Somewhat incorrectly known as the Pink City, Jaipur is one of those places which offer a unique experience for all kinds of travellers.  Founded way back in 1727, the city, over the last few decades, has become a major tourist destination hosting visitors from all the different corners of the world. Although a major chunk of travellers visit the city to explore the centuries-old monuments and the state-of-the-art museums, there is a plethora of other experiences that one might indulge in. The state capital of Rajasthan is known as much as for its glorious architecture and historic structures as it is for its decades-old handloom markets and richly diverse food. Apart from its historic relevance, the city has also gained immense popularity as a global hub for cultural and literary gatherings, making it all the more prominent amongst international travellers.

Explore Hot Air Balloon Rides at Jaipur


Being one of the most well known historical cities in all of India, Jaipur would always be the first choice for a school trip for folks in North/Central India, including mine. It was during one of those trips, that I developed a fondness for the city and kept travelling there rather frequently as it was just a four-hour drive from my place in rural Gurgaon. Now, as much as I enjoyed frequenting the city’s touristy sights, I would always try and seek out novel experiences. That would mean – trying out a new restaurant, discovering a new sunset-spot, checking out an authentic Manganiars music gig etc. But even after exploring most of what the city had to offer, I still felt eluded of that one extraordinary experience that was completely unmatchable to anything I’d already done.

Explore Hot Air Ballooning in Rajasthan


Although it took several visits, I did, eventually, end up having that experience on my most recent visit to the city during the autumn of 2019. That experience was floating over the Pink City in a tiny wooden basket – yes, I’m referring to a Hot Air Balloon ride. The activity was first introduced to Jaipur a few years ago and since then it has become a major attraction for people looking to explore the city’s surroundings in a unique manner. Of course, the idea of catching a bird’s eye view of the already-so familiar-landscape always seemed very enticing to me so I, along with a few of my colleagues at Adventure Nation, decided to drive to Jaipur in Sep-19 to encounter that thrill and tick that item off my bucket list. So, here goes!

Know more about Hot Air Ballooning in India


Sep 21st – With Wake Me Up by Avicii playing on the radio, we hit the road on a pleasant Saturday morning. The four-hour ride from Gurgaon was quite uneventful as we managed to cruise through our entire journey with just a couple of loo breaks. By the time we arrived at our hotel, the pleasant morning had turned into a lousy afternoon and the mutual agreement was to have a quick lunch at a lovely little restaurant nearby and then nap for a couple of hours. Yeah, we drove four hours to take an afternoon nap in a hotel room!

Must Read: Reasons To Go On a Hot Air Balloon Ride in Jaipur!


A quick shower and we were all set to visit my favourite place in the city – The Nahargarh Fort. Driving uphill on the gorgeous Aravalli terrain with sun setting behind the dense grove of trees – the Ralph Waldo Emerson saying ‘It’s not the destination, it’s the journey’ never felt more accurate. In all fairness, the destination wasn’t all the bad either. The fort, overlooking the entire city, is a marvellous piece of architecture and engineering. During the dusk hour, the panoramic view of the city from the top of the fort was just mesmerizing. The entire city seemed to be basking in the glory of the starry landscape that the thousands of lights had created. After a couple of drinks at the rooftop cafe, we made our way back to the hotel. Although dinner was a low-key affair at the hotel restaurant, the after-dinner-walk on the scenic Jal Mahal walkway took its sweet time. It drizzled a little during our walk which only made the night more beautiful. Against our wish, we had to call it a night around just after midnight for what awaited us the next day had to be commenced before dawn.

Must Read: Hot Air Ballooning – Fun Facts!


A few alarm snoozes and we were up and running. We were picked-up from the hotel around four thirty and were driven to the take-off site which was a secluded open area behind the well known Amber Fort. Until now, all I had anticipated was a big balloon taking us up and then down but after arriving at the take-off site I realized that there was more to it. After getting acquainted with one another, our pilot did a wind-test to check whether it was safe to fly or not. Fortunately, the weather was ideal for flying. Imagine what a shame it would have been had the weather played its dirty little tricks that morning.


While sipping our teas and coffees, we watched the balloons getting inflated which, I must say, was rather exciting (and noisy). The massive carpet like stuff soon developed into a towering balloon shape structure which was going to be our ride into the clouds! The inflation process was followed by a thorough safety briefing by our pilot. Post the briefing, we were taken to our respective balloons and the boarding process started to begin. Although there are various kinds of baskets having the accommodation capacity ranging from two people to a group of twenty people, we were assigned with a small-sized basket that could accommodate up to eight people at one point in time. That worked out perfectly for us as I occupied one section of the basket along with my three buddies. Another group of people had settled in the other section of the basket while our Australian pilot took a firm stance in the centre.


It was time for action. The first major burst of the propane burner and we slowly started gaining some altitude. Although the burner sound was a little loud, it wasn’t distracting enough to startle any of us as we admired the sheer ease with which the balloon kept getting us higher every passing second. A few minutes into the flight and we were already floating high enough to sight the extraordinary Amber Fort on our right. Although we could only see a portion of the enormous structure, it looked absolutely terrific from up above. No wonder, even half-decent drone shots look amazing!

A few minutes into the flight and we started floating away from the densely populated zone to the gorgeous countryside of the city’s surrounding areas. As we moved deeper into the countryside, the landscape kept getting greener and prettier. Although it was mid-September, there was a nip in the early morning air, probably because of the two thousand feet altitude that we were flying at.


Oh the conditions today are probably the best I’ve seen since I’ve started flying in India’ replied our pilot in a thick Victorian accent, after someone from the other group had asked him about the weather that day. It really was a serene morning and the visibility was just phenomenal. While our seasoned pilot was sharing his experience of Hot Air Balloon-ing all over the world, the sun started to peek from behind the Aravallis and it just enhanced the entire experience by a hundred folds. Now, everyone who knows me is well-aware of my love for sunsets but that sunrise filled, inside me, a transcendental energy that I had never experienced before. It was surreal!


