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.

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

 

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

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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. 

Scenic Sikkim: Understanding the geographical and cultural importance
For wanderlust ridden souls, nothing could be better than the Goecha La trek, as it quenches the thirst for some real adventure. Bordered by Tibet, Bhutan and Nepal, Sikkim is a scenic state in the north-eastern region of India. It is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna, alpine meadows, glaciers and the third highest mountain in the world, Kanchenjunga. When it comes to exploring the state, Sikkim offers stunning monasteries, temples, wildlife sanctuaries and several adventurous sports to the tourists. 

Sikkim Silk Route
Sikkim Silk Route

Know About Goecha La trek (4,876 m)

Trekking Distance: 90 Km
Maximum Altitude: 4,876 m
Duration: 11 Nights and 12 Days
Grade: Moderate to Challenging

The trek begins from the little hamlet, Yuksom, and takes you to Dzongri, Phedang, Thangsing and Goechala. On the way to the summit, trekkers will pass through lush green farms, small streams and suspension bridges. Moreover, trekkers would get a chance to enjoy a camp night at the marvelous meadows of Thansing and Lamuney, under the glittery sky and shadow of the moon.

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Is there an ideal time to do Goecha La trek?

In comparison to the plains, climatic conditions differ and keep changing at high altitudes. So, it is advisable to choose an ideal time for the trek to be on the safe side. Notably, there is no specific time to undertake the Goecha La trek. It is said that different seasons bring different surprises for the trekkers that offer immense pleasure to them. So, plan specifically for yourself and make the best of our complete breakdown of Goecha La trekking in different seasons: 

Temperature Table
March to May: The temperature ranges from 11 °C to 19 °C during daytime, and 2°C to 10 °C at night.
June to August:
The temperature ranges from 15 °C to 22 °C during daytime, and 7 °C to -1°C at night.
September to November:
The temperature ranges from 6 °C to 12 °C during daytime, and 5 °C to -3 °C at night.
December to February:
The temperature ranges from 4 °C to 7 °C during daytime, and 4 °C to -5 °C at night.

Here Is How Different Seasons Bring Along Different Flavors And Colors!

Summer (Last week of March to May)

In summers, Goecha La experiences the melting of snow and along with that flowers begin to bloom. As it is home to a range of indigenous species including Eurasian tree sparrow, pied bush chat and green-tailed sunbird, one can hear melodious voices of birds echoing in the valley. Also, it is the best time to visit Kanchenjunga National Park, where one can enjoy a rare sight of Himalayan endangered species like musk deer, red panda and blue sheep. At this time, lower altitude has a lot more to offer in comparison to high altitude spots, which remain covered with the layers of snow.

During this season, the days are bright and sunny but the nights are really cold. Also, the chances of rainfall remain consistent.

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

Monsoon (June to August)

Usually, trekking is avoided in the monsoons due to higher chances of landslides in hilly areas. This is the time when south-west monsoon moves toward Sikkim. Trekking becomes difficult due to moderate rainfall that makes the trail very slippery. Incessant rains lose the mud slopes and cause landslides, which block transportation activities. However, mist gives a magical touch to the mountains during mornings.

Moreover, the chances of mosquitoes breeding and creepy crawlers like leeches, become high in dense forests. Therefore, do not head for the Goecha La trek in the monsoon season.

Autumn (September to November)

This is the best time to start most of the treks in India as one can enjoy clear vistas of picturesque mountains and magnificent peaks. By this time, the site of Goecha La becomes clear as monsoon swipes away all the dirt and dust from the hills. A day starts with a stunning sight of the sunrise, making you feel that sunrays are painting the whole dale with a brush dipped in orange colour.

Capture crystal-clear views of snow-clad mountains including Kanchenjunga, Pandin, Tien Chenkhang, Koktang and Jopuno in camera.  In comparison to other seasons, the trail is not that difficult as you can breathe well and rejuvenate yourself in the cool breeze. The weather conditions are pleasant throughout the expedition but the chances of rainfall are still there.

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Winter (December to February)

The winter season altogether adds extreme difficulty to the trek, thus, the expedition becomes much more challenging. During this time, a trekker has to use professional equipment like trekking gear, pole and shoes as the trail gets covered with heavy snow. Also, prior trekking experience and proper physical training are a must to head on the trek in winters. Trekkers can face breathing problem and allergy issues too.

Undoubtedly, heading on the course filled with frozen streams, snow, slippery slopes and wintry grasses is not an easy feat.

Don’t Forget The Trekking Essentials! 

  • Trekking shoes/Trekking pants/Trekking Pole
  • Woollen socks/Thermal innerwear/Gloves
  • Torch/Whistle/Camera
  • Sunglasses/Sunscreen lotion/Toiletries
  • First-aid kit/Water bottle/Swiss knife

So, here’s some final advice…

  1. Work on the fitness levels for the trek
  2. Prior research is a must
  3. Don’t try to compete with fellow trekkers, just set your own pace
  4. Greet the locals and try to grab more information about their lifestyle
  5. Respect mountains, fellow trekkers and trekking staff
  6. Last but not the least, take out your camera and capture as many memories as possible

Goecha La

The Goecha La trek is a feast for the eyes and gives peace to the mind. While winter is to experience the harsh climatic conditions and snowfall, summer is to capture some spellbinding views of rich flora and fauna. And, autumn is to enjoy crystal clear views of alpine mountains with naked eyes. So, overcome your fears and experience the natural charm that awaits you on this challenging yet beautiful trek.

To chase the road of dreams is the desire of every adventure-lover. Be it any thrill-seeking activity, but when it comes to speed up on a lengthy road trip, nothing can match the excitement, fun and enjoyment involved in it. If you are someone who has always dreamt of seeking freedom that bike-riding offers, do not hesitate to realize all your fantasies with Motorbike Expedition to Ladakh.

About the Expedition:
Riding through rough roads, crossing through high mountains and chasing those undulated terrains is one of the major highlights of the Ladakh Motorbike Tour. Apart from offering the breathtaking vistas of the Moonland, Ladakh Motorbike tour also provides an opportunity to regain some of the childlike wonders by riding on a double-humped camel. Moreover, the enchanting sight of the glacial lakes during the tour has never failed to sway the mind of millions across the countries. Pangong Tso and Khardung La Pass are the two popular attractions of the tour that offers a quick insight into the culture and traditions of Ladakh. Undoubtedly, it is a difficult road to pursue, but everybody knows that the “The Road Not Taken” makes all the difference.

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Gear to get:

  • LED Flashlight/Headlamp with extra batteries
  • Swiss Army Knife
  • Jerry Cans for fuel
  • Riding Boots
  • Riding pants and jacket with thermal liner
  • Extra pair of woollen socks
  • Waterproof Ziplock bags
  • Tool bag
  • Insulated travel flask
  • Water Bottles/Hydration pack
  • Emergency Medical Kit

Best time to visit:
The best time for the Ladakh Motor Bike Expedition is between mid-September to and mid-October. It is considered one of the best seasons to explore the amazing and picturesque locations of Leh and Ladakh. Imbued with vibrating colors, the natural beauty of the place is at its best during this time period. It is important to choose the right time as the number of miles covered in a day depends on the weather conditions and the condition of the roads you are likely to take.

A quick glimpse into my Ladakh Motorbike tour: Routes, Essential Information
With the desire of adding a new dimension to the leading chapters of my life, I signed up for the Ladakh Motorbike trip. I was looking forward to ascertain some adventurous experiences in the midst of uncertainty in which I planned for this expedition. And as often said, unplanned adventures are the best ones!

Before entering into that bike marathon, I accumulated all the essential information required for the ride. Though going solo adds a tinge of additional adventure to the race, it necessitates that one gets clear on nuts and bolts so as to get familiarized with those unknown roads. In addition, I buffed my bike with all essentials and got ready to zip and zap.

The first day of my motorbike expedition to Ladakh began when I reached a beautiful valley nestled in Himachal Pradesh, Manali. Despite getting a short glimpse of the journey ahead while riding along those challenging roads of Kullu valley, the beauty of the surroundings empowered me from time to time.  With every turn and bend, my riding skills were getting tested. However, the majestic view offered by cascading waters of the Beas River, rocky slopes of the mountain, hills covered with pine and deodar forest and sprawling apple orchards kept me going.

