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.

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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!

For a city dweller, nothing could be more relaxing and joyful than travelling to hills that are covered with lush greenery and fresh air! Such enchanting beauty and peace can be witnessed in the ‘crown jewel of Dharamshala’, Triund. With all its natural appeal and majesty, Triund is positioned beautifully between the laps of Himachal Pradesh’s Dhauladhar Ranges and the captivating Kangra Valley. Also, Triund is among India’s most popular trekking destinations for the youth, and attracts lakhs of adventure lovers from all across the country. The tricky terrains and curves offer a perfect treasure trove to its trekkers.

Here’s why to pack your bag for Triund

Triund boasts of the lively and distinctive Tibetan culture with splendid monasteries that are equipped with beautiful cloisters, idols of Buddha, wheels and supplication banners. While on your trek to Triund, you will witness some of the finest views of the lush green mountain ranges, white clouds and the dense forests. One of the best experiences to be had on this trek is to witness the myriad starry constellations setting the night skies dazzling.

Notably, the Triund trek is a steep ascent of over 1,100 metres. It is neither a lengthy nor a difficult trek.  From Galu temple, it only takes around 3 hours to reach Triund. The journey of steep climbing begins at the last 2 km from Snowline Café, which means the trekking is quite hassle-free.

The beauty of Himachal Pradesh in its finest form
So, pack your bags for Triund to experience beauty in its purest form!

Reaching Triund from Mcleodganj

Galu is a starting point of the Triund trek. In order to reach Galu, one can either hire a taxi from Mcleodganj, or just start the trek right from there. Many travellers start their trek from Bhagsu Nag which is famous for the stunning waterfall. Moreover, while trekking from Galu, one has to follow a path which goes through a dense forest covered with deodar and oak trees. In case, you face any difficulty while climbing up, you can hire a horse/pony to reach the top.

The beginning of My Triund Adventure

I started my solo journey at around 5am from Delhi, taking a route via Sonipat, Panipat, Ambala, Chandigarh and Solan. Because I didn’t want to miss the Parathas of the most famous restaurant, Amrik Sukhdev, I stopped my car at Murthal.  I gobbled 3 buttery Parathas with a glass of creamy Lassi that was actually a divine treat to my taste buds!

I reached Dharamshala by 5pm, and searched for a place away from the hustle-bustle of the town. After visiting several guest houses and hotels, I ended up settling at a hotel in Naddi village which was much more secluded and peaceful than the other places I had searched. Enclosed by the village, the hotel offered wonderful views of the splendid Dhauladhar Ranges.

On the next day, I decided to go to Bhagsu Nag Temple which is situated in Mcleodganj. Before reaching there, I came across St. John’s church. Without a second thought, I parked my car and went down to the cathedral.

Later I visited Bhagsu Temple, Dalai Lama Temple and Dal Lake. After capturing several photos with my DSLR and getting mesmerized by the calmness of the soothing environment of Dalai Lama Temple, I went to Jimmy’s Bakery for breakfast and Taste Of India for lunch.  In the evening, I explored Tibetan Market, where I did some shopping for my friends and family.

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On the second day, I started my long awaited trek to Triund from Naddi village at around 9 am. After collecting information from locals, I first reached Dharamkot covering a distance of 3 km. The trek was delightful, with sights of colourful prayer flags, flowers, mud houses and alpine trees. Meanwhile, I met few other trekkers as well. After introducing ourselves we headed towards Galu Devi Temple, which serves as a base for the trek. I stayed there for 10 minutes to refill my water bottle and to click some pictures. One thing that I can’t forget was the group of talented mountain goats; talented because they were balancing themselves amazingly while grazing on that steep mountain!

The last one hour of the trek was a test of my fitness, as I was exhausted by the end. I reached the top of this majestic hill by 2 pm which, I think, was good timing. The glance of Triund top was the curtain raiser to all my expectations. It gave peace to my mind while soaking away all my tiredness. The biggest surprise that was waiting for us was snowfall. I stayed overnight in the camp that was set on the top of Triund hill, and the night sky, with all its twinkling stars, mesmerized me.

Camping at the most serene site
Camping at the most serene site

Best time for the Triund trek

March to May is considered as the best time for the Triund trek. However, September to December is also a good time to go. It keeps raining in June and July, but people who enjoy the monsoon can still go for the trek.

Things to Do

  • After reaching Triund top, don’t be in a hurry! Sit there, and enjoy the majestic views.
  • On the way to Triund, get some energy by gorging on some healthy snacks and refreshing tea or coffee at the cafes there.
  • If possible, stay at Triund top for the night to get the most beautiful camping experience.

