Kali Gandaki Gorge

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Kali Gandaki Gorge
Kaligandaki ghasa.jpg
Kali Gandaki Gorge near Ghassa village, Nepal
Kali Gandaki Gorge is located in Nepal
Kali Gandaki Gorge
Kali Gandaki Gorge
Floor elevation approx. 2,520 metres (8,270 ft)
Long-axis direction N-S
Long-axis length ?
Width ?
Coordinates 28°42′24″N 83°38′43″E / 28.7068°N 83.6453°E / 28.7068; 83.6453Coordinates: 28°42′24″N 83°38′43″E / 28.7068°N 83.6453°E / 28.7068; 83.6453

The Kali Gandaki Gorge or Andha Galchi is the gorge of the Kali Gandaki (or Gandaki River) in the Himalayas in Nepal. By some measures the Kali Gandaki gorge is the deepest gorge in the world, being 5,571 m or 18,278 ft lower than Annapurna I which bounds it at one point. Gorge depth is difficult to define due to disagreement over rim height so this claim is disputed.

The upper part of the gorge is also called Thak Khola after the local Thakali people who became prosperous from trans-Himalayan trade. Geologically, the gorge is within a structural graben.[1]

The gorge separates the major peaks of Dhaulagiri (8,167 m or 26,795 ft) on the west and Annapurna (8,091 m or 26,545 ft) on the east. If one measures the depth of a canyon by the difference between the river height and the heights of the highest peaks on either side, the gorge is the world's deepest. The portion of the river directly between Dhaulagiri and Annapurna I (7 km downstream from Tukuche) is at an elevation of 2,520 m or 8,270 ft, 5,571 m or 18,278 ft lower than Annapurna I.[2] As tectonic activity forced the mountains higher, the river cut down through the uplift. This region is known for shaligram fossils, revered as one of five non-living forms of Lord Vishnu.

The Kali Gandaki river source coincides with the Tibetan border and Ganges-Brahmaputra watershed divide. The river then flows south through the ancient kingdom of Mustang. It flows through a sheer-sided, deep canyon immediately south of the Mustang capital of Lo Manthang, then widens as it approaches Kagbeni where high Himalayan ranges begin to close in. The river continues southward past Jomsom, Marpha, and Tukuche to the deepest part of the gorge about 7 km south of Tukuche in the area of Lete. The gorge then broadens past Dana and Tatopani toward Beni.

The Kali Gandaki gorge has been used as a trade route between India and Tibet for centuries. Today, it is part of a popular trekking route from Pokhara to Muktinath, part of the Annapurna Circuit. The gorge is within the Annapurna Conservation Area.[3]


  1. ^ Godin, L. et al. (1999). Allison MacFarlane, Rasoul B. Sorkhabi, Jay Quade, ed. "High strain zone in the hanging wall of the Annapurna detachment". Himalaya and Tibet: Mountain Roots to Mountain Tops (GSA) (328): 201. 
  2. ^ Annapurna (1:100,000 map), Nepal-Kartenwerk der Arbeitgemeinschaft für vergleichende Hochgebirgsforschung Nr. 9, Nelles Verlag, Munich, 1993. Also see Google Earth
  3. ^ Nepal Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation website