MYAGDI, Dec 23: Annapurna Rural Municipality of Myagdi is taking initiatives for promoting of a trekking trail to the northern base camp of Mount Annapurna (8,091 meters).
The northern base camp of Mount Annapurna is located 4,190 meters above sea level. While the southern base camp attracts thousands of foreign tourists every year, hardly a few reach the northern base camp.
Among others, the rural municipality plans to build necessary infrastructures and promote northern base camp through different forums and media outlets, according to Dam Bahadur Garbuja Pun, the chairperson of Annapurna Rural Municipality. "The trail holds immense prospects for both domestic and foreign tourists. That is why we have decided to publicize it," he added.
He also added that the rural municipality had identified hydropower and tourism as the two sectors which could uplift socio-economic condition of the local people.
"Apart from mobilizing our resources, we will also seek budget from the provincial and federal governments for development promotion of the trial to the northern base camp," he said, adding: "Identification and promotion of new tourism products and destinations can help the government to meet the target of welcoming two million foreign tourists in the country in 2020."
As part of promoting the northern base camp, the rural municipality is implementing different programs in a phase-wise manner. In the first phase, the rural municipality will upgraded trail, publish posters and brochures and install signage on the trail, according to Pun.
Mount Annapurna was the first 8,000-meter peak to be climbed. A French expedition led by Maurice Herzog had climbed the mountain in 1950 – three years before the successful summit of Mount Everest. The French expedition had used the northern base camp to climb the mountain.
"Foreigners explored the route to the mountain seven decades ago. But we did nothing over the years," he said, adding: "It is high time we promote the trail to bring more tourists to the area."
At present, mountain expeditions are using helicopters to directly fly to the base camp instead of using the trekking trail.
Shyam Purja, chairperson of Annapurna Youth Club, Narchyang, who recently returned from the northern base camp, said trekkers can reach the base camp via Lek Gaun, Chhotepa, Humkhola, Sadhikharka and Bhuskekharka. "The trail is short and easy. Tourists will like it," he added.
Similarly, Chandra Sad Phagami, chairperson of Ward 4 of Annapurna Rural Municipality, said
French tourists would love the trail as it was first used by the French expedition led by Maurice Herzog which successfully climbed Mount Annapurna.
According to Phagami, trekkers can enjoy views of peaks like Nilgiri North, Nilgiri Centre, Nilgiri South, and Tilicho as well as various species of rhododendron from the trail. Wildlife species like snow leopard and musk deer, and different species of birds can also be sighted, he added.