In actuality, the first level of the motorbike tour to Leh Ladakh kick-started when I started riding towards Jispa to reach Sarchu.  One of the enlightening parts of this location was its early morning sunrise that gave light to all flickering hopes of life. In order to reach this place of symbolic beauty, I rode through Rohtang Pass, which is situated at an elevation of 3,978 m. On the way, it seemed that the pages of the journey were getting turned when the trees started disappearing and the brow color terrain replaced the green portions and marked the arrival of the Lahaul and Spiti district.

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Now, it was time to bring the speed down to cross a comparatively difficult road through Baralacha La. As you tread on, the risky part of riding towards this destination is the sleep that is potentially life-harming. Therefore, it is better to stay cautious and rest in intervals to avoid landing into an unfavorable situation.

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Next day, I performed crucial checks on my bike as I was about to enter the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir. On the way, the vastness and multitude of high altitude passes such as Nakee La, Lachung La and Tanglang La left me numb and motionless for a while. Before I could register the majestic views offered by them, the art behind the rare paintings of Thiksey Monastery made me fall short of words to appreciate the beauty that this place and nature beholds.  While exploring more of the capital of the Himalayan Kingdom of Ladakh, Leh, I came across the captivating views offered by the Stok Kangri and the mountain ranges of Ladakh.

The natural surroundings of the place are the perfect exemplar of the poetry of earth which is eternal.

Khardungla Top
Khardungla Top

Further, I crossed the highest road pass of the world, Khardung La Pass. Situated at a height of 5,636 m, the muddy route of this pass has a charm of its own.  Riding on the muddy road not only tested my biking skills, but also gave me the thrill I was looking forward to. Crossing through chilly mountain desert with rocky slopes and ravishing dunes gave rise to conscious feelings of fear and anxiety.

Pangong Tso Lake, Ladakh
Pangong Tso Lake, Ladakh

Next morning, I prepped up to embark on the most adventurous of all routes, the route to Pangong Tso Lake. Comprised of off-road terrain and a river, it is home to several incredible sights. As I was extremely tired, I wished to put halt to the ride but there were many surprises waiting to be explored on the journey back to home. Before returning back to the twinkling of the city lights, I decided to introspect on the ride I used to take with closed eyes.

We have often heard that speed has been the fantasy of many individuals across the globe. But there are very few people who are able to frame it in the boundaries of real life experiences. The azure clear waters, serene picturesque lakes and a ruggedly handsome terrain are the constituents of this trip that lends an experience of one-of-its-kind. So, when you get this opportunity, do not restrict your adventure to the slumber of dreams, instead get ready to recreate the real-life experience that gives you jitters even when the memories of this ride would become myopic.

When it comes to trekking, nothing could be more enthralling than the Markha Valley trek in Ladakh. It is also known as ‘Tea House Trek’. An awesome 8-day trek amid cold desert develops both thrill and excitement in the land encompassing exotic flora and fauna, high passes, deep and shaved gorges, and fluttering colourful Buddhist flags. While embarking on the trek, passing the little hamlets constructed in conventional style is a unique experience in itself as it provides a closer view of Ladakh’s lifestyle and culture. A sight of the vibrant rock figures against white dancing clouds and majestic mountains like Kang Yissay, Stok and Zanskar are always of interest for the trekkers.

Trail on the Markha Valley Trek
Trail on the Markha Valley Trek

Despite being a tricky trek that includes long hours walk, brook crossings, sharp ascents and descents, it is a must-try for adventure enthusiasts and nature lovers!

Altitude: 5130 m
Trekking Distance: 75 km
Difficulty Level: Difficult
Nearest Airport: Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport, Leh
Base Camp: Spituk
Best Time to Trek: Mid June to September

Long story short: Markha Valley Trek Explained
The trek offers astounding views of Markha Valley and several other peaks. Initial two days will be spent becoming accustomed to the cold place where temperature even falls below 0 degrees. Also, travellers can explore Leh Palace, forts, museums, Buddhist monasteries and local markets. Next day, following the way to Ganda La (4800 m), reach stunning Markha Village where the night will be spent in a camp.

Next day, drive to the village of Spituk and then hike towards Zingchen to reach a green dale named Yurutse. On day 4, after ascending for 4 hours, reach Siku passing Ganda La. From Siku, come back to Markha village, following the route along with River Markha. On day 6, move towards Thachungtse for an overnight stay. Go after a gradual descent and reach Nimaling. Shang Sumdo will be the last trekking destination, from here, a trekker will move towards Leh.

Trekking Gear Essentials for Markha Valley Trek

  • Trekking shoes and trekking pole
  • Warm clothes/Mosquito repellent
  • LED Flashlight/Headlamp with extra batteries
  • Extra pair of woolen socks/ Raincoat/Gloves
  • Sunscreen Lotion/ Sunglasses/Lip balm
  • Water Bottles/Energy drink and bars
  • Emergency Medical Kit

Itinerary Breakdown: My Meeting with Mountains and Dancing Clouds
Being an adventure enthusiast and a firm believer of Buddhism for years, I feel Ladakh is more than just a tourist destination. A blend of colorful monasteries, dome-shaped stupas and a serene barren landscape offer an ideal glimpse of Buddhist culture. So this time, when I visited Ladakh with my friends, we planned to hit the Markha Valley referred as ‘The Land Of The Passes’. The trek gave us a chance to explore the Hemis National Park and meet our nomadic brethren.

Shanti Stupa
Shanti Stupa

Day 1: We boarded our flights to Leh at 7 am. A flight to Leh is always a feast for the eyes as it offers the mesmerizing views of snow-capped mountains. Moreover, landing is an adventure in itself as the airport strip is flanked by the mountains on both sides. Our tour representative was waiting for us outside the airport, when we met him, he greeted us with flowery headband saying “O-Jullay!”(You’re welcome). He took us to our pre-booked hotel and later briefed us about the trek itinerary.

As Leh is encompassed by three Himalayan ranges – Ladakh, Karakoram and Zanskar, there was nothing to wait for! We kept the luggage in a storeroom and went out to explore the valley that boasts several wonderful attractions including Pangong Lake, Nubra Valley, Shanti Stupa and Stok Monastery. After visiting some places, we came back to the hotel around 5 pm. In the late evening, we took a stroll to Moti Market near Leh Bus Stand, from where I bought two jackets and we all had the yummiest momos ever! The night was spent in the hotel.

Thiksey Monastery
Thiksey Monastery

Day 2: As told by our tour representative, we had to stay at Leh today as well, in order to acclimatize to the cold weather, height and declining oxygen levels. After having Ladhaki butter tea and sandwiches, we thought to explore more of Leh before Markha Valley trek begins. On our way, we witnessed the beauty of the Ladakh plateau. Our driver took us to the Thiksey Monastery, located around 22 km from Leh. It was the most striking monastery complexes that I have ever seen, though, it reminded me of Potala Palace in Lhasa. We consumed lip-smacking authentic Tibetan food in its restaurant.

Shey Palace
Later, we visited Shey Place too, which was located on a hillock in Shey. We returned to the hotel by evening for another overnight stay.

Spituk

Day 3: Next morning, we woke up to a stunning view of sunrise amidst the hill and lush green fields. After having breakfast, we put our rucksack on and met our tour guide who was waiting for us in a car, just outside the hotel. The trek began with a drive and gradually we crossed Zinchen Gorge, which is an extended desolate desert.

Within next two hours, we reached Spituk Village where we had a cup of coffee. Afterwards, we hiked to an easy slope and arrived at Zingchen in next 1 hour. It was a lush-green valley, amid rocky and sandy hilly landscape, and Zingchen is the place where the River Rumbak surges into the River Indus. From here, we trekked through green barley fields and beautiful streams. On reaching Yurutse, we saw that beautiful campsite was arranged by our guide. We stayed there overnight.

Stok Kangri in the Himalayas
Western Flank, Stok Kangri

Day 4: On this day, we explored the beauty of Hemis National Park and we were fortunate enough that we got to see a rare sight of Ladhaki Ural (mountain goat) and argali (a Tibetan Sheep). Also, the park is home to snow leopard, blue sheep, wolf and red fox. We continued walking alongside the bed of wild roses and through a valley embellished with colorful Tibetan prayer flags fluttering in the cool breeze.

