm, where near the waterfall on the east bank of ModiKhola, you will see an alter surrounded by thousands of white banners suspended from the trees. A sign indicates the name of the place and reminds the travelers not to lean over. One assumes it is better not to disturb the Gods. From Doban, we once again enter the rich mossy forest of rhododendron and continue to ascend through the forest till we finally arrive at Himalayan Hotel, at an elevation of 2873 meters. Evening at leisure or free to explore the vicinity
Dinner and overnight at the Lodge
(Trek duration 5 ½ to 6 hrs)
DAY 07: TREK FROM HIMALAYAN HOTELTO MACHAPUCCHRE BASE CAMP (3700 M)
The trek continues through the middle of the forest on a rocky trail, following the flow of the rivers, until the last stretch where a steep path leads to Hinku Cave (3139m) Hinku cave, noticeable by a huge overhanging rock that provides some shelter and protection against rain and avalanches. From here it will take about forty five minutes to reach Deorali.
The trail crosses a ravine and a major avalanche track just beyond this point continue to climbs through huge boulders to arrive Deorali at 3140 meters, past the settlement at Deorali, the valley slowly widens and the trail becomes less sever. The trails from here often changes due to natural calamities like landslide, avalanche, monsoon flood etc, so sometime the trail have to be improvised. Depending upon the situation we will use the combination of both trails.As the trail continues into the sanctuary, it crosses some major avalanche prone zone area on a narrow trail that huddles up against the cliffs which is the normal trail following the west side of the valley, but to avoid the risk we take the right side trail, cross the river in a metal bridge and walk on the eastern bank of the ModiKhola and again re across the river further up on a metal bridge just before Bagar and continue to climb on a rocky trail to arrive at the cluster of lodges at 3700 meters known as the Machapucchre Base Camp.
On arrival at M.B.C. we check into one of the Lodge, as the lunch gets prepared one can enjoy the mountain views from the lodge as the surrounding mountain can be seen at a very close proximity. The panorama includes Annapurna South (7219 meters), Hiunchuli (6441meters), and Annapurna I (8091meters), Annapurna III (7555 meters), Gangapurna (7454 meters), and Machapucchre (6997 meters). After lunch free to explore the area
Dinner and overnight at the Lodge
(Trek duration 3 ½ to 4 hrs)
DAY 08: TREK FROM MACHAPUCCHRE BASE CAMP TO ANNAPURNA BASE CAMP (4130 M)
To enjoy the magnificent sunrise over the Sanctuary one has to go to the Annapurna Base Camp (ABC) which is only two hours away. Except for a few hills, the route is gradual and therefore quite easy. Also, the spectacular views of Annapurna south in the forefront are so satisfying that one easily forgets the exhaustion. At the end of the route (4130 m), there are about five or six lodges. A little further, the path leads to a small hill which is the best point to admire the entire panorama of the Sanctuary.
Dinner and overnight at the lodge
(Trek duration 2 – 2 ½ hrs)
DAY 09: TREK FROM A.B.C. TO DOBAN (2510 M)
Early morning wake up to view the mesmerizing sunrise over the Annapurna Himalayas and do some exploration. After breakfast we back track to Doban, roughly about 1590 meters descent through the same trail. It is much faster and easier going downhill. It takes roughly about three to four hours of leisurely walk through the tiny settlements and forest, until we arrive at Doban. On arrival we check into the lodge, as the lunch get prepared you can take a shower or relax.
Dinner and overnight at the Lodge
(Trek duration 3 ½ to 4 hrs)
DAY 10:BACKTRACK TO CHOMMORONG (2170 M)
After a leisurely breakfast, track back to Chommorong
Dinner and overnight at the Lodge
(Trek duration 4 ½ to 5 hrs)
DAY 11:TREK FROM CHOMMORONG TO LANDRUNG (1640 M)
After breakfast, we get ready for the days adventure. The trek begins from the lodge begins with a descent on a cobbled stone steps to a trail juncture about 70 meters away from the lodge. From here we take the left hand side and continue to descent on stone steps through the terraced farm fields and scattered settlements, it takes roughly about forty five minutes to reach JinuDanda. JhinuDanda has a few comfortable looking lodges and many Tibetan traders selling trinkets to trekkers.
