Perched on the foothills of the mighty Himalayas, Nepal is a natural fortress. A unique mix of vast plains and towering mountains, it is home to some of the most inhospitable heights that are breathtaking (pun intended). It will entice you to try your sinews and tempt you with its characteristic serenity – Nepal is irresistible to the adrenaline junkies.

Nepal also provides umpteen opportunities for an ‘up close and personal’ rendezvous with the highest mountain in the world, Mt. Everest, and other coveted terrains treaded by intrepid adventurers like Lhotse and Ama Dablam. The best thing about trekking in Nepal is that you travel through the villages for a good part of the journey. Savour this chance to know about some of the remotest areas in the world, the people and their culture. They are also amazing hosts, so much so that you may complete most of the popular trekking trails in Nepal without setting up camps for a night halt – the tea-houses are rapidly becoming a rage among the trekkers on popular trekking circuits in Nepal.

Popular Trekking Destinations in Nepal Tea-houses, as the name suggests, were initially set up by locals to provide weary and cold trekkers with some quick snack and a hot cup of beverage. Gradually, they expanded both in scope and reach – several tea-houses now offer basic accommodation and amenities at a nominal price, with a limited but possible chance of upgrade. These moderate lodgings are an integral part of ‘tea-house trekking’, as it is popularly known as in Nepal. Meet fellow travellers and share your story beside the warmth of fire over a home-cooked meal – pack your rucksacks already?

Everest Base Camp Trek

Before he ventured for the last and fatal climb, George Mallory famously said he will go back for a third time to the Everest because ‘it is there’. Such is the lure of the Everest, locally known as ‘Sagarmatha’. Most of the trek will take you through the Sagarmatha National Park, which is also a Unesco World Heritage Site. The park offers magnificent views and is a haven for musk deer, snow leopard, Himalayan tahr, black bear and several types of pheasants. Take time to experience the culture of the sherpas and visit the monasteries and museums on the way to understand your most trusted friends on the journey. Know more about Everest Base Camp Trek!

Everest Base Camp Trek in Nepal
Everest Base Camp – On my Wishlist

Annapurna Base Camp Trek

The Annapurna starts teasing you at Pokhara and does not give up until you are right in front of the enormous massif. Picturesque views of Machapuchare (meaning fish-tailed mountain; considered sacred by locals and therefore has never been scaled), Annapurna South and Hiunchuli can be seen from Ghandruk. The trails passes through the vegetation-rich Annapurna Conservation area – walk on the pretty rhododendrons and ferns amid the thick oaks and bamboos. Trees with thick bark, locally called Daphne, are found here and used for making paper. Know more about Annapurna Base Camp Trek!

Annapurna Base Camp Trek in Nepal

Annapurna Circuit Trek

For the more adventurous souls, Annapurna Circuit Trek makes a rather interesting trip. It offers great views of the Annapurna and Marshyangdi River throws up a challenge every time you cross a river on a suspension bridge or walk through the deep gorges it created. A big plus is that the length of this trek in central Nepal can be customised between 160 and 230 km, depending on how many days you want to spend. And you will not mind spending a fortnight among the incredible variety of natural vista – regale in the sub-tropical meadows near Besi Sahar and rise through striking alpine peaks enroute the famous Thorung La pass at 5,416 metres (17,769 ft) to descend into the Mustang region. Explore more about Annapurna Circuit Trek!

Annapurna Circuit Trek in Nepal

Gokyo Lakes and Gokyo Ri Trek

If you want to avoid the mad rush to the coveted ‘EBC’ (a popular acronym for the Everest Base Camp) and yet view the majestic peak, this is the one you should settle for. The turquoise lakes fed by the glaciers and view of ‘eight-thousanders’ including Lhotse, Makalu and Cho Oyu from the peaks can easily vie for the title of Nepal’s most memorable sights. This trek also takes you to Renjo La (5340m), one of Nepal’s most beautiful passes. Bust the myth of yeti as you walk through the Sherpa town of Khumjung, home of a ‘real’ yeti skull, and as you reach ‘Scoundrel’s viewpoint’ near the fifth lake, look closely for the Ngozumpa Glacier, the largest in the Himalayas that you may otherwise miss as a wasteland of rock and ice. Explore more about Gokyo Lakes and Gokyo Ri Trek!

