Beautifully nestled in the Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh, Bir Billing is the hub of all kinds of adventure activities. Famously called, “Paragliding capital of India”, Bir attracts thousands of visitors throughout the year. Bir is a part of Billing Valley. The paragliders are launched from Billing and land down at the stunning site in Bir, after covering the distance of around 18 km. The landscape of Bir Billing features deep gorges, impressive snow peaks, misty woods, flowery meadows, lush green valleys, glistening lakes, gushing waterfalls and enthralling lakes.

A melting point of cultures

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Amidst the scenic and serene settings, striking temples, soulful monasteries and stupas represent a perfect blend of Himachali and Tibetan culture. Not only Himachalis, a sizable community of Tibetan refugees also resides in the village. The Bir Tibetan Colony features several monasteries and local restaurants, where travelers can enjoy lip-smacking delicacies with an essence of the friendly culture that Bir offers. The incredible sight of bhikkhus and Tibetan monks offering prayers in the monasteries give a sense of peace to one’s soul.

Many-splendoured Tea Gardens 
Famed for organic tea farms, the Bir Tea Factory is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Bir. As the tea factory remains open to the public travelers, visit the place along with their children to learn about the plantation skills of India’s most consumed hot beverage. Hills are always suitable for tea production and this is why one can find various kind of tea that are grown in the garden and processed in the Bir Tea Factory.

The factory is located in close proximity to Bir Bazaar, from where one can buy a selection of dry fruits, fragrant tea, handmade articles etc. In the tea garden, a sight of men and women labours dressed in traditional attires with a beautiful basket on their back is a great capture to the cameras of photographers.

Paragliding, Hand-gliding, Motorbiking, River rafting, Trekking and Camping: Bir Billing has it all! 

  • Soaring High: Tandem Paragliding
    One of the major highlights of Bir Billing is Paragliding. Nothing could be more eventful than flying under the sky from where you can see a whole different world around. Remarkably, Bir is considered as the world’s second best site for paragliding after Lake Como in Italy. Paragliders are launched from a lush green valley of Billing, which is situated at a height of about 2400 metres. And these paragliders land in the grassland at the western edge of the Bir Tibetan Colony in Chowgan.
    Landing at Bir Billing grounds
    Landing at Bir Billing grounds

    Keeping the protection in mind, beginners get a chance to enjoy an adventure-packed ride in a two-seater glider with a skilled trainer. Bir witnesses a huge crowd in October as it hosts the event of ‘paragliding pre-world cup’ every year.

  • Trek To The Top
    1
    Bir Billing offers a number of trekking options to the adventure enthusiasts and nature lovers. This activity gives you an opportunity to explore the exotic Himalayan flora and fauna, stunning rivers, gushing streams and waterfalls. From easy to difficult and 1 day to 1-week treks are available near the Bir Billing. Some of the trekking destinations include Sach Pass to Pangi Kareri Lake, Manimahesh Lake and Chamba over Jalsu Pass.
  • Camping in Bir
    India-Camping
    Staying at hotel becomes dull at times, especially when you’re surrounded by the mountains and lush greenery. To have a wonderful experience in the lap of nature, you need to avoid the option of hotel booking as Bir gives you a chance to spend a night under the glittery sky at some of the exquisite locations. While living in tents, you can enjoy the sights of splendid vistas of nature.

Plan a weekend in Bir
If you are on long holiday and have explored enough of Bir Billing, then you can opt any destination from the list of wonderful weekend getaways near Bir Billing.

There is no dearth of amazing weekend getaways from Bir Billing. Getaways like Manali, Leh, Ladakh, Kullu, Shimla, Dharamshala and McLeodganj offer peaceful surroundings that revitalize your mind and body with exciting activities. Other nearby attractions include: 

  • Deer Park Institute
  • Chokling Monastery
  • Dharmalaya Institute
  • Sherab Ling Monastery
  • Baijnath Temple
  • Drukpa Kagyu Monastery
  • Chowgan Tea Gardens
  • Tashi Jong Village
  • Chauntra Bazaar

If you’re looking for accommodation options at Bir Billing

  • Tatva Bir Camp
  • Siddhartha Greens Bir Billing
  • Hotel Paul Manor
  • Big Mountain Camps
  • Bir Resort
  • Camp Oak View

If you’re looking for some food joints…

  • Norgay Kitchen
  • Sterling Restaurant
  • Glider’s Pizzeria
  • Bruce House
  • Cafe Cloud Door

How to Reach this Amazing Holiday Destination?
Bir Billing is very well connected to other Indian states. As it is situated away from the hustle-bustle of city amidst the snow-capped mountains, one has to put an extra effort to reach there as there is no direct flight or train available from the major cities like Delhi and Mumbai. However, the travel journey to Bir is joyful and a one of its kind experience.

Flight: The Kangra Airport is situated at a distance of 68 km from Bir Billing. The airport is situated in Dharamshala and is very well connected to and from Delhi and Mumbai. However, passengers can board a non-stop flight from Delhi to Dharamshala and a connected flight from Mumbai. Notably, the air route remains closed due to bad weather, especially in winters. After reaching the airport, travelers have to hire a taxi or board a bus to reach Bir.

Train: At present, one can get a toy train that takes you to Bir Billing. Kangra valley railway runs a toy train from Pathankot, which covers the distance in 7 hours via Ahju. The distance between Pathankot and Bir is around 143 km.

Taxi or Bus: If you’re among those who always look for astounding vistas or adore long drive then you should visit Bir either by taxi or bus. You can board a bus from the Inter-state Bus Terminal (ISBT) and it takes around 12-14 hours to reach Bir. Notably, the distance between Delhi and Bir is around 520 km.

If you have decided to hit Bir Billing by road then you can follow these routes:

Route 1: Delhi>Ambala>Banur via Chandigarh bypass>Kiratpur>Anandpur Sahib>Nagal>Una>Kangra>Palampur>Baijnath>Bir

Route 2: Delhi>Ambala> Banur via Chandigarh bypass>Kharad>Kiratpur>Bilaspur>Mandi>Jogindernagar>Bir

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Is Bir Billing Accessible throughout the Year?
The entire summer season is an ideal time to beat the heat of hot cities like Delhi and Chandigarh. Here, the weather remains pleasant and the temperature ranges between 10°C and 22°C. Notably, the monsoon season receives moderate to heavy rainfall and the region might become prone to landslides causing blockage of roads. So, this is not an advisable season for a visit.

Despite the harsh and cold weather in winters, Bir experiences a heavy flow of tourists. Also, the months of October and November are perfect for paragliding and the average temperature ranges from 4°C to 12°C. The temperature drops below freezing point at night in the months of December and January.

What are you waiting for? Plan a trip to one of the most splendid tourist destinations in Himachal Pradesh to explore the fun like never before!

The most striking Himalayan peak, Kedarkantha is situated at an elevation of 3150 m, in the Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand. The rewarding summit to the ridge peak offers great views of 13 Himalayan peaks, such as Ranglana and Banderpooch. The trail goes to the Govind National Park which is home to exotic flora and fauna such as bears, leopards and musk deer. One thing that motivates you to hike further on the challenging course encompassing rough slopes and sharp ascent and descent is the ever-modifying scenery of this spectacular place.

Moreover, this trek is considered an idyllic destination for both the nature lovers and an ardent trekker. The trek begins from a peaceful village called Sankri, which is surrounded by the dense oak forest and snow-capped mountains. Also, the trek offers an exquisite sight of River Tons, which is fed by the glaciers. Filled with the majestic natural beauty and stunning views of the snow-clad mountains, trekking in the ‘Land of Gods’ always pleases eyes and soul of the trekkers. The course combines the contrasting views of snow-capped mountains, glacial pools and frozen streams on the lush green landscape. For those who love snow, Kedarkantha trek is a must-try.

Duration: 6 Days
Grade: Easy to Moderate
Highest Point: 3810 m (Kedarkantha peak)
Distance Covered: 22 km

Base Camp: Sankri
Airport: Jolly Grant Airport, Dehradun

Day 01: Dehradun to Sankri (1951 m) > Day 02: Sankri to Juda Ka Talab (2774 m) > Day 03: Juda Ka Talab to Kedarkantha Meadow (3429 m) > Day 04: Kedarkantha Peak (3150 m) to Hargaon (2713 m) > Day 05: Trek back to Sankri > Day 06: Drive to Dehradun

Here are the 5 reasons that would surely make your trekking experience a life-time experience:

  • A Drive in the Majestic Landscape
    Your venture to Kedarkantha Peak starts with a drive from Dehradun, which is a capital of Uttarakhand. The road from Dehradun takes you through the remotest routes and some of the most popular hill stations in Uttarakhand like Mussoorie and Purola. With bushes and green trees on either side, these picturesque roads offer an ideal surrounding to those who are hunting for peace, away from the buzz of city’s life.

    Kedarnath Temple Image Credits: photos.wikimapia.org
    Kedarnath Temple
    Image Credits: photos.wikimapia.org

  • Spiritual Walk to Kedarkantha
    Smeared in mythological connotations, Uttarakhand is one of the holiest of all Hindu pilgrimage centres. It is home to four great religious sites – Yamunotri, Gangotri, Badrinath and Kedarnath. Locals of Kedarkantha believe that this place was supposed to be Kedarnath as Lord Shiva wandered here in a bull’s avatar. After escaping from the Pandavas, he disguised as a bull to meditate in the valley. But the locals disturbed his peace and he fled from Kedarkantha to Kedarnath. Further, the villagers of Sankri believe that the Trishul of Lord Shiva, erected on the pile of rocks at the valley of Kedarkantha, guards them and fills the rivers of Himalayas.
    On the way to trek, you will come across an ancient temple, which comprises of Lord Shiva Lord Ganesha and Goddess Parvati idols. The temple is a must visit for Lord Shiva’s devotees and for the photography enthusiasts as it lends a great click for the camera.kedarkantha_trek__3_
  • Get Lost in the Mesmerizing Views of Smoky Mountains
    You will be rewarded with a dreamy view when green landscape will turn into snowy land. In winters, the forests of pine and trees showcase an ideal combination of frozen ice with greenery. The feeling of being surrounded by the smoky mountains is a completely a unique experience in itself. Also, in the winters, the Govind National Park remains open, allowing the trekkers to explore the hidden gems in the scenic mountains.
  • A night under glittery sky aside gushing river stream 
    The campsite of Kedarnath trek is one thing that will surely make your excursion faithfully spellbinding. Everyday with the end of 5-6 hours of trekking, your tents are set amidst pictorial scenery that would surely worth all your pain and weariness. A night under the fancy sky and on a frozen land is like that you have stepped into a dreamy world. The campsites of Pukhrola and Akroti Thach, which are surrounded by pine and walnut trees, give you a lifetime experience.
  • Splendid 360-degree view of 13 Himalayan peaks
    On accomplishing the summit, one can enjoy a dazzling view of famous 13 Himalayan peaks like Bandarpoonch, Kala Nag, Black Peak and Swargarohini. Nothing could be better than witnessing the magnificent and heavenly charm of these peaks with your naked eyes.

Best time to Trek to Kedarkantha Peak
Whether it’s summer or winter, one can trek Kedarkantha Peak at any time of the year. In summers, the trek which is filled with the vibrant fauna, green meadows, and lush emerald landscape always refreshes the trekkers’ soul. However, in winters, one can experience the breathtaking vistas of the grand Himalayan peaks and remotest villages, which are blanketed with snow.

Due to harsh climatic conditions in the high altitudes, it is vital for the trekkers to plan the trekking expedition carefully. So, one is required to choose the right time considering acclimatization as the priority before heading for the trek. The best time to hike Kedarkantha Peak is either from April to June or September to December.  

From April to June, the temperature varies from 3°C to 8°C in daytime and -5°C to -1°C at night.
From September to December, the temperature varies from -4°C to 6°C in daytime and -8°C to -3°C at night.

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On this expedition, you will definitely explore the beauty beyond your thoughts, and with that, you also get a chance to get a glimpse of the socio-cultural lifestyle of Uttarakhand’s folks. Meeting women who have come from far away villages in the dense forest, which is situated at a hilltop, to collect wooden sticks and fodder for their cattle is such a lovely experience that cannot be penned down in mere words. Kedarkantha trek is more than an excursion, it is an experience. 

Nestled in the peaceful abode of Jammu and Kashmir at a high altitude of 2,987 m, Ladakh is the most-scenic landscape in the north-west region of India. Said to be the coldest inhabited desert in the world, it is enclosed by the world’s highest mountain ranges, the great Himalayas and Karakoram. It is the raw beauty of nature that adds a mysterious, incredible and stunning charm to the beautiful landscape.

Completely isolated from the hustle-bustle of the city, the ‘Land of high passes’, Ladakh is well-known for its crystal-clear water lake, azure sky, magical clouds, freezing winds, extreme deserts, sand dunes and glaciers. In its serene demeanor, the land encompasses various ethnic groups, primarily Tibetans, Dards, Monpas and Muslims. It is a place where prayer flags flutter in the cool breeze and striking stupas covered with snow stand tall. Ladakh attracts several tourists from around the world as it gives a chance to reinvent thrill, excitement and adventure. 

Chang la pass, Ladakh
Chang la pass, Ladakh

Best Time to Visit Ladakh
Undoubtedly, anyone who visits Ladakh gets fascinated by its beauty and quaint charm. Witnessing the stunning views in the mountains along with trekking is one of its kind excitements.

