Life beyond human form is what you feel when you reach Kailash Mansarovar passing through explicit terrains, imperial environments and fascinating vibes. The journey entices one to such a core that the strenuous climb seems a piece of cake if one is in a complete trance state to reach an altitude not achievable by many.

The journey will introduce you to key attractions; a sacred Parikrama around the Mount Kailash and a holy dip in Mansarovar Lake. You will also get a chance to admire the splendorous of the blue lake Pieko-Tso and Yarlung Zangpo. Another major attraction of the yatra is Yama Dwar, the gates of the lord of death. It is a place of great religious and mythological significance. Also, the distinct four sides of Mt Kailash resemble the cardinal points of the compass. Both geography and mythology combine to lend the Mount Kailash, a charm of its own.

Holy Lake Mansarovar
Holy Lake Mansarovar

When we think of Mount Kailash, all that comes to the mind is a spiritual journey to the abode of God Shiva. For sure there is no shrine but you can definitely meet the divine. The place is invariably sacred to Hindus as it is to Jains, Bons and Buddhists. Kailash Mansarovar is to these faiths as Mecca is to Islam. However, one must believe that Kailash is the seat of all spiritual power and if you truly believe it nothing will surpass your devotion.

What’s unique about full moon on Mt. Kailash?

Mt. Kailash in all its might and divinity
Mt. Kailash in all its might and divinity

Standing in high spirits at 22,000 feet, Mount Kailash on a full moon night is just majestic. It is said a dip in Lake Mansarovar at the night of new moon washes away the sins of current and past 100 lives. Feel the spiritual powers around while you circumambulate the lake in a ring on full moon night. Wash away sins of seven past lifetimes with a Parikrama while 108 Parikramas provide eternal oblivion or Moksha or Nirvana. Watch the stunning super moon over Mount Kailash and its imagery reflected on the Mansarovar lake; one of the most picturesque view on the yatra.

Many stories revolve around the significance of full phase of moon on the lands of Lord Shiva. The call for Full Moon Kailash Yatra 2019 is to be a part of sheer spiritual energy that the natural surroundings of Kailash region emanate. One such story reveals that Lord Shiva and goddess Parvati come alive on full moon night. Numerous devotees flock to the lake for this magical moment, but only a human of pure heart will be able to see it. Pilgrims who have seen it can’t believe their eyes. As on full moon there is an abundance of energy and spirituality around the lake. It seems as if the moon god itself want to come down and pay tribute to the divine Shiva.

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Lake Mansarovar is considered sacred as Lord Shiva and goddess Parvati are believed to have a bath in his lake. The lake washes away your sins if you believe in the powers of holy water of the sacred lake. The best time to bathe is between 3-5 am as it is the time of gods. On a full moon night many pilgrims have visually seen the god and Goddess taking a holy dip. They have also seen the holy water getting dispersed just like when a human takes a holy dip. The entire night boasts of exceptional beauty that varies from spiritual godly vibes to.

What will you call such stories, a complete myth or faith? Whatever it is if you want to see heaven while on earth, Kailash Mansarovar Yatra on a full Moon night will make you believe you lived a day in heaven. “If you can really be with Kailash even for a few moments, life will never again be the same for you. It is a phenomenon beyond all human imagination.” – Sadhguru

Nestled close to the border between Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, Har Ki Doon natural beauty is like a pleasure to the mind as well as to the eyes. Well-known as a trekker’s paradise, Har Ki Doon trail brags of charismatic scenes and villages, exhilarating ascents and descents, majestic spectacle of Mt. Swarogihini, pilgrim spots, gushing brooks and splashing river alongside the heavenly camping sites and abundance of lush-greenery throughout the journey. If there’s any trek in Uttarakhand; unspoiled, unadulterated and also sparsely crowded, look no further than Har Ki Doon. So to sway you completely, we have encompassed reasons why one should go to Har Ki Doon at least once.

Experience rural life at Osla Village

trekking-har_ki-doon_1476363721_kcjqcmWith traditions dating back to Mahabharata era, Osla village can be reached by a trek to Har Ki Doon valley. People of this village worship the defamed character of Mahabharata, named Duryodhan. As per the theories, it is believed Duryodhan might have been a boon for these people during that era, hence the temple was built for him. Till date the villagers only preach to Duryodhan and no other god.