Just half-way into our ride and we had already flown over several scenic villages. While flying over a tiny village, our pilot made sure that we flew relatively lower so that we could catch a glimpse of the rural-life. Surely, the people on-board wanted to witness the villagers go by their business, but the folks on ground seemed more excited, after spotting a giant balloon flying over their terrace. Every member of the household, including the young and the elderly, came out in the open and waived at us. We waived back at them with both our hands and all our might. Even the cows were mooing, but we couldn’t be sure whether they were saying howdy or telling us to fly away from their property. My city-friends got rather animated after spotting a herd of sheep in someone’s backyard. I ignored them.


After cruising through for almost an hour, it was time to land. ‘What’s the landing location?’ I asked the pilot, expecting him to point me towards a specific location. His response, ‘Oh, let me figure it out’ was quite interesting I must say. Although a bunch of villagers were very welcoming in asking (read screaming from way down) us to land in their respective fields, the pilot had to make sure that the location fulfilled the criteria. While searching for the ideal landing spot, we were being tracked by the vehicles that would eventually be our ride back to the hotel. So after flying low for a couple of minutes, we managed to land on a wide-open ground with no trees and a village road within close proximity. Customary pictures were clicked as we got our first flight certificates from our pilot. I gave my certificate to a village kid as he wanted a picture with that but for some strange reason I never took it back. Good for him I suppose. The selfies, clicked by my friends, were already getting posted on social media as we strolled towards the SUV, parked less than a hundred metres away.


Absolutely beat because of the hectic twenty-four hours that we’d had, all four of us slept throughout the sixty-minute ride back to the hotel. It was only after some coffee went down my throat that I realised what a monumental morning it had been. ‘Lifetime Experience’ is a phrase that, I feel, gets loosely thrown around by people, but it truly felt that way for me. We ate our way throughout the breakfast buffet and checked-out a little later. As, I Want To Break Free by Queen played on the radio, we started making our way back home.


Note – Although this is the perfect adventure for a group of friends or family, you would definitely have a far more satisfying experience if the people around you aren’t always snapping pictures and video-chatting with their folks back home, while you’re trying to witness that majestic sunrise.

September is definitely one of the best times to experience the true essence of the Himalayas. The monsoons are almost over and all you see around is lush green landscapes releasing misty fragrances. It’s during this time that the snow is almost completely melted, even on the high peaks, and you can actually catch sight of the entire mountain from the base till the summit. Sometimes, during the day, the fluffy clouds flow down so low that you are able to walk through them and catch a glimpse of what is beyond those clouds. And on clear nights, you can just look outside your tent and just be amazed at all the gleaming stars that shine to give you that galactic experience!

Exciting Treks in September – Click Here to Explore!

Now as pleasant and refreshing the weather is during September, it’s not the most popular time to go for a trek in the Himalayas. When I came to think of it, I could not really find any particular reason for that. So I decided to speak to a lot of fellow trekkers and mountain lovers to find out that reason. After having a chat with a bunch of folks, I came to a conclusion that no one really had any substantial reason as to why not go trekking in the Himalayas during September. The most common thread that I could gather up was that the trails are wet and slippery and there are chances of landslides. Now all those things are true. Hiking on slippery trails could be a bit dangerous but that doesn’t take away from the fact that it also becomes more adventurous and fun. Surely you are going to have a couple of clumsy falls while climbing down, but in the true spirit of adventure, you are going to shrug that mud off your back and continue hiking to your destination. And that’s what trekking is all about, right?! So trust your instincts and plan that autumn trek in the mighty Himalayas.

Must Read: Best Monsoon Treks in the Himalayas

To make it easy for you to decide, I’ve listed down some of the most popular treks for the month of September, below.

Best Himalayan Treks in September

1. Har Ki Doon Trek

Har Ki Doon

  • Maximum Altitude – 3550m/11650ft
  • Region – Garhwal (Uttarakhand)
  • Grade – Moderate
  • Duration – 6N/7D (Ex. Dehradun)

One of my absolute favourites, Har Ki Doon Trek has the distinction of being one of the oldest trekking trails in India. The valley is located in the high altitude region of Garhwal and is a part of the Govind Ballabh Pant National Park. Sankri serves as the base camp for the trek and from there it usually takes around four days to hike to the valley and back. The most enticing feature of this valley is the unspoilt dense forests and the riverside camping which offers a blissful experience for nature lovers, bird watchers and shutterbugs. An after monsoon trek to the Har Ki Doon valley is highly recommended for both, the experienced and the beginners.

Explore Har Ki Doon Trek

2. Indrahar Pass Trek

Indrahar Pass Trek

  • Maximum Altitude – 4342m/14245ft
  • Region – Mcleod Ganj (Himachal Pradesh)
  • Grade – Moderate
  • Duration – 3N/4D (Ex. Mcleod Ganj)

Located at a high altitude of more than 14000 ft, Indrahar Pass lies in the Dhauladhar Ranges of Himachal Pradesh. Due to the high altitude, the pass is covered in snow from October to April which makes it difficult to trek to the top. And during the peak monsoons also it’s not the best place to go hiking due to the heavy rainfall, thus leaving trekkers only a handful of months (including September) to trek here. The trek takes you through some of the prettiest landscapes in the Dhauladhar ranges covered with dense forests of cedar and rhododendron trees. During the trek, you even get a chance to hike to a glacier known as Laka Got.

