One of the famous names of Himalayan rivers the Kali Gandaki risca in Mustang an enclave of Nepal Poking in to Tibet on the other side of the Himalaya. Here, it is a flat and braidad river flowing in an arid open valley: the explorer Michale Peissel ran this stretch of the river in a small hovercraft in 1973. At Kalopani the river drops off the roof of the world and cuts one of the deepest gorges in the world between Dhaulagiri height 8167 m to the west and Annapurna 8091 m to east. This gorge is one of the ancient trading routes through to Tibet and is now a favourite route for trekkers.
Below Tatopani the gradient esses and the river is probably runnable from upstream of Baglung. After the confluence with the Madi Khola, the river swings south through an area where tourists are almost unknown. The only road access in the 214 kms of river is at two places, Radi and Ramdi, and the river feels remote and wild. The few People you will see enthusiastically beck on you over so that they can meet you. There are few villages actually on the river - most are located on the river terraces some hundreds of metres above, where it is cooler and where there would be fewer mosquitoes in the monsoon.
The Kali Gandaki is named after the goddess Kali and is considered a particularly holy river, an auspicious place to be cremated. It is also a gold bearing river - we met several small groups who were sluicing and panning the gravels of the riverbed for miniscule amounts of the metal.
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