You can ask any adventurous person about his dream road trip, the answer will be Leh Ladakh. People get really crazy with the thought of exploring Ladakh on two wheels. The cold desert, barren lands, rugged roadways, mammoth lakes, picturesque monasteries, and less number of residents. No doubt all these things make Ladakh an iconic destination that needs to be check-off from the bucket list. However, if you have already visited this place or Ladakh seems too far, then you must visit Spiti Valley, the split image of Ladakh. Nestled in the northeast of Himachal Pradesh, Spiti means Middle Land – the land lying between India and Tibet. Here are few reasons for taking a trip to Spiti Valley this year instead of Leh Ladakh:

The journey is just as spectacular as Ladakh

You and your bike - Spiti Valley!
You and your bike – Spiti Valley!

You will find the roads of Spiti and Ladakh quite similar, however, Spiti is much rugged in terms of experience. Ladakh roads are much wider and better connected while Spiti route is adventurous and challenging for the riders. The surroundings and the picturesque villages of Spiti are in still intact and in pristine conditions. The journey is filled with mind-blowing vistas of ever-changing landscapes. Especially for those who love adventure and rough, Spiti is a wonderland still unexplored.

Monasteries Treasure on both the grounds

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Whether it’s Ladakh or Spiti, both these destinations share similar cultures and religious ethos. The land is mostly dominated by people of Buddhists religion, hence monasteries are important to the locals. If Ladakh has Diksit monastery and Hemis Monastery, Spiti has Key monastery, which is also the biggest monastery of Spiti region. Dhankar Gompa also garners a lot of attention from the tourists. It is 1000 years old and is still running fine. Another intriguing fact that there resides a 500-year-old Mummy preserved in the Giu Village of Spiti Valley. It is called Lama Mummy and is believed to be the mummy of a Tibetan Monk, Sangha Tezin. The locals believe that the mummy protects them from all the evil.

Fascinating Lakes

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If Ladakh has Pangong Lake, Spiti has its own Pangong called Chandra Taal Lake. With a circumference of 4km and altitude of 14,000 ft, Lake Chandra Taal has crystal-clear blue water with no visible water source. It has a distinct water outlet. Called as the Moon Lake, Chandra Taal is one of the must-visit destinations for Spiti Enthusiasts. Other lakes of Spiti Valley are Suraj Tal (Lake of the Sun) and Dhankar Lake. You can do camping here, and enjoy the scenic views. You can’t take your car to the lake, however, two-wheelers are allowed.

The night and the stars

Spiti Jeep Safari (edit)

You might have seen a lot of pictures of Ladakh night photography. The sparkling stars shining so bright as if the entire region is wrapped in a blanket of stars. Well, let us tell you, Spiti also has a million star-studded sky. The city is free from any pollution, hence, the clear sky is a great opportunity for night photographers and stargazers to fly to this place asap! Dhankar Lake makes for a perfect destination for Astro-Photography at night time.

The Highland Passes

Gateway to Lahaul and Spiti Valley
Gateway to Lahaul and Spiti Valley

Certainly, Ladakh has Khardung La Pass, the world highest motorable road, but Spiti is also no less. Spiti has Kunzum La and Rohtang Pass which among the favourite of the riders. Since Ladakh has better roads and overall great connectivity, it is populated and one does not feel remote while riding. However, in Spiti Valley, the roads are rugged, the population is less and the feeling of driving with just your friends is divine. One needs to be cautious while riding in Spiti as it takes a lot from the riders. Although it is strenuous, the feeling of riding your bike without any rules will be enticing.

The Flavorsome Food

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Speaking of enticing, food dishes look really tantalizing both in Spiti and Ladakh. In the Land of Passes, one gets a lot of food options as the city has well-connectivity with the world. However, since Spiti Valley is a remote location, you will be served with rural and simple wonders on your plate. The food is really distinct and is cooked with a lot of love from the people of Spiti Village. Variety of momos, thukpa, goat sausages, yak meat, Pava, Sku are some of the local assortment you might get to taste. In drinks, try the famous Butter Tea, local alcohol and flavoured teas.

When you need a break from the noisy bustling world, all you need is the scenery of the sky-piercing mountains, with a radiant sun shining in the backdrop. That will definitely soothe your soul! Take an adventure in the quaint Spiti Valley and experience peace like never before! Only when you take a trip to Spiti Valley you will realize, the magic is for real! The enchanting baked mountains, high altitude villages and the intriguing culture will leave you awestruck!

