Infrastructure being added to Annapurna base camp footpath

Gandaki, Jan. 24: Annapurna Himal has been introduced as the oldest mountain in the history of mountaineering. This mountain is considered to be equally attractive in the field of hiking tourism in this region.

The Annapurna base camp, one of the 10 best footpaths in the world, is becoming a tourist attraction as the footpaths of the Annapurna base camp attract domestic and foreign tourists.

When visiting the area four decades ago, tourists had to stay in the sheepfolds as well as in the huts made by the locals. At present, hotels with traditional facilities have been built and the infrastructure is being added.

Till a year ago, 26 hotels were operating in Sinuwa, Bambo, Himalayan, Dobhan, Deurali, Machhapuchhre and Annapurna base camps of the same footpath, but now infrastructures including hotels have been added in those places. The Annapurna Area Conservation Project (ACAP) has been conserving the area since 2043 BS. Lalit Gurung, a local youth tourism entrepreneur and coordinator of Annapurna Century Tourism Festival, said that the Annapurna Municipality had formed a committee three years ago to study the capacity of existing hotels and study for additional infrastructure in view of the growing tourist attraction in the footpath area.

A committee comprising stakeholders of Village Municipality Ward Nos. 10 and 11 had studied the issue including additional infrastructure. He informed that another footpath from Tadhapani-Mulde-Hidden Lake to Chomrong has also come into operation in the area. Another important attraction is the Hidden Lake at an altitude of 4,300 meters. Due to its height, it freezes in winter and melts in summer.

According to Dilip Gurung, a tourism entrepreneur and secretary of the Chomrong Tourism Management Sub-Committee, the number of hotels in the Annapurna base camp in the footpath area has increased from four to two. The number of base camps in Machhapuchche has increased from five to one. One of the two hotels in the Himalayas has been added. Of the four in Deurali, one has now been added. Out of the three hotels in Dobhan, two more and five hotels have come into operation.

On June 3, 1950, a team led by Maurice Herzog, a French citizen, set a world record by climbing the Annapurna First Mountain. After the success of Annapurna’s first ascent of 8,091 meters above sea level, on May 29, 1953, Tenzing Norgay Sherpa and Edmund Hillary climbed the world’s highest peak, Mount Everest. A decade and a half after the ascent of Annapurna Himal, in 1966, the world-famous hiker Eric Sipton trekked to the Annapurna base camp at an altitude of 4,130 meters.

Him Bahadur Gurung, chairman of Annapurna Gaonpalika Ward No. 11, said that it was necessary to build a 300-meter-long suspension bridge in the Hinku area of ​​the footpath area due to frequent avalanches. He said that support for all the three levels was needed for the construction of the suspension bridge. Stating that they have also given priority to the protection of religious and cultural sites connected with the footpath, he said that 108 Pujanyam 108 Dhara and Baraha temples are being constructed between Dobhan and Himalayas. The municipality has provided Rs. 1 million through the ward for the construction of the temple. Helicopter flights have been banned in the Annapurna region to protect the environment, said Ward Chairman Gurung.

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