The Mardi Himal Trek is a new route that has only been open to international travellers since 2012. This trek offers you the majestic and stunning views of the Annapurna Ranges without the crowds of the people. This is an unforgettable adventure that takes you through verdant jungles, across swiftly flowing rivers of glacial melt water, and through pastoral settlements populated by diverse groups of people representing Nepal’s many different ethnicities. The trail criss-crosses its way beneath the unmistakable fishtail- shaped summit of Machhapuchhre as it ascends to high pastures, marvellous mountain vantage points and quiet guesthouses catering to travellers seeking the path less travelled. This combination of accessibility, natural grandeur and cultural authenticity makes the Mardi Himal trek a true hidden gem that’s just waiting to be discovered.
The trek begins from the city of Pokhara and travellers will embark upon a grand journey into a bona fide Himalayan wilderness. With each step you will take you will ascend higher and higher through the forested slopes of Annapurnas, reaching the evocatively named milestone of Forest Camp, Low camp and High camp. It is renowned for blooming rhododendrons flowers at the height of spring, terraced fields flourishing with the first flush of summer rain, clear mountain panoramas and crisp autumn air and glittering winter landscapes of ice and snow. This trek offers the unspoiled alpine bliss and mountain ranges.
The trekkers will be hiking through an area of astounding biodiversity and you will even have some chance to encounter some of the many animal species. The opportunity to spot wildlife against the spectacular backdrop of Himalayan summits like Dhaulagiri and Machhapuchhre is an indisputable highlight of this trip. The travellers will also have an opportunity to encounter the culture of both urban and rural settings. This enticing combination of natural beauty and genuine cultural interaction is what makes the Mardi Himal trek truly special.
The journey starts from the Kathmandu valley from where the bus ride of about 5 to 6 hours will take you to the beautiful city of Pokhara. Through this ride travellers can enjoy the scenic views of beautiful river valleys, alongside terraced fields of barley and rice and over green hills blanketed with lush vegetation. When you arrive at the Pokhara valley there you will witness the beautiful lakes, hills and mountain ranges. The travellers will enjoy the evening here and stay here for a night.
The actual adventurous journey to the Mardi Himal starts from the Phedi. The ride to Phedi is about an hour and from there the hike starts through shaded woods and small villages as you ascend along a series of stone stairs. Pothana is a picturesque village which is full of traditional stone built homes and paved paths. The trekkers will also find evidence of modernization in the form of souvenirs and snacks for sale. You will spend your night in one of the Pothana’s comfortable guesthouses.
The travellers have to leave early in the morning to start their beautiful and marvellous journey. The trail will lead you to the village of Pitam Deurali. From here you can get the stunning views of the Machhapuchhre, Annapurna South and Mardi Himal. Then you have to walk along a steep trail through a dense forest of lichen draped oak, hemlock and maple. During spring time one can witness the delicate beauty of the rhododendron and magnolia blooms. This is also where the trail diverges from the main Annapurna Sanctuary Trek and you will share the path with fewer other trekkers from this point forward. The final destination for today is Forest Camp locally known as Kokar. This small camp is situated within a forest clearing.
The high camp is located at the altitude of 3600 metres above the sea level. The trail continues to ascend through mossy woodlands. You will be thrilled with the scene of an occasional shaft of sunlight piercing the misty atmosphere of these woods enhancing the mysterious and evocative mood that’s so characteristic of the Himalayas. After a few hours of trekking , you will stop at the Low Camp and enjoy the lunch with the stunning views of the Himalayas.
From here a real hike of the day starts in the direction of High Camp. As the trail turns westward, you will glimpse the glaciated peaks of Annapurna South and Hiunchuli looming over the path. The hike continues along the ridgeline as the trees begin to thin out, passing abundant rhododendron bushes. When you reach the High Camp, you will be rewarded with a 360 degree panorama of snowbound canyons, soaring mountains and steep cliffs.
The trekkers have to wake up early to catch the view of the sun rising from the midst of the Himalayas. The hike begins with a walk up a ridge towards a fabulous vantage point where you will enjoy the best sights of the entire Mardi Himal Trek. The route follows a well established trail through grassy pastures, although the going is steep and occasionally narrow. Along the way, you will almost certainly get to see dzo grazing in the fields; this is a hybrid species breed from both yak and cattle.
After walking up the steep hill for about three hours you will reach the Upper View Point. This is a rocky outlet situated at approximately 4200 metres from sea level. From here you will get a chance to indulge yourselves in the scenic views of the Annapurna Sanctuary, Mardi Himal, Annapurna I, Machhapuchhre, Hiunchuli and other massive peaks. After enjoying some scenes you will again ascend back to High Camp.
To keep things interesting, trekkers will follow a different route on your hike to complete the Mardi Himal Trek. They will depart high camp and trek back in the direction of low camp, where the track diverges to approach the village of Siding. This is a traditional Nepalese settlement that does not experience a very high level of tourist traffic , but its residents have embraced an entrepreneurial spirit that has enabled them to thrive in the modern era. The village is also home to some of Nepal’s most daring citizens, who are willing to risk life and limb to extract delicious honey from Cliffside bees’ nests.
The trek will start on the road, walking in the direction of Lumle. Now you will depart from the high mountains trail of Mardi Himal Trek. As you leave Siding behind, you will pass the village of Kalimati and Ghalel. Kalimati is populated primarily by Brahmin residents whereas Ghalel is populated by a mix of both Brahmin and Gurung ethnicities. Your trek will finally end once you reach the town of the Lumle. From here you will take a 2 hour jeep ride to the Pokhara. The travellers can enjoy the night in the Pokhara before leaving Kathmandu tomorrow morning.
It is time to bid farewell to the Pokhara valley and take a bus ride back to the Kathmandu valley. You can enjoy the beautiful landscapes, river valleys and clear sky through the window of the bus before reaching the city.
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