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 other 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.

kedarkantha_trek__2_

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. 

Known for high-altitude trekking at 15250 ft, Rupin Pass trek offers absolute excitement and thrill to the adventure lovers. The picturesque trek begins and ends at the “Lands of Gods”, including Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh. So, naturally, the pristine beauty of the scenic landscapes on this trek are pure bliss for the ones who love a rendezvous with nature.

On this venture, a trekker gets a chance to pass through rustic hamlets, lush green pasturelands, suspension bridges, dense forests, stunning rivers, and gushing streams and waterfalls. 

  • Pass through two stunning Himalayan villages, including Jhanka and Mori, which are positioned on the hilltop
  • Walking through the dense forests of oak, pine and rhododendron in the Govind National Park
  • Feast your eyes on the exotic sights of rare Himalayan flora and fauna
  • Explore the culture and tradition of hill people
  • Crossing suspension and snow bridges enhances excitement and trekkers can feel the adrenaline rush
  • Waterfalls at such a height would make you feel that the almighty is pouring down the holy water from the blue sky
  • Offer prayers at Kinnaur Temple and Pokhu Devta, situated at the confluence of the rivers Rupin and Supin
  • Get lost in the mesmerizing beauty of the lofty Kailash Peak and snow-capped mountains
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Trek through forests that are beginning to autumn in the post-monsoon season

Best Time to Head to Rupin Pass: The Rupin Pass trek can be undertaken in two seasons, one in summer, i.e., from May to June and another in the post-monsoon season, i.e., September and October. Notably, summer experiences heavy snowfall, while in the post-monsoon season the landscape turns green and the weather becomes clear. However, the grass starts turning golden from the end of October, referring to the arrival of winters. The average temperature in Rupin Pass ranges from 13°C to 18°C in daytime and from 0°C to 7°C at night.

Rupin Pass: A Glimpse of My Long Journey To The ‘Land of Gods’

Region – Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh
Duration – 8 Days
Grade – Moderate to Difficult
Max Altitude – 15250 ft
Distance – 52 km
Being one of the most adventurous and beautiful trails, the Rupin Pass trek is known for showcasing a breathtaking contrast in the green and snow-covered landscapes. The trail is admired for its awe-inspiring beauty and appealing charm. A walk through the valley, encompassing exquisite flora and fauna, is a unique experience in itself. A panoramic sight of the River Tons and the Kailash Peak makes this journey, the most memorable experience.

After a relaxing journey of 2 hours on a flight from Delhi to Dehradun, I reached Jolly Grant Airport at 8 am. I met my guide and trek mates outside the airport. We all introduced ourselves to each other. As we were a group of 15 people, our guide had arranged three Tata Sumos for us. After boarding our respective vehicles, the beautiful journey began on the hilly road with greenery all over.

We gorged on a glass of lassi (buttermilk) and aloo-pyaaz parathas (bread stuffed with mashed potatoes and chopped onions) with butter at a dhaba (roadside eatery). Then, our vehicles halted at Mori to offer prayers to Lord Pokhu (god of law and order) at Pokhu temple, which is a beautiful wooden temple in the village of Netwar. The temple is also known as the point of confluence of rivers Supin and Rupin, and the origin base of River Tons.

Moving ahead, the trail passed through some spectacular views of hills and it took us around 7 hours to reach Dhaula via Mussorie. Situated in the Uttarkashi district, Dhaula was the base camp of our trek. After relaxing for two hours at the base camp, our guide briefed us with the detailed itinerary and routes. He also handed over a map of the 8-day trek to every trekker. After dinner, we spent a night in the camp.

Next day, I woke up to a stunning sight of sunrise and after that, we all were asked to do warm up and some flexibility exercises. Later, the adventurous Rupin Pass trek from Dhaula to Seva began. The trail passed through rustic hamlets, fragrant apricot and apple orchards and suspension bridges over the River Rupin. On our way, we found a small shop ran by a Pahadi couple who were selling tea and biscuits. We could not resist and had a hot cup of tea along with some light snacks. Later, we walked through the dense forest and pastureland for about 3 hours and we also kept taking rest after every hour.

rupinsupin8

Meanwhile, the gushing sound of rivers and streams was falling as a well-composed melody on my ears. On reaching our destination, we came across a stunning temple known for its Kinnauri traditions. We hiked for 10 minutes and reached a bridge which connects Uttarakhand to Himachal Pradesh. We crossed that suspension bridge and arrived at Seva where we set up our camps aside the river stream.  

