Maximum Altitude: 8200 ft
Duration: 4 days
Nepal is the mecca of trekkers and mountaineers. You will see people talking about how many mountains they have summited, and how they have dreamt of climbing some of the highest peaks in the world. You can feel the adrenaline rush in the air. And let me tell you this rush is contagious. So even if you had no plans to hike, you’d want to once in Nepal. Don’t worry if you are just a beginner and relatively new to trekking. There are many easy treks around. And today we’ll be talking about Panchase trek.
Panchase is actually the name of a hill that is located in the Pokhara region of Nepal. Pokhara is a city of lakes, caves, mountains and is rich in natural beauty. It is also known as the gateway to the Annapurna Circuit. After exploring this pretty city, you should explore the area around it, and the best way to do it is – yes you guessed it right, climbing one of the hills.
Resting on the lap of the Himalayas, Panchase is a complete package with its pristine beauty, topographical diversity to go with the blend of historic, religious and cultural hue. The name refers to the “five seats of the divine mother” in which a person experiences five levels of existence including thinking, feeling, sensing, and manifesting from above and below – A surreal experience you will have while trekking. As the trek is located in the same region as the popular Annapurna Circuit and Ghorepani trek, it is often overlooked by hikers. And therefore you won’t find a lot of crowd on this trail and can happily hum a song while making your way through this hidden gem.
Unlike most of the treks, you will start this one with a boat trip across the beautiful Phewa Lake. A short climb through lush forests will take you up to the World Peace Pagoda. This Buddhist Stupa is one of the 80 Peace Pagodas worldwide, built in an attempt to unite people from all over the world and promote world peace. Here you get stunning views of the mountains, Phewa Lake and the city below. It is a popular tourist attraction in Pokhara, but as you continue on the trekking trail, the crowds will diminish.
Click here to read about Langtang Trek!
Major highlights of this trek include the beautiful forest through which you trek and the expansive mountain views. The forests in the Panchase area are very biodiverse, and much of it is classified as protected forest. Harpan Khola – the origin of famous Phewa Lake, Adhikhola, Ratikhola, Jarekhola and Seti Khola all of these small river and rivulets flows from Panchase. The world famous rhododendron, Sunkhari, Leksallo among other flowers are the staple products of the area. It has an especially large number of orchid species, at over 100, so keep an eye out for the beautiful flowers.
As you keep climbing, you will be rewarded with stunning views of the Annapurna, Machhapuchhare (Fishtail), Dhaulagiri and Manaslu which will form the backdrop to much of the trek. It’s one thing to get to see a mountain so early in the trek. Here you will see three 8000 meter-plus mountains from several points along the trail (Dhaulagiri, Annapurna I, and Manaslu). I told you, this is one impressive trail.
Not only will you see snow clad peaks in a distance, you will also get a chance to experience the hospitality of the locals here. You will cross many beautiful villages including Bumdi, Panchase Bhanjyang, Bhadaure, and Naudanda. Most of the inhabitants of this area are ethnic Gurung, Kami and Brahman people, and you will have plenty of opportunities to observe their rural lifestyles on this trek. You can even stay with the local families and share a meal of dal bhaat with them.
The forests are home to deer, bears and tigers. Don’t worry they’ll not hike with you. But you get great opportunities to see some of the rare birds and few monkeys on your way. The day you summit, there is an option of getting up extra early to ascend to the peak in time for sunrise. Panchase top is considered a sacred site for yoga and meditation. The top of Panchase is the best view point to have a panorama of the Himalayas and green valleys and terraces of mid-hilly region. Apart from the awe-inspiring view from Panchase Hill, it is also one of the best places to witness the sunrise as it bathes the mighty mountain peaks in golden sunlight in a truly remarkable sight!
The trek to Panchase will give you an unforgettable closer view of Himalayas, unbeatable landscapes, a chance to interact with different ethnical groups, untouched biodiversity and natural heritage site with the peaceful environment. The name Panchase refers to the “five seats of the divine mother” in which a person experiences five levels of existence including thinking, feeling, sensing, and manifesting from above and below. A name well justified!
Best Time To Visit
Panchase Trek can be done all year round. Mid September – early December is the best time to go trekking. The views at this time of year in Panchase are usually just gorgeous. March – April is the spring season and the second best time of the year for trekking. This is the time when the flowers start to bloom and the trails are really pretty. Winter (December – February) comes with clear sky but it can also get very cold. The months of May and June are really warm but the view of the valley is beautiful. Monsoon (July – early September) welcomes you with rain showers and plenty of leeches. The trail becomes really slippery and this is not a good time to trek.
How To Reach
You can take a flight from Kathmandu to Pokhara. Buses are also easily available and the travel time is about 7 hours from Kathmandu.
Click here to read about Ghandruk Trek!