Explore Indrahar Pass Trek

3. Beas Kund Trek

Beas Kund Trek

  • Maximum Altitude – 3700m/12140ft
  • Region – Manali (Himachal Pradesh)
  • Grade – Moderate
  • Duration – 2N/3D (Ex. Manali)

Beas Kund, a small alpine lake, is the source of Beas River that flows through the entire Kullu Valley in the state of Himachal Pradesh. During autumn, this is one of the most popular treks to do around Manali due to the fact that the weather is absolutely clear and you can locate peaks such as the Friendship Peak, Ladakhi Peak and hanuman Tibba. The trail is filled with a heap of boulders and makes for a terrific spot for photography. During the trek, you will be camping in one of the most scenic campsites in the entire Himalayas, and that is one of the many reasons this is an extremely popular trek in the area.

Explore Beas Kund Trek

4. Valley of Flowers and Hemkund Sahib Trek

valley of flowers

  • Maximum Altitude – 4600m/15090ft
  • Region – Joshimath (Uttarakhand)
  • Grade – Easy to Moderate
  • Duration – 5N/6D (Ex. Haridwar)

One of the most popular treks during the monsoon, Valley of Flowers is also one of the most beautiful places to visit in the Himalayas. Located in the remote Chamoli area, it is an Indian National Park known for its stunning meadows and the variety of flora. During the monsoons, hundreds of unique varieties of flowers bloom in this region and the entire valley looks like a watercolour painting on a colourful canvas. One of the other reasons this treks is very popular is the fact that one gets to trek to one of the highest located Gurudwaras in the world – Hemkund Sahib. Although one is advised to plan this trek in the first half of September as the unique variety of flowers are on full bloom during this time.

Explore Valley of Flowers Trek

5. Hampta Pass Trek with Chandratal Lake

Hampta Pass with Chandrataal

  • Maximum Altitude – 4270m/14009ft
  • Region – Manali (Himachal Pradesh)
  • Grade – Moderate
  • Duration – 5N/6D (Ex. Manali)

Although it’s open only for a few months, Hampta Pass is one of the most trekked mountain passes in the entire Himachal Pradesh. Technically located in the Pir Panjal range, Hampta Pass acts as a passage between Lahaul’s Chandra Valley and the Kullu Valley. During the expedition, you will be spending the night at some of the prettiest campsites in this part of the Himalayas. Another reason of its popularity is its proximity to the shimmering blue lake known as Chandratal Lake which is located at a high altitude of 4250m and can be driven to. During September, the weather remains rather pleasant but you should be prepared for a couple of cold nights.

Explore Hampta Pass Trek

6. Markha Valley Trek

Markha Valley

  • Maximum Altitude – 4270m/14009ft
  • Region – Ladakh
  • Grade – Moderate to Challenging
  • Duration – 8N/9D (Ex. Leh)

A tributary of the Zanskar River in Ladakh, Markha River originates at the junction of Langtang Chu and Nimaling Chu. The barren land that the river flows through is known as the Markha Valley. During the trek, one gets to hike through some of the remotest mountain villages in the entire Himalayas. Since the trail goes through Hemis National Park, one gets a chance of sighting some the rarely seen animal species such as the snow leopard. All along the trek, one also has an amazing view of the Kang Yatse which is one of the highest mountain peaks in the entire region. Being a challenging trek, one is advised to prepare for a few weeks before going on this expedition.

Explore Markha Valley Trek

7. Nag Tibba Trek

Nag Tibba

  • Maximum Altitude – 3050m/10000ft
  • Region – Tehri Garhwal (Uttarakhand)
  • Grade – Easy
  • Duration – 1N/2D (Ex. Dehradun)

Ideal for a weekend trip to the mountains, Nag Tibba Trek offers a legitimate Himalayan trekking experience in a span of just two days. Anyone travelling from Delhi can just travel overnight to Pantwari village in Tehri and start the trek in the same afternoon. The hike from Pantwari to Nag Tibba base is rather easy and doesn’t take more than four hours. An early start on the next day will make sure you reach the top and be back in Pantwari by three in the afternoon. The short trek is absolutely perfect for beginners and for people wanting to give their kids their first trekking experience.

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8. Everest Base Camp Trek

Everest Base Camp trek

  • Maximum Altitude – 5500m/18045ft
  • Region – Sagarmatha (Nepal)
  • Grade – Difficult
  • Duration – 13N/14D (Ex. Kathmandu)

Although Everest Base Camp Trek (EBC) has the word Everest in it which makes it sound like a daunting task, it’s really not that difficult a trek. Anyone carrying a few high altitude trek experience can plan this expedition after putting in a couple of months of physical training. One unique thing about trekking to the EBC is the fact that instead of camping in really harsh conditions you will be staying at comfortable tea houses (guesthouse) throughout the trek. Besides the surreal trekking experience, you will also have an exhilarating experience during the adventurous Lukla flight. And of course, you will get to see some of the highest mountain peaks on the planet such as Mt Everest, Mt Lhotse and Mt Makalu among others.

Explore Everest Base Camp Trek

There are plenty of other treks that you can go on during this time but I’ve put together the list basis various factors and a bunch of my experiences. So beat that scepticism and plan that Himalayan trek in September!


Trekking during the harsh Himalayan winters is not the most comfortable adventure to pursue, but it has its takers. From walking in knee-deep snow to regular snowfall sessions, trekking in the month of January offers constant thrills. Although the weather can be biting cold with temperature hitting as low as negative thirty degree Celsius in some places, the milky-white landscape makes it all worthwhile.

Explore Popular Treks in the Himalayas

Due to the inaccessibility of a few high altitude passes, many treks in the state of Himachal Pradesh are not operational in the winters but Uttarakhand, on the other hand, offers plenty of options for snow treks. Over the last few years, Ladakh has also gotten quite popular as a winter trekking destination.

Explore Exciting Winter Treks in India

As hard as it may have been to compile, I’ve tried to put together a list below, of the best treks in the Himalayas in the month of January.