On day 3, we entered the thick rhododendron forest and after walking for around 2 hours, we crossed a wooden bridge called ‘No man’s Place’. Our guide told us that this is because the bridge does not belong to any state. We first arrived at Gosangu, and from there we continued walking to Kwar and reached Jiksun in the next two hours. We had energy drinks and bars on our way to Jiksun. We stayed at Jiksun for around 20 minutes and captured stunning views of the valley and snow-capped mountains in our cameras. Gradually, we reached Jhaka Village after a walk of 1 hour.

The picturesque Rupin Pass Trek
Enjoy the lushness of nature on the picturesque Rupin Pass Trek

Trekking became difficult as the trail towards a tributary of the main river turned steeper and demanding. The lush greenery of the forest and a beautiful sight of snowfields kept us motivated. We crossed the snow bridge that leads to a forest of rhododendron. Further, a walk of 1 hour took us to the campsite of Saruwas Thatch. From here, we enjoyed a stunning sight of the Rupin waterfall.

The next day, we began trekking after having breakfast. We went through pictorial and dense maple and blue pine forests. We walked for around 1 hour and then we descended towards a river to cross a bridge to reach the other side. The forest comprised of silver birch, rhododendrons and alpine meadows. Here, my eyes enjoyed a magnificent vista of the bright colors of the wildflowers including Himalayan daisy, lily and blue poppies. Further, we reached Dhanderas Thatch after 6 hours.

Next morning, we all hiked on the patches of snow to reach Upper Waterfall Camp. I captured the views of land filled with blooming marigold flowers. After an easy walk for 3 hours, we reached the campsite and relaxed there for the night.

As per my experience, day 7 was the most-challenging trail of this trekking journey as the path was less wide and had a high angle of ascent. Even the trail became narrow and slippery. And, it was hiking for a total of 10 hours. On reaching the summit, we enjoyed the impressive views of the Kinnaur Kailash Range. We clicked several group pictures and selfies here. We spent around 1 hour at the top and then descended towards alpine meadows and arrived at Ronti Gad for an overnight stay.

View of Rupin Pass towards Sangla Valley
View of Rupin Pass towards Sangla Valley

Next morning, we descended toward Sangla, and with a decline in elevation, the trail grew steeper. We maintained a good pace and were moving carefully.  It took us around 6 hours to reach Sangla. Here, we spoke to locals and tried to get an essence of their local festivities and culture. We also clicked several pictures with them. Around 5 pm on the same day, we came to Shimla in a taxi.

Here’s what you should definitely pack…

  • 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

ATM Facility and Mobile Connectivity: In case, a person is running short of cash on the way to Dhaula from Dehradun, there is a place called Purola which has an ATM. Mobile network of BSNL, Vodafone and Airtel are available only at three places namely Dhaula and Jiskun and Sangla.

Porter and Pony Facility: Pony and porter facilities are available at Dhaula and even at several other points that you will be crossing during your expedition. You can avail this service at a reasonable price and all your luggage would be carried by the porter and pony. Further, it would help you to maintain a good pace at high altitudes.

Must-carry Documents: A trekker is required to carry an identification proof, such as driving license or voter ID, passport along with a photo, and a medical certificate ensuring fitness for the trek. Moreover, a disclaimer certificate stating voluntary participation in the trekking expedition to Rupin Pass is a must.

Some Tips To Make Your Rupin Pass Trek A Success

  • Always pay heed to the advice given by the instructor
  • Avoid alcohol consumption and other intoxicants during the trek
  • Never take shortcuts and don’t start your trek after sunset
  • Don’t litter the beautiful site and respect nature
  • Capture as many pictures as you can
  • Value the culture and traditions of locals, greet them with a smile
  • Don’t try to compete with fellow trekkers, just set your own pace

This adventurous yet beautiful trek gave me a gamut of experiences from fear to courage and of course, a sense of achievement. It was truly a lifetime experience for me. I must say that this trek is mandatory for those whose eyes are looking to explore the mesmerising beauty of the great Himalayas.

