Having opened in the year 1977, Annapurna Circuit is one of the most the popular names for trekking purpose which circles the world’s tenth highest mountain, Annapurna.
The original circuit trails had marked the starting point of the trek on Dumre and the ending point on Beni. It used to take approximately 23 days for trekkers to walk through the whole circuit.
You will start from the elevation of 605m at Dumre, then the rise goes up to an elevation 5416 m at Thorong almost touching the Tibetan Plateau. The trail will also take you to the Ghasa trail which passes through the world’s deepest gorge.
You can circle the circuit both clockwise and counter clockwise. However, many trekkers tend to hike the counterclockwise circuits in order to observe and experience better.
Moreover, the 150-mile Annapurna Circuit Trek is one of the world’s characteristic trek reaching a maximum altitude of 17,769 feet with an average of 9,190 feet.
It offers the trekkers a greater range of natural wonders than any other trek of the similar length. The trek covers almost all scenery that can be found in Nepal which is sub-tropical, alpine peaks and semi-desert.
There are imaginary views of the Annapurna section of the Himalayas and also the Dhaulagiri massif. The Kali Gandaki gorge, the deepest gorge in the world, is one of the many natural wonders that starstruck the trekkers every single year.
Another wonderful ancient temple is on the circuit which is The Muktinath Temple. It was mentioned in the Hindu epic, Mahabharata in 300BCE.
The legend says that the temple is dedicated to the god of salvation and all people’s sins are forgiven when you reach the temple.
Moreover, there are many other off the beaten trails opened for the trekkers i.e Nar Phu Valley, Manaslu Circuit, Tsum Valley and Upper Mustang.
However, walking through those trails might compensate the damages done on the magnificence of the Annapurna Circuit caused by the immense road construction.
Because of the construction, these areas are controlled by the tourism industry and very subject to having a guide compulsorily and buying expensive permits with only certain limitations.
And if you are on a budget and still want one hell of an experience looking for independent adventure then Annapurna Circuit might be the right choice for you.
In this article, you are provided a brief synopsis on the Annapurna Circuit, the status of the road construction in the region due to the recent earthquake and information on the New Annapurna Trekking Trails.
Annapurna Circuit Road Construction Status
A fun fact: the Annapurna Circuit goes in an anti-clockwise setup.
The government has been trying its best to construct the roads on both the eastern and the western side of the Annapurna Circuit joining Chame-Manang in the East and Pokhara-Muktinath in the West.
The west part of the road has quite a larger impact on the whole Annapurna Circuit trekking route.
Moreover, many trekkers decide to end their trek right after they reach Muktinath because of the dust is thrown up by the passing vehicles.
If you aren’t a victim of cheating, the trekking journey generally completes in about 11 days considering the roads and surrounding.
Generally, the local people speak quite positively of the routes and roads minimizing the negative aspects that can discourage the trekkers.
This kind of behavior is mostly appreciated by those who are not involved in the tourist trade because it will allow them full access to the health services and the distribution of local goods.
The goods contain mostly of fruits and its by-products like jam or brandy. And the shipping of those goods from other place incurs a lower cost than done by a mule or porters.
The circuit is now more accessible to the people of Nepal and India as well so the tourism is quite subtly benefited.
You can also see cyclists being too keen on the roads. They can also ride downhill for most days among the highest mountains found in the world.
However, some downhill can be challenging at times and can require your full concentration.
The walking on the road can not only be unbelievably unpleasant but unhealthy as well. The dust hovers and fly all over making the place dusty and difficult to inhale fresh air. Make sure you bring a mask with you.
You can make your itineraries in such a way that you avoid the road. You can walk your way through the new and offbeat rural routes which will definitely delight you. It is also possible to trek for only about five hours on the route.
NATTS (New Annapurna Trekking Trails)
Because of the invasion of the roads up the Annapurna Circuit, it was heard for years about the trekkers making their own suitable way in certain sections of the region.
This activity of the trekkers may have formalized with the way marked routes which are called New Annapurna Trekking Trails (NATT).
Trekkers returning from the Annapurna Circuit using NATTs have been stoked about how the trails have become now and it’s like they have given a new life to the trekking route.
But this type of trekking requires a lot of diligence, attention to the maps, and a massive care in ensuring that you follow the route and staying safe.
After the 2015 Earthquake
It’s quite fortunate that a large part of the Annapurna Trek region was spared from the catastrophic 2015 earthquake.
According to the website Reuters, less than 1 percent of the trekking route and 3 percent of the buildings around the region were affected.
The Miyamoto International, a structural and earthquake engineering firm based in California was appointed after the earthquake to provide risk valuation of the Annapurna region.
It was concluded that damage was very minimum meaning nothing major happened. From all these findings and calculations, the trek is now open for business purposes and operating ordinarily.
However, Manaslu Circuit Trek, which is a nearby trekking route, was affected badly.
The Annapurna Circuit was affected but the government has been working for the betterment of the region.
It’s no surprise that the NATT is a very exciting one but you do require special attention while trekking through it.
Make sure you have an amazing experience while staying safe at the same time.
Good luck on your endeavor.