You can visit Ladakh in the following three seasons:

Summers – April to July :  At this time, the passes are accessible, and pleasant weather and surroundings offer an impressive panorama. It is the best time to go on the trek, ride a bike and board a jeep. The temperature ranges between 15 degrees Celsius and 30 degrees Celsius.

Monsoon – July to September : Despite the irregular rainfalls, monsoon is also considered as an ideal time to visit Ladakh. A traveller can enjoy river rafting, challenging treks and masked dance performances during monsoons. Temperature ranges between 3 degrees Celsius and 17 degrees Celsius.

Winter – October to March : Ladakh is the winter destination for those adventure-seekers who are eager to experience the majesty of Himalayas. At this time, ardent bike riders undertake motorcycle expeditions to acclimatize with harsh weather conditions. One thing that gives an adrenaline rush is a panorama of jaw-dropping Himalayan landscapes, Buddhist monasteries, frozen lakes and rivers. The temperature ranges between 0 degrees Celsius and 15 degrees Celsius.

Indus zanskar Confluence Ladakh
Indus zanskar Confluence Ladakh

The Best Trekking Expeditions in Ladakh
To escape from mundane life and crowd, the Himalayas are the best place to please your heart and soul. If you’re heading to the Himalayas, then do not resist yourself from undertaking new adventure and thrill activities at higher altitudes. Hiking in the mountainous region requires a lot of courage, will and attention.

Here are the two most popular treks that one should add to the list of trekking while planning a trip to Ladakh.

Stok Kangri Trek

Duration: 10 days
Grade: Difficult
Max Altitude: 6120 m
Approx Trekking: 40 km
Airport: Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport, Leh
Route: Leh>Changma>Mankorma>Spituk>Stok Kangri>Leh
Best Time to visit: June to September (-2 °C to 15 °C)

Stok Palace
Stok Palace

Situated in the Hemis National Park and the Stok Range of Himalayas, Stok Kangri is one of the highest mountain peaks in the world. On the way to the summit, the trail passes through the rustic hamlets built in traditional style, glacial pools, frozen streams and snowy landscape. Visiting vibrant small markets, meeting locals and peeking into their lifestyle is a unique experience in itself. The trail offers a 360-degrees view of grand Stok and Yissay peaks, and Zanskar and the Karakoram ranges, against the white dancing clouds. The trek is quite challenging, as it involves brook crossings, slippery slopes, long hour walks and sharp ascents and descents.

It is a place where one can experience an ideal amalgam of natural exquisiteness with cultural splendor. The sight of large moraines, crystal crests and the lofty peak of Mt. K2 is just breathtaking. Before starting the trek, there is a need to get acclimatized with the harsh weather conditions and surroundings of the place. In the initial days of trekking, explore Stok Palace, museums, forts, monasteries and local markets. The mission to reach Stok will be accomplished after crossing Chang Ma and Mankorma.

This trek is a must-try for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts.  

Markha Valley Trek

Duration: 9 days
Grade: Moderate to difficult
Max Altitude: 5130 m
Approx Trekking: 75 km
Airport: Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport, Leh
Route: Leh>Spituk >Zingchen>Yuruste>Ganda La>Skiu>Markha>Thachungtse>Nimalingmaling >Kongmaru La>Shang Sumdo>Leh
Best Time to visit: June to September (2 °C to 12 °C)

markha

Surrounded by the towering and snow-covered mountains, the Markha Valley trek is one of the most alluring regions and preferred treks in Ladakh. The tributary of the River Zanskar flows in the beautiful village called Markha. The 9-day trek passes through the unexplored beauty of Hemis National Park and Gandala La and Kongmaru La passes. This trek will take you to the last village of the region, and also gives you a chance to enjoy rare sights of wildlife, such as the bear and snow leopard. The trekking expedition starts with acclimatization that helps you in getting familiarized with the surroundings. Later, you will head for sightseeing in Leh to get a glimpse of Ladakhi culture and Buddhists tradition. 

Under the glittery sky and amidst the gushing river, camping in Yurutse is a delight for trekkers’ eyes and soul. One will come to a dazzling sight of Zanskar Range after reaching Ganda La. The sight of convergence of three rivers at Skiu and Kangyatze Peak is a feast to trekker’s eyes. On your way to Markha, which is 6 km from the Skiu, you will come across several stunning streams.

How to reach Ladakh?

Ladakh on a motorbike expedition is a fantastic idea!
Ladakh on a motorbike expedition is a fantastic idea!

Those who are planning to visit the Moonland called Ladakh can reach there by flight, bike, jeep, bus or train.

Travelling by Bike : It is well said that for a bike rider nothing could be better than chasing the roads of Ladakh! To enjoy the surroundings of the scenic environment of this cold desert, one should undertake this trip on a bike. Bike ride to Ladakh is something which you will cherish for a lifetime. Srinagar and Manali are the two spots from where the routes lead to Ladakh. To witness the true majesty of Mother Nature’s creation, the road trip is a must-try.

Train Journey : The closest railway station to Ladakh is Jammu Tawi, which is around 700 km from Ladakh. One can hire a taxi or bus from there to reach Ladakh.

By air : The nearest airport to reach Ladakh is Leh Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport. The airport is connected to and from Delhi, Jammu, Srinagar, Chandigarh, etc.

By road : Ladakh is well-connected with Srinagar and Jammu by roads. There are two routes that lead to Ladakh – one is from Srinagar via Zoji La Pass, and the other is Manali via Rohtang Pass.

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Ladakh is a must for you if you want to write your own travel journey on the roads that take you to the doors of heaven.

Trekking is no less than a therapy, one that replenishes our body and mind from the routines we face while working so hard in the run for having a proper life. It teaches us a certain discipline, reminds us of how to live in the moment again as it throws us new adventures and risque routes in our faces. If you were to ever interact with an experienced trekker, you would find yourself at the receiving end of such time-honored wisdom; the adventure one seeks while lurking in the lap of nature must truly bring out one’s inner explorer, taking up a new path to ascend higher rather than taking a beaten up path must bring out one’s inner child eager to learn of new things, new places, new peoples. So, pack a bag because here are the best weekend treks from Delhi you can do today! 

  • Kasol to Kheerganga Trek
River Parvati in Kasol
River Parvati in Kasol

The Kasol to Kheerganga Trek is a two-day weekend trek in the serene Pin Paravati Valley. The trail of this trek is 12 km long, which comprises of numerous scenic viewpoints and mesmerizing waterfalls. During this trek, one will come across the sight of many waterfalls such as Rudra Nag. One will also get an opportunity to take a dip in the Kheereganga hot springs during the trek. At the height of 2960 m, trekkers will be experiencing great views. The best time to go on this trek is between the months of October – December and April – June. This is an easy grade trek.  

  • Triund Trek in Himachal Pradesh
Triund Top - weekend trek from Delhi
Triund Top

Known as one of the easiest weekend treks of all, Triund trek starts in McLeodganj near Dharamshala. Mcleodganj and Dharamshala are popular for its monasteries and trekkers can worship here before starting this trek. On reaching Triund after an easy trek of 7 to 9 kms, one will be captivated by the magical sight of the Dhauladhar Ranges. Triund is known to be accessible during all seasons of the year. In summers, the trekker will witness the greenery on the mountains at a complete scale. In winters, the trekker will witness white sheets of snow covering the whole terrain. However, the best time to go on the Triund trek is between the months September and October. With the total trekking path scaling to 18 km, the trekker will be reaching the maximum altitude of 2850 metres. 

  • Prashar Lake Trek
Prashar Lake trek in winter
Prashar Lake trek in winter

Of all the weekend treks, the two-day Prashar Lake Trek has one of the most beautiful locations. Located at a height of 2700 metres above the sea level, the Prashar Lake is a mighty pond in the shape of an oval. This dream-like lake is surrounded by green grasslands in summers and white snow sheets in the winters. Apart from the Prashar Lake, this trek offers a beautiful experience with its ridges, rivulets and mountain trees such as cedars, firs and spruces. Most of the surroundings including the lake will be frozen during winters. The trek starts and ends at the Jwalapur village.  It is also suggested that trekkers carry proper woollen clothes and trekking shoes with spikes. The total length of Prashar Lake Trek is 9 km and the best time to opt for this trek is winters.

  • Nag Tibba Trek Uttarakhand
Pantwari village, Nag Tibba trek
Pantwari village, Nag Tibba trek

The two-day Nag Tibba Trek in Uttarakhand is popularly known as a religious site by devotees of the Serpent God, who believe that the Nag Devta resides here. Located at the height of 3022 metres, this place is also a delight for the trekkers and mountaineers, who trek towards its peak. This trek offers a mesmerising view of the snow-capped Himalayan Range. The trek starts and ends at the Pantwari village. During the trek, one will get to witness the beautiful mountain forest and the view of famous mountain peaks such as Neelkanth, Black Peak and Swargarohini. This trek is a moderate grade trek and individuals facing any kind of health issues are required to consult a doctor before opting to go for this trek.

  • Tosh Valley Trek
Tosh village
Tosh village

The two-day Tosh Valley trek is one of the most amazing treks of all as it exposes the trekker to the deep mountain forests along the trail as well as the wide green meadows of the valley. Kasol is the starting and ending point of this trek located in Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh, located at the height of 1640 metres. This trek offers great views of the snow-capped mountains. On reaching Tosh, located at the height of 2400 metres, one can witness the sweeping view of the Parvati Valley dam and the scenic convergence of Tosh and Parvati rivers. This is an easy grade trek and the best time to go on this trek is from the months April to June in summers and from September to October in winters. 

Trekking Gear Essentials For Your Weekend Treks 

  • Insulated travel flask
  • Waterproof socks
  • Woolen cap
  • Trekking shoes
  • Tool bag
  • LED Flashlight/Headlamp with extra batteries
  • Extra pair of woolen socks
  • First aid box
  • Swiss army knife
  • Waterproof zip lock bags – 2 sets
  • Cell phone with powerbank
  • LED Flashlight/Headlamp – 2 with spare batteries*
  • Swiss army knife
  • 2 Sweatshirts
  • 2 Trekking pants
  • Windproof jacket with a Hood
  • Woolen sweater
  • 2 Sweatshirts
  • 2 T-shirts
  • 1 Jeans
  • Floaters
  • Woolen inner gloves
  • Micro-fiber quick-dry towel
  • 2 Handkerchief
  • Ready-2-Cook food of your choice
  • Dates, Dry fruits & Nuts
  • Biscuits
  • Chocolates or Energy bars
  • Milk powder
  • Tea Bags
  • Water bottles and/or Hydration pack

Pack a bag, pick a friend because your weekends are tied. It’s time to experience the best of nature’s bounty without missing out on much. Come back ten years younger from a trip to the faraway lands in the pristine lap of nature. 

Nestled at the splendid peak of Fateh Parvat and surmounting a height of 3,566 m from the sea level, Har ki Doon is one of the remotest places in the Devbhoomi of Uttarakhand. Its desolation, alpine vegetation and snow-capped peaks make this cradle-shaped valley, a perfect spot for trekking excursion. In addition, it offers several delightful views that leave the trekkers awe-struck, starting from the raw beauty of nature to ice-covered peaks of Swargarohini and Jaundha. The valley which is packed with the alpine meadows, stunning streams, vibrant Himalayan flowers and exotic wildlife species has many hidden gems that add an extra charm to the trekking expedition.

A Dream-like Trek to Har Ki Doon
Believe it or not – walking through the eternal meadow of Har Ki Doon is one of those experiences that remain entrenched in the heart and mind for life. The trail rewards you with fascinating views of mountain ridges, glaciers, ancient temples, alluring caves and rustic hamlets.

It is believed that this valley holds a religious significance for Hindus and shares its past with the age of the Mahabharata. According to the locals, the eldest brother of the Pandavas, Yudhishthira, scaled the Himalayan peak ‘Swargarohini’ on his way to heaven. Also, there is a temple dedicated to eldest brother of the Kauravas, Duryodhana.

High-angle shot of Sankri village
High-angle shot of Sankri village

The initial phase of trek begins from Sankri Village to Taluka, which is located at a distance of 12 km from Sankri. Further, the course goes through icy pools, alpine meadows, moraine ridges, and pine and oak forests. On way to the summit, trekkers get an opportunity to capture spectacular views of the valley in camera and learn about the simple yet amazing lifestyle of locals. Also, eyes will be fascinated with a sight of Brahma Kamal flower that blooms in a beautiful alpine lake called Mahinda Taal.

Location: Uttarkashi, Uttarakhand
Duration: 7 Days
Trekking Distance: 54 km
Maximum Altitude: 3566 m
Grade: Easy to moderate
Start Point: Sankri
End Point: Sankri

Best Season to Visit: With pleasant weather conditions, the Har Ki Doon Trek can be undertaken round the year, except the monsoons. From December to March, the region experiences incessant snowfall, thus, adventure enthusiasts need proper physical training and experience to head for the trek during this time. Notably, the average temperature ranges from 11°C to 2°C, although at night temperature dips below freezing point.

Moreover, spring season i.e. from mid-April to June is considered as the best time to engage in this expedition. At this time, the average temperature ranges between 22°C to 10°C.

Several trekkers undertake this trek from September to November due to safe weather condition. The average temperature ranges between 18°C to 9°C.