It is a must for every individual to at least go once on a motorbike trip to Leh and Ladakh. In this one-of-a-kind motorbike expedition, you will likely ride on the rugged terrains amid sultry deserts alongside high-altitude lakes and get to be up, close and personal with the mighty Himalayan and Karakoram ranges. What’s more is that this expedition offers a brilliant opportunity for travelers to embrace the culture and interact with the locals living in the Leh and Ladakh region.

Leh and Ladakh
Comprising of Stupas and houses made of mud brick, Leh and Ladakh are high altitude desert regions with the extremely cold weather. The population in these regions have completely different lifestyles as compared to the life in metropolitan cities. Leh and Ladakh are popular for its Tibetan culture, cuisine and folk music.  

Nubra valley
The mesmerizing Nubra valley in Ladakh. Visit Panamik in Nubra valley, a famous hot water spring.

Ride of Your Dreams to Leh and Ladakh: Details, Route and Season To Visit

  • Location: Leh and Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir
  • Duration: 13 Days
  • Distance: 2787 km
  • Maximum Altitude: 16000 feet
  • Grade: Difficult
  • Start Point: New Delhi
  • End Point: New Delhi

Biking in Ladakh!

The duration of the motorcycle journey ranges from 13 days. During this marvellous journey, one will witness the gradual change in the terrain while ascending towards the higher altitude region. The riders will get to ride one of the world’s highest roads, such as the Baralacha La Pass and Khardung La Pass, which are also known for its rough and difficult terrain. The riders will get to enjoy viewpoints from several other passes, including Nakee La, Lachung La and Tanglang La.

Riders will get to witness many places of attractions on their route such as the Thiksey Monastery and Shanti Stupa. Riders can also take a stoppage in Ladakh and trek towards the Peak of Stok Kangri Mountain. A night camping at the Nubra Valley is definitely a delight for the travelers as it offers magnificent views during the night. The Pangong Lake with its golden brown uneven terrain and indigo blue waters is the final destination. During the return journey, the riders will be experiencing the gradual change of environment while descending towards the plains.

Best Season to VisitBikers can go on this Motorcycle Trip to Leh and Ladakh between the months of May and October. However, the best time to visit is between the months of May and June. The Leh and Ladakh region is covered with snow during the month of May and June. The temperature during the day stays around 16 degrees Celsius and around 3 degrees Celsius in night.

ladakh motorbike tour

If you are indeed ready for the thrilling journey that awaits you, you are better off starting with taking some quick tips to make your motorbike expedition to Leh and Ladakh a dream come true:

  • Perform a comprehensive research

Before opting to take the Motorcycle Trip to Leh and Ladakh, the traveller must prepare for the unexpected and learn all the backup solutions for any kind of unforeseen worst-case scenario.

  • Start the journey with a well-maintained bike and carry the requisite spare parts

Before beginning the journey, one must ensure that the bike is fully maintained. The biker should stay prepared with spare parts in a sudden unexpected breakdown of the bike during the journey.

  • Be respectful to the environment

One must carry a garbage bag, which must be used to store all the rubbish. The biker should refrain from dumping garbage such as plastic bottles during the journey.

  • Keep the petrol tank of the bike full and refill at every petrol pump during the journey

In order to stay prepared for any kind of worst-case scenario, the biker should always ensure that the petrol tank of the bike is always topped up.

  • Carry extra money in order to stay prepared for unforeseen issues

There are chances that the trip may get obstructed and one may not be able to continue the bike journey. In such a case, one must have sufficient money to book a return flight. It is suggested to carry an extra Rs. 10,000/- for any kind of emergency scenario.

ladakh bike

  • Travel in groups

As it is known that places such as Leh and Ladakh are isolated regions, one must refrain from riding alone and stay in a group of bikers.

  • Stay physically and mentally fit before the bike ride

One must stay healthy and keep all the necessary medicines before beginning the journey.

  • Become thoroughly prepared with the do’s and don’ts during the bike journey

One must be aware about all the rules and regulations related to the bike journey.