It took us around 2 hours to reach Ganda La,  situated at the height of 4900 m. We stayed here for a while and I also captured some beautiful views in my DSLR. Later, we descended to Skiu, we realised that the sight of terrain is turning rough and rocky. In around 4 hours, we reached to Skiu, which is situated at the confluence of rivers Markha and Shgri Nala. We paid a visit to Skiu Monastery after which we enjoyed a beautiful sight of a sunset from the top of the valley. Magnificent views of Stok Kangri and Stok range dazzled us.

Day 5: It was quite an easy day trek, along with the banks of the Markha River. Enroute, there were several green willow thickets and barren cliffs. We visited religious shrines at Lhatos and saw a wide range of stone inscriptions at Mani Walls. We crossed River Markha and reached to a beautiful village, Markha. There were 15-20 houses, a monastery and fort. 

Later, we were told that about 3 km above, there is a Dhaba run by the Women’s Association of Ladakh, where one can get buck-thorn juice and traditionally made wheat biscuits. We tried to talk to the locals with the help of our guide as no one knows how to speak Hindi or English there. We stayed in village quarters.

Day 6: Next day, we followed the trail that took us to Markha Valley. We captured several pictures of ancient monasteries including Techa and ruined castles. We reached Umlung in two hours. Gradually, we crossed Kang Yaste and Hangskar which is the last village in the valley. Here, we had a cup of tea and snacks. From here, we walked through a steep and rocky ascent that brought us to Thachungtse campsite.

Day 7: Today, we had to walk around 6 km. We woke up early today and after breakfast, we headed toward a stunning plateau of Nimaling. After 2 hours of climbing, we reached to a pond where we filled our empty water bottles. Following a grassy pastureland, we reached Nimaling. There were eye-catching streams on my left and to the right, it was the grand Kang Yatse peak. I also clicked pictures with herders who brought their cattle for grazing. Here, we enjoyed a bonfire night at the campsite and Ladakhi delicacies such as Thupka, Tigmo, Skyu and Khambir.

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Day 8: We were quite sad today as it was going to be the last day of trekking. But as rightly said, one journey has to end to begin another, we moved downward towards Shang Valley. We stayed there for 15 minutes. Later, we crossed Kongmaru La, which was the highest pass on the Markha Valley trek. This peak offers impressive views of Ladakh Range and Indus Valley. In next 2 hours, we reached Shang Valley and a course from here took us to the last trekking spot, Shang Sumdo. In a taxi, we came back to Leh and spent the night in the hotel.

Day 9: With a heavy heart and lots of memories, we drove to the Leh airport.

While you are at it, don’t forget to visit these cafes! 

  • Tibetan Kitchen
  • German Bakery
  • Dzomsa
  • Open Hand Cafe
  • Lala’s Cafe

It was truly a beautiful and culturally rich experience! Everyone should explore the hidden beauty of Ladakh. So, go ahead and give a chance to the serenity of the Markha Village to take away your stress and fears.

Perched at an altitude of 3,500 m, Kheerganga is nestled deep in Parvati Valley in Himachal Pradesh.  It is believed that Lord Shiva’s son Kartikeya meditated here for thousands of years. On the Kasol to Kheerganga trek, you can experience a rare combination as you will take a bath in the hot spring while the surroundings are chilled and covered by snow.

Moreover, stunning views of mountains, waterfalls, mountain animals, and oak and deodar trees are a much-needed feast for the trekker’s eyes. The trail unveils a few of the most fascinating destinations such as Rudra Nag Waterfall and Shiv Temple.

A Serene Visit to Kheerganga
Trekking to the magical Parvati Valley still seems like a dream. It was a place which I wished would remain a secret as I couldn’t stop myself imagining about those majestic valleys, mountain goats, green lush mountains and peaceful oak forests.   

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My journey to Kheerganga began when I boarded a taxi from Delhi’s Paharganj to Kasol with my younger sister. After 12 hours of tiresome journey and covering 550 km, we finally reached Kasol. Kasol is one of the most beloved destinations among youth though, we preferred to move to Tosh, the nearby village.

In Tosh
In Tosh

We had Aaloo parathas at Sasi Restaurant and then we kept moving ahead. The trail had no roads and we walked through green land and reached the beautiful village of Tosh. 

On the first day, we wanted to take rest as much as possible. In the evening we visited local bazaars, enjoyed local delicacies and coffee in a nearby Amsterdam’s coffee shop. We played badminton with the local girls, gave them chocolates and clicked several pictures with them. At Tosh, villagers sit together after a long day of work and smoke chillums.

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Next day, the thrill of Kheerganga trek began from Barshaini, which is enveloped by lush green trees. Also, it is a confluence point of Rivers Parvati and Tosh. We reached the base camp at 10 am. We had delicious breakfast at Prem Cafe. From there, we walked through the splendid landscape and enjoyed magnificent sights of nature. While trekking, we passed a few wooden bridges, waterfalls and hamlets.

Camping on the trek from Kasol to Kheerganga
Camping on the trek from Kasol to Kheerganga

We both captured some amazing pictures in our DSLR. After two hours of moderate trek, we arrived at Rudra Nag and stopped there for a while to admire the beauty of nature. This dazzling serpent-shaped waterfall is considered as one of the main tourist attractions in the Parvati Valley. Here we met a local who told us that there are other villages as well, like, Kalga, Pulga and Tulga. He said that thousands of years ago, there was a very powerful demon, Tadkasura, who defeated Devas. The Devas  then visited Brahma, who told them to worship Mahadevi. It was Mahadevi who told them-‘I would soon reincarnate and get married to Lord Shiva, and the offspring would defeat the demon’.

Later, we kept climbing for 3 hours. We followed the marks imprinted on trees; the trail was quite an arduous climb. My sister asked me the same question for at least five times, “How far do we need to climb in one day?” Surprisingly, before she asked the same thing for one more time, we suddenly came across a sign saying “Welcome to Kheerganga”.

The green meadow of Kheerganga was right in front of us. There was nothing to wait for, we kept our bags in the tents and took a refreshing dip in the hot springs. It simply washed away the weariness of the trip. This pool was divided into sections one for men and the other for women.

Later, we visited Kartikeya Cave and offered prayers to Lord Kartikeya. Amazing weather, sights of mighty peaks, green forests, friendly locals and the therapeutic water of the hot springs made our journey worth. We spent a night at our campsite at Kheerganga.

Next morning, we woke up to a wonderful view of the sunrise. After taking a bath in the divine hot water pool again, we descended towards Kasol through the same route that we followed to reach Kheerganga. For me, it was mystery-packed trek which involved lots of excitement and thrill.

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Best Time to Visit
One can visit Kheerganga from Kasol from March to June or October to November. This place experiences soothing climate throughout the year. The weather remains pleasant and in summers, the temperature varies from 15 – 22 degrees Celsius while in winters, it varies from 3 to 10 degrees Celsius.

Must Carry Essentials

  • Sunglasses and Sunscreen
  • Trekking shoes and trekking pole
  • Camera and torch
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Warm clothes and rain coat
  • First aid kit

In the backdrop of the mystery hidden in the majestic Parvati Valley in Himachal Pradesh, it would be really exciting to unravel these untold tales on your own. Moreover, the beautiful views of the meadows and dense oak forests make Kasol-Kheerganga trek a must-do for every avid trekker. 

Magical! Yes, it’s the one word that comes to mind whenever I think about the Roopkund trek. The fact that it has consistently been one of the most booked trekking destinations in North India owes to the snow-capped mountains, lush green forests, picturesque views and tricky routes. It challenges and thrills, puts your trekking potential to test and rewards you greatly, equally so. 

So, if you want to breathe amidst the striking icy glaciers of Nanda Ghunti and Mount Trishul, this is an ideal place to be!

Beautiful Views

Situated in the lapse of Chamoli District of Uttarakhand, Roopkund trek paves the way to Roopkund Lake which lies serenely at an altitude of 5,029 m. The biggest highlight for the trek though has to be the ‘Skeleton Lake,’ Roopkund Lake that supposedly consists of over 500 human skeletons. Spooky, right? [Legend: It is said that an ancient army who came on an unscheduled pilgrimage had faced the wrath of the Weather God as they travelled without his permission.]