12 Best Himalayan Treks in January

1. Chadar Frozen River Trek

  • Maximum Altitude – 3500m/11480ft
  • Region – Zanskar (Ladakh)
  • Grade – Moderate to Difficult
  • Duration – 8N/9D (Ex. Leh)


One of a kind, Chadar Trek offers an experience matched by no other trek in the country. It derives its name from the word Chadar (Sheet), which is referred to the sheet of ice i.e. the Zanskar River which gets frozen in winters due to sub zero temperatures. Located in one of the coldest and uninhabitable places on earth, this trek gives an opportunity for one to walk on a frozen river and even locate frozen waterfalls. Although the hike itself is not so much treacherous, walking on thin ice makes is a challenging and exhilarating experience.

Explore Chadar Trek

2. Kedarkantha Trek

  • Maximum Altitude – 3810m/12500ft
  • Region – Garhwal (Uttarakhand)
  • Grade – Moderate
  • Duration – 5N/6D (Ex. Dehradun)


Located in Western Garhwal, Kedarkantha is one of the most popular treks during the winter season. Although the trek is operational pretty much throughout the year, it’s during the winters is when this area is the most crowded. This is also one of the few treks where a less experienced trekker can get an experience of doing a proper snow trek. During the winters, certain stretches of the trail gets covered in knee-deep snow which makes it a winter wonderland. One unique part about this trek is that in a short span of time, one gets to summit a peak.

Explore Kedarkantha Trek

3. Brahmatal Trek

  • Maximum Altitude – 3840m/12600ft
  • Region – Chamoli (Uttarakhand)
  • Grade – Moderate
  • Duration – 5N/6D (Ex. Dehradun)


One of the most stunning places to go for a trek in the entire Himalayas, Brahmatal Trek is a favourite of many seasoned trekkers. The sheer beauty of this area mesmerises one as soon as one starts hiking towards the first campsite i.e. Bekaltal. After the shutting down of Roopkund Trek a couple of years ago, this has become one of the most crowded places to go for a trek. From the summit, one gets to witness amazing views of Mt Trishul (7120m) and Mt Nanda Ghunti (6309). Although not a difficult trek, beginners should prepare for a few weeks.

Explore Brahmatal Trek

4. Har Ki Doon Trek

  • Maximum Altitude – 3550m/11650ft
  • Region – Garhwal (Uttarakhand)
  • Grade – Moderate
  • Duration – 6N/7D (Ex. Dehradun)


One of the oldest treks in the country, Har Ki Doon trek offers probably the most beautiful riverside campsite in the entire Himalayas. Although it is not as popular as some of the other treks in the region, anyone who’s been there will tell you that it’s one of the most gorgeous places that they have ever seen. During the winter season, the entire valley is covered in a thick blanket of snow which makes the trek a little challenging and quite adventurous. During the expedition, one also gets to see some of the prettiest mountain villages.

Explore Har Ki Doon Trek

5. Kuari Pass Trek

  • Maximum Altitude – 3814m/12516ft
  • Region – Joshimath (Uttarakhand)
  • Grade – Easy to Moderate
  • Duration – 4N/5D (Ex. Haridwar)


Located at an altitude of 3814m, Kuari Pass is also known as the Curzon Trail. The trek is ideal for someone looking to catch a glimpse of few of the highest mountain peaks in the country. From the top of the pass, one has a view of Nanda Devi (7816m) along with other high peaks such as Dronagiri (7066m), Kamet (7757m) and Trishul (7120m) to name a few. This is also an ideal trek for a beginner looking for a winter trek experience. The trail is filled with rich flora and fauna including Rhododendron, Oak and Deodar trees.

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6. Chopta Tungnath Chandrashila Trek via Deoria Tal

  • Maximum Altitude – 4000m/13123ft
  • Region – Rudraprayag (Uttarakhand)
  • Grade – Easy to Moderate
  • Duration – 3N/4D (Ex. Haridwar)
On the way to Tungnath
On the way to Tungnath

Chopta is a village located in the meadows and is a part of the Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary. Over the last few years, this area has started to receive a lot of travellers from all over the country. Although a short trip, one gets to experience different aspects of the mountain life during the course of the 4 day trip. From spending time at the gorgeous Deoria Tal to taking blessings at the Tungnath Temple, from climbing the slopes of Chopta to summiting the Chandrashila Peak, this trek offers an amalgamation of unique experiences.

Explore Chopta Tungnath Chandrashila Trek via Deoria Tal

7. Dayara Bugyal Trek

  • Maximum Altitude – 3657m/12000ft
  • Region – Uttarkashi (Uttarakhand)
  • Grade – Easy to Moderate
  • Duration – 2N/3D (Ex. Dehradun)

dayara bugyal

Dayara Bugyal trek is located in the stunning alpine meadows of a remote region in Uttarkashi. This trail takes one through some of the most scenic and vast landscapes in the area. Ideal for less experienced/beginners, the expedition starts from the village of Barsu and offers views of peaks such as Gangotri (I, II, III), Black Peak and Srikanth etc. The trail is filled with forests of Deodar, Silver Oaks and Rhododendron trees. The hike to the Bakaria top is rather relaxing and the views from the top are absolutely splendid.

Explore Dayara Bugyal Trek

8. Nag Tibba Trek

  • Maximum Altitude – 3050m/10000ft
  • Region – Tehri Garhwal (Uttarakhand)
  • Grade – Easy
  • Duration – 1N/2D (Ex. Dehradun)

nag tibba

If someone is short on time and looking to hike in the snow then they should look no further than Nag Tibba. The trek starts from Pantwari village and offers a relatively easier hike considering the well laid out trail throughout. After reaching the base, one has to camp overnight and then hike to the top and back on the next day. There is a beautiful little temple at the top which is usually covered in knee-deep snow during the winters. One can also catch a mesmerizing sunrise on the second day if the hike to the top is started early.

