The Annapurna Region: Perfect Combination of Nature and Culture

Annapurna region is located in the northwest of the Kathmandu valley. It is bordered by the Marshyangdi River in the east and Kali Gandaki River on the West. It has got multiple diversities, which have made Annapurna extremely popular for the tourism: trekking and mountaineering. This region is bounded up by the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP), which is rich in natural attractions and loaded with ethnic cultural jewels.

ACAP is the first established conservation area and the largest protected area of Nepal. According to National Trust for Nature Conservation, It covers an area of 7,629 sq. km. the highest Himalayan pass, Thorung La (5416m) and the deepest gorge in the world-Kali Gandaki gorge (3 miles long and 1.5 miles wide) lie in this region. It is a home of 1226 species of flowering plants, 102 mammals, 474 birds, 39 reptiles and 22 amphibians.

Naturally, Annapurna Region is awesome. It is largely covered by the rhododendron forest. If you want to see the mind blowing rhododendron blooming, go for the trek in spring and feel the adornment of the Annapurna region. Even bamboo and oak forest are wonderful. Basically, Annapurna region is renowned due to the breathtaking Himalayan peaks. Mt. Annapurna (8091m) is the 10th highest peak in the world. Some other peaks include Fishtail, Nilgiri, Himchuli, Lamjung Himalayas and others. The glaciers and Lakes are there. The Tilicho Lake is the world’s highest altitude freshwater lake.

Annapurna region is also the most rain falling area of Nepal. The literal meaning of Annapurna is ‘sufficient grain’. Many crops as paddy, maize, millet, barley, wheat, fruits and vegetables are grown in this region.

Marshyangdi valley consist numerous waterfalls. The green hill panoramas are exciting. The area around Ghorepani and Poon Hill are most incredible in the greeneries. Poon Hill is one of the most beautiful viewpoints in Annapurna. There are several trekking destinations in the Annapurna as: Ghorepani Poon Hill, Round Annapurna, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Dhampus Pothana and several others. However, the rapid growth of the road construction has become a challenge to keep the biological diversity updated.

Culturally, the Annapurna region is fully surrounded by the mixed and ethnic settlements. Annapurna region is mostly dominated by the Gurung communities, but Magar are also found in the southern part. The alpine section is dominated by the Loba, Manange and Thakali. Thakali people are regarded as the kitchen experts. ‘Thakali Kitchen’ has been spread not only in the country, but in several corners of the world. Gurungs are also famous in joining the British Army, who is called the Gurkhas.

The ethnic communities are extremely hospitable social groups. Any types of visitors get heartily welcome with their delicious meals. Trekkers in the Annapurna region save lifetime experience of a good welcome by the local people. To win the heart of the visitors, they also perform folk cultural programs as dance, singing and wear traditional dresses. So, the ethnic groups are welcoming…by their hearts.

Based on the religious groups, Annapurna region can be divided into two social formations. The mixed communities are dominant by the Hindu devotees, whereas the ethnic communities as Loba and Manange are Buddhist devotees. Hindu devotees have temple to worship and Buddhist devotees have monasteries and Chhortens. If you go to Pisang, Manang and other Buddhist dominated places, you will see the ancient Buddhist heritages. They follow Tibetan Buddhism. Every day they pray and meditate. Hindu dominated places have temples. Some of the places are common.

Thus, the Annapurna region has got perfect combination of nature and culture. The god gifted nature has been accompanied by the remarkable culture. This wonderful combination has promoted tourism. Trekking has flourished here. The lifestyle is progressing. People are aware of preserving the surrounding nature and the traditional cultural form.