Ghandruk Village is a picturesque Gurung village in Kaski District on the Annapurna Trekking Trail. It is one of the most important villages on the Gurung Heritage Trail, which has preserved the old Gurung culture and traditions. Filled with pretty stone and mud cottages painted in white lime, the village lies within the Annapurna Conservation Area and is a joy to explore.
Located about sixty kilometers from Pokhara, Ghandruk, which a couple of years back could be reached only via a walking trail, is now connected by road. This has made life easier for the villagers as well as tourists. The construction of this road has also shortened treks to popular destinations like Annapurna Base Camp, Annapurna Sanctuary, and the Gurung Heritage Trail. The road access has additionally opened up opportunities for tourists who can't trek or hike to explore this amazing Himalayan village.
Ghandruk is a charming village that offers you an authentic Nepalese mountain village experience and impressive views of Himalayan mountains like Annapurna South, Hiunchuli, Machhapucchre or Fishtail Peak, and Gangapurna.
It takes only about 3-4 hours’ drive from Pokhara to reach this village. If you love trekking, you can hike all the way to Ghandruk from Nayapul, Birethanti, Ghorepani, or Dhampus. One need not be concerned about altitude sickness as Ghandruk sits at an altitude of 2012 meters.
Ghandruk Village Highlights
- Ghandruk is one of the oldest villages in the Annapurna Region. The village has been in existence for more than two centuries. Most of the houses in the old village are as old as the village. So visiting Ghandruk is like traveling back in time and experiencing the old Nepalese village lifestyle.
- This is one of the largest villages of the Gurung community, and you can experience authentic Gurung culture and interact with villagers who have been living here for generations.
- Soak in the sight of the beautiful snow-covered mountains without taking an exhausting hike. There are several viewpoints around the village from where you can enjoy majestic views of Annapurna I, Annapurna South, Hiunchuli, Machhapucchre, and Gangapurna.
- The village community put up a cultural show for tourists interested in traditional Gurung entertainment.
- Ghandruk lies on the route of several famous treks, like the Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Annapurna Sanctuary Trek, Ghorepani-Poon Hill Trek, and Gurung Heritage Trail.
How to reach Ghandruk?
You can take a local bus or jeep to get to Ghandruk Village. During the rainy season traveling to Ghandruk can be tricky as some portion of the road tends to get washed away by rain or landslide.
You can also trek to the village from Nayapul, Birethanti, Ghorepani, or Dhampus. Getting to the village on foot will let you enjoy more of the nature and rural landscape – terraced fields, traditional villages, forests, and waterfalls.
A visit to Ghandruk requires the following permits:
- TIMS or Trekkers Information Management System Card
- ACAP(Annapurna Conservation Area Project) Entry Permit
Both these permits can be obtained from Nepal Tourism Board's office in Pokhara by filling out a form and paying the required amount.
What to do in Ghandruk?
- Visit the cultural Museums and learn more about Gurung culture. There are two museums in Ghandruk – Old Gurung Museum and Ghandruk Cultural Museum. The Old Gurung Museum is housed in a two-hundred-year-old traditional Gurung cottage. The exhibits at the museum include artifacts like jewelry, household items, utensils, traditional clothes, and a tableau of the daily life of the Gurung community in Ghandruk. At the Ghandruk Cultural Museum, you can try out traditional Gurung costume and take pictures.
- Explore the north or old Ghandruk. One will find some of the oldest houses in the northern section of the village. Located higher than the south or new Ghandruk, one can enjoy astounding views of the Himalayan range from the northern part of the village.
- Select a vantage point and enjoy a mesmerizing Himalayan sunrise and sunset.
- Take a stroll around the village and interact with local villages that have been living here for several generations. There's a tradition for Gurung men from Ghandruk village to join either the British Gurkha force or the Indian army. You may come across retired local army men who have been decorated by the military for their valor.
- Jhinu Danda, which is famous for its hot spring, lies just a couple of hours' walk from Ghandruk. One can hike to this place and enjoy a relaxing soak in the hot spring. En route, you get to cross the longest suspension bridge on the Annapurna Trekking Trail.
When is the best time to visit Ghandruk Village?
The village comes alive during the annual festivals of Dashain and Tihar, which are celebrated at the beginning of the autumn season. Visiting Ghandruk during this time will let you take part in the festivities with the locals, which will enrich your experience.
Except for the monsoon season (June-August), Ghandruk can be visited at any time of the year. While spring and autumn seasons are the most preferred seasons for travel among tourists, people who prefer peace and quiet tend to visit the village during the off-season.
Accommodation and Food
There are a lot of accommodation options in Ghandruk. You can choose to stay in modern concrete guesthouses with all the modern amenities (attached bathroom, hot shower, wifi) or choose a homestay in an old local home. There's electricity and internet connectivity in the village. Many restaurants offer traditional Gurung, Nepalese, Indian, and continental food.
Ghandruk is one of Nepal's best-preserved heritage villages. This ancient and well-planned village gives you an insight into Nepalese rural lifestyle and culture. If you want to experience a typical village lifestyle and the mountains within a short time, then Ghandruk Village is the ideal destination. You can drive to this village from Pokhara within a day, explore the village, and return the next day.