  • Stay alert and active during the bike journey

One must pay close attention to the details and signage during the bike journey.

  • Allow the body to adapt to high altitude temperature

The Leh and Ladakh region are known to have low atmospheric pressure condition. In order to allow the body to adapt to the changing temperature, one must take ample rest of 24 hours after reaching Ladakh. 

ladakh bike

A cultural dive into the vibrant communities of Leh & Ladakh
The local population living in the Leh and Ladakh region are incredibly kind and helpful. Travelers/bikers should respect the locals and their culture, at all times. You can interact with the locals and learn about their lifestyles and traditions by observing. These make for great stories when you go back home. Some of the popular markets to visit are Ladakh Main Bazaar, Tibetan Market and Moti Market.

Hemis Festival in Ladakh
Hemis Festival in Ladakh

Must Carry Essentials

  • Riding pants and jacket with thermal liner
  • Energy drink
  • Insulated travel flask
  • Waterproof socks
  • Woolen cap
  • Riding boots
  • Tool bag
  • LED flashlight/Headlamp with extra batteries
  • Waterproof ziplock bags
  • Jerry cans for fuel
  • Extra pair of woollen socks
  • Water Bottles/Hydration pack
  • Emergency medical kit
  • First aid box
  • Swiss army knife

Once you are prepared for the journey with these essentials, you can proceed forward to take the Motorcycle Trip to Leh and Ladakh.  

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?

In the words of the famous Greek storyteller, Aesop, “Adventure is worthwhile”.
When it comes to holidaying, I guess most of us become a little too mainstream. We go where everybody else is going and do what has already been done by many before. The true adventure is when you take the road not taken; step into the unknown, without having an idea about what might come next.In the book of India, Arunachal Pradesh is a chapter which is skipped by most readers. The north-easternmost state in the country is still a virgin territory, waiting to be discovered by adventurers, who dare to do something new, something different.

What comes to your mind, when I say “adventure in the Himalayas”? I am quite sure your answer would include things like trekking, skiing, hiking, mountaineering, river rafting and paragliding. But there is more to excite you in the Himalayas than these; and that is the scintillating road trips, which are undertaken by thousands of people, year after year. There is a certain charm about riding through the Himalayan regions that beckons adventure seekers from across the globe. The challenges that one faces during these road trips are innumerable, but everything gets compensated by the satisfaction of successfully completing it.

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

Rajasthan, the name which translates into the Abode of the Kings is enough to make one think of unmatched royalty and grandeur. You do not need to mention the myriad opulent palaces that dot this state. But even if you do, you can’t just stop with one or two, since there are many and every single one of them is more captivating than the other. From Lake Palace of Udaipur and Umaid Bhawan Palace of Jodhpur to Lalgarh Palace of Bikaner and City Palace of Jaipur, these man-made marvels are located in every nook and corner of the state.

Moreover, these are not the only points of interest to explore; there are numerous others. For instance, if you are in the Pink City, you can spend time exploring Hawa Mahal, Amer Fort, Jantar Mantar or Nahargarh Fort. In case your Rajasthan trip brings you to the City of Lakes – Udaipur, do not miss to visit City Palace, Monsoon Palace, Jag Mandir or Saheliyo Ki Bari. I can go on and on with the other cities of Rajasthan, but that’s no use. All of us know about these attractions, even those, who haven’t been to Rajasthan even once. There’s a lot to see and explore here.

I was shocked when one of my friends told me that he had grown tired of visiting the state. I thought that maybe because he is from Rajasthan, he must have seen everything. But then I found that this wasn’t the case. While conversing, I asked him about his trip to Alwar, and to my surprise, he told me he hadn’t been there. How can anyone claim to have explored the whole of Rajasthan when you haven’t even been to Alwar once? I know it’s not that popular, but it’s a visit-worthy destination.

Freedom is a feeling, which cannot be expressed in words. I know we have left monarchy far behind, but sometimes I feel like we are still not liberated. The chains of responsibilities have kept us from doing what we love. When these bonds get too heavy, we need to break them off and escape. Live life like a nomad and see the treasures of the world; do something adventurous and feel what it really is to be free. I guess there is no better way to feel free than being on a motorbike trip. They say life is about the journey and not the end, and isn’t that exactly what a motorbike trip is? You pick up your bike, get the tank full, and then see where the path takes you; leaving behind the mundane.

