Maximum Altitude: 6600 ft
Duration: 3 days
Ghandruk, one of the most beautiful villages in Nepal opens its arms and welcomes you to a world where you can truly discover the beauty of this small, mountainous, landlocked country. Located in western Nepal, the village is inhabited by Gurung community.
Who are Gurungs?
The Gurungs are an ethnic group and are said to have migrated to the central region of Nepal from Mongolia in the 6th century. In their own language, they call themselves “Tamu” (Ta means thunder, mu symbolizes sky). Just like their name they can bring destruction to their enemy. Gurungs are renowned for their bravery as Gurkha soldiers who serve in the Indian and Nepal armies. The Gurungs are found all across the south slopes of the Annapurna range and you will find a big settlement of Gurungs in the picturesque village of Ghandruk.
About The Trek
Nepal is home to many of the world’s largest mountain peaks and best trekking trails in the world. But don’t think you have to train for months or climb high altitudes to enjoy Nepal’s mountains – there are plenty of treks to suit any fitness level. The Ghandruk trek is a perfect example!
This remote mountain village in Nepal comes in the Annapurna Circuit range. Most of the trekkers who go for the Annapurna Circuit Trek spend a night here before moving further. The village is insanely beautiful and you can enjoy close views of Annapurna, Himchuli and Machhapuchhre (Fishtail) mountains from here. So what are we waiting for? Let’s not miss a tryst with the majestic snow capped mountains.
Ghandruk is accessible in one day, with a four to five hour walk after a short ride from the city. But most people do it as a loop trek where along with Ghandruk, you get to visit the villages of Landruk, Deurali and Pothana; thus completing the trek in 3 days.
Click here to read about Langtang Trek!
The first leg of the journey begins in Pokhara from where you can drive your own vehicle or hire one or, catch a bus, for the initial 55km trip. The road goes up and down with many switchbacks past notable towns like Hyangja, Phedi, Naudanda and through a foggy pine forested highland called Lumle. A curvy road takes you to Nayapul, where the hike begins. Nayapul is named after a suspension bridge which is built over the Modi Khola River. The river will give you company for some time and then the trail follows a steep climb towards Birethanti. From here you can see the spectacular views of mountains framed with rhododendron trees. The trees are laden with blooming rhododendrons if you are trekking during autumn.
As you keep climbing, you will see mules with colorful ribbons, trinkets and funny headgear looking extremely cute and plodding along the path. Just like any mountain village, these mules are the only means of bulk transport in the area. You will see them lugging all kinds of goods. From bags of cement, gas cylinders, and sacks filled with groceries, they carry loads which you and I can never even imagine to carry on such terrains.
You will pass many beautiful villages on the way where you would see the locals working in their colorful paddy fields and every time they look at you, they’ll smile. You will see the kids running around and waving at you. Life is simple in the mountains.
Meanwhile, with your gain in altitude, the hillside at your left changes to pine and rhododendron that stretch all along to the top of the line of hills. The stone steps continue zig-zagging upwards past terraced fields and a handful of houses at intervals. The ever-changing and magnificent mountain landscape is beautifully distracting with the clouds adding certain moodiness to the landscape.
After crossing some other villages like Chumurung, Sayuli Bazaar, Kimche and Chane you will find your destination ‘Ghandruk’ waiting to offer you the best experience. You’ll witness terraces drop dramatically into a deep gorge carved by the glacier-fed Modi River. Above the fields, the densely forested hill soars high. The most spectacular view, however, is the collection of craggy snow peaks that solemnly gaze down upon you. The mountain peaks of Annapurna III, Hiunchuli, Gangapurna, Annapurna South and Machapuchare has a hypnotic affect on everyone.
Ghandruk village will make sure that you have a pleasant stay. The pretty lodges and tea houses provide all modern amenities. There is even a plethora of items to choose from the menu. From European to Chinese or even the local
dishes, you name it and they will serve it. The evenings are reserved for singing and traditional dancing. It’s time to shake a leg.
Spend some time talking to the locals here. They are very friendly and would love to host you. You can also visit the Gurung museum to know more about the Gurung culture.
Mornings here are meant to see the sunrise. So even if you are not a morning person, I urge you to get up from that cozy bed and drag yourself out. The way the morning light hits the mountain peaks is incredible. In no time, the entire range is golden. It would be one of the best sunrises of your life.
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The trek will continue to the village of Pothana and again you’ll cross many villages in between. You don’t get bored on the trail as there is so much beauty around. Aside from the majestic mountain landscapes, the paths are full of green forests, red rhododendrons, and friendly faces. And how did I forget about mountain dogs. They are the best part of any trek.
This trek is for someone who wants to get close to the mountains, nature and some lovely people. This trek is for someone who wants to take a break from the humdrum of their lives and want to shriek with excitement on reaching the top. And lastly, this trek is for someone who wants to sit back, relax, soak in the views, enjoy authentic Nepali food, have lots of coffee and may be read a book in the warmth of the sun.
Best Time To Visit
The best time for Ghandruk can be in between September to May. This time of the year gives the best views and the most favorable environment for trekking.
How To Reach
You can take a flight from Kathmandu to Pokhara. Buses are also easily available and the travel time is about 7 hours from Kathmandu. Nayapul is around 55 km from Pokhara and you can take a bus or cab to reach.
Click here to read about Panchase Trek!