Don’t know about you, but 2016 was amazing for me. I started the year with a bang, and that’s how it ended. Doesn’t it feel great when everything falls into place and all your dreams are realised just as you wanted them?! I hope it does not sound like I am bragging, but I get excited just thinking about it. Some moments that I had been longing for ever since I can remember, happened in the past few months. Here is an account of things that I checked off my bucket list this year:

Bestowed with dense forests and charming tea gardens, the town attracts thousands of tourists round the year, not just from parts of India but abroad as well. A place that promises a perfect escape from the hustle bustle of the city, the town of Bir offers numerous outdoor activities and thrilling sports; thus making it equally popular among tranquillity seekers, adventurous souls and nature lovers.

The beauty of the Himalayas lies not only in its majestic snow-clad peaks, but also in its indigenous people and wildlife…also in its rugged terrains, and breathtaking rivers and lakes. And to witness these facets of this region, nothing can better than a trekking expedition! So, if you are planning a trip to this part of the world, then be ready to indulge in some adrenaline-pumping trekking action.   

Ask any Indian if they like tea, and almost 90 per cent would answer in the affirmative. Every street corner you walk to, you will find a tea stall, and almost every time, they are literally crowded with connoisseurs and casual drinkers. Every morning, we wake up and have a cup or glass of tea. People from hilly areas, especially love their tea. Ask me, being from the hills, I can attest to the fact that for us, tea is one of the most prized things. Anyway, hill people or not, everybody loves tea here. There are so many local renditions of the drink in India: Karak Chai, Masala Chai and so forth. Unlike in England, where the 4:00 pm afternoon tea is like a whole culinary ritual with specially made finger food, tea time here is an occasion to take a break from whatever people are doing, and sit down together to chat and share some light moments.

It is not necessary to work for people; you could keep Mother Nature pure for the betterment of living beings. If you want to do something good for society and fulfil your duty as a responsible person, you do not need to be continuously attached to an NGO or make hefty donations. You could simply volunteer for a few days and help loads of people. Would you believe me if I said that you could do all this while on a vacation?!

Often, people ask me, “What activities can one try in November?”

November is coming, and I know most of us want an escape from our life since we have been working so hard lately. So, it’s not like we want a break, it is more like we deserve one, or rather need one. It’s been too long since I left work behind and went some place nice and interesting, and met new people who had amazing stories to share. While pondering the thrilling activities that can be undertaken to blow off the boredom in coming November, I came across the following options. Just read through to see if any of these catches your attention. Below, you will also find a few tips to prepare for the activities.

October is a truly magical time, when the long summer days begin their transition into long winter nights. The trees shed their leaves, almost as if they are getting rid of the old in order to welcome new life. You must remember those heart-warming images, pre-installed in our computers, of gardens, almost entirely covered by reddish-brown leaves, that’s the majestic autumn at its very best. This period is often referred to as post-monsoon in India. During this time, a continuous breeze blows, which may give us slight chills, but also bring pleasure to our soul.

Don’t you just hate it when it is September and raining continuously, and you cannot do anything, but sit stupidly at home? Well, I do and I am about to get really sick of it. I want to go out, damn it! And, I will. Who cares if it is raining and what if we get a little wet?! At least we will have some fun. So, here is the formula! Let’s just brave the rains and head out wherever our desire takes us. Now, for a long time, my mind has been fixed on trekking. Most people, I talked to on this front, told me that trekking should not be done in the monsoon. They said that the path will be slippery, there might be a danger of landslides and that the weather will be horribly humid. But, I have a habit of doing things, I know I am not supposed to. This is the whole point of adventure and thrill, isn’t it?

So, to satisfy my thirst for ‘insanity’, I sat on my laptop, searching for what all treks I could go for in September when the rains are at their heaviest. To my amazement, there were others like me, who had already done something like this and uploaded accounts of their experience. They had all written about how nature was at its prettiest during the wet season and how the grass was tall, dense and green everywhere they looked. What I liked the most, reading their accounts, was having clouds literally on one’s face and getting the chance to walk through them. There were numerous hikes I read about, but there were a few that really caught my attention.

The ones, I am detailing in the following sections, are all in the moderate-to-high altitude (11000-20000 feet) category. Places below 11000 feet altitude are your regular hill stations, and you don’t need September to visit them; these are essentially summer or winter destinations. At the above-mentioned altitude range, summers are characterised by snow, which has only started melting. It is only in the rainy season that it disappears and the real beauty of the place is unveiled. Keeping this in mind, I have specifically chosen the best treks in September. Read on.

Ladakh, as soon as the name is uttered, our minds are filled with mesmerising images of snow-capped peaks, high-altitude lakes and centuries-old monasteries. It is the aesthetic allure of this gifted place that beckons thousands of tourists every year. They probably come here to spend another vacation, but return with an experience that is unique and inexplicable. A great way to explore the spectacular landscape of Ladakh is by going on a trekking expedition, and that is something I believe everyone must try. The rugged terrain of this region offers all kinds of trekking trails, be it a strenuous one taking you to an altitude of over 20000 feet or easier ones that anyone can go for.

Let’s discover some amazing treks that you can try in Ladakh, even if you are a novice. People consider trekking as a very demanding activity which requires a high level of physical fitness. To be precise, the belief is not completely untrue, but will power and determination can make us achieve anything and everything. I have a job which requires me to sit in front of the computer for 9 hours a day and 6 days a week. And I confess, I do not work out too much; only when my wife pulls me to the gym with her. Does my lifestyle sound too similar to yours? It’s alright; we are just regular, modern-age people who are working hard to earn name and fame. You can imagine my physical condition; I’m not too fit but I’m not a couch potato either, and I have been on a few treks just in the past few years. Not in Ladakh, I am still to realise this dream of mine, but in Goa and Kerala. And yeah, they were FUN. More amazing than a tour I have taken to a hill station or some other place.