Gokyo Lakes and Gokyo Ri Trek in Nepal

Poon Hill Trek

If short and rewarding is your idea of a trek then Poon Hill fits the bill. It takes you through a part of the Annapurna region and largest settlements of the the Gurung community. Allow the photographer in you full authority in these picturesque surroundings – virgin scenic tracts and an unforgettable sunrise at the Poon Hill along with a panorama of Annapurna South, Annapurna I, Annapurna II, III, and IV, Dhaulagiri, Lamjung Himal, Gangapurna, and Manaslu ranges among few others. Know more about Poon Hill Trek!

Poon Hill Trek in Nepal

The mystic monasteries, cute little monks, ponderous yaks grazing on quaint village fields and salubrious breeze from the high mountains soothe your city-battered soul like no other medicine.

You may have been to the Pink City several times before and seen all that the city has to offer. But going on a hot air balloon is enthralling in its uniqueness – feeling the crisp air on your face, taking in the immaculate view of monuments and forts, is an experience you will never forget.  As you glide over local villages on the outskirts of the city, the ride may take you very close to the undulating Aravalli, so close that you get a whiff of the rugged earth!

Hot Air Ballooning in Rajasthan India
Hot Air Ballooning in Rajasthan India

Hot air ballooning is now a growing trend in India, especially among the youth. However if you are travelling with children, hot air balloon rides are actually a great option to bond over, as ballooning is a calm experience unlike a helicopter ride or cliff jumping. Families are increasingly taking such trips that are easy on children and make parents happy as well. The trip is generally conducted in a group of four to eight people travelling in baskets that are divided into compartments and attached to the hot air balloon.

hot-air-ballooning-rides

Hot air balloon rides in Jaipur are held in the morning and evening hours when the wind is most stable. The morning flights start between 5:45 AM and 6:45 AM while evening flights are timed between 3:30 PM and 4:00 PM, except for summers when sweltering heat interrupts favourable winds for a smooth sailing.

Read on to know why a hot air balloon ride in Jaipur must feature in your to-do list.

The quiet and the beauty

As you see the earth fade away and the horizon becomes clear, immerse yourself in the quiet, far from the madding crowd on the ground. Soak yourself in the serenity and peace as the cool breeze brushes against your skin. You can certainly imagine the riveting view of a sunrise or a sunset while staying suspended high above the ground.

Hot Air Ballooning at Rajasthan

Mesmerising sights from above

Most of us enjoy the views while flying in an airplane. In that case, a balloon’s-eye view should definitely leave you awestruck. As you move smoothly over Samode Bagh and Palace, Amber Fort and Maota Lake, Shiv Vilas, Jal Mahal, Madhogarh Fort or Delhi Road, take a closer look at the monuments. Many of these are not accessible, while interesting features of others can be seen from above, which when viewed at ground level, tend to elude your peering eyes. Seize the opportunity to find out a missed minaret or simply feast your eyes by looking at the mundane from unusual angles.

hot-air-ballooning-rides-rajasthan-jaipur

Superior services and international standards followed

If you enjoy being treated like a royal family member in Rajasthan, opt for this ride. The organizers offer advance and real-time update about your trip. They also ensure you are received at your lodgings at the beginning of the trip and dropped after your ride. The equipment and gears are largely imported while pilots who will guide the balloon throughout the ride are well-versed with the prevalent practices. The operators go that extra mile to make you feel comfortable. If you are afraid of heights (the flight can take you as high as five thousand feet in the air), the safety briefing held before the flight will alleviate your fears.

A hot air balloon being inflated!
A hot air balloon being inflated!

Get to know the locals and their culture

As you sail through the settlements on the outskirts of the city in the hot air balloon, experience the vibrant local culture that mostly remains off-limits to the regular tourists. The guides on-board, rich in their knowledge of the local area and its people, explain the nitty-gritty of their life, traditions and cultures. Keep aside three to four hours for a complete experience, of which the in-air time will be about one hour. Believe us when we say that you simply cannot miss this chance of enriching yourself!

Book your hot air balloon trip in Jaipur and create your very own experience to be cherished forever.

Is winter the right season for trekking in the Himalayas? Of course it is! The Himalayan slopes turn magical as it begins to snow.