The village follows a king rule, who visit it once in a month. When the king comes, a big Pooja is done for the entire village. The village follows its own set of rules and regulation, abide by them when you visit it. Do not touch any of their temples or other religious things. They consider themselves superior than any outsider, but they are also equally warm in their hospitality if you are thinking to stay back in the village.

village_in_himalaya__pczwm har ki doonThe attire of these villagers clearly depicts their attachment to their roots; traditions and customs. Most of the villagers earn their bread and butter through agriculture. They grow rajma, potato and rice for living while the others weave their own wool to make jackets and coats. You can buy from them directly as it will help them to earn more.

Postcard-like Campsites

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Staying within the nature is a fantasy of many nature enthusiasts and when we talk about Har Ki Doon, it has numerous pretty campsites that will make your stay memorable. Pitching the tents near the river, or midst the valley, under billions of stars is what every trekker desires. And if lady luck is with you, you might see one of the most beautiful sunrise of this earth. The hues of orange and red in the backdrop of Himalayas steals the show and will be the best experience of this trek.

Discover wide-variety of Flora and Fauna

meadows-at-hata-beyond-har-ki-dun-you-will-surely-not-want-to-leave-this-placeWhen you trek from Osla to Sankri, you see varieties of trees, plants, animals and birds, this is due to its location in Govind Wildlife Sanctuary. Varied range of fauna like, Brown Bear, Musk Deer, Snow Cock, Golden Eagle, Koklas Pheasant, Bearded Vulture, Parakeets, and range of flora like Blue Poppy, Orchids, Lilies, Primulas, Potentillas and Anemonies can be found here which will definitely be a thrill for trekkers.

Spectacle Majestic Mountain Views

har-ki-doonDid you know Pandavas from Mahabharata took the very same route to ascend to heaven via Mt Swargarohini, which also dominates the sky of Har Ki Doon valley! The mountain views on this trek is just stupendous, with Swargarohini – I, II, III, Bandarpoonch and Blackpeak. You can also see the Ruinsara peaks from here. To summarize it beautifully, no other trek steeped in mythology justifies the title of “Valley of Gods”.

Isolation from the bustling world

En route Har ki Doon Trek

Nestled deep in the mountains, this unexplored trek allows one to admire the beauty of this Himalayan region all alone. The trail takes you back in time, where the unspoiled environment makes the trek divine for anyone who visits it. Walking through alpine meadows, moraine ridges, glacier basins and pine forests takes one in trance state. Populated with over 3000 years old villages, trekkers can also taste lifestyle of rural people.

Trekking has always been my idea of an escape from the tediousness of daily life as I always feel close to the hills. I believe in not just ticking off destinations from my bucket-list, but also in having phenomenal experiences which will leave memories that last a lifetime. Being a mountain aficionado, Annapurna Base Camp trek promised to be just the kind of adventure I was looking for.

Known for its towering peaks, unspoiled beauty and narrow slopes, Nepal has always been on my mind ever since I started trekking, and I was finally able to travel there this March. It is a very popular trek among trekkers due to its unfathomable beauty that blows you away in amazement. Essentially a moderate tea-house trek that features the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri massif along with panoramic views of Machapuchare, this is one of the most staggering journeys you will ever take.

Walk though the grassland of Annapurna Base Camp
Walk though the grassland of Annapurna Base Camp

Trek Details:

Maximum Height: 5,415 m
Trek Time: 11 Days
Distance Covered: 34.4 km
Level: Moderate
Start/Finish: Pokhara
Nearest Airport: Pokhara Airport
ATM Point: Lake Side Pokhara

Highlights of Trekking to Annapurna Base Camp

Annapurna Base Camp
Annapurna Base Camp
  • Nestled at 1,400 m with a spectacular Himalayan backdrop, Pokhara valley serves as the starting and ending point to the Annapurna Base Camp trek.
  • As you journey through the hills, you will be fascinated with the lifestyle, culture and hospitality of the Magar, Thakali and Gurung people.
  • For resting, you can easily find guest houses and tea points throughout the trek.
  • Communicating with the locals won’t be problematic as the residents are quite friendly and are very helpful with tourists.
  • Don’t forget to watch the gorgeous sunrise and sunset on each day, as the exquisiteness of the different shades of the sky will take your breath away.
  • Experience the wilderness of this unspoiled region and revel in the diversity of flora and fauna species.
  • Relax your tired muscles at a hot spring in Jhinu Danda.