Must carry essentials

  • Jackets and sweaters
  • Water-resistant shoes and an extra pair of socks, skin moisturizers and sunscreen lotion
  • Energy bar and snacks, water bottle
  • Good camera and a pair of sunglasses
  • Torch, trekking-pole
  • First aid kit and insect repellent

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Checkpoints of Trek

  • Galu Devi Temple
  • ‘Rest A While’ Cafe
  • Magic View Cafe and Best View Cafe

Some amazing nearby attractions

  • The Namgyal Stupa
  • Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts
  • Bhagsu Waterfalls

Must-visit Cafes

  • Magic View Café
  • Shiva Café
  • Best View Café
  • ‘Rest a While’ Café

What more do you want? Try out the Triund trek in Dharamshala to make an invigorating exploration of the Dhauladhar peaks and camp under a star studded sky to fully unwind. Beware the feeling of not wanting to come back!

In the abode of Himachal Pradesh, lies a beautiful place called Kheerganga (3500m) at the extreme end of Sylvan Hills’ Parvati Valley, where it is believed Lord Shiva meditated for thousands of years. The lush greenery of the mountains, the elegant River Parvati and picturesque skies are undoubtedly a much-awaited delight to a trekker’s eyes and soul.

The place has a religious significance for both Hindu and Sikh pilgrims. Situated 22 km away from Manikaran, Kheerganga is popular for its hot water spring even during heavy snowfall and bathing in it is an experience you will definitely cherish. While trekking, the trail unveils popular tourist destinations en route like Rudra Nag Waterfall and Shiv Temple. You should go ahead for the Kasol – Kheerganga trek to experience peace in the soothing sights of the great Himalayas.

The enthralling beauty of Kheerganga
The enthralling beauty of Kheerganga

How ‘Kheerganga’ came to be called so

A few believe that it was the son of Lord Shiva, Kartikeya, who came here after losing a race to his brother Ganesha. He remained in a ‘Samadhi’(meditation) for thousands of years. It was Lord Shiva who tried to tempt his son by channelizing a stream of Kheer (rice pudding) to bring him back. The actual meaning of the word Kheerganga is ‘milky white sacred water’.

A Trek to Kheerganga

Almost three years back, when I went to Kasol with a group of my childhood friends, I heard about Kheerganga from the people who were coming back from the trek. They told us that despite its obvious challenges, the trek was an incredible experience that would make for a lifetime of memories. Since then, Kheerganga had been on my list of places to go, till the opportunity finally presented itself.

Last month, I decided to go for the trek, and after my packing, I went to Shivaji Stadium from where I was supposed to board a tempo traveller bus at 10 pm. I wore my headphones comfortably, turned on the music, and settled back. We took a pit stop at Murthal for dinner, where I enjoyed Pyaaz Parathe with pickle and curd, then we headed for the road again. This was for the first time I was travelling solo, so my over-excitement hardly let me sleep on the bus.

The morning started with a stunning sunrise view that I enjoyed from a local Dhaba where we relished tea and sandwiches. After crossing the bumpy path of Manikaran and Kasol road, the bus dropped me at the Kasol Bus Stop at around 2 pm. I met a few other people at the bus stop who were planning to trek to Kheerganga at 2pm. Rather than saying yes to them, I decided to find a hotel for a night stay in Kasol as I wanted to be completely rested for the journey. After relaxing for 2 hours, I took a stroll to the Kasol Street that is also referred to as Mini Israel, because of the many Hebrew inscribed signboards and a variety of scrumptious Israeli dishes that are being served in the restaurants and cafes.

Next day, I started my expedition at 6 am after grabbing some toast from the hotel’s restaurant. I first visited a nearby temple where I met my guide, who had 8 years of experience in trekking. We set our target to reach Kheerganga by noon. From the temple, we moved to Barsaini, the base camp, which is also the convergence point of the Parvati and Tosh Rivers. On our way to the top, we walked through the majestic landscape along with a splendid sight of nature. We passed a few wooden bridges, tricky terrains and slippery curves. I captured several mesmerising views of the sky, waterfalls and birds in my camera. We reached Rudra Nag Waterfall at 10am, where we stayed for 15 minutes to admire the beauty of the hills.  

Trekking from Kasol to Kheerganga
Trekking from Kasol to Kheerganga

We also came through villages Kalga and Pulga, where the locals sang a few Himachali folk songs for us, and that moment was truly divine! They briefed me about their lifestyle and the locals offered me a traditional desert of Himachal, Mittha, which is prepared with rice, jaggery, raisins and dry fruits. Further on, the route became sublime, with sights of temples, flowing water streams, flowers, mud houses and alpine trees.

We reached the green meadow of Kheerganga bang on time!  I took a refreshing dip in the hot spring that washed off all my tiredness and leg pain from the journey. That day, I decided to spend a night in the camp. To celebrate the achievement of trekking, a bonfire was arranged for all of us at night. Playing cards, Antakshri and dancing set the tone right for the night. That was another sleepless night as people were busy interacting and sharing their experiences with each other.

Trekking in Kheerganga
Trekking in Kheerganga

I had a sleep for about 2 hours and I woke up to the chilly morning breeze with a splendid view of the sunrise and flying birds. After having breakfast, I went to take another dip in the hot water spring.We started the trek back to Barsaini after breakfast at 11:30 am which took us 3 and a half hours, and then we returned to Kasol, which is just 3 km away.

