THE MARDI HIMAL TREK – COMPLETE GUIDE AND ITINERARY by a Nepali Trekker
Mardi Himal Trek
Mardi Himal Trek is a hidden gem that lies just east of one of the popular treks of Nepal, Annapurna Base camp trek. Mardi Himal trek introduces off-beaten trails followed by the rural culture, dense forests, and a diverse range of the breath-taking landscapes along with the snowcapped mountains which surely will be a lifetime experience. The trek was officially initiated back in 2012 which has successfully attracted numerous local and foreign tourists. Among a large number of trekkers, few of them make their way up to the Mardi Base camp which is located at the base of Mardi Himal and giant Machhapuchre.
Mardi Himal, considered as a substitute trekking route for the Annapurna trekking route surrounds landscape views of the mountains and greenery throughout the trek along with the classic Nepali trekking experience containing the essence of cultural and geographical diversity. It is a newly explored trek route which lies in the Annapurna circuit followed by the remote trails and breathtaking scenarios lead us to the Mardi Himal base camp located at 4500m of height where we can witness striking views of Annapurna, Machhapuchre, and Hiunchuli Himal.
Considerably, Standing east of the Annapurna Himal Mardi Himal is the lowest and least explored peak of Nepal. Mardi Trekking is a shorter trek with comparison to the Annapurna Base Camp trek. For Beginners as well as experienced trekkers, it has impressed all sorts of travel freak as it consists of the least explored section of trekking apart from the crowded trekkers through the south of the Annapurna Himal.
The trekking route we have followed is of Pokhara. After about six hours of the bus ride, we arrived at Pokhara which itself is one of the most naturally gifted and beautiful city of Nepal. We then drove to the Dhampus which is the starting point of our trek. We were accompanied by tourists and local trekkers. The walk starts with remote roads to the forest which leads us to Annapurna Base camp. With the beautiful landscape view of Machhapuchre, we then made it to the low camp. The accommodation was cheaper than we expected and the hospitality was warming. We were there during spring which is the plus factor since we enjoyed the heavenly beauty of blossom rhododendron forest. Trekking in between the forest made us close to nature. The spectacular demonstration of the striking beauty offered by the Machhapuchre, Hiunchuli, Annapurna, and Mardi Himal throughout the trek is of the best life experiences one can witness. We reached high camp and move towards base camp. The trek from high camp started with the steeper hills which are both risky and adrenaline-boosting. We descended at Jhino Danda for a natural hot spring and drove back to Pokhara.
Itinerary of Mardi Himal Trek
Drive to Pokhara (820m) from Kathmandu
After a long drive of around 6 hours on tourist bus, we arrived at Pokhara. On the way, we witness the Trishuli and Marshyangdi rivers. Pokhara is a very beautiful city where the landscapes views of Annapurna, Machhapuchre, Dhaulagiri, and Manaslu Himal can be seen. We enjoyed the lakeside of Pokhara and got energized for the trek which we started on the very next day.
Trek from Pokhara to Dhampus (1640m) to Deurali (2100m)
We had our breakfast in the morning and decided to start our trek. We drove around 2 hours by bus and arrived at Dhampus. Dhampus is the starting point of our Trek. We witness different communities living together during the trek from Dhampus to Deurali. We walk through the Rhododendron forest which offers a great spring vibe and the majestic view of Annapurna. We continued our off-beat trials to Deurali where the majority of Gurung and Magar have established their lives where travel accommodation and homestay is their essential source of income.
Trek from Deurali (2100m) to Low camp (3100m)
After proper rest and lunch, we decided to continue our trek. The trial keeps getting steeper from Deurali. The main problem we faced during the trek was due to leeches. They used to go right inside the shoes and create a problem for us. For most of the day, we enjoyed trekking in between the dense forest of Rhododendron, maple, birch to the forest camp. It felt like we were playing hide and seek with the mountains which were looming in distance. After arriving at forest camp we had some food and continued until we reached a low camp. From Low camp, the sight of Mardi Himal gave us an extra boost for the next day.
Trek from Low camp (3100m) to High camp (3600m)
Distance-wise, it was shorter but the trails of the trek were much steeper and risky. The trek offered us breathtaking views of Machhapuchre, Annapurna, and Mardi Himal. There were steeper hill and foggy clouds which can be seen from distance. The back and forth of the open meadow and scrub forest is its own beauty. The trail was really narrow and to the right, we saw Mardi Khola and Seti river valleys. There were no homestays and household after Badal Danda. We reached High camp after 5 hours of trek.
Trek from High Camp (3600m) to Mardi Himal Base Camp (4500m)
Last night we decided to wake up early and continue our trek since we have to reach high camp as well as return to low camp. We witnessed the spectacular Sunrise view from the viewpoint which was located at 4100m where the Annapurna and Machhapuchre blessed us with the reflection of the sunrise. We somehow managed to reach Mardi Himal Base Camp where the trail was covered by the snow. After spending some memorable time on base camp we descended to low camp and started planning for the next day.
Trek from Low camp to Jhino Danda (1780m)
We descended through the steeper trail where the forest was quiet and the birds were alive. The birds were singing songs, it was a beautiful day. The trail follows down to the hillside Siding which was above 500m to the river alley. We witnessed an Ethnic group of the Gurung committee – Landruk and following the trail we reached Jhino Danda where we enjoyed the natural hot spring.
Jhino Danda (1150m) to Pokhara
It was the final day of our trek. We decided to walk slowly as it was an easier hike than before. We enjoyed the view of the diversity of culture as we head down the beautiful valley. After having our lunch we denoted farewell to the trails and decided to return back to Pokhara.