Annapurna Region Trekking Information:
The Name “Annapurna” came after the Mount. Annapurna, which is the 10th highest mountain in the world. Annapurna is a series of peaks in the Himalaya, a 55-km-long Massif whose highest point, Annapurna I, stands at 8,091 m (26,538 ft). It is located east of a great gorge cut through the Himalaya by the most famous river, Kali Gandaki and which separates it from the Mount Dhaulagiri. Annapurna is a Sanskrit name which is translated as Goddess of the Harvests. In Hinduism, Annapurna is a goddess of fertility and agriculture. The Region, Annapurna is surrounded by many Himalayan ranges which include the Annapurna range, Dhaulagiri and Machhapuchhre – the famous fish-tail mountain that dominates the skyline above Pokhara. In addition this area possess the Kali Gandaki, the world’s deepest gorge
The Region Annapurna is famous for its trekking. In this region there are three major trekking routes, Jomsom Muktinath, Annapurna Sanctuary which is also called Annapurna Base Camp and Annapurna Circuit. About two-thirds of the trekkers in Nepal visit the Annapurna region. The area is easily accessible, hotels in the hills are plentiful, and treks here offer good scenery of both high mountains and lowland villages. In this Region there is one project known as ACAP (Annapurna conservation Area Project) ACAP was established in 1986 under the guidance of the King Mahendra Trust for Nature Conservation. The project covers the whole Annapurna range, more than 7600 sq km. In an inventive advance to environmental protection, it was declared a “conservation area” instead of a national park. A large number of people live within the protected region.
Annapurna Conservation Area offers varieties of flora and fauna form sub tropical to pine and you will grace by the heart touching blossoming rhododendron on your way. This region is also the home to copious wildlife like pika, blue sheep, snow leopards, tigers and Himalayan thar. Multiplicity of birds including multi –colored Impheyan, koklas and blood pheasants, offer you their natural beauty. In this region you will encounter with the Gurungs and Thakali people whose unique culture and religion makes you surprise. You will experience how friendly and open hearted these people are, and you can get a taste of their lifestyle by staying in their house and knowing their way of living and their culture and tradition.
Most of the trekking routes in the Annapurna region are well serviced by teahouses for most of their length. This is particularly true for most popular treks-the Jomsom trek, the Annapurna circuit and Annapurna base camp treks.
Trekkers should be aware, however that there is always the risk of being stranded by bad weather or injury/sickness between teahouses, particularly in the more remote parts of the trek itineraries. a good example is on the Annapurna circuit where there is one very long day when the high pass of Thorong La has to be crossed. There is little or no shelter available for most of this day and some trekkers have been caught unprepared by bad weather and altitude problems.
The treks in less developed areas, particularly the Dhaulagiri circuit and the trek east of Lamjung, definitely require trekkers to be self sufficient in food and shelter.
<strong>People and Culture</strong>
The most prominent ethnic groups in the Annapurna region are the Gurung, the Thakali and the Manangba. The Gurungs are the most widely distributed being found from the hills of Gorkha district to as far west as Palpa. There heartland, however, is centered on the hills and valleys between the Marsyandi river and the kali Gandaki. The Thakali come from the upper kali Gandaki valley around Jomsom where their traditional farming has being supplemented by trade and, in particular, hotel and restaurant businesses. The Manangba are found in the upper reaches of the Marsyandi River and are in many ways similar to the Gurungs to whom they are possibly related. They are skilled traders and trace their roots back to Tibet. Religiously, the Manangba and the Gurungs of the upper hills is Buddhist with traces of their ancient, shamanistic faith still apparent. The communities live further south are predominantly Hindu.
All of the communities, particularly the Gurungs are famed for their cultural performances, which are easily seen while trekking in the region. Many villages along the trails will arrange performances for trekkers during the main seasons.
<strong>When to visit?</strong>
As with most of the trekking areas in Nepal, the best time to visit are during spring and autumn. Spring is the time for rhododendrons while the clearest skies are found after the monsoon in October and November. At these times the weather is generally mild and there is little rainfall. Unlike other parts of Nepal, the monsoon, from June to September, is the ideal time to visit pats of the region that falls in the rain shadow. In particular, upper mustang is the perfect destination during the rainy season. The winter months provide good trekking conditions throughout the foothills but some of the higher passes will be closed due to snow.