My Experience – Annapurna Base Camp Trek

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Pokhara

Arriving in Pokhara: I took a flight from Delhi to Kathmandu, and after completing all airport formalities, hailed a taxi to reach my hotel. The next morning, I took a tourist bus to Pokhara , and checked into a hotel as soon as I arrived. After resting for a while, I headed out to the nearby market to explore the city. Settled on a lake, Pokhara boasts of numerous exciting adventures, entertainment zones, various restaurants and buzzing markets. The city is also the starting point of the Annapurna Base Camp.

Permits to trek ABC: In order to trek to Annapurna Base Camp, you need a TIMs card and a permit (ACAP Entry). These are available at Pokhara, located at a short walk from the tourist bus station. Whether you are trekking solo or with the group, you need to have both the permits as you will be required to show it to the authorities at various check-posts during the trek. Keep the permits somewhere safe from rain, don’t get it wet.
Some trekking companies take care of the permits for you to save you the hassle of doing it yourself. This is what I did when I booked my trek.

Best Route that led me to Annapurna Base Camp

Annapurna - Nepal Himalayas
Annapurna – Nepal Himalayas

My trekking journey started from Pokhara, from where I took a public transport (bus) to Nayapul. You can also hire a jeep/taxi, but I suggest you to take the public transport as it would be cheap if you are travelling solo. The scenic countryside route adorned with curvy bends and turns from Pokhara to Nayapul would take around 1.5 hours. From Nayapul, I climbed uphill following the Burgundi River upstream for a steady 4-5 hours before reaching Tikhedhunga, which is a small charming village with a number of lodges to spend the night in.

After another early morning, I left the beautiful village of Ghandruk and started to trek to Sinuwa where the mesmerizing sunrise was a kick start to my day. Following the Modi River, I ascend for some time and crossed the bridge over the Kimrong River. Then, climbed a steep trail that took me the staggering village of Gurung people, Chhomrong where the nature excellence left me awestruck with its enchanting beauty.

From Chhomrong, as I walked up and down the hill, I came across a scenic route that led me to the Chomrong Khola River where the encompassed view of bamboo, rhododendron and oak forest will enthral anyone crossing this path, and from there I hiked up to Sinuwa. I stayed overnight at Sinuwa while enjoying the breathtaking view of river and the lush green forests.

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Then in the morning, I travelled through the rich species of flora and fauna on my way to Hinku Cave and then finally to Deurali. From Sinuwa, I trekked till Bamboo passing the Kuldhigar onto the steep staircase to Dobhan and then crossed a suspension bridge. On reaching Sinuwa, I spend the night in a lodge and took rest after a gruelling trek of 6-7 hours.

As the morning unfolded, I continued my journey to Annapurna Base Camp. The route from Deurali to Machapuchare requires you to be tough and cautious as it is known to be the avalanche prone area. On reaching Machapuchare Base Camp, the valley opens up wide and features beautiful snow peaks. Then, after few hours of climb I entered the Annapurna Base Camp and enjoyed the magnificent vista of mighty Mountains. I stayed overnight at the camp and thoroughly cherished my triumph over the highland. Got up in the middle of the night to spectacle the Milky Way galaxy that illuminated the entire sky; I had goosebumps!

After absorbing the beautiful sunrise at Annapurna, I descend

till Bamboo, and followed the same route to Jhindu danda. On reaching Jhindu Danda, I settled my luggage and proceeded to relax in hot springs. Uh! It was so relaxing, it gave my sore muscles a soothing caress. I stayed overnight at Jhindu Danda. In the morning, I descended through the same route and reached Nayapul, from where I took a bus to Pokhara.

Which is the best season to plan your trek to ABC?

Annapurna Base Camp is accessible throughout the year apart from the late winters and monsoon season. Slippery and muddy monsoon trails, and winters trail laden with heavy snowfall makes both the season difficult to trek. The best season to trek this wonderland is during spring (April, May) and autumn (September to November). During this time the climate is not harsh, visibility is clear and the routes are uncomplicated and trouble-free.

Important Information

Camping in the Annapurna Sanctuary
Camping in the Annapurna

Annapurna trek requires medium-level fitness as you need to hike daily for 6-7 hours. At an altitude of 5,000 m, the oxygen levels will be low, and you might face breathing issues. You need to start exercising a month before your planned trip to increase your stamina. You need to carry medication in case you face AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness). Some must-have items to include on your trek are:

Trekking shoes
Trekking pole
Warm clothes and an extra pair of woolen socks
LED flashlight or headlamp with extra batteries
Sunscreen lotion, sunglasses, lip balm and mosquito repellent
Water bottles, energy drinks and bars
Emergency medical kit

“Trekking to the Himalayas of Nepal is an experience to be treasured. The picturesque valleys, startling rivers and towering peaks embellished with fluttering Himalayan flags everywhere, is definitely a treat to any traveller’s eyes. To sum up, a trek with nature in Nepal will give you far more happiness and peace than you will ever seek.”