Not only for the youth, but a motorbiking adventure is also for the ones who are young at heart; people who are passionate about riding endlessly. Freedom is what they seek and are ready to travel hundreds of kilometres just to get that feel. Na, I haven’t been on a bike trip yet, but I plan to and which place could be better for it than India – the land of different terrains. Here is a list of some of the best biking routes in the country that are just waiting for the daredevils.

Delhi to Rajasthan: A Ride through the Land of the Kings
Rajasthan is a place that everyone must visit at least once in their lifespan, be it to see the opulent palaces, or estimate the strength of the erstwhile rulers with the mighty forts they got constructed.

A bike ride through the different cities of Rajasthan is a brilliant way to explore the landscape of the state and see its hidden gems. Just make sure you have ample time to enjoy the Rajasthani hospitality to the fullest. After beginning from Delhi halt at the small town of Mandawa, your first step into the Rajasthani heritage. It is a 250 km journey. What follows is a trip through Bikaner, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Pushkar, and finally, Jaipur. The journey will let you explore Junagarh Fort, Mehrangarh Fort, Umaid Bhawan Palace, the City Palace of Udaipur, Monsoon Palace, Saheliyon Ki Bari, Brahma Temple, the City Palace of Jaipur, Hawa Mahal and Amer Fort. The complete venture, ending back in New Delhi, is around 1800-km long.

jodhpur

Guwahati – Tawang – Zemithang – Nameri: A Scenic Trip through Arunachal Pradesh
Arunachal Pradesh was hidden from the eyes of the globetrotting crowd for a long, long time. Since its awe-inspiring natural splendour and cultural heritage has been unveiled to the world, it has become a major tourist destination. A bike trip in the state will give you a glimpse of the quintessential Himalayan landscape. Riding on its winding roads, along the gushing rivers and through dense national parks, you will forget about the stress of the city life.  

The 10-day long, 1200-km journey begins from Guwahati and brings you to Tezpur. After which, you can drive for about 325 km over the course of two days to reach the Tawang town, crossing Sela Pass en route. Needless to say, if you are in Tawang, you must visit the namesake monastery and admire its murals. The sojourn also introduces you to the beauty of Zemithang, and Dirang – better known for its hot springs.

arunachal-motorbike-ride

Delhi – Manali – Leh – Kargil – Srinagar – Delhi
I believe it is a sin to not mention a DelhiLadakh trip when talking about the best motorbiking routes in India. A favourite of many is the Leh via Manali segment and then return via Srinagar; hence, completing a full circle. The journey is about 2250 km, but if you add trips to Pangong Tso and Nubra Valley, it rounds at about 2800 km. Now, this is some way to spend two weeks.

Begin the trip with a thrilling 250-km journey from Delhi to Chandigarh, followed by a 310-km road adventure to the hill town of Manali. Between Manali and Leh, there are two pit stops, namely Jispa and Sarchu, where riders can relax after a long day of conquering winding roads. On your way, you will pass numerous passes like Khardung La, Nakee La, Tanglang La, Lachung La and Rohtang La. One of the most thrilling sections of this trip is the Gata Loops – a series of 21 hairpin bends. You will never know what will come your way till you reach the turn.

The majestic Pangong Tso and the ever-beautiful Nubra Valley are only a day’s drive from Leh. Many people choose to return via the same route that they took to get to Leh, but I do not see much fun in that. If you head to Kargil, you can return via Srinagar, and get to drive on a few other high passes like Zoji La and Fotu La.

Ladakh

Kanyakumari – Alleppey – Munnar – Ooty – Gokarna – Goa: Beaches, Backwaters, Hills and More
While thinking of a bike trip in India, only the above-mentioned places come to mind. But why? The southern coast of India is undoubtedly beautiful and who says exploring it on a bike is a bad idea. The journey can be started from the southernmost town of Kanyakumari and you can travel towards Goa from there. There’s a lot to see, do and admire between the two destinations. If you choose to travel with an operator, you get to start your adventure from Bangalore, and reach Madurai before Kanyakumari. The backwaters of Alleppey will win your heart just as much as the sight of snow-capped Himalayas does. A visit to Alleppey will be complete only with a night stay on a houseboat.

