LAMJUNG, Nov 7: An alternative route to the round-Annapurna trekking has come into operation.
The Manang-Lamjung Hotel Entrepreneurs Committee brought the alternative route into operation after the trekking was affected due to the construction of a motor road up to Manang.
The route was formally opened amidst a program in Besisahar, Lamjung on Monday. The trekking route starts from Besisahar and connects to Khudi.
Former lawmaker Jamindra Man Ghale inaugurated the optional trekking route. The participants of the inauguration program also trekked on the route following its inauguration.
The construction of a vehicular road has shortened the existing round-Annapurna trekking route and many problems have come due to the vehicular traffic, which prompted the Committee to look for an alternative trekking route, said Purna Bahadur Gurung, secretary of the alternative trekking route construction committee.
“The number of tourists trekking on the existing route has not increased to the proportion compared to the previous years’ ratio due to the problems brought by vehicular traffic and the shortening of the route as vehicles have reached to places lying deeper in the trekking route,” Gurung said, adding it had been necessary to construct a new alternative route to attract more trekkers.
Along with the opening of the optional trekking route have started initiatives for the promotion of the touristic areas lying along the route and exploring new destinations for the tourists, Triple T Gurung, a tourism entrepreneur and one of the campaigners for the alternative route, said.
“Our objective is to retain the previous credibility of the Annapurna trekking route, to leave a positive impression in tourism and to bring economic prosperity to the local people,” he added.
The alternative trekking route has already been opened from Pumakhola of Besisahar to Khudi of Marsyangdi rural municipality. Signs and directions have been installed, steps constructed, wire nets installed at risky places and wooden bridges constructed on streams at different places lying on the route with support from Nepal Tourism Board.
The alternative trekking route is under construction further up from Khudi-Bahundanda to connect various villages in Manang via Syage. The hotel entrepreneurs who were otherwise worried with the declining number of trekkers and sagging business are now elated with the construction of the alternative trekking route.
Around 25 thousand trekkers traverse the Annapurna trekking route annually via Besisahar, the headquarters of Lamjung district. Before, the complete trek used to take 21 days starting from Besisahar and concluding at Pokhara, and passing through Manang, Muktinath and Jomsom of Mustang and Myagdi.
However, of late the trek has shortened to a week’s duration as vehicles have started reaching otherwise remote places lying along the existing trekking route.