The mythological mystery around Roopkund Trek; Nanda Devi Raj Jat Yatra
The ‘Nanda Devi Raj Jat Yatra’ is among the biggest religious yatras in the ‘Land of Gods’, Uttakhand.  The hill folks of Uttarakhand organize the yatra in every 12 years to honor Goddess Nanda Devi. It is said that people take her to Lord Shiva’s home which is located in the icy folds of the Himalayas. The three-week-long grand procession begins from Nauti village near Karanpraayg and ends at Homkund near Roopkund. Despite the harsh climatic conditions, the devotees remain barefoot throughout the yatra.

Where does it all begin?
Wan is the base camp of the trek and it is accessible from Kathgodam (210km) or Rishikesh (270 km). A trekker can take a bus from any of these two places. The bus will likely drop you at Deval which is 27 km away from Wan.

When should I start packing?
There are two phases during which a visit can be made safely:
May to June: The temperature ranges from 15 °C to 20 °C during the day time and 7 °C to -2 °C at night.
September to October: The temperature ranges from 10 °C to 15 °C during the day time and 5 °C to -5 °C at night. At this time, you can enjoy the clear view of snow-clad mountains.

Nearby Attractions
The Roopkund trekking experience is not meant for beginners. So, if you don’t qualify for the same or are simply not in the mood to explore the mystique of Roopkund, following are the places you can check out instead:
Brahma Tal and Bekhal Tal: These are two most stunning lakes situated near Hemkund.

Bedni Bugyals: One can witness the raw beauty of nature at Bedni Bugyal – a green pastures. It is also a stopover on the Yatra of Nanda Raj Jaat.

Hemkund Sahib and Hemkund Lake: It is the holiest place for Sikhs and Hindus. The glaciers from the peak of Hathi and Saptrishi feed the Hemkund Lake.

Facts and numbers for Roopkund trek
Duration: 7 days
Max Altitude: 15,696 ft
Trekking Distance: 53 Km
Grade: Moderate to difficult

Here is a shorter version of the itinerary…
Day 1: Driving from Kathgodam to Lohajung (2130m)
Day 2: Lohajung to Didana (2550m)
Day 3Didana to Bedni Bugyal (3350m)
Day 4: Bedni Bugyal to Bhagubasa (4100m)
Day 5: Bhagubasa to Roopkund and Junargalli(4750m) to Patal Nauchaniya (3850m)
Day 6: Patal Nauchaniya to Bedni Bugyal (3350m) to Wan (2550m) – Lohajung
Day 7:  Lohajung – Kathgodam

Roopkund Trek: A high dose of adventure filled with natural splendor all along 
To escape from the mundane city life, I decided to go on a trek to experience the serene beauty. The expedition was an opportunity to discover a wide variety of flora and fauna and the giant mountains that I had only ever previously dreamt of.

Kathgodam
Lohagunj– a fantastic starting point for your Roopkund trek

The journey began one morning with one of my closest friends from Delhi. We hired a cab that dropped us to Kathgodam – a town in the Uttarakhand’s Nainital district. From there, we both moved to Lohajung which was the base point of our trek. Even after a tiring journey, the excitement didn’t let us sleep on the bus. Travelling through a scenic route, we arrived at the destined place after 7 hours. The purest form of nature, Lohajung is replete with rich biodiversity. The beautiful surroundings of evergreen alpine forests were so captivating that we thought to not move further!

Next day, we walked through a pictorial forest lined with Himalayan cedar and oak trees. Crossing an old bridge over the River Neel Ganga, we reached Ruan Bagad after 2 hours of easy trek. Our guide told us that people also take a road route from here that goes to Wan Village. Despite the uneven terrain, the hike from Ruan Bagad to Didna village took just around 2 hours. The night was spent in a camp.

Meadows on the way to Roopkund
Green meadows that stretch as far as eyes go fill your initial trek

On day 3, the trail moved ahead to the village of Ali Bugyal which is one of the highest inhabited locations in India. Since I’m not a regular trekker, I opted for the easier route and it took almost 6 hours to reach the Ali Bugyal. To keep the pace with other trekkers and to reach on time, we were advised to consume dry fruits and energy bars. It really gave us energy throughout the expedition.  

Day 4 of Roppkund trek

Thankfully, we reached bang on time! We arrived at Ali Bugyal by noon where we enjoyed magnificent views of Nanda Ghunti and Trishul peaks. And it was right there that I couldn’t control my emotions and took around 170 pictures in just 15 minutes. Fun times! Later, we moved towards Bedni Bugyal – a campsite for our overnight stay.

Next morning, we woke up to the beautiful views of the sunrise. Our guide briefed us about the program and then, we all were ready to move towards Bhagubasa. A trail first entered to the coniferous forest that took us to an area of high altitude. After crossing a zigzag path, we reached the temple of Lord Ganesha ‘Kalu Vinayak’ which is constructed with irregular pebbles and bricks. We stayed there for about 20 minutes and we prayed for 5 minutes. After receiving much needed blessings from the Lord, we hiked further.

After 1 hour we reached a spot where we got an opportunity to capture the astonishing views of Chaukhamba, Neelkanth and Hathi peaks in our cameras. Though the distance was short, the slippery path made it a bit challenging for us. We reached our beautiful campsite at the hilltop of Bhagubasa after 1 hour.

Skeletal Lake; visit at a time when its not completely frozen to spot the skeletal remains buried in the ground
Skeletal Lake; visit at a time when its not completely frozen to spot the skeletal remains buried in the ground

It was day 5, our guide had set a goal for us and according to that, we were supposed to reach the lake in about 2-3 hours. The mysterious Roopkund Lake gave me an adrenaline rush. Our guide was carefully watching our steps around the lake as we were walking around the tricky terrain. It was quite a moment, as we viewed the human skeletons and bones. We all were so happy that there were tears of joy in our eyes. After hugging each other, some of our group mates moved towards Junargali ridge. However, I spend time in capturing gorgeous views of the mountains. After staying up there for an hour, we later headed back to Patal Nauchaniya. It was a long walk down and we stopped at two spots for rest along the way. After reaching the camp, we realized that it was time to celebrate our victory! We organized a bonfire, played cards and finally, clicked a lot of group photos.

Day 6,7 : The way back to Kathgodam
We woke up at 5 am and after grabbing toasts from the camp we tramped down to the forest of pine, rhododendron and oak to reach Wan village. We had a scrumptious lunch at a Garhwali restaurant which served us traditionally style Thali filled with local food. We went back to Lohagunj and spent the night in tents at the campsite. After saying goodbye to each other, we moved to Kathgodam.

Mobile connectivity and ATM facility
One can find ATM machines in two places i.e. Kathgodam and Dewal. Notably, there is no ATM after crossing Dewal as the trek begins from here.
Most of the mobile networks work at Lohajung. There is hardly any connectivity in the mountains which means all important calls should be made at Lohajung.

Things to carry

  • Trekking pole, trekking shoes, 6-7 pair of socks, power bank
  • Sweaters, warm jackets, caps and gloves
  • Sunscreen lotion
  • Water bottles, backpack, energy bars and drinks
  • A pair of sunglasses, camera
  • Basic toiletries, bed sheets
  • Flash light (with spare batteries) and Swiss knife
  • Insect repellent, emergency medical kit
  • First-aid kit, binoculars, sleeping bag

And with that, the dreamy journey of 7 days came to an end. What I brought back with me was a box full of beautiful memories.

Perched at an altitude of 14,400 ft, Valley of Flowers is home to the pristine beauty of nature which most of us get a chance to admire only in books. Replete with rich biodiversity and breathtaking surroundings, Valley of Flowers is popular for drawing the attention of several tourists across the world. Located in the ‘Abode of God’, Uttarakhand, it is a striking UNESCO World Heritage Site. To step into the bed of flowers on this beautiful journey into wilderness is an experience in itself.

What sways the mind of millions?

