Annapurna base camp to open from end of September

Gandaki (Rashtriya Samachar Samiti): The Annapurna base camp closed due to Corona will be open from the last week of September. The base camp foot trail will be opened as soon as the religious, cultural and tourist destinations of the country start opening.

Secretary of the Chomrong Tourism Management Committee Dilip Gurung said that the trekking is being started following health standards in the base camp area which is one of the top 10 foot trails in the world.

“We are planning to open the area from the last week of September for the purpose of trekking,” he said.

The uniqueness of this foot trail is that you can walk by looking at the mountains up close. Entrepreneurs have been active in expanding tourism infrastructure to provide adequate facilities to the visitors, said Lalit Gurung, coordinator of Annapurna Century Tourism Festival.

Twenty-six hotels in the area are serving tourists. Four decades ago, tourists visiting the base camp were forced to stay in the huts of sheep called Bhendigoth.

The hotels have come into operation in the area after 2,049 BS on the initiative of the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) established in 2043 BS. According to the criteria set by ACAP, the hotel had run to Sinuwa, Bambo, Himalayan, Dobhan, Deurali, Machhapuchhre and Annapurna base camps. As per the criteria, each hotel can accommodate tourists in 156 rooms.

Annapurna Century Tourism Festival has been started in 2074 BS with the objective of helping in its proper management and promotion in view of the growing tourist attraction in the region which is visited by 80,000 internal and external tourists in the year before the commencement of Corona. The festival has been postponed for the last two years.

On June 3, 1950, the team of Maurice Herzog of France set a world record by climbing the Annapurna First Mountain. On May 29, 1953, Tenzing Norgay Sherpa and Edmund Hillary climbed the world’s highest peak, Mount Everest, following the success of the 8,091-meter summit.

In 1966, a decade and a half after the Annapurna ascent, the world-famous hiker Eric Sipton trekked to the Annapurna base camp at an altitude of 4,130 meters, making the area an excellent tourist destination. The journey from Ghandruk to Annapurna base camp usually takes four days by outsiders and three days by internal tourists.

In the past, foreign tourists were forced to eat local delicacies. In recent years, hotels here have also started serving foreign dishes.

ACAP has been imparting training to the locals from time to time. The hotel has started keeping cooks that can make foreign dishes. With the expansion of the hotel’s capacity, there is growing interest in further managing the ancient shrines at Buddhakruti, Dobhan and Himal in the hills to the east of Deurali in the footpath area, as well as the 108 streams seen from the temple premises and the pool at Tatopani in Jhinudanda.

Som Thapa, former chairman of the Pokhara Tourism Council, said that the tourism sector should be restored to its original condition. “Tourist destinations are starting to open in the world market with standards. We should not close tourist destinations anymore,” Thapa said.