Warm-hearted locals
Uttarakhand is not only known for its majestic hills and religious significance, but also for its warm-hearted inhabitants. They are the one who makes this place a travel-friendly state. Visit the religious memorials in towns and villages and explore the lifestyle of people and traditional practices followed by them.You will be surprised to see that people of Uttarakhand keep culture and religion very close to their hearts. Their generosity and admiration for the travelers make the expedition one of the most cherished memories.

Quick Overview of Elevation Points: Basically, the Har Ki Doon trekking expedition starts from the capital of Uttarakhand, Dehradun. The drive from Dehradun to Sankri goes through charming villages of Purola, Nainbagh and Naitwar, taking around 7 hours. Situated at an elevation of 1950 meters, Sankri is the base camp of the trek that offers astounding vistas of the quaint Himalayas. Next day, move towards a small village called Taluka at 2560 meters. A major perennial Himalayan river, Tons flows from here. The trek heads to the final destination Har Ki Doon that stands at an altitude of 3566 meters. Leaving the mountains behind, descend to Taluka and then to Sankri.

Itinerary
Day 01: Dehradun – Sankri > Day 02: Sankri – Taluka – Seema > Day 03: Seema – Har Ki Doon > Day 04: Camp near Kalkatti Dhar – Har Ki Doon > Day 05: Har Ki Doon – Seema > Day 06: Seema – Taluka – Sankri > Day 07: Sankri – Dehradun

Har ki Doon Trek
Har ki Doon Trek

My Footprints in the Paradise Called Har Ki Doon

Unlike other Himalayan treks, Har Ki Doon trek deserves a special mention because of the splendid views it offers. Without any doubt, this trek is a delight for those who want to witness exotic Himalayan flora and fauna. For city dwellers, this is a perfect escape from the mundane life. A walk on lush green landscape along with snow patches is surely a delightful experience to one’s eyes and soul.

After planning an excursion with my two best friends, I landed at Jolly Grant Airport from Delhi. At the airport, we met our tour representative who welcomed us with a beautiful flower bouquet and a charming smile on his face. He briefed us about Sankri and asked us to wait for sometime as we had to wait there for our other fellow trekkers. Later, we became a group of 10 people with their arrival. We all boarded the taxis arranged by the tour representative and moved toward Sankri. 

The views of snow-covered hills, monasteries and temples were so stunning that they cannot be described in mere words. We had lunch at a roadside Dhaba near Nagthat. After 7 hours, we reached Sankri – a stunning village at Uttarkashi, which is located 13 km inside an exotic Govind Wildlife Sanctuary, where I captured splendid views of mountains animals like black peak, swarg rohini and bandarpunch. Further, the trail passed through River Supin and the dense forests of pine, maple and chestnut trees. The sound of gushing water and birds’ chirping poured into my ears like a melodious song. After reaching Sankri, we had a dinner at GIO camp Sankari.

village_in_himalaya__pczwm har ki doon

Next morning, we woke up to a spectacular view of sunrise. After breakfast, our trek began from Sankari to Taluka via Osla and Seema. In the initial phase, the trail was quite easy as it was filled with pastureland and vibrant flowers. Suddenly, it started raining and our guide instructed us to not move further. So, we took out our raincoats and after wearing them we sat in a place covered with trees. Showers made the trekking difficult and the trail turned foggy, however, the vistas became more alluring and mysterious. We crossed Seema Market and reached Taluka gradually. We spent a night in the tents under the glittery sky.

Today, it was the day to make it to the final destination, for which we had been waiting so long! After breakfast, we moved towards Har ki Doon. The trail was pleasingly undulating with a steady gradient, which helped us in maintaining good speed.

The aroma of orchards, Himalayan primroses and the forest kept seeping inside us, just like a magic these flowers create to attract a swarm of bees. The clear-crystal views of Swargarohini and Bandarpoonch peaks were a feast to our naked eyes.

Further, we crossed a cantilever bridge and just after that the path became extremely high and slopes turned rough and perpendicular. Climbing on that giant and the demanding trail took a lot of concentration and efforts. Despite that, it was a remarkable experience as success gave us an immense pleasure. En route, we luckily met local school-going kids aged between 5 and 8, along with their parents. We clicked several pictures with them and it was quite an overwhelming experience. Thankfully, I had a few chocolates in my bag which were distributed among the children.

Our next resting point was Charota waterfalls where we spent around 20 minutes and it gave us immense relief after a long exhausting day. Later, we reached Har Ki dun after a total of 6 hours walk. Sun had already set down in the valley but the enclosing peaks were reflecting the blonde shades of the sun. We captured several group selfies there and spent a wonderful night under the tents.

Old wooden temple in Sankri
Old wooden temple in Sankri

Way Back to Sankri
On Day 4, we moved to Hata Valley after breakfast. Trekking to Hata Valley was an experience in itself. We encountered with Shepherds came there from far away villages with their herds. In the afternoon, we came to Har Ki Doon.

Next day, we woke up to a beautiful morning in the valley surrounded by lofty trees and mountains. After breakfast, we descended towards Seema Market. We first reached to a temple in the Osla Village, where we interacted with the locals and collected more information about the place. Later, we reached Taluka from Seema and spent a night in the tents. Next morning, on our way back to Sankri, we captured amazing views of flora and fauna in our cameras. We reached Sankri after 5 hours of tiring yet fascinating journey. On last day, I headed to the airport with my two friends, after bidding adieu to our fellow trekkers and tour representative.

Do Not Forget!

  • Respect nature, wildlife and local traditions
  • Travel in a group of 3 to 4 people
  • Respect local culture and be sensitive towards wildlife
  • People with heart disease, diabetes, asthma or high altitude sickness should avoid the trek
  • Work on the fitness levels for the trek
  • Prior research is a must
  • Don’t try to compete with fellow trekkers, just set your own pace

A Handy List of Trekking Essentials

  • Trekking shoes/Trekking pole
  • Warm clothes/Mosquito repellent
  • LED flashlight/Headlamp with extra batteries
  • Extra pair of woollen socks/ Raincoat/Gloves
  • Sunscreen Lotion/ Sunglasses/Lip balm
  • Water Bottles/Energy drink and bars/Emergency Medical Kit

This trekking expedition to Har Ki Doon not only gave me a plethora of wonderful memories to cherish but also help me in conquering my fears. A closer sight at the jewels hidden in the snow capsule mountains is something that one should definitely experience at least once in a lifetime.

Undoubtedly, there are some beautiful chapters in our lives that cannot be described in words. A trek to Valley of Flowers and Hemkund Sahib was one such chapter for me! Located in the ‘Land of Gods’, in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand at an altitude of 3,600 m, this stunning paradise was unknown for centuries. The site was explored by the British mountaineers in 1931 when they came to visit Uttarakhand and lost their way. And then they stepped in the magnificent valley brimming with wide varieties of flowers. Hence, the gorgeous dale was named ‘Valley of Flowers’.

In 1982, the Indian Government included it in the list of national parks and UNESCO gave it a title of ‘World Heritage Site’ in 2004. The course to the valley also goes toward Gurudwara Hemkund Sahib which is situated at an elevation of 4,320 m.

Valley of Flowers National Park
Valley of Flowers National Park

Here’s when to plan a getaway 
One can visit the valley from mid-May to September as it is the time when the site is splashed with thousands of bloomy colourful flowers. It is known for 600 different types of flowers including the Brahma Kamal, Snake Lily, Cobra Lily and Blue Poppy.

Valley of Flowers in Hindu Mythology 
The dazzling land is said to be the abode of various Hindu deities. Some say it was garden of Lord Indira, Nandan Kanan. A few others believe that Lord Rama‘s devotee Hanuman found Sanjeevani here, the magical herb that brought back unconscious Lakshmana to life. Whereas the locals believe that this place was home to fairies.

My ‘Flowery’ Tale: Exploring the flowery bed on a 3-day trek 
I’m the kind of a person who wants to travel to each and every corner of the world. But my plan to travel Valley of Flowers turned out to be an alternate to Kashmir. Each journey brings out a unique experience leaving its imprints on my heart and soul in the most special way. When I visited the Valley of Flowers and Hemkund Sahib I truly felt that ‘Dev Bhoomi’ is nonetheless a heavenly paradise.

My journey began from Delhi to Rishikesh. My journey through lush green fields was simply mesmerizing. I had breakfast at Gulshan Da Dhaba, Roorkee. And the next stop where I halted my car was Haridwar, I visited Triveni Ghat and took a dip in river Ganges. I spent around 2 hours at this divine land. It was interesting to witness the religious significance that influences the lifestyle of the people of Haridwar. After two hours of driving, I reached Rishikesh and a cup of chai at a tea stall. There, I heard news that a landslide occurred on a way to Govindghat on the same day. So, as advised by locals I decided to spend a night in Rishikesh only. I had a dinner at Choti Wala and an amazing night at the rooftop of my hotel that was located along the bank of Ganges.

I could only manage to reach Govindghat by noon, which in itself was like an adventure before the trek began. Seeing locals cleaning the rocks on the road after landslide, I found myself trapped in Govindghat. Thankfully! My trek leader reached right on time, the man-in-charge greeted all my confusion and apprehensions with a stoic smile and somehow managed to assuage my fears of reaching the base camp Ghangaria. He also briefed me about the trek plan and introduced me to two other persons who were ready to hike with us.

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Day 1: Govindghat to Ghangaria
We started our trek to Ghangaria after a langar in gurudwara. The delight of visiting gurudwara is always amazing as it gives peace to one’s soul and it is open for everyone – regardless of beliefs, caste or colour. After walking 1 km, our guide advised us to submit our luggage to the porter as he thought we could not carry it anymore! We enjoyed a cup of tea and pakodas at Barsati Wali Chai ki Dukan. The course to Ghangaria goes along the River Lakshman Ganga for most of the way. It was quite a smooth trek as I didn’t have to trek uphill.

It was not only us, as there were hundreds of people who were going up in palkis and horses. Moreover, beautiful streams, waterfalls and lush greenery on our way hypnotized us. While trekking to this sublime beauty, we came across isolated hamlets, oak forests and diverse species of flora and fauna. We covered around 13 km to reach Ghangaria, we spent a night at Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam.

Day 2: Ghangaria to VOF
We woke up to a stunning view of sunrise amidst the ravishing panorama of lush green mountains. After breakfast, we started our way to VOF. The striking mountains helped us to regain our energy. A trail was filled with beautiful flowers and we finally scaled to Valley of Flowers. My eyes were glazed by an incredible sight of different kinds of flowers I had never even dreamt of. I enjoyed a sight of majestic flowers such as Balsam, Dwarf Globe, Brahma Kamal and Marsh Marigold. These exotic flowers were spread like a flower bed sheet that was stretched over an expanse of 87.50 km. A quote that comes to my mind as I write this is, ‘Nature is never in a hurry, yet everything is accomplished’.

A unique blend of snow-capped mountains, green meadows, and white clouds made our trek a dreamlike adventure. After spending 2 hours at VOF, we descended to our base camp where our guide had arranged a bonfire night and dinner for us.

Day 3: Ghangaria to Hemkund Sahib
We woke up early in the morning and started our trek to Hemkund Sahib, a revered site for Punjabis and Sikhs. It was a 7 km long expedition which began with a gradual incline through the Himalayas. On the way, we clicked several pictures of grazing cows and goats, stunning waterfall and lakes. It was like a tea house trek, as the course was lined with a number of tea plants. After two hours of trekking, we reached the point where the views of snow-capped mountains started getting better. Later, we reached a river gorge from where the oxygen levels started reducing. Somehow, we managed to reach the Hemkund Sahib gurdwara bang on time and the Hemkund Lake was just behind it. We paid homage at Laxman Mandir. We spent around 3 hours there and later descended back to Ghangaria.

Exquisite!

Spend some time in the serene lap of nature and visit this tranquil bed of flowers overlooked by towering Himalayan peaks. Don’t miss out on capturing some beautiful pictures when you do!

Everest is one of the most popular destinations in Nepal which is known for its majestic mountains and magnificent hills and peak. A trek to Everest Base Camp is a journey where dreams and expectations of an adventure lover turn into reality. Every step of the journey takes you to the most breathtaking mountain region and it also gives you an opportunity to get acquainted with the unique Himalayan culture and mountain climbers known as Sherpas. Moreover, while trekking to an altitude of 18,513 ft., you will be challenged by tricky slopes and curves, rough terrains and slippery path.

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My Meeting with Himalayas: A Journey That Changed Me Forever
There would hardly be anyone who doesn’t admire the stunning beauty of the mountains. The Himalayas have always intrigued me and I had never dreamt that it would ever be so accessible! While watching a video on YouTube, I learnt about the Everest Base Camp trek, and I was so fascinated by it that I decided to look more into it. After contacting a travel agent and planning a thorough itinerary of the trek, I began my prep in the rundown for this expedition and started working on my fitness level and physique.

Three weeks passed, and now it was time to board a flight to Kathmandu. I was welcomed by my guide at the airport and later we both headed towards our hotel. On Day 1, the guide held a pre-trek meeting where we were briefed about the trek and introduced to our fellow trekkers. Later, we visited world’s three UNESCO heritage sites i.e Bhaktapur Durbar Square, Boudhanath Stupa and Pashupatinath Temple.

