Khayer Barah Trek is one of most interesting trekking areas in the heart of Annapurna Sanctuary, which is also known as Khayer lake trek or Kopra Ridge trek. The trail is still visited by less trekkers and offers one of the best views of Annapurnas, Dhaulagiri and more mountains. Khayer barah Trek trail separates from Tadapani,a most popular trail of Annapurna base camp and joins Ghorepani poonhill. In the Spring, various flowers and rhododendron trees make this trail very interesting. The locals of this area offer very open arms and strong beliefs on colorful cultural traditions. There are two big festivals in the Khayer lake trekking area every year. All the locals gather together on the top of the ridge once in the month of March-April and another in the month of July-August. The ritual follows as per the tradition.
In the first case the locals slain Yak and drink the blood while it is hot as they believe it’s the perfect treatment for any kind of illness. On the later occasion, during the day of sacred-thread replacement, people believe that they will receive everything they pray for. Especially the married barren women came to ask for the fertility of their wombs.
The trekking paths to Khayer Barah leads through dense and lush green forests where you observe most of the forests is covered by pine, oak, and rhododendron. In the meantime, you can observe the high Himalaya panoramas from various angles. You can also see there the green terraced farming lands plays a vital role in decorating the trail. In the village, you will especially see the Magar and the Gurung community. You will see Khayer Barah Lake. In addition to the lake; you will get to visit the Khayer Barah temple. The highest point of this trekking is Kopra Ridge at 3660m. The mountain ranges visible from Khopra Ridge include Nilgiri, Dhaulagiri, Annapurna, Mt. Fishtail and Himchuli among others.
During the Barah lake trek, you will find tea houses for some days and after that, you need to prefer spending remaining days in community lodges. While you stay in community lodges, you get the chance to explore the exotic lifestyle and culture of locals. If you add Khayer Lake in your journey then it will be more challenging because after you cross Kopra Dhanda there is a lack of lodging facility. So, you have to manage with a full camping system.
Today, let’s explore the ancient richness of Kathmandu valley which stands shoulder to shoulder with the modern lifestyle of the city. Listed in the UNESCO World heritage site list, Kathmandu valley hosts some very sacred pilgrimages for Hindus (the Pashupatinath Temple) and the Buddhists (Swayambhunath Stupa or the Monkey Temple and Boudhanath Stupa). The Royal complex, better known as Durbar Square, hosts historical palaces, temples and statues, museums, intricate carvings on monuments, and so on. These heritages provide you the feeling of ‘time travel’ and a sense of relaxation.
For the beginning of a trek that takes us around the unique and sacred Machhapuchhre or Fishtail Mountain, we shall today head for Pokhara, the Lake city of Nepal. A short flight of around half an hour over beautiful landscape, lush and green valleys and with the close up of the glowing Himalayas takes you to Pokhara. The drive of around 6-8 hours from Kathmandu is another way to reach Pokhara. This drive takes us past the scenic landscape, rural settlements, waterfalls and pristine rivers, as well as the view of mountains standing far. Either way, we are welcomed by the shining Fishtail Peak. Today, we shall relax at the hotel or stroll around the quaint Phewa Lake.
You will drive to Tikhedhunga (1,160m)/Ulleri (1,90m) by Jeep via traditional trekking route Nayapul, Birethanti and drive following the north bank of the Bhurungdi Khola through the Gurung, Magar and Thakali villages and climbs steadily up the side of the valley to Hille (1495m) and Tikhedhunga (1570m) and fanaily get in Ulleri. Our journey begins through the large Magar’s village at Ulleri (2,070m). Then the trail continues to ascend more gently, through dense forests of oak and rhododendrons towards Banthanti (2250m). Occasionally, we can see Lonmgur (long tail black mouth Monkey) jumping in the trees. Then we trek towards Nangethanti (2,460m), after an hour walk we arrive at Ghorepani (2840m).