Renowned for its meadows of endemic alpine flowers, Valley of Flowers National Park is a picturesque park that graces the beauty of the Western Himalayas. Hemkund Sahib is one of the major attractions of the Valley of Flowers trek. An abode of faith and devotion, Hemkund Sahib is known for receiving huge tourist traffic round the year. The trekking expedition to Valley of Flowers and Hemkund Sahib presents a unique combination of rustic beauty and spiritual grandeur. Abandoned areas, isolated hamlets and an off-beat trail makes the level of adventure and excitement shoot up!

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A quick glimpse of my trekking expedition:

It is often said that, ‘Nature is the friend of silence and peace’. And I met this friend when I trekked to the Valley of Flowers. To be honest, nothing was pre-planned. When it became a little difficult for me to go with the mundane flow of things, I decided to take a short break. Nature often comes to the rescue when survival becomes stressful and draining. And my case is no exception!

So I left the city and my troubles behind, and reached the first location of my trekking expedition, Haridwar. On the way from Haridwar to Govindghat, the best moment was to witness the holy confluence of Bhagirathi and Alaknanda Rivers forming the River Ganges. The long journey to this place did tire me, but the fascinating paths and religious enshrine kept my spirits alive. Despite the longing of exploring more of the place, I decided to rest in the hotel for some time.

Next morning, it was time to move from Govindghat to Ghangria.  With a short 14 km gradual ascent, I started the trek with a fresh and clear mind. On the way, I met several other people who joined me. While we were walking through the forest area, we came across a number of waterfalls and beautiful greenscapes that left us amazed. In a state of awe, we were trying to comprehend the mesmerizing beauty that was right in front of us. The thought of capturing that hypnotizing moment suddenly slipped into my mind. A lot of selfies and photos got clicked by all of us. Also, do not miss the chance to visit one of the most famous Sikh shrines, Hemkund Sahib. Being the world’s highest Gurudwara, it tops the list of the trekkers’ itinerary.

trek_uttarakhand_valley_of_flowers

And then, arrived the much-awaited moment!  After scaling a height of 3,858 m, we finally reached our destination, Valley of Flowers. Vibrating with hues of unique color codes, the sight was casting an enchanting spell. The balsam flowers flaunting light bright pink, blue and orange colors were lending a majestic appeal to the valley. The beauty of such exotic flowers took us on a flight of imagination where the valley seemed to be a dreamlike adventure. Stretched over a wide expanse of 87.50 km, the sight of a variety of flowers, including Himalayan Slender Tape Vine, Meadow Rue, Dwarf Globe Flower, and Marsh Marigold, was invigorating our senses.

Glazed by such a fantastic spectacle, I decided to pen down the experience deep in my mind. While all were celebrating their victory, I was silent and trying to give voice to my experience which changed my perspective towards life. Life is beautiful; however, it’s up to us to design it beautifully.

At last, it was time to climb down and to experience several other soulful moments waiting for us on the reverse journey.

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A part of the journey which was a spiritual surprise:

While trekking through numerous waterfalls, dense forests and astounding views of Himalayas, we were unaware of the surprise that was awaiting us! The view of Sri Hemkund Sahib  was enough to leave us in a state of spiritual ecstasy. The picturesque natural settings of the place replenished our soul and relieved us from all our worldly tensions.

Being an important pilgrimage site, Sri Hemkund Sahib is nestled amid the Himalayan ranges. Lying in the backdrop of snow-clad mountains, this holy place offers peace and tranquility away from the din and noise of the city. Adorned with beautiful and exquisite tapestry, the walls of Hemkund Sahib have pictures of various Sikh gurus who have inspired humankind with their morals and principles. Hemkund Sahib is not only a site of religious relevance, it also stands as a testimony to the sacrifice of those people in history who have fought for the welfare of the society.

Hemkund Sahib was one of the highlights of our trek. When every ounce of energy drained up, it served as a site that refreshed our mind and nourished us within a fraction of seconds. The guide told us that it is believed that Hemkund Sahib is home to seven snow peaks where Guru Gobind Singh meditated in his previous birth. The religious importance and spiritual joy attract a myriad of devotees every year. As it is considered that a dip into the holy water can purify our soul, we also felt that our souls were rejuvenated!

Load your bag with few essentials:

  • Walking stick
  • Trekking shoes
  • Head Torch
  • Moisturiser
  • Emergency Medical Kit
  • Insect Repellants

Amidst the noise and restlessness of my mind, I found something precious on this expedition. To sum up the experience in one line is to recall poet John Keats’s words, “A thing of beauty is a joy forever”.

In the abode of Himachal Pradesh, lies a beautiful place called Kheerganga (3500m) at the extreme end of Sylvan Hills’ Parvati Valley, where it is believed Lord Shiva meditated for thousands of years. The lush greenery of the mountains, the elegant River Parvati and picturesque skies are undoubtedly a much-awaited delight to a trekker’s eyes and soul.

The place has a religious significance for both Hindu and Sikh pilgrims. Situated 22 km away from Manikaran, Kheerganga is popular for its hot water spring even during heavy snowfall and bathing in it is an experience you will definitely cherish. While trekking, the trail unveils popular tourist destinations en route like Rudra Nag Waterfall and Shiv Temple. You should go ahead for the Kasol – Kheerganga trek to experience peace in the soothing sights of the great Himalayas.

The enthralling beauty of Kheerganga
The enthralling beauty of Kheerganga

How ‘Kheerganga’ came to be called so

A few believe that it was the son of Lord Shiva, Kartikeya, who came here after losing a race to his brother Ganesha. He remained in a ‘Samadhi’(meditation) for thousands of years. It was Lord Shiva who tried to tempt his son by channelizing a stream of Kheer (rice pudding) to bring him back. The actual meaning of the word Kheerganga is ‘milky white sacred water’.

A Trek to Kheerganga

Almost three years back, when I went to Kasol with a group of my childhood friends, I heard about Kheerganga from the people who were coming back from the trek. They told us that despite its obvious challenges, the trek was an incredible experience that would make for a lifetime of memories. Since then, Kheerganga had been on my list of places to go, till the opportunity finally presented itself.

Last month, I decided to go for the trek, and after my packing, I went to Shivaji Stadium from where I was supposed to board a tempo traveller bus at 10 pm. I wore my headphones comfortably, turned on the music, and settled back. We took a pit stop at Murthal for dinner, where I enjoyed Pyaaz Parathe with pickle and curd, then we headed for the road again. This was for the first time I was travelling solo, so my over-excitement hardly let me sleep on the bus.

The morning started with a stunning sunrise view that I enjoyed from a local Dhaba where we relished tea and sandwiches. After crossing the bumpy path of Manikaran and Kasol road, the bus dropped me at the Kasol Bus Stop at around 2 pm. I met a few other people at the bus stop who were planning to trek to Kheerganga at 2pm. Rather than saying yes to them, I decided to find a hotel for a night stay in Kasol as I wanted to be completely rested for the journey. After relaxing for 2 hours, I took a stroll to the Kasol Street that is also referred to as Mini Israel, because of the many Hebrew inscribed signboards and a variety of scrumptious Israeli dishes that are being served in the restaurants and cafes.

Next day, I started my expedition at 6 am after grabbing some toast from the hotel’s restaurant. I first visited a nearby temple where I met my guide, who had 8 years of experience in trekking. We set our target to reach Kheerganga by noon. From the temple, we moved to Barsaini, the base camp, which is also the convergence point of the Parvati and Tosh Rivers. On our way to the top, we walked through the majestic landscape along with a splendid sight of nature. We passed a few wooden bridges, tricky terrains and slippery curves. I captured several mesmerising views of the sky, waterfalls and birds in my camera. We reached Rudra Nag Waterfall at 10am, where we stayed for 15 minutes to admire the beauty of the hills.  

Trekking from Kasol to Kheerganga
Trekking from Kasol to Kheerganga

We also came through villages Kalga and Pulga, where the locals sang a few Himachali folk songs for us, and that moment was truly divine! They briefed me about their lifestyle and the locals offered me a traditional desert of Himachal, Mittha, which is prepared with rice, jaggery, raisins and dry fruits. Further on, the route became sublime, with sights of temples, flowing water streams, flowers, mud houses and alpine trees.