Things to Carry

  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Trekking shoes and trekking pole
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Warm clothes
  • First aid kit

Kheerganga Trek Highlights

  • Length: 1 Nights 2 days
  • Maximum altitude: 3050 m
  • Delhi to Kasol: 520 km
  • Kasol to Barsaini: 40 km
  • Barsaini to Kheerganga: 12 km

kheerganga_4

Things to keep in mind

  • Avoid taking shortcuts in the mountains
  • Leave the least amount of ecological footprint by choosing to not litter on the trail
  • Watch your steps at the slippery Hot water spring
  • No mobile networks at Kheerganga

Must-Try Cafes

  • Buddha Place
  • Moon Dance Cafe
  • Mama Cafe
  • Jim Morrison Cafe
  • The Evergreen Cafe

Recommended Hotels

  • ADB Rooms Summer Hills
  • The Woodward Two
  • Hotel Sandhya, Kasol
  • Parvati River Kasol

Soak in the rejuvenating essence of Pin Parvati valley as you explore the breathtaking views of Kheerganga, setting out from Kasol. Unwind and unravel in the arms of nature.  

Lying in the magical Buddhist ex-kingdom Ladakh, Stok Kangri is among the most fascinating and adventurous trekking spots on the earth. Perched at an altitude of 6,000 m, Stok Kangri peak is located in Hemis National Park. The different shades of the expedition give you an opportunity to experience the absolute peace and swift breathtaking changes in the scenery. However, the blissful landscape attains an ideal splendour in winters as it provides you with the stunning sight of the Zanskar and the Indus Valley. The best part of the trek is that you would be back to the base camp of this high altitude peak, just after 2-3 days of tricky trekking. Moreover, the Indian Mountaineering Foundation (IMF) has declared the Stok Kangri, Ladhaki Peak and Friendship Peak as trekking peaks, keeping you safe from extra paperwork proceedings. While tramping to this awe-inspiring beauty, you will pass through many thrilling sights, such as abandoned areas, lofty mountains, trails with plenty of ridges and isolated hamlets which would surely be a dream-like journey to the hill admirers.

Stok Kangri Expedition
Let that sweet, sweet adrenaline course through you.

A Rendezvous with Stok Kangri

Wohoooooo! Yayyy! We finally did it. Oh, God! We accomplished it together. Yes, it feels exactly like this. This was me shouting at the top of my lungs after reaching the end point of Stok Kangri. Looking at me and a few of my crazy friends, our guide, Singpa Oeki too joined in. After few minutes, he directed us to avoid the edge of the peak as a slip would’ve caused a steep 1000 m fall. Just to express their joy and emotions, everyone was busy hugging and thanking each other, after all, we were almost higher than any mountain in five continents. The team members were appreciating and congratulating my brother who was the youngest member of this expedition, at only 20 years old. Even I was speechless, not because I made it to the top after 9 hours of continuous climbing in the harsh weather conditions but because I was freezing and exhausted. I wanted to go back to the base camp as soon as possible and suddenly some words rang in my ears –  ‘Life is a journey and not a destination’. It was my little brother who held my hand and asked me to think about the incredible journey that we had completed together.

The beginning of the journey: For me, this journey began around three years ago, when I first visited Ladakh and became aware of this amazing peak called Stok Kangri. Due to my tight schedule, I had no time to invest in this adventure, thus, I made a silent promise to the mountains that I would return one day. And I kept my promise. The nine day expedition started last month with a trek from Leh to the Stok base camp.

First two days:  As I landed in Leh’s Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport from Delhi, along with my brother, I was welcomed with a familiar greeting, “Juley” (salutation in Ladakhi). From there we booked a taxi to reach Ladakh. On reaching the guest house, I met Rajesh and Tanya who were Everest Base Camp (EBC) veterans. They told us that there would be a  group of 18 people, including us, that were going to be trekking together for the next few days. I decided to rest in my room for a while, and in the evening, I went ahead to stroll through the town where I found the stunning Thiksey Monastery. On the next day, the other members of the group also reached the guest house in the early morning. After their arrival, we indulged in breakfast and dashed off for an acclimatization hike of 3-4 hours. We paid a visit to various Buddhist Stupas and even did some shopping for our family, before wrapping it up and going back to sleep at the guest house.

Stok Palace
Stok Palace

A drive to Stok Village (Day 3): It was a time to drive to the picturesque Stok village that was located in the south of Leh. We came across many captivating views of clouds, mountains and lush green trees. Our guide informed us that Stok village was the home to the former Ladakhi royal family and he took us to nearby Stok Palace Museum where we came across some belongings of the King’s family. It is an ideal place to witness rich Ladakhi culture. In the first stage of the trek, we tramped through the mountains to Chang Ma. On arrival, we saw our tents were set up on rocky slopes and we knew that it was a time for us to tighten our belts as it was not going to be as easy as we thought.  

