The scenery of sky-piercing mountains, with a radiant sun shining in the backdrop, only soothes one’s soul. The view makes you forget every little stress of your hectic life and brings you immense peace. For such an experience, you do not have to travel too far. A flight or drive towards north, and you are here. I am talking about, of course, the eternally serene and surreally beautiful Spiti Valley. If you don’t trust me, and why should you, you haven’t even met me, will you take a respected novelist and poet’s word? Rudyard Kipling, the English writer, said the following words about the majestic place: “…a world within a world” and a place where the gods live.” Of course, this was a long time ago, about hundred years, but the place hasn’t changed since. It is still drenched in that same elegance as during that time. It is almost like none of the advancements in the rest of the world, or any person, place or thing have been able to touch and influence its tranquillity.
“Chasing angels or fleeing demons, go to the mountains”. This famous quote by Jeffrey Rasley explains my situation right now! For some, mountains is just an escape for a while, but for me, it feels like home. Whenever I am bored with the city life, and the pollution takes a toll on me, I head to the mountains! I have always loved mountains. I read about Chandratal a few years back, and from that moment on it’s always been on top in my bucket list. Nothing can be more soothing and rewarding than admiring the bounties of nature and that too by doing a trek to a place which is still unaffected by the ever-increasing endeavours of human beings.
Even being a travel aficionado and an avid blogger, until recently, I didn’t get a chance to see the beautiful (a relatively modest adjective) Chandratal lake. Probably even now, the thought of visiting it would not have crossed my mind, had a colleague, who is an achiever when it comes to visiting some of the highest lakes and glaciers in the world, not mentioned it.
Ladakh, as soon as the name is uttered, our minds are filled with mesmerising images of snow-capped peaks, high-altitude lakes and centuries-old monasteries. It is the aesthetic allure of this gifted place that beckons thousands of tourists every year. They probably come here to spend another vacation, but return with an experience that is unique and inexplicable. A great way to explore the spectacular landscape of Ladakh is by going on a trekking expedition, and that is something I believe everyone must try. The rugged terrain of this region offers all kinds of trekking trails, be it a strenuous one taking you to an altitude of over 20000 feet or easier ones that anyone can go for.
Let’s discover some amazing treks that you can try in Ladakh, even if you are a novice. People consider trekking as a very demanding activity which requires a high level of physical fitness. To be precise, the belief is not completely untrue, but will power and determination can make us achieve anything and everything. I have a job which requires me to sit in front of the computer for 9 hours a day and 6 days a week. And I confess, I do not work out too much; only when my wife pulls me to the gym with her. Does my lifestyle sound too similar to yours? It’s alright; we are just regular, modern-age people who are working hard to earn name and fame. You can imagine my physical condition; I’m not too fit but I’m not a couch potato either, and I have been on a few treks just in the past few years. Not in Ladakh, I am still to realise this dream of mine, but in Goa and Kerala. And yeah, they were FUN. More amazing than a tour I have taken to a hill station or some other place.
A few of the various trekking trails in Ladakh are fit for beginners. Read further to know the several options available from Treks in Ladakh For Beginners that you chose from.
With the advent of the monsoon season, adventure travel in India somehow takes a back seat. No one wants to brave the torrential downpours, let alone go on an adventure expedition; at least not me. But as they say nothing is permanent, I too had to let go off this idea of mine. And this was only made possible by the continuous cajoling of my friends for a week! They wanted me to join a group along with them that was planning its first expedition in the Western Ghats or Sahyadris, right in the middle of the monsoon season. The thought of trekking through the deep forests of the Western Ghats in the rainy season, with every chance of encountering slithering snakes and other wild animals gave me a few scares, but then I decided to ditch my fears and go on this exciting adventurous trip. The expedition was planned in the second week of September. I did not know then, that the journey to the Mysterious Glowing Forests of Sahyadris will be a life changing experience!
Read on to find out how my adventure of trekking in the Western Ghats unfolded, and how I became a witness to one of the most incredible sights of nature!
Everyone in their right minds would want their life to be peaceful, rather than full of turmoil. Some take to meditation, some shut themselves from the world, some perform yoga, some look to religion and some resort to travelling like a nomad. If you are indeed thinking of heading out in search of inner peace, alone or with a group, then you do not have to go too far. There are places within our “great country”, where you can be immersed in utter serenity, with nothing troubling you. You guessed it, such places are far from the city. Isolated from modern civilisation, these places are mostly in the mountains.
My personal choice for finding peace has been to head to the Spiti Valley and the adjoining Lahaul region, in Himachal Pradesh. Its significance for serenity seekers is twofold: there is nothing here except for untouched nature all around, and Buddhism pervades through it. When you combine these two aspects, you know you will never have to go anyplace else to find peace and may be even yourself. Peace, you can find at a plethora of Buddhist monasteries, called “gompa” in the local language, that are mostly perched atop mountains, making for a spectacular view. If you have seen Lord of the Rings, then these would look to you like the White Castle of Minas Tirith. Keep reading to learn about the gompas in the region. These alluring monasteries of Spiti Valley will surely leave you astonished!