Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) is the biggest
of its kind in the country as it covers an area of 7,629 sq.km. The project was launched in
1986.The area is home to a rich biodiversity where 1,226 species of flowering
plants ,105 mammals,508 birds, 40 reptiles and 23 amphibians according to
National Trust for Nature Conservation(NTNC).
The area is home to an ethnical
and culturally diverse population. More than 100,000 people are believed to
reside in this region. The name of this project is derived from the famous
Annapurna mountain peak which is 8091m above sea level. This peak is believed
to be one of the most difficult mountains to summit. There are other many
fascinating features about this park. It has the world’s deepest gorge the
AnDha Galchhi which is made by the Kaligandaki River. It is situated in between
the Annapurna (8091) and Dhawalagiri (8167m).
Tilicho lake situated at the
elevation of 4919 m was previously believed t be world’s highest fresh water
lake. This park has one of the world’s largest Rhododendron forest. This park
allows the locals to reside and exercise their rights even inside a protected area.
The cultural and ethnical diversity of this region is also a significant reason
for it to become an attraction for tourists. The main activity for tourists is
obviously trekking even though climbing is also highly preferred.
The main trekking routes in this region are
the Annapurna Circuit, Annapurna Sanctuary (Base camp & Poonhill), Upper
Mustang, Khopra Ridge and Mardi Himal trek. There are other smaller but
extraordinary side treks in this region like the NarPhu Valley, Mohare dada and
Annapurna Circuit trek around Annapurna is one of the busiest
treks in the country. It has been open for trekking since 1977.It used t take
21 t 23 days to complete this trek but nowadays the availability of road
transport has made this trek accomplishable in just 10 to 12 days.
elevation range of this trek varies from 600 m above sea level to Thorang La 5416
m above sea level. The trek offers a wide variety of natural and cultural
diversity for one to witness. Mountain sceneries include the Manaslu, Annapurna,
Dhawalagiri, Nilgiri, Tukuche and several other peaks.
The Marshyangdi River
and the Kaigandaki river are the main rivers whereas several other waterfalls
and streams are available to witness.Tilicho Lake is also the main highlight f
this trek. This trek has often been voted as the best long trek in the world.
AnnapurnaBase Camp or ABC is another busy trekking route in
the Annapurna region. It can be completed in minimum of 5 to 12 days. This trek
is normally combined with Ghorepani PoonHill (3210m),
a famous short hiking route accessible in 4 days. The highest point being 4130 m
has the panoramic view of Annapurna, Fishtail, Hiunchuli and Annapurna South
mountain peaks. The Rhododendron boom in the spring makes this trek one of the
exciting trek in this region. This trek includes the famous Ghandruk village
well renowned for its simplistic and authentic culture. The village is famous
for the scenic mountain views
UpperMustang is one of the most isolated and rural
trekking routes in Nepal. This region was previously known as the Kingdom of
Lo. The people, culture, and the landscape of this region is distinct from
other treks. It was a restricted demilitarized zone until 1992 and in the same
year was opened for tourism. This is a controlled area and requires a special
permit for tourists and costs 500 USD per day per person.
The lifestyle of the
people is still traditional and the majority of the people still speak Tibetan
Dialect. The place is an alternative for observing the Tibetan culture without
travelling to Tibet. This was a separate Kingdom under the Kingdom of Nepal. It
lost its Monarchy status in 2008 after Nepal became Federal Republic. The Kali
Gandaki River is the only river system in his region, and the majority of the
settlements are on the bank of this river. The region is situated behind the
Dhawalagiri and Annapurna mountain ranges and is a cold place. The elevation
ranges from 2880 m to above 5000 meters
above sea level.
Peak Climbing is also a major tourism activity in the Annapurna Region . Including the world's tenth highest peak , Mt Annapurna 8091 m , there are several other mountain peaks ranging from six thousand to seven thousand meters in height .Annapurna II,III,IV, Mt. Fishtail , GangaPurna, Nilgiri , Annapurna South and other smaller Peaks. Among them Chulu East Peak Climbing is one of the famous in the region for its lower elevation and easier climb. However if you are interested in climbing other higher peaks , then it is possible at a much higher cost and result.
People from various ethnic communities and Culture are spread around the Annapurna Region. This includes the people following the Himalayan Buddhism , Hinduism , Land Worshipper , Shamanic traditions and the people following the Abrahamic beliefs. The Muktinath temple located in the Mustang district is a major pilgrimage site in the region for both Hindus and Buddhists. However many internal and international tourists visit this temple year around. There are many gompas . chhortens , stupas and monasteries in this region. The people living in one part of the region has distinct language, traditions and beliefs.
Biodiversity is also a distinct feature of the Annapurna region. With the wide variations of elevation and the climatic conditions , it makes a suitable environment for the diverse flora and fauna to flourish. A total of 1,226 species of plants (including 38 orchid species and 9 Rhododendron species), 101 species of reptiles and 22 species of amphibians have been recorded in the ACA. The Annapurna Conservation Area project houses rare and endangered wildlife species such as the Snow Leopard, Musk Deer, Tibetan Argali, Impeyan Pheasant and Tragopan Pheasant. Other common animals like Ghoral , Jharal , Foxes and Rodents are a common sight.