The Annapurna Circuit

The trekking web guidebook to the Annapurna Circuit and Sanctuary, Nepal

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The Annapurna Circuit is the popular name for a 300 kilometre trek in Nepal around the Annapurna mountain range in the Himalayas. The trek reaches an altitude of 5,300 metres on the Thorung La pass, touching the edge of the fabled Tibetan plateau. The magnificent mountain scenery, seen at close quarters includes Annapurna 8,091 metres which was the first 8,000 metre peak to be climbed, the magnificent ice pyramid Dhauligiri 8,167 metres, once the home of the legendary Buddhist guru Padmasamba, and Machhupuchhare 6,993 metres, considered by many to be the most beautiful mountain in the world.

The trek follows ancient paths used as trade routes between Nepal and Tibet. These paths have long facilitated the flow of cultures and religions in this remote and formerly inaccessible region. Today Tibetan Mahayana Buddhism, Hinduism and the mysterious Bon-Po religion still coexist and interpenetrate one another in this region which contains many pilgrimage sites.

The unusually wide range of climatic zones in such a small area as the path ascends from 900 metres to 5,300 metres provides a chance to see many different plants and animals, and the different ways of life of the many peoples who live there. and its paper guidebook are both intended to provide a independent guide to the path itself and also to the cultural history and mountaineering history of the region.

I trekked the Annapurna Circuit and Sanctuary in October 1997. This web guidebook is based on the detailed journal, sketches, GPS readings and photographs from that trip. The web guidebook is updated using feedback from trekkers.

Ian Johnson, June 2000