JinuDanda is fast becoming popular for its close proximity to Hot spring, but again it takes another 20 minutes walk from the ridge to the hot spring but then it is worth getting a dip in one of the pools to relax your aching muscles. In order to keep the pool in condition the care taker and the management committee charge you a legitimate amount of donation, as these hot springs are washed away by the Modi river during monsoon. After enjoying the soothing dip in the hot spring, walk back to JinuHill and shortly we reassume our trek to Landrung. The trail continues to descend through the flight of stone steps, till we reach the Kimrong river cross the river on a wooden bridge, and then ascend on a stone steps to reach the trail level at the other side of the valley, it becomes gradual for a while and then again descend through the forest to arrive at a village at new bridge. We stop here for the hot lunch.
After lunch and some rest we continue our journey, past the tiny hamlet and again cross the Modi River on a suspension bridge. Walk on the west bank of Modi River to arrive at Himalpani, there are only two lonely lodges in the middle of nowhere past the lodges and continue on the west bank for a while and then ascend on the approach to Landrung through the terraced farm land and occasionally cross small rivers on old wooden bridges and continue further for another 30 minutes to arrive at the village of Landrung.
Landrung at an elevation of 1640 meters is a small Gurung village. On arrival at Landrung we check into one of the lodge for the night.
Dinner and overnight at the lodge in Landrung
(Trek duration: 5 -5 ½ hrs)
DAY 12:TREK FROM LANDRUNG TO DHAMPUS (1650 M)
After breakfast, the trek begins with a traverse but undulate through the village with short steep climbs in between to reach Tolka village which boasts few good looking restaurants, lodges and a primary school. From here the trail slowly ascends through sub tropical forest, mountain streams and through scattered settlements to arrive at BhichokDeuarli at 2149, the trail continues to ascend steeply on a cobbled stone stairs and through the forest till we finally arrive at Deurali at 2100 meters another small hamlet with few lodges and restaurants, here we stop for a tea break.
After a short break we continue our trek, since we left behind the entire climb, now from this vantage point the trail slowly descend and continues to descend all the way through the damp rhododendron forest till we arrive at Pothana at an elevation of (1990 meters) a small village with a few lodges where we stop for hot lunch.
After lunch and some rest we continue our journey. Here at Pothana, we do the usual check out formality at the ACAP check post and then continue our trek. The trail immediately descends through a damp rhododendron forest and follows a trail paved with stone. For about an hour we trek through the forest and streams till we get a glimpse of Dhampus village from the ACAP check post, here we do the final check out from the Annapurna Sanctuary at the entrance of Dhampus village. Upon arrival at Dhampus we check in to the lodge. Rest of the day is free to relax.
Dhampus at an elevation of 1650 meters is another beautiful Gurung village which boasts a spectacular panoramic view of the Western Himalayas.
Dinner and overnight at the hotel
(Trek duration: 5 -5 ½ hrs)
DAY 13: TREK FROM DHAMPUS TO PHEDI AND DRIVE TO POKHARA (827 M)
After a leisurely breakfast, we get ready for the last day of the trek. The trek begins from the lodge first with a gentle descent through the cobbled stone alleys and a row of way side lodges to the southern end of the village. From here we take the right side trail and enter the forest the trail begins with a stone steps and gets steeper as we continues, then it slowly eases for sometime as you approach the village but then it only last for some time the descent continues all the way to our last stop at Phedi where we meet the main Baglung highway. Upon arrival at Phedi, board the waiting vehicle and drive towards the project site.
Dinner and overnight at the hotel
(Trek duration: 2 -2 ½ hrs) (Drive duration: 45 Minutes)
DAY 14: DRIVE BACK TO KATHMANDU FROM POKHARA
Half Day Sightseeing at Pokhara (Davis Fall and Gupteshwor cave).
Drive back to Kathmandu from Pokhara.
DAY 15: FINAL DEPARTURE
Transfer to Tribhuwan International Airport to board onward flight.
*** End of Arrangement ***
Best Period: Feb, Mar, April, May – Oct,
Trek Period:09 Nights / 10 Days
Trek Type: Strenuous
Highest Altitude: 4130 m
Warning: Altitude Sickness.
Trek Start Point: Nayapul
Trek End Point: Phedi
National Park: Annapurna National Park (1148 sq. kms)
Mountains: Annapurna I (8091 m), Annapurna II (7937 m), Annapurna South (7220 m), Machapucchre (6993 m), Fishtail, Dhaulagiri (8167 m) etc.
Rivers: Modi, Burgundi, Kimrong etc.
Tribes: Brahmins, Chettris, Newars, Gurungs, Magars, Thakalis, Manangis and the Tibetans
Forests: Of Rhododendron and Pine.
Landscapes: Varying from temperate valleys to snow clad mountains.