Trekking in Uttarakhand has lately become so much more than an adventure sport. Now a popular destination for weekend getaways, long treks, river rafting, camping, mountaineering, ziplining and other adrenaline-inducing adventures, it has also long been a important location for pilgrims for decades for it harbours the origin of Ganges, Gangotri. The Garhwal and Kumaon ranges offer the most promising treks, courtesy its position in the foothills of famous Himalayan peaks.
The second highest mountain in India and the highest mountain located entirely within the country, Nanda Devi(7,816 m) lies right here in the Garhwal Himalayas; it is the holy site for a lot of cultural festivals that take place annually. Lots of other 7000 m+ peaks loom over this region in North India. Therefore, so far as cultural, geographical and historical importance is considered, Uttarakhand is naturally a winner.
Keeping in mind a lot of factors that make a trek worthwhile, the best treks located in Uttarakhand are Roopkund Trek and Har Ki Doon Trek. These treks offer great views of the Himalayan peaks, challenge one’s trekking skills and endurance in controlled limits and are spread over a comfortable number of days to accommodate the best experiences without exhausting oneself completely.
But the major catches remain: Expansive alpine meadows; lush valleys; dense oak, deodar and pine forests; high altitude lakes, moraines, ridges, hanging glaciers; towering Himalayan peaks looming over. These trek features are entirely unique to Uttarakhand’s picturesque locales and that is what makes it such an invigorating experience for trekkers of all backgrounds.
The best time to visit any of these treks are the sunny summer months: April to June. Avoid monsoon season for there’s possibility of flash floods, landslides, slippery trail and other dangers.
Everything a Himalayan trek can offer! Alpine meadows that stretch as far the eye goes, oak and pine forests, frozen waterfalls, scenic peaks that make this trek incomparable. So picture perfect!
The mystique and the memory of a past forgotten The Skeletal Lake is said to have buried in it skeletons of travelers that were caught in a hailstorm. So far, no conclusive research has shown where exactly the group of travelers was headed. Spooky, right? Visit in the summers so that the lake is not completely covered by sheets of snow.
The adventure, the thrill, the views Roopkund trek, over the years, has remained one of the most popular trekking destinations in North India. Each year, thousands of people set out to make it on this trek. Perhaps, the biggest selling point of this trek are the adrenaline-inducing climb up to the lake and the chilling views of Mt Trishul, Nanda Ghunti, Badrinath. The trek is not meant for beginners.
Har Ki Doon, a paradise in the lap of Himalayas on the border between Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh: The valley is reached through Govind Wildlife Sanctuary which is a repository of the most exotic variety of flora and fauna.
Follow Pandavas’ steps to the Swargarohini This trek offers mesmerizing views of Swargarohini – I, II, III, Bandarpoonch and Blackpeak, Ruinsara, etc. In the Hindu mythology, Pandavas ascended to heaven following the very route trekkers take. How is that for some rich history?
In the foothills of Fateh Parvat, Har ki Dun is one of the most scenic valleys and, therefore, perfect spot for your photography passions! So is the nearby Hata valley.
Enjoy camping next to Kalkatti Dhar
Trek to Jaundhar Glacier and spot lush greens and snow-capped peaks. An exhilarating view that will leave you wanting for more, definitely!
Quit being afraid. The world awaits.
Trekking in Uttarakhand is more than an adventure, it is an experience worth a thousand memories that will last a lifetime. Underneath the picture perfect hillocks touching clear skies, in the lush valleys and amid flowing rivulets, through pine and oak lands, find your own nature calling!
When it comes to trekking, nothing could be more enthralling than the Markha Valley trek in Ladakh. It is also known as ‘Tea House Trek’. An awesome 8-day trek amid cold desert develops both thrill and excitement in the land encompassing exotic flora and fauna, high passes, deep and shaved gorges, and fluttering colourful Buddhist flags. While embarking on the trek, passing the little hamlets constructed in conventional style is a unique experience in itself as it provides a closer view of Ladakh’s lifestyle and culture. A sight of the vibrant rock figures against white dancing clouds and majestic mountains like Kang Yissay, Stok and Zanskar are always of interest for the trekkers.
Despite being a tricky trek that includes long hours walk, brook crossings, sharp ascents and descents, it is a must-try for adventure enthusiasts and nature lovers!
Altitude: 5130 m Trekking Distance: 75 km Difficulty Level: Difficult Nearest Airport: Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport, Leh Base Camp: Spituk Best Time to Trek: Mid June to September
Long story short: Markha Valley Trek Explained The trek offers astounding views of Markha Valley and several other peaks. Initial two days will be spent becoming accustomed to the cold place where temperature even falls below 0 degrees. Also, travellers can explore Leh Palace, forts, museums, Buddhist monasteries and local markets. Next day, following the way to Ganda La (4800 m), reach stunning Markha Village where the night will be spent in a camp.
Next day, drive to the village of Spituk and then hike towards Zingchen to reach a green dale named Yurutse. On day 4, after ascending for 4 hours, reach Siku passing Ganda La. From Siku, come back to Markha village, following the route along with River Markha. On day 6, move towards Thachungtse for an overnight stay. Go after a gradual descent and reach Nimaling. Shang Sumdo will be the last trekking destination, from here, a trekker will move towards Leh.
Trekking Gear Essentials for Markha Valley Trek
Trekking shoes and trekking pole
Warm clothes/Mosquito repellent
LED Flashlight/Headlamp with extra batteries
Extra pair of woolen socks/ Raincoat/Gloves
Sunscreen Lotion/ Sunglasses/Lip balm
Water Bottles/Energy drink and bars
Emergency Medical Kit
Itinerary Breakdown: My Meeting with Mountains and Dancing Clouds Being an adventure enthusiast and a firm believer of Buddhism for years, I feel Ladakh is more than just a tourist destination. A blend of colorful monasteries, dome-shaped stupas and a serene barren landscape offer an ideal glimpse of Buddhist culture. So this time, when I visited Ladakh with my friends, we planned to hit the Markha Valley referred as ‘The Land Of The Passes’. The trek gave us a chance to explore the Hemis National Park and meet our nomadic brethren.
Day 1: We boarded our flights to Leh at 7 am. A flight to Leh is always a feast for the eyes as it offers the mesmerizing views of snow-capped mountains. Moreover, landing is an adventure in itself as the airport strip is flanked by the mountains on both sides. Our tour representative was waiting for us outside the airport, when we met him, he greeted us with flowery headband saying “O-Jullay!”(You’re welcome). He took us to our pre-booked hotel and later briefed us about the trek itinerary.
As Leh is encompassed by three Himalayan ranges – Ladakh, Karakoram and Zanskar, there was nothing to wait for! We kept the luggage in a storeroom and went out to explore the valley that boasts several wonderful attractions including Pangong Lake, Nubra Valley, Shanti Stupa and Stok Monastery. After visiting some places, we came back to the hotel around 5 pm. In the late evening, we took a stroll to Moti Market near Leh Bus Stand, from where I bought two jackets and we all had the yummiest momos ever! The night was spent in the hotel.
Day 2: As told by our tour representative, we had to stay at Leh today as well, in order to acclimatize to the cold weather, height and declining oxygen levels. After having Ladhaki butter tea and sandwiches, we thought to explore more of Leh before Markha Valley trek begins. On our way, we witnessed the beauty of the Ladakh plateau. Our driver took us to the Thiksey Monastery, located around 22 km from Leh. It was the most striking monastery complexes that I have ever seen, though, it reminded me of Potala Palace in Lhasa. We consumed lip-smacking authentic Tibetan food in its restaurant.
Day 3: Next morning, we woke up to a stunning view of sunrise amidst the hill and lush green fields. After having breakfast, we put our rucksack on and met our tour guide who was waiting for us in a car, just outside the hotel. The trek began with a drive and gradually we crossed Zinchen Gorge, which is an extended desolate desert.
Within next two hours, we reached Spituk Village where we had a cup of coffee. Afterwards, we hiked to an easy slope and arrived at Zingchen in next 1 hour. It was a lush-green valley, amid rocky and sandy hilly landscape, and Zingchen is the place where the River Rumbak surges into the River Indus. From here, we trekked through green barley fields and beautiful streams. On reaching Yurutse, we saw that beautiful campsite was arranged by our guide. We stayed there overnight.
Day 4: On this day, we explored the beauty of Hemis National Park and we were fortunate enough that we got to see a rare sight of Ladhaki Ural (mountain goat) and argali (a Tibetan Sheep). Also, the park is home to snow leopard, blue sheep, wolf and red fox. We continued walking alongside the bed of wild roses and through a valley embellished with colorful Tibetan prayer flags fluttering in the cool breeze.
It took us around 2 hours to reach Ganda La, situated at the height of 4900m. We stayed here for a while and I also captured some beautiful views in my DSLR. Later, we descended to Skiu, we realised that the sight of terrain is turning rough and rocky. In around 4 hours, we reached to Skiu, which is situated at the confluence of rivers Markha and Shgri Nala. We paid a visit to Skiu Monastery after which we enjoyed a beautiful sight of a sunset from the top of the valley. Magnificent views of Stok Kangri and Stok range dazzled us.
Day 5: It was quite an easy day trek, along with the banks of the Markha River. Enroute, there were several green willow thickets and barren cliffs. We visited religious shrines at Lhatos and saw a wide range of stone inscriptions at Mani Walls. We crossed River Markha and reached to a beautiful village, Markha. There were 15-20 houses, a monastery and fort.
Later, we were told that about 3 km above, there is a Dhaba run by the Women’s Association of Ladakh, where one can get buck-thorn juice and traditionally made wheat biscuits. We tried to talk to the locals with the help of our guide as no one knows how to speak Hindi or English there. We stayed in village quarters.
Day 6: Next day, we followed the trail that took us to Markha Valley. We captured several pictures of ancient monasteries including Techa and ruined castles. We reached Umlung in two hours. Gradually, we crossed Kang Yaste and Hangskar which is the last village in the valley. Here, we had a cup of tea and snacks. From here, we walked through a steep and rocky ascent that brought us to Thachungtse campsite.
Day 7: Today, we had to walk around 6 km. We woke up early today and after breakfast, we headed toward a stunning plateau of Nimaling. After 2 hours of climbing, we reached to a pond where we filled our empty water bottles. Following a grassy pastureland, we reached Nimaling. There were eye-catching streams on my left and to the right, it was the grand Kang Yatse peak. I also clicked pictures with herders who brought their cattle for grazing. Here, we enjoyed a bonfire night at the campsite and Ladakhi delicacies such as Thupka, Tigmo, Skyu and Khambir.
Day 8: We were quite sad today as it was going to be the last day of trekking. But as rightly said, one journey has to end to begin another, we moved downward towards Shang Valley. We stayed there for 15 minutes. Later, we crossed Kongmaru La, which was the highest pass on the Markha Valley trek. This peak offers impressive views of Ladakh Range and Indus Valley. In next 2 hours, we reached Shang Valley and a course from here took us to the last trekking spot, Shang Sumdo. In a taxi, we came back to Leh and spent the night in the hotel.
Day 9: With a heavy heart and lots of memories, we drove to the Leh airport.
While you are at it, don’t forget to visit these cafes!
Open Hand Cafe
It was truly a beautiful and culturally rich experience! Everyone should explore the hidden beauty of Ladakh. So, go ahead and give a chance to the serenity of the Markha Village to take away your stress and fears.
