The Annapurna Circuit is a popular 20-day trek within the Annapurna Mountain Range of Central Nepal. The trek rises to an altitude of over 5,400 mamsl on the Thorong La Pass, touching the edge of the Tibetan Plateau. This trek crosses two different river valleys and encircles the Annapurna Massif, crossing Thorung La (5,416 mamsl), the highest pass on this trek. The mountain scenery, seen at close quarters, includes the Annapurna Massif (Annapurna I - IV), Dhaulagiri, Machhapuchhre, Manaslu, Gangapurna (7,455 mamsl) and Tilicho Peak (7,134 mamsl). Numerous peaks of 6,000 - 8,000 mamsl in elevation rise from the Annapurna Range.
The trek begins at Besi Sehar in the Marshyangdi River valley and concludes at Tatopani in the Kali Gandaki Gorge. The trail passes along rice paddies and into subtropical forests, several waterfalls and gigantic cliffs, and various villages. The Annapurna Circuit has often been voted as the best long-distance trek in the world, as it combines a wide variety of climate zones from the tropics at 600 mamsl up to the arctic at 5,416 mamsl at the Thorong La Pass and a great cultural variety from Hindu villages and temples at the low foothills to the Tibetan culture of the Manang Valley and the Lower Mustang. The cultural mix takes in Gurung, Manangi and Thakali communities and their traditional stone-walled villages, Tibetan-style monasteries and unsettling animist totems.
The people of the Manang District and Mustang District celebrate the Metha Festival aka Dha Chyang Festival every year in late April. The men apply rice tika on their foreheads and take part in boisterous archery competitions. At the end of the festival, a dance known as shabru is performed by the mostly inebriated villagers. The main objective of this festival is to wipe out the evil spirits and demons so that the people will be prosperous, healthy and happy.
Portrait photographs with complete exif data, geotags and other specs in Matt Hahnewald's