POKHARA, April 23: For those dismayed over the construction of a motorable road along the Annapurna trekking circuit, the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) is mulling an alternative walking trail stretching along the Annapurna circuit.
The introduction of a motorable road has disappointed many tourists and trekking enthusiasts as it shortens the trek almost by half and pollution from motor vehicles is another setback, said chief of ACAP Manang, Parash Bikram Singh.
“Taking these complains to heart, we have decided to open a new walking trail on which trekkers will enjoy the scenery and the trek at the same time,” said Singh.
With easier accessibility along the trekking circuit, the 28-day route can now be covered in just five days. The trekking distance will shrink futher next year after completion of the motorable road connecting Manang district headquarters Chame to Tanki in the final phase.
“The alternative trekking route will be developed on the opposite side of the motorable road so that trekkers won´t have trouble finding lodging and board along the way,” said Singh.
Outlining the new trail, Singh said it would start from Chamche in Lamjung to cover Siran Tal, Dharapani, Thoche, Ekalbhatti, Danaque and Koto before reaching Chame. “The trail will then continue on to Manang villages and the survey for this part has already been done,” said Singh.
“Based on the preliminary survey, the alternative walking trail will be around 63-km long. The old route, which stretches from Chamche to Manang bazaar, is 62 km,” he added.
Construction of the alternative trail will cost around Rs 40 million, including all the bridges and wages for construciton workers, informed Singh.
“We can complete the project speedily if the budget arrives on time. As of now, we are meeting the expenses through ACAP and seeking financial assistance from Manang District Development Committee and the Trekking Agencies Association of Nepal (TAAN),” Singh added.
“The new trail will be three-feet wide and the construction will take around two years,” Singh further added.
Talking to Republica, Chairperson of Tourist Management Committee Manang, Binod Gurung, emphasized the urgent need for another walking trail.
“The number of tourists coming for trekking has deceased a lot in recent years, mostly after the introduction of vehicles along the trail. I am sure the alternative trail will lure tourists in future,” he said.