Plan a trip to the enticing valley and feel the magic.

We all want to be able to enjoy the pristine beauty of the wilderness around in the world throughout our lifetimes and also for generations to come. Each of us plays a vital role in protecting the beauty. As we travel, it’s important for all of us to be conscious of the impact we have on the environment.

During my last back-packing hike to Triund, Mcleodganj, I hiked upwards with a heavy bag full of things to eat. And on my way down, I ended up with a much lighter bag. Some of the stuff from my bag did end up in my tummy, but the rest ended up scattered in the environment. That’s when I realized I’m doing it all wrong.

While I didn’t intend to harm my natural surroundings, I was not mindful of the reverberations of my actions in the environment, at that point of time.

While mulling further over it, I realized it’s important for all outdoor enthusiasts to minimize the impact of their visits. It’s cardinal for the wild in the wilderness to be kept alive.

Adhering to the seven principles of the ‘Leave No Trace’ Policy will ensure that the generations to come can witness and cherish the beauty of the untouched wild.

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Plan Ahead and Prepare

What- Research weather conditions, trail diversions, alternate routes, campsite locations, local territory guidelines/rules/regulations/bans before your hike.

Why- The more prepared you are, the less impact you will have by making unplanned decisions out in the wild.

How- Check weather beforehand, read about the trail route in advance, carry a map, and check local regulations. Set appropriate goals, plan your meals in advance, and repackage your food.

Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces

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What – It is important to hike on hard surfaces and established trails. It includes dry grass, rocks, gravel and snow.

Why – Soft surfaces are too fragile to withstand impact and vegetation once impacted can take months or years to recover.

How – Avoid deviating from set trails and campsites. Use dedicated campsites and receive well ahead of dusk for proper and safe installation of camps. Camp at least 100 meters away from a water source to avoid trampling plantation and scaring animals away or obstructing their water path.

Dispose of Waste Properly

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What- Pack it in, Pack it out. Take home the garbage back with you.

Why – Animals may end up eating up garbage causing them to be sick. Also, garbage, poop and soap can pollute water, making it unsafe to drink for humans or killing animals, plants and fish. Plus garbage and poop on the trails looks quite displeasing!

How – Take out all the wrappers from your food items even before you travel. Pack all fruit and vegetable peels in a zip-lock bag and get it back with you. If left in the soil, it takes months or even years to decompose.  Do not wash out food particles from your utensil in the water stream. Do not burn food or trash. For human waste, dig a cat hole which is 6-8 inches deep and cover up the hole with the dirt that you dug out. Do not discard human waste in the water. Try and keep water sources as unpolluted as possible.

Leave What You Find

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What -Admire what you like, don’t get it back home with you. You don’t need souvenirs.

Why – All outdoor enthusiasts deserve to witness immaculate trails as much as you do.

How- Do not get back that beautiful rock or feather you saw on the way. It is meant to stay where you found it, not in your bag pack.

Minimize Campfire Impacts

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What- Use lightweight stoves to cook instead of building a campfire. A campfire can affect the environment in more ways than you can imagine.

Why – Campfires can have immense negative effects on the soil.How – Carry a backpack stove for cooking and use candles for light. If necessary, build small fires on an existing fir pit to reduce damage to an area. Also, check fire regulations in the area. Use dead wood instead of plucking it from trees. Light out the campfire completely & carefully at the end to avoid any fire spreads. Aside from this, the after-effects of a campfire is displeasing as we end up with ash, burned logs, and rocks covered in soot.

Respect Wildlife

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What – Wild is home to animals and birds. Let them enjoy their space and do not invade their privacy.

Why – Animals may get scared from human interaction and may also attack if they feel provoked or unsafe.

How- Observe animals from a distance. Keep the noise levels to a minimum. Avoid loud music. Do not feed wild animals. Keep your food locked away and stored safely. Avoid interacting or disturbing with animals during their mating sessions.

Be Considerate of Other Visitors

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What- Leave trails & campsites cleaner than how you found them.

Why – Every traveler deserves to experience wilderness in their natural form.