Chang Ma to Mankorma and then Back to the base camp (Day 4 and Day 5): When we woke up in the morning, our guide told us to be ready for the rough yet pleasant trekking experience. It was a 3 hour trek where we passed through the barren grey landscape and small streams. After crossing the first brook, we noticed some extreme changes in the surroundings. Earlier, the mountains had looked grey, but now they all were turning purple with a heavy amount of sunlight. Gradually, we were realizing why Ladakh is known as the cold desert. After 3 hours, we reached Mankorma, that consisted of wide and flat terrain with typical scattered desert vegetation and thorny bushes. There was a narrow stream flowing just below our campsite. Moreover, we witnessed millions of twinkling stars in a white band late at night.

Next day, we started on our way back to the base camp. During the daytime, we enjoyed the views of some beautiful peaks like Parcha Kangri, Gulap Kangri and many others. Along the way, we took amazing pictures of several alpine lakes, mountainous meadows and sheep grazing on soft green grass.

Time to get trained (Day 6): Finally, the most important day of trekking had arrived. It was the time when our leader gave us a few tips on how to adapt to the weather and harsh conditions of Leh. He also briefed us about the challenges that we might face during climbing. Further, our guide handed over to us a trekking map with all the important guidelines mentioned on the back of a map.

Base Camp to Stok Kangri (Day 7): On day 7, we woke up around 5am and prepared our minds for the biggest climb. After breakfast, we took a group picture and then moved ahead following our guide. While travelling through a glacier we encountered slopes, rivers of ice and sharp and lengthy ascents. It was a point when many of us complained about breathing problem. To reach the top of Mount Stok Kangri, we climbed for about 3 hours towards the southern face of the mountain. The slope was inclined about 75 degrees, and the path was loaded with massive boulders and small rocks. In total, it took us around 9 hours to reach the destination.

Here, we got a clear view of the summit and colourful prayer flags decorating it. We felt that Zanskar Mountains in the South and the Karakoram Range in the North came closer to us. We stayed there for 45 minutes and then we descended back to our base camp.

Base Camp to Leh and Leh to home (Day 8 and 9)

The trek came to end when we reached Stok Village with memorable views of streams, glaciers, snow and mountain ranges. After packing our bags, it was time to drive to Leh. After exchanging numbers and gifts, all the members of our group returned back to their homes with the nostalgia of a superb expedition.

Stok Kangri in the Himalayas
Western Flank, Stok Kangri

Does it require experience?

A person should be both mentally and physically fit to scale this giant as it would challenge you emotionally, physically and psychologically. People with high blood pressure, anxiety issues, asthma, heart problems and epilepsy are not eligible for the mission. The difficulty begins at high altitudes when a person might face problems in breathing which might  leave you with nausea and headaches. Despite all these troubles, when you reach the end of this insuperable peak, it will surely be worth your efforts. You would be welcomed by blue sky and shining stars amidst purest shadow of the moon. Trust me, it would be a memory to treasure for a lifetime.

Best time to Trek Stok Kangri

June to mid September is considered as the best time for Stok Kangri trek. Notably, due to heavy snow June is said to be the most technical trek.

Where to Stay

You can stay in the guest house or hotel on Day 1, Day 2 and Day 8 in Leh. However, rest of the days you have to survive in the camps.

Mobile Network and Internet Services

While staying in Leh you would hardly get any network connectivity. The only service providers there would be Airtel and BSNL, with limited coverage. You won’t be getting any network connectivity in your initial stages of the trek or while staying in camps.

Trek essentials

The trek essentials that you shouldn’t leave behind include back and day pack with rain cover, walking stick or trekking pole, head torch, water bottle/hydration pack, one thermos flask, snacks, energy bars, dry fruits, ORS, personal medical kit and trekking shoes. One should not carry more than 15 kg of luggage for the expedition.

Ladakh is home to the most exotic valleys, glacial lakes glistening ice-solid in the sunlight, most splendid Himalayan peaks, breathtaking gorges and all of it is serene due to the sparse population. Stok Kangri Expedition is definitely something to write home about.

Known for its meadows of endemic alpine flowers, Valley of Flowers is located in the ‘Abode of God’, Uttarakhand in Chamoli District of the Garhwal region. Be it nature lovers, mountaineers or botanists, a walk to this striking UNESCO World Heritage Site is an apt choice to enjoy the eponymous Himalayan valley, which is replete with rich biodiversity and breathtaking surroundings. While trekking to this sublime beauty, you will pass through an off-beat trail, isolated hamlets, abandoned areas and diverse species of flora and fauna, which is an experience of a lifetime. Perched at an altitude of 4,389 m, the valley is home to endangered animals, including the brown bear, blue sheep, Asiatic black bear and snow leopard.

Experience of ‘Paradise’ before Reaching the Final Destination

Being one of those rare natural botanical gardens in the country, a trek to this floral city is known for evoking an unfathomable elation in the mind of trekkers. When one of my friends, who is an ardent trekker, asked me to accompany her to the Valley of Flowers, I quickly signed up without any second thought. Next day, we began our journey at 4 am. Traveling via Dehradun brought back so many fond travel memories for me. We soon reached Haridwar, which is the starting point of the Valley of Flowers trek.

