Have you ever wondered that you need something more than oxygen to go on? This special air, not found in posh housing complexes of a metropolitan or in tall offices, the kind that puts you in a trance and fills you up on the inside, the refreshing kind, the rejuvenating breath of fresh air-only found high up, way up in the invigorating lap of nature. Where, you ask? In Ladakh, of course! Were you expecting any other answer from me?

Experience Ladakh In a ‘Never Before’ Way
There can be several ways to experience the magical beauty of Ladakh, however, trekking in Ladakh is an adventure at its best. The blessed beauty of the incandescent mountain and the longing valleys of Ladakh have never failed to beckon travellers across the globe. Apart from being the land of dream, it is a popular destination for thrilling activities. The challenging and unique topography of this place lends it a charm of its own when compared to other popular trekking destinations. From the desert to blue waters, burning sun to freezing winds, and from glaciers to sand dunes, Ladakh resembles a paradox of nature. It is home to many trekking trails that can bring one face to face with surreal landscapes while providing an adrenaline rush like never before. Ladakh is a place that ensures that whether the trek is strenuous or easy, at the end you will always a have a great adventure experience by your side.


Chadar Trek:

Altitude: 3850 m
Approx. Duration: 10-21 days
Best Time to Go: Mid January – End February
Difficulty Level: High

chadar

Chadar trek is one of the popular treks that offers an opportunity to register a memorable experience by trekking on the frozen river, Chadar. It is also known as Chadar frozen river trek as the Zanskar River transforms into a sheet of frozen ice during sub-zero temperatures in the winter season. The Chadar trek route is the traditional way out for people to traverse in winters as others ways used to get blocked due to heavy snow in Ladakh. There are several prominent places that the trail to Chadar covers; however, Zanskar is a place of great significance. Being one of the last few surviving cultural satellites of Tibet, Zanskar reflects esoteric nature of Buddhism. It is home to around ten thousand inhabitants who are preserving and perpetuating their cultural identity. The Chadar trek provides a chance to penetrate the isolation of this place.

Moreover, the route taken by the trail connects several villages in the Zanskar valley. Chilling and Lingshed are the only sizable villages that it covers during the journey. The quaint charm and picturesque surroundings of the Lingshed village set it apart from other villages. One of the major attractions of this village is the Lingshed monastery that houses temples, stupas, statues, murals and manuscripts. It also gives an insight into the religious influence on Ladakh. The ancient monastic establishments of Karsha and Zangla are the important places that bear testament to the mysteries related to a land and culture frozen in time behind the ramparts of the Zanskar Mountains, the Shangrila.

Though Chadar trek provides a fascinating experience, it is important to remain cautious of the challenges that it throws. Walking on the river seems to be easy but it involves the risk of sliding on ice. However, the beautiful sights offered by this frozen sheet, Chadar, and the chilly surroundings create a captivating effect on the mind.


Stok Kangri:

Altitude: 6000 m
Approx. Duration: 11 days
Best Time to Go: Mid July-Mid September
Difficulty Level: High

Stok Palace
Stok Palace

Stok Kangri is one of the fascinating trekking options in Ladakh. Situated in the Stok range of the Himalayas in the Ladakh region, it is home to several remote places which cannot be explored otherwise. The deserted surroundings, blissful landscapes, trail with plenty of ridges combine together to make the experience of Stok Kangri trekking all the more exciting. Apart from resembling a unique blend of natural exquisiteness and cultural beauty, Stok Kangri trekking expedition involves a thrill-invoking climb to such high altitude.

The astounding views of the Zanskar valley, Indus Valley and lofty mountains in the Himalayas lend immense popularity to the Stok Kangri trek. There is no other such trek that offers the company of peace and tranquillity in such an inspirational and beautified profound manner. Stok village is one of the key attractions of the Stok Kangri trek. Besides being an exotic location, it reflects a unique blend of traditional and contemporary architectural styles of Ladakh. The panoramic views offered by the Stok Palace and Stok Museum can leave anyone amazed. A 360-degree view of the Saser Kangri and the splendid views of Karakoram Range add a special hue in the trekking expedition to Stok Kangri.

It is essential to know a hack of dealing with the weather conditions that can deteriorate on Stok Kangri trek. To trek in the sinking snow and the situation where you might find your legs sinking up to your knees are the problems that require immediate help and extra caution. However, the risk is worth it, as an adventure speaks hollow unless and until the wire of risk charges it with some thrill.

So, if one feels enchanted and thrilled to scale a tough yet an amazing summit, then Stok Kangri trekking expedition is an ideal choice to explore the mighty Himalayan range with a wider lens of perspective.


Markha Valley Trek:

Altitude: 3700 m
Approx. Duration: 8 days
Best Time to Go: June to September
Difficulty Level: Medium

markha

Being the central valley of Ladakh, Markha Valley one of the prominent locations of the region. And so, the trekking expedition to Markha Valley is among the top trek routes of Ladakh. Markha Valley Trek proceed along Markha River through an area which is one of one of the world’s highest inhabited plateaus region, little Tibet in Ladakh. The region provides a clear and stunning view of the Great Himalayan, Ladakh and Zanskar ranges. These views serve are truly exemplar of nature’s beauty and its creativity.

Crossing through three passes of Stok, Stok La and Kongmaru at high altitudes is what adds to the popularity of the Markha valley trek. Apart from giving an opportunity to discover the places that nature has designed with a variety of hues, it offers a chance to experience camping at the base of Kang Yutze peak of Nimaling. To have an interaction with one’s own self under that star-studded sky serves as a therapy for the mind, which hardly gets time to express its own concerns. In that state of introspection, even body seems to recover from the clutches of the war that we constantly wage with the daily struggles of life.

On this trekking trail, trekkers would witness the scenic splendor of the landscape in abundance. They would also come across the willow groves, patches of wild roses, nomadic families inhabiting the region with their herds of yaks and pastel canyons decorated with multi-hued prayer flags furling with winds. Also, one cannot miss the accommodations which have been constructed as parachute tents at most of the village’s en-route. Renowned for its amazing biodiversity, the Hemis National Park is a must-visit during the trek. So, experience the contrasting colours of nature as there is no scope of regret on the trekking expedition to Markha valley. It offers a complete package of fun, excitement and adventure without posing an extreme risk to the safety of the individuals.


Also,

Minimize your impact in culturally and ecologically sensitive areas by being as self-sufficient as possible, especially with food and fuel. Buying provisions along the way puts unnecessary burden on the villages’ subsistence-oriented economies. It also encourages hordes of temporary ‘tea shops’ (usually run by outsiders), to sprout along the trails.

Refuse should be packed up, not disposed of along the route, no matter how far from the nearest roadbed you are. Plastics should be retained for recycling at the Ecology Centre in Leh.

Even when you know that you have to return to shoulder the same old burden, what comes as inspiration from the journey is the courage to start over anew. The trip is an analogy of the lesson that life teaches that it’s all about how you perceive. Though life has not given us the freedom to do away with the struggle altogether, it has given us the choice to find beauty and discover our own sunshine. Somebody has rightly pointed out that amidst the fury of life’s noise; there lies a soulful and an innocent harp that rings deep within all of us.

Landlocked between Tibet and India, Nepal is one of the most stunning and serene countries in Southern Asia. It is known for housing eight of the highest summits in the world, including the gigantic Mt. Everest, which is said to be bordered with the birthplace of the creator of Buddhism, Lord Gautama Buddha. Remarkably, the spectacular spiky mountains, swaddled in the Kingdom of Gorkha, spread the magic in the region along with the lively shades of Buddhist culture and traditions.

Trekking in the High Mountains of Nepal
Upon entering Nepal, one could easily feel the magnificence of the land which is home to the legendary mountaineers such as Tenzing Norgay and Pasang Lhamu Sherpa. Over the years, Nepal has become an idyllic destination for mountaineers and nature lovers. The trekking adventure amidst the breathtaking mountain scenery offers a chance to explore the lifestyle of Nepalese and the hidden gems of nature, simultaneously.

Some of the Himalaya’s most stunning and accessible trekking destinations with jagged trails include Upper Mustang, Gokyo Lakes, Everest, Dhaulagiri Circuit, Nar Phu Valley and Annapurna. But the two treks that have gained attention and reputation among the hikers are the classic Everest Base Camp (EBC) and Annapurna Base Camp(ABC). For adventure enthusiasts, these treks are a must-try to gain the ultimate Himalayan experience.

EVEREST BASE CAMP: The Ultimate Adventure!
EBC is the place where the most thrilling and daring dreams turn into reality. The grand Mount Everest lies in the abode of splendid nature and it wholeheartedly welcomes adventure lovers from across the globe to scale its height. A journey through dense forests, glacial pools and Sherpa villages is truly an incredible experience.

everest-base-camp-trek_1439798387

The exclusive Everest Base Camp trek is known for providing the impressive views of the world’s highest snow-clad mountains. The trail accompanied by the beautiful Himalayan ranges begins from the beautiful town of Lukla and it takes you to EBC through terraced landscapes and striking river valleys, Namche Bazaar, pine forests and suspension bridges. Moreover, you will come across the several wonderful Everest high passes, gushing River Dudhkoshi, tranquil Imja Tse Valley and stunning Buddhist monasteries.

Nevertheless, the experience of reaching EBC is as exciting and adventurous as accomplishing the Mt. Everest summit which is considered as the mother of all the adventures.  

Maximum Height: 5642 m
Trek Time: 14 Days
Distance Covered: 97 km
Level: Easy to Moderate
Start/Finish: Lukla/Lukla
Trek Style: Tea House
Nearest Airport: Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu
ATM Point:
Namche Bazaar

Kathmandu>Lukla> Phakding>Namche Bazaar >Tengboche >Lobuche>Gorakshep>Everest Base Camp>Kala Patthar>Namche Bazaar>Lukla>Kathmandu

everest-from-base-camp

  • Witness the stunning vistas of snow-capped mountains of the Everest, Thamserku, Lhotse, Nuptse, Ama Dablam, etc.
  • Walk through the forests of pine and cedar along the River Dudh Kosi
  • Explore the lifestyle of the people residing in Thame and Khumjung villages
  • Hiking the peaks like Imja Khola, Chhukung and Nangkartshang
  • Spend a night on a hilltop surrounded by the Khumbu glacier
  • Enjoy a splendid view of sunrise against the Everest from Kala Patthar

everest-base-camp

What is the best time to trek to EBC? 
Due to extreme height, the weather in EBC remains harsh and cold throughout the year. The best time to undertake the trekking expedition is either from March to May or September to December.

March to May: The weather during this period remains pleasant and it is considered as the perfect time to head on the trek. The course is also less slippery since snow starts melting in the spring season. This is the primary reason why this place gets overcrowded by the trekkers at this time around. Notably, you can enjoy clear-crystal views of mountains. The average temperature ranges from 8°C to 18°C during the daytime. At night, it ranges from -15°C to 4°C.   

September to December: Ardent trekkers undertake the journey during this time of the year as it is the most challenging. Notably, hiking during this time is considered tough due to snowy and slippery trails, and tricky slopes. Also, very few trekkers can be found during the journey and the temperature falls below the freezing point at night and in the daytime, it remains between 12°C and 18°C.  


ANNAPURNA TREK: A Thrilling Journey Through The Deepest Gorges!
Known for its high passes, deep gorges, stunning hills and narrow slopes, the Annapurna trek is very popular among the young trekkers. The trek which starts from the picturesque village of Besisahar ends at a certain point in the striking Annapurna range. The trail goes along with the River Marshyangdi and takes you to the beautiful lake town of Pokhara from where you can enjoy exceptional views of the Annapurna and Machapuchare ranges. The maximum altitude that you will hit on this trekking expedition is 5,415 m at Thorong La. Notably, the French duo Maurice Herzog and Louis Lachenal made history when they scaled the Annapurna range at a height of 8000 m in 1950.

