A lot has been written about the frozen river Chadar trek. Every year, in the months of January and February, headstrong trekkers dare to attempt the trek i.e., walk over the frozen Zanskar river that is the only route for locals to reach Leh. However, it is best explained in a series of photos. After all, a photo is worth a thousand words.

So without further ado, here’s what’s so special about Chadar Trek and why it should be on your travel wish-list for 2019:

chadarThe temperature here drops to around -30 degree Celsius and is the most suitable for being tread on in the winter months, hence.

webp-net-compress-image-23Trekkers start this exploration from Chilling and hike further up to Naerak(they can return from this point itself) and then Lingshed. The entire ice trail is about 105 kms long and trekkers walk about 15 kms each day

webp-net-compress-image-22A road between Zanskar and Leh is under construction which will make it easier for the locals to commute. However, it poses a great threat for the wildlife including snow leopards in the area.

chadarFrozen Naerak falls.

chadarThe fluctuating temperature in the valley makes and breaks the ice in the river. So, trekkers are to use extreme caution in a terrain such as this.

shutterstock_1113151_cf8ceThe gigantic brown mountains that outline the frozen river present a great visual.

chadar trekLocals cook food here in caves and it is served in caves. How dreamlike!

webp-net-compress-image-21Impeccable trekking gear should be made use of while carrying out this trek. The ice sheets thin down over different times of the day.

shutterstock_7977997_tjn49Camping is an absolute delight on this trek! Enjoy incredible starry nights. Star-gazing is definitely something you should check off your list when you’re here.


What are you waiting for?
Pack your bags and set out for this dreamland! Chadar trek can be undertaken by experienced trekkers each January-February. This is a perfect trek for your travel goal list. 

An Experience Like Never Before 

The Chadar trek is a must for all those people who are living in cities and have been seeking an opportunity to have freedom from their hard-working lives for a short while. After completing it, one will realise the immense beauty of pristine nature and why it needs to be protected. The Chadar trek is a completely different trek as it involves walking on a frozen Zanskar river at an altitude of 13,000 ft for days in sub-zero temperatures at around -25 degree Celsius. The experience of trekking on an aqua blue ice trail between calm brown mountains along with cold breeze is an experience within itself. This trek has been categorised under the major difficulty level trek, as it requires a heavy amount of exertion. One is also required to have a proper guidance before beginning this trek. The trail of this trek is approximately 105 km and on an average, a trekker will be walking a distance of 15 to 17 km per day

During winter, this frozen lake route of Chadar is one and only route that connects Zanskar Valley and Ladakh.

Special Treats: MAJOR VILLAGES EN ROUTE
Villages falling in the trail of Chadar trek are Nerak and Lingshed. Trekkers will be coming across these two villages on different days during the trek.

NERAKIt is one of the two villages where the trekkers will be taking their stoppages. The views of the sunset from this point are worth witnessing. Travellers should definitely click some pictures from this point. Trekkers will be reaching towards this village after witnessing the captivating frozen waterfall and the massive Tibb Cave. This village serves as a major base camp of the Chadar trek. In order to reach Nerak Village, trekkers will be climbing a steep mountain trail. This village houses facilities such as a rudimentary health dispensary and a solar plant. There is also a residential school at this village where students study till the elementary level. All the basic essential goods including ration are bought for an entire year and are brought in this village from a small settlement of Wonla, which is located at a great distance and is situated across the Zing La pass. Only the Chadar trek trail connects the Nerak Village with the outside world. This village is home to around 30 families.

LINGSHEDTrekkers will be arriving at the village of Lingshed. Trekker arriving in Lingshed will be delighted to know that this village is known as one of the oldest villages in Ladakh. This village is filled with an ample amount of nature’s beauty. It is also home to the Lingshed Monastery, which is one of the oldest monasteries in Ladakh. This monastery is a famous tourist attraction. By now, the trekkers would have visited popular tourist spots such as Gyalpo and Dibyokma. Gyalpo is an enchanting campsite which is located in a meadow in the Zanskar River. At this region, travelers will discover imposing peaks and large natural rocks which are naturally sculpted in abstract shapes. Dibyokma is another stoppage point during the Chadar trek. From this point, travelers can enjoy a breath-taking view of the Himalayas, it is also known as the most peaceful point of the trek.


Dreamlike Chadar Trek: Enjoy Camping Under Starlit Skies 

chadar
During the night, the travelers will also get the opportunity to see a vibrant sky full of stars. The Chadar trek is known for its rough camping conditions and fluctuating temperature, there will be several instances where trekkers would be required to manoeuvre through difficult terrain of the trek and climb cold boulders of ice and rock.    

chadarThe wide frozen aqua blue ice trail formed by Zanskar River in winters between massive, calm, golden brown mountains is the prime factor which makes Chadar Trek a special trek.

Lifesaver Tips: Exercising Precaution While Treading On The Frozen River 

  • It is suggested that one should share his or her schedule to go on Chadar Trek with at least one friend or family member. This will ensure that he or she has someone for help in case of an emergency.
  • It is advised to carry warm clothes as there is a high probability of temperature to drop extremely low.
  • Travelers are suggested to carry ample quantity of edible food and water with them, as there might be a shortage of food and water during the trek.
  • One should not forget to carry a first-aid kit and medicines, as the travellers will be involved in activities which will require a lot of exertion and will be often getting minor bruises and cuts during the trek.
  • One should ensure that the trail of the trek stays clean and they should not pollute the trail or dump anything during the trek. Travellers are also advised not to use shampoos and soaps at any of the waterfalls.
  • One should respect all religious faiths and the calmness of all the shrines that fall en route.
  • One should not disobey or disregard any of the instructions and tips given by the guide.
  • Avid skipping any of the meals during the trek as the intense terrain of Chadar trek will require trekkers to have a high amount of energy.