Tenzing-Hillary Airport or Lukla Airport
Tenzing-Hillary Airport or Lukla Airport

Next day, we had an early morning flight from Kathmandu Airport to Tensing Hillary Airport at Lukla which is said to be the gateway to Everest. The landing at Lukla alone gave me an adrenaline rush as it is called the world’s most dangerous airport. Our porters were already waiting for us there. After breakfast and a brief stay in the tents, we descended towards Dudh Koshi River.

Dudh Kosi River
Dudh Kosi River

Our eyes were stunned by the beauty of the river. We clicked several pictures there and then moved towards Phakding. That day, the walking was quite easy and it took almost three hours to reach Phakding where the guide had arranged a night stay for us. We slept early that day as we were told that next day trek would be quite challenging.

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Our trek started at 8 am and we continued to walk along the bank of Dudh Koshi River. Crossing several suspension bridges, we entered Sagarmatha National Park which is a home to rare species like the snow leopard, musk deer and red panda. We met several Sherpas here and they shared their inspiring mountain climbing experiences with us.

everest From there, the trail climbs up steeply until we reached Namche Bazaar which is the largest village in the region. We were amazed to see quality restaurants, shops, hotels, bakeries and internet cafes at such height. Also, there were two banks and one ATM.

Namche Bazaar from the top
Namche Bazaar from the top

On Day 5, our guide told us that there were two acclimatization stops and after 5 hours of trekking, we reached Hotel Everest View, which is one of the highest perched hotels in the world. While sipping a coffee and gobbling a cup of Maggie, we enjoyed a beautiful sight of Himalayan ranges. On the way, we also visited Sherpa Museum where we saw photographs of mountain expedition of the greatest climbers i.e. Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay. The trail to the hotel offered spectacular panoramic views and luckily the weather was clear that day so we got a chance to see a magnificent view of Mount Everest and Ama Dablam. Another morning, the trek continued along the glacial river of Dudh Koshi. After 4 hours of trek, we reached Tengboche and visited local monasteries. It is believed that Tenzing Norgay spotted this monastery from the summit of Everest. The trail continued for one more hour until we reached Mong La, where we had lunch.

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Next morning, we walked through dense rhododendron forests and steep slopes. From the forests, we reached meadows and small grasslands. From there, we saw Cho Oyu, which is said to be the world’s sixth highest mountain. The trail took us to Inja Khola and then climbed up to Pangboche where we had our lunch. We captured mesmerizing views of Mount Ama Dablam and after 2 hours of trek we reached Pheriche and proceeded to the Imja Valley. Here, we passed through River Lobuche and went on a steep hike to Dingboche for overnight stay.

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Day 7 was an acclimatization day. As we didn’t want to lose this opportunity, we walked to a Nankan Sa Peak situated at 4,900 m. From here we got to see the world’s top three mountain peaks – Mount Cho, Mount Lhotse and Mount Makalu.

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Next day, we went from Dingboche to Dughla, the trail offered some of the best views so far as we enjoyed the sight of magnificent mount Pumori (7,138 m) and a glacial lake.

On Day 9, we climbed to Lobuche which is positioned next to the Khumbu glacier. We crossed Dughla Pass/ Thukla Pass.

Day 10 was the moderate trek of around 6 hours. It was an absolute glacier course which took us to Gorakshep (5,170 m) and it eventually proceeded to the Everest Base Camp (5,364 m). This part of hiking made me feel like I’m stepping towards heaven amidst the glaciers. It was the most important and difficult day of the whole trip. We continued walking on the side of Kumbhu glacier; it took 3 hours to reach the base camp where we saw colorful tents of mountaineers who were attempting to climb the gigantic Mt. Everest. We stayed here for a brief period and celebrated our accomplishment like winners. We clicked as many pictures as we could. Two hours later we found ourselves in the lodge at Gorakshep where we spent the night.

Mt. Everest in all its glory
Mt. Everest in all its glory

Next morning, with the support of the headlight, we hiked to Kala Patthar at around 4 am where we saw the most magnificent view of Mt. Everest. After breakfast, we descended to Loubouche for lunch and finally Pheriche which was an end to the wide Himalayan valley. Next day, we climbed down to Namche Bazaar and there we bought souvenirs. On day 13, we hiked to Lukla and on day 14, we proceeded to Kathmandu.

Take a Note!
Maximum Height: 18,513 ft
Difficulty Level: Strenuous
Nearest Airport: Kathmandu, Nepal
ATM: Namche Bazaar has two banks and one ATM point
Trek Time: 14 Days

Best Months to Visit
Except for January, July and August, all other months are suitable for the trek.

Trek Itinerary
Kathmandu – Lukla – Namche Bazar – Tengboche – Lobuche – Gorak Shep – Everest Base Camp – Kala Patthar – Namche Bazaar – Lukla – Kathmandu

What level of fitness is required?
A trekker has to hike at altitudes higher than 12,000 ft and that too for 6-7 hours daily. Also, due to lack of oxygen,  breathing issues are a problem. Thus, both mental and physical fitness are required for this trek.

Believe me, a meeting with the jewels hidden in the snow-capped mountains of Everest gave me an array of experiences and memories that one should definitely experience at least once in a lifetime.

Long gone are the times when adventure was reserved for Christopher Columbus-types. Today, mesmerizing trails laden with snow and rhododendron leading to a majestic view of the literal top of the world are accessible to even people having 9 to 5 lives. Sandakphu trek, a rhododendron trek, is not just a treat for the eye, but a chance to walk alongside the Sleeping Buddha, and so much more! Here are ten reasons why you are missing out if you haven’t planned a getaway to this little paradise yet:

  1. Rolling with the Rhododendrons 

    rhododendron-trek sandakphu
    Out of the few rhododendron treks in India, Sandakphu trek carried out in the northern part of West Bengal is a beacon of beautiful trails that are covered by rhododendrons in the spring. It’s a spectacle to behold with your own eyes!

  2. Chitrey Monastery: A reservoir of Buddhist culture
    Picture Credits: India Mike
    Picture Credits: India Mike

    The trek will begin from the Chitrey village that boasts of a majestic monastery and stupas. The government of Bengal has recently decided to promote Buddhist tourism and this is definitely going to be the center of attention. And for all the right reasons, just look at it!

  3. Kalaphokri or ‘Black Lake’kaliphokli-or-black-lake
    A bean-shaped black lake that is circumambulated by fluttering Buddhist flags is another highlight of your Sandakphu trek. It is rumored that even in really low temperatures the lake does not freeze. This lends it a strange charm, an air of mystery even. This will be your next stop after you cross Tumling.
  4. Lushness of Sandakphu’s natural charms: Forests, Waterfalls, Alpine Meadowssiri_riverThe entire hiking trail looks resplendent in the greens of lush meadows, dense forests and gurgling waterfalls and brimming Siri River. Often times, an exhausting trek through a forest will open up to a splendid meadow. Like, after you cross Lamyadhura.
  5. Spring tales

    flowers sandakphu trekIf you would love the mountainous air with a gentle smell, come down in the spring. Mountain trail through forests showcase blooming flowers all along. Spot magnificent magnolias blooming all along the trail from Chitre to Meghma.
  6. Winter is coming!

    snowedout_route
    Walk the willowy snow-laden trails of Sandakphu trek if you choose to visit in the winters. This way, the destination is not the only scenic spot on your map, the journey is filled with a whole lot of beauty as well!
  7. Wake up to the magnificent view of Sleeping BuddhaSleeping buddha sandakphu
    Kanchenjunga family of peaks seen from Sandakphu seem to be imitating Buddha in a sleeping position. The view is simply spellbinding.
    Right here, one can also spot the ridge between Goecha and Pandim which is basically called the Goecha la trek in Sikkim.
  8. Tumling’s tea estates and guest houses
    A guest house in Tumling
    A guest house in Tumling

    Tumling, lying on the Indo-Nepal border, houses beautiful guest houses. Lots of trekkers/travelers stay right here in the beautiful guest houses by the side of the ebbing river. To your right lies India and to your left is Nepal. Furthermore, on this trek, you will get to traverse through many a beautiful tea estate in the villages that lie on the border.

    After the ascent from Tumling, you will reach a point where from you can look at the entire Sandakphu trail lying ahead all at once. It will be the ultimate power-up you need to push through!

  9. Camping in Singalila National Parksingalila national park
    Spend a night camping at the best sites on this trek in Singalila National Park. As you wake up the next day, witness the sun rising from the Singalila range. This is truly what you came all the way for.
    You can also spot blue bamboos in the jungle!
  10. Witness the grandeur of world’s highest mountains in a 180 degree view

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    At Sandakphu, to the west lies Makalu, Lhotse, Everest, Nuptse, Baruntse, Chamling, Chomolonzo, Machapucchare and other peaks of Annapurna range. To the north, Sleeping Buddha and three sister peaks. To the east, Chomolhari. What more could a trek offer!

Is there any other trek that boasts of such spectacular views of the highest mountains in the world, blooming rhododendron alongside mountain trails that lead you through dense forests to vast meadows that are so lush, it fills your heart with an overwhelming joy?

Sandakphu trek can leave you speechless momentarily but it will give you a lot to reminisce and talk about later.

Located in the majestic Dauladhar Range of the Himalayas in Himachal Pradesh, Triund trek (3,000 meters) is among the most popular treks in India. The main cause of popularity is its moderate climate, snow-capped mountains, natural grandeur, green-lush valleys and serene environment. The exhilarating views of Kangra Valley from the Triund top feel like some fantasy. One can experience the exquisiteness of nature at every step of the journey. While the tricky route and tiresome curves on the way bring difficulty for the first time trekkers, chilly breeze takes away all the weariness as soon as you reach Triund peak.

triund_trekkingIn Himachal Pradesh, places like Triund and Mcleod Ganj showcase the Tibetan culture with vivid monasteries, striking architecture, prayer flags, wheels, vibrant markets and Buddha’s stupas.

Night camping at Triund is an experience to die for!
It is true that stunning views of mountain ranges, green forest and water streams will make your trip memorable but what makes it a lifetime experience is night camping at Triund top. A beautiful campsite next to gushing streams and a night spent under the dark blanket of white glazy stars will turn out as the best camping experience ever!

Where do we start?
There are several starting points for the trek but McLeodganj or Dharamkot are among the most popular ones. From Dharamkot, a 7 km trial goes to Galu Temple. Here you will witness a beautiful sight of the valleys and Dharamsala cricket stadium. Triund is just a few metres away from here.

triund

The Best Time to Visit
Triund trek is available around the year, except from January to February. The best time to visit is from March to June and September to October as at this time, there is no snowfall and the weather is quite comfortable to enjoy clear views of the mountains.
March to June: The temperature ranges from 20 °C to 10 °C during the day time and 7 °C to 2 °C at night.
September to October: The temperature ranges from 10 °C to 7°C during the day time and 5 °C to -5 °C at night.

Pack a bag! 

  • Warm jackets, caps and gloves (in case of cold weather)
  • Trekking shoes, Trekking pole
  • Water bottles, energy drinks
  • A pair of sunglasses, camera
  • Basic toiletries, bed sheets
  • Power bank, Flash light (with spare batteries)
  • Insect repellent, First-aid kit

Attractions Nearby:
A day at Dharamsala Stadium: You don’t need to worry even if you’re not a cricket lover; a trip to Dharamsala offers an enriching experience. The stadium is situated 1,457m above sea level amidst the setting of the pictorial Dhauladhar Range. You may not know this but it is a favorite holiday destination of Aussie cricketer Mathew Hayden.

Offer prayers at St John’s Church:  Designed in neo-Gothic architecture and dedicated to John the Baptist, it is a perfect place to offer prayers and click pictures. The church which is surrounded by Deodars, has the Belgian stained-glass windows donated by Lady Elgin, wife of Lord Elgin.

Take bath at Bhagsunag Waterfall: Take an early morning stroll to the stunning Bhagsu Falls located just near to the Bhagsunath Temple. It is one of the best tourist attractions in Mcleodganj. A 20 m high waterfall offers a spectacular view and it holds the attention of its visitors in such a way that they want to get lost in its beauty.

Attention, Shopaholics: Don’t forget to take back some souvenirs!
Kotwali Bazaar in McLeodganj is an ideal destination for shopaholics. Tibetans sell beautifully handcrafted sculptures, accessories and utensils. Prayer Thangkas, Tibetan artifacts and dresses, rugs, carpets, bronze or silver statue can be purchased from here.

Triund

Triund Trek Tales 
For city dwellers, hills are the best place to get a break from noisy city life and mundane schedule. And what’s better than going on a long weekend trip in Himachal Pradesh. Taking the benefit of the opportunity, I decided to ask some of my friends to accompany me on a trip and our bags were packed immediately thereafter.

Home to Dalai Lama, Dharamsala is all about grand monasteries, colourful flags, rolling prayer wheels, ringing bells and an abundance of flora and fauna.

Our journey began from Delhi at around 10 pm. The thrill of going to our favorite holiday destination doubled this time as we had a plan to scale Triund. On that day, we hardly slept for an hour, most of our night was followed by researching about the Triund trek. Next morning, our Volvo dropped us at Dharamsala. It was around 7 am and we checked into our hotel.

Tip: Though the Best Western Indraprastha Spa Resort is quite costly, they offered us a good discount as we used to visit it at least five times a year.