The blended one! - in Nepal

You have to cross various suspension bridges, rivers, waterfalls and tea houses. On this expedition, you will come across exotic flora and fauna that will lend some of the most beautiful views to your camera.

Maximum Height: 5415 m
Trek Time: 15 Days
Distance Covered: 82 km
Level: Moderate to Difficult
Start/Finish: Kathmandu
Trek Style: Tea House
Nearest Airport: Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu
ATM Point: Besisahar and Jomsom

Kathmandu>Besisahar>Bhulbhule>Jagat>Dharapani>Chame>Pisang>Manang>Yak Kharka>Thorong Phedi>Muktinath>Jomsom>Pokhara>Kathmandu

Lake Gangapurna (3500 m) is one of the most amazing places. Just half hour away from Manang, you can reach the lake on the 5th day of Annapurna Circuit trek.
Lake Gangapurna (3500 m) is one of the most amazing places. Just half hour away from Manang, you can reach the lake on the 5th day of Annapurna trek.
  • Reaching the source of River Marsyandi, Tilicho Lake, which is situated at an altitude of 4919 m
  • Crossing Thorang La Pass and arriving at Phulchoki Valley is a unique experience in itself
  • The views of upper Mustang and lush green landscape of Manang are a feast to eyes
  • Explore the local markets and buy amazing souvenirs at decent prices
  • A sacred bath in the steaming pond of the most famous temples of Hindus, Muktinath, which is believed to vanish all the sins of pilgrims
  • Crossing the deep gorge and river of Kali Gandaki gives you a spine-chilling experience
  • Meeting and knowing about the lifestyle of warm-hearted locals gives you immense pleasure
Trekking around Annapurna Circuit
Trekking around Annapurna

Gear Up: The Best Time To Take This Adventure
October and November are the months when a number of adventure enthusiasts undertake this trek. Notably, the valley experiences heavy snowfall except December to April. Mid-April to May is another time to head on this trek as a trekker can enjoy the perfect picturesque views of Annapurna and Dhauladhar ranges.

October and November: The average temperature ranges from 10°C to 18°C during the daytime. And at night, it ranges from -12°C to 4°C.   

Mid-April to May: The average temperature ranges from 12°C to 20°C during the daytime. And at night, it ranges from -5°C to 8°C.   


Check Your Fitness Levels! Both EBC and Annapurna treks require moderate physical fitness as you have to climb at altitudes higher than 5,000 m and that too for 6-7 hours daily. Also, due to lack of oxygen at height, a trekker is likely to face breathing issues. Thus, mental and physical fitness is a must to undertake the trek.

It is advised to start exercising at least a month prior to the trek. You should increase your walking speed and stamina. Notably, you have to carry a medical certificate to ensure your physical fitness levels, and a disclaimer certificate stating that you’re voluntarily undertaking the trek.

Check The List: Trekking Essentials

  • Trekking shoes/trekking pole
  • Warm clothes/extra pair of woollen socks
  • LED flashlight/headlamp with extra batteries
  • Camera/raincoat/gloves
  • Sunscreen lotion/sunglasses/lip balm/mosquito repellent
  • Water bottles/energy drinks and bars
  • Emergency medical kit

How to Reach Kathmandu?
The mighty Annapurna and Everest Base Camp treks start from the capital of Nepal, Kathmandu. It is well-connected to India by air. Notably, most of the flights are being operated from the major cities like Mumbai and New Delhi. However, the availability of flights completely relies on the weather and season.

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

You can also travel to Kathmandu by train. To avail the train you have to reach Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh. Also, Delhi Transport Corporation has been operating a direct bus service from Delhi to Kathmandu since 2014.  Further, a luxury Volvo bus is available on daily basis and it departs at 10 am from Ambedkar Stadium Bus Terminal at Delhi Gate. In order to reach Nepal, it covers a distance of 686 km in 30 hours via Agra, Kanpur, and the Sunauli border in Uttar Pradesh.

For a traveller’s eyes, nothing could be more fascinating than enjoying a sight of the stunning temples and striking gompas, consisting of multi-coloured prayer wheels and fluttering flags against the regal Himalayas in Nepal. Also, on these trekking expeditions, you will get an opportunity to explore the charming rustic hamlets, snowy landscape, magnificent glaciers, and a wide variety of wildlife. After completing these treks, you will surely come back with a whole new experience that will remain entrenched in your heart for a lifetime!

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

 

The pristine natural beauty of Kashmir has earned the title of “Paradise on Earth” for a reason. Featuring lush greenery and snow-capped mountains, the valley of Kashmir always captivates the mind and soul of travelers with its splendor. It is ornamented with alpine meadows, stunning rivers, gushing waterfalls, dense forests of pine and oak, and crystal-clear glaciers. Over the years, Kashmir has also grown popular for its trekking routes and destinations – most notably, the Tarsar Marsar Trek.

Fact Check: According to the locals, it was the ruler of Kashmir, Yusuf Shah Chak, who discovered these two stunning lakes. Tarsar Lake joins the River Lidder in Lidderwat and Marsar merges with a river in the Aru district.

With great trekking locations and scenic landscapes, Kashmir attracts lakhs of tourists throughout the year. It brings the trekkers and adventure lovers one step closer to the heaven on Earth. Sonamarg and Pahalgam are the two most famous hill stations in Kashmir and they serve as the base camp for various treks. The Tarsar Marsar trek is one of those expeditions where dreams of adventure seekers become true. While hiking in the mountains, trekkers will come across the lifestyle of rural people and get a glimpse of a pastoral-agricultural ethnic group called Gujjar. The Dachigam National Park is situated in the region of Marsar Lake.

Surrounded by the peaks of the Kolahi Mountain, the Tarsar Marsar trek takes you to a height of 4,100 m. It involves a beautiful journey to the most striking twin lakes i.e. Tarsar and Marsar, which are known for their almond like shape. And surprisingly, they flow in opposite directions too. The one thing that makes this trek special is its awe-inspiring exquisiteness and tranquillity.

Duration: 7 days
Max Altitude: 4,100 m
Distance Covered: 33 km
Level: Moderate
Maximum Age: 8 years
Base Camp: Srinagar
Start Point: Pahalgam
End Point: Sumbal

Best Time: Whether it’s summer, monsoon or winter, the beauty of Kashmir remains constant and unchallenged. Ardent trekkers undertake this trek all round the year. However, the suggested time to head for the Tarsar Marsar trek is from April to October as trekkers can enjoy magnificent mountains the most. Also, trekkers get to witness colorful birds and mountain animals like golden eagles, musk deer, bar-headed geese and brown bear. The average temperature ranges from 17°C to 20°C in the daytime and remains between 3°C and 4°C at night.

Near Sonmarg, Kashmir on the way in Tarsar Marsar Trek
Near Sonmarg, Kashmir

Walking On The Velvet Grassland
On every day of the trek, the contrasting views of lush green meadows against the gigantic mountains and sapphire blue sky will surprise you. The grassland also comprises exotic plants like gentian and poppy, which offer a sight similar to that of Delhi’s Mughal Garden. The dense forest and herders’ huts make the grassland even more beautiful.

Enjoy Staying At Stunning Campsites
The campsites are set amidst the green surrounding and striking mountains. The trek gives you an opportunity to spend nights at the most picturesque campsites of Shekiwas and Lidderwat that offer enchanting views of the snow-clad peaks and glittery sky.

The Base Camp: The village of Aru features a number of charming wooden cottages amidst the lofty trees of fir. The hamlet serves as the base camp of the Tarsar Marsar trek and on reaching Aru, you can experience its exquisiteness along with the river stream that flows aside the rustic hamlet. You can meet the locals to know more about their lifestyle and if you’re lucky enough then you might get to enjoy a few melodious folk songs.

Climbing On The Grassy Ridge
Have you ever thought of hiking the trail without the trekking shoes? No! During the Tarsar Marsar trekking expedition, upon reaching Shekiwas there is a grassy ridge where you can walk barefoot. From the top of this dazzling ridge, you can enjoy a sight of stunning sunrise. And this view is not only a great catch for your eyes but for your camera too!

Stroll Around The Striking Tarsar Lake
If you’re a nature lover or photography enthusiast then you must walk around Tarsar Lake. From the two opposite ends of the lake, you can enjoy distinct views of the lake. Undoubtedly, the lake even looks more stunning during the sunrise when sun rays paint the azure water of the lake in orange color.

Does the Trek Demand Physical Fitness? As most of the trekking trail goes through the lush green meadows, the Tarsar Marsar trek is a perfect one for beginners. Since it is a moderate trek, it doesn’t require much physical fitness. Any person above 8 years can undertake the trek to explore the beauty of Kashmir and the twin lakes.

Day 01: Srinagar to Aru Base Camp
After arriving at the airport in Srinagar, we first met a cab driver. He told us that he has come to receive us and he will take us to the base camp. We boarded the cab and reached Pahalgam in 3 hours, covering a distance of about 100 km. The driver stopped the cab near  a roadside restaurant where we had lunch. We reached Aru, located 12 km from Pahalgam, in one and a half hour. From the Aru road, we hiked towards the base camp.

The Bijbhera trail was dotted with scenic orchards of walnuts, apples and apricots. Our eyes glazed over with the astounding view of the base camp and Aru village. For that one moment, I felt like somebody has erased the memories that I have lived so far in my life and I have entered a world where I wanted everything to just halt right there.

Morning view of a town at Aru Valley near Pahalgam
Morning view of a town at Aru Valley near Pahalgam

Later, we met our guide and we were introduced to other fellow trekkers. He briefed us about the area, locals and trekking routes. We also found herders coming back from the hilltop with their cattle and children were playing games in the lush green area. In the evening, we relished Kashmiri tea, called kahwah, with a pan-shaped local bread, khambir. After dinner, we spent the night under the glazy sky amidst the gushing sounds of the stream.

Day 02: Aru to Lidderwat
We woke up with the sunrise and to the melodious chirping of birds, echoing in the valley and quickly got ready with our packed luggage. Our trekking expedition started after the breakfast. We gave our luggage to the porters so that we could easily climb in the mountains. While hiking through the scenic surroundings, consisting green pastureland and mountain animals like sheep and goats, we realized that why Kashmir is called the paradise on Earth. The climb was steep but easy and pleasant too. We hiked along the River Lidder and it took us around 4 hours to cover a distance of 9 km.

Lidder River Valley in Pahalgam, Kashmir
Lidder River Valley in Pahalgam, Kashmir

Post reaching the Lidderwat, we took a stroll around the valley and spent a night in a riverside camp.

Day 03: Lidderwat to Shekiwas
After capturing some wonderful pictures in my camera, I headed to Shekiwas with my friends and fellow trekkers. On the way to Shekiwas, we sang songs and shared our trekking experiences with each other. Initially, the trail was less rocky and it helped us in climbing faster. However, there was a point when we were surrounded by the cold winds which were hitting us very hard.

Thankfully, the trail took us to a dense forest of pine and that helped us escape the winds. We also sighted a deer and many exotic birds in the forest. Later, we crossed a river and suspension bridge. With that, we reached a valley which had several Gujjar huts. We enjoyed a cup of tea and snacks there. It gave us energy and helped us in climbing at a high altitude. Moving ahead, we reached Shekiwas in 4 hours. It is a lush meadow which offers perfect captures for the camera. Later, we had a bonfire night under the moon.

Day 04: Shekiwas to Tarsar
Next day, the trail took us through the lush green meadows, waterfalls and a river stream. Later, the path took us to a ridge on the stream that goes to Tarsar. We hiked to a stunning conical hilltop that offered astounding views of Tarsar Lake. The walk around the lake filled me with thrill and excitement. The overwhelming beauty of the place was so powerful that it kept us half-awake the entire night. Most of us kept looking at the sparkling water of the lake as it was offering a wonderful sight with the changing colors of the sky.