Explore Nag Tibba Trek

9. Prashar Lake Trek

  • Maximum Altitude – 2750m/8956ft
  • Region – Mandi (Himachal Pradesh)
  • Grade – Easy
  • Duration – 1N/2D (Ex. Mandi/Kullu)


A weekend getaway for people living in North India, Prashar Lake trek is one of the most popular short treks in the winters. During the summers, one can even drive to the lake but it becomes impossible to do it in winters due to the heavy amount of snow. The hike starts from a village called Jwalapur, which is easily accessible by road. Even during the peak winters, it should not take more than four to five hours to reach the lake from the starting point. One of the signature experiences of this short trek is the lake side camping.

Explore Prashar Lake Trek

10. Hampta Valley Snow Trek

  • Maximum Altitude – 3080m/10100ft
  • Region – Manali (Himachal Pradesh)
  • Grade – Easy
  • Duration – 3N/4D (Ex. Manali)


Located in one of the most popular trekking destinations in the Himalayas, Hampta Valley is also one of the prettiest places to go for a winter hike. After spending a day in Manali to acclimate, the trek starts from a village called Prini on the second day. During the expedition, one gets to explore quaint Himalayan villages such as Sethan and Chika. The trail is breathtakingly beautiful and presents some of the most picturesque views of the entire Kullu Valley. In January, the Hampta Pass top is closed due to heaps of snow but a hike till Chika is also good enough for mountain lovers.

Explore Hampta Valley Snow Trek

11. Sham Valley Trek

• Maximum Altitude – 3750m/12300ft
• Region – Ladakh
• Grade – Moderate
• Duration – 5N/6D to 7N/8D (Ex. Leh)


Also known as the Apricot Valley, Sham Valley is one of the least explored valleys in the entire Ladakh region. One of the major reasons for that is the fact that most of the villages in the valley are not accessible by road and can only be trekked to. While travelling from Leh, one can drive up to the village of Likir and from there the hiking starts. The major points of attraction on this trek are quaint Himalayan villages such as Hemis and Nurla etc. During the winters, the weather in the valley is biting cold but the snow covered trails and the magnificent landscape makes it a treat for the eyes.

Explore Sham Valley Trek

12. Snow Leopard Trek in Spiti Valley

  • Maximum Altitude – 4480m/14700ft
  • Region – Spiti
  • Grade – Moderate
  • Duration – 6N/7D (Ex. Shimla)


Less of a trek and more of an exploration expedition, Snow Leopard Trek in Spiti Valley is one of the most unique hiking trips in the Himalayas. During the winters, one can enter the Spiti Valley only from Shimla as the road from Manali to Spiti is not accessible due to snow. The valley is located at a really high altitude and that’s why one needs to take extra precautions when it comes to hydration. From Kibber, one gets to explore different parts of the area to catch that one rare glimpse of the stunning beast that is the snow leopard. Apart from snow leopard, one can also sight other majestic animals such as the Tibetan Wolf and the Blue Sheep.

Explore Snow Leopard Trek in Spiti Valley

Spiti which literally translates to ‘The Middle Land’, is a cold desert located high in the Himalayas in the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. The place derives its name from the geographical location in between the Indian peninsular mass and the Tibetan plateau. The barren and beautiful land is a part of the Lahul and Spiti district and is often cut off from the rest of the country for as long as six months a year due to heavy snowfall at the high altitude passes. The villages in the valley are some of the highest inhabited places on Earth and that’s why acclimatization becomes extremely important for travellers. The valley’s otherworldly landscape is characterized by barren mountains, treacherous passes, shimmering blue lakes and serpentine rivers.

Over the last decade, tourism has finally caught up in Spiti and travellers from all over the world visit the valley for its surreal moonscapes and the cultural experiences. Apart from seeing the stunning remote landscape, people also visit the place to indulge in some outdoor adventure activities such as motorcycling, trekking, white water rafting and camping etc. Being a relatively small land area, one should try to explore all parts of the valley but for someone who is a little short on time, below mentioned are the five places in the valley which are absolutely not to be missed.

Expolre: Spiti Valley Bike Trip and Popular Treks in Spiti Valley


Located at an altitude of 3,650mt (11,960ft), Kaza operates as the sub divisional headquarters of the valley. Although, it is the biggest town in the valley but the population is a mere thirty two hundred. Located on the east bank of the Spiti River, the town is the central point for travellers entering the valley from both Shimla and Manali. It is surrounded by high mountain ridges on all sides and is one of the coldest towns in India. Known for its colourful festivals and the Buddhist architecture, the town is also home to the ancient Sakya Tangyud Monastery. Being in the centre of the valley, a few monasteries and remote villages including Hikkim and Komik can be accessed from the town. The tourist infrastructure is rather minimal including a tiny market, a few basic hotels and a couple of cafes. The primary mode of accommodation is the home stays run by the locals, providing basic amenities but offering absolute value for money.

Must Read: Travel to Spiti Valley to find Love, Peace and Harmony

Key Monastery near Kaza
Key Monastery near Kaza


Kibber, also known as Kyibar, is located 19km northwest of Kaza. Situated at an altitude of 4,270mt, it is one of the highest inhabited villages in India. The village lies in a narrow valley and all the houses are located on the summit of a limestone rock from where one gets interrupted mesmerising views of the lush green fields against the backdrop of naked mountains. Only six km to the south of the village, perched on a hill, is the popular Key Monastery. Offering staggering views of the Spiti River, the monastery is the largest in Spiti and serves as a religious centre for Lamas. The village is also home to The Kibber Sanctuary which spreads across 1400 sq. km and is a habitat for blue sheep and snow leopards. A lot of the high altitude treks in the valley also start from Kibber. Accommodation in the village is limited to the quaint home stays run by the villagers.