The journey started with a trail from Haridwar to Govindghat. We reached Govindghat via Rishikesh, Devprayag, Srinagar, Rudraprayag, and Karanprayag. However, one can also reach the place via the winter abode of Lord Badrinath and Joshimath. Along the way, do not miss an opportunity to witness the holy confluence of Bhagirathi and Alaknanda Rivers that together form the River Ganges. Though it’s a long journey, the path is fascinating when one notices the stunning convergence of these two rivers. It is likely that you may get tired, therefore, it is advised to take a short break and relax in a gorgeous apple orchard on the way.

After some rest, it was time for us to move from the base camp Govindghat to Ghangaria. The first day of Valley Of Flowers trek began with a 14 km gradual ascent from Govindghat to Ghangaria. The beauty of a number of waterfalls and lush greenery hypnotized us. In addition, the villagers told us that the world’s highest Gurudwara and the most revered of all Sikh Shrines, the ‘Hemkund Sahib’, is situated nearby, at an altitude of 4,329 meters. Ghangaria is a base camp for the Valley Of Flowers trek, and people can avail different services that include hiring a mule or using a helicopter. We had booked rooms at Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam, which is considered as the best place to stay in Ghangaria.

Divine Beauty in the Valley of Flowers
Trekking in Uttarakhand to the beautiful Valley of Flowers!

Time to Explore ‘Flowery Wonderland’

Next day after having some scrumptious Aloo Paranthas, we started a trek through Ghangaria to Valley of Flowers. The most difficult thing during the trek was to face heavy winds, but it was heartening to see that trekkers were helping each other to move ahead comfortably. As we scaled a height of 3,858 m to arrive at the Valley of Flowers, we witnessed thousands of flowers in full bloom. Our eyes were glazed by a fantastic and beautiful sight. At the starting point of this national park, I came across the Balsam flowers that sported bright light pink, blue and orange colors, followed by Himalayan Slender Tape Vine, Meadow Rue, Dwarf Globe Flower, and Marsh Marigold. The majesty of ‘Brahma Kamal’ (Saussurea obvallata) too was evident among the cluster of white and black Daisy flowers. It took around four hours to admire the rare and exotic beauty of the flowers spread like a blanket sheet, stretched over an expanse of 87.50 km. A unique blend of snow-capped mountains, green meadows, and white clouds made our trek a dreamlike adventure.

Know how the Valley was discovered?

As we had hired a guide to know better about the place, he told us that the credit to discover the valley goes to two British people i.e. mountaineer Frank Smith and botanist Joan Margaret Legge, who explored the valley together in the 1930s. However, botanist Prakash Chandra Kala from the Wildlife Institute of India spent a decade in the valley. During that period, he compiled two books known for having an inventory of all the flowers that blossom here, with their common and scientific names.

uttarakhand_valley_of_flowers_trek

Travelers Take Some Notes!

The floral site is a feast for the eyes and lends a unique experience in itself. The trail will become steeper, however, the finest creations of nature will keep you inspired and enchanted. When the much-awaited destination is right in front of you, it seems that every ounce of energy lost in the trail did not go in vain. Most of the people experience mixed emotions where excitement and relief come together to celebrate the joy of achieving something that you have aimed for.  You should spend some peaceful time in the lap of nature and capture some scenic images in your heart. Notably, it is a tea house trek because there are a number of tea-houses that bring you the finest qualities of fragrant teas.

The best time to visit the valley is from July to September, as flowers are in full bloom at that time. However, don’t forget to carry your rain gear, because it is the monsoon season after all, and it keeps raining here. Importantly, shoes play a major role during a trek, so one should avoid wet shoes and opt for shoes with water resistance.

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What to Eat inside the VOF?
VOF doesn’t offer any food facility to its visitors. You need to carry food packets with you but you are required
to eat the food outside the valley as there are no options to eat inside the park. Please don’t ruin this pristine
paradise by leaving wrappers and plastic bottles. Let’s not waste admirable efforts of Bhyunder Eco-
Development Committee (EDC), Bhyundar which is working hard to keep the valley clean and green.

Accommodation Options
There are hardly any accommodation facilities available outside the VOF. One can avail the guest houses,
lodges and camps in Ghangaria. So far, the best option to stay is GMVN, Ghangaria by Garhwal Mandal Vikas
Nigam. Some people prefer to stay at Govindghat, Auli or Joshimath as the hotels available there offer better
facilities. Remember, if you book your hotel or camp any of these three areas, you need to travel for around
30 minutes to reach the base camp i.e. Ghangaria.

Helicopters and Pony Facility
Helicopters and pony facility is offered to the tourists. As compared to pony ride, a Helicopter ride is quite
short and relaxed. However, its operation entirely depends on the weather condition. During bad weather,
helicopter facility is not provided. Travelers who are planning to trek can also buy wooden sticks or trekking
poles to ease their 6-8 hour journey.