Day 05: Tarsar to Sundaresar
It was one of the most challenging days of the journey as we had to cross Tarsar Pass. We covered only 5 km in 6 hours and the ascent became even more strenuous as it rained for a few hours. Following a trail that goes through the dense forest, we reached Sundaresar. The shores of Sundaresar Lake welcomed us, and it was an ideal camping spot after the lovely trek from Tarsar.

Day 06: Sundaresar to Marsar and Back to Sonmasti
After breakfast, we started with a steady ascent to Marsar from Sundaresar. Our guide told us that we have to descend back to the base camp after visiting Marsar Lake. We reached a valley filled with vibrant flowers. Later, we sighted mountain sheep and goats that were grazing on the lush green pastureland. In 3 hours, we reached Marsar Lake and after capturing several group photos and selfies, we descended to the base camp via Sonmasti.

It took us around 7 hours to hit Sonmasti, which is a small village of Gujjars. The village was located amidst the pictorial surroundings, including a waterfall. We had fun with the Gujjars as they had some small get together, and luckily they asked us to join them. We danced to the tunes of Kashmiri folk songs that day. And, don’t ask me about the food, I can hardly describe you the taste of those lip-smacking traditional delicacies.

Day 07: Sonmasti to Sumbal; Drive to Srinagar
Last day, we arrived at Sumbal from Sonmasti in 3 hours and after bidding goodbye to our fellow trekkers, we drove back to Srinagar.

Not just a trek, it is an experience…
Trekking is not only a mere journey; it is also about discovering the different culture and natural beauty that the place offers. With smooth trails, alpine lakes and magnificent mountains, trekking in Kashmir always offers 5a unique pleasure and thrill that cannot be described in mere words.

The fascinating Tarsar Marsar trek allows you to find the real you. It gives you a chance to make some of the most beautiful memories of your life in the lap of nature. So, do not miss the chance and plan this wonderful venture in the ‘Paradise on Earth’.

With magnificent snow-clad mountains, beautiful river streams and mystical ancient temples, Himachal Pradesh is one of the most striking states in north India. The state reflects a perfect blend of Himachali and Tibetan culture. Hindu temples, Buddhist stupas and vibrant monasteries hold the essence of two different cultures and traditions together on one scenic landscape, which adds lots of charm to the beauty of Himachal Pradesh.

Its snowy peaks, emerald environs, Himalayan, Dhauladhar and Pir Panjal ranges, and picturesque yet smooth and rough trails, make Himachal an ideal destination for climbing, skiing, paragliding, bungee jumping and trekking. With evergreen exquisiteness, rustic hamlets, dream-like natural architecture and friendly locals, every step into the spectacular valley brings a different world in front of you. The eternal splendor of McLeodganj, Manali, Kasol, Lahaul and Spiti, displays various colors and richness of alluring terrains.

Trekking Expedition in the Land of Gods…Let’s Go!  

Moving away from the hectic and noisy city life for trekking is undoubtedly a perfect way for you to revive yourself. Every hill station in Himachal Pradesh has a number of treks which take you to extremely remote, peaceful and scenic areas. It doesn’t matter whether you are an amateur or ardent trekker, Himachal is known to accommodate the taste of each and every individual.

So, here’s a list of treks that can be undertaken by adventure enthusiasts and nature lovers.

  • Indrahar Pass Trek

Duration: 4 Days
Maximum Altitude: 4342 m  
Trekking Distance: 35 km
Level: Moderate to Difficult
Best Time: May to September
Temperature: Day – 12°C to 18°C, Night – (- 6°C) to 4 °C

indrahar-pass-trek-2

At a height of 4342 m, Indrahar Pass offers enthralling and majestic views of Dhauladhar range. The trek begins from McLeodganj and goes to Indrahar Pass through the dense forests of deodar, suspension bridges, snow patches and gushing streams. The route will take you to some of the most amazing sites that would surely be an amazing feast for your eyes. After hiking through challenging and difficult routes, you’ll spend a night under the glittery sky. And, one of the most stunning campsites on this trekking expedition is set near Lahesh Caves.

  • Beas Kund Trek

Duration: 3 Days
Maximum Altitude: 3690 m
Trekking Distance: 32 km
Level: Easy
Best Time: May to October
Temperature: Day – 10°C to 16°C, Night – (- 5°C) to 6 °C

River Beas
River Beas

If you’re looking for an easy trek then you must undertake the Beas Kund trek. On the journey, you have to follow a stream of River Beas in the opposite direction to reach the summit. Throughout the trek, you will be surrounded by lush green trees, alpine meadows and exotic flora and fauna. The 3-day trek begins from Dhundi, an idyllic spot for photography enthusiasts. Further, the course takes you to the mark from where striking River Beas originates and Hanuman Tibba is visible. Also, if you want to climb Ladakhi or Friendship peaks then Beas Kund is the place to be.

  • Hampta Pass with Chandratal Trek

Duration: 5 Days
Maximum Altitude: 4297 m
Trekking Distance: 26 km
Level: Easy to Moderate
Best Time: Mid June to Mid October
Temperature: Day – 8°C to 12°C, Night – (- 5°C) to 4 °C

hampta_pass

Nestled at an elevation of 4,297 m, Hampta Pass is known for the magnificent views of Himalayan and Pir Panjal ranges. The trek goes to Hampta Pass from Manali through Jobra, Chika and Balu Ka Gera, and ends in the valley of Chandra and Spiti. The trail, which starts from the dense forest of deodar and pine, takes you to an open lush green valley and gradually to a barren land featuring snow patches. On your way to the summit, you will come across the beautiful Lahaul and Kullu valleys and glistening Chandratal Lake. The most amazing part about this trekking venture is that it serves an ideal route for both the beginners and ardent trekkers.

  • Pin Parvati Pass Trek

Duration: 10 Days
Maximum Altitude: 5319 m
Trekking Distance: 78 km
Level: Moderate to Difficult
Best Time: June to September
Temperature: Day – 6°C to 10°C, Night – 0°C to 5 °C

Pin Parvati Pass Trek

One of the longest and popular treks in Himachal Pradesh, the Pin Parvati Pass trek is a must for adventure enthusiasts. On this journey, you can witness a majestic sight of the Parvati Valley, which is spread across Kullu and Spiti. While the Pin Valley displays a barren land, the Kullu Valley consists of vibrant flora and emerald scenery. Also, these two sites differ from each other, in terms of culture and traditions. Further, the trek begins from an isolated village of Rumsu and goes through gushing rivers, cuddling streams and deep forest to Pin Parvati Pass and impressive monasteries.

  • Deo Tibba Trek

Duration: 13 Days
Maximum Altitude: 6000 m
Trekking Distance: 48 km
Level: Moderate to Difficult
Best Time: May to June, September to October
Temperature: Day – 12°C to 20°C, Night – (- 2°C) to 6 °C

deo tibba

The Deo Tibba trek lends an exciting and thrilling opportunity to the adventure lovers. This trekking expedition requires experience and moderate physical fitness. The journey begins and ends at a high-altitude Himalayan resort town, Manali. You will be walking through pasturelands, glaciers, forests and rough ascents and descents.

From hanging glaciers to flourishing meadows, witness the spine-chilling places during the trek. One thing that will keep you energetic and accompanies you on this journey is the views of the lofty mountains covered in the layers of snow. Further, the trek gives an opportunity to the adventure enthusiasts to witness the beauty of Dharamshala and McLeodganj.

  • Kareri Lake Trek

Duration: 4 Days
Maximum Altitude: 3099 m  
Trekking Distance: 29 km
Level: Easy to Moderate
Best Time: May to June, September to October
Temperature: Day – 10°C to 16°C, Night – (- 5°C) to 8°C

Kareri Lake trek

A small enchanting glacial lake, Kareri is situated at an elevation of around 3,099 m above sea level. The place captivates the trekkers with its unusual beauty, tranquil surroundings and refreshing air. The pond is enclosed by velvet-like grasslands and soaring trees. The trekking expedition starts from McLeodganj and gives you a chance to explore the Tibetan culture and lifestyle.

The campsite of Lioti is a delightful experience. The course from Lioti to the eye-catching pond offers beautiful views of nature, which is a treat to your camera. After reaching the famous Hindu temple of Goddess Guna, you can explore the spiritual sight of the place too.

  • Bhabha Pass Trek

Duration: 7 Days
Maximum Altitude: 4000 m
Trekking Distance: 50-60 km
Level: Moderate to Difficult
Best Time: June to September
Temperature: Day – 14°C to 20°C, Night – (- 2°C) to 10°C

The Bhabha Pass trek starts from the tranquil hill station of Shimla and takes you on an electrifying road trip to the beautiful Kafnu Village, after covering a 206-km ride. On your way to Kafnu, you will come across the impressive peaks of the Himalayas. Also, a walk into the dense forest of birch and pine will surely be a treat for senses. Further, the trail will turn difficult with narrow and sharp ascents after crossing a river on the third day of your venture.  Moreover, a walk on the snowy moraine and icy patches will surely test your trekking skills.

A ride from Kaza to Chandratal Lake will take you through the striking monasteries and a wonderful place called Kunzum La. Also, the charming Chandratal which is popular for its moon-like shape, offers one of the fascinating sights for your naked eyes.

  • Rupin Pass Trek

Duration: 8 Days
Maximum Altitude: 4648 m
Trekking Distance: 52 km
Level: Moderate to Difficult
Best Time: May to June, September to October
Temperature: Day – 13°C to 18°C, Night – 0°C to 7°C

rupin-pass

Nestled at a high altitude of 4,648 m, Rupin Pass offers absolute exhilaration and delight to the trekkers. The picturesque trek begins from Uttarakhand and ends at the scenic land of Himachal Pradesh. The trail takes you through rustic hamlets, startling rivers, suspension bridges, dense forests, lush green pasturelands, and garrulous streams and waterfalls.
The trek begins with a trail through the greener landscapes of Dhaula. And, later it moves to the frozen landscape surrounded by snow-capped mountains. Notably, 80 percent of the trekking expedition will be undertaken in Himachal Pradesh.

  • Kheerganga Trek

Duration: 2 Days
Maximum Altitude: 3500 m
Trekking Distance: 12 km
Level: Easy
Best Time: October to June
Temperature: Day – 14°C to 20°C, Night – 2°C to 10°C

trek-in-kasol kheerganga

The abode of Lord Shiva and his son Kartikeya, Kheerganga is beautifully located at a height of 3,500 m from the sea level. It is believed that around thousands of years ago, Lord Shiva meditated at the Sylvan Hill of Parvati Valley. The snow-capped peaks, lush green environs, gushing River Parvati, and exotic flora and fauna, are certainly a much-awaited pleasure to the trekkers’ souls. 

  • Bhrigu Lake Trek

Duration: 4 Days
Maximum Altitude: 4267 m
Trekking Distance: 29 km
Level: Easy to Moderate
Best Time: Mid May to October
Temperature: Day – 20°C to 25°C, Night – 5°C to 7°C

Bhrigu lake

If you want to treat your eyes with awe-inspiring scenery, then you just need to say yes to the Bhrigu Lake trek. The meadow trail takes you to the quaint lake, from where you can see the beautiful mountains and clear sky; adding an extra charm to the stunning place. The journey gives you an opportunity to meet the locals and explore the Himachali lifestyle and culture. Not just this, refreshing air and the fragrance of dense forests and apple orchards will revitalize your senses. Further, the trek starts from Gulaba Village and takes you to the charming lake through the green pastureland and startling streams, along with the splendid views of the Kullu Valley.

  • Prashar Lake Trek

Duration: 2 Days
Maximum Altitude: 2730 m
Trekking Distance: 12 km
Level: Easy
Best Time: December to February
Temperature: Day – 8°C to 12°C, Night – 2°C to 6°C

Prashar Lake Trek in Winter Snow

The Prashar Lake trek is a must-visit for those who want to undertake an adventure expedition in the winter season. The stunning lake is surrounded by grassland along with a pagoda-style temple featuring three floors. Built in the 13th century by King Bansen, the old temple is dedicated to the sage, Prashar.

