Nepal is Land-locked and land-linked country between Tibet autonomous region of China and India. Annapurna lies in Nepal’s western region of Gandaki province. The region is named after the world’s 10thtallest mountain Annapurna.
Now the region’s tourism is regulated by Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP), is launched in 1986, is the largest undertaking of National Trust for Nature Conservation. It is also the first conservation and largest protected Area in Nepal. It covers an area of 7,629 sq. km. and is home to over 100,000 residents of different ethnic cultural and linguistic groups. ACAP is rich in biodiversity and is a treasure house for 1,226 species of flowering plants, 105 mammals, 518 birds, 40 reptiles and 23 amphibians.
There are several features that make the Annapurna region a unique place in the world. It has the world’s deepest river gorge—Kali Gandaki Gorge, which is 3 miles long and 1.5 miles wide, is a valley with fossils from the Tethys Sea dating 60 million years ago. Lo-Manthang in the trans-Himalayan region the last forbidden kingdom of Nepal of Mustang. The region contains among the world’s largest rhododendron forest in Ghorepani. Tilicho lake (4920m), located in Manang, north of Annapurna massif, is the world’s highest altitude lake.
The biological diversity of the Annapurna region is equally rivaled by its cultural diversity. Gurung and Magar are the dominant groups in the south, whereas Thakali, Manange and Loba are dominant in the north. Each of these groups speak their own dialect, and have unique cultures and traditions. Besides, there are also Brahmin, Chhetri and other occupational castes although in comparatively smaller numbers. Hindu, Buddhist and pre-Buddhist religions along with a mixture of all these are prevalent across the region. The local people reside in the 5 districts of 15 rural municipalities of the Annapurna Conservation Area.
The natural and cultural features of the region have made it the most popular trekking destination in Nepal, attracting thousands of trekkers from around the world. Tourism, over the years, has been firmly established as one of the most important source of the local economy. There are over 1,000 lodges, teashops and hundreds of other subsidiary services to cater to the thousands of trekkers, pilgrims and their support staff.
Additionally, Upper Mustang (Tourists need to obtain special permit), which opened in 1992, the focus has been on managing controlled tourism on a sustainable basis, and promoting heritage conservation which is its major tourist attraction. Jomsom, Manang and Ghandruk, which are among the most popular trekking destinations in Annapurna Region.