How- Don’t litter, don’t pluck out that beautiful flower you saw, don’t carve out your name in the woods, don’t take back home that marvelous feather, don’t leave that beer bottle behind. Respect other group’s privacy. Give way to uphill travelers. Do not speak loudly or shout. Be a courteous and an affable traveler.

These simple tips will allow nature to be natural and untouched, for everyone to experience it the way we would ourselves want to. With minimal efforts, we all can ensure that wilderness remains pristine for generations to come.

In the far west of the Tibet rests a divine mountain known as Mt. Kailash. Although full of challenges, the holy Kailash Mansarovar yatra attracts millions of worshippers from all around the world. Considered as the most striking mountain of China, Kailash stands tall like a gigantic Egyptian Pyramid surrounded by barren landscapes. The rumours are, the sacred mountain was created by a superior civilization in the ancient age. However, as of now, it is a revered site for pilgrims who wish to cleanse their sins of past and present lives.

Pilgrimages have always been a keen aspect of every culture’s spiritual essence. Considered as the centre of spiritual existence in Hinduism, the Kailash Yatra holds importance for other religions as well like Buddhism, Jainism, Tibetan Bonpo. Drinking and bathing in Lake Mansarovar, and a parikrama of Mount Kailash tends to bring good fortune to the worshippers.

In earlier times, Indians could easily visit the revered site. However, nowadays one has to apply for the holy visit with various documents and other formalities. Still, only a lucky few can complete the entire Kailash journey due to its harsh temperature, altitude and miles of walking. Although the trek is daunting and strenuous. It will be worth-every-penny and time if you can endure its harshness and challenges.

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Religions Associated with Mt. Kailash

Amazingly, Kailash Yatra is a prime pilgrimage to the four separate religions – Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and Bon.

  • Hindus believe Lord Shiva, one of their three main deities, meditates and lives at the top of Mount Kailash. The holy centre of the Earth!
  • Jains believe the first Tirthankara (a teacher of God) named Rishabhanatha attained nirvana or freedom from rebirths.
  • Tantric Buddhists believe the mountain is the home of the Buddha Cakrasamvara (literally, “supreme bliss”).
  • The Tibetan Bon believe the mountain is the spiritual seat of power.
Mt Kailash
Mt Kailash

Amazing Facts and Folk tales

  1. Various folklores revolve around this place. Did you know Kailash was termed as Mount Meru in Buddhist Texts before the word Kailash came into existence? Also, there’s a theory that suggests the perfectly-shaped Kailash cannot be a natural occurrence. The mountain was placed and then carved out in symmetry triangular form by the superhumans.
  2. As per the ancient text, no mortals can set their foot on the top of the sacred Mount Kailash. It is holy ground and also the abode of the Gods. He who dares to scale the mountain will be put to death. Many mountaineers tried to ascend the mountain, however, no one could summit it. The unfavourable and strange weather conditions forced the climbers to descent back.
  3. The shape of the lakes is a matter of discussion since the antique ages. Lake Mansarovar, the sacred and the highest freshwater lake in the world have a perfectly round shape which resembles the sun. On the other hand, Rakshas Tal Lake takes the shape of the crescent moon. Both of these lakes represent negative and positive energies. Moreover, Lake Mansarovar is freshwater and always placid even during stronger winds. And the Rakshas Tal have salty water and is always stormy and rough.
  4. Most of the times, Kailash top is fringed with a lot of clouds. It is said, if you can see the summit, you are lucky and blessed. Mount Kailash has four faces, which directly point to the four directions of the compass. In addition to this, according to the ancient text, the mountain is said to be the link between heaven and earth. The followers of Kailash believe that the peak is the gateway to heaven. Mahabharatha legends, the Pandavas along with Draupadi attained moksha whilst trekking up the peak, though one of them slipped from the mountain.

What are the challenges the pilgrims face?

Lake Mansarovar--- glistening and glowing
Lake Mansarovar— glistening and glowing

Having said that, the Kailash is a supreme pilgrimage destination, not all pilgrims get the entry permits, or can complete the entire trek. Only a lucky few people get the opportunity and the strength to finish the majestic journey of Kailash.