After a warm welcome by the hotel staff, we went to our rooms. We had a scrumptious breakfast and some of my friends decided to sleep for a while. I was a bit impatient as I didn’t want to spend my precious time sleeping. Thus, I first visited Dal Lake that was located very close to our hotel. My family had warned me to not come back if I didn’t visit Bhagsu Nag Temple so I decided to go check it out. I had planned it in such a way that my friends were already at the waterfall (Bhagsu Nag Waterfall), I took a pleasing stroll from the temple to the decided destination. After spending a little while there, we decided to move ahead and pay a visit to Tsug Lhakhang together, it is the residence of Dalai Lama along with his private office and temple. As we reached that place, the weather changed and it all turned dark and breezy. The sudden change of weather is kind of usual here, don’t worry. The only thing that gave us a feel of heaven was the mesmerizing beauty of lush valleys surrounding us and a spectacular view of Tsug Lhakhang.

Next, we were hungry so our next two hours were devoted to a couple of cafés like Indique, German Bakery and Buddha Delight Café. You will find everything here to soothe your hunger pangs: maggi, momos, pancakes, thupkas, pizzas. The night was spent at the hotel. From there, we immediately rushed to Naddi View Point to capture the sunset in our respective DSLRs. The night was spent in our hotel.

The morning of Day 2 was quite a lazy one. After getting dressed, we moved to Jimmy’s Italian Kitchen where we gorged ourselves in white sauce pasta and smoky red wine sauce chicken. It was like offering you something just at half of what you get at Big Chill. It was hard to move with stuffed bellies but somehow we managed to reach shopper’s paradise i.e. the Kotwali Bazaar. I bought a variety of jewelry for my cousins and a Buddha sculpture for my father who is an ardent devotee. We shopped around for 2 hours and later we tried the traditional Himalayan momos filled with Pak Choi and Potato. The breathtaking view is worth the hike.

We spent a night at Dharamkot which is a small village next to Mcleodganj. Here, we enjoyed the wood-fired pizzas along with freshly made apple juice. We also ordered a plate of pita and hummus and I must say that an entire plateful of hummus is not meant for people with low-appetite.

Triund top view!
Triund top view!

The final day had arrived! It was a time to pave our way for some adventure. A 9 km trek to Triund from Mcleodganj provides breathtaking view of Kangra Valley and snow-capped mountains. The trial was getting steeper and the curves were making it difficult for us to continue the trek. We had Maggi and some snacks midway. Reaching the top was worth all the puffing and huffing. I headed further up, after consuming a cup of ginger tea. Another halt was ‘Magic View Mountain’ which offers panoramic scenes. The splendid views of Dhauladhar Range, and overlooking Kangra Valley and Dharamsala stadium from the top were way better than what I expected. Under the shadow of the glittery sky, we had a camp stay for the rest of night.

Landing at Bir Billing grounds
Landing at Bir Billing grounds

The last day was quite exciting, we moved to Bir Billing in Palampur, where we decided to jump off a mountain cliff with a paragliding chute, situated at an elevation of about 2,600 m. I felt like a free bird when I jumped from the top. While swaying under the sky, I enjoyed mesmerizing views of lush green tea gardens.

A closer look at the jewels hidden in the snow-capped mountains gave me a gamut of experiences that I would surely cherish until the next time I visit.

Magical! Yes, it’s the one word that comes to mind whenever I think about the Roopkund trek. The fact that it has consistently been one of the most booked trekking destinations in North India owes to the snow-capped mountains, lush green forests, picturesque views and tricky routes. It challenges and thrills, puts your trekking potential to test and rewards you greatly, equally so. 

So, if you want to breathe amidst the striking icy glaciers of Nanda Ghunti and Mount Trishul, this is an ideal place to be!

Beautiful Views

Situated in the lapse of Chamoli District of Uttarakhand, Roopkund trek paves the way to Roopkund Lake which lies serenely at an altitude of 5,029 m. The biggest highlight for the trek though has to be the ‘Skeleton Lake,’ Roopkund Lake that supposedly consists of over 500 human skeletons. Spooky, right? [Legend: It is said that an ancient army who came on an unscheduled pilgrimage had faced the wrath of the Weather God as they travelled without his permission.]

The mythological mystery around Roopkund Trek; Nanda Devi Raj Jat Yatra
The ‘Nanda Devi Raj Jat Yatra’ is among the biggest religious yatras in the ‘Land of Gods’, Uttakhand.  The hill folks of Uttarakhand organize the yatra in every 12 years to honor Goddess Nanda Devi. It is said that people take her to Lord Shiva’s home which is located in the icy folds of the Himalayas. The three-week-long grand procession begins from Nauti village near Karanpraayg and ends at Homkund near Roopkund. Despite the harsh climatic conditions, the devotees remain barefoot throughout the yatra.

Where does it all begin?
Wan is the base camp of the trek and it is accessible from Kathgodam (210km) or Rishikesh (270 km). A trekker can take a bus from any of these two places. The bus will likely drop you at Deval which is 27 km away from Wan.

When should I start packing?
There are two phases during which a visit can be made safely:
May to June: The temperature ranges from 15 °C to 20 °C during the day time and 7 °C to -2 °C at night.
September to October: The temperature ranges from 10 °C to 15 °C during the day time and 5 °C to -5 °C at night. At this time, you can enjoy the clear view of snow-clad mountains.

Nearby Attractions
The Roopkund trekking experience is not meant for beginners. So, if you don’t qualify for the same or are simply not in the mood to explore the mystique of Roopkund, following are the places you can check out instead:
Brahma Tal and Bekhal Tal: These are two most stunning lakes situated near Hemkund.

Bedni Bugyals: One can witness the raw beauty of nature at Bedni Bugyal – a green pastures. It is also a stopover on the Yatra of Nanda Raj Jaat.

Hemkund Sahib and Hemkund Lake: It is the holiest place for Sikhs and Hindus. The glaciers from the peak of Hathi and Saptrishi feed the Hemkund Lake.

Facts and numbers for Roopkund trek
Duration: 7 days
Max Altitude: 15,696 ft
Trekking Distance: 53 Km
Grade: Moderate to difficult

Here is a shorter version of the itinerary…
Day 1: Driving from Kathgodam to Lohajung (2130m)
Day 2: Lohajung to Didana (2550m)
Day 3Didana to Bedni Bugyal (3350m)
Day 4: Bedni Bugyal to Bhagubasa (4100m)
Day 5: Bhagubasa to Roopkund and Junargalli(4750m) to Patal Nauchaniya (3850m)
Day 6: Patal Nauchaniya to Bedni Bugyal (3350m) to Wan (2550m) – Lohajung
Day 7:  Lohajung – Kathgodam

Roopkund Trek: A high dose of adventure filled with natural splendor all along 
To escape from the mundane city life, I decided to go on a trek to experience the serene beauty. The expedition was an opportunity to discover a wide variety of flora and fauna and the giant mountains that I had only ever previously dreamt of.

Kathgodam
Lohagunj– a fantastic starting point for your Roopkund trek

The journey began one morning with one of my closest friends from Delhi. We hired a cab that dropped us to Kathgodam – a town in the Uttarakhand’s Nainital district. From there, we both moved to Lohajung which was the base point of our trek. Even after a tiring journey, the excitement didn’t let us sleep on the bus. Travelling through a scenic route, we arrived at the destined place after 7 hours. The purest form of nature, Lohajung is replete with rich biodiversity. The beautiful surroundings of evergreen alpine forests were so captivating that we thought to not move further!

Next day, we walked through a pictorial forest lined with Himalayan cedar and oak trees. Crossing an old bridge over the River Neel Ganga, we reached Ruan Bagad after 2 hours of easy trek. Our guide told us that people also take a road route from here that goes to Wan Village. Despite the uneven terrain, the hike from Ruan Bagad to Didna village took just around 2 hours. The night was spent in a camp.

Meadows on the way to Roopkund
Green meadows that stretch as far as eyes go fill your initial trek

On day 3, the trail moved ahead to the village of Ali Bugyal which is one of the highest inhabited locations in India. Since I’m not a regular trekker, I opted for the easier route and it took almost 6 hours to reach the Ali Bugyal. To keep the pace with other trekkers and to reach on time, we were advised to consume dry fruits and energy bars. It really gave us energy throughout the expedition.  

Day 4 of Roppkund trek

Thankfully, we reached bang on time! We arrived at Ali Bugyal by noon where we enjoyed magnificent views of Nanda Ghunti and Trishul peaks. And it was right there that I couldn’t control my emotions and took around 170 pictures in just 15 minutes. Fun times! Later, we moved towards Bedni Bugyal – a campsite for our overnight stay.

Next morning, we woke up to the beautiful views of the sunrise. Our guide briefed us about the program and then, we all were ready to move towards Bhagubasa. A trail first entered to the coniferous forest that took us to an area of high altitude. After crossing a zigzag path, we reached the temple of Lord Ganesha ‘Kalu Vinayak’ which is constructed with irregular pebbles and bricks. We stayed there for about 20 minutes and we prayed for 5 minutes. After receiving much needed blessings from the Lord, we hiked further.

After 1 hour we reached a spot where we got an opportunity to capture the astonishing views of Chaukhamba, Neelkanth and Hathi peaks in our cameras. Though the distance was short, the slippery path made it a bit challenging for us. We reached our beautiful campsite at the hilltop of Bhagubasa after 1 hour.

Skeletal Lake; visit at a time when its not completely frozen to spot the skeletal remains buried in the ground
Skeletal Lake; visit at a time when its not completely frozen to spot the skeletal remains buried in the ground

It was day 5, our guide had set a goal for us and according to that, we were supposed to reach the lake in about 2-3 hours. The mysterious Roopkund Lake gave me an adrenaline rush. Our guide was carefully watching our steps around the lake as we were walking around the tricky terrain. It was quite a moment, as we viewed the human skeletons and bones. We all were so happy that there were tears of joy in our eyes. After hugging each other, some of our group mates moved towards Junargali ridge. However, I spend time in capturing gorgeous views of the mountains. After staying up there for an hour, we later headed back to Patal Nauchaniya. It was a long walk down and we stopped at two spots for rest along the way. After reaching the camp, we realized that it was time to celebrate our victory! We organized a bonfire, played cards and finally, clicked a lot of group photos.

Day 6,7 : The way back to Kathgodam
We woke up at 5 am and after grabbing toasts from the camp we tramped down to the forest of pine, rhododendron and oak to reach Wan village. We had a scrumptious lunch at a Garhwali restaurant which served us traditionally style Thali filled with local food. We went back to Lohagunj and spent the night in tents at the campsite. After saying goodbye to each other, we moved to Kathgodam.

Mobile connectivity and ATM facility
One can find ATM machines in two places i.e. Kathgodam and Dewal. Notably, there is no ATM after crossing Dewal as the trek begins from here.
Most of the mobile networks work at Lohajung. There is hardly any connectivity in the mountains which means all important calls should be made at Lohajung.

Things to carry

  • Trekking pole, trekking shoes, 6-7 pair of socks, power bank
  • Sweaters, warm jackets, caps and gloves
  • Sunscreen lotion
  • Water bottles, backpack, energy bars and drinks
  • A pair of sunglasses, camera
  • Basic toiletries, bed sheets
  • Flash light (with spare batteries) and Swiss knife
  • Insect repellent, emergency medical kit
  • First-aid kit, binoculars, sleeping bag

And with that, the dreamy journey of 7 days came to an end. What I brought back with me was a box full of beautiful memories.

The Divine beauty of Sikkim – Goecha La (16207.35 ft)

Situated in the Himalayan range of North-East Mountains, Goecha La is a tiny yet unforgettable place for thousands of adventure lovers across the world. Perched amidst striking hills and multi-colored flora and fauna, Goecha La trek takes you toward the astonishing beauty called Kanchenjunga National Park. It is not just the third-highest mountain in the world, Kanchenjunga, that makes the Goecha La trek such a great pleasure but also the other big summits that can be clearly seen from here around the year. You can also spot the splendor of various mountains like Talung, Kabru, Pandim and Simvo during the trek.

Mt. Kanchenjunga
Mt. Kanchenjunga; it is said that when government officials first witnessed the view of majestic Kanchenjunga from Goecha La, they were so impressed by the scenic sight that they thought to feature it on the Rs.100 note!

Get going to Goecha La

One should visit Goecha La from September to November as during this period you can see the snow-clad mountains clearly. Trekking in the cold climate would be a bit tough but if you’re aspired to scale the mountain, you will notice that you’re easily tackling both the rough and slippery paths. Moreover, you can also start your trek anytime between April and June.

Temperature Tally 

April to June: The temperature ranges from 15 °C to 22 °C during the day time and 7°C to -1 °C at night.
September to November: The temperature ranges from 10 °C to 15 °C during a day time and 5 °C to -5 °C at night.

Facts about Goecha La you need to know before you visit 

Trekking Distance: 90 Km
Maximum Altitude: 16207.35 ft (approx)
Duration: 11 Nights and 12 Days
Grade: Moderate to Challenging

Are you ready for a challenge? Beware: Goecha la is not for beginners!
Are you ready for a challenge? Beware: Goecha la is not for beginners!

