Travels

The new Annapurna circuit

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When I made the trekking around Annapurna about three years ago I could see that the Nepalese government was beginning the construction of a road in most of the circuit. On the one hand, from Chame to Humde and, on the other, from Jomson to Lete you could see how a wide forest track was making its way through the deep valley.


Three years have passed and finally the road is a reality. I am sure that the news will have changed the lives of many newaris, thakalis or sherpas for good and for bad.

The deep throat of the Ghandaki River and the sacred pilgrimage to Muktinath will no longer be that isolated place from the underworld that some sadu dared to make as a final summit before reincarnating into another better being.

Nor will it be that fabulous trekking away from the western world that tourists did with the backpack in tow.

On the other hand, the people of the valley will finally be able to communicate with the second city of the country, Pokhara, and stock up on food, clothing and other goods to spend the cold winter more easily. Not surprisingly, previously a porter could take about five days to walk the path to Kagbeni with his fifty kilos hanging from his forehead.

For better or worse, the new road has altered the experience of crossing the Annapurna peaks. That loneliness that one could find in magical places like Kagbeni will soon become a different experience.

However, as I read in Times, a new route is being studied to cover the Annapurna circuit and the imposing Daulaghiri.

A British company called Mountain Kingdoms has taken the services of three Sherpas to create a new route away from the new road. It starts in Naya Phu (near Pokhara) and ends after eight days of travel in Muktinath where one can cross the Thorung La pass (5,416 meters) and continue the classic route. Anyway, due to the extreme step it is recommended to make the step backwards by taking Thorung La from Manang.

The new route also runs through small towns every two to three hours with those great little houses where you can sleep or drink tea for very little money. It is very likely that now is the best time to take this route as there will be hardly any people traveling on the new route.

So you know, don't let tourism and a new road ruin your experience and get to know the real Nepal and its mountains step by step.

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