There are a plethora of huddles a Yatri has to go through. Approval of Visa from China Embassy, medical check-up, entry permits, documents verification and more. After getting a green signal from all of these, one has to endure the weather conditions of the Kailash region. Some people were returned due to countless reasons such as mountain sickness, injury, etc. The journey of Kailash is supremely remarkable if one can endure the tough climb and adjust with the bare minimum amenities given on the trek by the China authorities.

The most challenging part is when you will have walk 53 km in three days to finish the Parikrama (the most sacred part of the yatra) or circumambulation of the sacred Mt. Kailash. It might sound a piece of cake, but it is not. The high-altitude pressure along with bare minimum oxygen tends to discourage the Yatris. It’s best if you daily undertake a 30 to 60 min workout session to walk extensive kilometres. And if you can complete it, congratulations in advance, you are the lucky few chosen to be blessed by the Supreme God.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Kailash Mansarovar is from May to October, which is usually during the summer and Monsoon months. As most of the year, the sacred mountain is roofed with clouds. During these months, you will get clear and arresting views of the Kailash. And if you are planning to visit Kailash Mansarovar during the winters, carry heavy woollens as you are bound to encounter bitter cold.

Let this be filled with the blessing from the sacred mountain. Choose from a minimum of 9 days via helicopter and a maximum of 16 days overland tour for your visit to Mt Kailash. With our four Kailash Mansarovar Yatra packages you can make your spiritual journey to Mt. Kailash come true.

  • Kailash Mansarovar Tour- 14 Days
  • Kailash Mansarovar Tour via Helicopter Ex Lucknow – 9 Days
  • Kailash Mansarovar Tour via Helicopter Ex Kathmandu – 11 Days
  • Kailash Mansarovar Tour Overland Tour Ex Lhasa – 16 Days
Mt. Kailash in all its might and divinity
Mt. Kailash in all its might and divinity

Lastly, Mount Kailash is a pilgrimage and not a trek. Those of you who are thinking about it as a trek, mind you, it’s meaningless if you are not able to feel the spiritual energies while you take a parikrama of the sacred Kailash. When you go there as a pilgrim and not as a trekker, you will be awestruck with the vibes you will feel there and it will awaken you to be a more wonderful you.

In a world filled with materialistic pleasures, we forget to connect with our spiritual self. There are days when we tend to introspect our prospects, past decisions or seek healing and forgiveness. However, we are so busy in our daily life that our feelings do not last long. But what if you can feel more deeply and can connect with your spiritual being? Kailash Mansarovar Yatra is a journey of forgiveness, a journey of healing, a journey of self-proclamation and more. Encapsulated by immense beauty, Kailash Yatra boasts of a journey that connects with your soul.

Get inspired with these popular stories on Kailash Mansarovar Yatra:

Kailash Mansarovar Yatra trek: A Spiritual Journey to the Himalayas

Full Moon Kailash Mansarovar Yatra: What to Expect

Kailash Mansarovar Yatra Trek: Experience A Unique Combination of Adventure and Spiritual Ecstasy!

Kailash Mansarovar Yatra Offers Tranquility and Soul-stirring Natural Charm

In the northern region of India, this year the winters have gone wild. Be it Delhi-NCR or the mountain settlements, the lord of winter is showering cold waves in full-throttle. But does it stop us from exploring the winter treks in India? No, with proper planning, and just the right clothes, we are going to make your winter trek, a fabulous one.

As said by Aristotle “To appreciate the beauty of a snowflake, it is necessary to stand out in the cold.” True! But first, you need to stop thinking that it is so cold, and I can’t go out of the goddamn blanket. Even a harsh winter is bearable with proper warm attire, and if you are planning to do a snow trek, it is a must. On a snow trek, it is necessary to always follow an onion layering clothing, wear comfortable hiking boots, and carry a lightweight backpack.

Most of the winter treks in India happen during January and February in either Himachal Pradesh or Uttarakhand. Both of these states are chock-full of places to explore and experience winter in its best form. These two states also go through minimum temperatures that can be as low as -1 to -5 degree Celsius, hence it is important for anyone to prepare themselves before heading out for the amazing yet daunting snow trek.

Prepare Beforehand

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Preparation is the ultimate way to get ready for a trek, especially a winter one. This season gloats of myriad challenges such as cold weather and short daylight hours, which is not faced during the summer months. So it’s important to plan ahead of time, to be able to face any circumstances.