As the temperatures plummet below zero degrees and the sun rays breathe life into icy terrains for increasingly shorter duration, trekking can be a daunting task. But the rewards of traversing through snow are immense – the shroud of white covering trees and meadows meeting the clear blue sky is a treat to the eyes. You will be surprised to see how the weather changes from sunny to overcast in the blink of an eye – it begins to snow in no time. Listen carefully if you are inside a tent when it is snowing – you might mistake snowfall for raindrops at times.

Snow treks are little more challenging than normal treks because it involves more equipment to allow smooth movement. Common accessories like waterproof gloves, woolen socks, and scarves are a must along with specialised gears such as micro spikes, trekking poles, ice pick and gaiters that you learn to use during the trek. These gears are especially designed to ease your walk through both light and deep snow as well as ice sheets of various densities.

Bhrigu Trek with SnowMost of the winter treks in India include camping for night halts. You will not forget the surreal experience of taking a nap inside your sleeping bag laid on the snow. Nor will you forget the efforts made to drag your legs out of fresh, loose snow or doing a ‘Penguin walk.’ A typical style of walking resembling that of Penguins, this requires sturdy moves without lifting your leg much from the ground. This prevents tripping and falling on hard ice.

The best part of winter treks in snow is that it acquaints you to a new you! And more often than not, a good one, that you can take pride in. All successful and memorable snow treks are result of good team work; you make friends in the face of adversities and as is said, a friend in need is a friend indeed!

Snow treks in Himalayas will continue to beckon the adventure enthusiast in you. With its magnificent scenic beauty and a host of sporting options such as sledging, skiing, skating, snowboarding, and ice climbing, the experience will be unparalleled.

Here are some of the best winter treks in India.

Brahma Tal Trek

Brahma Tal stands as an exception when most of the popular trails of snow trekking in India are closed. As you wade through waist-deep snow on the trail rising steadily to the lake, take some time out for the fantastic view of the surrounding mountains – Mt. Trishul and Mt. Nanda Ghunti being the most prominent of all. Look around you to see the blob of colours indicating your fellow trekkers amid the white carpet of snow covering the forests and the meadows. Here’s a photo story of the ever beautiful Brahma Tal! Know more about Brahma Tal Trek!

Brahma Tal Trek in Winters

Winter Kuari Pass Trek

This trek takes you close to the highest mountain peak in India, Nanda Devi. So close that you can actually see the entire south west flank of the mountain, perhaps one of the rarest full flank views of any mountain in the world. Kuari Pass snow trek is ideal for fit beginners as well as experienced trekkers and passes through forests of oak and rhododendrons, covered in snow. The campsites are equally spectacular; the Khullara campsite has Mt. Dronagiri in the background while the Padiyar campsite is flanked by snow-capped pine trees. Know more about Winter Kuari Pass Trek!

Winter Kuari Pass Trek in Uttarakhand

Chadar Frozen River Trek

As the name chadar (meaning sheet) suggests, the trek takes you through the deep and icy gorges of Ladakh formed by the Zanskar River that freezes every winter. Revel in the sun rays, shining out of an azure sky, that reach the trail only around mid-day. Listen carefully to the sound the thick and thin layers make to watch out for thin ice layers and decide on where to step. The caves, where locals stay during their travel in winters, are an added attraction as much as the frozen waterfall and the elusive snow leopard conspicuous by their pug marks. Know more about Chadar Frozen River Trek!

Chadar Frozen River Trek in Winters
Walking on the frozen Zanskar River

Kedarkantha Trek

When most of the snow treks in India draw to a close, Kedarkantha flaunts snow until as late as April. From the Kedarkantha base camp, you get an unparalleled 360 degree view of the mountains. This trek also offers the prettiest of campsites, set on the edge of pine forests or amid snow-sheeted meadows as well as a refreshingly scenic drive passing through Mussoorie, Nowgaon, Purola, Mori and Naitwar. Know more about Kedarkantha Trek!

Kedarkanta Trek in Uttarakhand

Prashar Lake Trek

If you have only a weekend at your disposal, opt for this trek in Himachal Pradesh. The trail passes through forests, rivulets and local villages, and offers a wonderful view of Dhauladhar, Pir Panjal, and Kinnaur mountain ranges. It is one of those rare treks that bring to you a unique mix of natural beauty and Himachali culture. Know more about Prashar Lake Trek!

Prashar Lake Trek in Winter Snow

So, winter is here. Have you booked your trek yet?