Like Alleppey is the realm of scenic backwaters, Munnar is synonymous with misty hills and sprawling tea and spice plantations. One breath in its salubrious environment and you will forget every hardship you might have faced during the excursion. In two days, you can reach Goa, the ultimate party destination in the country.

munnar

Bangalore to Coorg
It is a short scenic drive to unveil the beauty of the Western Ghats. Being dominated by misty, rolling hills, Coorg or Kodagu makes for one of the best weekend getaways from the bustling city of Bangalore. A perfect escape, the 270-km ride takes you through lush forests of teaks and coffee plantations. The district in itself is quite large, precisely 4102 sq km; therefore, there are aplenty points of interest to explore here. Riders can take the adventure a notch higher by visiting the famous Nagarhole National Park. The 643-sq km wildlife park is home to animals like the Bengal tiger, deer, Indian leopard, Indian elephant, gaurs and wild boars.

coorg

Kolkata – Gangtok – Ravangla – Yuksom – Darjeeling – Bagdogra: A Ride in the Eastern Himalayas
You have to come to Sikkim at least once to see the generosity that nature has bestowed upon it. Its mountain peaks inspire you to aim high, and its welcoming people never let you feel uninvited. The route takes you from aromatic tea gardens and peaceful monasteries to quaint hamlets. On this route, you will pass numerous settlements of the Sikkim’s tribal population, like the town of Yuksom. The historical place also holds immense religious significance among locals. The bike excursion should ideally take around 9 to 10 days to complete. Since it takes place in the Himalayas, riders here obviously have brilliant photo opp.

snowedout_route

Salem – Rasipuram – Kolli Hills: A Tryst with 70 Hairpins Bends
If you live in or around Tamil Nadu, you have got to visit the Kolli Hills. The small mountain range, which reaches about 4663 feet at its highest point, is the realm of scenic views. However, if you are a rider, its geographical features and the 12th-century Shiva temple may not lure you as much as the 70 hairpin bends. While here, you can click pictures with Akasa Gangai falls. A sight of this 300-feet landform will definitely leave you speechless. The round trip between Salem and Kolli Hills sums up at around 120 km; a perfect weekend escape with the lads.

Kolli hills

Chennai – Mahabalipuram – Pondicherry – Chidambaram -Rameshwaram – Tuticorin
East Coast Road or State Highway 49 is undoubtedly among the best places in India to go for a long ride. Stretching along the Bay of Bengal, it connects Chennai with Cuddalore, but has extended up to Kanyakumari, making it a riders’ paradise. You can begin your trip from Chennai and travel to Pondicherry via Mahabalipuram. While in the Union Territory, use your time exploring the world-famous Auroville. The quaint town of Rameshwaram will take your breath away with its beauty. It would be a mistake to not to visit the revered Nataraja Temple in Chidambaram. Some sculptures here date back to the 2nd century; how many times do you get to see something that old.  

pondicherry

Thus said, above are the best options to go for an exciting bike trip. Just get your Bullet serviced and embark on the journey.  

“If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change.” – Lord Buddha

We would probably have to read Buddhist scriptures to know exactly what the deity meant with the quote, but one thing is for sure, the sight of flowers has the power to bring an instant smile to our face. You gift somebody even a single flower, and their mood changes at once. Imagine what seeing millions of flowers would do to you. It would not only lift your spirit, but also fill you with love and respect for nature. Flowers make even the bleakest of places colourful, vibrant and great to look at. And, the scent they radiate stimulates our senses like nothing else. Imagining standing in a vast field of flowers has made me want to go to such a place; hence, I have come up with a bucket list of such destinations around the world.

Nowadays, we hear people, especially youth, talking about travelling and exploring new places. But, what do most do? They go to places like Ladakh, Goa, Kasol and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, making these places somewhat of a tourist cliché. What I mean is that these places have become so popular that many people visit them and there is almost nothing new left to explore. Whatever there is in such places, the tourist guide books have in their pages. So, what are we really ‘exploring’ by going to places, where already so many have been.

