Jomsom Trek: Part of Annapurna circuit

Belonging to the famous Annapurna circuit trek, the Jomsom trek is one of the most taken up hiking adventures that takes one through the Kali Gandaki River’s valley from Pokhara to the most sacred destination of Muktinath. This latter spot is a pilgrimage destination on the Tibetan plateau for both Hindus and Buddhist. Not rising over 3800 m and taking you via its highest elevation point of 5400 m Thorung La, this trek is comparatively easy and is known for its wonderfully diverse experience.

The Jomsom trek is certainly a great chance to explore the charm as well as witness of the Annapurna. It is 8 to 10 days trek that begins from the Pokhara city in north and then meanders via the Poon Hill as well as the Dhaulagiri icefall offering each hiker the delightful vistas of the mountains. While in Pokhara, the Jomsom trek leads you to a blissfully varied zone at 900 m after which it slowly ascends to an alpine territory from the fertile fields as well as sub-tropical jungle to go beyond Jomsom until a land that looks dry and like a desert. As you move ahead towards the north, Buddhist and Tibetan influences are felt. Residing in the valley of Kali Gandaki, the Thakali tribe is very much adored for their hospitality due to whom you feel like staying in one of the comfortable lodges along the trek.

It is much recommended to take up a shorter trek such as Jomsom trek rather than going for the entire Annapurna circuit. This is because it is not that tiresome and you can also pick up more activities such as rafting, animal spotting, and sightseeing in Kathmandu valley. Especially for this trek, the accommodation in form of lodges as well as tea houses is excellent and that the climb is straightforward followed by a descent.

The Jomsom trek begins at New Bridge near Birethanti on the main road. This is accessible from Pokhara by taxi or bus that takes just 30 to 40 minutes. This bridge acts as the starting point for many treks. After this, an amble for 6 hrs starts to reach Tirkhedunga. The initial part climbs via the rice terraces as well as hamlets of the brave Gorkha folks. At Ghadruk, a charming museum of Traditional Nepalese Life is worth seeing after which you go via the rhododendron forests where the splendid Annapurna emerges via the jungle leading to Ghorepani at 2775 m. Once you reach here, you can spot the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) head office. This is where you apply for a trekking admission after contributing $13. Enjoy the sun rising from the close by Pun hill from where you will admire the panorama of the flanking summits such as Dhaulagiri and Annapurna. The other day, you start with the descent to Tatopani that is of 7 to 8 hours. This is famous for its natural hot springs bringing some more excitement to your adventure. Now, three days are dedicated to reach Rupse, Lete, and Tukche respectively offering some wild views. After this, the next day, you start trekking again to reach the far north that is Kagbeni, a close relative of the Mustang Region for whose visit, a special permit that is expensive is required.

The other day morning you reach Muktinath where a temple exists. This is where you will see a horde of pilgrims who are either Buddhist or Hindu. Each of them takes up a ritual bath even though the water here is very chilled. The temple holds 108 falls coming from taps and that there are unexplained natural gas coming out here. Now, your trek goes downhill on the Tibetan plateau to be at the Jomsom village that holds the entrance to the Prohibited Kingdom of Mustang along with the discovery of still going ancient traditions.

The best time to come for the Jomsom trek is in spring and autumn – September to December and from March to May. Overall, the trek is full of good sections, but the ascents are occasionally sheer enough.

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