The best time to go on Chadar Trek is considered to be the winter season between the months of January and February. At this time, the Zanskar River is considered safe and is suitable for walking.

One of the most adrenaline-pinching, risque, thrilling explorations organised in the winter months(January-February) of every year is a trek on the frozen Zanskar river-Chadar Trek. The ice trail is a bold exploit even for the most advanced trekkers. Fluctuating and harsh weather over a frozen trail between ginormous golden mountains, this one is for the truly headstrong.

But it isn’t impossible! Far from it. The wild undertaking is carried out successfully by hundreds of trekkers every season. Through Naerak and Lingshed, the venturous make their way to the frozen river.  Couple months of preparation and reliable information about the trek beforehand are their only friends. Of course, having a presence of mind and trekking gear in perfect shape are absolutely non-negotiable.

chadar trek

Before we go on to discuss what truly makes this trek so challenging, here’s what you should at least pack for the trip:

  • Trekkers are also suggested to carry a pair of open-toe slippers, which one can wear around the campsite without wetting their socks
  • Proper trekking shoes with high-rise ankle, waterproofing and insulation
  • One size large pair of gumboots – a kind of boots for the purpose of wading through icy water
  • Open toe slippers for casual wearing around the camp
  • Two synthetic trek pants
  • One windcheater
  • Two pairs of upper and lower body thermal wears
  • Two warm pants
  • Two full sleeved collar t-shirts
  • 1 down jacket
  • 1 fleece jacket
  • 3 pairs of merino trekking socks
  • Four pairs of undergarments
  • 1 complete body raincoat
  • Woollen gloves and synthetic waterproof gloves
  • Woollen cap that covers the ears
  • Woollen socks for sleeping in the night
  • Woollen stole or balaclava to wrap around the neck.
  • Lip balm
  • Sunscreen
  • Cold cream
  • Toothpaste
  • UV protection sunglasses to prevent snow blindness
  • Trekking pole
  • Head torch
  • Daypack
  • Rucksack with a capacity of 50 to 60 litres
  • Medicine kit
  • Insulated water bottle and thermos flask
  • Utensils
  • Packaged refreshments
  • Plastic sealable polythene bags, which can keep items dry and safe

chadar

Know It All: The Multi-fold Challenges of Chadar Trek 
One will always face the mind-blowing challenge of walking on a thin ice sheet which may break at any time and thrust you in the icy cold water at around -25 degree Celsius temperature. Apart from this challenge, there are some other challenges as well that one may have to face:

  • Acute Mountain Sickness: According to a report, around 15 trekkers are reported to have been hospitalized in 2018, due to symptoms of AMS such as nausea, vomiting and breathlessness. During Chadar trek, trekkers can trek up to 11,123 feet. This sudden change in altitude may affect one’s body, thus failing him from accomplishing the trek. In order to prevent such as thing, trekkers are advised to first stay in Ladakh for a few days before starting the trek. This will enable one’s lungs to adjust according to the change in altitude. This time can be fruitfully used by taking acclimatization walks by trekkers.
  • Constant change in trekking trail: As a major portion of Chadar trek is covered over the frozen icy path formed by Zanskar River, the slightest of change in temperature has an extreme impact on the frozen trail of Chadar trek. It is highly suggested that travelers should pay attention to all the commands and instructions of the team leader and trek on only sledge routes. During an average day, the frozen river undergoes a constant process, which involves the formation of new ice sheets, melting of old ice and irregular breaking of ice blocks. During Chadar trek, travelers will always find the frozen river in a different condition. At times, the whole river will be completely frozen and its surface will be suitable to walk. At other times, the frozen stream of ice will completely melt from the center portion, thus leaving only narrow side trails of ice to walk on. There will also be times when the river would completely melt and the trekkers would have to leave the melted stretch of the river and climb the mountains. When there won’t be an option to climb the rocks, trekkers would also have to wade through the cold slushy stream of the river. It is suggested that trekkers should walk in small packs comprising of 6 to 7 people along with a person, who has all the necessary equipment including rope, carbines, harnesses, slings, a throw bag, sleeping bag and is ready to handle any kind of worst-case scenario. In case a trekker falls into the deeper portion of a running stream, he or she should prevent flowing along the stream. In such a case, a leader would throw a throw bag end, so that the drowning person may grab hold of it and get saved. In order to prevent such a situation, trekkers can opt to get anchored with the leader, who will be attaching all the trekkers by rope to his or her anchor.
  • Extreme cold conditions: The excessive cold conditions during Chadar trek often result in causing hypothermia to trekkers. Hypothermia occurs due to lack of warmth within one’s body. Usually, during a trek, hypothermia sets into one’s body after he or she has worn wet clothes for a long duration or even during the sleeping hours. People having weak bones should refrain from opting to go on this trek as the slippery icy terrain leads one to fall numerous times. Also, people with any kind of serious heart condition are also prone to hypothermia. The cold weather during the trek shrinks the blood vessels in one’s body, thus causing an immense pressure within the heart and leading to hypothermia in people with serious heart conditions. In order to tackle the issue of hypothermia, a trekker is required to be constantly active and warm during the Chadar trek. During the day, trekkers should constantly keep their body in motion, which will help in keeping themselves warm. It is suggested that trekkers at camping site should perform activities such as exploring campsite, interacting with locals or even playing some sports on the icy field. Trekkers are required to bring warm clothes which may protect them from snow blizzards and avalanches.
The ice sheets are dangerously thin at some points. Extreme caution is advised to the trekkers.
The ice sheets are dangerously thin at some points. Extreme caution is advised to the trekkers.