The locals believe that the lake was discovered by the Pandavas. The trail will take you through steep ridges, rough slopes, striking rivulets and forest of fir and cedar trees covered with snow. The adventure begins from the beautiful village of Jwalapur and takes you to Prashar Lake, where you get a chance to enjoy a bonfire night on snowy land under the glittery sky.  

So, get ready for a whole new experience as you escape the mundane city life with these wonderful treks in Himachal Pradesh.

Beautifully nestled in the Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh, Bir Billing is the hub of all kinds of adventure activities. Famously called, “Paragliding capital of India”, Bir attracts thousands of visitors throughout the year. Bir is a part of Billing Valley. The paragliders are launched from Billing and land down at the stunning site in Bir, after covering the distance of around 18 km. The landscape of Bir Billing features deep gorges, impressive snow peaks, misty woods, flowery meadows, lush green valleys, glistening lakes, gushing waterfalls and enthralling lakes.

A melting point of cultures

shutterstock_5387715_att6z

Amidst the scenic and serene settings, striking temples, soulful monasteries and stupas represent a perfect blend of Himachali and Tibetan culture. Not only Himachalis, a sizable community of Tibetan refugees also resides in the village. The Bir Tibetan Colony features several monasteries and local restaurants, where travelers can enjoy lip-smacking delicacies with an essence of the friendly culture that Bir offers. The incredible sight of bhikkhus and Tibetan monks offering prayers in the monasteries give a sense of peace to one’s soul.

Many-splendoured Tea Gardens 
Famed for organic tea farms, the Bir Tea Factory is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Bir. As the tea factory remains open to the public travelers, visit the place along with their children to learn about the plantation skills of India’s most consumed hot beverage. Hills are always suitable for tea production and this is why one can find various kind of tea that are grown in the garden and processed in the Bir Tea Factory.

The factory is located in close proximity to Bir Bazaar, from where one can buy a selection of dry fruits, fragrant tea, handmade articles etc. In the tea garden, a sight of men and women labours dressed in traditional attires with a beautiful basket on their back is a great capture to the cameras of photographers.

Paragliding, Hand-gliding, Motorbiking, River rafting, Trekking and Camping: Bir Billing has it all! 

  • Soaring High: Tandem Paragliding
    One of the major highlights of Bir Billing is Paragliding. Nothing could be more eventful than flying under the sky from where you can see a whole different world around. Remarkably, Bir is considered as the world’s second best site for paragliding after Lake Como in Italy. Paragliders are launched from a lush green valley of Billing, which is situated at a height of about 2400 metres. And these paragliders land in the grassland at the western edge of the Bir Tibetan Colony in Chowgan.
    Landing at Bir Billing grounds
    Landing at Bir Billing grounds

    Keeping the protection in mind, beginners get a chance to enjoy an adventure-packed ride in a two-seater glider with a skilled trainer. Bir witnesses a huge crowd in October as it hosts the event of ‘paragliding pre-world cup’ every year.

  • Trek To The Top
    1
    Bir Billing offers a number of trekking options to the adventure enthusiasts and nature lovers. This activity gives you an opportunity to explore the exotic Himalayan flora and fauna, stunning rivers, gushing streams and waterfalls. From easy to difficult and 1 day to 1-week treks are available near the Bir Billing. Some of the trekking destinations include Sach Pass to Pangi Kareri Lake, Manimahesh Lake and Chamba over Jalsu Pass.
  • Camping in Bir
    India-Camping
    Staying at hotel becomes dull at times, especially when you’re surrounded by the mountains and lush greenery. To have a wonderful experience in the lap of nature, you need to avoid the option of hotel booking as Bir gives you a chance to spend a night under the glittery sky at some of the exquisite locations. While living in tents, you can enjoy the sights of splendid vistas of nature.

Plan a weekend in Bir
If you are on long holiday and have explored enough of Bir Billing, then you can opt any destination from the list of wonderful weekend getaways near Bir Billing.

There is no dearth of amazing weekend getaways from Bir Billing. Getaways like Manali, Leh, Ladakh, Kullu, Shimla, Dharamshala and McLeodganj offer peaceful surroundings that revitalize your mind and body with exciting activities. Other nearby attractions include: 

  • Deer Park Institute
  • Chokling Monastery
  • Dharmalaya Institute
  • Sherab Ling Monastery
  • Baijnath Temple
  • Drukpa Kagyu Monastery
  • Chowgan Tea Gardens
  • Tashi Jong Village
  • Chauntra Bazaar

If you’re looking for accommodation options at Bir Billing

  • Tatva Bir Camp
  • Siddhartha Greens Bir Billing
  • Hotel Paul Manor
  • Big Mountain Camps
  • Bir Resort
  • Camp Oak View

If you’re looking for some food joints…

  • Norgay Kitchen
  • Sterling Restaurant
  • Glider’s Pizzeria
  • Bruce House
  • Cafe Cloud Door

How to Reach this Amazing Holiday Destination?
Bir Billing is very well connected to other Indian states. As it is situated away from the hustle-bustle of city amidst the snow-capped mountains, one has to put an extra effort to reach there as there is no direct flight or train available from the major cities like Delhi and Mumbai. However, the travel journey to Bir is joyful and a one of its kind experience.

Flight: The Kangra Airport is situated at a distance of 68 km from Bir Billing. The airport is situated in Dharamshala and is very well connected to and from Delhi and Mumbai. However, passengers can board a non-stop flight from Delhi to Dharamshala and a connected flight from Mumbai. Notably, the air route remains closed due to bad weather, especially in winters. After reaching the airport, travelers have to hire a taxi or board a bus to reach Bir.

Train: At present, one can get a toy train that takes you to Bir Billing. Kangra valley railway runs a toy train from Pathankot, which covers the distance in 7 hours via Ahju. The distance between Pathankot and Bir is around 143 km.

Taxi or Bus: If you’re among those who always look for astounding vistas or adore long drive then you should visit Bir either by taxi or bus. You can board a bus from the Inter-state Bus Terminal (ISBT) and it takes around 12-14 hours to reach Bir. Notably, the distance between Delhi and Bir is around 520 km.

If you have decided to hit Bir Billing by road then you can follow these routes:

Route 1: Delhi>Ambala>Banur via Chandigarh bypass>Kiratpur>Anandpur Sahib>Nagal>Una>Kangra>Palampur>Baijnath>Bir

Route 2: Delhi>Ambala> Banur via Chandigarh bypass>Kharad>Kiratpur>Bilaspur>Mandi>Jogindernagar>Bir

pilots_on_a_paragliding_takeoff_at_bir-billing_01

Is Bir Billing Accessible throughout the Year?
The entire summer season is an ideal time to beat the heat of hot cities like Delhi and Chandigarh. Here, the weather remains pleasant and the temperature ranges between 10°C and 22°C. Notably, the monsoon season receives moderate to heavy rainfall and the region might become prone to landslides causing blockage of roads. So, this is not an advisable season for a visit.

Despite the harsh and cold weather in winters, Bir experiences a heavy flow of tourists. Also, the months of October and November are perfect for paragliding and the average temperature ranges from 4°C to 12°C. The temperature drops below freezing point at night in the months of December and January.

What are you waiting for? Plan a trip to one of the most splendid tourist destinations in Himachal Pradesh to explore the fun like never before!

The most striking Himalayan peak, Kedarkantha is situated at an elevation of 3150 m, in the Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand. The rewarding summit to the ridge peak offers great views of 13 Himalayan peaks, such as Ranglana and Banderpooch. The trail goes to the Govind National Park which is home to exotic flora and fauna such as bears, leopards and musk deer. One thing that motivates you to hike further on the challenging course encompassing rough slopes and sharp ascent and descent is the ever-modifying scenery of this spectacular place.

Moreover, this trek is considered an idyllic destination for both the nature lovers and an ardent trekker. The trek begins from a peaceful village called Sankri, which is surrounded by the dense oak forest and snow-capped mountains. Also, the trek offers an exquisite sight of River Tons, which is fed by the glaciers. Filled with the majestic natural beauty and stunning views of the snow-clad mountains, trekking in the ‘Land of Gods’ always pleases eyes and soul of the trekkers. The course combines the contrasting views of snow-capped mountains, glacial pools and frozen streams on the lush green landscape. For those who love snow, Kedarkantha trek is a must-try.

Duration: 6 Days
Grade: Easy to Moderate
Highest Point: 3810 m (Kedarkantha peak)
Distance Covered: 22 km

Base Camp: Sankri
Airport: Jolly Grant Airport, Dehradun

Day 01: Dehradun to Sankri (1951 m) > Day 02: Sankri to Juda Ka Talab (2774 m) > Day 03: Juda Ka Talab to Kedarkantha Meadow (3429 m) > Day 04: Kedarkantha Peak (3150 m) to Hargaon (2713 m) > Day 05: Trek back to Sankri > Day 06: Drive to Dehradun

Here are the 5 reasons that would surely make your trekking experience a life-time experience:

  • A Drive in the Majestic Landscape
    Your venture to Kedarkantha Peak starts with a drive from Dehradun, which is a capital of Uttarakhand. The road from Dehradun takes you through the remotest routes and some of the most popular hill stations in Uttarakhand like Mussoorie and Purola. With bushes and green trees on either side, these picturesque roads offer an ideal surrounding to those who are hunting for peace, away from the buzz of city’s life.

    Kedarnath Temple Image Credits: photos.wikimapia.org
    Kedarnath Temple
    Image Credits: photos.wikimapia.org

  • Spiritual Walk to Kedarkantha
    Smeared in mythological connotations, Uttarakhand is one of the holiest of all Hindu pilgrimage centres. It is home to four great religious sites – Yamunotri, Gangotri, Badrinath and Kedarnath. Locals of Kedarkantha believe that this place was supposed to be Kedarnath as Lord Shiva wandered here in a bull’s avatar. After escaping from the Pandavas, he disguised as a bull to meditate in the valley. But the locals disturbed his peace and he fled from Kedarkantha to Kedarnath. Further, the villagers of Sankri believe that the Trishul of Lord Shiva, erected on the pile of rocks at the valley of Kedarkantha, guards them and fills the rivers of Himalayas.
    On the way to trek, you will come across an ancient temple, which comprises of Lord Shiva Lord Ganesha and Goddess Parvati idols. The temple is a must visit for Lord Shiva’s devotees and for the photography enthusiasts as it lends a great click for the camera.kedarkantha_trek__3_
  • Get Lost in the Mesmerizing Views of Smoky Mountains
    You will be rewarded with a dreamy view when green landscape will turn into snowy land. In winters, the forests of pine and trees showcase an ideal combination of frozen ice with greenery. The feeling of being surrounded by the smoky mountains is a completely a unique experience in itself. Also, in the winters, the Govind National Park remains open, allowing the trekkers to explore the hidden gems in the scenic mountains.
  • A night under glittery sky aside gushing river stream 
    The campsite of Kedarnath trek is one thing that will surely make your excursion faithfully spellbinding. Everyday with the end of 5-6 hours of trekking, your tents are set amidst pictorial scenery that would surely worth all your pain and weariness. A night under the fancy sky and on a frozen land is like that you have stepped into a dreamy world. The campsites of Pukhrola and Akroti Thach, which are surrounded by pine and walnut trees, give you a lifetime experience.
  • Splendid 360-degree view of 13 Himalayan peaks
    On accomplishing the summit, one can enjoy a dazzling view of famous 13 Himalayan peaks like Bandarpoonch, Kala Nag, Black Peak and Swargarohini. Nothing could be better than witnessing the magnificent and heavenly charm of these peaks with your naked eyes.

Best time to Trek to Kedarkantha Peak
Whether it’s summer or winter, one can trek Kedarkantha Peak at any time of the year. In summers, the trek which is filled with the vibrant fauna, green meadows, and lush emerald landscape always refreshes the trekkers’ soul. However, in winters, one can experience the breathtaking vistas of the grand Himalayan peaks and remotest villages, which are blanketed with snow.

