Mardi Himal (5,587 m/ 18,330 ft) is a mid-range mountain in the outskirts of the Annapurna Sanctuary. A ridge connects the Mardi mountain with the majestic Machhapuchhre mountain (6,993 m) adjacent to it. This region was completely unexplored by outsiders up until a few decades ago. When Colonel Jim Roberts and his British team ventured past the ridge across Mardi in the 1960s, they named it the ‘Other Sanctuary’, with the Annapurna Sanctuary being the first one.
Very few trekkers visit the Mardi Himal region even now compared to the more popular Annapurna Circuit. There were only a few far-flung tea houses in the route priorly but few guesthouses have opened up after tourists have started to trickle down in this route. Despite the recent rise in popularity, the Mardi trail is still much peaceful and lacks motor roads and vehicle sounds which are more frequent in the lower belts of the Annapurna treks.
We will get a stunning view of Mardi Himal, Machhapuchhre, and other peaks from the top of Mardi High Base Camp. After exploring the Mardi region, we will head towards Khopra Ridge (4,500 m) or Khopra Danda (with danda meaning hill). The beautiful Khayar Lake (4,600 m/ 15,091 ft) lies near Khopra Ridge. Because of the close proximity of the lake and the ridge, this trek is also known as the Khopra Ridge Trek. We will also get an opportunity to see the high grasslands and pastures during our trek to the Khopra Ridge and Khayar Lake. There are numerous other water holes in the vicinity of Khayar Lake.
We will walk across the beautiful villages of the Gurung people throughout our journey. Villages like Badal Danda, Dovan, Chistibung, Tadapani, and Tikhedhunga are the main attractions of the region. These villages provide a glimpse into the ancient culture of these people which has remained intact even up to this point. The path between these villages is covered in dense forests and sprawling grasslands. We will come towards Nayapul via villages like Santa and Tikhedhunga after completing the tour around Khopra Ridge. We will board a bus from Nayapul to Pokhara and then end our trip with another bus ride from Pokhara to Kathmandu.