Exploring the charm of Goecha La; a step-by-step guide 

The adventure began from Bagdogra Airport to Jalpaiguri, West Bengal. I boarded a vehicle to reach a hamlet called Yuksom which is located in the West District of Sikkim. On my way, I witnessed the amazing sight of striking mountains, lush green valleys, misty clouds and locals who were dressed beautifully in their traditional
dresses. The one thing that actually put me at ease immediately was how the locals, especially kids, greeted me with a heartfelt smile.

Once I reached the hotel, I gorged on some hot snacks and a cup of delightful coffee. I didn’t want to waste any time, so, in the evening, I visited Tashiding Monastery and Khecheopalri Lake with one of my trek companions whom I had met in the hotel. Next morning, we woke up to the beautiful views of the sunrise. Our guide briefed us about the program and then, we all were ready to move towards Sachen. We arrived at the destined place after crossing the valley of the river called Rathong, a trail that entered to the coniferous forest, several villages filled with mud houses; Pha Khola – a suspension bridge over a stream; a stunning waterfall, and Mentongang River.

bridge
Crossing Sachen, one step after another

We started our trek to Tshoka the very next day. While trekking to this sublime beauty, we passed through a bridge over Perk Chu stream, the off-beat trail, isolated hamlets, and Bakhim – a place surrounded by diverse species of flora and fauna. At Bakhim, we stopped by a food stall that served scrumptious momos and Maggi. Here, we got an opportunity to call our family members or friends as the networks of BSNL and Airtel were working quite well at this place. We spent a night at this charming campsite that completely won our heart!

The way to Dzongri via Phedang is quite beautiful, it is an easy climb and I found myself up there just after 1 hour of trekking. Frankly, I was a bit scared because a few people warned us beforehand that it would be an 80-degree steep climb.  However, setting up camps and staying at Dzongri while being surrounded by mountains from all sides was absolutely heartwarming.

Don’t forget to take a good number of pictures and group selfies after reaching Dzongri!

Camping on the Goecha La trek
Camping on the Goecha La trek

We arrived at Thansing via Kokchurang – an uneven slope with a river flowing beside it and evergreen coniferous vegetation. Thansing was a place where I felt like I was walking in the clouds, with crystal clear views of Mt. Kanchenjunga and Mt. Pandim. The clouds turned dark and the valley echoed with the sound of thundering. Though the views were splendid, the joy and excitement stopped right there, as we were freezing. By god’s grace, we woke up to clear skies and sunny weather the next day.

We wore our headphones and enjoyed the 2 hour trek to Lamuney. Before ending the journey for that day, we spent some time at Samiti Lake where we got an opportunity to see wild blue deer, a natural rarity. In the end, it was quite a lucky day for us as it was a full moon night and we enjoyed a glimpse of Mt. Kanchenjunga in the shadow of stars and moonlight.

Climbing to Goecha La was the toughest part of the whole expedition as trekkers are not only required to scale the heights of Goecha La but also supposed to pave their way back to Kokchurang. We woke up at 3 am. We hiked to the mountain and reached the plateau of Zemathang glacier that was covered by a thick layer of snow. Around 5.30 am, we witnessed the sunrise over the Kanchenjunga Range. We reached Goecha La pass in another 2 hours. It is said to be the highest point of the trek which acts as the base camp for the mountaineers who take a challenge to scale Mount Kanchenjunga.

After capturing picturesque views of mountains and group pictures in our cameras, we began our trek down to Kokchurang. That day, we erected the tents for ourselves to spend a night by the riverside.

The ending of a journey: Kokchurang to Tshoka – Tshoka to Yuksom – Drive back to NJP

We started our downward journey to Tshoka via Phedang. As there was no elevation, we quickly covered a distance of around 10 km within 4 hours. We rested for a while in Phedang and then started our journey towards Tshoka that took around 3 hours. Here we met some locals who served us lip-smacking traditional foods such as Dhindo, Thukpa and Sha phaley.

Yuksom; get a cultural fix on the trek as you get to interact closely with the locals
Yuksom; get a cultural fix on the trek as you get to interact closely with the locals

Next day for Yuksom, we followed the same route that we used to reach Golcha via Bhakim and Sachen. The night was spent there in a lodge. The last day, it took us around 6 hours to be back at New Jalpaiguri.

Essential Trek Gear You Need To Get For Goecha La

  • Sweaters, warm jackets, caps and gloves
  • Trekking shoes, 6-7 pair of socks, trekking pole
  • Power bank
  • Sunscreen lotion
  • Water bottles, backpack, energy bars and drinks
  • A pair of sunglasses, camera
  • Basic toiletries, bed sheets
  • Flash light (with spare batteries), Swiss knife
  • Insect repellent and an emergency medical kit

What You Need To Do (and don’t)

  • One needs to work on the fitness levels for trek at least two months before.
  • Prior research is must!
  • Don’t try to compete with fellow trekkers, just set your own pace.
  • Don’t take off your clothes just after reaching the camp as this drastically cools down your body.
  • Greet the locals well and talk to them to grab more information about the place.
  • Respect mountains, fellow trekkers and trekking staff.
  • Last but not the least, take out your camera at the right time to capture as many memories as possible!

Presenting a delightful mix of adventure, pleasure and self-fulfilment, trekking has been close to the heart of fun-lovers. And what better place to fulfil this desire then trekking in the lap of the mighty Himalayas?

Sikkim is a hidden treat for many people, and the scenic beauty it has to offer is yet to be fully explored. For me, the Goecha La trek was a journey of self-realization, the steps that took me to the raw beauty of the natural world. And, if you are willing to take up the challenge, mark my words – it is going to be the most thrilling discovery nestled in the abode of nature!

Read more about Himalayan Treks that can get your blood pumping on our blog!

The beauty of the snow-clad Himalayan peaks and the blessings of Lord Shiva make Kailash Mansarovar Yatra trek an incredibly spiritual journey where one can attain Nirvana. People of different religious communities participate in this sacred expedition where adventure comes with a tinge of faith, belief and devotion. Often referred to as the sacred land of historical and natural mysticism, Kailash Mansarovar Yatra trek is symbolic of a unique blend represented by cultural significance, religious values, mythological importance and exquisite beauty of nature.

What magnetic pull does the activity exert?

Being one of the world’s most revered holy places, a trek to Mount Kailash and Mansarovar Lake has something more to offer than just adventure. Standing tall at 22,000 feet, it is said to be the abode of Lord Shiva and is famous for the spiritual energy that the place emanates. Kailash Mansarovar Yatra trek is primarily known for two things – a Parikrama of Mount Kailash and a holy dip in the Mansarovar Lake. In addition, it lets you experience the thrill of discovering high elevated regions nestled in the beauty of nature and its grandeur.

Kailash Mansarovar from Kathmandu
Kailash Mansarovar trekking from Kathmandu

A quick peep into the deep itinerary:

During my school days, I had often heard about Mount Kailash and its awe-inspiring height and beauty. The journey to Kailash Mansarovar always used to fascinate me, and it seems that all this while, I was waiting for the right time to embark on this journey.

The journey to my long-awaited dream started last month. That morning, I left my home and reached Indira Gandhi International airport to board the flight to a bewitching city in the foothills, Kathmandu, which served as the first location of my Kailash Mansarovar Yatra.

The first day of the trek offered us a chance to get acquainted with the beauty of the place. I and my new friends began the sojourn by seeking blessings at Pashupatinath Temple and Budhanilkanth Temple, two of the most revered temples in Nepal, dedicated to Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu respectively.

Next day, a big step to Kailash Mansarovar journey was waiting. We drove from Kathmandu to Dhunche. Due to the traffic conditions of the place, driving consumed extra time and became tiring as well. But, a plethora of photos clicked of the beautiful scenery made it worthwhile. Then, the day came when we set foot in Tibet.  Home to several majestic landscapes, the place boasts of a mystical charm that stole our hearts right away!

We reached Kyirong after completing all the immigration formalities. Acclimatizing ourselves to the high altitude was the most important part of the journey, so the guide took us on short hikes to familiarize us with the air and temperature of Tibet. Also, drinking warm water at regular intervals helped us a lot to get back to the even breathing process.

We then moved on to Dongba. Crossing the beautiful mountain terrains and witnessing a panoramic view of the blue lake, Pieko-Tso, were some special moments that I will never forget. On our way, the astounding views of Yarlung Zangpo (the Brahmaputra River) and the Northern route through the beautiful town of Saga, situated at 15,879 feet above sea level, left us amazed. Before we got a chance to express awe over God’s beautiful creations, the high plains of Tibet left us speechless. It was difficult to decide what to take note of! With every ounce of energy drained, we came to rest at guesthouses, which featured dormitory style rooms.

Bath at Mansarovar Lake
Bath at Mansarovar Lake

The time came to begin the spiritual sojourn, as we were not far from one of our destinations, Mansarovar Lake. During our drive to Lake Mansarovar, we also managed to get a short glimpse of Rakshas Tal (Demon’s Lake) which lies on the other side of the lake. Famous as Kailash Parvat, Mansarovar Lake is described as Supreme Holy Lake where it is believed that  the Gods Shiva and Indra swam as swans. It is quite hard to reach such a high altitude, which is why only a few thousand pilgrims are able to do the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra every year. Without any doubt, we were considering ourselves lucky to be a part of this cathartic and highly emblematic journey. The spirituality of the place seeped into us when we took a holy dip in Mansarovar Lake. What an overwhelming experience it was! Finally, the time arrived to start our trekking expedition to Mount Kailash.

Darchen Guest House
Darchen Guest House

Moving ahead from here, the first day of Kailash Parikrama began. Last night, Darchen was our stop point which served as the base point of Mount Kailash. Today, we reached the first location of the actual trek, Yama Dwar. Due to gradual climb, the trek was easy initially.

Yam Dwar
Yam Dwar

After crossing Derapukh, the first view of Mount Kailash was visible. It was a moment which will always remain etched in our memory forever. I am not a morning person but when I woke up that morning, I was rewarded with the falling rays of the sun on Mount Kailash turning it into ‘Golden Kailash’.

Mt. Kailash in all its might and divinity
Mt. Kailash in all its might and divinity

When I climbed up to the Dolma-La High Pass, located at about 18,172 feet, the path became uneven and steep making it difficult for me to put one foot after another. At the top of Domla-La, we visited a place covered with prayer flags and other Tibetan ornaments, Shivasthal. It is said to be a place where you can feel the divine connect.

The steep descent came into play. The rocky paths and loose stones made it a tough descent and we were asked to keep excessive care and maintain concentration. Finally, we reached back to Kathmandu, totally exhausted and satisfied.

When to visit this land of spiritual beauty?

One of the crucial elements of the journey is to choose the right time. It becomes important to understand the changes in the weather before beginning the journey of Kailash Mansarovar yatra. The best time to go for Kailash Mansarovar Yatra trek is between mid-May to mid-October. During this period, weather conditions remain normal enough to explore the astounding scenery of the Tibetan mountain area on which Mt. Kailash is located.

Let routes not confuse you!

In order to reach Kailash Mansarovar, people can travel either by flight or train, and even by bus as per their own convenience. The area does not have any major international airports. For those who wish to travel by flight, the nearest airport is Ngari Gunsa airport. As the area does not have any railway station of its own, the nearest railhead would be Lucknow Railway Station. People can hire a taxi or a cab to travel further from the station. You can even travel by bus.  From certain regions in India, China and Nepal, the bus service to Kailash Mansarovar is available. Other modes of transportation include a jeep safari or helicopter.

Load your bag with essentials:

  • Warm clothes
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Trekking shoes and trekking pole
  • Torchlight or Flashlight
  • Sunscreen and Sunblock
  • First Aid Kit

Things that need a constant check:

  • Avoid spoiling the beauty of the trail by littering
  • Do not take shortcuts and walk with the team members
  • Watch your way through uneven and steep paths

Kailash Mansarovar Yatra is far from just a trek. It is a journey to self-actualization, the steps to heaven. If you are ready to listen to the calling, this experience is surely one to be had. 

Perched at an altitude of 14,400 ft, Valley of Flowers is home to the pristine beauty of nature which most of us get a chance to admire only in books. Replete with rich biodiversity and breathtaking surroundings, Valley of Flowers is popular for drawing the attention of several tourists across the world. Located in the ‘Abode of God’, Uttarakhand, it is a striking UNESCO World Heritage Site. To step into the bed of flowers on this beautiful journey into wilderness is an experience in itself.

What sways the mind of millions?

Renowned for its meadows of endemic alpine flowers, Valley of Flowers National Park is a picturesque park that graces the beauty of the Western Himalayas. Hemkund Sahib is one of the major attractions of the Valley of Flowers trek. An abode of faith and devotion, Hemkund Sahib is known for receiving huge tourist traffic round the year. The trekking expedition to Valley of Flowers and Hemkund Sahib presents a unique combination of rustic beauty and spiritual grandeur. Abandoned areas, isolated hamlets and an off-beat trail makes the level of adventure and excitement shoot up!

uttarakhand_valley_of_flowers_trek

A quick glimpse of my trekking expedition:

It is often said that, ‘Nature is the friend of silence and peace’. And I met this friend when I trekked to the Valley of Flowers. To be honest, nothing was pre-planned. When it became a little difficult for me to go with the mundane flow of things, I decided to take a short break. Nature often comes to the rescue when survival becomes stressful and draining. And my case is no exception!