Due to harsh climatic conditions in the high altitudes, it is vital for the trekkers to plan the trekking expedition carefully. So, one is required to choose the right time considering acclimatization as the priority before heading for the trek. The best time to hike Kedarkantha Peak is either from April to June or September to December.  

From April to June, the temperature varies from 3°C to 8°C in daytime and -5°C to -1°C at night.
From September to December, the temperature varies from -4°C to 6°C in daytime and -8°C to -3°C at night.

kedarkantha_trek__2_

On this expedition, you will definitely explore the beauty beyond your thoughts, and with that, you also get a chance to get a glimpse of the socio-cultural lifestyle of Uttarakhand’s folks. Meeting women who have come from far away villages in the dense forest, which is situated at a hilltop, to collect wooden sticks and fodder for their cattle is such a lovely experience that cannot be penned down in mere words. Kedarkantha trek is more than an excursion, it is an experience. 

With snow-capped mountains, rustic hamlets, striking temples, waterfalls, sacred rivers and exotic flora and fauna, the eternal charm of Uttarakhand remains unmatched and ever-lasting. The glaciers of Uttarakhand are home to several sacred rivers including the Ganges. The second tallest peak of India, Nanda Devi also lies here, and its aura works as an added charm to the scenery of the state.

Trekking in the ‘Land of Gods’
For travel enthusiasts, nothing could be better than exploring the Himalayas in Uttarakhand. This paradise, surrounded by the raw beauty of nature, is considered as an idyllic destination for both amateur and ardent trekkers from around the world.

Round the year, several people come to explore the jewels of the Himalayas. Most of the trekking destinations in the picturesque region of Garhwal do not demand immense strength, but simply a willingness to accept the Himalayas, and courage to chase the rough and smooth trails of the mountains.

Have a look at some of the best getaways in Uttarakhand right here: 

Valley of Flowers and Hemkund Sahib Trek

Base Camp: Govindghat
Duration: 6 days
Grade: Easy
Maximum Altitude: 3,600 m
Trekking Distance: 38 km
Best Time to Trek: June to September

Valley of Flowers, Uttarakhand

Famed for a range of vibrant Himalayan flora, Valley of Flowers is a national park, which has received a title of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. This heavenly site is situated in Chamoli District of the Garhwal region. Whether you’re a nature lover, mountaineer or botanist, trekking to this sublime beauty will offer you awe-inspiring vistas of the mountains and breathtaking surroundings. The course which passes through the off-beat trail, isolated hamlets, abandoned areas will take you to the scenic landscape and green meadows, encompassing diverse species of flora and fauna.

Best time: In the Spring season, thousands of species of colorful flowers bloom in the region. 

And if you’re lucky enough, you’ll get a wonderful sight of endangered animals, including Asiatic black bear, blue sheep, red foxes, Himalayan tahrs, and snow leopard. The expedition starts from the sacred city of Haridwar and goes through Auli, Govindghat and Ghangaria. You will enjoy the mesmerizing views of Zanskar Range, which is the place for the sages, who would have come here to pursue meditation and Yoga. Another best thing about this excursion is that it gives you a chance to visit one of the most sacred Gurudwara, the Hemkund Sahib. The lake besides the gurudwara is a scenic spot to just sit back and indulge in some nature photography.


Har Ki Doon Trek

Base Camp: Sankri
Duration: 7 Days
Grade: Easy to Moderate
Maximum Altitude: 3566 m
Trekking Distance: 54 km
Best Time to Trek: Mid April to June

har-ki-doon

Situated at the high altitude of 3,566 m, Har Ki Doon is among the most scenic treks of Uttarakhand. The cradle-shaped valley is surrounded by the splendid peaks of Fateh Parvat, Swargarohini and Jaundha. The trail is packed with vibrant Himalayan flowers, gushing streams, rare wildlife species and lush green meadows

On the way to the destination, the trekkers get a chance to explore the mountain ridges, ancient temples, glaciers, rustic hamlets and alluring caves. Locals believe that the religious significance of the valley is connected to the age of the Mahabharata. Not only this, there is an ancient temple dedicated to Duryodhana, who is said to be the eldest brother of Kauravas. At the initial stage, the trek starts from Sankri Village and goes to Taluka. The trail which is filled with moraine ridges, icy pools, alpine meadows and oak forests, motivates you to aim higher and accomplish the trek calmly. Har Ki Doon is also considered as an ideal trek for the photographer enthusiasts as it offers spectacular views of the valley, consisting of Brahma Kamal flower and Mahinda Taal.


Roopkund Trek

Base Camp: Kathdogam
Duration: 7 Days
Grade: Easy to Moderate
Maximum Altitude: 4570 m
Trekking Distance: 59 km
Best Time to Trek: Mid May to June, September to October

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

Perched in the snow-white majesty of Mt. Trishul (4,800 m), Roopkund trek offers picturesque terrains which give you an opportunity to explore the hidden gems of nature. Trailing through lush green valleys, alpine meadows, snowy terrains, enthralling ridges will make you feel that you have reached very close to the heaven. Also called as Skeletal Lake, Roopkund Lake is one of the major attractions on the trek. This ‘Mystery Lake’ gives you an adrenaline rush filled with both fear and excitement as you could see hundreds of skeletons either inside or around the lake. So, if you want to unravel the myths related to it then Roopkund trek is a must-try.

Moreover, the trekking starts from Loharjung and takes you through mountains replete with a wide variety of biodiversity and pictorial surroundings. Hiking on a scenic course that goes through forests of deodar and firs to Ali Bugyal, is a unique experience in itself. On your way to the summit, you get a chance to meet locals and explore their lifestyle. And you may also encounter mountain animals that come to graze on pastureland.


Nag Tibba Trek

Base Camp: Pantawari
Duration: 2 Days
Grade: Easy
Maximum Altitude: 3050 m
Trekking Distance: 20 km
Best Time to Trek: October to April

nag tibba

Beautifully nestled at a high elevation of 3,050 m in the great Himalayan region of Uttarakhand, Nag Tibba trek is an ideal trek for those searching peace for their mind and soul. Situated at isolated place, Nag Tibba is replete with the enchanting beauty of the lush green forest, snow patches and rare species of flora and fauna. Locals believe that Nag Devta dwells in the hills, thus, it was named as Nag Tibba, which means the abode of Lord Serpent. Several Hindu devotees visit the site to pay reverence to the deity.

On accomplishing summit, trekkers can enjoy a sight of great peals like Gangotri, Changabang, Kedarnath, Bandarpoonch and the Doon Valley. It is a circular trek, which begins from the rustic hamlet of Pantwari. Trekkers visit the temple of Nag Devta on the first day of the trek. Later, the trail goes through stunning waterfalls, gushing streams, dense forests, villages and alpine meadows. The camping experience is truly inexplicable as nothing could be better than spending a night under the glittery sky while being surrounded by the lush green forest.


Kedarkantha Trek

Base Camp: Sankri
Duration: 6 Days
Grade: Easy to Moderate
Maximum Altitude: 3,810 m
Trekking Distance: 22 km
Best Time to Trek: April to June, September to December

kedarkantha_trek__4_

Kedarkantha peak is situated in Uttarkashi district at an altitude of 3,150 m. It is located inside the Govind National Park, and is home to rare species of flora and fauna. The ever-modifying scenery of the place will motivate you to hike on the challenging and rough course. On your way to the summit, you will come across an old temple of Lord Shiva and his wife Goddess Parvati. Just beside the temple, there is a small shrine of their son, Lord Ganesha too. There is a Trishul erected in the valley at a certain place, which is said to be a weapon of Lord Shiva. And villagers believe that it is a reason behind their survival on such a height and extreme cold weather as it protects them from any kind of disaster.

Moreover, the trek begins from a peaceful village called Sankri and gradually leads you to the River Tons. From the summit, a stunning view of 13 different Himalayan peaks like Bandarpoonch and Swargarohini, is a delight for trekkers’ eyes and soul.


Kuari Pass Trek

Base Camp: Dhak Village
Duration: 6 Days
Grade: Easy to Moderate
Maximum Altitude: 3877 m
Trekking Distance: 33 km
Best Time to Trek: April, November and December

kuari_pass__1_

Fact check: You know who reached Kuari Pass first? It was Lord Curzon who explored the place in 1905.

Locals named this place as Kuari Pass, which means ‘doorway’. The main highlight of the trek is the magnificent view of the twin peaks of Nanda Devi and several others like Kamet, Hathi Ghodi Parvat, Dronagiri, Trishul, Bertholi, Mana, and Neelkanth. Moreover, the course takes you through pristine forests of oak and deodar. On this venture, you can enjoy a common yet the breathtaking sight of Himalayan snow leopards and black bear. Spending a night at the dazzling campsite is one of the most amazing experiences!

This expedition also gives you a chance to explore the two most-charming sites of Uttarakhand i.e. Joshimath and Auli. Sri Shankaracharya has attained enlightenment in Joshimath and Auli is famous for skiing and astronomers. The journey basically begins from Haridwar but the trekking expedition starts from the beautiful village of Dhak. On your way to the summit, you will come across to the enthralling view of Devprayag, Bhagirathi and Alakananda confluence. The course that goes to Chitrakantha, Chaukhamba and Tali Top has many hidden surprises for you! ory.


Dayara Bugyal

Base Camp: Barsu
Duration: 5 Days
Grade: Easy to Moderate
Maximum Altitude: 3688 m
Trekking Distance: 25 km
Best Time to Trek: April to June, September to December

dayara bugyal

Standing tall at a high altitude of 3,688 m in the district of Uttarkashi, Dayara Bugyal is said to be the most amazing and breathtaking trek in “Land of the Gods”. In the lush green landscape of meadows, one can catch a beautiful sight of the Barnala Tal Lake. Moreover, you can enjoy a majestic sight of stunning peaks like Srikanth, Jaonli, Draupadi ka Danda I & II, Rudregaira, Gangotri I, II & III, Black peak, Bandarpunch, etc.

The trek begins from the little hamlet of Barsu and takes you to the summit through the dense forest of oak, clear-crystal water bodies and sprawling meadows.

Take a break from the nine-to-five grind and explore the hidden beauty of the Himalayas to gain a lifetime of experience. 

Nature’s resplendent display of wonders peaks in the North-eastern region of India. With Tibet in the north and east, Bhutan on its east, Indian state West Bengal in the south and Nepal on its West, Sikkim is one of the most important tourist locations in the North-East. Almost 35 percent of it covered by Kanchenjunga National Park, this state is the least populous and the second smallest state in the country.

Sikkim 2 (3)

Trekking in Sikkim: Nature and Nurture
Although home to a multitude of tourist spots, cultural fests, trekking summits owing to its proximity to the Himalayas and its abundant flora and fauna unique to this region, three of the most happening treks stand out as ideal getaway to the Himalayas. Goecha La is the best trek if a majestic view of Kanchenjunga and exploring Kanchenjunga on an intense expedition is one of your travel goals, Sandakphu is a picturesque trail for the trekkers that think the journey is as important as the destination itself and an excursion to Singalila offers up, close and personal views of the Singalila range and spotting rare wilderness in the Singalila National Park.

Here’s a complete breakdown of the three jewels of North-East:

Goecha La

Home to world’s highest mountains like Kanchenjunga, the trek to Goecha la is for those on the lookout for a trek that challenges them within and almost simultaneously delights them with the richness of natural beauty surrounding them. Exotic flora and fauna, alpine meadows, glacier basins, this place in Sikkim is a treasure trove for travelers curious to seek Nature’s wonders.  

goecha Best season: Best time to visit the Kanchenjunga National Park is from the last week of March to May during which the days are bright and nights are cold. Monsoons remain incredibly unfavorable because of the high possibility of landslides, blocked transportation, slippery trails, etc. Post monsoon, in the months of September and November, one can capture crystal-clear views of all the peaks. This is a good time to head to Goecha la. Due to heavy snowing, winters remain unfavorable for this trek.