Considered as the highest peak in the Great Himalayan region of Uttarakhand and famed as ‘Nag Tibba Range’, Nag Tibba trek is a wonderful delight for adventure lovers across the world. Situated at the height of 3,050 meters, the place is filled with serene beauty and thrilling trekking routes through dense forest and meadows.
The peak is named after Serpent God as the locals have a belief that Nag Devta dwells in the hills. Historically, it’s a holy site where devotees pay reverence and prayers to the deity.
One particular thing that attracts mountain-lovers toward Nag Tibba is an abundance of flora and fauna and picturesque views of snow-capped peaks of Gangotri, Kedarnath, Bandarpoonch, Changabang and the Doon Valley, from the top.
Altitude: 3050 m Trekking distance: 20 km Trek level: Easy to moderate Region: Mussoorie-Dehradun Days of adventure: 2 Best time to Visit: October to April
Trekking and Camping Experience Nag Tibba is a circular trek which begins from Pantwari, a small village in Uttarakhand. It takes around 6 hours to reach the spot from the state capital i.e. Dehradun. The trekking first takes the trekkers to the Nag Devta Temple and later the course goes through lush green pine and Deodar forests and beautiful streams that keep you close to the raw beauty of nature. Further, the trail gives an opportunity to explore terraced farms and little hamlets, which brings a sense of excitement in trekkers and takes away all weariness.
The camping experience is an added charm to the trek. The feeling of spending a night in the valley of forest and mountains under the glazy stars is truly inexplicable. Furthermore, Nag Tibba trek is recommended to all, especially to the beginners.
Rules of Responsible Tourism
Respect nature, wildlife and local traditions
Travel in a group of 3 to 4 people
Respect local culture and be sensitive towards wildlife
Carry personal trekking gears
Do not litter!
Trek Highlights Dehradun to Pantwari Village Pantwari Village to Nag Tibba Base (2600m) Nagtibba Top (3050m)
Time to trek Nag Tibba Chasing mountains and reaching the summit is something that every adventure lover would love to take pleasure in. I personally love trekking on high terrains through scenic landscape and action-packed routes that offer a lot of thrill and enjoyment. Amidst the spectacular trekking destinations of India, Nag Tibba is a moderate trek, but undoubtedly, the most exciting one. It is a journey where a trekker would explore the hidden wonders of nature and admire the pristine beauty of the Himalayas. Trailing through beautiful streams, mountainous rivers, lush forests and scenic meadows, is surely a once in a lifetime experience. So, one fine day, I decided to test my true potential by agreeing with my friends for a Nag Tibba trekking expedition.
We packed everything, from warm clothes to trekking shoes, and were ready to begin our expedition. We boarded a flight at 5 am in the morning and arrived at Jolly Grant Airport in next two hours. From there, we hired a taxi that dropped us at Pantwari village. On our way to the village, we crossed one of Uttrakhand’s most popular picturesque hill stations, Mussoorie. In a conversation with the driver, we came to know about spectacular Kempty Falls in the lap of an emerald valley. It is a much-loved weekend spot for local residents who come here for the picnic and to enjoy water sports.
We decided to visit the site and reached there in another half an hour. We took a refreshing dip in the chilled natural pool. There was a lush flora bordering both sides of the waterfall. Obviously, I had to capture several pictures in my camera. We had a lot of fun at this stunning place! Our souls were mighty pleased with the amazing sounds of the gushing water and melodious chirping of the wild birds.
While travelling on the smooth highway road, large acres of green farmlands and various flowering plants and trees blossoming in the lap of nature kept us engaged in its mesmerizing beauty. In the next two hours, we reached the village of Pantwari. Before starting the trek, we had a cup of coffee and some snacks that helped us in scaling the summit. Later, we tramped on a cemented path that was going upward from the main village market
The trail was steep and fantastic views of glacial valleys, adrenaline pumping waterways, dense pine forest, pastureland and high altitude provided an exceptional combination of thrill and excitement. We had lunch in a restaurant and then moved towards the campsite. It took around 5 hours and we reached there by evening. Our tour representative had set up a camp for us and we spent the night there. Also, after dinner, the bonfire under the glittery sky was so exciting!
Next morning, we woke up to a dazzling view of the sunrise which was one of a kind experience. Afterwards, we took bath and enjoyed buttery Aloo Paratha with a hot cup of tea for breakfast. Later on, we started trekking and met several locals and herders who bought their goats and cows to feed them on grassland. We continued hiking for almost 2 kms and scaled the Nag Tibba top in next 3 hours. Here, we got a chance to enjoy a beautiful sight of the snow-capped mountains and I captured the most appealing views of Swargarohini, Bandarpoonch, Neelkanth peaks in my DLSR. We stayed there for a bit and then followed the route back as it took us to the base camp. We spent that night in tents and next morning we were heading towards the airport.
It was one of the most-cherished expeditions of my life! It was not only about hiking for a few hours but also about meeting the warm-hearted locals, knowing their socio-cultural lifestyle and exploring the hidden beauty of mountains. Surely, these reminiscences will remain entrenched in my heart deeply.
Undoubtedly, there are some beautiful chapters in our lives that cannot be described in words. A trek to Valley of Flowersand Hemkund Sahib was one such chapter for me! Located in the ‘Land of Gods’, in Chamoli district of Uttarakhandat an altitude of 3,600 m, this stunning paradise was unknown for centuries. The site was explored by the British mountaineers in 1931 when they came to visit Uttarakhand and lost their way. And then they stepped in the magnificent valley brimming with wide varieties of flowers. Hence, the gorgeous dale was named ‘Valley of Flowers’.
In 1982, the Indian Government included it in the list of national parks and UNESCO gave it a title of ‘World Heritage Site’ in 2004. The course to the valley also goes toward Gurudwara Hemkund Sahib which is situated at an elevation of 4,320 m.
Here’s when to plan a getaway One can visit the valley from mid-May to September as it is the time when the site is splashed with thousands of bloomy colourful flowers. It is known for 600 different types of flowers including the Brahma Kamal, Snake Lily, Cobra Lily and Blue Poppy.
Valley of Flowers in Hindu Mythology The dazzling land is said to be the abode of various Hindu deities. Some say it was garden of Lord Indira, Nandan Kanan. A few others believe that Lord Rama‘s devotee Hanuman found Sanjeevani here, the magical herb that brought back unconscious Lakshmana to life. Whereas the locals believe that this place was home to fairies.
My ‘Flowery’ Tale: Exploring the flowery bed on a 3-day trek I’m the kind of a person who wants to travel to each and every corner of the world. But my plan to travel Valley of Flowers turned out to be an alternate to Kashmir. Each journey brings out a unique experience leaving its imprints on my heart and soul in the most special way. When I visited the Valley of Flowers and Hemkund Sahib I truly felt that ‘Dev Bhoomi’ is nonetheless a heavenly paradise.
My journey began from Delhi to Rishikesh. My journey through lush green fields was simply mesmerizing. I had breakfast at Gulshan Da Dhaba, Roorkee. And the next stop where I halted my car was Haridwar, I visited Triveni Ghat and took a dip in river Ganges. I spent around 2 hours at this divine land. It was interesting to witness the religious significance that influences the lifestyle of the people of Haridwar. After two hours of driving, I reached Rishikesh and a cup of chai at a tea stall. There, I heard news that a landslide occurred on a way to Govindghat on the same day. So, as advised by locals I decided to spend a night in Rishikesh only. I had a dinner at Choti Wala and an amazing night at the rooftop of my hotel that was located along the bank of Ganges.
I could only manage to reach Govindghat by noon, which in itself was like an adventure before the trek began. Seeing locals cleaning the rocks on the road after landslide, I found myself trapped in Govindghat. Thankfully! My trek leader reached right on time, the man-in-charge greeted all my confusion and apprehensions with a stoic smile and somehow managed to assuage my fears of reaching the base camp Ghangaria. He also briefed me about the trek plan and introduced me to two other persons who were ready to hike with us.
Day 1: Govindghat to Ghangaria We started our trek to Ghangaria after a langar in gurudwara. The delight of visiting gurudwara is always amazing as it gives peace to one’s soul and it is open for everyone – regardless of beliefs, caste or colour. After walking 1 km, our guide advised us to submit our luggage to the porter as he thought we could not carry it anymore! We enjoyed a cup of tea and pakodas at Barsati Wali Chai ki Dukan. The course to Ghangaria goes along the River Lakshman Ganga for most of the way. It was quite a smooth trek as I didn’t have to trek uphill.
It was not only us, as there were hundreds of people who were going up in palkis and horses. Moreover, beautiful streams, waterfalls and lush greenery on our way hypnotized us. While trekking to this sublime beauty, we came across isolated hamlets, oak forests and diverse species of flora and fauna. We covered around 13 km to reach Ghangaria, we spent a night at Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam.
Day 2: Ghangaria to VOF We woke up to a stunning view of sunrise amidst the ravishing panorama of lush green mountains. After breakfast, we started our way to VOF. The striking mountains helped us to regain our energy. A trail was filled with beautiful flowers and we finally scaled to Valley of Flowers. My eyes were glazed by an incredible sight of different kinds of flowers I had never even dreamt of. I enjoyed a sight of majestic flowers such as Balsam, Dwarf Globe, Brahma Kamal and Marsh Marigold. These exotic flowers were spread like a flower bed sheet that was stretched over an expanse of 87.50 km. A quote that comes to my mind as I write this is, ‘Nature is never in a hurry, yet everything is accomplished’.
A unique blend of snow-capped mountains, green meadows, and white clouds made our trek a dreamlike adventure. After spending 2 hours at VOF, we descended to our base camp where our guide had arranged a bonfire night and dinner for us.
Day 3: Ghangaria to Hemkund Sahib We woke up early in the morning and started our trek to Hemkund Sahib, a revered site for Punjabis and Sikhs. It was a 7 km long expedition which began with a gradual incline through the Himalayas. On the way, we clicked several pictures of grazing cows and goats, stunning waterfall and lakes. It was like a tea house trek, as the course was lined with a number of tea plants. After two hours of trekking, we reached the point where the views of snow-capped mountains started getting better. Later, we reached a river gorge from where the oxygen levels started reducing. Somehow, we managed to reach the Hemkund Sahib gurdwara bang on time and the Hemkund Lake was just behind it. We paid homage at Laxman Mandir. We spent around 3 hours there and later descended back to Ghangaria.
Spend some time in the serene lap of nature and visit this tranquil bed of flowers overlooked by towering Himalayan peaks. Don’t miss out on capturing some beautiful pictures when you do!
Situated at a height of 21,778 feet, the majestic Mount Kailash is said to be an abode of Lord Shiva hailed as ‘destroyer of evil’. The grand mountain is nestled in the South-Western part of Himalayas Tibetan Plateau. Also, located in close proximity to Lake Rakshasta and Lake Manasarovar, Kailash paves the path for four major rivers of Asia i.e. the Brahmaputra, Indus, Sutlej and Karnali.
Therefore, Kailash Mansarovar Yatra doubles as a pilgrimage for ardent Hindus and a journey into the magnificent Himalayas for wanderers.
The Most Fascinating Journey Ever!
The journey to Kailash Parvat is not just a regular yatra, it is a completely life-changing experience for those who undertake it. A hike to this breathtaking, isolated, eternal and fascinating sacred spot is like a journey within oneself. Kailash Mansarovar Yatra is like an experience of a lifetime!
Situated at a height of 15,015 feet, the emerald green and sacred blue Manasarovar Lake is just at a distance of 20 km from Kailash Parvat. The lake is said to be an embodiment of purity which has the power to wash away your sins and heal your wounds.
