Kali Gandaki Gorge
The Kali Gandaki Gorge or Andha Galchi is the gorge of the Kali Gandaki River in the Himalayas in Nepal. It is the deepest gorge in the world.
Kali Gandaki Gorge and the river flowing along its bottom owe their names to Hindu goddess Kali, who is the personification of the powerful forces of nature. The exact depth of the canyon remains unknown; it’s estimated that latter is more than 6,000 meters deep.
The upper part of the gorge is also called Thak Khola after the local Thakali people who became prosperous from trans-Himalayan trade. Geologically, the gorge is within a structural graben.
The gorge separates the major peaks of Dhaulagiri (8,167 m) on the west and Annapurna (8,091 m) on the east. The portion of the river directly between Dhaulagiri and Annapurna I (7 km downstream from Tukuche) is at an elevation of 2,520 m and 5,571 m lower than Annapurna I. As tectonic activity forced the mountains higher, the river cut down through the uplift. This region is famous for shaligram fossils (one of five non-living forms of Lord Vishnu).
The Kali Gandaki river source coincides with the Tibetan border and Ganges-Brahmaputra watershed divide. The river then flows south through the ancient kingdom of Mustang. It flows through a sheer-sided, deep canyon immediately south of the Mustang capital of Lo Manthang. Then, it widens as it approaches Kagbeni where high Himalayan ranges begin to close in. The river continues southward past Jomsom, Marpha, and Tukuche to the deepest part of the gorge about 7 km south of Tukuche in the area of Lete. The gorge then broadens past Dana and Tatopani toward Beni.
Moreover, the Kali Gandaki gorge has been used as a trade route between India and Tibet for centuries. Today, it is part of a popular trekking route from Pokhara to Muktinath, part of the Annapurna Circuit. The gorge is within the Annapurna Conservation Area.
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