We reached the green meadow of Kheerganga bang on time!  I took a refreshing dip in the hot spring that washed off all my tiredness and leg pain from the journey. That day, I decided to spend a night in the camp. To celebrate the achievement of trekking, a bonfire was arranged for all of us at night. Playing cards, Antakshri and dancing set the tone right for the night. That was another sleepless night as people were busy interacting and sharing their experiences with each other.

Trekking in Kheerganga
Trekking in Kheerganga

I had a sleep for about 2 hours and I woke up to the chilly morning breeze with a splendid view of the sunrise and flying birds. After having breakfast, I went to take another dip in the hot water spring.We started the trek back to Barsaini after breakfast at 11:30 am which took us 3 and a half hours, and then we returned to Kasol, which is just 3 km away.

Things to Carry

  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Trekking shoes and trekking pole
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Warm clothes
  • First aid kit

Kheerganga Trek Highlights

  • Length: 1 Nights 2 days
  • Maximum altitude: 3050 m
  • Delhi to Kasol: 520 km
  • Kasol to Barsaini: 40 km
  • Barsaini to Kheerganga: 12 km

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Things to keep in mind

  • Avoid taking shortcuts in the mountains
  • Leave the least amount of ecological footprint by choosing to not litter on the trail
  • Watch your steps at the slippery Hot water spring
  • No mobile networks at Kheerganga

Must-Try Cafes

  • Buddha Place
  • Moon Dance Cafe
  • Mama Cafe
  • Jim Morrison Cafe
  • The Evergreen Cafe

Recommended Hotels

  • ADB Rooms Summer Hills
  • The Woodward Two
  • Hotel Sandhya, Kasol
  • Parvati River Kasol

Soak in the rejuvenating essence of Pin Parvati valley as you explore the breathtaking views of Kheerganga, setting out from Kasol. Unwind and unravel in the arms of nature.  

Known for its meadows of endemic alpine flowers, Valley of Flowers is located in the ‘Abode of God’, Uttarakhand in Chamoli District of the Garhwal region. Be it nature lovers, mountaineers or botanists, a walk to this striking UNESCO World Heritage Site is an apt choice to enjoy the eponymous Himalayan valley, which is replete with rich biodiversity and breathtaking surroundings. While trekking to this sublime beauty, you will pass through an off-beat trail, isolated hamlets, abandoned areas and diverse species of flora and fauna, which is an experience of a lifetime. Perched at an altitude of 4,389 m, the valley is home to endangered animals, including the brown bear, blue sheep, Asiatic black bear and snow leopard.

Experience of ‘Paradise’ before Reaching the Final Destination

Being one of those rare natural botanical gardens in the country, a trek to this floral city is known for evoking an unfathomable elation in the mind of trekkers. When one of my friends, who is an ardent trekker, asked me to accompany her to the Valley of Flowers, I quickly signed up without any second thought. Next day, we began our journey at 4 am. Traveling via Dehradun brought back so many fond travel memories for me. We soon reached Haridwar, which is the starting point of the Valley of Flowers trek.

The journey started with a trail from Haridwar to Govindghat. We reached Govindghat via Rishikesh, Devprayag, Srinagar, Rudraprayag, and Karanprayag. However, one can also reach the place via the winter abode of Lord Badrinath and Joshimath. Along the way, do not miss an opportunity to witness the holy confluence of Bhagirathi and Alaknanda Rivers that together form the River Ganges. Though it’s a long journey, the path is fascinating when one notices the stunning convergence of these two rivers. It is likely that you may get tired, therefore, it is advised to take a short break and relax in a gorgeous apple orchard on the way.

After some rest, it was time for us to move from the base camp Govindghat to Ghangaria. The first day of Valley Of Flowers trek began with a 14 km gradual ascent from Govindghat to Ghangaria. The beauty of a number of waterfalls and lush greenery hypnotized us. In addition, the villagers told us that the world’s highest Gurudwara and the most revered of all Sikh Shrines, the ‘Hemkund Sahib’, is situated nearby, at an altitude of 4,329 meters. Ghangaria is a base camp for the Valley Of Flowers trek, and people can avail different services that include hiring a mule or using a helicopter. We had booked rooms at Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam, which is considered as the best place to stay in Ghangaria.

Divine Beauty in the Valley of Flowers
Trekking in Uttarakhand to the beautiful Valley of Flowers!

Time to Explore ‘Flowery Wonderland’

Next day after having some scrumptious Aloo Paranthas, we started a trek through Ghangaria to Valley of Flowers. The most difficult thing during the trek was to face heavy winds, but it was heartening to see that trekkers were helping each other to move ahead comfortably. As we scaled a height of 3,858 m to arrive at the Valley of Flowers, we witnessed thousands of flowers in full bloom. Our eyes were glazed by a fantastic and beautiful sight. At the starting point of this national park, I came across the Balsam flowers that sported bright light pink, blue and orange colors, followed by Himalayan Slender Tape Vine, Meadow Rue, Dwarf Globe Flower, and Marsh Marigold. The majesty of ‘Brahma Kamal’ (Saussurea obvallata) too was evident among the cluster of white and black Daisy flowers. It took around four hours to admire the rare and exotic beauty of the flowers spread like a blanket sheet, stretched over an expanse of 87.50 km. A unique blend of snow-capped mountains, green meadows, and white clouds made our trek a dreamlike adventure.

Know how the Valley was discovered?

As we had hired a guide to know better about the place, he told us that the credit to discover the valley goes to two British people i.e. mountaineer Frank Smith and botanist Joan Margaret Legge, who explored the valley together in the 1930s. However, botanist Prakash Chandra Kala from the Wildlife Institute of India spent a decade in the valley. During that period, he compiled two books known for having an inventory of all the flowers that blossom here, with their common and scientific names.

uttarakhand_valley_of_flowers_trek

Travelers Take Some Notes!

The floral site is a feast for the eyes and lends a unique experience in itself. The trail will become steeper, however, the finest creations of nature will keep you inspired and enchanted. When the much-awaited destination is right in front of you, it seems that every ounce of energy lost in the trail did not go in vain. Most of the people experience mixed emotions where excitement and relief come together to celebrate the joy of achieving something that you have aimed for.  You should spend some peaceful time in the lap of nature and capture some scenic images in your heart. Notably, it is a tea house trek because there are a number of tea-houses that bring you the finest qualities of fragrant teas.

The best time to visit the valley is from July to September, as flowers are in full bloom at that time. However, don’t forget to carry your rain gear, because it is the monsoon season after all, and it keeps raining here. Importantly, shoes play a major role during a trek, so one should avoid wet shoes and opt for shoes with water resistance.

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What to Eat inside the VOF?
VOF doesn’t offer any food facility to its visitors. You need to carry food packets with you but you are required
to eat the food outside the valley as there are no options to eat inside the park. Please don’t ruin this pristine
paradise by leaving wrappers and plastic bottles. Let’s not waste admirable efforts of Bhyunder Eco-
Development Committee (EDC), Bhyundar which is working hard to keep the valley clean and green.

Accommodation Options
There are hardly any accommodation facilities available outside the VOF. One can avail the guest houses,
lodges and camps in Ghangaria. So far, the best option to stay is GMVN, Ghangaria by Garhwal Mandal Vikas
Nigam. Some people prefer to stay at Govindghat, Auli or Joshimath as the hotels available there offer better
facilities. Remember, if you book your hotel or camp any of these three areas, you need to travel for around
30 minutes to reach the base camp i.e. Ghangaria.

Helicopters and Pony Facility
Helicopters and pony facility is offered to the tourists. As compared to pony ride, a Helicopter ride is quite
short and relaxed. However, its operation entirely depends on the weather condition. During bad weather,
helicopter facility is not provided. Travelers who are planning to trek can also buy wooden sticks or trekking
poles to ease their 6-8 hour journey.

Mobile Network and Internet Services
Before you head for VOF, keep in mind that Ghangaria offers electricity but there is hardly any mobile
network facility for the travelers. You may find fellow travelers getting signals of Idea at the VOF entry gate.
Notably, there are satellite phone booths in Ghangaria from where you can make calls.