The spiritual journey involves meditation sessions, satsangs and bhajans which would subsequently be followed by the difficult yet exciting trek to the North face of Kailash. You will get an opportunity at the Kailash Mount to meditate in the presence of the Almighty.
Hidden Jewels on Kailash Route On this journey, one would visit the world’s highest city and the capital city of Tibet, Lhasa. There are several tourist attractions on the way to Kailash such as Jokhang temple, Bhakor Street, Sera Monastery, Potala Palace, and the lively Lhasa market.
One can enjoy the stunning picturesque sights of Darchen, Dirakphuk and Zuktulpuk.
My Journey to Sacred Mount We all arrived at the Tribhuvan International Airport which is situated 6 km away from the city centre. After reaching Kathmandu airport, I first met my tour representative, he gave me a warm welcome, and we later moved toward the booked hotel. I completed all the check-in facility and went to relax for a while after lunch. Later, the tour representative introduced me to 9 other trekkers who were set to undertake this exciting journey. He then briefed us about the program schedule. When the session got over, I thought to take a stroll in the hotel garden.
Next day, we woke up to a striking view of sunrise in the valley that was echoing due to pleasing sound of chirping birds. Afterwards, I enjoyed an appetizing breakfast in the hotel’s restaurant. Our guide came to the hotel and briefed us about today’s itinerary and then he took us to the most sacred temples in Nepal, Pashupatinath and Budhanilkanth dedicated to Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu respectively. Our lunch was organised in a Nepali Restaurant, where we savoured some authentic delicacies like Thupka, Sel Roti and Momos. We also paid a visit to the Patan Museum and the Taragaon Museum.
Day 3 involved 6 hours bus journey from Kathmandu to Dhunche. Though the unsteady path was quite tough to handle, the drive through the majestic mountains was lovely. The one thing that propelled us throughout was acquaintance with the rare sights of nature away from the hustle-bustle noise of the city. We spent a night at a booked guesthouse. Next morning, after consuming yummy paranthas and curd, we moved toward Rasuwagadi, a point from where initial trekking began. The moving clouds, lush greenery mountains and chilly wind added an excitement to our journey. After a few hours of walk, we reached Lipulekh Pass where we waited for the Chinese authorities to complete the immigration facilities. After 1.5 hours of monitoring by the officials, we boarded a bus that took us to Kyirong. We spent a night at a lodge in Kyirong. We explored Kyirong markets and monasteries on the 5th day.
Next day, while moving to Dongba, pictorial views of mountain terrains and blue lake, Pieko-Tso and Yarlung Zangpo (the Brahmaputra River) worked as a feast to our naked eyes. After 7 hours, we reached Dongba guest house for night stay.
Now, it was the day to trek to the highest and holiest lake in the world, Lake Mansarovar. We first crossed Mayumla Pass where we had our lunch. Later, we reached Prayang County and we stayed there for 15 minutes to catch a glimpse of striking Mount Kailash.
The view of blue and emerald green lake was overwhelming. The blend of snow-capped mountains, incredible vistas of sand dunes and white clouds were simply majestic and truly breath-taking. This was a spiritual day of meditation and prayers. I experienced a revitalizing and cleansing dip in the purest lake, which is said to have the power to wash away all our sins. We stayed overnight in the camp set on the banks of the lake. Next morning, it was a time to get ready for a trek that was as testing as it was rewarding.
We packed up our stuff and drove to the starting point of the trek, Yamadwar, and then hiked to Dirapuk. En route, we beheld the sights of cliff-top monasteries, and yak caravans gently wandering over snowy passes. Finally, the time to experience the powerful and inexpressible phenomenon of this sacrosanct mountain arrived. For half an hour, we indulged in the exquisiteness and immensity of the esoteric Kailash. We spent a night at its base.
On Day 8, we moved from Dirapuk to the north face of Kailash for meditation and then back to Dirapuk. Then we headed back to Manasarovar and one more night was spent in amidst the mountain and beautiful lake.
Next morning, the journey to Zuthulphuk began with a steep climb up to the Dolma-La Hi
For bike lovers, nothing could be better than just hitting the roads of Ladakh to experience the serene and heart-warming beauty of nature. The two-week long Ladakh motorbike expedition gives an unprecedented opportunity to explore the majestic charm of this cold desert which is hidden behind the snow-capped mountains at a relaxing and slow pace.
Go solo or have fun with a partner-in-ride!
It’s completely on you whether you want to undergo this expedition alone or with a partner. Your journey will be both picturesque and exhausting. The uneven, narrow and meandering mountain roads with pointed curves, deep canyons at frequent points will surely give you an adrenaline rush.
When Do I Need To Get Going You can opt for the Ladakh motorbike expedition at anytime of the year, but one should avoid the winter and rainy season, as slippery roads may cause an accident. Further, it is advised to not visit Ladakh via bike in the months from December to February and July to August.
The Most Adventurous Ride of My Life I always had a dream to take a ride that would remain as a lifetime memory with me. Home to unruffled pictorial lakes, sapphire clear waters, isolated roads and an uneven striking terrain, the Ladakh motorbike expedition came as a lifetime opportunity to me. A ride into majestic mountains and unfamiliar valleys always provide me with an absolute pleasure and good sense of adventure.
Before starting a long race, I met my tour guide to get the essential information. The guide provided map and details on each and every minute detail related to the expedition. The journey started from New Delhi.
Along with my four besties, I headed towards Chandigarh. While riding on the smooth highway road, I witnessed lush green farmlands of Haryana and Punjab. Also, the beauty of flowering plants kept us engaged. After completing a long and tiresome bike journey of around 260 km, we rested in the hotel for 4 hours.
As we didn’t want to waste our precious time, we began our day with a fresh start and headed toward Manali, a beautiful valley nestled in the state of Himachal Pradesh. While riding we came across stunning sights of Beas River, rocky slopes of the mountain, majestic hills featuring pine and deodar forest and sprawling apple orchards. Moreover, the tricky bends and stretches on the road were not only testing us but our bike’s strength too.
Next day, we started our bike expedition to Leh Ladakh while riding towards Jispa. On the way, we crossed one of the most spectacular destinations in the entire Kullu region, Rohtang Pass. It is situated at an elevation of 3,978 m. We noticed a sudden change in the scenery as trees had started disappearing and brown terrain with barren slopes was replacing the greener portions as we were reaching the Lahaul and Spiti district. The next stop was Sarchu, and after 3 hours, we reached the place for overnight stay. In the morning, an incredible view of the sunrise over the mountain appeared as a reminder that light always follows the darkness.
Now, it was a time to ride slowly and carefully on a comparatively difficult road through Baralacha La. The place is infamous for accidents due to the icy uneven runway, thus, it was very important for us to be extra cautious as we were supposed to cover 90 km distance today. As we entered the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir, we left behind all anxieties and enjoyed the spectacular views on our way. While passing through passes such as Nakee La, Lachung La and Tanglang La, located at high altitudes, we realized that nature knows no bounds. We stopped at the popular Thiksey Monastery and observed the art behind the rare paintings like thangkas and ancient stupa. After capturing several stunning views and covering a distance of around 250 km, we finally touched Leh. That day we were extremely exhausted, so we decided to check into the hotel and rest.
Next day, we all took our bikes for servicing as we wanted to be on a safer side before exploring more of Leh. We even got an opportunity to enjoy a sight of Stok Kangri and the mountain ranges of Ladakh. Later, we visited Shanti Stupa which was located on the hilltop in the Changspa region. And then we continued riding toward the Nubra valley, it was here when we crossed muddy routes and the world’s highest road pass, Khardung La. We spent a night at a campsite in this magnificent valley.
Remember the lake in Aamir Khan’s 3 idiot movie? It was the day when we were going to visit it. This ride came as the most exciting and adventurous one. Situated at the height of about 4,350 m, Pangong Tso Lake has been much-talked about due to the incredible sights that it offers. It is also a perfect place to set up an overnight camp.
The journey was not over yet! After checking out from the Leh hotel, there were many surprises en-route. We crossed Zoji La pass and entered the awe-inspiring valley of Sonamarg. Later, we hit the road that took us to Srinagar and here we visited numerous places of interest, such as Shalimar Bagh and even enjoyed a Shikara ride on the picturesque Dal Lake. The night was spent in the beautiful Kashmiri houseboat. From Kargil to Drass, Tiger Hill Peak to Srinagar and Pathankot, there were a plethora of astounding views that we enjoyed on our Ladakh bike tour. Next morning, we hit the road back to Delhi.
Must Carry Essentials
Riding pants and jacket with thermal liner
Insulated travel flask
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
Dine in Leh! Must-try cafes and diners:
Open Hand Cafe
The memories of this trek are so close to my heart that whenever I close my eyes or somebody say Ladakh, it reminds me the whole journey encompassing rough terrains, lush greenery, chilly winds, snow-capped mountains, dancing clouds, playing kids, mountain animals and what not…. It’s a far-flung trip for the adventure seekers searching solace for the soul, its snow-covered mountains and extreme climatic conditions are enough appealing for any biker who wants to go on a trip to Ladakh. Moreover, the essence of Ladhaki culture has left its imprint on my mind and heart. To experience the real adventure, one has to hit the road.
Perched at an altitude of 3,500 m, Kheerganga is nestled deep in Parvati Valley in Himachal Pradesh. It is believed that Lord Shiva’s son Kartikeya meditated here for thousands of years. On the Kasol to Kheerganga trek, you can experience a rare combination as you will take a bath in the hot spring while the surroundings are chilled and covered by snow.
Moreover, stunning views of mountains, waterfalls, mountain animals, and oak and deodar trees are a much-needed feast for the trekker’s eyes. The trail unveils a few of the most fascinating destinations such as Rudra Nag Waterfall and Shiv Temple.
A Serene Visit to Kheerganga Trekking to the magical Parvati Valley still seems like a dream. It was a place which I wished would remain a secret as I couldn’t stop myself imagining about those majestic valleys, mountain goats, green lush mountains and peaceful oak forests.
My journey to Kheerganga began when I boarded a taxi from Delhi’s Paharganj to Kasol with my younger sister. After 12 hours of tiresome journey and covering 550 km, we finally reached Kasol. Kasol is one of the most beloved destinations among youth though, we preferred to move to Tosh, the nearby village.
We had Aaloo parathas at Sasi Restaurant and then we kept moving ahead. The trail had no roads and we walked through green land and reached the beautiful village of Tosh.
On the first day, we wanted to take rest as much as possible. In the evening we visited local bazaars, enjoyed local delicacies and coffee in a nearby Amsterdam’s coffee shop. We played badminton with the local girls, gave them chocolates and clicked several pictures with them. At Tosh, villagers sit together after a long day of work and smoke chillums.
Next day, the thrill of Kheerganga trek began from Barshaini, which is enveloped by lush green trees. Also, it is a confluence point of Rivers Parvati and Tosh. We reached the base camp at 10 am. We had delicious breakfast at Prem Cafe. From there, we walked through the splendid landscape and enjoyed magnificent sights of nature. While trekking, we passed a few wooden bridges, waterfalls and hamlets.
We both captured some amazing pictures in our DSLR. After two hours of moderate trek, we arrived at Rudra Nag and stopped there for a while to admire the beauty of nature. This dazzling serpent-shaped waterfall is considered as one of the main tourist attractions in the Parvati Valley. Here we met a local who told us that there are other villages as well, like, Kalga, Pulga and Tulga. He said that thousands of years ago, there was a very powerful demon, Tadkasura, who defeated Devas. The Devas then visited Brahma, who told them to worship Mahadevi. It was Mahadevi who told them-‘I would soon reincarnate and get married to Lord Shiva, and the offspring would defeat the demon’.
