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Annapurna Sanctuary

Coordinates: 28°31′48″N 83°52′40.8″E / 28.53000°N 83.878000°E / 28.53000; 83.878000
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Annapurna Sanctuary
Highest point
Elevation4,130 m (13,550 ft)
Coordinates28°31′48″N 83°52′40.8″E / 28.53000°N 83.878000°E / 28.53000; 83.878000
Annapurna Sanctuary is located in Nepal
Annapurna Sanctuary
Annapurna Sanctuary
Annapurna Rural Municipality 10,Ghandruk, Kaski,Central Nepal
LocationAnnapurna Rural Municipality 10,Ghandruk, Kaski,Central Nepal
Parent rangeHimalayas

The Annapurna Sanctuary is a high glacial basin lying 40 km directly north of Pokhara. This oval-shaped plateau sits at an altitude of over 4000 metres,[1]: 29  and is surrounded by a ring of mountains, the Annapurna range, most of which are over 7000 metres.[2] With the only entrance being a narrow valley between the peaks of Hiunchuli and Machapuchare, where run-off from glaciers drains into the Modi Khola River, the Sanctuary was not penetrated by outsiders until 1956.[1]: 29  Because of the high mountains on all sides, the Annapurna Sanctuary receives only seven hours of sunlight a day at the height of summer.[1]: 29  The south-facing slopes are covered in dense tropical jungles of rhododendron and bamboo, while the north-facing slopes, in the rain shadow, have a drier colder climate similar to that of the near-by Tibetan Plateau.[1]: 29 

The entire sanctuary was held as sacred to the Gurung people, one of the many native people to inhabit the area.[1]: 29–30  They believed it was the repository of gold and various treasures left by the Nāgas, the serpent-gods known in India.[3] The sanctuary was believed to be the home of several deities, from Hinduism and Buddhism as well as older animistic gods.[3] The peak of Machapuchare at the entrance was believed to be the home of the god Shiva, and the daily plumes of snow were thought to be the smoke of his divine incense.[1]: 30  Until recently, the local Gurung people forbade anyone from bringing eggs or meat into the Annapurna Sanctuary, and women and untouchables were prohibited from going there as well.[3]

The Annapurna Sanctuary is now part of the Annapurna Conservation Area Project, which places restrictions on number of outside travelers, gathering of firewood, and domestic animal grazing.[1]: 30 

Panorama of the Annapurna Sanctuary from the Annapurna base camp


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Ortner, Jon (1996). Where Every Breath is a Prayer: A Photographic Pilgrimage into the Heart of Asia. New York: Stewart, Tabori & Chang. ISBN 978-1-556704-39-0.
  2. ^ "Annapurna Sanctuary Trekking". Archived from the original on 2008-05-13. Retrieved 2008-08-05.
  3. ^ a b c Bernbaum, Edwin (1997). Sacred Mountains of the World. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 20. ISBN 9780520214224.

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