Must Read: My Fantastic Journey along the Hindustan Tibet Road

Kibber Village
Kibber Village

Pin Valley National Park

Located within the Cold Desert Biosphere Reserve in the valley, Pin Valley is one of the highest national parks in the world. The valley shelters over a dozen endangered species of wildlife animals and birds including the snow leopard, Ibex, Red fox, Bearded Vulture, Golden Eagle, Griffon and the Himalayan Chough Weasel. The national park, located near the Tibetan border, spreads south of the Dhankar Monastery between the towns of Kaza and Tabo. The altitude of the park ranges from around 3,500mt to 6,000mt which makes it an ideal destination for trekking. The most popular trek that operates in the valley is the Pin Parvati Pass Trek. Two significant trails go through the park, one gets you to the Kullu Valley and the other one enters Kinnaur through Bhaba Valley.

Must Read: Why Bhabha Pass Trek Should Be On Your Bucket List

 Trekking at Pin Valley National Park
Trekking at Pin Valley National Park


Although nestled between the mountains, Langza village is visible from many a mile because of the towering Buddha statue that’s present in the village.  The mammoth golden statue is believed to be around 1000 years old and all the mud houses in the village are built below the statue for auspiciousness. Located at an altitude of 4,420mt, this is considered to be the highest motorable village in the world. The primary reason this village attracts a large no of travellers is the million years old fossils of marine creatures, that are found here under the sedimentary rocks. For serious trekkers, the village offers the gateway to two high altitude lakes known as Tsonyeti and Chumo Tso.

Must Read: Experience of a Lifetime at the Homestays in Spiti Valley

Buddha Statue in Langza
Buddha Statue in Langza

Chandratal Lake

Chandratal i.e. lake of the moon, derives its name from its crescent shape. The shimmering blue water lake, situated on the Samudra Tapu plateau overlooking the Chandra River, is situated at an altitude of 4,300mt. Over the last few years, the lake, located north of Kunzum Pass, has become a paramount tourist hotspot. One of the most significant reasons of its popularity is its proximity to the popular tourist town of Manali. Travelling by road via Kunzum Pass, it usually takes around six hours to reach the last motor able point near the lake. One also has an option of hiking to the lake from Kunzum, which takes around a couple hours and is an experience in itself. Camping near the lake has also become an enticing attraction amongst the tourists.

Chandratal Lake
Chandratal Lake

You can also explore Chandratal lake with Chandratal Lake Trek or Hampta Pass Trek with Chandratal Lake

Must Read: Chandratal – All You Need to Know


Mountaineering has always been an integral part of the Nepalese tourism industry. The small Himalayan nation in the Indian Subcontinent has been hosting thousands of trekkers from all over the globe, over the last few decades. Eight of the fourteen Eight-Thousanders Mountains are located in the country and summiting these peaks obviously requires a certain level of skill set and a few years of mountaineering experience. For people who are not trained mountaineers but have the desire to see those majestic peaks, there are the base camp treks. Although all the base camp treks offer a unique trekking experience but the two most popular of them are the Annapurna Base Camp (ABC) Trek and the Everest Base Camp (EBC) Trek.

Annapurna is considered to be one of the most difficult peaks to summit in the entire world, and surely a trek to its base camp is also no mean feat. ABC is located at an altitude of 13,550ft and is a part of the Annapurna Sanctuary, nestled in the Annapurna Range of Himalayas.  The sanctuary is inhabited by a mixed demographic of people following different beliefs such as Buddhism and Hinduism.  In the lower regions, you will also find small communities of small farming communities of Brahmin and Chhetri people. The trek commences from Nayapul, located 40km northeast of Pokhara and is open almost throughout the year.

Standard Routing: Kathmandu-Pokhara-Nayapul-Ghandruk-Sinuwa-Deurali-ABC-Bamboo-Jhinu-Nayapul-Pokhara-Kathmandu

Must Read: Annapurna Base Camp Trek – A Backpacker’s Guide



Mount Everest, named after Sir George Everest, is the highest mountain on the planet and attracts hundreds of thousands of people from across the globe every year. Climbing on top of the world is obviously something only a handful of people manage to achieve but even trekking to its base camp is considered an accomplishment in itself. The southern base camp of Everest is located at an altitude of 17,598ft and is a part of the Sagarmatha National Park located in northeast Nepal. The Khumbu (Everest) region is home to the extra ordinary Sherpa people known for their endurance. The trek commences from the north-eastern town of Lukla and can be reached by taking an adventurous forty minute flight from Kathmandu.

Standard Routing: Kathmandu-Lukla-Phakding-Namche Bazaar-Tengboche-Dingboche-Lobuche-Gorak Shep-EBC-Gorak Shep- Kala Patthar-Panboche-Namche-Lukla-Kathmandu

Must Read: Lifesaver Tips: Planning Your Everest Base Camp(EBC) Trek



 Which one to choose: ABC or EBC

As cliché as it may sound, these two treks should not be compared together. As a matter of fact, no two treks should be compared with each other. Still, a comparison, basis various important factors, is done below that might help someone who is contemplating to choose one of these two.

 Accessibility and Season

People travelling from outside of Nepal may take a connecting flight to Pokhara and then drive to Nayapul. One also has an option of driving from Kathmandu to Pokhara which generally takes around seven hours. Although the trek is doable throughout the year, the summers/monsoons are considered not ideal as the region receives a lot of rainfall and the trail becomes dangerous. Someone looking for a considerably challenging experience should travel during the winters. Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal, is the generally the point of origin from people coming from abroad. From Kathmandu, an early morning flight is to be taken to reach Lukla from where the trekking starts. There are primarily two season to do the trek: March to May and Sep to Nov. Although there are some trekkers who embark on this journey during the winters (Dec to Feb) as well, but they have to be prepared for some delays as sometimes a few high passes are closed due to heavy snow and bad weather.