Later, we kept climbing for 3 hours. We followed the marks imprinted on trees; the trail was quite an arduous climb. My sister asked me the same question for at least five times, “How far do we need to climb in one day?” Surprisingly, before she asked the same thing for one more time, we suddenly came across a sign saying “Welcome to Kheerganga”.
The green meadow of Kheerganga was right in front of us. There was nothing to wait for, we kept our bags in the tents and took a refreshing dip in the hot springs. It simply washed away the weariness of the trip. This pool was divided into sections one for men and the other for women.
Later, we visited Kartikeya Cave and offered prayers to Lord Kartikeya. Amazing weather, sights of mighty peaks, green forests, friendly locals and the therapeutic water of the hot springs made our journey worth. We spent a night at our campsite at Kheerganga.
Next morning, we woke up to a wonderful view of the sunrise. After taking a bath in the divine hot water pool again, we descended towards Kasol through the same route that we followed to reach Kheerganga. For me, it was mystery-packed trek which involved lots of excitement and thrill.
Best Time to Visit One can visit Kheerganga from Kasol from March to June or October to November. This place experiences soothing climate throughout the year. The weather remains pleasant and in summers, the temperature varies from 15 – 22 degrees Celsius while in winters, it varies from 3 to 10 degrees Celsius.
Must Carry Essentials
Sunglasses and Sunscreen
Trekking shoes and trekking pole
Camera and torch
Warm clothes and rain coat
First aid kit
In the backdrop of the mystery hidden in the majestic Parvati Valley in Himachal Pradesh, it would be really exciting to unravel these untold tales on your own. Moreover, the beautiful views of the meadows and dense oak forests make Kasol-Kheerganga trek a must-do for every avid trekker.
Everest is one of the most popular destinations in Nepal which is known for its majestic mountains and magnificent hills and peak. A trek to Everest Base Camp is a journey where dreams and expectations of an adventure lover turn into reality. Every step of the journey takes you to the most breathtaking mountain region and it also gives you an opportunity to get acquainted with the unique Himalayan culture and mountain climbers known as Sherpas. Moreover, while trekking to an altitude of 18,513 ft., you will be challenged by tricky slopes and curves, rough terrains and slippery path.
My Meeting with Himalayas: A Journey That Changed Me Forever There would hardly be anyone who doesn’t admire the stunning beauty of the mountains. The Himalayas have always intrigued me and I had never dreamt that it would ever be so accessible! While watching a video on YouTube, I learnt about the Everest Base Camp trek, and I was so fascinated by it that I decided to look more into it. After contacting a travel agent and planning a thorough itinerary of the trek, I began my prep in the rundown for this expedition and started working on my fitness level and physique.
Three weeks passed, and now it was time to board a flight to Kathmandu. I was welcomed by my guide at the airport and later we both headed towards our hotel. On Day 1, the guide held a pre-trek meeting where we were briefed about the trek and introduced to our fellow trekkers. Later, we visited world’s three UNESCO heritage sites i.e Bhaktapur Durbar Square, Boudhanath Stupa and Pashupatinath Temple.
Next day, we had an early morning flight from Kathmandu Airport to Tensing Hillary Airport at Lukla which is said to be the gateway to Everest. The landing at Lukla alone gave me an adrenaline rush as it is called the world’s most dangerous airport. Our porters were already waiting for us there. After breakfast and a brief stay in the tents, we descended towards Dudh Koshi River.
Our eyes were stunned by the beauty of the river. We clicked several pictures there and then moved towards Phakding. That day, the walking was quite easy and it took almost three hours to reach Phakding where the guide had arranged a night stay for us. We slept early that day as we were told that next day trek would be quite challenging.
Our trek started at 8 am and we continued to walk along the bank of Dudh Koshi River. Crossing several suspension bridges, we entered Sagarmatha National Park which is a home to rare species like the snow leopard, musk deer and red panda. We met several Sherpas here and they shared their inspiring mountain climbing experiences with us.
From there, the trail climbs up steeply until we reached Namche Bazaar which is the largest village in the region. We were amazed to see quality restaurants, shops, hotels, bakeries and internet cafes at such height. Also, there were two banks and one ATM.
On Day 5, our guide told us that there were two acclimatization stops and after 5 hours of trekking, we reached Hotel Everest View, which is one of the highest perched hotels in the world. While sipping a coffee and gobbling a cup of Maggie, we enjoyed a beautiful sight of Himalayan ranges. On the way, we also visited Sherpa Museum where we saw photographs of mountain expedition of the greatest climbers i.e. Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay. The trail to the hotel offered spectacular panoramic views and luckily the weather was clear that day so we got a chance to see a magnificent view of Mount Everest and Ama Dablam. Another morning, the trek continued along the glacial river of Dudh Koshi. After 4 hours of trek, we reached Tengboche and visited local monasteries. It is believed that Tenzing Norgay spotted this monastery from the summit of Everest. The trail continued for one more hour until we reached Mong La, where we had lunch.
Next morning, we walked through dense rhododendron forests and steep slopes. From the forests, we reached meadows and small grasslands. From there, we saw Cho Oyu, which is said to be the world’s sixth highest mountain. The trail took us to Inja Khola and then climbed up to Pangboche where we had our lunch. We captured mesmerizing views of Mount Ama Dablam and after 2 hours of trek we reached Pheriche and proceeded to the Imja Valley. Here, we passed through River Lobuche and went on a steep hike to Dingboche for overnight stay.
Day 7 was an acclimatization day. As we didn’t want to lose this opportunity, we walked to a Nankan Sa Peak situated at 4,900 m. From here we got to see the world’s top three mountain peaks – Mount Cho, Mount Lhotse and Mount Makalu.
Next day, we went from Dingboche to Dughla, the trail offered some of the best views so far as we enjoyed the sight of magnificent mount Pumori (7,138 m) and a glacial lake.
On Day 9, we climbed to Lobuche which is positioned next to the Khumbu glacier. We crossed Dughla Pass/ Thukla Pass.
Day 10 was the moderate trek of around 6 hours. It was an absolute glacier course which took us to Gorakshep (5,170 m) and it eventually proceeded to the Everest Base Camp (5,364 m). This part of hiking made me feel like I’m stepping towards heaven amidst the glaciers. It was the most important and difficult day of the whole trip. We continued walking on the side of Kumbhu glacier; it took 3 hours to reach the base camp where we saw colorful tents of mountaineers who were attempting to climb the gigantic Mt. Everest. We stayed here for a brief period and celebrated our accomplishment like winners. We clicked as many pictures as we could. Two hours later we found ourselves in the lodge at Gorakshep where we spent the night.
Next morning, with the support of the headlight, we hiked to Kala Patthar at around 4 am where we saw the most magnificent view of Mt. Everest. After breakfast, we descended to Loubouche for lunch and finally Pheriche which was an end to the wide Himalayan valley. Next day, we climbed down to Namche Bazaar and there we bought souvenirs. On day 13, we hiked to Lukla and on day 14, we proceeded to Kathmandu.
Take a Note! Maximum Height: 18,513 ft Difficulty Level: Strenuous Nearest Airport: Kathmandu, Nepal ATM: Namche Bazaar has two banks and one ATM point Trek Time: 14 Days
Best Months to Visit Except for January, July and August, all other months are suitable for the trek.
Trek Itinerary Kathmandu – Lukla – Namche Bazar – Tengboche – Lobuche – Gorak Shep – Everest Base Camp – Kala Patthar – Namche Bazaar – Lukla – Kathmandu
What level of fitness is required? A trekker has to hike at altitudes higher than 12,000 ft and that too for 6-7 hours daily. Also, due to lack of oxygen, breathing issues are a problem. Thus, both mental and physical fitness are required for this trek.
Believe me, a meeting with the jewels hidden in the snow-capped mountains of Everest gave me an array of experiences and memories that one should definitely experience at least once in a lifetime.
Long gone are the times when adventure was reserved for Christopher Columbus-types. Today, mesmerizing trails laden with snow and rhododendron leading to a majestic view of the literal top of the world are accessible to even people having 9 to 5 lives. Sandakphu trek, a rhododendron trek, is not just a treat for the eye, but a chance to walk alongside the Sleeping Buddha, and so much more! Here are ten reasons why you are missing out if you haven’t planned a getaway to this little paradise yet:
Rolling with the Rhododendrons
Out of the few rhododendron treks in India, Sandakphu trek carried out in the northern part of West Bengal is a beacon of beautiful trails that are covered by rhododendrons in the spring. It’s a spectacle to behold with your own eyes!
Chitrey Monastery: A reservoir of Buddhist culture
The trek will begin from the Chitrey village that boasts of a majestic monastery and stupas. The government of Bengal has recently decided to promote Buddhist tourism and this is definitely going to be the center of attention. And for all the right reasons, just look at it!
Kalaphokri or ‘Black Lake’ A bean-shaped black lake that is circumambulated by fluttering Buddhist flags is another highlight of your Sandakphu trek. It is rumored that even in really low temperatures the lake does not freeze. This lends it a strange charm, an air of mystery even. This will be your next stop after you cross Tumling.
Lushness of Sandakphu’s natural charms: Forests, Waterfalls, Alpine MeadowsThe entire hiking trail looks resplendent in the greens of lush meadows, dense forests and gurgling waterfalls and brimming Siri River. Often times, an exhausting trek through a forest will open up to a splendid meadow. Like, after you cross Lamyadhura.
If you would love the mountainous air with a gentle smell, come down in the spring. Mountain trail through forests showcase blooming flowers all along. Spot magnificent magnolias blooming all along the trail from Chitre to Meghma.
Winter is coming!
Walk the willowy snow-laden trails of Sandakphu trek if you choose to visit in the winters. This way, the destination is not the only scenic spot on your map, the journey is filled with a whole lot of beauty as well!
Wake up to the magnificent view of Sleeping Buddha
Kanchenjunga family of peaks seen from Sandakphu seem to be imitating Buddha in a sleeping position. The view is simply spellbinding.
Right here, one can also spot the ridge between Goecha and Pandim which is basically called the Goecha la trek in Sikkim.
Tumling’s tea estates and guest houses
Tumling, lying on the Indo-Nepal border, houses beautiful guest houses. Lots of trekkers/travelers stay right here in the beautiful guest houses by the side of the ebbing river. To your right lies India and to your left is Nepal. Furthermore, on this trek, you will get to traverse through many a beautiful tea estate in the villages that lie on the border.
After the ascent from Tumling, you will reach a point where from you can look at the entire Sandakphu trail lying ahead all at once. It will be the ultimate power-up you need to push through!
Camping in Singalila National Park
Spend a night camping at the best sites on this trek in Singalila National Park. As you wake up the next day, witness the sun rising from the Singalila range. This is truly what you came all the way for.
You can also spot blue bamboos in the jungle!
Witness the grandeur of world’s highest mountains in a 180 degree view
At Sandakphu, to the west lies Makalu, Lhotse, Everest, Nuptse, Baruntse, Chamling, Chomolonzo, Machapucchare and other peaks of Annapurna range. To the north, Sleeping Buddha and three sister peaks. To the east, Chomolhari. What more could a trek offer!
Is there any other trek that boasts of such spectacular views of the highest mountains in the world, blooming rhododendron alongside mountain trails that lead you through dense forests to vast meadows that are so lush, it fills your heart with an overwhelming joy?
Sandakphu trek can leave you speechless momentarily but it will give you a lot to reminisce and talk about later.