A few of the various trekking trails in Ladakh are fit for beginners. Read further to know the several options available from Treks in Ladakh For Beginners that you chose from.

The three months of monsoon with heavy rains and humidity are the most irritating time of the year, especially if you stay in those polluted cities. Before you can dry yourself with a towel after bathing, the humidity and sweat negates everything. You don’t feel like going out because the roads are all flooded as are parks and grounds. I always get the urge to leave home and go some place, where rains can be enjoyable. You will never believe what I found on the internet while searching for ways to spend the monsoon away from all the fuss. I found that I could go trekking in the Himalayas! Now, many believe that trekking is not a monsoon activity, but there are several hikes in the Himalayan Region that are specially meant for the rainy season. So, keep reading to learn about some incredible places you can trek to if you want to escape the fussy rains. Explore these monsoon treks in the Himalayas and take an experience of a lifetime!

Hampta Pass – Himachal Pradesh
A moderate level hike with a maximum altitude of around 14000 feet, it will take you to a surreal meadow with snow-capped peaks in the background and colourful flowers on the valley bed. Increase the fun by trekking further to Chandratal.

A friend of mine used to say that the entire point of a week is the “’weekend”. This was back when we were in school and I used to hate being held up at home on Sundays. I mean, which teenager has ever liked their nosy siblings and their company for half the Saturday and the entire Sunday! So yeah, back then, I failed to appreciate the value of this best relationship ever created by the human civilisation.

But things have changed now, like total recall! After having worked five days a week, behind a desk, all I wait for is the Friday night. From detesting weekends, I have grown to love them. But honestly, what do we even do on weekends? The truth, at least in my regard is, not much, apart from minimal physical activity, gorging on junk food and binge watching American sitcoms. Well, not the most exciting and healthy idea to spend your time, is it? And that is the reason my weekend plans are going to undergo a complete change this June. Apart from getting rid of a boring and unhealthy lifestyle, what’s special about this June is that the month also calls for an escapade to somewhere cool and pleasant. After much research and asking around, I have stumbled upon the best idea to make my weekends worthwhile, and yours too. Since you are reading my blog, I can safely assume that you love the prospect of spending weekends in a fun and stirring way than just lazing around in your home.

Another thing I can surely say is that 95 per cent of you (exclude the rest 5 per cent as these include people like my sister, who are just too phobic of high altitudes and cold climate) always fall for mountains and related activities. Well, among all the adventurous things to do in mountainous terrains, my personal favourite is trekking. That is why here I share my golden idea of blowing off the steam in June with trekking in the Himalayas. Further below you will find a compilation of the best weekend treks that have the potential to refresh you in such a way that the next few Mondays won’t appear as dreary as they really are.

It’s been almost 8 years since I started maintaining a travel diary and probably turned myself into a more observing traveller from a happy-go-lucky leisure tourist. Ah! 8 Years; seems like as if it was only yesterday that I had been to Goa.

Honestly, all these years of travelling has made me realise exactly what went through Aldous Huxley’s mind when he wrote the lines – “To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.” In my case, it was more about leaving behind all my prejudices and learning about different cultures and people, which somehow my geography teacher in school never stressed upon, unfortunately. And thus, I consider myself lucky enough to have been able to visit quite a few states of the country, especially the 7 sister states of North-east India, with utmost curiosity.

My first tour to North-east India was to the land of proud Ahoms – Assam, and it was pure bliss; from relishing local delicacies and enjoying natural vistas to my interactions with some of the most wonderful people I have ever met. Here is my pick of the best travel experiences in northeast India.

Assam – Kaziranga Elephant Safari – A Ride to Remember
Being a nature lover, I chose to first visit Kaziranga National Park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This protected region, which lies in the Nagaon and Golaghat districts of Assam, was set up in 1908. It is not only home to a high density of great one-horned rhinoceroses and tigers, but also several species of birds. Drained by four rivers, including the mighty Brahmaputra, this National Park offers fantastic safari opportunities, across its 430 sq km area.

Is it even scarcely possible to pinpoint exactly what actually drives hundreds of trekking enthusiasts to the great Himalayan Mountains, every year? Probably not! There are far too many facets to it that even posing such a question may seem preposterous. The mighty Himalayas have intrigued mankind since time immemorial and continue to do so, even today. Like a sage in deep meditation; aloof from the worldly pleasures, these mountains represent, as a painter would like to put it, a picture of calmness and stillness. However, it is a far cry from reality as these peaks pose several challenges for those who try to conquer their heights. But an adventurer would never mind such a scenario, and would actually thrive on it. No wonder, trekking in the Himalayan region is such an adrenaline pumping activity for adventure enthusiasts. Here we look at some of the most popular and the best Himalayan treks that have charmed these enthusiasts from decades.


ROOPKUND
If you are a novice trekker but a daredevil at heart, then nothing can boost your confidence more than a trek to Roopkund in Uttarakhand. With an elevation of approximately 15700 feet, it is almost equivalent to the highest summit in Europe – Mont Blanc! This mountain trail has everything that one can expect from a Himalayan trekking experience – vast meadows, dense forests (oak in this case), snow land and astounding vistas of nature. This expedition would give you an opportunity to witness the majestic Trishul Mountain from a close distance, and admire the beauty of Bedni Bugyal and Ali Bugyal – the largest high altitude meadows in India. Time and again many trekkers have expressed that going on an expedition to Roopkund has been among their most cherished adventure experiences. The duration of this trail is for 8 days and 7 nights.