IN THE UNLIKELY SCENARIO OF A DROWNING: 

  1. Shout at your loudest to attract attention.
  2. Seek hold of the bank and staying glued to it.
  3. In the case of getting dragged away, travelers can hold on to their bags and place it above their chests as it will help them stay afloat.
  4. If a drowning traveler in a running current of the river is unable to reach the surface, he or she should look for a whirlpool in the river.
  5. Once the traveler gets rescued from the river, it is necessary to remove all wet clothes at once.
  6. In case a traveller gets hypothermia, he or she can try to get warmth from sleeping bags and hot water bottles.
  7. In case a traveler is in a serious case, the support staff should set up a tent and arrange warm stoves for warmth.

Are you still reading?
You have already won half the battle if you are well equipped with information because now you know what to expect. And come on, all this risk is what makes Chadar trek an absolute thrill! If you play by the rules, you will never forget this once-in-a-lifetime experience.  

Almost all mountaineers wish to scale the mighty Everest on some lucky day of their hiking career. And why not? The feeling of touching the roof of the world, world’s highest mountain-the magnificent Mt. Everest (8,848 m), the sheer magnitude of which makes everything else feel puny and irrelevant: the feeling of having accomplished a feat like this is an ultimate life goal for trekkers worldwide. Many mountaineers prepare all their lives for it and yet a small percentage really ever makes it. Isn’t that alone so chilling to comprehend? EBC or Everest Base Camp trek is a stepping stone for many trekkers that wish to someday conquer this ginormous mountain.

everest-base-camp

For some trekkers, EBC trek alone is a huge travel goal! Rigorous training, honing patience levels, developing sustainable trekking stratagem, investing in reliable trekking gear are the many tasks on the to-do list when you are planning for an EBC trek. Add to that, the project of finding qualified trekking guide teams and trusting the uncertain weather. Discussing with professionals and booking early will take away half of those troubles and yet a few loopholes will still remain.

Naturally, when the achievement is so humongous, the stakes are higher. Sometimes, life threatening even. You can do best by putting some faith in your luck and winging it or you can know what to do if you face some serious problem on your EBC trek, the possibility of which remains significant. Here’s a complete guide to knowing what to do when things don’t go as planned on your EBC trek: 

mount-everest-climbing

Mt. Everest being in a very remote region and at a very high altitude doubles the risk factor. However, the chances of getting medical aid get scarcer as we go up. A mishap like a simple leg injury; life-threatening high altitude sickness like AMS (Acute Motion Sickness), HAPE (High Altitude Pulmonary Edema) or HACE (High Altitude Cerebral Edema); natural disasters like earthquakes, avalanches, and rock-falls can prove fatal. At such an altitude, one has to be rescued with the help of a helicopter and escorted to the nearest medical facility. An emergency evacuation via helicopter could cost more than US$10,000!

Next, never self-diagnose!

  • The symptoms of altitude sickness can vary with each body type. One should never self-diagnose, chances are you will be wrong and will worsen your condition further. Medicine delayed is medicine denied.
  • Update your guide regularly. Believe you, they have been doing it for years and know this like the back of the hand. Trusting their advice is not only recommended, it is necessary.
  • Eating garlic, drinking plenty of water, and sufficient rest can reduce the symptoms but ultimately descending is the only cure.

Reaching Lukla
Lukla is a small airfield with a very short landing strip. It is considered to be one of the most dangerous airfields in the world. Being a small airfield, only small aircrafts like Dornier 228 having short take-off and landing capabilities, are operated. These aircrafts do not have the ability to operate in bad weather and very low visibility. That means it can get cancelled or delayed for safety reasons if there is a bad weather condition. Always take a few grace days after your return to Kathmandu so that this does not affect you flight back home. In case you reach Kathmandu on time as per your schedule you can spend the free days to explore this colorful city of Kathmandu for its rich culture.

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

Different options you can choose from, in case your Lukla flights get cancelled are:

1. Wait and try again the next day
When we wait we are be given the last priority as others have already booked for the scheduled date. Therefore, when flight gets cancelled, we reschedule it for the next day. And this means that sometimes we don’t get them at the earliest. However, we try our best.

2. Pay for an expensive helicopter to get in or out
There are choppers available for this very case. But the catch is that they offer expensive rides to get in to Lukla or return back to Kathmandu. This is totally not in our hand. Sometime they offer less and sometime the price they offer is really high. There aren’t any fixed prices for the choppers so far and is totally dependent up on the situation. Chopper to Kathmandu is an option. Another option is a chopper to Phaplu from Lukla which may cost USD 800 (per chopper). Note: A chopper can carry 6 people. Add to that, 12 hours sharing jeep drive to Kathmandu.

helicopter viewed on the way to helicopter

3. Hike to Phaplu + Drive to Kathmandu(Cheaper Alternative)
It is a 2 days hike to reach Phaplu from Lukla and then it take 12 hours sharing jeep to Kathmandu. This is a way cheaper option for getting out to Kathmandu in the worst case scenario. Meant for those who do not want to pay for expensive helicopter or cannot wait for next day’s regular flights.

WATER RESOURCES-Staying hydrated is essential!
There are many natural sources of water all along the trail. It is advised to carry some water purification tablets and a good reusable wide mouth water bottle. You can get bottles water all the way till EBC but it gets more and more expensive as it gets closer to the EBC. Also, the bottled water is NOT a good idea as every other bottle means more and more garbage created.

Responsible eco-toursim means one is not encouraged to leave behind anything other than their footprints. 

trekking to EBC

REMEMBER, REMEMBER

  • There aren’t any ATMs located on the EBC trail. Remember to carry cash from Kathmandu itself. Currency exchanges on the trail offer especially inflated rates so it is advised to keep enough local currency with you i.e., Nepali Rupees.
  • Do not worry about food at all. Plenty of tea houses line up the trail and typically, all kinds of nutritious or sugary food is available all the way right to the top. Dal-bhat(dal and rice), chowmein and spaghetti are easy finds.
  • You will get sufficient data if you are in possession of a local sim. Most lodges will offer Everest Link and you can buy a Wi-Fi data pack to go with it. The wi-fi is slow, generally. You are likely to remain unavailable to your friends and family.
  • Even though helicopters are constantly hurrying up and down this vast network of mountains, it is extremely costly to be used for supplying materials. This is exactly why you will find everything priced pretty heavily, the further up you trek.

