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High and Mighty

High and Mighty
To attract tourists from all over the world, Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation has come up with a motivated plan, ‘Visit Nepal Tourism Year 2011’. Ministry is optimistic that this kind of events will increase tourist arrival.
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Source:  Saifuddin Ismailji
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  • From the challenges of extreme limits of the Everest at 8,848 meters to the adventurous safari in the plains of the Royal Chitwan National Park, there is more than you can take on one-time visit to Nepal. Little wonder that Lonely Planet rated Nepal among the top 10 travel destinations of 2010.

  • After a slow spell of tourism due to internal unrest, Nepal is picking up on international arrivals and has also announced 2011 as ‘Visit Nepal Year’, promising travelers added facilities and exempt or discounted tariff to visit the many world heritage sites and indulge in mountaineering adventure sport.

  • The making of the trans-Himalaya-Karakoram landscape is the artwork of Mother Nature, taking millions of years of forceful collisions of tectonic plates in the north-central region of Asia in the making and as we see today, eight of the 10 highest mountains in the world stand high and mighty on the soil of Nepal, with another two (K-2 and Nanga Parbat) in Pakistan.

  • Although trekking in the Mount Everest region is more like a pilgrimage to a mountain lover, it involves at least 19 stages of strenuous walking starting from Kathmandu via Namche Bazaar and finally Goraekshep - the Everest Base camp. On this trek you can see 17 prominent peaks towering from 8,848 meters to 5,883 meters - Mount Everest (8,848m), Lhotse peak (8,501m), Makalu (8,481m), Cho Oyu (8,153m), Nuptse (7,878m), and Amadablam (6,856m), to name a few.

  • You can feast your eyes on some of the most breathtaking mountain vistas on Earth by taking the Everest Air Safari flight from Kathmandu. However, the expeditions I led were in majestic Annapurna Himal mountain region. Here you could either do the whole package of 21-day Annapurna - Jhomson trek - or a 6-night, 7-day ‘Circuit Trek’ from Pokhara lake town to Ghorapani and return. On the latter, you will meet cluster of beautiful peaks in the Annapurna-Himal region.

  • We flew early morning from Kathmandu to Pokhara and settled for the day at the palace-like Fulbari Resort - it was love at first sight, the view of the Annapurna Mountains from my hotel room window.

  • Before retiring for the day at the resort, we checked our supplies and packed our load to make an early start for the trek. On Day 1, we drove higher up a small village. On arrival, we left our vehicles and commenced trekking with porters sharing out our load. While most of the Tea Houses (the local version of basic lodging) serve basic meals, we learnt that it is wise to carry your own supplies of canned food and soup, candies and hot chocolate sachets. There was no heating in the room so it is also vital to carry a good quality sleeping bag to keep you warm during chilly nights. Later that day, we passed by the Dhampus Village and reached the trek in Landruk to spend the first night in a Nepalese Tea House.

  • Day 2 called on early breakfast, after which we trekked towards Ghandruk. Thereon, came 4th the challenge of altitudinal variation and ecological diversity comprising waterfalls, rivulets, tropical vegetation and icy peaks in the backdrop. At 1,929 meters, we spent the night.

  • On Day 3, we trekked long stretches of dry brown foliage and proceed to Tatopani - meaning ‘hot spring’. With traces of forest growth around Tatopani, here we had a spectacular view of Machhapuchhre (Fish-Tail) Peak rising 6,441 meters, probably the most photogenic peak in the Himalaya. At 1,189 meters, we lodged at a local Tea House.

  • It was a tough trek on Day 4 as we climbed a steep winding trail abound oak forest and rhododendron (locally called laligurans) trees to Gorapani at 2,926 meters. As we went round a corner before reaching atop saddle, the seventh highest mountain in the world - Dhaulagiri I (8,167m) appeared in all its glory.

  • It was windy at that altitude so we quickly stepped inside the lodge equipped with an archaic fire place. The lodge owner prepared for us a much needed, hot, local soup with vegetables, apricots and peaches.

  • We started at day break on Day 5 to witness the mesmerising sight of the first streak of daylight dancing on the glaciated peaks of Dhaulagiri I, Tukuche, Annapurna South (7,219m) and Hiunchuli (6,441m). Soon after a nourishing breakfast, it was time to descent on a return route to Pokhara with a coupe of over-nights on Day 5 and Day 6 at Birethante and Naudanda and finally back to Pokhara on Day 7.

  • After the short circuit trek, I departed from Nepal with a desire to do full 22-Day trek around the Annapurna mountain range - some day!

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