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  Annapurna Sanctuary

The other popular trek in the Annapurna region is the Annapurna Sanctuary Trek. The trail leads to the Base Camp of Annapurna I and Machhapuchhre and is a relatively short trek that can be completed in as little as 8 days starting and ending in Pokhara. However, the trek may also be made as a part of the Annapurna Circuit or the Jomsom trek by trekking from Tatopani through Ghorepani and Tadapani and joining the main Sanctuary trail at Chomrong. An entry permit for ACAP is a must for this trek.

This is probably the most ideal trek: lovely, short and intense, a direct route into the heart of the Himalaya. Spectacular mountain vistas and easy access make it among the most popular treks, with over 10,000 visitors per year. The sanctuary is a hidden pocket of meadow, moraine and glacier, ringed by magnificent sheer-walled 6,000 - 8,000 meter peaks: the Annapurnas, Gangapurna, Machhapuchhare, Himchuli.

The trek requires ten to fourteens days and begins from Pokhara, passing through lowland villages and rice terraces to mountain glaciers. The trail rises nearly 2000 m in the last 8 km and one needs to plan for acclimatization. The trail is frequently slippery and there's danger of avalanches in few places, so early spring and winter trekking is unlikely. Accommodation in the lower portion (at least in Chhomrong) are deluxe; the upper stretch is understandably simple - no body lives up there for long time.

The most convenient point to start this trek is Naudanda Phedi which can be reached by driving 1-2 hours out of Pokhara. From Naudanda, the trail linking Dhampus should be followed. The route goes through Dhampus, Pothana and Landrung, which are all Gurung villages. Once Landrung is reached, you have two choices; either cross to Ghandrung, perhaps the most popular Gurung settlement in the region or continue on up the Modi Khola through Naya Pul. However, these trails come together at Chomrong at the foot of the gorge that leads to the Sanctuary. Two nights should be spent between Chomrong and the Sanctuary for acclimatization. The trail up the Modi Khola passes through dense forest of rhododendron and bamboo for the first day. By the time the large rock overhang, known as Hinku Cave, is reached you are entering the Sanctuary and you find yourself in a huge amphitheater enclosed by a solid wall of snow-capped peaks which include Annapurna I, II, III, IV and Machhapuchhre ( the fish tail mountain ). There are a good number of teahouses at Machhapuchhre Base Camp as well as Annapurna Base Camp that is just two hours away.

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