Getting acclimatized is probably one of the most important factors while trekking to a high altitude area. The acclimatization process is much easier on this trek as the trail offers a unique pattern of ascends and descends on the initial days of trekking, thus making it more comfortable for one to adjust. The average altitude gain per day on this trek is around 1500ft which is manageable and that’s why a rest/acclimatization day is not required. Overall, Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) does not pose a major threat here. Getting acclimatized in the Everest region is the most difficult part of the trek as there is a consistent gain in altitude throughout. Starting from an altitude gain of around 4500ft in a span of forty minutes during the Kathmandu-Lukla flight, the average altitude gain per day on this trek is rather substantial. That is why one needs to spend a couple of days as rest/acclimatization days to avoid getting hit by the Acute Mountain Sickness. Usually, these acclimatization days are spent in the popular villages of Namche Bazaar (11,290ft) and Dingboche (14,300ft).

How to prepare for high altitude trek

Terrain and Infrastructure

Located in the lower regions of the Himalayas, the trek offers jaw dropping landscapes throughout the trek along with spectacular views of various peaks. Initially you hike along the Burungdi River and Modi River and then you enter the dense Rhododendron trail and Bamboo forests. The trail includes several staircases which are relatively steep but they lead to suspension bridges which makes it totally worth the effort. The trail from Deurali to the base camp is an avalanche prone area so you may have to cross the Modi River which could turn out to be time consuming.

The travel infrastructure on the trek is considerably decent with enough accommodation/food options available easily throughout. In case of medical emergencies, a helicopter evacuation facility is available so the correct adventure insurance must be taken if you want financial safety.

The terrain and landscape is quite different on this trek. Initially, you climb along the Dudh Koshi River from Lukla to Phakding/Namche. There are relatively steep climbs to reach Namche and there are a few long suspension bridges as well which provide a fun adventure. After Namche, you hike into the Rhododendron trail and can spot some Himalayan wildlife including Musk deer and the Himalayan Thar. The higher region of Everest is cold and dry and there is not much greenery visible after crossing Tengboche. The trail is easy to walk on but you are almost always ascending.

Being a popular trek, the travel infrastructure is rather good. There are plenty of accommodation/food options available easily throughout. In case of medical emergencies, a helicopter evacuation facility is available so the correct adventure insurance must be taken if you want financial safety.


Level of Difficulty

ABC is considered to be a moderate trek. The trail is not treacherous and the average no. of trekking hours per day is around six to seven. The altitude gain per day is not substantial which makes it easy to acclimatize. Anyone from a novice trekker to someone, who has done a couple of easy to moderate Himalayan treks, can attempt this trek. First timers are advised to prepare for at least a couple of months and should avoid travelling in the winters to make it more comfortable for them. EBC falls under the moderate to difficult category. The trail does not require any technical skill set but there are several steep climbs throughout the trek including a few staircases. A considerable amount of altitude gain every day and the lack of oxygen at high altitude areas make it more challenging. Ideally one should go on at least two moderate Himalayan treks before planning for EBC but there are plenty of first timers as well that have completed this trek. Although a three month preparation time is a must.



Maximum Altitude 4,130mt / 13,550ft 5,643mt / 18,513ft
Origin KTM/Pokhara Kathmandu
Starting Point Nayapul Lukla
Grade Moderate Moderate to Difficult
Open Season Mar-May / Sep-Nov Mar-May / Sep-Nov
Duration ex KTM 10N/11D 13N/14D
On Trek Acco. Tea houses Tea houses
Food Availability on the trek Available in tea houses Available in tea houses
Permit required Yes (ACAP & TIMS) Yes (SCAP & TIMS)
                              Major Summits visible on the trek Annapurna South (7279mt), Fang Annapurna I (8091mt) Ganagapurna (7485mt) Annapurna III (7855mt) Mt Everest (8848mt) Mt Lhotse (8516mt) Mt Makalu (8485mt) Cho-Oyu (8,201mt)



Every trail that you walk, will take you through a different pass, a distinct river crossing, a unique village, a contra distinct sunset viewpoint and an individual feeling of emotions. ABC offers you viridescent trails and hot water springs whereas EBC offers you the awfully adventurous Lukla flight and the centuries old monasteries. ABC presents a variety of unique cultures to learn and a prospect to catch a glimpse of one of the most difficult peaks to climb whereas EBC provides an opportunity to get acquainted with the remarkable Sherpas and gaze at the top of the world.


Ideally, a trekker should have both of these astounding experiences but if one has to choose one, it really comes down to the extreme basics. If you have around ten days time and are a little short on funds, go for ABC but if you can spare a couple of weeks and can afford to shell out a little more money, it should be EBC all the way.

The Himalayas, which translates to the abode of the snow, has been home to some of the most popular tourist destinations in India. For decades, a flock of tourists has been visiting places such as Shimla, Manali, and Kashmir Valley, etc. during the busy summer season. But over the last decade, there has been a gradual shift towards less explored areas in the northern Himalayas, especially among the relatively young travellers.

Out of all the relatively new tourist destinations, Ladakh has become the most visited over the last decade. It is usually the first destination on everyone’s travel bucket list. Although people visit Ladakh for various reasons the primary one of them is to get away from the usual busy tourist towns and explore something remote and unique. Historically, our country has not been very big on long road trips but that has completely changed over the last few years. Travelling to Ladakh by road has become one of the most sought after road trips in the country. That has probably been the biggest factor in the growth that Ladakh has seen in the number of travellers over the past few years.

Must Read: Why is Spiti Valley a distant cousin of Leh Ladakh?

Morreh Plains in Ladakh
Morreh Plains in Ladakh

Meanwhile, Spiti has also been creeping up into the same category as Ladakh but has always remained a distant runner-up. As beautiful as the place may be, it hasn’t lived up to its true potential as a commercial tourist destination and has only remained a niche place to visit. Having said that, people who have travelled to Spiti will swear by it as the most beautiful place they have ever seen. The landscape of the valley is truly similar to no other place in the country.