  • Goecha la offers splendid views of world’s third highest mountain Kanchenjunga and Pandin, Tien Chenkhang, Koktang, Jopuno, etc.
  • Explore the stunning stupas, monasteries, temples and wildlife sanctuaries located in the region
  • Traverse through lush green pasturelands, vibrant fauna, rare wildlife species, alpine meadows and glaciers to reach your final destination

    Early morning sun rising from Mt. Kanchenjunga
    Early morning sun rising from Mt. Kanchenjunga

  • Spot Eurasian tree sparrow, pied bush cat and green-tailed sunbird and enjoy the rare sight of Himalayan endangered species like musk deer, red panda and blue sheep in the Kanchenjunga National Park if you are lucky!
  • In Lamuney, walk through clouds and camp under the glittery sky at night

Sandakphu

Sandakphu trek is a brilliant trek for the simple reason that it offers unmatched views of the highest peaks in the world (Sleeping Buddha i.e. Kanchenjunga, Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse, Annapurna range) and the journey to that spot on the map is filled with mesmerizing natural wonders itself. At many a point, the exhaustion of trekking through dense forests is lifted by the joy of sighting a meadow as vast as the eye goes. Trekking alongside Siri river and staying in the guest houses or camping right there is another matter of delight. The trek offers striking views of everything you expect from a retreat into the lap of nature: forests, waterfalls, alpine meadows and then some.

Sleeping Buddha, Sandakphu
Sleeping Buddha, Sandakphu

Best season: While in the spring, the trail to Sandakphu is covered in the most scenic way possible by rhododendrons among other exotic flora (spot the magnificent mangolia from Chitre to Meghma!), the trek is accessible even in winters and the snow-laden trails are as charming as the destination itself.

  • One of the most beautiful rhododendron treks; trek in Spring to behold the beauty with your own eyes as you make way to the Sandakphu summit
  • Explore the vibrant Buddhist culture as you start your trek from Chitre village; pay a visit to the splendid monasteries and stupas around

    Singalila National Park
    Singalila National Park

  • Camping in Singalila National Park; enjoy the days of camping amid North East’s natural beauty; wake up to a sunrise on Singalila range and spot blue bamboos in the jungle!

    A guest house in Tumling
    A guest house in Tumling

  • Tumling’s guest houses set on the serene river bankside; Tumling lies on the Indo-Nepal border and houses many a beautiful tea estate in the region; you can look at the entire Sandakphu trail from the ascent after Tumling

    Black Lake or Kaliphokri
    Black Lake or Kalaphokri

  • Kalaphokri or ‘Black Lake’: After Tumling, reach the bean-shaped black lake that refuses to freeze even in deadly winters. Believed to be divine, the lake is surrounded by an array of Buddhist flags found fluttering in the wind.
  • Magnificent view of Sleeping Buddha (Kanchenjunga and sister peaks) and a 180 degree view of world’s highest mountains including Everest, Makalu, Lhotse, Nuptse, Baruntse, Chamling, Chomolonzo, Machapucchare, Chomolhari and other peaks of Annapurna range.  

Singalila Pass (and Phoktey Dara trek)

The Singalila range marks the western borders of Sikkim and Darjeeling with Nepal. You have a fantastic opportunity to trek to the passes and ranges that lie within India and/or Nepal. Once you reach Singalila pass, trek further to Kalijhora; the top of Kalijhora is Phoktey Dara which offers a spectacular viewpoint. In the far left (west), the majestic Everest group of peaks and to the right, three sisters– Chamlang, Baruntse, Kanchendzongha, Simvo, Pandim, Tenzingkhang, one after another. The entire Kabru range (North, South, Dome) Fork I/II, Rathong, Frey peak (just above Chaurikhang, HMI base camp area) are south to the gigantic Kanchenjunga and form a semicircle in front of the massif.

Singalila range
Singalila range

Best season: March-May and October-November are the best seasons to head out on an exploration of the Singalila range. 

  • Panoramic views of four of the five world’s highest peaks including Mt. Everest, Kanchenjunga, Lhotse and Makalu and more
  • Singalila range lies on the Indo-Nepal border: the western borders of Sikkim and Darjeeling with Nepal
  • Visit Kitam Bird Sanctuary and Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary to spot the Red Crossbill and Parrotbills. If you are lucky, you might spot the endangered vividly colored Satyr Tragopan or a Kalij Pheasant as well!
  • Walk through rich forests canopied by rhododendron, magnolia and bamboo
  • Witness spellbinding sunrise at Kalijohra
  • Stay at beautiful campsites in the evening which is near a hill slope thickly covered with Magnolia and conifers
  • Access remote locations that are extremely sparsely populated so enjoy the exclusivity of it all

Trekking in the North-east is a growing interest of the young trekkers for it offers an exclusive opportunity to witness distinct culture, communities located in remote locations however so incredibly beautiful, that it makes the trekking experience wholesome and worth it.

The religious and spiritual heritage of India provides a profound insight into its history, culture and civilization. It is not only responsible for creating an image that defines the ethnicity of the nation but has deeply affected the religious life of other parts of the world. The gravity of this intangible cultural heritage is strongly evident in the popular spiritual yatras to Nanda Devi Raj Jaat Yatra, Roopkund, and Kailash Mansarovar Yatra. It is a beautiful journey to see how spirituality has kept the roots stronger and contributed to the sense of oneness at the same time.

Home to many different religions and beliefs, India is a country which has been associated with spiritual significance since time immemorial. The spiritual energies have even added charm to those ordinary destinations which are now touted as significant religious places of the country. And as tourism has grown manifold, the spiritual places of India have gained immense fame worldwide.

What’s unique about trekking to these spiritual destinations?
While trekking itself boasts of a challenging journey, trekking to spiritual places like Roopkund and Kailash Mansarovar is symbolic of attaining spiritual bliss amidst en route moraines, streams and snow-capped mountains. Undertaking such pristine trails dotted with pilgrimage sites represent a unique bond between nature’s art and spiritual energy. Don’t miss the chance to get hypnotized by a spiritual yet adventurous rhythm of the trekking expedition to Nanda Devi Raj Jaat Yatra (Roopkund) and Kailash Mansarovar.

Here are two accounts of trekking expeditions carried out to Nanda Devi Raj Jaat Yatra and Kailash Mansarovar Yatra:

Nanda Devi Raj Jaat Yatra, Roopkund

Nanda Devi Raj Jaat Yatra includes a trekking expedition to Roopkund. Being the most significant pilgrimage in Uttarakhand, Nanda Devi Raj Jat Yatra holds immense spiritual importance. As it is organized in every 12 years, it witnesses a huge gathering where people from different faiths and religions unite to honor Goddess Nanda Devi. It is believed that it is a religious journey in which the goddess has to be taken to the abode of Lord Shiva, located in the icy folds of the mighty Himalayas. In particular, the journey is reckoned to be a significant event in the life of a Hindu devotee.

Nanda Devi Raj Jaat Yatra
Mt. Trishul and Nanda Devi from Junargalli, Roopkund

Nanda Devi Raj Jaat Yatra is a three-week-long grand procession that begins from Nauti village near Karanpraayg and ends at Hemkund near Roopkund. Often referred to as Himalayan Mahakumbh, it is a festive occasion in Uttarakhand in which devotees from both Garhwal and Kumaon regions of the state along with people from across the globe come together to participate. The yatra begins when the ‘Kunwar’ of the village Kansua inaugurates it in a customary manner.

According to the locals, the yatra is a testimony to the story which says that the Goddess Nanda Devi, the consort of Lord Shiva and the daughter of the ruler of mountains, left her village and went to Nanda Devi Parbat. It is also said that heavy rain occurs on this day symbolizing the goddess’ act of crying as she was leaving her home. It is a journey which lends a deep insight into the culture, lifestyle, flora and fauns of the ‘Land of Gods’, Uttarakhand. What adds a tinge of uniqueness to the yatra is that the devotees remain barefoot throughout the yatra despite the harsh climatic conditions.

Nanda Devi
Nanda Devi

Trekking expedition to Nanda Devi, the second highest peak of Indian Himalayas, is one of the most arduous treks. Home to the scenic beauty of the snow-clad peaks, the surreal nature that prevails around them and the exotic range of flora and fauna in the vicinity, trekking to Nanda Devi offers an experience of one-of-its-kind. The trek crosses through exhilarating passes, winding trails, lush forests and picturesque meadows. Also, it offers a plethora of opportunities to register the sublime beauty of nature in the mind which can perceive everything in its multitude and vastness.  

Kailash Mansarovar Yatra:

The best way to witness a divine circuit of thousands of pilgrims across the world is to embark on a spiritual journey to the Mount Kailash and Mansarovar Lake. The journey to these spiritual destinations is not only a jewel that reflects the nature’s beauty at its best but also serves as the source of inspiration for several religions and beliefs. There is nothing better than Kailash Mansarovar Yatra for those people who have devoted and wish to devote their entire life to a journey to wash their sins and seek blessings from the deity they worship.

Mt Kailash
Mt Kailash

The key attractions of the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra include a sacred Parikrama around the Mount Kailash and a holy dip in Mansarovar Lake. The journey also provides a chance to embrace the beauty of the blue lake – Pieko-Tso and Yarlung Zangpo. It enables one to experience some cathartic moments and rejuvenate their soul by taking a holy dip in Mansarovar Lake, which is considered sacred in four religions; Hinduism, Bön, Buddhism and Jainism. Situated at an altitude of 22, 028 ft above sea level, Mansarovar is the largest freshwater lake in the world.

Another major attraction of the yatra is Yama Dwar, which means the gates of the lord of death. It is a place of great religious and mythological significance. Yama Dwar is considered as the entry door to the heavenly paradise, Kailash. It is believed that one must abandon the mortal self to enter the region of Kailash, which is equated to the divine world. Both geography and mythology combine to lend the Mount Kailash, a charm of its own.  

Holy Lake Mansarovar
Holy Lake Mansarovar

Further, the grandeur of Kailash does not lie in the height that other peaks of the Himalayan range boast of, but in its distinct shape resembling the cardinal points of the compass in the form of four sheer faces. Amidst the natural beauty that this area of permanent peace beholds lies an opportunity to set the mind free from all shackles. And, partake in the spiritual ecstasy that the solitary location of this place emanates.

If the best view comes after the hardest climb, there is no better example than trekking expedition to the Mount Kailash. With varied levels of difficulty, trekking to the Mount Kailash is not that easy as it seems to be in the slumber of your dreams. There is a lot of gasping and puffing involved in climbing an altitude of around 6638 m. At times, it even becomes difficult to put one foot in front of the other.  However, the natural surroundings of the place will keep you motivated throughout the journey. So, feel the thrill of challenging your inner potential to complete a difficult feat, Kailash Mansarovar Yatra.

Somebody has rightly pointed out that spirituality lends dimension and direction to the life that humans lead in the search for the truth about their existence. So, get ready to ride on the chariot of belief and hope to locate the key to you life and beyond. Do not hesitate to add a beautiful chapter in the story of your life that can become the source of inspiration and joy even when memories start ageing.

Nestled in the peaceful abode of Jammu and Kashmir at a high altitude of 2,987 m, Ladakh is the most-scenic landscape in the north-west region of India. Said to be the coldest inhabited desert in the world, it is enclosed by the world’s highest mountain ranges, the great Himalayas and Karakoram. It is the raw beauty of nature that adds a mysterious, incredible and stunning charm to the beautiful landscape.

Completely isolated from the hustle-bustle of the city, the ‘Land of high passes’, Ladakh is well-known for its crystal-clear water lake, azure sky, magical clouds, freezing winds, extreme deserts, sand dunes and glaciers. In its serene demeanor, the land encompasses various ethnic groups, primarily Tibetans, Dards, Monpas and Muslims. It is a place where prayer flags flutter in the cool breeze and striking stupas covered with snow stand tall. Ladakh attracts several tourists from around the world as it gives a chance to reinvent thrill, excitement and adventure. 