Mobile Network and Internet Services
Before you head for VOF, keep in mind that Ghangaria offers electricity but there is hardly any mobile
network facility for the travelers. You may find fellow travelers getting signals of Idea at the VOF entry gate.
Notably, there are satellite phone booths in Ghangaria from where you can make calls.

Timings for Trek
You are not allowed to trek after 2 pm from Govindghat to Ghangaria as you need to trek 17km. In order to go
back to Govindghat on the same date from Ghangaria, you need to reach the base camp by 3 pm. Then only
can you start the trek down to Govindghat at 3 pm as it would take around 4 to 5 hours. Horse riding isn’t
available after 4 pm as there is a fear of wild animals and landslides.
Let your fears speak out loud and explore the valley to the fullest, take photos and let the fresh air and
pleasing scent of the flowers revive all your senses on this beautiful trek.

The beauty of every trekking expedition is unique in its nature and form. Sar Pass Trek in Himachal Pradesh is the most popular one amidst the stunning trails of the world. So, do not miss the chance to share the vastness of the Himalayas and challenge your inner potential for some thrill, adventure and excitement.

Know About Sar Pass Trek Before Your Visit

There is a lot of mystery, excitement and thrill involved when you go for the Sar Pass trek. Located in Parvati Valley of Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh at an altitude of 13,800ft, Sar Pass Trek is perfect for those who wish to experience all the beauty that nature has to offer.  The Himalayas have continued to inspire the human race since time immemorial. From towering peaks to lush green meadows and beautiful valleys with crystal clear streams, there are several amazing views that await you on your journey to Sar Pas. Moreover, coniferous trees, rhododendron plants and colourful flowers resemble that sublime beauty which makes this place look like a prelapsarian Eden world. Rediscover eternal beauty and tranquillity as you make your way to your final destination.

Sar Pass Trek in Himachal Pradesh
Trekking in Himachal Pradesh is a whole new experience!

Sar Pass Trek: The Highs and the Lows
The starting point of trekking for Sar Pass is Kasol, which acts as a base for most of the trekking trails in Himachal Pradesh. The town is known for providing a chance to relish the authentic Israeli food. The first day of the journey starts with a trek from Kasol to Grahan village. Initially, the trail seems easy to navigate and enables one to cover much distance in a couple of hours. However, the gentle gradient of the trail begins to transform soon as it becomes little rocky and steep after crossing the river, Grahan Nalah. Grahan village, situated at the top of the hill, will be visible after a steep climb of about an hour. The surreality and the beauty of the village, formed some 500 years ago, lends this place an extraordinary charm. It appears to be more appealing for those who love art, as it is considered to be a stoner’s and painter’s paradise. Replete with the beauty of traditional Himachali houses, pine forests and Rhododendron trees, you can relax in the company of nature.

The next stop on the trek is at Min Thach. Commonly used by locals to access their farms or cattle, the trail of Min Thach is replete with natural beauty. The sunset painting the sky golden is one of the most soothing sights after an exhausting trek from Grahan village to Min Thatch. As you climb higher towards the north, the trail becomes steeper and leads into the woods. However, Rata Pani, the most amazing lunch point, can make you forget the tiredness as you gaze in wonder at the hills on one side, and the deep valley on the other. Passing through the dense forests, you will witness mesmerising views offered by the thick canopy. During the course of the journey, be sure to admire the Chanderkhani stretch and many more ranges from the campsite at Min Thatch. Moreover, it would be helpful for the trekkers to acclimatise and warm-up to regain the energy lost during the trail.

On the way!

On the next day, trek through the pastoral forest covered with snow as the trail from Min Thatch to Nagaru commences, which is the highest point of this expedition at 12,500 ft above sea level. The most beautiful experience of this expedition is to face the towering peaks and simultaneously feel the force of biting wind that literally pushes you to scale even further. Snow could be a tricky part of this trail, as the path becomes slippery, making the trail tougher. It helps a lot to have a trekking pole handy and an experienced guide at your side to ensure your safety. Starting the trek before noon is advisable in case the path is covered by snow, as the weather remains favourable during the day.

Though it may seem difficult at some points, particularly for a beginner, this is exactly where the adventure lies that inspires you to challenge and self-actualize. Once you reach the campsite of Nagaru, you will experience a different world altogether. To enjoy the picturesque views of magnificent mountains across the Parvati valley and the small glittering lights of the Manikaran town reflecting the rustic charm of nature is an experience of a lifetime. Manikaran is well-known amongst the religious pilgrims. It has a hot spring around the gurudwara, which has curative properties, and a visit to this town is considered to be as auspicious as a trip to the holy city of Varanasi.