INSURANCE is a must in a trek like Everest Base Camp. Any insurance you go for should at least cover the following:

  1. Altitude cap should be at least 5,700 m
  2. Emergency evacuation by air in case of an accident, illness or natural disaster.
  3. Trip cancellation and delays
  4. Flight cancellations and delays including the internal flights to Lukla
  5. Baggage Loss
  6. All the countries you intend to visit during the trip
  7. All the adventure activity one intends to do during the course of the trip

Popular as ‘Mini Israel’ in the beautiful state of Himachal Pradesh, Kasol is a quaint hamlet positioned at a height of 1,640 m along the banks of River Parvati. It is located at a distance of 37 km from Kullu and lies between Bhuntur and Manikaran. The site offers picturesque views of Parvati Valley and snow-capped mountains. There is an old swinging bridge which divides Kasol into Old Kasol and New Kasol.

Blessed with the abundance of flora and fauna, milky waterfalls, delectable delicacies and friendly locals, Kasol has become a famous tourist destination for bag packers, trekkers and nature lovers. Not only Indian travellers, even foreigners can be seen in Kasol, especially young Israelis. Thus, it is one of the best places to spend a vacation in the lap of nature with everlasting exquisiteness.

With perfect weather and temperature, Kasol is a year-round destination for tourists. However, most of the people prefer to visit it during the summer season from April to June. Moreover, it is an apt time for adventure enthusiasts as most of the trekking routes become accessible by this time. And notably, Kasol serves as the base camp for many treks. Nature and wildlife photographers travel to discover the hidden gems of this place in winters as snow enhances its beauty.

In summers, the average temperature ranges between 18 degrees Celsius and 27 degrees Celsius. In winters, the average temperature ranges from 3 degrees Celsius to 10 degrees Celsius.

The cozy local style houses in Kasol Village in Parvati Valley
The cozy local style houses in Kasol Village in Parvati Valley

Take An Evening Stroll
Chalal is the most scenic village in Kasol, which is located around 2 km away from Kasol. Travellers can take a stroll from the town of Kasol by crossing a suspension bridge that has been set over the River Parvati.  

Feel The Distinctiveness of Rural Life
To get a real feel of the rural life and culture, travelers should visit isolated villages of Malana and Tosh. Both these villages are located at a distance of 21 km from Kasol. Known as ‘Little Greece’ and one of the oldest democracies of the world, Malana remains unaffected by the touch of contemporary lifestyle. On reaching Malana, you can enjoy a magnificent sight of green meadows, peaks and herders’ huts.

Gorge on Israeli food
As Kasol witnesses a number of Israeli tourists, there are several cafes and restaurants amidst the lush green forests that serve delicious Israeli food such as Bureka, Shakshouka and lemon cake. Jim Morrison Cafe, King Falafel and Moon Dance Cafe are some of the must-try Israeli cafes in Kasol.

Shop Till You Drop
Kasol is a shopper’s paradise as it has everything that a traveler is looking for. In the colorful markets, you can get a variety of items from sweatshirts to chillums. So, explore the markets and takeaway semi-precious stones, souvenirs and pendants for your family and friends.

trekking-from-kasol-to-kheerganga

Camp Overnight!
To have an adventurous and interesting stay in Kasol, you should avoid hotels and try a campsite stay. Kasol offers breathtaking sites for camping aside the river streams. From the campsites, your eyes can behold a splendid sight of the sunrise. Also, you can enjoy a bonfire night under the glittery sky.

Dance On The Beats of International DJ’s
Kasol is becoming a hot spot for parties, which go for about 1 week. In these parties, you will be dancing to the tunes of international DJ’s. These parties are mostly arranged by Israelis in mid-May and June near the Chalal village.  

Consume A Glass of Rice Beer
Chang is a famous rice beer made by the locals of Himachal Pradesh. You will get this drink at any beer shop. Notably, the drink doesn’t contain alcohol.

trek-in-kasol kheerganga

It’s Time To Explore Kasol
While being surrounded by nature, you can experience the peace far beyond your imagination. The green environs make Kasol an idyllic destination for meditation and rejuvenation. Further, if you want to get familiar with the raw beauty of Kasol then you should undertake trekking as it is packed with endless action and thrill. Here we’re listing four amazing treks for you, which will give you a lifetime experience:

1. Vibing at Chalal 

Chalal is situated just at a 3 km distance from Kasol. The striking village on the banks of River Parvati is known for its culture and traditions. On this venture, you will cross a suspension bridge over the river. Further, your naked eyes will enjoy a sight of lofty trees, waterfalls, exotic flowers and the rural household. After reaching here, you can do camping and party at night. The most wonderful thing about this place is the locals who offer a warm welcome.

In Tosh
In Tosh

2. Tosh and Tranquility 

Tosh is a tranquil village in Himachal Pradesh, which is situated at an altitude of 2399 m above the sea level. Notably, it is located at an end of the Parvati valley. If you have reached Kasol, you can hike to Tosh village via steps located opposite to the Shiva Temple. The course passes through lovely apple orchards and green meadows. You will come across a Jamdagni Rishi temple where you can capture a stunning sight of this ancient temple in your camera. Also, you are allowed to go on the temple’s roof from where you can enjoy the views of snow-clad peaks. The trek offers various options for fun and excitement, and it keeps surprising the trekkers with its charm. With a perfect blend of thrill and calmness, the trek surely promises you a wonderful adventure.

