This trek is popularly known as Royal Trek because Prince Charles did his first trek in Nepal in this area. The trek starts from Kalikathan (1372m) near Pokhara. You walk through Shyaklung (1734m) village and Chisopani danda (ridge). Trek ends at Begnas-tal (lake), about 10km from Pokhara. You pass through small villages that have remarkable ethnic diversity of Nepal. Highest elevation gain on the trek is 1830 meter. The best part of the trek is there are no tea houses and it is away from the crowded trail. This trek starts and ends in Pokhara though you can start from Kathmandu if you have flight in the morning.
The area through which the trek passes falls within the Gandaki zone populated mainly by the Gurungs who are renowned as one of the leading martial races in Nepal. Since the middle of 19th Century they have served with pride and distinction in the Nepalese, British and the Indian armies. Their homeland is the southern flanks of the Annapurna-massif, bounded in the east by the Buri Gandaki river, and in the west by the Kali Gandaki river.
Near the start of the trek many Brahmins and Chettris will be met, and village populations are often mixed. Living at lower altitudes, they farm land and provide many young men and women for government work in offices, the police, etc. Originating from India the Brahmins in particular have played a major role in the development of Nepal. Their influence has waned considerably in recent times because of modernization and development.
As the trek progress more villages populated only by Gurungs are encountered. They tend to live high up on relatively steep slopes, among maize and millet fields, and from these places cultivate rice fields on the valley floor. Their cattle consist mainly of water buffaloes with which they go up in summer to pastures as high as 3800 meters on the southern flank of Annapurna. The Gurung following Buddhist customs and have Mongolide features. They are normally short and stocky but the women are attractive. Tribal languages differ greatly. The Gurungs together with Tamangs, Sherpas and the Thakali speaks Tibeto-Burmese based languages whereas the Chettri and Brahmin tongues originate from the south. Now days most people speak “Nepali” the national language derived originally from the Hindi of the Rajputs.
Along the way many resting-places built for weary travelers are met. These are normally stone built chautaras stepped to provide temporary resting-place for the heavy loads carried on the back of porters. These resting-places are built by richer village dweller, or on the suggestion of a bahun (priest) to ensure good health and prosperity. These Chautaras are normally built round two trees specially planted for the occasion. One of these trees is a fig tree called ‘Bar’ and has big leaves, the other ‘pipal’ with smaller leaves. As part of the initiation the two are married with a full religious ceremony. ‘Bar’ being the husband, ‘Pipal’ the wife. Traditionally there used to be small pond built nearby and at the same ceremony this too is ‘married’ to the chautara itself.
Many of the chautaras offer the traveler fine views of the Himalayas to the north. This trek route should offer glimpse of Dhaulagiri (8172 m) to the west, and superb views of (from west to east) Annapurna South (7195 m), Annapurna I (8078 m), Machapuchre (6997 m), Annapurna III (7195 m), Annapurna IV (7507 m) and Annapurna II (7937 m). Then comes the Lamjung Himal (6985 m), and to the east Himalchuli (7835 m), Manaslu (8125 M). Within Nepal’s boundaries there lie eight out of the fourteen peaks in the world, which rise to over 8000 meters. Clearly visible on this trek are three of these great mountains.