Annapurna Base Camp is situated in the Annapurna region, towards the north of central Nepal. Named after the Hindu goddess Annapurna (the goddess of plenty), who is regarded as a manifestation of goddess Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva, the chief mountains in this region include the Dhaulagiri, Annapurna and Manaslu Himal . The Annapurna Himal, which lies between the Kali Gandaki and Marsyangdi river valley, forms a solid, mountain bastion. It covers a distance of 40 miles and encompasses within its range some twelve peaks that rise to an elevation of more than 7000m and numerous other lesser peaks. The region is regarded as one of the world's best trekking trails. The route to the original Annapurna Base Camp was discovered by Frenchman Maurice Herzog and his team in 1950. The Annapurna Base Camp trek leads to a natural amphitheater that is used as the base camp from which climbers start on their way to conquer the Annapurna peak. The peak reaches 8091 meters above sea level, and the base camp's altitude is 4130 meters above sea level. Annapurna Base Camp Trek: The trek into the area below the massive south face of Annapurna, known as the Annapurna Sanctuary, is one of the most popular treks in Nepal. The trek begins in Pokhara and leads up through the breathtaking Modi Khola gorge into the vast mountain ringed amphitheatre of the Sanctuary. The trail passes through bamboo and rhododendron forests with superb views of the Annapurna range. The high glacial basin is the site of the Annapurna south face base camp. This is a classic trek, which allows access to the high mountains of the Himalaya within a reasonable time frame. Annapurna Sanctuary, located at the head of the Modi Khola , beneath the rock face and snow fields of Annapurna South Glacier, is a picturesque valley, first discovered in 1957 by Jimmy Roberts. Ten peaks of 600800m rises from it. Machhapuchhare looks breathtaking from this viewpoint as also the south face of Annapurna. The Sanctuary falls within the area managed by the Annapurna Conservation Area Project(ACAP). The project encompasses more than 7600 sq km. of the Annapurna range. It was established in 1986 under the guidance of the King Mahendra Trust for Nature Conservation. ACAP projects include the training of lodge owners, with an emphasis on sanitation, deforestation and cultural pride. They have trained trekking lodge operators and encouraged hoteliers to charge a fair price for food and accommodation. ACAP encourages the use of kerosene for cooking and made its use compulsory above Chhomrong in the Annapurna Sanctuary and on the route between Ghandruk and Ghorapani. The project is supported by a "conservation fee" that is collected from all trekkers who obtain trekking permits for the Annapurna region The Annapurna Base Camp trail takes you through fascinating traditional villages of Nepal’s ethnic communities of the Gurung, Magar, and Thakali. The hike continues through dense rhododendron forest with towering snowy peaks in the background. The return walk is even more interesting as the trek winds around different ridges towards Ghorepani, where you witness breathtaking views of an early morning sunrise where a red halo seeps through glistening gaps over the snow capped peaks of the Annapurna & Dhaulagiri Mountains. The sceneries seen throughout this trek grace the landscape of the Himalayas where imagination defines the beauty of nature as an experience that can never be forgotten. The Annapurna Base Camp trek will be even more interesting in spring as the whole forest along the trail turns red, pink and white with rhododendron flowers. This wonder trip can be done anytime of the year except during the monsoons [July through August]. Climate, Flora & Fauna : The climate in the Annapurna region varies from subtropical to alpine. The southern slopes of the area has the highest rainfall rate in the country- 3000mm per year, whereas the northern slopes lying in the rain shadow has the lowest rate – less than 300mm per year. The difference in the climatic conditions in this region is responsible for its varied flora and fauna. It stretches from the subtropical lowlands and the high temperate rhododendron forest in the south, to a dry alpine steppe environment in the North. There are around four hundred and seventy-four species of birds, and around a hundred species of mammals. The Annapurna region serves as an excellent habitat for rare and endangered mammals like the snow leopard, musk deer, blue sheep, red panda and many of Nepal’s brilliantly plumaged pheasants.