Moving ahead from here, the next trekking destination will be Biskeri Thatch via Sar Pass. The lush green meadows, wildflowers and variety of birds at Biskeri can rejuvenate your body and mind with new energy. Biskeri Thatch also serves as an ideal location for film shooting. Apart from providing clear and majestic views of ice-covered peaks, the simplicity of the place will leave you spellbound. As you climb upward, it is crucial to keep a slow and steady pace. Though the snow is easier to walk on, it is likely that you end up exhausting every ounce of energy that you have. However, there is nothing to get anxious about. The heavenly surroundings of the location will keep your spirits high and will inspire you to celebrate the joy of completing the trek. You will be rejoiced to see the much-awaited arrival of your final destination, Sar Pass. While beholding a breathtaking view of the lofty mountains, you can take a sigh of relief and enjoy the lush green scenic beauty that nature beholds.

At the Sar Pass top
At the Sar Pass top

Like most of the hikers, you can also acclimatise and spend some quality time at Sar Pass Top. The trek to Sar Pass can provide you with an absolute escapade from the mundane struggle of your daily l

For people who love adrenaline pumping through their systems and want to experience the thrill of a lifetime, skydiving is just the thing for them. A dive from 10,000 feet above the ground does indeed send a chill down your spine. When it comes to safety, skydiving in India was considered notorious earlier. But now things have completely changed. Skydiving is gaining popularity among the youth as an exhilarating experience, and who can blame them? Just imagine yourself- jumping out of the plane, the wind rushing past as you free fall for the next 30 seconds, and then floating back to land as you gaze at the surreal beauty that is our Earth. So one early morning, I set out to tick one more thing off my ever-growing wishlist for this year – skydiving. 

I had done some research beforehand on where to go, and I chose the most reliable and safest skydiving site, Skyhigh India, situated at Uttar Pradesh’s Aligarh – Kanpur Expressway, at the ‘Aligarh Airstrip’. After making some inquiries, I came to know that it is the first full-time commercial skydiving drop zone in India that not only matches international standards but is also affiliated to the United States Parachute Association (USPA). After covering about 140 km, in just two and a half hours via the Yamuna Expressway, I reached my destination.

The thrill of the jump!

I went inside their training institute and met several adventure lovers from around the world. We all started introducing ourselves to each other.  Some of them had already done skydiving in some other countries and they shared their thrilling experiences with me. All this was only building up my excitement, and I couldn’t wait to actually experience it myself!

We were all then introduced to the instructor, who told us that skydiving was initially not considered to be a sport, but was meant to save victims of aircraft accidents and to help with positioning armed forces on the battleground. He further said that at present, Skyhigh India only offers Tandem Skydiving and solo skydiving courses are soon to be introduced. Luckily, we got an opportunity to meet its founder, Rudra Bhani Solanki. In a conversation, we got to know that Tandem Skydiving is perfect for first timers as it is the safest and easiest style of skydiving. All you have to do is follow instructor’s guidance, take the flight up, jump and enjoy the breathtaking views! It all sounded so easy!

The parachute would be your only flying machine to provide you protection up in the sky. In case you’re planning to go for skydiving, just make sure that you get an experienced and qualified trainer, and feel free to talk to the people around you if you have any doubts.  At Aligarh Airstrip, I got a parachute that had an installed Automatic Activation Device (AAD). Also, the team provided me ground training where I was trained in all the safety measures. All the parachutes at Skyhigh India are regularly inspected and maintained for safety. In the training session, I learned various tactics and skills which I could later apply while skydiving. The instructors were truly the best, with a lot of experience in this particular field. If you are a first-timer, Sigma Tandem Parachute Systems is highly recommended as there is nothing to worry about. Everyone has to compulsorily undergo a training session of three to four days at the camp, even if they have already done skydiving before.

Heart-stopping free fall when skydiving near Delhi!

How It All Went Down

Finally, the day came which I had been excitedly waiting for; the day when I was going to do the skydive. All the equipment that I was supposed to carry had been previously tried and tested, so there was nothing to worry about.

In no time at all, I was taken up in a plane, ascending to the required height. While I was ready to experience the delight of my first tandem jump, I was safely strapped and securely tied together to the instructor by the assisting team. Another instructor made space for us in the aircraft. As I stood near the door, everything appeared so tiny to me, and that scared me a bit. I reminded myself that what I need to do was to rely on my instructor and wait for his guidance. In 30-40 minutes, the plane was in the drop zone. As I was told earlier in the training session, I kept breathing deeply and after five or six deep breaths, I jumped. The free fall lasted for 20-30 seconds, but nothing will be able to describe how I felt. It was exhilarating, with the wind in my face, hurtling towards the ground, at a speed of at least 200 km/hr! Free-fall was the most breathtaking, frightening yet exciting thing I had ever done. My mind was totally blank, as I experienced the thrill of the moment with a broad smile on my face that’ll definitely be back every time I will think about this. The parachute opened suddenly, and then we were floating gently down. My instructor kept guiding me with the basic tricks of the parachute, showing me how to turn it left or right. Together, we both circled and I couldn’t resist yelling at the top of my lungs.  I was on the ground in the next 30 minutes.