The initial point of Stok Kangri trek is at Leh. Here, you get acclimatized for the trek. Leh is accessible by road and air. The road travelers can reach here via Delhi, Chandigarh and Manali. Though, the road journey is quite hectic and considerably longer than a flight, the picturesque sights along the way will make it all worthwhile. The roads going to Leh are accessible only in summers because cold weather and snowfall during winters makes the roads unusable.
All Assemble at the Base Camp Perched at an elevation of 20,180 ft., the Stok Kangri trek is known for real adventure. The height offers spectacular views of Tibet in the East and Himalayas in the South. The expedition starts at Leh and goes to the astounding Khardung La at 18,372 ft.
Undoubtedly, the base camp which is situated about 15 km away from Leh, is an amazing place to be. It offers a course that requires physical strength and fitness for high altitude climbing. Moreover, the base camp is set beside a frozen river, which makes it an ideal camping spot for the trekkers. Not only this, the valley embraces striking pasture lands, which are usually covered with snow and alongside flows a water stream channeled from Gulap Glacier’s moraine.
Embark On An Unforgettable Journey Today (But first plan for it!)
Due to the heights, the temperature at Stok Kangri drops below freezing point. Considering the climate, the best time to embark on this trek is from July to September. The weather between October and November is harsh yet suitable for the trekkers who are willing to challenge themselves and take the risk. For the rest of the months, the route going towards Leh and Ladakh are padlocked and trekking is forbidden. July to September: The temperature ranges from 20°C to 15°C during the day time and 7°C to 2°C at night. October to November: The temperature ranges from 15°C to 10°C during the day time and 5°C to -5°C at night.
Go On This Trek For Leh: One of the most friendly-places for the travelers in India. The place is surrounded by well-designed stupas and beautiful mud-brick hamlets. Travelling to an ancient town built by King Sengge Namgyal in the 16th century is a journey in itself, as it was once ruled by royal families whose relics still remain conserved.
Khardung La: Khardung La is a lifted mountain range that lies at an altitude of 18,372 ft. It is the gateway to the magical valleys of Ladakh’s Siachen Glacier and Nubra. The place that offers splendid views of the Karakoram Range is often known as the ‘Pass of Lower Castle’.
Stok Village: The structural designs of Stok Village blend ideally with traditional and the contemporary architectural styles. The two major attractions are Stok Palace and Stock Museum. Both these sites offer panoramic views of the valley from the rooftop.
Delve in the rich cultural experience with the locals
Peace loving locals in the region of Ladakh are absolutely distinct from the rest of the country. Their food, lifestyle and dressing are something that one should experience at least once in a lifetime. The reflection of Buddhism is widely visible in their culture with the Buddhist monasteries and its engravings. Generally occupied with their traditions and beliefs, the Ladakhi community finds joy in their religious and socio-cultural activities.
Stok Kangri: A story of fears and thrill Stok Kangri Trek is not for all! It is a 9-day expedition that will test you emotionally, physically and psychologically. Moreover, when you will come back home, the summit will give you jitters for over a month. Low oxygen levels, dark surroundings, challenging winds and the uneven slippery path will make you curse yourself, asking why you decided to scale this peak.
The harsh rays of the sun, dry winds, freezing cold nights, surprising flower trails, thorns and rocks, beautiful rivers, snow-capped high passes -all of the elements joined hands to instill in me a lasting inspiration.
My trek to Stok began when I headed from Leh to Chilling, a village situated along the banks of River Zanskar. Accompanied by our guide and her staff, five of us started trekking from Chilling and crossed the River Zanskar through a pulley bridge. Later that day, we stayed at Chilling and paid a visit to Buddhist stupas, monasteries and local markets from where I bought a woollen sweater for myself. I had a great time with the local kids who were playing football; they got way too excited when we requested them to add us to their respective teams.
Next day before my scale to Chang Ma, for which I had been maintaining my fitness for these past four months, there was some uncertainty caused by the harsh weather and an unexpected decline in our team as two of our team members decided to go back. Chang Ma is situated in the South of Leh, and from the motor vehicle, I enjoyed dazzling views of magnificent mountains and the blossoming green gardens nuzzled amidst them.
When we reached Diskit Monastery, the locals told us that it was constructed sometime in the 14th century.
Around 5 pm, we arrived at a beautiful campsite at Chang Ma. After taking rest for an hour, our trek guide summoned us and gave us the following instructions, “Step your feet firmly and use your heels to move down”, as we headed out from our base camp to practice a little. The giant white shoes are also used by our soldiers on borders. The soft surface and heavy leather coating inside allow you to dig your feet firmly into the snow. While walking with heavy weight on my ankle, I fell down several times and couldn’t decide whether the practice session was fun or irritating. Our tents were set up on a rocky and uneven slopes, the experience was completely strange all together as it was hard to lie on the rough base.
At 2.30 am, we were rounded up for a marvelous early morning climb. I immediately wore my gears, which included snow boots, four layers of clothing, trek pants, harness, crampons and a rucksack with a warm water bottle, energy bars and food. And so, we all were ready to scale 3,000 feet in the next few hours, the trial started with a steep climb. At 5:45 am, the course welcomed us with colorful Buddhist prayer flags that marked the beginning of the ice masses. Yes, the white milky glaciers! The mount to the edge began here, and I felt both woozy and giddy with gratitude for where we have reached. We passed through stunning streams, alpine lakes and scenic high-altitude Ladakhi mountain valleys.
Soon, an hour-long hide-and-seek game of the Sun ended as it shined out brightly against a blue charming sky. While rest of the environment was subtle, the only thing that was moving ahead with us was the crystal-clear white clouds. Around 9 am, we arrived at Mankorma, we spent our day there for acclimatisation and training at a few smaller peaks here. Mankorma was a treat to the eyes since it offered us a picturesque sight of grey and purple mountains that seemed like something out of a fairy tale.
Next day, while on our way to base camp we enjoyed the views of some beautiful peaks like Parcha Kangri and Gulap Kangri. Along the way, I captured spectacular pictures of mountainous meadows and sheep grazing on soft green grass. After 3-4 hours of trekking, we arrived at the base camp. It was day 6, we rested in our camps to get acclimatized to the geographical conditions and weather. Our guide provided us key information that was a must to scale the summit. She talked about various challenges and hazards that we might face during the trek. She also handed me a trekking map with all the important guidelines mentioned on the back of a map. Later, we took out our cameras and captured some stunning views of valley and sunset.
Next day, after 9 hours of steady climbing, we reached over 19,850feet, it was the highest point that I had ever climbed in my life. To be very true, our guide’s instructions and training helped us a lot in dealing with breathing issues, and also motivated us to aim high. The slope was at about a 75 degree incline and the trail was loaded with small rocks and massive boulders. The Stok Kangri trail was packed with moraine, glaciers and steep snow-white slopes. In total, it took us around 9 hours to reach the destination. It was right here when we were surrounded by the colossal Himalayan ranges of Karakoram and Zanskar, including K2, the world’s second highest peak with an assortment of gentle clouds around it. With the feeling of scaling Stok – so high above the unaware beings that exist on Earth, I was enveloped by a sense of gratitude for my team.
I settled myself in the right place and delightfully absorbed the panorama around. But the picturesque views eluded us too soon as we had to descend to return to the base camp before sunset.
We moved downwards, the dusty snow made it effortless for us to slide down rapidly. I felt like I’m a part of some Telugu action film as we held our trekking poles like a handle and swiped down like a rocket. Just kidding! After 8 hours, we reached the Buddhist flags from where the story of our glacier walk had started. Next day we were back in the abode of Leh valley. I boarded a flight for Delhi next morning, thinking that despite all the odds, it was the best trek of my life till date.
And, whenever, I look back at the journey encompassed with gigantic mountains overpowering the beautiful landscape, my heart says only one thing, “It’s not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves”.
Important Information: Permits A person is required to carry driving license, voter ID or passport (along with visa for non-Indian travellers). A passport size photo and a medical fitness certificate are a must for the trek. Notably, a person has to take a climbing permit from the Indian Mountaineering Foundation in Leh which is mandatory for the trekkers. It takes almost a day to be issued.
Region: Leh Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir Duration: 8 Days Grade: Difficult Max Altitude: 20,180 ft. Approx Trekking: 40 Km Airport: Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport, Leh
Located in the majestic Dauladhar Range of the Himalayas in Himachal Pradesh, Triund trek (3,000 meters) is among the most popular treks in India. The main cause of popularity is its moderate climate, snow-capped mountains, natural grandeur, green-lush valleys and serene environment. The exhilarating views of Kangra Valley from the Triund top feel like some fantasy. One can experience the exquisiteness of nature at every step of the journey. While the tricky route and tiresome curves on the way bring difficulty for the first time trekkers, chilly breeze takes away all the weariness as soon as you reach Triund peak.
In Himachal Pradesh, places like Triund and Mcleod Ganj showcase the Tibetan culture with vivid monasteries, striking architecture, prayer flags, wheels, vibrant markets and Buddha’s stupas.
Night camping at Triund is an experience to die for! It is true that stunning views of mountain ranges, green forest and water streams will make your trip memorable but what makes it a lifetime experience is night camping at Triund top. A beautiful campsite next to gushing streams and a night spent under the dark blanket of white glazy stars will turn out as the best camping experience ever!
Where do we start? There are several starting points for the trek but McLeodganj or Dharamkot are among the most popular ones. From Dharamkot, a 7 km trial goes to Galu Temple. Here you will witness a beautiful sight of the valleys and Dharamsala cricket stadium. Triund is just a few metres away from here.
The Best Time to Visit Triund trek is available around the year, except from January to February. The best time to visit is from March to June and September to October as at this time, there is no snowfall and the weather is quite comfortable to enjoy clear views of the mountains. March to June: The temperature ranges from 20 °C to 10 °C during the day time and 7 °C to 2 °C at night. September to October: The temperature ranges from 10 °C to 7°C during the day time and 5 °C to -5 °C at night.
Pack a bag!
Warm jackets, caps and gloves (in case of cold weather)
Trekking shoes, Trekking pole
Water bottles, energy drinks
A pair of sunglasses, camera
Basic toiletries, bed sheets
Power bank, Flash light (with spare batteries)
Insect repellent, First-aid kit
Attractions Nearby: A day at Dharamsala Stadium: You don’t need to worry even if you’re not a cricket lover; a trip to Dharamsala offers an enriching experience. The stadium is situated 1,457m above sea level amidst the setting of the pictorial Dhauladhar Range. You may not know this but it is a favorite holiday destination of Aussie cricketer Mathew Hayden.
Offer prayers at St John’s Church: Designed in neo-Gothic architecture and dedicated to John the Baptist, it is a perfect place to offer prayers and click pictures. The church which is surrounded by Deodars, has the Belgian stained-glass windows donated by Lady Elgin, wife of Lord Elgin.
Take bath at Bhagsunag Waterfall: Take an early morning stroll to the stunning Bhagsu Falls located just near to the Bhagsunath Temple. It is one of the best tourist attractions in Mcleodganj. A 20 m high waterfall offers a spectacular view and it holds the attention of its visitors in such a way that they want to get lost in its beauty.
Attention, Shopaholics: Don’t forget to take back some souvenirs! Kotwali Bazaar in McLeodganj is an ideal destination for shopaholics. Tibetans sell beautifully handcrafted sculptures, accessories and utensils. Prayer Thangkas, Tibetan artifacts and dresses, rugs, carpets, bronze or silver statue can be purchased from here.