3. Grahan’s Local Flavor

With a population of 350 villagers, Grahan features around 50 houses. Also, it boasts of ancient temples with significant architecture. On this Kasol to Grahan trek, you will meet kids with whom you can play pithoo or cricket. Moreover, you will feel relaxed on this journey as the path is filled with lush green forests of pine and oak trees.

Kheerganga
Kheerganga

4. Kheerganga, A Natural Beauty  

Situated at an altitude of 3,692 m, the Kheerganga trek starts from Kasol. The thrilling journey gives you an opportunity to witness the beauty of confluence point of Tosh and Parvati rivers, Barshaini. Notably, locals believe that Kheerganga was an abode to Lord Shiva and his son Kartikeya. Further, the trail goes through slippery slopes and a few wooden bridges. During the journey, your eyes will feast on charming waterfalls and that will be the point when you will realise that Kasol is much more than just as a trekking destination. The crystal-clear sky and vast green scenery are a much-needed delight to revitalize yourself. The gurgling of waterfalls, chirping of birds and sounds of Himalayan deer will fall like a melody into your ears and heart. On reaching the top, you will enjoy a relaxing dip in the natural hot water pool.

Sar Pass

5. Sar Pass Trek 

Positioned in the magnificent Pin Parvati Valley at an altitude of 4206 m, Sar Pass is an ideal escape for nature and adventure lovers. One thing that will never leave your side on this journey is Sar Lake. The trail takes you through the dense forests of oak and pine, Himalayan villages, serene lakes, stunning streams and alpine meadows. Moreover, the valley is known for colourful flowers and butterflies like dodona durga, albulia mellica, aulocera swaha, lycaena, parnassius and heliophorus sena. Also, you will come to a sight of several Indian and migratory birds like woodpecker, great barbet, monal, black bulbul, griffon and the slaty-headed parakeet. You should undertake this trek to challenge your inner potential for some thrill and excitement.

These trekking destinations in Kasol will not only give you a bundle of beautiful memories to cherish but also help you in winning over your fears. Also, a fantastic sight of the snow-clad mountains, misty clouds and green valley will remain entrenched in your heart for forever.

We often look out for activities that can wake us from the slumber of mundane lifestyle. When life gets slotted into hues of black and white, it’s time to add a colourful mix to it. There are several activities that wait for us to regain those thoughtless giggles and loud screams. So, get ready to rediscover the streak of adventure that makes this life worth living for. Kundalika River Rafting is one such adventure sport which should be on your bucket list if you wish to experience the sweet tinge of an adrenaline rush.

Looking For a Weekend Getaway? The activity is done on a beautiful river, Kundalika, which originates in the Western Ghats of Maharashtra and ends into the Arabian Sea. Flowing through thick forests and rice fields, this is the only river in Maharashtra on which river rafting is possible.

Here’s When You Can Go: As Kundalika River rafting is operational throughout the year, the best time to opt for this adventurous activity is between June and March. During this time, the weather remains ideal to explore other exciting activities along with river rafting on Kundalika. In addition, it is the time when people can avoid the scorching heat of summer and can experience the beauty of this place at its best.

So, Get Set Go! Surrounded by the many tourist destinations nearby like Matheran, Lonavala and Mahableshwar, Kundalika River rafting is located at an incredibly picturesque location itself, this small village called Kolad. Nestling in the lap of nature, Kolad is a village which is located on the banks of Kundalika River in Maharashtra. The view of majestic Sahyadri Mountain, beautiful valleys and sand marshlands add charm to the beauty of this little village. Apart from offering an opportunity to partake in the rhythm of water, Kundalika River rafting provides a chance to explore the scenic beauty of the surroundings.

Rafting at Kundalika Image Credits: deepunandakumar.wordpress.com
Rafting at Kundalika

Looking Back At My Kundalika River Rafting Experience:
The first location to reach before indulging in Kundalika River rafting is Saje village. Located in Raigad district of Maharashtra, it is a village that belongs to Konkan region. This is the place that gave me the feeling that I am yet to embark on something which was restricted within the horizon of dreams. But I was no exception! There were several participants who were under the shared star. However, to ride on that roller-coaster ride of mixed emotions is an experience in itself. Laxmi Narayan Temple, Mahadev Temple Sangameshwar and Shree Bhairvnath Mandir Patharshet are some of the major attractions that people can discover around this village.

Next, my friends and I reached Kolad, one of the popular adventure sports destinations. The quaint charm of this village lies in its cascading waterfalls, green meadows and picturesque backdrop of mountain Sahyadris. The majestic valleys and picturesque landscapes of this village left us amazed. It was an experience of one of its kind to witness the beauty of nature which has been extolled in the works of renowned poets and artists. Before we could get completely soak in the sublime beauty of the surroundings, our trainer called us and asked to prepare for the Kundalika River rafting adventure.

River Rafting in Goa (3)

There were several rafting grades which have been designed for the amateur and experienced campaigners separately. The people from our group chose between Grade II and III as per their own convenience. One of the best moments while rafting on Kundalika River was to traverse through those strong current flow downstream forming milky white rapids. In addition, passing through the virgin forests below the Mulshi and Bhira dams and exploring the other areas of water are some of the moments that do not need any return ticket to remain etched in memory. The rafting experience along the 12 km stretch was full of exciting and thrilling rapids. It not only set me and my soul free to experience the beauty that life beholds but also changed my perspective towards life.

White water rafting, kayaking, zip-line, tarzan swing and trekking are some of the other adventurous activities that people can indulge into along with Kundalika River rafting in Kalod. They can also enjoy adventurous activities like rock climbing, rappelling and climbing up through thundering waterfalls while admiring the exquisite beauty of the place.