So I left the city and my troubles behind, and reached the first location of my trekking expedition, Haridwar. On the way from Haridwar to Govindghat, the best moment was to witness the holy confluence of Bhagirathi and Alaknanda Rivers forming the River Ganges. The long journey to this place did tire me, but the fascinating paths and religious enshrine kept my spirits alive. Despite the longing of exploring more of the place, I decided to rest in the hotel for some time.

Next morning, it was time to move from Govindghat to Ghangria.  With a short 14 km gradual ascent, I started the trek with a fresh and clear mind. On the way, I met several other people who joined me. While we were walking through the forest area, we came across a number of waterfalls and beautiful greenscapes that left us amazed. In a state of awe, we were trying to comprehend the mesmerizing beauty that was right in front of us. The thought of capturing that hypnotizing moment suddenly slipped into my mind. A lot of selfies and photos got clicked by all of us. Also, do not miss the chance to visit one of the most famous Sikh shrines, Hemkund Sahib. Being the world’s highest Gurudwara, it tops the list of the trekkers’ itinerary.

trek_uttarakhand_valley_of_flowers

And then, arrived the much-awaited moment!  After scaling a height of 3,858 m, we finally reached our destination, Valley of Flowers. Vibrating with hues of unique color codes, the sight was casting an enchanting spell. The balsam flowers flaunting light bright pink, blue and orange colors were lending a majestic appeal to the valley. The beauty of such exotic flowers took us on a flight of imagination where the valley seemed to be a dreamlike adventure. Stretched over a wide expanse of 87.50 km, the sight of a variety of flowers, including Himalayan Slender Tape Vine, Meadow Rue, Dwarf Globe Flower, and Marsh Marigold, was invigorating our senses.

Glazed by such a fantastic spectacle, I decided to pen down the experience deep in my mind. While all were celebrating their victory, I was silent and trying to give voice to my experience which changed my perspective towards life. Life is beautiful; however, it’s up to us to design it beautifully.

At last, it was time to climb down and to experience several other soulful moments waiting for us on the reverse journey.

webp-net-compress-image-10

A part of the journey which was a spiritual surprise:

While trekking through numerous waterfalls, dense forests and astounding views of Himalayas, we were unaware of the surprise that was awaiting us! The view of Sri Hemkund Sahib  was enough to leave us in a state of spiritual ecstasy. The picturesque natural settings of the place replenished our soul and relieved us from all our worldly tensions.

Being an important pilgrimage site, Sri Hemkund Sahib is nestled amid the Himalayan ranges. Lying in the backdrop of snow-clad mountains, this holy place offers peace and tranquility away from the din and noise of the city. Adorned with beautiful and exquisite tapestry, the walls of Hemkund Sahib have pictures of various Sikh gurus who have inspired humankind with their morals and principles. Hemkund Sahib is not only a site of religious relevance, it also stands as a testimony to the sacrifice of those people in history who have fought for the welfare of the society.

Hemkund Sahib was one of the highlights of our trek. When every ounce of energy drained up, it served as a site that refreshed our mind and nourished us within a fraction of seconds. The guide told us that it is believed that Hemkund Sahib is home to seven snow peaks where Guru Gobind Singh meditated in his previous birth. The religious importance and spiritual joy attract a myriad of devotees every year. As it is considered that a dip into the holy water can purify our soul, we also felt that our souls were rejuvenated!

Load your bag with few essentials:

  • Walking stick
  • Trekking shoes
  • Head Torch
  • Moisturiser
  • Emergency Medical Kit
  • Insect Repellants

Amidst the noise and restlessness of my mind, I found something precious on this expedition. To sum up the experience in one line is to recall poet John Keats’s words, “A thing of beauty is a joy forever”.

So you have finally given in to adrenaline’s demands and decided to go on a motorbike expedition all the way to Ladakh. Or maybe you are still in the process of finding out how thrilling an adventure it is.
Maybe you dare to make this journey all by yourself or maybe this is an extended bachelor’s party or a ‘girls gone wild’ trip which is actually going to be something that will be talked about for years to come instead of a night out or a vacation. Or you are someone who is down for some fierce, life-changing experience just for the sake of how valuable an experience like this one is.

For all of you, this is a beginner’s guide to exploring how you could have this heck of an experience and take the high road as you embark on your Ladakh Motorbike Expedition, in the land of high passes with all its hauntingly beautiful, snow-clad peaks, rugged and challenging routes that will make sure you have the time of your life.

Explore the Popular Motorbike Tours in India

Feel the rage of the winds in Ladakh
Feel the rage of the winds in Ladakh

Ride In The Right Season
The preferred season for Ladakh motorbike expeditions is from the months of June,July to September, October. This is the best time to minimise potential dangers and deal breaker weather. Some people choose to do this in winter too. The worst weather to do this is definitely the rainy season so plan accordingly.

How many days of work leave do I need to complete this?
You need at least 15 days to comfortably complete a the Ladakh motorbike trip and visit all the places that you should while you have the opportunity.

What’s the route like?
From Delhi, there are two possible routes that get you to Ladakh. Choose on the basis of three factors: a) how much time you have, b) what all you want to cover and c) what level of danger you desire.

  • Delhi-Jalandhar-Jammu-Srinagar-Kargil-Leh-Karu-Sarchu-Manali-Delhi

    You will be covering almost 2,300 kms. Best weather and road conditions. Round trip.  
  • Delhi-Manali-Sarchu-Leh-Khardung La-Nubra Valley-Kargil-Srinagar-DelhiYou will be covering almost 2,600 kms. More distance, more challenging routes and rough roads. Covers picturesque Ladakhi locations.

Petrol: On a mileage of 35 kms per litre, you will be needing close to 100 litres of petrol. (Rounded off) 

Manali to Ladakh- a ride of a lifetime 

I do not have a bike. Where do I find one?
If you do not already have a bike that can be your partner in exploration then you will have to rent one. Delhi’s Karol Bagh is one rental hub where from you can rent a bike at a cost as minimal as a thousand bucks per day.
If you are starting from Manali instead, you can find bikes there a bit on the costlier side. They range from a thousand to fifteen hundred INR per day.
Keep in mind the security deposit and the valid ID proofs that need to be submitted to rent these bikes.

As a general rule, make sure to test drive before you finalise anything. Also, get it duly serviced before you begin your long tryst with the high roads.

Undoubtedly, the beauty along the way is unparalleled but you need that eye wear to really appreciate it
Undoubtedly, the beauty along the way is unparalleled but you need that eye wear to really appreciate it

Biking Gear Tips
If you were thinking you only need a bike to do this, you were wrong. There’s a ton of other things that are easily available everywhere but that you definitely need to make this ride a successful expedition:

  • The best full face helmet you can get(you can rent this too); a pair of eye goggles of supreme quality; a pair of solid gloves
  • One or two leather jackets to protect you from the biting winds when they glaze through you; you are going to be mostly covered so sunscreen might not seem that obvious a gear essential to you but having some will not hurt you
  • Clothes that suit the weather; wisely pack enough some warm clothes that will last 15 days of use
  • At least two pairs of trekking shoes are important. One will get dirty after some time, trust us
  • A first-aid kit is absolutely necessary for the rider. And for the bike, a tool kit
  • MAPS! Make sure you have physical maps as well as GPS readily available to you
  • Camping materials such as tents, sleeping bags and essential toiletries as per your need
  • Swiss knife, torch, matchsticks are important for any potential dangers  


A camera to capture beautiful and exotic landscapes is also an essential for many. Do not forget chargers, power banks for your phones.

Apart from this, not part of the biking gear, but equally if not more important, are the valid ID proofs (including the driving license) you are going to need for the ride to go hassle-free!

What to do while in Ladakh  
If half of the success of your bike trip is dependent on the bike itself, the other half is the beautiful locations you’re going to be visiting. So, decide beforehand which ones you are sure to visit and plan routes accordingly. Here’s a list of all the Ladakh highlights:
Please note that these are the most popular sites. You can very well choose less popular or even off-beat locations to explore.

The many colors of Pangong Tso
The many colors of Pangong Tso

Pangong Tso Lake
130 kms of stretch of water that extends from India to China. Camp overnight by the sides of deep azure waters. If you visit off season, you are bound to find it completely frozen.

Nubra Valley
Be ready to be mesmerized by far reaching cold mountain deserts. The mountainous air here is everything. This is another beautiful campsite.

Magnetic Hill
The mystery of Magnetic Hill is such that it is an uphill ride on the Srinagar-Leh highway yet if you were to completely shut your engine down, the vehicle will still keep moving. Test it for yourself!

Indus Zanskar Confluence, Ladakh
Indus zanskar Confluence Ladakh


Zanksar Valley

Long stretches of brown surrounded by snow-white peaks. The beauty of Zanskar is a heartening sight.

Lamayuru Monastery
On the Srinagar-Leh highway, this Tibetan Buddhist monastery is a must-visit. It is situated at a height of whopping 3,510 m. A masked dance festival is performed here annually.

Shanti Stupa
Overlooking all of Leh, this marvel atop a hill (4,267 m) is the perfect stop to witness a beautiful sunset.  

Khardung La Pass
World’s highest motorable pass called Khardung La at 18,490 feet. Accomplishing this feat is obviously a pass for show-off later. 

Drass Valley
Drass, the second coldest place on earth. Climb up to the Tiger Hill Peak and then restart your road journey. En route, cross Zoji La pass and enter the breathtaking valley of Sonamarg, which is a famous ski resort.

Camping by the lake side
Camping by the lake side

Health Tips
Do not forget that you are going to deal with high altitude so make sure you don’t fall prey to altitude sickness. Carry important medicines to deal with that if need be. Hydrate as many times as you can. It is very important and a very easy thing to pull off. Half of your traveling sickness will go away if you hydrate adequately.

Ladakh Bike Tour
Take care of your partner-in-adventure, your dearest bike
Make sure you take the bike for a test drive if you are renting one. Check the lights, the tyres and let the mirrors be. Fill the tank before you set out.

Extra information it wouldn’t hurt to know

  • From Manali to Leh, there are only two petrol pumps you will find on your way. However, Srinagar-Leh has plenty of pumps.
  • You will find mechanics on the way. Don’t worry if you get a flat tyre. But it is advised to take all precautions.
  • Carry enough cash with you for meals and accomodation. You are not likely to find many ATMs on your way.
  • Only a few mobile network services work in this area. Check with the concerned authorities before you are stranded without network.

Plan a whole day’s route before you set off. And try and set out with sunrise and come to a halt with the sunrise. Riding in the dark is not that safe, still make sure all your lights work.

This is your life. What will you make of it? A Ladakh Motorbike adventure is an experience worth having at least once in a lifetime.

Great people have dubbed the hike to Everest as the “stairs to heaven,” and rightly so. Wrapped in wonderment and thin air, this monument of nature sees travelers from all around the globe, exploring the nearby monasteries and bazaars if not the base camp itself. Naturally, this beacon of glory only deserves the bravest of trekkers to even imagine what an experience it must be to even feel the mountain air that surrounds it, to scale the height and make a life-altering journey to the roof of the world. Here is a list of the most basic to slightly advanced requirements for deciding if you should even consider going on the Everest Base Camp (EBC) Trek. This should not be treated as a final word; it is advised that you speak to your doctor and a professional trekker before you decide on making this incredible hike.

everest-base-camp-trek_14397983871. Are You Experienced Enough?
For reasons very simple, more experience with high altitude – especially altitude that can be compared to EBC’s (29,028 ft) – will mean you are already mentally and physically equipped to deal with this to a significant extent. More experience reduces the chances of distress calls that you are most likely to face on a trek like this. With temperature that drops as low as -60 degree Celsius in the coldest month of the year, only trekkers of advanced calibre are advised to do this.

Everest Base Camp
A view of the mighty Everest from the Base Camp

2. Do you have the level of strength it takes to make it to EBC?
Recognize your strengths if you dream of climbing the highest mountain of the world:

a) You are generally fit with no life-threatening diseases that may or may not be elevated due to high altitude (eg. heart disease, lung disease).
b) You have a great skill in walking for long hours. You will be required to trek for 4-10 hours with sufficient breaks on the EBC trek. The key to surviving this is sustained effort.
c) You have a passion for trekking. It is very important to stay focused and inspired throughout this trek.
d) You appreciate team work. Know that taking on this journey with a few more interested people will inspire you and help you in crucial conditions that you are bound to face on this heck of a trek! 

EBC Trek

3. Have you recognized the areas you have to work on?
All humans are fallible and all of us have our faults. However, you need to start planning ahead immediately and  ramp up your physical fitness training regime at least 6 months prior to the trek.

 If you have a potential health risk from a heart or lung disease, unfortunately, you will not be allowed to undertake this journey. If you are a smoker or someone who regularly drinks, it will be considerably tougher for you to accomplish this feat as compared to other people who are in a better physical position to deal with the stress of high altitude trekking. Smoking will impair your breathing skills at high altitudes and drinking or influence of any other substance impairs judgement which is a potential health risk again.  

4. Do you understand how important acclimatization is?
Please note that Altitude Sickness or Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) is a real health danger triggered by high altitude. High altitude, lower oxygen levels, and low air pressure coupled with exertion leads to AMS, generally felt after 8000 ft and above. The symptoms will include dizziness, nausea, headaches, and shortness of breath. Most instances of altitude sickness are mild and heal quickly. In rare cases, altitude sickness can become severe and cause complications with the lungs or brain.

Namche Bazaar
Spend a day or two in Namche Bazar; acclimatize while having fun exploring really popular tourist spots!