Triund Trek Tales For city dwellers, hills are the best place to get a break from noisy city life and mundane schedule. And what’s better than going on a long weekend trip in Himachal Pradesh. Taking the benefit of the opportunity, I decided to ask some of my friends to accompany me on a trip and our bags were packed immediately thereafter.
Home to Dalai Lama, Dharamsala is all about grand monasteries, colourful flags, rolling prayer wheels, ringing bells and an abundance of flora and fauna.
Our journey began from Delhi at around 10 pm. The thrill of going to our favorite holiday destination doubled this time as we had a plan to scale Triund. On that day, we hardly slept for an hour, most of our night was followed by researching about the Triund trek. Next morning, our Volvo dropped us at Dharamsala. It was around 7 am and we checked into our hotel.
Tip: Though the Best Western Indraprastha Spa Resort is quite costly, they offered us a good discount as we used to visit it at least five times a year.
After a warm welcome by the hotel staff, we went to our rooms. We had a scrumptious breakfast and some of my friends decided to sleep for a while. I was a bit impatient as I didn’t want to spend my precious time sleeping. Thus, I first visited Dal Lake that was located very close to our hotel. My family had warned me to not come back if I didn’t visit Bhagsu Nag Temple so I decided to go check it out. I had planned it in such a way that my friends were already at the waterfall (Bhagsu Nag Waterfall), I took a pleasing stroll from the temple to the decided destination. After spending a little while there, we decided to move ahead and pay a visit to Tsug Lhakhang together, it is the residence of Dalai Lama along with his private office and temple. As we reached that place, the weather changed and it all turned dark and breezy. The sudden change of weather is kind of usual here, don’t worry. The only thing that gave us a feel of heaven was the mesmerizing beauty of lush valleys surrounding us and a spectacular view of Tsug Lhakhang.
Next, we were hungry so our next two hours were devoted to a couple of cafés like Indique, German Bakery and Buddha Delight Café. You will find everything here to soothe your hunger pangs: maggi, momos, pancakes, thupkas, pizzas. The night was spent at the hotel. From there, we immediately rushed to Naddi View Point to capture the sunset in our respective DSLRs. The night was spent in our hotel.
The morning of Day 2 was quite a lazy one. After getting dressed, we moved to Jimmy’s Italian Kitchen where we gorged ourselves in white sauce pasta and smoky red wine sauce chicken. It was like offering you something just at half of what you get at Big Chill. It was hard to move with stuffed bellies but somehow we managed to reach shopper’s paradise i.e. the Kotwali Bazaar. I bought a variety of jewelry for my cousins and a Buddha sculpture for my father who is an ardent devotee. We shopped around for 2 hours and later we tried the traditional Himalayan momos filled with Pak Choi and Potato. The breathtaking view is worth the hike.
We spent a night at Dharamkot which is a small village next to Mcleodganj. Here, we enjoyed the wood-fired pizzas along with freshly made apple juice. We also ordered a plate of pita and hummus and I must say that an entire plateful of hummus is not meant for people with low-appetite.
The final day had arrived! It was a time to pave our way for some adventure. A 9 km trek to Triund from Mcleodganj provides breathtaking view of Kangra Valley and snow-capped mountains. The trial was getting steeper and the curves were making it difficult for us to continue the trek. We had Maggi and some snacks midway. Reaching the top was worth all the puffing and huffing. I headed further up, after consuming a cup of ginger tea. Another halt was ‘Magic View Mountain’ which offers panoramic scenes. The splendid views of Dhauladhar Range, and overlooking Kangra Valley and Dharamsala stadium from the top were way better than what I expected. Under the shadow of the glittery sky, we had a camp stay for the rest of night.
The last day was quite exciting, we moved to Bir Billing in Palampur, where we decided to jump off a mountain cliff with a paragliding chute, situated at an elevation of about 2,600 m. I felt like a free bird when I jumped from the top. While swaying under the sky, I enjoyed mesmerizing views of lush green tea gardens.
A closer look at the jewels hidden in the snow-capped mountains gave me a gamut of experiences that I would surely cherish until the next time I visit.
Hampta is a dream come true for trekking enthusiasts who are constantly on the look out for an unforgettable experience in the scenic valleys of Kullu and Lahaul in Himachal Pradesh. Why, you ask? Hampta Pass Trek is literally a paradise filled with eye-catching views and ever modifying scenery that captivates travelers in a lasting trance. Every turn of the trail is an immensely rewarding experience as it reveals nature’s hidden treasures. The rare sights of alpine forests, glaciers, and Himalayan flora and fauna make this expedition truly spellbinding.
Hampta Pass Trek – A Newbie’s Pleasure It’s a moderate trek that goes to magnificent foothills of the Pir Panjal Range and the great Himalayas. As you gain altitude, the trail offers different shades of nature, from green pine forests to the awe inspiring view of Indrasan and Deo Tibba mountains.
A Quick Overview of Elevation Points The adventure began from Manali, situated at 2,050 meters. This is the point from where you will head towards Jobri by road, taking you to Chika at 3,100 meters. You will trek from here to your base camp – Balu Ka Ghera Hampta Pass at 3,600 meters. Also known as the ‘Heaps of Sand’, it is said that brown bears hibernate at Balu ka Ghera in the winters. The place offers the breath-taking sight of the magnificent Dauladhar Ranges.
Trekking will continue to an elevation of 4,000 metres at Shia Ghoru. The next stop will be Chatru and later you will arrive at the crystal clear Chandratal Lake at 4,270 metres. Moreover, steadily flowing streams, the long wavy bridges and a range of vibrant flowers offer great delight and peace.
Measuring the Trek Region: Himachal Duration: 6 Days Grade: Easy to moderate MaxAltitude: 14,100 ft. Trekking Distance: 26 Km
The Friendly Locals: Living in the beautiful Himalayan region of Himachal Pradesh, the locals are quite reserved about their traditions and living customs. The socio-cultural lifestyle of farmers and artisans is reflected in their conventional heritage. They are ardent lovers of nature and its creation. Uniquely designed handicrafts and paintings can be discovered in the markets. People share a great bond of togetherness and brotherhood. They will surely help you whenever you ask them about the route and even if you’re lucky enough, some may offer you scrumptious traditional delicacies at a reasonable price or free of cost.
A Way to trek Hampta Pass trek originates from the places like Manali, Naggar and Dharamshala. Manali is accessible by rail, road and air and well connected to cities like New Delhi and Chandigarh. The nearest airport is Bhuntar Airport, which is located 52 km from Manali.
Joginder Nagar Railway Station is situated at the distance of 166 km from Manali. Volvos and taxis are considered to be more convenient to reach the scenic destination.
An Amazing Experience of 14, 100 ft. Actually, the story started on a boring Sunday when on the spur of the moment I decided to gift a solo trip to myself. While doing my research, I came to know about an exciting trek to Hampta Pass. I flew from Mumbai to Delhi and then boarded a Volvo AC bus to Manali. As it was going to be my first solo journey, I was very cynical about taking a long bus ride without any familiar faces. Surprisingly, the solo trip ended right in the bus, as a Korean woman sitting next to me was going for the Hampta Pass trek. This is the fun part of solo trips that you move all alone but come back home making several friends. While sharing some wonderful travel stories, Alena told me that it was the 4th time she had visited India.
After reaching Manali, we both rushed to Rambaug Circle on Manali Mall Road where we met our other group members and guide. We stayed at our booked hotel that day.
The next day we were headed towards the base camp – Manali to Chika via Jobra. We drove to a certain point and from there we started trekking. When we began, it started raining. Thankfully, we were carrying umbrellas. We climbed through the forest and lush green meadows. As it was just the first day of hiking, I was literally gasping for breath. At that point, I felt like I should have better trained myself for a month before saying yes to the adventure. However, the enchanting sight of a wide range of deodar and oak trees on the way can make you feel refreshed. The slope seemed to be very easy for my Korean friend who was constantly smiling as she was amazed to see such a pristine beauty of nature!
In the evening, our trek leader briefed us about the program and handed out a route map. In the evening, I captured some beautiful views in my DSLR camera which was recently gifted by my father. Later, we enjoyed dinner at the camp.
We woke to a stunning view of sunrise and after having Chai and Parathas, we were all set to go on a long trek. Though the trek was very challenging, the sights of the valley, rivers and meadows made it all easier. You know what? I did pretty well on the steep trail which was covered with snow. We reached Balu Ka Ghera. The camp was organised at an elevation of 11,900 ft with a stream on one side and river flowing on the other.
Day 3 was the final day! The most challenging yet the most exciting one, we were going to conquer Hampta today! Many of us were excited and nervous. We wore our snow spike shoes, took out our trekking pole and hiked towards the destined end. I was playing safe as I was mostly trekking in the middle troupe. The green valley made our way to the icy mountains and glaciers.
We finally reached Hampta. It was very foggy there so we were supposed to move forward as early as possible. We stayed there for 20 minutes and descended to Shea Goru. It was a slippery route and many group members rolled down when they fell on the ground. And then we couldn’t control our laughter. We created a warm corner of memories by clicking a plethora of pictures that I couldn’t even count. When we reached the spot, we saw that our guides had arranged a bonfire night at our camp. So, we sang and danced together that night!
On day 5, we moved towards Chatru and this was the place that gave us an opportunity to capture the most stunning views we only ever dreamt of. The valleys of Lahaul-Spiti and Pir Panjal Ranges added a charm to the beauty of the place. Notably, Chatru is the base point for three locations namely Spiti Valley, Hampta Pass and Rohtang Pass. We spent the night at Chatru.
Next morning, we had to say goodbyes to some really nice people that we met on the trek. After taking selfies and exchanging some warm hugs, I boarded a cab that took me to magnificent Chandratal Lake, which is said to be a jewel of the mountains. It is believed that the lake was the home to one of Pandavas – Yudhisthira, the eldest son of Kunti. After witnessing the purest form of nature, I hit the road back to Manali.
Know About Mobile Connectivity and ATM Facility You should withdraw money from ATM at Manali or Prini. No ATM service is available after Prini. So, if there are chances of falling short of money, it’s better to take some from here.
Mobile connectivity is quite good till Prini but beyond that, you don’t get such facility. You should make sure that all your important calls are made.
Take Note on Temperature and Trekking Time The best time to go for Hampta Pass is from June to August and September to October. The harsh climatic conditions vary at high altitudes, thus, it is important to choose the right time to get acclimatized. There are chances that you witness heavy snowfall and rain during the monsoon season. June to August: The temperature ranges from 20 °C to 15 °C during the day time and 7 °C to -2 °C at night. September to October: The temperature ranges from 15 °C to 10 °C during the day time and 5 °C to -5 °C at night. During this period, trekkers can enjoy the clear views of snow-capped mountains.
Things to Carry
Sweaters, warm jackets, caps and gloves
Trekking shoes, 6-7 pair of socks
Trekking pole, power bank
Water bottles, backpack, energy bars and drinks
A pair of sunglasses, camera
Basic toiletries, bed sheets
Flash light (with spare batteries)
Insect repellent, emergency medical kit
First-aid kit, binoculars, sleeping bag
Got some time? Check out these nearby attractions!
Siyali Mahadev Temple
Gadhan Thekchhokling Gompa Monastery
Museum of Himachal Culture & Folk Art
Rahala Waterfall and Jogini waterfall
Tripura Sundari Temple
Don’t Forget to Carry Your Documents You are required to carry your ID cards and photocopies of your driving license or voter ID or passport (along with visa for non-Indian travelers). Passport size photo is a must. When it comes to your fitness for the trek, you may need to show a medical certificate signed from your doctor.