Sultry jungles, with roaring waterfalls, diverse terrains, abandoned huts reclaimed by nature, ancient civilizations, elusive wildlife and Mountain landscapes…there’s so much on our Earth to discover once you decide to get out and go for a walk! And since trekking in 2018 was the most popular adventure, we thought to share some basic etiquette of hiking a mountain. Try to abide by the rules of trekking eco-friendly as it will help to keep our environs clean and green.

Do give uphill trekkers the right of way

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Give way to uphill trekkers if you are descending. An uphill trekker is climbing against the gravity, hence he has a narrow field of vision as compared to a downhill trekker who has a broader perspective on their side that allows them to easily see what’s ahead. Hence, if you are descending please give way to the upward hikers.

Leave No Trace

Follow a ‘LEAVE NO TRACE’ policy for taking a dump on the mountains. Whenever you feel like pooping, find a spot that is far away from the campsite. The smell of faeces attracts wild animals to the campsite. Also, the spot must be far from water streams, as the bacteria in it will pollute the water. Lastly, carry a small shovel to dig a 6 cm hole and cover it after you are done. Place a heavy stone, so that no other trekker can dig it.

Use wet wipes to clean and take them along with you via a zip-lock bag. Do not throw the tissue papers or wet wipes, as it takes longer to decompose due to low temperatures. Pro Tip: Find a spot that has direct sun rays on it, this is because the sunbeams quicken the decomposition process of the poop.

No Littering At Any Cost

The primary rule is no littering on the mountain terrains because it gets really difficult to clean at such an altitude. So make sure you do not detriment it in the first place. Please carry portable dustbin along with you when you go on a hike. Wrappers of your quick snacks, plastic water bottles, wet-wipes and etc., please dump it all in a dustbin.

Smokers must not litter the beautiful terrains of mountains with cigarettes buds everywhere. And for women on periods, please use biodegradable pads/menstrual cups on a trek, as you might not get dustbin to throw sanitary pads/tampons if you can’t carry it along.

Respect The Other Trekkers

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Whether you are an experienced trekker or a rookie, it is important to respect and take care of your teammates. Respect them, if they walk slowly, if they get tired easily, if they get scared, if they don’t have knowledge about gears or if they get sick. Don’t be a jerk, because you might have done trekking a couple of times, but the other person might be experiencing it for the first time. Just follow HYOH (Hike your own hike). If you want to help them, try to make their hike a prosperous journey so that they come back for more.

Walk and Talk

By this phrase, ‘walk and talk’ I don’t mean you must talk to the trekkers while hiking.  What I meant is that, you must introduce yourself at least once because at times of emergency the trekkers will be your immediate saviour. Be friendly, talk about the beauty of mountains, share your travel stories or if you can’t do that be courteous, friendly and polite to each other. Who knows you might find a trekking buddy!

Abide by the tent rules

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Sharing tents with another person have their own sets of rules. Keep your shoes and socks outside the tent, as they make the entire tent stink. If it is moist outside, keep your shoes in a plastic bag and keep outside. Do not dry clothes over the tent, it looks awful. Carry a thin rope, tie it with poles and then dry your clothes. Keep your belongings in an organized mess, do not just keep taking out the entire stuff every time you need something from your bag, so pack accordingly (keep stuff required for the following day at the top).

Change your socks every two days if it is a long trek. At night when you sleep, the bacteria on your socks attaches itself to the sleeping bags, making it stinky for the other trekkers who might use it after you go. Keep yourself and the tent clean and hygienic at all times.

Do Not Eat Food of Other Trekkers

Please! Please! Please! DO NOT eat food snacks of other trekkers without asking them. It is really immoral because hikers are generally hungry all the time. The snacks like chocolates, protein bars, chips etc might be their drive force to trek upwards. Eat only when the person offers you, or ask can I have a bite? It’s that simple!

Wherever you are in whichever part of the world, make sure you follow these etiquette if you are planning to trek on the mountains. Following these basic rules will not only keep the environment safe, but it will also set an example for the other trekkers who might not follow it. Lastly, keep climbing and may you reach the summit of every mountain you hike!