Ghandruk is the glowing Gurung culture village which is graced by nature and culture to please every trekker around the world. Without the appreciation and love showered by the trekkers on seeing its genuine beauty, Ghandruk won’t have been able to embark its name on the bucket list of many travelers. Ghandruk has also been listed as 13 of Asia’s most picturesque towns (https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/asia-beautiful-towns/index.html) by CNN Travel in 2019 which reflects that Ghandruk has impressed the photographers and travelers around the globe. Ghandruk is the must-stop destination for trekkers in the Annapurna Trekking Region.
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Ghandruk village is rich in its culture and hospitality complemented by its location, surrounding and picturesque view seen from Ghandruk. It showcases the lifestyle in the hilly region of Nepal accompanied by delightful close-up mountain views: Annapurna South (7219m), Machhapuchhre (6993m), Annapurna III, Gangapurna, Himchuli.
Ghandruk welcomes trekkers with traditional tea houses lodges and homestay, a hill-top temple, tea garden, horseback riding, and cultural experiences which provide a peek into the lifestyle and customs of the Gurung communities who reside at Ghandruk.
Members of Gurung, a Nepalese tribe, have served in the British Army's Gurkha regiments during many conflicts. There's a museum providing lots of fascinating cultural and historical insights to visitors.
Ghandruk is also the hub of the Annapurna Conservation Area Project to promote varied ecological projects along with cultural conservation.
Altitude and Geography of Ghandruk Village
Ghandruk is a Village Development Committee in the Kaski District of the Gandaki province, Nepal. Ghandruk lies at an elevation more than 2,000m/6,562 ft above sea level on the north-west of Pokhara valley. It is situated in the hilly region of Nepal on the route to mountain region around Modi Khola(rivulets) valley Ghandruk village lies at the hilly sides providing the dramatic views of the mystic peaks: Mt Annapurna, Mt Machapuchare, Mt Gangapurna, and Mt Himchuli.
Ghandruk is connected to treks in the Annapurna Trekking region of Nepal like Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Annapurna Circuit Treks, Annapurna Sanctuary, Poonhill Trek.
What is a Gurung Culture?
Gurung is one of the 59 indigenous nationalities of Nepal mainly residing on the foothills of Annapurna and Machhapuchre mountain range. The name Gurung is derived from the Tibetan word ‘Grong’ which means farmers. Gurung is also called ‘Tamu’ which means horseman in the Tibetan language.
Gurung has its own language called ‘Tamukwyi’, which belongs to the Tibeto-Burman language family. Gurung has a distinct culture, customs and practices include various belief systems, festivals, birth, marriage, and death rituals. Similarly, they have their traditional dances; Kauda, Salaijo, Ghatu: a dance drama performed by virgin girls in the spring, Rodhi: a meeting place where the youngster, gather for a company to dance and sing.
Their traditional religious scripture is known as Pye-ta Lhu-ta which contains oral accounts of their traditional history. They celebrate their feasts and festivals and carry out the ceremonies and practices related to worship, birth, death, and marriage in accordance with the Bon and Buddhist religion. (source: indigenousvoice.com)
Best Season to Visit Ghandruk Village
The entire year gives a different experience and view of Ghandruk village.
If you are looking for a clear sky and crystal clear mountain view with warm weather, you should visit during September –November. For the trails and hills decorated with pinkish rhododendron flowers, you should visit during March-May. Rain and snow occur occasionally at this time. The trail won’t be wet but obviously, be crowded by trekkers as this is the peak season.
If you want to escape from crowds and have full time at wilderness, you need to skip these months and rather trek from June to August or December to March. From June to August, it is wet and raining with the flora (not rhododendron) and vegetation blooming to the fullest. It is the best season for flower lovers and botanists but the mountains’ view may not clear up. From December to February, there is a high chance of snowfall, freezing cold and the path may also be filled with snow. You may find it too cold else the view and sky will be clear.
To observe Gurung culture and Gurung village lifestyle, you can visit at any time of the year. On New Year's eve, they have their biggest festival named Loshar.
Why is Ghandruk so Popular?
Ghandruk is one of the most popular villages in the Annapurna Trekking Region. Here are some of the reasons for its popularity:
- Ghandruk lies on the route to trekkers’ favorite destinations as Annapurna Base Camp, Annapurna Circuit, Annapurna Sanctuary, Ghorepani-Poonhill.
- Specialized in Gurung culture and traditions as the village is filled with Gurung, the ethnic group
- Stunning view of snowcapped mountain ranges: Annapurna, Machhapuchhre, Himchuli, Dhaulagiri
- Friendliness and warm hospitality of locals
- Museum to connect with local culture, customs, and traditions
- Service of cladding Gurung dress and jewelry to capture photos
- Availability of Short hiking trails and areas
- Tidy, well-maintained, and well-directed trails to Ghandruk
- Cozy and clean accommodation
- Easy Banking and Transportation services
What are the Ways to Visit Ghandruk?
Ghandruk village can be visited by roadways or by trekking.
Ghandruk is accessible from pleasant Pokhara city. Everyday public jeep and bus head towards Ghandruk village from Hari chowk and Baglung bus park of Pokhara. You can also reserve the jeep for your group.
If you are willing to trek to Ghandruk, you can begin it from nearby places of Pokhara as Nayapul or Dhampus, or Kande. You need to drive up to these places and start to trek to Ghandruk. Public vehicles are easily available to drive you to these areas. The trail is steep yet filled with greenery and breathtaking view and surrounding.
Ghandruk village also has a helipad for any emergency travelers.
You can contact the Nepal Adventure Team for any guidance or booking a Ghandruk trip.
Things to Do at Ghandruk Village
Ghandruk village is very small in comparison to the city area but it surely gives the experiences that any city can facilitate to any traveler. You should not miss doing the following things at Ghandruk village:
- Morning walk to Baraha temple
- Know the traditional equipment of Ghandruk village at the museum
- Clad Gurung cultural dress and jewelry and have photoshoot
- Enjoy morning coffee/ tea with the soothing view and chilly-warm surrounding
- Hike to a local tea garden
- Stroll around the village to observe tiny stoned houses and path
- Capture the panoramic view of the village and mountains