Saturday Features

Solitude in the crowd

- Gaurav Aryal

Nov 5, 2016-

You can fall in love with the mountains, but never fall out of it. As soon as you get the first taste of the Himalayan air, you realise that there is no turning back—you are forever wedged in a love-affair that entices you right back, no matter how far you are.

Since it first opened in 1980, the 128-mile Annapurna circuit has had that effect on mountain lovers from all over the world. This circuit has been drawing adventurers for more than three decades, with an ever growing number of trekkers taking to its trails every year. Every globetrotter’s bucket list destination, Annapurna Sanctuary, which opens up from Machhapuchhre Base Camp at 3700 metres and closes at Annapurna Base Camp at 4130 metres, promises spectacular panoramic view of the Annapurna mountain range. At any point in the trail you will find yourself in a paradise that is surrounded by colossal walls of grandeur covered in snow.

This extremely picturesque and pristine trail—that initially drew mostly foreign adventurers right until last couple of years—has now begun pulling in a huge number of domestic travellers as well. Bel Bahadur Pun, an official at the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (Acap), recently said that although authorities didn’t maintain a record of Nepali vacationers visiting the area, their numbers have been exceptional this year.

Yet what’s more, regardless of how many people walk the trail at any given point in time, one still finds solitude here. Perhaps it’s the sense of belonging evoked by remote villages, or the sense of peace instilled by lush green valleys, it might be finding yourself right in the middle of fantasy-like forests, or the clarity that gushes from cascading waterfalls—whatever it is; once you find yourself among the deep gorges that open up to heaven-high mountains, you find yourself engulfed from every possible direction.

Trekkers waking up to the mountains at Tadapani, Ghandruk.

At ABC, you conquer the terrain, but also yourself.

It doesn’t get closer than this: Milky Way galaxy from Machhapuchhre Base Camp.

Two trekkers soaking in scenic magnificence of a lush green valley.

Trekkers checking “a photo against the Annapurna range” off their bucket list at Poon Hill. 

Sheep grazing on alpine meadow near Annapurna Base Camp.

A group of trekkers walking uphilltowards Machhapuchhre Base Camp


Published: 05-11-2016 14:11

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