To combat with all this, steady acclimatization to high altitude by spending one day or two at some areas before you begin trekking or while trekking is absolutely necessary. Pick itineraries that heed this advice and allow you enough time to acclimatize properly in order to avoid health problems. Generally, an EBC trek should take you 13-20 days to complete. 

5. Do you have all the essential trekking gear that you need to bring with you?

a. Sunglasses + Sunscreen

b. Clothing (Base=Thermal wear + First Layer=Warm Trekking T-shirt/Trousers + Second Layer=Fleece jacket + Third Layer= Waterproof Shell Jackets you need in case it is especially cold/rains)

c. Headwear (Hats and buffs to keep your head and face warm to avoid catching disease)

d. Gloves (Inner + Outer Insulated)

e. Footwear (2 pairs of thermal hiking socks + Hiking shoes. You can also get leg gaiters!)

f. Bags and Backpacks (Keep it waterproof!)

g. Sleeping Gear

h. Trekking Poles

i. Medications and Toiletries (A first aid box is necessary. You should also carry medicines for relieving any slight to serious AMS symptoms.)

What you need to bring
What you need to bring

6. Do you have a fair idea about nutrition on this trek?
Consider this very important. Nutrition is extremely important in order to complete the trek in a healthy condition. A proper diet needs to be followed while you are trekking to EBC.

Apart from the food that your sherpas/guides will provide you at the tea-houses you stay in and it is most likely going to be a light meal that is easily digestible, you will need the following to soothe your munchies:
Herbal tea
Electrolytes
Light snack bars and energy bars
Dried fruit
Digestive biscuits

7Have you started preparing already?
Prior to the trek, almost two to three months before the actual trek, you will have to devise an effective exercise regime that lets you build stamina for long treks over time.

a) You can try walking for 4 to 5 kms daily for 60 days before the trek.
b) You should do some shoulder exercises like planks.  
c) Practice a bit of yoga to help improve your breathing problems, if any, and build core strength.
d) You can swim/cycle once a week to build a bit of lean muscle.

Very many encomiums written and paeans of praises sung after it, naturally, Mt Everest remains to be one of the most popular mountains in the world; thousands of trekkers decide to undertake a trek to the Everest Base Camp each year. If you think you can handle the glory of being one of those lucky ones to have scaled the skies, good luck!

Limitless deserts, thriving jungles, prosperous rivers and breathtaking views – with every step you take on the Markha Valley Trek you are introduced to nature, beauty, adventure and a heap of emotions felt never before.

With its trail taking you through the Hemis National Park where there’s a good chance you’ll spot a snow leopard to further heading to tiny Himalayan hamlets with huge parachute tents and a unique Buddhist culture to finally crossing high mountain passes that offer you views so enchanting that you almost never want to leave, the Markha Valley Trek has it all!

So if you’re planning your next trekking adventure, look no further! Here are 5 Unbeatable Reasons to do the Markha Valley Trek this summer.

Explore Diverse Landscapes
Unlike the numerous treks that take you through forests or arid deserts of the region, the Markha Valley trek introduces you to landscapes along flowing rivers, green pastures, scenic valleys, and flourishing national parks, and bone-dry desert expanses. On this trek, you will experience excitement – when you spot a snow leopard; hardship -when you cross stretches of the waist-deep Markha River; peace -when you take a stop at the confluence of Indus and Zinchen Rivers; thrill -when you conquer over 17,000 feet at Kongmaru La Pass.

Trek Ladakh Today
Trek Ladakh Today!

Discover Ancient Buddhist Villages
The Markha Valley Trek takes you through some diverse landscapes and while most of the hike is shadowed by wilderness, there will be days when you will stop by tiny mountain hamlets. Trek through scenic landscapes and pass along river banks; meet the region’s locals and come face-to- face with religious shrines at Lhatos and confront the Mani walls. Mani walls are stone structures that are formed by the compilation of intricately carved stone tablets mostly with the inscription of ‘Om Mani Padme Hum’ loosely meaning ‘ Hail to the jewel
in the lotus’.

Hike through the villages of Umlung and Hangskar. Much like an eagle nest perched on the tallest tree, the Techa Monastery in Umlung is one of the highest located monasteries and is easily a 1000 years old. Although Umlung offers the comforts of a monastery and a handful of homestays, a visit to Hangskar (the last hamlet in the valley) with its ever welcoming locals and their hot butter tea is a reward in itself. Some of the other villages that you will pass by during the Markha Valley Trek are Spituk, Shingo, and Siku among others.

An Encounter with the Wild
One of the best parts of about the Markha Valley trek is that it takes you through the charming Hemis National Park. Best known for having the highest density of snow leopard in any protected area in the world,
the Hemis National Park with its large population of rare species of wildlife is arguably one of the best parts of this trek. Tibetan wolves, red foxes, Eurasian brown bears and Asiatic ibexes – they are all here. But that’s not all – the region also boasts of being the only habitat of the Shapu in India and is also home to the mountain weasel and the Himalayan mouse. The park is also a bird watcher’s paradise and visitors are often lucky to spot the Lammergeier vulture, the fork-tailed swift, Fire-fronted serin and Tibetan snowfinch in their natural habitat.

Camping in Ladakh
Camping in Ladakh

Live in Parachute Tents
The Markha Valley trek is also known as the ‘tea house trek’, takes you through diverse terrains and arid deserts but that’s not the only fun part of this excursion. While the villages on the trail have ample homestays that provide the comfort of a home away from home, this adventure also lets you have the experience of camping in parachute
tents. These parachute tents are massive tents where you camp the night with your entire group. Fun much? Oh, you have to experience it to know how much!

Be an Achiever
The trek begins from the green landscapes of the Hemis National Park but don’t let the lush environs fool you, this is just the beginning. The Markha Valley trek takes you through striking contrasts. Trek through the land masses with powerful rivers that are knee-deep if not more and pass through rocky canyons to reach the towering peaks of
Ganda La at 15748 feet, and Kongmaru La at 17060 feet. Reach the top and be welcomed by breathtaking views of Ladakh and the Zanskar ranges. It’s a superlative achievement that feels a million times better
than it reads.

In Leh
In Leh

It’s not every day that you come across a trek that offers an out-an-out Ladakhi experience. Raw and natural beauty, exciting adventure, the Buddhist culture, the local food, and the warm hospitality of the people
– everything’s covered.

This trip is everything that dream vacations to Ladakh are made of, and if it resonates with your idea of adventure, let there be no place else you head this summer.

What’s expansive, majestic and home to the highest peaks on the planet? Of course, the Great Himalayas! An enigma in itself, the Himalayan Range lures travelers with its arresting landscape of snow-laden mountains, glaciers and plunging river valleys, along with the ever-so-colossal Mount Everest sitting at a whopping elevation of 8,848 meters above sea level.

But there is more to the Great Himalayan range than just natural grandeur…

Stok Kangri in the Himalayas
Stok Kangri, Himalayas

India’s prime outdoor adventure refuge- Himalayas- house some of the most prominent winter-sports destinations like Gulmarg, Auli, Leh, Manali and Narkanda. While Kashmir offers some of the world’s highest, tough-to-tread but blissfully unexplored ski slopes, just right for extreme snow sport enthusiasts, the gentle slopes of Himachal Pradesh provide a perfect base for novices.

Whizzing past jagged and raw terrains, plunging from great heights will fill you with a sense of exhilaration and make you want to immerse yourself in the unparalleled beauty of the surroundings. All this at a fraction of the cost in contrast to famous European resorts! Well, does that make you want to go on a snow-sporting vacation right away? If you are still not convinced, here are our top reasons to go skiing and snowboarding in the Great Himalayas:

Tanglang-La
Escaping the well-trod path; explore Himalayas in the most action-packed way

You Don’t Get To Do This Every Day!

Winter sports in India are not that prevalent. You do not get to experience such activities every day. That makes the Himalayan resort towns even more special. But if you wish to experience uncharted and unique snow challenges, then the Himalayan Range is your eternal playground. Forget the jam-packed and well trimmed Alpine slopes, the Himalayas offer next-level skiing and snowboarding experiences, adding a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘going-off-piste’!

skiing in gulmarg
Discover Hidden Treasures of Gulmarg

Adventure tourism is on the rise with Kashmir’s Gulmarg leading the pack! Often touted as the Mecca for skiers, Gulmarg has one of the highest ski lifts in the world and it is certainly not just another alpine escapade. While the naturally smooth gradient of Kongdoori Peak makes it an ideal spot for novice skiers to get a hang of the activity, it is the Mountain Apharwat that steals the show! Strictly meant for advanced skiers, it offers an once-in-a-lifetime experience. Here, you will find the world’s highest gondola- The Gulmarg Gondola that takes fearless skiers to the world’s most uncharted slopes at a vertigo-inducing altitude of 13,400 feet- almost reaching the peak of Mount Apharwat.

Advanced skiers feeling a little frisky can really push their boundaries in these elevated terrains. How about exploring the hoary playground filled with firs and pines by taking on the mountains from dizzying heights where the Gondolas do not reach? Picture taking a helicopter ride to the most untouched and dramatic mountaintops of the world and get ready for a flabbergasting Heli-skiing experience amid the mystical wilderness of Gulmarg. Those who cannot imagine a skiing holiday without the comforts of gourmet dishes can look forward to an authentic experience with Kashmiri offerings like soothing mint teas, flavored curries, and some warm conversation.

Lose yourself in the picturesque Garhwal slopes of Uttaranchal..
The lesser-known cousin of Gulmarg, Garhwal woos adventure enthusiasts with its intoxicating natural splendor and is just as generous in terms of thrill!

Auli
Auli, a pristine stimulation

Auli– Enveloped by the mighty Himalayan range, Auli has some of the gentlest slopes covered in just the right amount of snow. The ski-worthy slopes range somewhere between 2000-3000 meters, making it an ideal playground for both amateur and skilled skiers. To enhance the thrill, an 800 meters long cable car runs between Auli and Joshimath offering magnificent views of the Dronagiri, Kamet and Nanda Devi peaks. On top of the mountain peaks, there is a government operated ski resort equipped with amenities and guide which also features a 500-m long ski-lift.

Dayara Bugyal– With multiple trails, gorgeous scenery and an awe-inspiring ambiance, this Himalayan hamlet has skiing slopes extended about 28 square kilometers in area that brings back skiers for more. The magnificent snow covered slopes are a dream to ski and the enchanting views of the Tal and Barnala lakes add further charm to the site.

Mundali– Another entrancing winter-sports destination in Uttarakhand, Mundali offers sublime views and the perfect snowy slopes for skiing adventures. The powdery snow-draped slopes work as a magnet for both amateur and expert skiers. Getting to the hill station is a thrill in itself. Expect to fight through a tough terrain, unmetalled roads and steep treks to reach this unspoiled paradise.

The Thrill of Mystical Slopes of Manali in Himachal Pradesh

Himachal Pradesh
Himachal Pradesh is a calling for the venturous souls

Manali has evolved from being a quaint holiday destination to a promising base for thrilling winter-sports like skiing, heli-skiing and snowboarding. Covered with miles of glaciers and surrounded by snow-clad peaks, skiing trails in Manali takes one through cedar-birch forests and jaw-dropping ridgelines that is sure to raise your adrenalin levels.

Apart from the above mentioned places, the other Himalayan towns that offer memorable and thrilling skiing experience include Pahalgam, Kufri, Narkanda, Solang Valley, Tawang, Yumthang Valley, among others.
Have you been to the Great Himalayas for skiing or snowboarding? Tell us about your experience in the comments below!

Off late, have you been cancelling your holiday plans because everyone around you is too busy to accompany you on the trips? Then, it is high time that you stop postponing your plans and do what you have only imagined in your thoughts all these years – solo travelling. At first, the whole idea of travelling alone might give you a few jitters, but trust me, as you start thinking more about it, all the doubts and negative thoughts would simply fade away. And, once you clear that stage, you are ready for the adventure called Solo Travel. But before you embark on such a trip, first you need to decide on your destination. So, read on and know about some of the top destinations in India, where you can travel completely on your own.

The desert mountain valley of Spiti in Himachal Pradesh is as much an ideal destination for adventurers as it is for the solitude seekers. Nestled high up in the Himalayan Mountains, the scenic Spiti Valley presents wonderful opportunities for moderate to difficult trekking expeditions as well as Jeep safaris. However, those who wish to stay away from such adrenaline-pumping activities and spend their time peacefully exploring the region should opt for a homestay experience. This can be done at any of the six villages of Spiti, namely Demul, Langza, Dhankar, Kibber, Lhalung and Komik. On an average, each of this village has up to three homestays with each having one guest bedroom that can accommodate one or two people. These homestays are basically village homes, with one of their portions converted into comfortable guestrooms. These have been developed by the locals to generate an alternative and sustainable source of income for themselves.

If you know a bit of history, then you would be aware of the fact that India has been ruled by numerous dynasties. Many of these were not from the subcontinent, but from Central or West Asia. And back then, there were no proper roads, cars, aircraft or any other contemporary means to travel. Now, look at the geographical map of India for a while. You will realise that all those, coming from the north or northwest of the Indian subcontinent, had a natural barricade in their way in the form of the mountain system of the Himalayas, Karakoram and Hindu Kush. In the absence of modern transportation means, the question arises, how did they cross the mountains?