Read: Lahaul Spiti – The Enigmatic Valley

Key Monastery in Spiti

While both Ladakh and Spiti are located in the same region and offer quite similar landscapes, the resemblance is only visible on the outer layer. Beyond the landscape, both these places have so many unique things to offer to someone looking for an authentic Himalayan experience. Now let’s address the million-dollar question; Ladakh or Spiti. Ideally, one should explore both of these places but if one has to choose one, it comes down to their personal choice. Still, a comparison based on different factors is done below, which may help you decide.


Ladakh Spiti
  • Ladakh is well connected to all the major cities through air transport with frequent flights throughout the day to Leh. If travelling by road, then the most common route is the Manali Leh Highway. Manali to Leh generally takes three days including two overnight halts which helps in acclimatizing. One may also start from Srinagar and reach Leh via Kargil.
  • Spiti can only be directly accessed by road as there’s no airport in the valley. Nearest airports are Shimla and Kullu but both are not well connected. The two most common points to enter the valley by road are Shimla and Manali. From Shimla, it generally takes three days to reach the valley and two days if you enter from Manali.


Tourist Season

Ladakh Spiti
  • Ladakh is open throughout the year as one can directly fly to Leh and explore the surrounding areas. Although, Ladakh is primarily a road trip destination and the roads to Leh, from Manali and Srinagar, generally remain open between June and early October.
  • Spiti does not have an airport nearby, yet it is accessible pretty much throughout the year by road if you enter from Shimla. Although there may be several roadblocks during the winter season so the ideal season to explore the valley is similar to that of Ladakh i.e. June to Oct.


Altitude And Weather   

Ladakh Spiti
  • The altitudes in Ladakh vary a lot in different places. The city of Leh is located at a moderate 3500m but the mighty Khardung La stands at 5,359m which generally happens to be the highest point in a road trip to Ladakh.
  • The temperature in Summers:- 0 to 25 degrees
  • The temperature in Winters:- -30 to 5 degrees
  • The average altitude in Spiti remains slightly higher around 4000m. The highest motorable in the valley is Kunzum Pass situated at an altitude of 4,551m.
  • The temperature in Summers:- 0 to 20 degrees
  • The temperature in Summers:- -20 to 5 degrees

Travel Infrastructure

Ladakh Spiti
  • Over the years, Ladakh has rapidly developed as a major tourist destination, thus the infrastructure is also well developed. The roads inside the region are mostly tarmac and easy to access. Accommodation is also easily available throughout the region. One has the option of choosing from upscale hotels to basis guesthouses and homestays to backpacker hostels. There are plenty of eating joints throughout the entire region with Leh having a few upscale restaurants as well. Cell reception is available in major towns with internet cafes in Leh. Public transport is minimal.
  • The tourist infrastructure in Spiti is minimal at best when compared to Ladakh. The roads aren’t in particularly great shape. The valley receives fewer people thus the lack of funding from the authorities.  Accommodation in Spiti is easily available but one has to choose between a basic hotel and a homestay. Although, a couple of backpacker hostels have opened up recently. There are a few cafes that serve different cuisines in the valley but one mostly has to manage with the local Dhaba style food. Basic cell reception is available in major towns. Public transport is minimal.


Leh-Castle-and-Kibber Village
Leh Castle and Kibber Village

Things To Do/Attractions

Ladakh Spiti
  • Incomparable landscape from vast plateaus to shimmering blue lakes.
  • Biking at a few of the highest motorable passes in the world.
  • Ancient monasteries.
  • Trekking and Camping.
  • White water rafting.
  • Indulge in Ladakhi/Zanskari food.
  • Popular Places: Nubra Valley, Pangong Lake, Tso Moriri Lake, Hanle, Sarchu, Khardung La, Chang La.
  • Picturesque landscapes from vast barren lands to beautiful lakes.
  • Ideal for road trips.
  • A few of the oldest monasteries in the world.
  • National Wildlife sanctuaries.
  • Trekking and Camping.
  • White water rafting.
  • Indulge in Tibetan food.
  • Popular Places: Kaza, Kalpa, Chitkul, Chandratal Lake, Dhankar Lake, Kunzum Pass, Rohtang Pass.


Khardung La Top and Chandratal Lake

Adventure Offerings

Ladakh Spiti
  • Every year, Ladakh attracts thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts from all over the globe. Getting a picture clicked on a motorcycle with Pangong Lake as the backdrop has become an adventure certificate in itself. Apart from Ladakh motorcycle trips, Ladakh is home to some of the very popular treks such as Stok Kangri and Markha Valley. In winters, the Chadar Trek is operational which happens to be the only frozen river trek in India.
  • As the landscape in Spiti is quite similar to Ladakh, it automatically becomes a great place to go for a motorcycle trip. Although, trekking and backpacking are more popular in the valley. The most popular treks in the valley are the Pin Bhaba Trek and the Kanamo Peak Trek. It is also home to some of the most beautiful wildlife sanctuaries such as the Pin valley National park wherein you can spot the endangered species of the stunningly beautiful snow leopard.


 Biking at Pangong Trekking at Pin Bhaba
Biking at Pangong and Trekking at Pin Bhaba

Both of these places have more resemblances than differences because of the similar kind of landscape and cultural demographic. Thus, it becomes extremely difficult to choose one over another. It eventually comes down to the fact that what kind of experience are you looking for. If your idea of travelling is to have a tonne of adventure and see some of the most picturesque landscapes in the world, then Ladakh is the place for you. On the other hand, if you are looking for more immersive travel experience and wish to indulge more in cultural things, then head to Spiti. Ladakh being a popular destination is quite crowded during the season so it becomes the perfect place to meet from all over the world. Spiti, on the opposite, is ideal for solo travellers who are looking to spend some quality time with nature.