Timings for Trek
You are not allowed to trek after 2 pm from Govindghat to Ghangaria as you need to trek 17km. In order to go
back to Govindghat on the same date from Ghangaria, you need to reach the base camp by 3 pm. Then only
can you start the trek down to Govindghat at 3 pm as it would take around 4 to 5 hours. Horse riding isn’t
available after 4 pm as there is a fear of wild animals and landslides.
Let your fears speak out loud and explore the valley to the fullest, take photos and let the fresh air and
pleasing scent of the flowers revive all your senses on this beautiful trek.

The ultimate destination for party-lovers and youngsters, Bangalore is fast becoming an important tourist destination in India. The city is also known for being the nation’s information technology hub, in addition to housing superpowers like ISRO. The capital of Karnataka is known for its beautiful climate, famous eating joints and night clubs. The city also offers the finest cuisines and street food which is ideal for spending some time here. While touring the city, don’t forget to visit Cubbon Park, Vidhan Souda and Brigade Road, among a host of other important places. Bangalore is the most ideal place for trekking, as it offers a range of suitable landscapes and a favourable weather to carry out this activity. There are four locations which offer you the best experience and one must not miss trekking in these few places while on a trip to Bangalore.

Step out for an adventure today!
Step out for an adventure today! Pictured: Tadiandamol Trek

One of the best opportunities for trekking is Tadiandamol Trek. The trek takes people to the lofty and magnanimous Western Ghat. It takes place in Coorg, a place in Karnataka. As people climb higher up the mountains, they will be able to see a transition in the vegetation, from dense and impenetrable jungles to grasslands. The place also happens to be the home to a rich variety of fauna. As people traverse through the mountains, they will also encounter many pilgrimage sites and waterfalls on their way. The program offers pick up and drop from and to the hotel. The itinerary involves a visit to the Chelavara Falls and ultimately to the trekking site. Tourists will be served lunch during the course of their activity. They will also be offered a beautiful dinner alongside a warm bonfire. The tour also comprises of activities like river rafting. People can go to pilgrimage sites like Bhagamandala also. However, before leaving for the trek, please ensure that the shoes are sturdy and have a good grip. Adequate water is also a must to keep oneself hydrated during the entire journey.

Abundance of natural beauty and oh, the thrill of exploring it!
Abundance of natural beauty and oh, the thrill of exploring it!

Another exciting tour across the lofty mountains is offered by Kumara Parvatha Trek. It promises to be challenging yet a memorable activity. A three-day trip, the trek starts from the mountain summit, known as Pushpagiri. It is known to be one of the most challenging terrains in South India. The trek starts soon after a coach picks all the tourists up from Bangalore and drives them to a small town near the base of the hill. The first stage of the trek takes people through an easily-negotiable path leading to Battar Mane. Then the next stage of the trek to Kumara Parthava begins. It is after crossing Kallu Mantapa that you encounter the most difficult part of the trek. With steep climbs and a difficult terrain, the trek becomes a real challenge. Trekkers are supposed to ascend and descend halfway down the terrain on the same day. Supplemented with a pleasing and filling lunch and dinner meal, the trek will be a great experience for everyone.

Adventure Is Out Here!
Adventure Is Out Here!

For a short but memorable trek, Kuntibetta Trek is ideal. The trekking takes place on Pandavapura, a hill where, legend has it, the Pandavas resided after their exile from Indraprastha. The beauty of the hill is enhanced by a lake that hides behind the hill, making the entire location very beautiful and picturesque. The trek may be a short one, but it does not guarantee that people won’t find hurdles. There are places where the terrain becomes especially difficult to cross. But then, that is the real fun of trekking – facing challenges. For people who desire to be a part of this trek, they will first have to pass a fitness test, since the climb is quite challenging. For the purpose of the trek, there are some essential things that everyone show carry – a water bottle and good quality shoes. People may also be subject to scorching sunlight, hence, carry goggles and sunscreens. A coach will carry the guests to the site of the trek. As one starts the trek, the beautiful view all around is sure to impress them. The lake at the summit of the hill makes the place look all the more beautiful. People will also encounter many bushy patches on the way and they will have to crawl through it. This just increases the fun of trekking here. Upon reaching the destination, relax and have a great time admiring the view from the top.

Catch a sight of the village where Sholay was shot!
Get insider access to the village where Sholay was shot!

One of the most popular locations in the outskirts of Bangalore is Ramanagara. The place is known for being the shooting site of the legendary movie Sholay. It is for this reason that the place attracts tourists in great numbers. The place is filled with hills which gives it a beautiful scenic view. It is, indeed, an ideal destination for people who love trekking. Another interesting fact about the area is that when viewed from a particular angle, the hills in this region are said to resemble some Hindu Gods. Thus, this place is religiously very significant and sees a lot of devotees throughout the year. Ramanagara is also an ideal location for bird-watching, as one can find countless species of birds here, like Egyptian and Indian vultures. So as people trek, they can also watch out for some of the most amazing bird species that they might have seen. Leopards and bears can also be easily spotted in the hills.

Interestingly, many of the cliffs in this area have been named after the characters of the film Sholay. So it makes the experience all the more enjoyable. The climb isn’t particularly very treacherous, but people must watch out for some challenges on the way. It is important that guests carry water with them to keep themselves hydrated. They should also carry sun glasses and sun screen to protect themselves from the harsh sunlight. Good quality trekking shoes are a prerequisite for any trekking expedition. In order to do the activity, you need to be physically fit. So ensure that you don’t have any breathing problems. A quick warm up before embarking on the trek is recommended as it warms the body and preps it for physical activity.

These four are some of the best places for trekking in Bangalore. Tourists are at the leisure to choose from whichever trek or try out all of the sites, in case people are very passionate about the sport. It is indeed one of the best ways to spend a holiday in Bangalore.

Perched on the foothills of the mighty Himalayas, Nepal is a natural fortress. A unique mix of vast plains and towering mountains, it is home to some of the most inhospitable heights that are breathtaking (pun intended). It will entice you to try your sinews and tempt you with its characteristic serenity – Nepal is irresistible to the adrenaline junkies.

Nepal also provides umpteen opportunities for an ‘up close and personal’ rendezvous with the highest mountain in the world, Mt. Everest, and other coveted terrains treaded by intrepid adventurers like Lhotse and Ama Dablam. The best thing about trekking in Nepal is that you travel through the villages for a good part of the journey. Savour this chance to know about some of the remotest areas in the world, the people and their culture. They are also amazing hosts, so much so that you may complete most of the popular trekking trails in Nepal without setting up camps for a night halt – the tea-houses are rapidly becoming a rage among the trekkers on popular trekking circuits in Nepal.

Popular Trekking Destinations in Nepal Tea-houses, as the name suggests, were initially set up by locals to provide weary and cold trekkers with some quick snack and a hot cup of beverage. Gradually, they expanded both in scope and reach – several tea-houses now offer basic accommodation and amenities at a nominal price, with a limited but possible chance of upgrade. These moderate lodgings are an integral part of ‘tea-house trekking’, as it is popularly known as in Nepal. Meet fellow travellers and share your story beside the warmth of fire over a home-cooked meal – pack your rucksacks already?

Everest Base Camp Trek

Before he ventured for the last and fatal climb, George Mallory famously said he will go back for a third time to the Everest because ‘it is there’. Such is the lure of the Everest, locally known as ‘Sagarmatha’. Most of the trek will take you through the Sagarmatha National Park, which is also a Unesco World Heritage Site. The park offers magnificent views and is a haven for musk deer, snow leopard, Himalayan tahr, black bear and several types of pheasants. Take time to experience the culture of the sherpas and visit the monasteries and museums on the way to understand your most trusted friends on the journey. Know more about Everest Base Camp Trek!

Everest Base Camp Trek in Nepal
Everest Base Camp – On my Wishlist

Annapurna Base Camp Trek

The Annapurna starts teasing you at Pokhara and does not give up until you are right in front of the enormous massif. Picturesque views of Machapuchare (meaning fish-tailed mountain; considered sacred by locals and therefore has never been scaled), Annapurna South and Hiunchuli can be seen from Ghandruk. The trails passes through the vegetation-rich Annapurna Conservation area – walk on the pretty rhododendrons and ferns amid the thick oaks and bamboos. Trees with thick bark, locally called Daphne, are found here and used for making paper. Know more about Annapurna Base Camp Trek!