Hampta Pass has been the best experience of my life so far! It came as a confidence booster to me as it had cleared all my hesitation for a solo trip. The natural landscape, amazing trek group and friendly locals gave me a bundle of beautiful memories that will remain entrenched in my heart forever.
Magical! Yes, it’s the one word that comes to mind whenever I think about the Roopkund trek. The fact that it has consistently been one of the most booked trekking destinations in North India owes to the snow-capped mountains, lush green forests, picturesque views and tricky routes. It challenges and thrills, puts your trekking potential to test and rewards you greatly, equally so.
So, if you want to breathe amidst the striking icy glaciers of Nanda Ghunti and Mount Trishul, this is an ideal place to be!
Situated in the lapse of Chamoli District of Uttarakhand, Roopkund trek paves the way to Roopkund Lake which lies serenely at an altitude of 5,029 m. The biggest highlight for the trek though has to be the ‘Skeleton Lake,’ Roopkund Lake that supposedly consists of over 500 human skeletons. Spooky, right? [Legend: It is said that an ancient army who came on an unscheduled pilgrimage had faced the wrath of the Weather God as they travelled without his permission.]
The mythological mystery around Roopkund Trek; Nanda Devi Raj Jat Yatra The ‘Nanda Devi Raj Jat Yatra’ is among the biggest religious yatras in the ‘Land of Gods’, Uttakhand. The hill folks of Uttarakhand organize the yatra in every 12 years to honor Goddess Nanda Devi. It is said that people take her to Lord Shiva’s home which is located in the icy folds of the Himalayas. The three-week-long grand procession begins from Nauti village near Karanpraayg and ends at Homkund near Roopkund. Despite the harsh climatic conditions, the devotees remain barefoot throughout the yatra.
Where does it all begin? Wan is the base camp of the trek and it is accessible from Kathgodam (210km) or Rishikesh (270 km). A trekker can take a bus from any of these two places. The bus will likely drop you at Deval which is 27 km away from Wan.
When should I start packing? There are two phases during which a visit can be made safely: May to June: The temperature ranges from 15 °C to 20 °C during the day time and 7 °C to -2 °C at night. September to October: The temperature ranges from 10 °C to 15 °C during the day time and 5 °C to -5 °C at night. At this time, you can enjoy the clear view of snow-clad mountains.
Nearby Attractions The Roopkund trekking experience is not meant for beginners. So, if you don’t qualify for the same or are simply not in the mood to explore the mystique of Roopkund, following are the places you can check out instead: Brahma Tal and Bekhal Tal: These are two most stunning lakes situated near Hemkund.
Bedni Bugyals: One can witness the raw beauty of nature at Bedni Bugyal – a green pastures. It is also a stopover on the Yatra of Nanda Raj Jaat.
Hemkund Sahib and Hemkund Lake: It is the holiest place for Sikhs and Hindus. The glaciers from the peak of Hathi and Saptrishi feed the Hemkund Lake.
Facts and numbers for Roopkund trek Duration: 7 days Max Altitude: 15,696 ft Trekking Distance: 53 Km Grade: Moderate to difficult
Here is a shorter version of the itinerary… Day 1: Driving from Kathgodam to Lohajung (2130m) Day 2: Lohajung to Didana (2550m) Day 3Didana to Bedni Bugyal (3350m) Day 4: Bedni Bugyal to Bhagubasa (4100m) Day 5: Bhagubasa to Roopkund and Junargalli(4750m) to Patal Nauchaniya (3850m) Day 6: Patal Nauchaniya to Bedni Bugyal (3350m) to Wan (2550m) – Lohajung Day 7: Lohajung – Kathgodam
Roopkund Trek: A high dose of adventure filled with natural splendor all along To escape from the mundane city life, I decided to go on a trek to experience the serene beauty. The expedition was an opportunity to discover a wide variety of flora and fauna and the giant mountains that I had only ever previously dreamt of.
The journey began one morning with one of my closest friends from Delhi. We hired a cab that dropped us to Kathgodam – a town in the Uttarakhand’s Nainital district. From there, we both moved to Lohajung which was the base point of our trek. Even after a tiring journey, the excitement didn’t let us sleep on the bus. Travelling through a scenic route, we arrived at the destined place after 7 hours. The purest form of nature, Lohajung is replete with rich biodiversity. The beautiful surroundings of evergreen alpine forestswere so captivating that we thought to not move further!
Next day, we walked through a pictorial forest lined with Himalayan cedar and oak trees. Crossing an old bridge over the River Neel Ganga, we reached Ruan Bagad after 2 hours of easy trek. Our guide told us that people also take a road route from here that goes to Wan Village. Despite the uneven terrain, the hike from Ruan Bagad to Didna village took just around 2 hours. The night was spent in a camp.
On day 3, the trail moved ahead to the village of Ali Bugyal which is one of the highest inhabited locations in India. Since I’m not a regular trekker, I opted for the easier route and it took almost 6 hours to reach the Ali Bugyal. To keep the pace with other trekkers and to reach on time, we were advised to consume dry fruits and energy bars. It really gave us energy throughout the expedition.
Thankfully, we reached bang on time! We arrived at Ali Bugyal by noon where we enjoyed magnificent views of Nanda Ghunti and Trishul peaks. And it was right there that I couldn’t control my emotions and took around 170 pictures in just 15 minutes. Fun times! Later, we moved towards Bedni Bugyal – a campsite for our overnight stay.
Next morning, we woke up to the beautiful views of the sunrise. Our guide briefed us about the program and then, we all were ready to move towards Bhagubasa. A trail first entered to the coniferous forest that took us to an area of high altitude. After crossing a zigzag path, we reached the temple of Lord Ganesha ‘Kalu Vinayak’ which is constructed with irregular pebbles and bricks. We stayed there for about 20 minutes and we prayed for 5 minutes. After receiving much needed blessings from the Lord, we hiked further.
After 1 hour we reached a spot where we got an opportunity to capture the astonishing views of Chaukhamba, Neelkanth and Hathi peaks in our cameras. Though the distance was short, the slippery path made it a bit challenging for us. We reached our beautiful campsite at the hilltop of Bhagubasa after 1 hour.
It was day 5, our guide had set a goal for us and according to that, we were supposed to reach the lake in about 2-3 hours. The mysterious Roopkund Lake gave me an adrenaline rush. Our guide was carefully watching our steps around the lake as we were walking around the tricky terrain. It was quite a moment, as we viewed the human skeletons and bones. We all were so happy that there were tears of joy in our eyes. After hugging each other, some of our group mates moved towards Junargali ridge. However, I spend time in capturing gorgeous views of the mountains. After staying up there for an hour, we later headed back to Patal Nauchaniya. It was a long walk down and we stopped at two spots for rest along the way. After reaching the camp, we realized that it was time to celebrate our victory! We organized a bonfire, played cards and finally, clicked a lot of group photos.
Day 6,7 : The way back to Kathgodam We woke up at 5 am and after grabbing toasts from the camp we tramped down to the forest of pine, rhododendron and oak to reach Wan village. We had a scrumptious lunch at a Garhwali restaurant which served us traditionally style Thali filled with local food. We went back to Lohagunj and spent the night in tents at the campsite. After saying goodbye to each other, we moved to Kathgodam.
Mobile connectivity and ATM facility One can find ATM machines in two places i.e. Kathgodam and Dewal. Notably, there is no ATM after crossing Dewal as the trek begins from here.
Most of the mobile networks work at Lohajung. There is hardly any connectivity in the mountains which means all important calls should be made at Lohajung.
Things to carry
Trekking pole, trekking shoes, 6-7 pair of socks, power bank
Sweaters, warm jackets, caps and gloves
Water bottles, backpack, energy bars and drinks
A pair of sunglasses, camera
Basic toiletries, bed sheets
Flash light (with spare batteries) and Swiss knife
Insect repellent, emergency medical kit
First-aid kit, binoculars, sleeping bag
And with that, the dreamy journey of 7 days came to an end. What I brought back with me was a box full of beautiful memories.
The Divine beauty of Sikkim – Goecha La (16207.35 ft)
Situated in the Himalayan range of North-East Mountains, Goecha La is a tiny yet unforgettable place for thousands of adventure lovers across the world. Perched amidst striking hills and multi-colored flora and fauna, Goecha La trek takes you toward the astonishing beauty called Kanchenjunga National Park. It is not just the third-highest mountain in the world, Kanchenjunga, that makes the Goecha La trek such a great pleasure but also the other big summits that can be clearly seen from here around the year. You can also spot the splendor of various mountains like Talung, Kabru, Pandim and Simvo during the trek.
Get going to Goecha La
One should visit Goecha La from September to Novemberas during this period you can see the snow-clad mountains clearly. Trekking in the cold climate would be a bit tough but if you’re aspired to scale the mountain, you will notice that you’re easily tackling both the rough and slippery paths. Moreover, you can also start your trek anytime between April and June.
April to June: The temperature ranges from 15 °C to 22 °C during the day time and 7°C to -1 °C at night. September to November: The temperature ranges from 10 °C to 15 °C during a day time and 5 °C to -5 °C at night.
Facts about Goecha La you need to know before you visit
Trekking Distance: 90 Km Maximum Altitude: 16207.35 ft (approx) Duration: 11 Nights and 12 Days Grade: Moderate to Challenging
Exploring the charm of Goecha La; a step-by-step guide
The adventure began from Bagdogra Airport to Jalpaiguri, West Bengal. I boarded a vehicle to reach a hamlet called Yuksom which is located in the West District of Sikkim. On my way, I witnessed the amazing sight of striking mountains, lush green valleys, misty clouds and locals who were dressed beautifully in their traditional
dresses. The one thing that actually put me at ease immediately was how the locals, especially kids, greeted me with a heartfelt smile.
Once I reached the hotel, I gorged on some hot snacks and a cup of delightful coffee. I didn’t want to waste any time, so, in the evening, I visited Tashiding Monastery and Khecheopalri Lake with one of my trek companions whom I had met in the hotel. Next morning, we woke up to the beautiful views of the sunrise. Our guide briefed us about the program and then, we all were ready to move towards Sachen. We arrived at the destined place after crossing the valley of the river called Rathong, a trail that entered to the coniferous forest, several villages filled with mud houses; Pha Khola – a suspension bridge over a stream; a stunning waterfall, and Mentongang River.
We started our trek to Tshoka the very next day. While trekking to this sublime beauty, we passed through a bridge over Perk Chu stream, the off-beat trail, isolated hamlets, and Bakhim – a place surrounded by diverse species of flora and fauna. At Bakhim, we stopped by a food stall that served scrumptious momos and Maggi. Here, we got an opportunity to call our family members or friends as the networks of BSNL and Airtel were working quite well at this place. We spent a night at this charming campsite that completely won our heart!
The way to Dzongri via Phedang is quite beautiful, it is an easy climb and I found myself up there just after 1 hour of trekking. Frankly, I was a bit scared because a few people warned us beforehand that it would be an 80-degree steep climb. However, setting up camps and staying at Dzongri while being surrounded by mountains from all sides was absolutely heartwarming.
Don’t forget to take a good number of pictures and group selfies after reaching Dzongri!
We arrived at Thansing via Kokchurang – an uneven slope with a river flowing beside it and evergreen coniferous vegetation. Thansing was a place where I felt like I was walking in the clouds, with crystal clear views of Mt. Kanchenjunga and Mt. Pandim. The clouds turned dark and the valley echoed with the sound of thundering. Though the views were splendid, the joy and excitement stopped right there, as we were freezing. By god’s grace, we woke up to clear skies and sunny weather the next day.