Major Attractions To Explore In Kolad:

Tamhini Ghat Waterfalls: Popularly known as the Valse, Tamhini Ghat Waterfalls are one of the popular attractions of Kolad. The modest peaks and lush greenery of these waterfalls have never failed to draw the attention of tourists. The Kansai Waterfalls and hot springs at Uddhar, situated near these falls, are some of the other attractions that people can explore.

Bhira Dam: Built by Tata Power Company in the year 1927, Bhira Dam is a place of great importance. It serves as the major water resource for the river Kundalika. It is also known as the Tata Powerhouse Dam, as the water of this dam is used for irrigational purposes and power generation.

Ghosala Fort: Known for the architectural grandeur of ancient India, Ghosala Fort is situated in the middle of the Revdanda and the Salav Creeks. The two temples and a dargah in the fort are known for evoking the curiosity of any visitor.

Tala Fort: Situated 1000 feet above the sea level, Tala Fort was built in the 4th Century. The green forests and hilly terrains around this fort add charm to the beauty of the place. It stands proudly as a relic of its past glory.

Kolad Museum: Often referred to as the Kolad’s Kashtashilp, Kolad Museum is one of the well-known attractions of the region. It is popular for Ramesh Ghone’s sculptures, which are made using bamboo and wood.


RaftingKundalika River rafting gave me an opportunity to paint the canvas of my life with some memorable experiences. It enabled me to hear the voice of the heart, saying that the pangs of life constitute a very small part of the beauty that it beholds. The pangs that life comes across to are meant to be sung to tap on the music that it constitutes.

Apart from being an adventure so unique, a bike expedition to Leh and Ladakh paves the best exploratory way to dive in the vibrant culture as well as the startling landscapes. The azure clear waters, serene picturesque lakes and a ruggedly handsome terrain lend immense popularity to Leh bike trip. It is a ride that surpasses the span of dreams and enables a rider to experience the sense of thrill and accomplishment in reality. There is nothing that calls for a second thought to embark on this heart-pounding experience.

Does the biker in you relate? There is much more to the Leh Ladakh trip than just traversing through the rough roads and passing through the high mountains. Pangong Tso and Khardung La Pass are not only popular as one of the highest motorable roads but also as places that provide a quick glance on the aesthetics of cultural roots and traditional heritage. In addition, it provides an opportunity to explore quaint villages and ancient monasteries that bear testimony to the glory of the past. So, here are the perfect 5 possible additions to your Leh-Ladakh bike trip that will make your expedition one of a kind.

Biking in Ladakh!

Count the 5 Essentials of a Leh-Ladakh Bike Trip: 

  • Enjoy the touch and go roads of Leh Ladakh: Starting the motorbike tour by riding on the challenging roads along Kullu valley, it gives a whiff of the challenges that a road trip throws. Rohtang Pass, Ladakh Highway, Khardung La Pass, Baralacha Pass, Chang La and Tanglang La and Pangong Tso are some of the toughest motorable roads that riders, coming from all different directions and routes across the world, have to cover to embark on the Ladakh motorbike tour. Though these roads borderline on danger, they offer a chance to admire the sublime beauty of nature which has been romanticized by the poets and has inspired them to look at life with different lens. While riding through these roads, there are several views that can take you through the door of a different world altogether. The view offered by the cascading waters of the Beas River, majestic hills covered with pine and deodar forest, rocky slopes of the mountains and sprawling apple orchards serves as the food for the soul. In particular, you cannot get your eyes off the picturesque landscape offered by the 134 km stretch of Pangong Tso beside the thrilling drive. In addition, it is advised to be cautious of the traps laid by such roads. These roads are popular for creating a sudden twist in gears and inviting one to speed up. So, it becomes extremely important to keep the mind in the right senses and that motor beat under control for the entire tour.
    Ladakh on a motorbike expedition is a fantastic idea!
  • Savour the delicious Ladakhi cuisines on a cultural dive:For those who think that Ladakhi cuisine is all about momos and noodle soups, a trip to Leh Ladakh can help them to witness a delightful spread other than those popular dumplings. Heavily influenced by nearby regions such as Tibet and Kashmir, Ladakhi food has several options to offer. Some of these include Thukpa, Tigmo, Khambir, Apricot Jam, Moktuk, Skyu and Chhupri. The combination of Butter tea and Chaang is one of the favourites of the locals of the region and is equally popular among tourists. It also serves as the perfect companion in the chilly weather of Leh Ladakh.

    Devour tasty Ladakhi cuisine. In picture: Thukpa
    Devour tasty Ladakhi cuisine. In picture: Thukpa

  • Discover the rustic allure of Ladakh’s quaint villages: The true gems of Ladakh can be found in the places where the rustic charm of Ladakhi culture can be experienced. Jispa, Sarchu and Pang are the villages that lend a quick glimpse into the traditional heritage of Ladakh. Riding along a serene landscape situated at an elevation of 10,500 feet on the banks of Bhaga River, Jispa, offers a transforming view of the surroundings. To witness the brown colour terrain with barren slopes replacing the greener portions at the backdrop makes one feel that it is some different part of the game. Travellers can also explore Alchi village which is home to a popular Buddhist temple, Lotsawa Lha – Khang. Being symbolic of a perfect blend of excellent craftsmanship and Buddhism, the temple provides insightful about the religious influence on Ladakhi culture. There are several attractions in Sarchu and Pang villages that represent the customs, traditions and culture of the place in its true form.

    A starry night in Ladakh
    A starry night in Ladakh

  • Visit Shey, Thiksey and other Leh monasteries: For those who wish to have a look at majestic, overpowering sight coupled with spiritualism and peace, Thiksey monastery in Ladakh is a perfect option. Being an exemplar of Ladakh’s art and architecture, Thiksey monastery provides a profound insight into the heritage and culture of the Tibetan Buddhists. One of its prominent attractions is the 49 ft high statue of Maitreya in the Maitreya Temple. The statue holds historical relevance as it was installed to commemorate the visit of the 14th Dalai Lama to this monastery in 1970. The Shey monastery in Ladakh is another well-known sightseeing option. The monastery’s wall paintings depicting tenets of Buddhism, Buddha and his disciples have never failed to draw the attention of the tourists. Some of the other monasteries that riders can explore are Matho monastery and Phyang monastery.