Chang la pass, Ladakh
Chang la pass, Ladakh

Best Time to Visit Ladakh
Undoubtedly, anyone who visits Ladakh gets fascinated by its beauty and quaint charm. Witnessing the stunning views in the mountains along with trekking is one of its kind excitements.

You can visit Ladakh in the following three seasons:

Summers – April to July :  At this time, the passes are accessible, and pleasant weather and surroundings offer an impressive panorama. It is the best time to go on the trek, ride a bike and board a jeep. The temperature ranges between 15 degrees Celsius and 30 degrees Celsius.

Monsoon – July to September : Despite the irregular rainfalls, monsoon is also considered as an ideal time to visit Ladakh. A traveller can enjoy river rafting, challenging treks and masked dance performances during monsoons. Temperature ranges between 3 degrees Celsius and 17 degrees Celsius.

Winter – October to March : Ladakh is the winter destination for those adventure-seekers who are eager to experience the majesty of Himalayas. At this time, ardent bike riders undertake motorcycle expeditions to acclimatize with harsh weather conditions. One thing that gives an adrenaline rush is a panorama of jaw-dropping Himalayan landscapes, Buddhist monasteries, frozen lakes and rivers. The temperature ranges between 0 degrees Celsius and 15 degrees Celsius.

Indus zanskar Confluence Ladakh
Indus zanskar Confluence Ladakh

The Best Trekking Expeditions in Ladakh
To escape from mundane life and crowd, the Himalayas are the best place to please your heart and soul. If you’re heading to the Himalayas, then do not resist yourself from undertaking new adventure and thrill activities at higher altitudes. Hiking in the mountainous region requires a lot of courage, will and attention.

Here are the two most popular treks that one should add to the list of trekking while planning a trip to Ladakh.

Stok Kangri Trek

Duration: 10 days
Grade: Difficult
Max Altitude: 6120 m
Approx Trekking: 40 km
Airport: Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport, Leh
Route: Leh>Changma>Mankorma>Spituk>Stok Kangri>Leh
Best Time to visit: June to September (-2 °C to 15 °C)

Stok Palace
Stok Palace

Situated in the Hemis National Park and the Stok Range of Himalayas, Stok Kangri is one of the highest mountain peaks in the world. On the way to the summit, the trail passes through the rustic hamlets built in traditional style, glacial pools, frozen streams and snowy landscape. Visiting vibrant small markets, meeting locals and peeking into their lifestyle is a unique experience in itself. The trail offers a 360-degrees view of grand Stok and Yissay peaks, and Zanskar and the Karakoram ranges, against the white dancing clouds. The trek is quite challenging, as it involves brook crossings, slippery slopes, long hour walks and sharp ascents and descents.

It is a place where one can experience an ideal amalgam of natural exquisiteness with cultural splendor. The sight of large moraines, crystal crests and the lofty peak of Mt. K2 is just breathtaking. Before starting the trek, there is a need to get acclimatized with the harsh weather conditions and surroundings of the place. In the initial days of trekking, explore Stok Palace, museums, forts, monasteries and local markets. The mission to reach Stok will be accomplished after crossing Chang Ma and Mankorma.

This trek is a must-try for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts.  

Markha Valley Trek

Duration: 9 days
Grade: Moderate to difficult
Max Altitude: 5130 m
Approx Trekking: 75 km
Airport: Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport, Leh
Route: Leh>Spituk >Zingchen>Yuruste>Ganda La>Skiu>Markha>Thachungtse>Nimalingmaling >Kongmaru La>Shang Sumdo>Leh
Best Time to visit: June to September (2 °C to 12 °C)

markha

Surrounded by the towering and snow-covered mountains, the Markha Valley trek is one of the most alluring regions and preferred treks in Ladakh. The tributary of the River Zanskar flows in the beautiful village called Markha. The 9-day trek passes through the unexplored beauty of Hemis National Park and Gandala La and Kongmaru La passes. This trek will take you to the last village of the region, and also gives you a chance to enjoy rare sights of wildlife, such as the bear and snow leopard. The trekking expedition starts with acclimatization that helps you in getting familiarized with the surroundings. Later, you will head for sightseeing in Leh to get a glimpse of Ladakhi culture and Buddhists tradition. 

Under the glittery sky and amidst the gushing river, camping in Yurutse is a delight for trekkers’ eyes and soul. One will come to a dazzling sight of Zanskar Range after reaching Ganda La. The sight of convergence of three rivers at Skiu and Kangyatze Peak is a feast to trekker’s eyes. On your way to Markha, which is 6 km from the Skiu, you will come across several stunning streams.

How to reach Ladakh?

Ladakh on a motorbike expedition is a fantastic idea!
Ladakh on a motorbike expedition is a fantastic idea!

Those who are planning to visit the Moonland called Ladakh can reach there by flight, bike, jeep, bus or train.

Travelling by Bike : It is well said that for a bike rider nothing could be better than chasing the roads of Ladakh! To enjoy the surroundings of the scenic environment of this cold desert, one should undertake this trip on a bike. Bike ride to Ladakh is something which you will cherish for a lifetime. Srinagar and Manali are the two spots from where the routes lead to Ladakh. To witness the true majesty of Mother Nature’s creation, the road trip is a must-try.

Train Journey : The closest railway station to Ladakh is Jammu Tawi, which is around 700 km from Ladakh. One can hire a taxi or bus from there to reach Ladakh.

By air : The nearest airport to reach Ladakh is Leh Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport. The airport is connected to and from Delhi, Jammu, Srinagar, Chandigarh, etc.

By road : Ladakh is well-connected with Srinagar and Jammu by roads. There are two routes that lead to Ladakh – one is from Srinagar via Zoji La Pass, and the other is Manali via Rohtang Pass.

ladakh shutterstock_1873033_txzmh

Ladakh is a must for you if you want to write your own travel journey on the roads that take you to the doors of heaven.

A vale bounded by the ranges of Pir Panjal and the great Himalayas, Kashmir is filled with the pristine beauty for which it aptly owes the title of ‘Paradise on Earth.’ With its ideal geographical position and scenic topography, the place offers several trekking options to the visitors. Located above Sonmarg on the Srinagar-Leh highway, the Kashmir Great Lakes trek tops the list of the best moderate treks in Kashmir as it offers the awe-inspiring vistas of the rustic nature.

It is often believed that the true beauty of nature lies in the lush-green isolated places that are not accessible by roads. And surprisingly, the Kashmir Great Lakes, which includes alpine lakes, meadows and exotic flora and fauna, also remained unknown for years. Many of these beautiful lakes have interesting stories behind their formation and existence, besides being named after Hindu gods.

A drive through heaven on earth - Kashmir
A drive through heaven on earth – Kashmir

Some of the stunning lakes covered during the trek include Krishnasar, Gangabal, Gadsar and Vishansar. A magical view of ice sheets sliding off from the glaciers and feeding the alpine lakes is truly a feast for the eyes. And the icing on the cake is the sight of milky white ice sheet floating on the sapphire lakes.

Mobile market on the Dal Lake in Srinagar
Mobile market on the Dal Lake in Srinagar
  • Get a chance to explore five stunning glacial lakes situated at higher altitudes
  • Know about Kashmiri lifestyle, culture and traditions
  • Enjoy lip-smacking authentic delicacies of Kashmir
  • Witness a sight of snow-capped mountains along with the exotic wildlife
  • Spend a night in the camp, which is set aside the cold blue lake and under the glittery sky
  • An encounter with herders and their livestock,  including cattle and goats
  • Walk on the sharp gradient and pasture land with snow patches
  • Follow a trail that passes through green meadows, crystal clear glaciers, rocky barren land and gushing streams

Best time to plan your visit: April to October is considered as the best time to undertake the Kashmir Great Lakes trek. At this time, the pleasant weather allows you to witness the charming mountains and the beautiful valley. The average temperature during these months ranges from 17°C to 20°C in daytime and 3°C to 4°C at night.

Region: Jammu and Kashmir
Duration: 8 days
Altitude: 4206.24 m
Trekking distance: 63 km
Difficulty level: Moderate
Minimum age: 10 years
Starting Point: Sonmarg
Ending Point: Naranag
Railway Station: Srinagar railway station
Airport: Sheikh ul-Alam International Airport

Kashmir Great Lakes

A Quick Recap of Elevation Points
The trek will begin from the mesmerising hill station of Sonmarg to Nichnai (3505 m). The trail goes through the dense forests, beautiful streams and enchanting valley encompassing green pasture land. Hiking through the rough and rocky terrain, the next stop will be Vishansar Lake (3657 m). The terrain will take you to Gadsar (3657 m) via Krishansar Lake and Gadsar Pass (4192 m). Next day, while enjoying breathtaking views of mountains, hike through steep slopes and rough mountainous region to reach Satsar (3657 m). Follow the course that goes through the coniferous forest to arrive at Gangabal Twin Lakes (3503 m). On the last day of expedition, descend to reach a rustic hamlet called Naranag (2270 m).

Trekking through the Sublime Beauty of Kashmir Lakes
Being an admirer of nature and its enchanting beauty, the Kashmir Great Lakes trek gave me lifetime memories of splendid nature residing in the abode of Sonmarg Valley. The trek is known for reflecting an astonishing contrast in the landscape that begins from lush green valleys and ends at the semi-arid and cold region of Naranag. A walk through dazzling meadows, alpine forests, grassland and glaciers made my journey truly enthralling and exciting.

After comprehensive research, I planned the trek with my childhood friends and booked our flights to Srinagar and then we packed our bags with all the necessary equipment like trekking pole and shoes.

Day 1: Reach Srinagar and then Drive from Srinagar to Sonmarg
We boarded a flight from Delhi to Srinagar at 9 am from Indira Gandhi International Airport. After enjoying a stunning view of sun amidst the floating clouds, we reached Srinagar in 1 hour and 15 minutes. Our guide was waiting for us at the arrival hall. He greeted us with a bouquet and said Khush Aamdeed, which means you’re welcome. From there, we left for Sonmarg and reached there in next 2 hours. The place is famous for lush green meadows and is said to be the last Kashmiri town on the way to Ladakh.

High-angle shot of Sonmarg village
High-angle shot of Sonmarg village

We reached our guesthouse by the afternoon. After gorging on a refreshing hot cup of Kashmiri tea called kahwah with snacks, we were briefed about the trek by our tour representative. In the evening, we took a stroll in the town and found some singers who were singing melodious folk songs. Despite being unaware of the language, every word of that folk song was falling on my ears like a magic that was taking me to the ancient times. We clicked pictures with these women and also played pithoo with the children. At night, we were served delicious Kashmiri thali in dinner.

Day 2: Trek from Sonmarg to Nichnai
We got up at around 6 in the morning. After breakfast, we were driven to Nichnai, which was situated just a few kilometres away from Sonmarg. In 35 minutes, we reached a point from where we had to start our trekking expedition. Initially, the trek was a steep climb up to a place called Table Top. While hiking, our eyes were able to catch the magnificent views of the famous Sonmarg glaciers and the valley in the background. It was our first day of trekking and climbing in an upward direction wasn’t an easy task for us, as many of us had started facing breathing issues.

But thankfully, we encountered a dhaba (eatery) at Table Top, which is run by a beautiful Kashmiri couple. We spent around 20 minutes there and had a cup of tea and snacks. And, it literally gave us the much-needed energy. From here, the trail also turned gradual as we entered a valley of birch trees. We reached Nichnai at 2.30 pm and found that a beautiful campsite next to a stream was arranged for us. We quickly settled down in our tents as we were about to get some tea, pakoras (fritters) and Maggi noodles. We spent a night in the camp.