Annapurna Base Camp Trek in Nepal

Annapurna Circuit Trek

For the more adventurous souls, Annapurna Circuit Trek makes a rather interesting trip. It offers great views of the Annapurna and Marshyangdi River throws up a challenge every time you cross a river on a suspension bridge or walk through the deep gorges it created. A big plus is that the length of this trek in central Nepal can be customised between 160 and 230 km, depending on how many days you want to spend. And you will not mind spending a fortnight among the incredible variety of natural vista – regale in the sub-tropical meadows near Besi Sahar and rise through striking alpine peaks enroute the famous Thorung La pass at 5,416 metres (17,769 ft) to descend into the Mustang region. Explore more about Annapurna Circuit Trek!

Annapurna Circuit Trek in Nepal

Gokyo Lakes and Gokyo Ri Trek

If you want to avoid the mad rush to the coveted ‘EBC’ (a popular acronym for the Everest Base Camp) and yet view the majestic peak, this is the one you should settle for. The turquoise lakes fed by the glaciers and view of ‘eight-thousanders’ including Lhotse, Makalu and Cho Oyu from the peaks can easily vie for the title of Nepal’s most memorable sights. This trek also takes you to Renjo La (5340m), one of Nepal’s most beautiful passes. Bust the myth of yeti as you walk through the Sherpa town of Khumjung, home of a ‘real’ yeti skull, and as you reach ‘Scoundrel’s viewpoint’ near the fifth lake, look closely for the Ngozumpa Glacier, the largest in the Himalayas that you may otherwise miss as a wasteland of rock and ice. Explore more about Gokyo Lakes and Gokyo Ri Trek!

Gokyo Lakes and Gokyo Ri Trek in Nepal

Poon Hill Trek

If short and rewarding is your idea of a trek then Poon Hill fits the bill. It takes you through a part of the Annapurna region and largest settlements of the the Gurung community. Allow the photographer in you full authority in these picturesque surroundings – virgin scenic tracts and an unforgettable sunrise at the Poon Hill along with a panorama of Annapurna South, Annapurna I, Annapurna II, III, and IV, Dhaulagiri, Lamjung Himal, Gangapurna, and Manaslu ranges among few others. Know more about Poon Hill Trek!

Poon Hill Trek in Nepal

The mystic monasteries, cute little monks, ponderous yaks grazing on quaint village fields and salubrious breeze from the high mountains soothe your city-battered soul like no other medicine.

You may have been to the Pink City several times before and seen all that the city has to offer. But going on a hot air balloon is enthralling in its uniqueness – feeling the crisp air on your face, taking in the immaculate view of monuments and forts, is an experience you will never forget.  As you glide over local villages on the outskirts of the city, the ride may take you very close to the undulating Aravalli, so close that you get a whiff of the rugged earth!

Hot Air Ballooning in Rajasthan India
Hot Air Ballooning in Rajasthan India

Hot air ballooning is now a growing trend in India, especially among the youth. However if you are travelling with children, hot air balloon rides are actually a great option to bond over, as ballooning is a calm experience unlike a helicopter ride or cliff jumping. Families are increasingly taking such trips that are easy on children and make parents happy as well. The trip is generally conducted in a group of four to eight people travelling in baskets that are divided into compartments and attached to the hot air balloon.

hot-air-ballooning-rides

Hot air balloon rides in Jaipur are held in the morning and evening hours when the wind is most stable. The morning flights start between 5:45 AM and 6:45 AM while evening flights are timed between 3:30 PM and 4:00 PM, except for summers when sweltering heat interrupts favourable winds for a smooth sailing.

Read on to know why a hot air balloon ride in Jaipur must feature in your to-do list.

The quiet and the beauty

As you see the earth fade away and the horizon becomes clear, immerse yourself in the quiet, far from the madding crowd on the ground. Soak yourself in the serenity and peace as the cool breeze brushes against your skin. You can certainly imagine the riveting view of a sunrise or a sunset while staying suspended high above the ground.

Hot Air Ballooning at Rajasthan

Mesmerising sights from above

Most of us enjoy the views while flying in an airplane. In that case, a balloon’s-eye view should definitely leave you awestruck. As you move smoothly over Samode Bagh and Palace, Amber Fort and Maota Lake, Shiv Vilas, Jal Mahal, Madhogarh Fort or Delhi Road, take a closer look at the monuments. Many of these are not accessible, while interesting features of others can be seen from above, which when viewed at ground level, tend to elude your peering eyes. Seize the opportunity to find out a missed minaret or simply feast your eyes by looking at the mundane from unusual angles.

hot-air-ballooning-rides-rajasthan-jaipur

Superior services and international standards followed

If you enjoy being treated like a royal family member in Rajasthan, opt for this ride. The organizers offer advance and real-time update about your trip. They also ensure you are received at your lodgings at the beginning of the trip and dropped after your ride. The equipment and gears are largely imported while pilots who will guide the balloon throughout the ride are well-versed with the prevalent practices. The operators go that extra mile to make you feel comfortable. If you are afraid of heights (the flight can take you as high as five thousand feet in the air), the safety briefing held before the flight will alleviate your fears.

A hot air balloon being inflated!
A hot air balloon being inflated!

Get to know the locals and their culture

As you sail through the settlements on the outskirts of the city in the hot air balloon, experience the vibrant local culture that mostly remains off-limits to the regular tourists. The guides on-board, rich in their knowledge of the local area and its people, explain the nitty-gritty of their life, traditions and cultures. Keep aside three to four hours for a complete experience, of which the in-air time will be about one hour. Believe us when we say that you simply cannot miss this chance of enriching yourself!

Book your hot air balloon trip in Jaipur and create your very own experience to be cherished forever.

The desert mountain valley of Spiti in Himachal Pradesh is as much an ideal destination for adventurers as it is for the solitude seekers. Nestled high up in the Himalayan Mountains, the scenic Spiti Valley presents wonderful opportunities for moderate to difficult trekking expeditions as well as Jeep safaris. However, those who wish to stay away from such adrenaline-pumping activities and spend their time peacefully exploring the region should opt for a homestay experience. This can be done at any of the six villages of Spiti, namely Demul, Langza, Dhankar, Kibber, Lhalung and Komik. On an average, each of this village has up to three homestays with each having one guest bedroom that can accommodate one or two people. These homestays are basically village homes, with one of their portions converted into comfortable guestrooms. These have been developed by the locals to generate an alternative and sustainable source of income for themselves.

Did you know tea drinking in India was prevalent since 750 BC? However, it was not tea per say, but more of a vegetable dish that consisted of tea leaves, oil and garlic. Technically, India was introduced to tea by some officers of the British army, who started tea cultivation here with seeds brought from China. This led to a revolution, and by the end of the 19th century, tea produced in Darjeeling and some parts of Assam were exported to different parts of the world, especially Britain. Slowly and steadily, this revolution spread across the entire Himalayan foothills and other parts of the country.

Ask any 20-something about what they cherish the most and see them talk lovingly about weekends. Yes, weekends are truly the best! From extroverts who love to socialise with just about everyone to introverts who prefer to stay back in the familiar comfort of their home, weekends are fervently awaited by each of us. They are after all the only two days in a week when we can ignore work-related mails and focus on ourselves and our loved ones. It is that magical period of time which makes us feel that we were not born to just work, pay taxes and leave the world without having lived at all. Whatever our idea of a good time may include, a weekend is when we indulge ourselves in what we love.

What comes to your mind, when I say “adventure in the Himalayas”? I am quite sure your answer would include things like trekking, skiing, hiking, mountaineering, river rafting and paragliding. But there is more to excite you in the Himalayas than these; and that is the scintillating road trips, which are undertaken by thousands of people, year after year. There is a certain charm about riding through the Himalayan regions that beckons adventure seekers from across the globe. The challenges that one faces during these road trips are innumerable, but everything gets compensated by the satisfaction of successfully completing it.

Life is a journey. In this long voyage, you meet people, make acquaintances and then continue on your way. But, some people are such that their memory remains with us forever. The same can be said about places. You visit tens and hundreds of places in your life, if not thousands, but the memory of only a few of those stays. Bhabha Pass in the Spiti Valley is one such place, a trip to which one just wouldn’t forget.