There is no doubt in my mind that those 30 minutes were one of the most exceptional moments of my life! I would carry this memory for a lifetime. All the credits for that remarkable 30-minute skydive go to Skyhigh India, which never compromises on safety equipment because, for them, the safety of their customers is of utmost priority. The instructors are the best that anyone is likely to find, as they are qualified and experienced. The activity here is safe and promises the best experience.

When it comes to health or body weight, anyone up to 90 kilos is fit to jump. Notably, if you have any heart-related problem, you need to show a fitness certificate signed by your consultant. Skydivers need to wear appropriate clothes as no ill-fitted clothes or strappy sandals are allowed. It is necessary to carry your athletic clothes and sports shoes.

If Safety Is A Concern 

My skydiving adventure has reassured me of one thing – there are many safe avenues where people can indulge in this activity without any apprehensions about safety. After some research, I also learned that there were some organisations in the Northern part of India which were rigorously working towards restoring people’s faith and confidence, and aim to make skydiving an accessible activity for everyone. 

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All the adventure lovers in Delhi, now you don’t need to look for other avenues for Skydiving as you have a perfect option near you. Are you ready to create an unforgettable memory? If yes, then just brace yourself and go for it!

Also known as the Mystery Lake, Roopkund is a glacial lake located at a breathtaking height of around 16,499 feet above sea level in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. The presence of numerous human skeletons, which can be seen in the lake when the snow melts, adds a tinge of mystery to the Roopund trek.

As you set out on the trek, you will encounter verdant green meadows or ‘Bugyals’, soaring snow-clad peaks, and lush dense forests. You can feast your eyes on the magnificent breathtaking views of Mt Trishul and Mt Nanda Ghunti as you make your way to Roopkund lake. Being one of the most famous sites for trekking in the Garhwal region, it is frequented by people from all across the world.

The starting point for this trek is Lohajung. Replete with rich biodiversity and picturesque surroundings, you can witness nature in its purest form here. It is a little difficult to traverse the curvy and winding roads which steadily gain altitude, but it will lead to an amazing feeling of accomplishment. After walking for around 6 km,  you will reach a peaceful village in the district of Garhwal, called Kulling. Filled with natural beauty, this village offers a narrow concrete plain, cutting through houses and fields. While descending down the village and crossing the bed of Neel Ganga, you will come across a moderately steep road covered with a forest of rhododendrons and oak, that connects to the Didna village, situated at an altitude of 8000 ft.

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The gorgeous village of Ali Bugyal is the next hamlet you will visit, which is one of the highest inhabited locations in the country.There are two trails from here – you can take either the right side of the trail or the left one. The trail on the right side is slightly ascending, and the trail on the left side is of a steeper nature. However, both sides lead to the same destination.

Wake up to smell the mountain air and a pleasant sunrise; a trekker's paradise
Wake up to smell the mountain air and a pleasant sunrise; a trekker’s paradise

Moving ahead from here, the next location is Ghora Lutani. You will enjoy gorgeous scenic views as you trek upwards to reach your final destination. A steep altitude gain of around 12,500 ft to 14,500 ft, the long continuous walk, coupled with the high altitude of this location, will challenge you and demand a lot from you. Also, the effect of high altitude can make breathing difficult, but the amazing vista surrounding you will be there to inspire and rekindle the fun of trekking. After reaching the campsite, you can wrap up for the day and retire to relax for the night.

Next day, as you walk towards Bhagwabasa, the terrain seems to look rough and not so easy to traverse. Situated at around 14000 ft above the sea level, the road will take you across Kalyuvinayak temple, which is further 200 ft higher. It is suggested to walk slowly and carefully as the air gets thinner and the quantity of oxygen decreases.

Nanda Ghunti
Nanda Ghunti, an exhilarating view from Roopkund

The gift that awaits you at such a height is a look at the final trekking destination, Roopkund. With shining and sparkling Trishul on one side and bell-shaped Nandagunti on the other, the view is simply magnificent and enchanting. It is surely the highest point on the trek with an altitude of more than 16000 ft. Though the path is not that difficult to climb, even the 4 km walk can pull out every ounce of energy that you have and make you feel tired.  After covering the hard and steep terrain, a lot of photographic opportunities will be waiting for you at the Nanda Devi temple. You cannot afford to miss this chance of capturing some warm memories with near and dear ones.

Visit Roopkund with your friends, make a lifetime's worth of memories
Visit Roopkund with your friends, make a lifetime’s worth of memories

Before moving further, you can choose to acclimatise and rest for a day like most of the hikers do. Rest well before you start the reverse journey and celebrate the joy of enduring the perils involved in the trekking expedition to Roopkund. This trek requires a whole lot of determination and courage, however, sheer exhilaration and the thrill involved in reaching Roopkund will become your motivation to complete this trek.

The best time to do this trek is between May-June and between August – September. If you choose to go in May/June, you might not be able to see the skeletons as the lake will be thawed, but on the bright side, the verdant bugyals will take your breath away. However, if you choose to go after the monsoons, the lake will, in all probability, be frozen at the end of September, and you will be able to see why the Roopkund lake has an air of mystery surrounding it.