Day 3: Nichnai to Vishansar Lake | Day 4: Acclimatization
Next day, we hiked for around 30 minutes, following a stream next to our campsite. The steep path later led to alpine grasslands. After an hour, we encountered a small glacial lake, where we captured several pictures. Thereafter, we crossed a stream of River Beas and then ascended towards the Nichnai Pass. We kept resting after every hour.

Later, we descended towards a beautiful meadow that took us to Vishansar Lake. It was such a big and beautiful lake, which is named after Lord Vishnu. We also enjoyed a sight of the majestic glaciers that feed this lake. As it was important for us to acclimatize before heading upward, another day was also spent in a campsite set aside Vishansar Lake.

Day 5: Trek from Vishansar Lake to Gadsar via Krishnasar
If you ever try this trek, this is going to be the longest and prettiest day on this trek. After crossing Vishansar, we steadily ascend towards Krishnasar, which is the second beautiful lake on this journey. This lake is named after Lord Krishna. Notably, our guide told us that scientists have classified these lakes as oligotrophic lakes, which mean these lakes have higher levels of oxygen and less organic content; making it perfect for drinking. After crossing this stunning lake, we climbed towards Gadsar Pass.

Now, the most difficult part of the journey began as the trail challenged us both mentally and physically. While trekking, we had energy drinks and bars. Gradually, after a walk of about 2 hours, we were able to see dazzling Vishansar Lake. Later, we crossed Gadsar Pass and descended towards Gadsar Lake. The course passed through the beautiful grassland filled with vibrant wildflowers. That day we were quite lucky as we saw Himalayan Marmots too. The dazzling view of Gadsar Lake with glacier and wildflowers in the background is breathtaking. We reached Gadsar Lake by the late afternoon. The best part about this journey was that we got a chance to spend a night in an Indian Army Camp.

Day 06: Gadsar to Satsar
It was a day when we all were ready to start our expedition to Satsa which was located about 10 km from the military camp. We walked on a sloppy land and crossed a river and then ascended to the heavenly mountains. On the way, we found apple and walnut orchards and of course, we plucked some to eat. After 2 hours, we arrived at mountainous grassland, which was surrounded by lofty mountain peaks. Now, we had to take a permit from the army to hike deeper as an army check post was located there. After getting the permission, we reached a stunning glacial water body called Satsar Lake.

Day 07: Satsar to Gangabal Twin Lakes
We woke up to a dazzling view of sunrise and after heavy breakfast, we moved ahead on the 9-hour expedition. We crossed a rocky terrain and ascended to a valley from where we could see the striking Mt. Harmukh. This mountain is said to be the abode of Lord Shiva and it is believed that no human feet can touch the Harmukh Summit. Later, we entered a dense forest of pine and oak trees, where we captured the sight of beautiful birds in our camera. We passed through around three ridges and gradually the course became sharp and rocky. Also, we met a few locals here who came to the hilltop from the nearby village with their cattle. In next four hours, we arrived at Nundkhol Lake and walked further for 30 minutes to reach Gangabal Lake. This lake is named after the River Ganges and is considered sacred to Kashmiri Pandits.

Day 08: Gangabal to Naranag | Drive towards Srinagar
The last day of this beautiful expedition started from Lake Gangabal to Naranag. The path going along the lake entered a green landscape dotted with yellow flowers. We walked around 2 hours in the forest and then descended to the village of Naranag. Following the stony trail, we finally reached the picturesque village and visited a Lord Shiva temple, which was built by the Kashmiri ruler of the 8th century, Lalithdatiya Muktadiya. Later, we boarded a taxi and went back to Srinagar, which was around 2 km far from here.

kashmir

Apart from providing a beautiful sight of the Kashmir Great Lakes, this expedition surely has a lot more to offer. A lovely meeting with the locals, listening beautiful folk songs from them and knowing about their socio-cultural lifestyle was a lifetime experience.

Known for high-altitude trekking at 15250 ft, Rupin Pass trek offers absolute excitement and thrill to the adventure lovers. The picturesque trek begins and ends at the “Lands of Gods”, including Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh. So, naturally, the pristine beauty of the scenic landscapes on this trek are pure bliss for the ones who love a rendezvous with nature.

On this venture, a trekker gets a chance to pass through rustic hamlets, lush green pasturelands, suspension bridges, dense forests, stunning rivers, and gushing streams and waterfalls. 

  • Pass through two stunning Himalayan villages, including Jhanka and Mori, which are positioned on the hilltop
  • Walking through the dense forests of oak, pine and rhododendron in the Govind National Park
  • Feast your eyes on the exotic sights of rare Himalayan flora and fauna
  • Explore the culture and tradition of hill people
  • Crossing suspension and snow bridges enhances excitement and trekkers can feel the adrenaline rush
  • Waterfalls at such a height would make you feel that the almighty is pouring down the holy water from the blue sky
  • Offer prayers at Kinnaur Temple and Pokhu Devta, situated at the confluence of the rivers Rupin and Supin
  • Get lost in the mesmerizing beauty of the lofty Kailash Peak and snow-capped mountains
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Trek through forests that are beginning to autumn in the post-monsoon season

Best Time to Head to Rupin Pass: The Rupin Pass trek can be undertaken in two seasons, one in summer, i.e., from May to June and another in the post-monsoon season, i.e., September and October. Notably, summer experiences heavy snowfall, while in the post-monsoon season the landscape turns green and the weather becomes clear. However, the grass starts turning golden from the end of October, referring to the arrival of winters. The average temperature in Rupin Pass ranges from 13°C to 18°C in daytime and from 0°C to 7°C at night.

Rupin Pass: A Glimpse of My Long Journey To The ‘Land of Gods’

Region – Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh
Duration – 8 Days
Grade – Moderate to Difficult
Max Altitude – 15250 ft
Distance – 52 km
Being one of the most adventurous and beautiful trails, the Rupin Pass trek is known for showcasing a breathtaking contrast in the green and snow-covered landscapes. The trail is admired for its awe-inspiring beauty and appealing charm. A walk through the valley, encompassing exquisite flora and fauna, is a unique experience in itself. A panoramic sight of the River Tons and the Kailash Peak makes this journey, the most memorable experience.

After a relaxing journey of 2 hours on a flight from Delhi to Dehradun, I reached Jolly Grant Airport at 8 am. I met my guide and trek mates outside the airport. We all introduced ourselves to each other. As we were a group of 15 people, our guide had arranged three Tata Sumos for us. After boarding our respective vehicles, the beautiful journey began on the hilly road with greenery all over.

We gorged on a glass of lassi (buttermilk) and aloo-pyaaz parathas (bread stuffed with mashed potatoes and chopped onions) with butter at a dhaba (roadside eatery). Then, our vehicles halted at Mori to offer prayers to Lord Pokhu (god of law and order) at Pokhu temple, which is a beautiful wooden temple in the village of Netwar. The temple is also known as the point of confluence of rivers Supin and Rupin, and the origin base of River Tons.

Moving ahead, the trail passed through some spectacular views of hills and it took us around 7 hours to reach Dhaula via Mussorie. Situated in the Uttarkashi district, Dhaula was the base camp of our trek. After relaxing for two hours at the base camp, our guide briefed us with the detailed itinerary and routes. He also handed over a map of the 8-day trek to every trekker. After dinner, we spent a night in the camp.

Next day, I woke up to a stunning sight of sunrise and after that, we all were asked to do warm up and some flexibility exercises. Later, the adventurous Rupin Pass trek from Dhaula to Seva began. The trail passed through rustic hamlets, fragrant apricot and apple orchards and suspension bridges over the River Rupin. On our way, we found a small shop ran by a Pahadi couple who were selling tea and biscuits. We could not resist and had a hot cup of tea along with some light snacks. Later, we walked through the dense forest and pastureland for about 3 hours and we also kept taking rest after every hour.

rupinsupin8

Meanwhile, the gushing sound of rivers and streams was falling as a well-composed melody on my ears. On reaching our destination, we came across a stunning temple known for its Kinnauri traditions. We hiked for 10 minutes and reached a bridge which connects Uttarakhand to Himachal Pradesh. We crossed that suspension bridge and arrived at Seva where we set up our camps aside the river stream.  

On day 3, we entered the thick rhododendron forest and after walking for around 2 hours, we crossed a wooden bridge called ‘No man’s Place’. Our guide told us that this is because the bridge does not belong to any state. We first arrived at Gosangu, and from there we continued walking to Kwar and reached Jiksun in the next two hours. We had energy drinks and bars on our way to Jiksun. We stayed at Jiksun for around 20 minutes and captured stunning views of the valley and snow-capped mountains in our cameras. Gradually, we reached Jhaka Village after a walk of 1 hour.

The picturesque Rupin Pass Trek
Enjoy the lushness of nature on the picturesque Rupin Pass Trek

Trekking became difficult as the trail towards a tributary of the main river turned steeper and demanding. The lush greenery of the forest and a beautiful sight of snowfields kept us motivated. We crossed the snow bridge that leads to a forest of rhododendron. Further, a walk of 1 hour took us to the campsite of Saruwas Thatch. From here, we enjoyed a stunning sight of the Rupin waterfall.

The next day, we began trekking after having breakfast. We went through pictorial and dense maple and blue pine forests. We walked for around 1 hour and then we descended towards a river to cross a bridge to reach the other side. The forest comprised of silver birch, rhododendrons and alpine meadows. Here, my eyes enjoyed a magnificent vista of the bright colors of the wildflowers including Himalayan daisy, lily and blue poppies. Further, we reached Dhanderas Thatch after 6 hours.

Next morning, we all hiked on the patches of snow to reach Upper Waterfall Camp. I captured the views of land filled with blooming marigold flowers. After an easy walk for 3 hours, we reached the campsite and relaxed there for the night.

As per my experience, day 7 was the most-challenging trail of this trekking journey as the path was less wide and had a high angle of ascent. Even the trail became narrow and slippery. And, it was hiking for a total of 10 hours. On reaching the summit, we enjoyed the impressive views of the Kinnaur Kailash Range. We clicked several group pictures and selfies here. We spent around 1 hour at the top and then descended towards alpine meadows and arrived at Ronti Gad for an overnight stay.

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

Next morning, we descended toward Sangla, and with a decline in elevation, the trail grew steeper. We maintained a good pace and were moving carefully.  It took us around 6 hours to reach Sangla. Here, we spoke to locals and tried to get an essence of their local festivities and culture. We also clicked several pictures with them. Around 5 pm on the same day, we came to Shimla in a taxi.

Here’s what you should definitely pack…

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

ATM Facility and Mobile Connectivity: In case, a person is running short of cash on the way to Dhaula from Dehradun, there is a place called Purola which has an ATM. Mobile network of BSNL, Vodafone and Airtel are available only at three places namely Dhaula and Jiskun and Sangla.

Porter and Pony Facility: Pony and porter facilities are available at Dhaula and even at several other points that you will be crossing during your expedition. You can avail this service at a reasonable price and all your luggage would be carried by the porter and pony. Further, it would help you to maintain a good pace at high altitudes.

Must-carry Documents: A trekker is required to carry an identification proof, such as driving license or voter ID, passport along with a photo, and a medical certificate ensuring fitness for the trek. Moreover, a disclaimer certificate stating voluntary participation in the trekking expedition to Rupin Pass is a must.

Some Tips To Make Your Rupin Pass Trek A Success

  • Always pay heed to the advice given by the instructor
  • Avoid alcohol consumption and other intoxicants during the trek
  • Never take shortcuts and don’t start your trek after sunset
  • Don’t litter the beautiful site and respect nature
  • Capture as many pictures as you can
  • Value the culture and traditions of locals, greet them with a smile
  • Don’t try to compete with fellow trekkers, just set your own pace

This adventurous yet beautiful trek gave me a gamut of experiences from fear to courage and of course, a sense of achievement. It was truly a lifetime experience for me. I must say that this trek is mandatory for those whose eyes are looking to explore the mesmerising beauty of the great Himalayas.