    Thiksey Monastery
    Thiksey Monastery

  • A day at Pangong Lake: Pangong Lake is a splendid lake situated in the upper reaches of Himalayan Mountain range in Leh district.Positioned at a height of around 13,900 ft, the lake serves as an important breeding ground for a variety of migratory birds like Brahmani Ducks, Rare black-necked cranes and Seagulls. One of the notable features of this lake is its ever-changing hues. The view offered by this transformation in colours is magical and majestic. Also, the glimpse of the serene, bright blue waters and rocky lakeshore of the lake can be mesmerizing for those who visit it for the very first time.

    Pangong Tso Lake in Ladakh
    Pangong Tso Lake in Ladakh

Hey! Break all rules but not essential permits:
Do not forget to fill the Inner Line Permit application form before opting for a bike trip to Ladakh. The form is available from 9:00 am to 03:00 pm and can be accessed easily by referring to the link leh.nic.in. It is safe to carry photocopies of the form to avoid landing into an unfavourable situation.

Some of the important requirements for Indian nationals include a valid photo ID and attested photocopy as a proof of Nationality. For foreign nationals, it is important to get the inner line permit before visiting the areas like Turtuk, Panamik, Khaltse, Pangong, Changthang, Hunder, Tso Kar and Tso Moriri along with few others. According to the rules and regulations, the permit is valid for 7 days and is allowed only to a group of four or more foreign nationals.

ladakh bike

What if a bike ride to Leh Ladakh can set me and my soul free? The great derangement from life can never add to its definition. Rather, arranging it with sequels of some fun activities can help to add a dimension of thrill, excitement and enjoyment in life. Few choices, like a motorbike tour to Leh Ladakh, may lead to simple pleasures but an experience of a lifetime.

Known for scenic landscape, snowy terrain, lush green pasture land, dense forest, glacier pools, stunning rivers and streams, somebody has aptly said that the Himalayas are doors to heaven. The magnificent Himalayas are home to the several Indian Gods, major rivers like Ganges and Sutlej and one of the world’s tallest mountains peaks like Kanchenjunga and Mt. Everest. With high altitudes and an abundance of exotic flora and fauna, Himalayas offer some of the best trekking options to adventure lovers. 

Feel the Pride
The Himalayas not only provide serenity to your soul, but also helps you learn how to redeem yourself when you fall and fail. Trekking in the Himalayas is of course not an easy task, but conquering the challenges posed by mighty snow-covered mountains will develop a sense of pride like you never had before.

Expansive meadows and exotic flora and fauna of the Himalayas
Expansive meadows and exotic flora and fauna of the Himalayas

Trekking Options in Indian Himalayas
The Himalayas offer a number of trekking expeditions in the Himalayas. Some of these trekking trails are ideal for beginners and thrill-seekers, and others are meant only for the adventure pros. The trail goes through snow patches, slippery and rough slopes, green meadows and barren terrains that will keep challenging you throughout the expedition.

Northern Indian states like Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Jammu & Kashmir are surrounded by the Himalayas and are known for its pristine natural beauty. Trekking in these states lends a unique experience in itself. Treks like Goecha La and Bara Bhangal are a must try for those who prefer moderate difficulty. Stok Kangri and Everest Base Camp treks are not everyone’s cup of tea as they require prior experience and extreme physical fitness. Treks like the Valley of Flowers and Har ki Doon are for those whose eyes are looking for the raw beauty of nature.  

So if you are ready for an absolutely thrilling journey that opens up the doors for you to a whole new world out in the Himalayas, read on:

Roopkund Trek

Mt. Trishul and Nanda Devi from Junargalli, Roopkund
Mt. Trishul and Nanda Devi from Junargalli, Roopkund

Duration: 7 days
Max Altitude: 5,029 m
Trekking Distance: 53 Km
Grade: Moderate to Difficult

Situated in the ‘Land of God’, Uttarakhand, Roopkund is a glacial lake located at an altitude of 5,029 m. Surrounded by the snow-white majesty of Mt Trishul, the Roopkund trek is popular for its ‘Skeleton-Lake’, which consists of around 500 skeletons. The base camp of the trek is Kathgodam, which is a beautiful town in the Nainital district.

The course goes through picturesque terrains, lush green meadows, dense forests and mountainous river. In the milieu of many myth busters, it would be really exhilarating for a trekker to unravel the untold tales behind its spiritual significance. Moreover, the dazzling views of the glaciers, crystal-clear lakes, green meadows and dense oak forests make Roopkund trek a must-do for every adventure seeker and nature lover.

Rupin Pass Trek

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

Duration: 8 Days
Max Altitude: 4648.2 m
Trekking Distance: 52 km
Grade: Moderate to Difficult

Positioned at a high altitude of 4648.2 m, Rupin Pass is one of the most desirable treks for those seeking intense adventure and thrill. The trek starts from the scenic land of Uttarakhand, and enters into the mountainous terrain of Himachal Pradesh. The base camp of the trek is Dhaula, which is a small hamlet in Uttarkashi and the end-point of the trek is Sangla, a town nestled in the Baspa Valley.

The trail passes through lush green pasturelands, rustic hamlets, enthralling suspension bridges, dense forests, stunning rivers, and gushing streams and waterfalls. The experience of camping in the forest aside the river stream, under the glittery sky and mountainous surroundings is both fascinating and thrilling. The most astonishing thing about the trek is that a trekker has to follow the River Rupin in opposite direction to reach the summit.