We will hike about 45 minutes up to Poon Hill (3210m) early in the morning. This viewpoint provides an unobstructed and beautiful view of the sunrise over the high Himalayas with panoramic view giants Dhaulagiri (8,167m), Annapurna (8,091m), Machhapuchere, Nilgiri, Hiuchuli, South Annapurna etc. Additionally we can see a network of other peaks, slowly beginning to appear like magic before our eyes. We come back to Ghorepani for a hot breakfast, and start walking to Swata/Swanta through the pine and rhododendron forests before Chitre village. Chitre is inhabited by the Magar community. From where you will take the Khopra trail to the Swanta.
After having breakfast, we started our trip to the Khopra Danda climb up a steep up trail from Swanta. After a couple hours walking, we will have lunch at Chhistibang named Dhand Kharka. Even though it is steep, the trail is pleasant through the forests of rhododendron and oak with a glimpse of wildlife. Most of the time, you have magnificent mountain scenery and view of Andha gorge (The world’s deepest gorge) at Dana Valley. In spring the jungle looks colorful with rhododendrons, magnolia and varieties of orchids which spread out perfume.
Finally we arrive at the Tea house at Khopra, it is an incredible view point with 360 degree angle for western region Himalaya range. Truly this is far better than Pun Hill and Sarangkot but you need more affordance to get here. Khopra is the gateway to the Barahi Tal, situated at an altitude of 4,700 m. The place is worth visiting in the time of ritual thread ceremony festivals.
Today is your excursion day, you will visit Hindus and Buddhist sacred shrine Khair/ Khayer Lake, which is situated at the altitude of 4,700 meter from the sea level, and this is the main theme of this trip. As beyond the Khopra Danda, there is not any settlement, so you need to pack lunch, some energy bars and enough drinking water with sufficient warm clothes during the day hike. The hike is quite long but you have 360 degree excellent mountain views of the Annapurna Fang, Dhaulagiri, Nilgiri and surrounding mountains. The locals get together at this sacred lake on occasion of August full moon (Janai Purnima) with their traditional culture, dress and customs. People believe that, when you visit Khair Lake and parry goddess whatever you want, she will fulfill it. Even the infertile marriage woman, pray to God Khayer Barah, she will get her offspring.
Today is quite a long walk to the Bayali (3432m), most of the trail is descending but there some up and flat also. After breakfast the trail goes through the high Himalaya with breathtaking mountain scenery. There are two trails; Upper and lower, the lower route is better during the snowy season due to the upper trail being frozen on the trail but for the viewpoint Upper route is best. Except for winter , others can use the upper route. This is a beautiful walk view of Annapurna south 7219m, Himchuli (6441m), Fish Tail/Machhapuchhre (6993m), Annapurna III (7555m) and Annapurna II (7937m).
After breakfast, the trail descends through the alpine ridge, with breathtaking mountains panoramic vista to the Tadapani. Today we see many trekkers on the main route. We can also take a hot shower in our lodge. Today, also there are two trails to the Tadapani, one through the Deurai and next straight. When you walk down to the Bhaisi Kharka/Dobate, the right trail goes to the Deurali and left goes to the Tatapani through the Isharu (3137m), Meshar (2969m) with tremendous view. We advise you to take a new open route to Tadapani.
The trail to the Deurali climbs down gently along ridges with pine and rhododendron forests to the Deurali, and then descends through the main trekking route with beautiful waterfalls, streams, and dense forests to the Banthati. The stream has some clear pools alongside the trail and we climb up to the final destination Tadapani, meaning ‘far water’ and the water supply for this village is a long distance below.
After having breakfast enjoying the mountain view, we will descend steeply through the dense forests with breathtaking panoramic views of the Ghaundrung village, inhabited by Gurung ethnic groups. If you wake up early in the morning you can catch some excellent sun rises above the mountains. You can visit the Annapurna conservation office, museum, and picturesque ancient Gurung village, the second largest Gurung settlement in Nepal. After having lunch at Ghandruk, walk to Kimche for about 4 to 5 hours then drive to Pokhara by jeep for another 2 to 3 hours.
Get your bags ready as we shall leave this scenic landscape of Pokhara for the capital city of Kathmandu. We may either take the overland route through beautiful landscape and winding roads or have a short flight over beautiful landscape and up close to the humongous peaks. Have proper and a much needed rest in the hotel and if you are interested go for some walk around the streets of Kathmandu.
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