We wore our headphones and enjoyed the 2 hour trek to Lamuney. Before ending the journey for that day, we spent some time at Samiti Lake where we got an opportunity to see wild blue deer, a natural rarity. In the end, it was quite a lucky day for us as it was a full moon night and we enjoyed a glimpse of Mt. Kanchenjunga in the shadow of stars and moonlight.
Climbing to Goecha La was the toughest part of the whole expedition as trekkers are not only required to scale the heights of Goecha La but also supposed to pave their way back to Kokchurang. We woke up at 3 am. We hiked to the mountain and reached the plateau of Zemathang glacier that was covered by a thick layer of snow. Around 5.30 am, we witnessed the sunrise over the Kanchenjunga Range. We reached Goecha La pass in another 2 hours. It is said to be the highest point of the trek which acts as the base camp for the mountaineers who take a challenge to scale Mount Kanchenjunga.
After capturing picturesque views of mountains and group pictures in our cameras, we began our trek down to Kokchurang. That day, we erected the tents for ourselves to spend a night by the riverside.
The ending of a journey: Kokchurang to Tshoka – Tshoka to Yuksom – Drive back to NJP
We started our downward journey to Tshoka via Phedang. As there was no elevation, we quickly covered a distance of around 10 km within 4 hours. We rested for a while in Phedang and then started our journey towards Tshoka that took around 3 hours. Here we met some locals who served us lip-smacking traditional foods such as Dhindo, Thukpa and Sha phaley.
Next day for Yuksom, we followed the same route that we used to reach Golcha via Bhakim and Sachen. The night was spent there in a lodge. The last day, it took us around 6 hours to be back at New Jalpaiguri.
Essential Trek Gear You Need To Get For Goecha La
Sweaters, warm jackets, caps and gloves
Trekking shoes, 6-7 pair of socks, trekking pole
Water bottles, backpack, energy bars and drinks
A pair of sunglasses, camera
Basic toiletries, bed sheets
Flash light (with spare batteries), Swiss knife
Insect repellent and an emergency medical kit
What You Need To Do (and don’t)
One needs to work on the fitness levels for trek at least two months before.
Prior research is must!
Don’t try to compete with fellow trekkers, just set your own pace.
Don’t take off your clothes just after reaching the camp as this drastically cools down your body.
Greet the locals well and talk to them to grab more information about the place.
Respect mountains, fellow trekkers and trekking staff.
Last but not the least, take out your camera at the right time to capture as many memories as possible!
Sikkim is a hidden treat for many people, and the scenic beauty it has to offer is yet to be fully explored. For me, the Goecha La trek was a journey of self-realization, the steps that took me to the raw beauty of the natural world. And, if you are willing to take up the challenge, mark my words – it is going to be the most thrilling discovery nestled in the abode of nature!
Situated at an altitude of 3,700 m, Beas Kund is an alpine lake which is said to be the original source of Beas River. Set in the backdrop of several peaks such as the Shitidhar Peak, Friendship Peak and others, Beas Kund has a unique way of making people fall in love with nature. Home to some of the most pictorial views of the region, it allows trekkers to embrace the beauty of fascinating lands, majestic peaks, hospitable locals and cascading waters. So, do not miss the chance to experience the respite and magnificence of the Himalayas with Beas Kund trek.
What draws the attention of the masses?
There are several treks to enjoy your journey to the mighty Himalayas. However, Beas Kund trek is an ideal trek for those who have a desire to witness isolated miracles of nature away from the proximity of urban settlements. The natural splendor of Beas Kund that extends from the giant ski slopes of the Solang Valley to the meadows of Dhundi and Bakarthach is beyond comparison. Being a trek for everyone, it is convenient as well as easily accessible. Without any age restrictions and prior experience, it is a trek that appeals all equally.
A quick glimpse into my illuminating trekking expedition to Beas Kund:At times, it becomes difficult to deal with the curve balls that life throws. When the desire to do something new and different starts awakening, it’s time to paint it with colours of spirit. In my case, trekking to Beas Kund helped me to rekindle that fire.
Somebody has rightly said that it is better to see something than hear about it a thousand times. Many of my friends had been singing praises of their experiences, and I finally decided to embark on the journey. I packed my bags and left home with a desire to give voice to those unruly and wild screams which the din and noise of human settlements had pacified. With that welcoming hope in my heart, I reached the first leg of my trek, Dhundi. While driving with other group members from the Solang valley up to the Dhundi road, there were several views that left us awe-struck.
Following river Beas, witnessing the best skiing slopes of India and crossing the stream from one side to the other was a lifetime kind of experience. Surrounded by wildflowers and their scenic beauty, Dhundi served as a perfect site to set up camp for overnight stay.
The next day, we proceeded from the 9,000 ft tall quaint little mountain helmet, Dhundi, to Bakartach. Situated at 10, 800 ft, Bakartach is a high-altitude meadow which literally translates as ‘shepherd’s field’. The guide told us that these sun and windswept meadows are very popular pastures for a hardy nomadic tribe of shepherds, Gaddis. The sight of sheep grazing in this pastoral idyll gave us a pause, as we gazed upon the picture perfect scene.
The almost flat walk from Bakartach’s meadows gave gradual way to moraines and stray boulders that made the climb little steeper. It was little difficult to climb from boulder to boulder until we crossed the river that took us to the ridge which was marked by systematically placed cairns. At this point of time, we all were feeling tired and needed rest. To sleep in the lap of nature amidst its music and rhythm was a dream-like adventure. Our endless talks, excitement and the desire to explore more of the area kept us awake all night.
An early start the next day and a short climb up the ridge through Bhoj Patr got us to our final destination. When we reached here, the guide enlightened us about the historical and mythological importance of Beas Kund. He told us that it is believed that the author of the great epic of Mahabharata, Sage Vyas, had meditated here. Protected by an igloo-like stone structure, the Kund is a site of great religious importance to devotees across the country, especially Hindus. Besides being regarded as sacred, it is home to spectacular views of the nearby located Shitidhar, Ladakhi, Friendship and Hanuman Tibba peaks that can leave anyone numb for a while.
The best part of the journey was to locate the valley amidst the numerous streams and waterfalls. After discovering this lake nestled at an altitude of 3,700 metres, we decided to capture the splendid views that it offers. It was reflecting the pristine and untamed beauty of nature which was worth-experiencing after this long and tiresome journey. Before heading back, we decided to rest here for some time.
Let not routes puzzle your mind:
There are several modes of transportation to reach the first location of the trekking expedition to Beas Kund. People can travel by air, rail and road as per their own convenience. However, the most convenient way to reach Manali is by bus. The view offered by the window serves as a microcosm of the entire journey that you wish to undertake in the lap of nature and in a desire of adventure.
As there is no airport in Manali, Bhuntar airport serves as the nearest airport. It is located at a distance of 50km from Manali and 10km from Kullu. Chandigarh Airport is 300 km away from Manali and runs scheduled flights from major cities likes New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Bangalore.
The nearest railway station to Manali is Joginder Nagar railway station. Situated at a distance of 166 km, it is known for connecting several important cities of the country. Chandigarh and Pathankot are the other convenient railheads.
Being well connected to major North Indian cities such as Delhi, Ambala, Chandigarh, Dehradun, Haridwar, Shimla, Dharamsala and Chamba/Dalhousie, Manali provides regular bus service that makes it convenient to ply between these stations.
Do not let the wrong time spoil the fun:
The best time for Beas Kund Trek is from mid-May to mid-October. During this period, the weather remains quite salubrious and is suitable to explore the beauty of the place.
Beas Kund Trekking Tour Highlights:
Witnessing the stunning views of Indrasan, Hanuman Tibba and Deo Tibba Peak
Enjoying the calm and solace offered by Solang Nallah and the Manu Temple
An opportunity to seek information about the simple yet fascinating life of the inhabitants of picturesque villages such as Goshal, Sannag and Burua
Camping under the open sky, amidst the scenic landscape and to recall your own childhood.
Load your bags with some essentials:
Synthetic hand gloves
Emergency Medical Kit
Original and photocopy of identity card
To sum up – it is not under our control to live longer but we can make efforts to live deeper. It is important to rediscover those impulses that fill one’s life with fun, excitement, thrill and tonnes of happiness.
Traveling is as much about the experience you gather while on the trip and the pleasure you take when sharing it while after the journey ends. One such place, a favorite among the most adventurous travel enthusiasts, is Hampta Pass and its better half, Chandra Tal Lake.
Read further why you need to go on this trek to make the best memories and tell the craziest stories later.
What’s so unique about this
Hampta Pass is not just splendid in its charm but a rare spectacle at that. It is a narrow pass that climbs out of the Kullu valley and overlooks Lahaul valley’s long, desertous and scenic stretches. There is a vast difference in landscapes that this trek packs.
Traverse through alpine forests, huge rock formations and exotic flora-fauna to reach the glistening Moon Lake, a mythicized beacon of nature. Not only does this trek offer Lahaul’s vegetation and cold deserts, it provides the best views of Dhauladhar ranges. What’s more is that you get to closely observe the culture of the inhabitants of nature’s high altitude marvels. Why travel? Experience.
What’s the trail like
Chikka: You will begin your journey from Hampta Dam. Trek to Chikka, close to Manali, after spending a day acclimatizing at the base camp in Manali.
Balu Ka Ghera: This location is basically a heap of sand (“balu ka ghera”) right below the Hampta Pass. This is one of the best campsites in the entirety of your trek. The whole view is picturesque. It is a lush, expansive plain ground on the bank of a river. Marvel at the surrounding Dhauladhar ranges, the outer Himalayan peaks.
Hampta Pass via Shia Goru: From Balu ka Ghera, you will trek further to Hampta Pass (4270 m) via Shia Goru. Gaze at the desertous Lahaul valley in a panoramic view. Notice the vast change in landscapes this trek has to offer. Descend back to Shia Goru for a star-studded overnight stay.
Chatru and moving on to Chandra Tal Lake –
Chandratal Lake or “Moon Lake”; why it’s the best addition to your Hampta Pass Trek
The cherry on the top (quite literally, since it sits atop the Hampta Pass) is this high altitude glacial lake called Chandra Taal (Moon Lake). In mythology, this is the point where from Yudhisthra (in Mahabharata) ascended to heaven. Surely, the feeling of just standing by its side and holding its reflection in admiration is nothing short of heavenly in itself.
Likely on your last day of the trek before you descend, you will visit the lake. Set out on a early morning and trek to Pir Panjal ranges and to Chandratal from there. Descend back to Chatru, the point where Spiti valley, Rohtang Pass and Hampta Pass meet – for your overnight stay.
So what is the best time to make your way to Hampta Pass and Chandratal Lake?
Best time to take a getaway and spend a charming week in Hampta Pass is from June to late September. Within this time frame, most people visit in June or the next month. It is clad with snow, perfectly and all over. What a breathtaking view!
Hampta Pass, the starting point of your tryst with Himachal Pradesh
Hampta Pass in Himachal Pradesh is a favorite among trekker’s who are not too advanced but have some prior experience. These trekkers love an escape into the beatific Himachal which offers unparalleled views of the Himalayan peaks and is home to some of the most exotic Himalayan scenery and flora-fauna.
Once here, you will forever cherish and long for another visit. Most people go on to trek to other places in Himachal Pradesh after they get back from Hampta Pass. You are likely to continue being on a long and rewarding journey with nature after this one.