Goecha La Trek

goecha
Duration: 12 Days
Maximum Altitude: 4876 m
Trekking Distance: 90 km
Grade: Moderate to Challenging

Nestled in the Himalayan range of Northeast India, Goecha La is a high mountain pass, situated in the beautiful state, Sikkim. This pass is very popular among trekkers as from here; one can witness the stunning beauty of the world’s third highest mountain called Mt. Kanchenjunga. Trekking to Goecha La is like a walk in the Alice’s wonderland. The trail gives you an opportunity to explore the stunning stupas, monasteries, temples and wildlife sanctuaries. It is home to lush green pasturelands, vibrant fauna, rare wildlife species, alpine meadows and glaciers.

The trek, which begins from Yuksom, goes through Dzongri, Phedang, Thangsing, and ends at Goechala. The trekking experience at Thansing and Lamuney is going to be one of the most memorable experiences in your life.

Pangarchulla Peak Trek

pangarchulla-trek_1439558556Duration: 6 Days
Maximum Altitude: 4593 m
Trekking Distance: 34 km
Grade: Easy to Moderate

Perched at an altitude of 4593 m in Uttarakhand, Pangarchulla Peak trek  takes you to the most picturesque routes and surroundings. During trekking, you will come across green meadows, deep forest, majestic views of floating clouds, magnificent peaks and rare sights of flora and fauna. The expedition starts from the scenic hill station of Auli, which is popular among travellers for its ski slopes. Auli is the base camp of the trek from where one can enjoy the splendid views of mighty Nanda Devi.

On reaching the hilltop of Kuari, capture the wonderful vistas of snow-capped mountains and witness the beauty of serene landscape known as ‘Bugyals’, encompassing stunning forests, green meadows and the confluence of several rivers.

Hampta Pass Trek

hampta passDuration: 5 Days
Maximum Altitude: 4297 m
Trekking Distance: 26 km
Grade: Easy to moderate

Situated in Himachal Pradesh’s Manali, Hampta Pass is known for offering dazzling views of Pir Panjal Ranges and Kullu and Lahaul valleys. The ever modifying scenery captivates the trekker in its beauty with an exquisite sight of hidden gems in the valley, including mountain goats, glaciers and alpine forests. Certainly, the splendid scenery of snow-capped mountains contributes a lot to making this five-day trek truly fascinating.

While hiking towards the summit, the course offers different shades of nature, consisting green pastureland to awe-inspiring views of Indrasan and Deo Tibba mountains. From the top of the summit, one can experience the splendid views of a different world, which is enveloped in the raw beauty of nature. The panoramic vistas of the valley and cool breeze are two things that will not leave your side on this journey.

Pin Parvati Pass

Pin Parvati Pass TrekDuration: 10 Days
Maximum Altitude: 5318 m
Trekking Distance: 78 km
Grade: Difficult

Connecting Kullu’s Parvati Valley and Spiti’s Pin Valley, the Pin Parvati Pass trek offers the contrasting views of snow-capped mountains and the green pastureland. On this journey, a trekker would be amazed to see the green and grassy landscape of Parvati Valley on one hand, and the barren lands of the Pin Valley on the other.

This 10 day trek is considered as the most adventurous and a difficult trek in Manali. It remains untouched by a large number of trekkers. The journey begins from the base camp at the village of Rumsu, and goes along the River Parvati to Pin Parvati Valley. This expedition comes to an end when you drive back to Manali via Losar, Kunzum La and Rohtang Pass.

Bhrigu Lake

Bhrigu lakeDuration: 4 Days
Maximum Altitude: 4235 m
Trekking Distance: 28 km
Grade: Easy to Moderate

Situated in Himachal Pradesh, Bhrigu is a stunning crystal-clear lake formed by the melting of glaciers. The trek begins from a little hamlet, Kolang, and offers stunning views of alpine mountains and green valleys. The magnificent sights of Gulaba, Rola Kholi and Pandu Ropa make you believe that childhood dreams do come true.

A course from Gulaba to Rola Kholi leads you to apple and walnut orchards, icy pools, snow patch fields and glacial rivers. You will also get a chance to take a dip in the Vashisth Hot Water Spring.

Beas Kund

beas-kund-and-bhrigu-lake-trek
Duration: 3 Days
Maximum Altitude: 3800 m
Trekking Distance: 32 km
Grade: Easy to Moderate

The Beas Kund trek is considered as one of the best treks in Manali. This trek can be undertaken by both beginners and ardent trekkers. The pictorial dells of Bakarthach and Dhundi are exceptionally splendid. Also, a sight of River Beas, which is fed by the glaciers, is simply breathtaking. The journey starts from the spectacular valley of Solang and passes through stunning waterfalls, green meadows, gushing streams and the striking snow-covered mountains.

On reaching Dhundi from Solang, trekkers would find themselves surrounded by the dense forest of deodar and oak trees. Nothing could be better than spending a night at the campsite and crossing a few suspension bridges to reach Bakartach, from where a trekker can enjoy a 360-degree view of the Great Himalayas. Also, the trek gives you an opportunity to capture some magnificent views of Deo Tibba, Hanuman Tibba and Shitidhar.

TREKKING GEAR

  • Trekking shoes/extra pair of woollen socks/raincoat/gloves/warm clothes
  • Mosquito repellent/trekking pole/emergency medical kit
  • LED flashlight/headlamp with extra batteries
  • Sunscreen lotion/sunglasses/lip balm
  • Water bottles/energy drink and bars

TREKKING TIPS

  • Don’t litter the beautiful site and respect nature
  • Always pay attention to the advice given by the instructor
  • Avoid alcohol consumption and other intoxicants during the trek
  • Value the culture and traditions of locals, greet them with a smile
  • Never take shortcuts and avoid late evening trek
  • Take out your camera and capture as many pictures as you can
  • Just set your own pace and don’t try to compete with fellow trekkers