Southeast Asia is one of the most toured destinations in the world owing to its gorgeous beaches, tropical climate, historical buildings, sacred temples and delicious street food. Another reason for its popularity is its budget friendliness as well as tourist safety. Each of the countries in Southeast Asia has its own charm, which is worth exploring and admiring.

A few days ago, one of my friends returned from a tour of the United Arab Emirates and shared his experience with us. Dubai, the ultimate holiday destination in the Middle East, is where he spent most of his time. I asked him his reaction on seeing Al Quoz, the centre of Dubai’s art; and to my surprise, he hadn’t visited it. I was left astound! I know, Al Quoz is not that popular, but I consider it a must-visit attraction for anyone spending more than a week in the emirate.

The land of the brave Ahoms, Assam is nothing short of a paradise for travellers. Rolling hills, milky waterfalls, delectable cuisine, informative archaeological sites, interesting tribal people and old shrines, there is so much to see, do and try here. If you are looking to explore the local culture, then visit one of its cities, or better yet, one of its remote villages. For a peaceful getaway amidst nature, trip to one of its scenic hill stations. But, if you are a wildlife enthusiast, then you are in for a real treat. The biological diversity of this place not only makes it one of the best wildlife safari destinations in Northeast India, but also puts it on the global biodiversity map. It is home to numerous endemic plant and animal species, along with several endangered ones. To say the least, on a wildlife adventure here, one gets to unveil the untouched side of Assam; a side that has absolutely nothing to do with humans.

India is an incredible land in more ways than one and this can be experienced by travelling throughout the country. Right from the Himalayas in the north to the Indian Ocean in the south, it is a kaleidoscope of beauty that encompasses several different worlds within itself. Everyone born on the face of this earth should visit this magnificent land once in their lifetimes, just to see the sheer diversity that exists. India sees a huge influx of tourists throughout the year and a large number of them come from all around the world. Though the modern-day transportation network in the country is highly advanced and most places can be reached by air,taking a train journey is a must for any tourist. Connecting all parts of the country, Indian Railways is the heartbeat of India’s transportation system. While the railway journey can be hard sometimes, due to the crowd or high temperatures, if things are arranged properly, and at an appropriate time, it gives unprecedented joy to a traveller. There are plenty of specific train journeys in India that are breathtakingly beautiful, stunning and picturesque. Let’s take a look at some of the best ones that everyone must undertake.

“Islands are metaphors of the heart, no matter what poet says otherwise.” – Jeanette Winterson

The famous English writer gets it. She understands that more than poetry, what makes a soul sing is the sense of serenity one can only find on islands. Living on a piece of land, bounded by water, is inherently blissful in its own way. This might not sound very appealing to those who do not like the sound of water crashing against rocks or the sublime climate of an island. However, I, for one, am convinced that the possibility of anyone disliking these two things is extremely low. Islands are heaven in disguise after all! From honeymoons to get away with friends, a visit to Indian islands is always memorable. For the lone wolves out there, who want to explore on their own, these islands serve as great opportunities to indulge in unforgettable experiences. If your thoughts about escaping to islands echo my evident bias towards them, you have found just the right page. Read on to find out more about the mesmerising islands, which are situated in different parts of India.

“Don’t tell me how educated you are, tell me how much you have travelled.”

The words are enough to inspire someone to travel the world. We live in a beautiful world full of adventures and enormous experiences. There is no end to the adventures and experiences that we can have in this small world; all we need to do is to seek them with our eyes open. If you haven’t started your journey yet, remember this famous quote by Ruskin bond “All glory comes from daring to begin”.

Traverse to savour those moments, for they will not come in your way very often! How about starting to collect these moments and experiences from India? You would be amazed to know that some of the best travel experiences can be had in India. We always try and find happiness in materialistic things but how about travelling with your friends to some place you have never been to! Make memories out of some of these experiences that are a must do in India!


Trek on the Frozen River
Walking on the ice sheet of the Zanskar River will be one of the most breathtaking experiences of your life! Ladakh has always been a dream destination for adventure and travel lovers, including me! Keeping aside the enchanting beauty of Ladakh, trekking in Ladakh on the frozen river can be a life-changing experience.