  • Do thorough research of the treks. Choose a trek that can match up to your fitness level. If not, plan 2-3 months before so that you have time to prepare your body fitness for the ultimate adventure. Either work out in a gym or do 30-60 mins work-out sessions each day till your departure date. Trekking during winter months is far tougher than in summer, as the body has to endure winter winds, miles of walking, slippery paths, and a heavier bag that aids 2 x loss of energy (which is bad). Work hard! Play hard!
  • Know your trip plan well in advance. Ask your trip operator to provide you with a detailed itinerary, trek essentials, and other information such as where you’ll be, how long you’ll be, when will you return, where to reach and more. You need to be in the loop of every information needed for the journey.
  • Novice trekkers, please do not try winter trekking alone. There’s a lot of technicalities that one needs to adhere to. Always experience these kinds of treks with a legitimate guide or with a high-altitude experienced trekker. If you go alone, any casualty can occur. You might slip from a boulder, AMS can hit you, or you might simply get an injury. Having said that, the knowledge of a guide will give you peace of mind while trekking.
  • Prepare yourself for the unexpected. It’s always a good idea to have an emergency fund like extra cash, first-aid kit, extra food, and extra clothes. We are not recommending to pile up your bag and make it heavy. All we want to convey is if you are carrying one pair of anything make that two. What if you lose your socks, or your jacket gets wet. Extras are awesome!
  • Dehydration is common on a winter trek. And if you’re someone who drinks less water, you can be a victim of dehydration on the trek. So before dehydration becomes a possibility, make sure you drink sip-sip water in 15-20 mins while trekking. The early symptoms such as sweating are hard to recognize at first due to cold weather and layered clothing. So follow the sip-sip mantra!
  • Lastly but not least! Food is the major source of energy on the winter treks. Do not shy away, eat adequate food amount because one loses a lot of energy and calories while traversing the mountains on the jagged and rugged paths. You can carry protein bars, dry fruits, instant hot water meals, and snacks that will provide you with instant energy to keep you moving.

Winter clothes Layering Techniques

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Layers! Layers! Layers! When it comes to preparation on what to wear and pack for a winter trek, it’s important to note, layering is the basic funda to select clothes for the base, middle and outer layer. Hence, taking the time to research will benefit you in the long run. With just the right clothes your body will thank you for keeping it warm and not freezing.

  • Start with your base layer. This one sits against your skin. The best material that works great as the base layer is synthetic or merino wool. It will keep your body dry from all the sweat as it wicks away perspiration from your skin. If you’re trekking in winter, wear two base layers for warmness. Stay away from cotton, it retains moisture and takes longer to dry.
  • For your middle layer, it’s time to add an insulated material. This layer is meant to protect you from cold. You can research well on this. However, we recommend a fleece jacket or goose down jacket works best for middle layer as it is warm and retains heat.
  • For your outer layer, make sure you have something breathable, windproof, waterproof. You will keep adjusting and shredding this layer as you walk from different terrains and climatic zones. The temperature fluctuates a lot during the winters. Make sure you are loaded with all the needed layers.
  • Socks are another important piece of cloth you must-have for winter trekking. It’s best to wear a thin pair of socks under a bulky pair of merino wool or synthetic socks. It will keep your feet dry and warm. Don’t forget to carry an extra pair of socks in case one gets wet. Strictly no cotton!
  • Hiking BOOTS is EXTREMELY important while on a trek. Buy winter hiking or mountaineering boots. They are better than average hiking boots for their insulation and waterproof quality. You can even buy gaiters and crampons if you want.

Apart from all this, you must carry gloves, sunscreen, lip balm, hats, sunglasses and more. Find detailed clothes guide here.

Sar Pass

Insights on Hypothermia

Since we are talking about winter planning, one should have knowledge about Hypothermia as well. Opposite of heatstroke, when hypothermia occurs it does not allow your body to produce adequate heat in order to keep the body core at a safe temperature. A life-threatening condition that requires an immediate response. It can happen in a high-altitude region like mountain hiking or in freezing cold water (underwater). If you are not wearing proper attire to keep your body warm, hypothermia can become a threat to your life.

Symptoms
Keep your eye on some symptoms like shivering, apathy, cold-pale skin, poor judgment, unsteadiness, slurred speech, numb hands or feet. Advanced symptoms include stiffness, slow pulse, shallow breathing, sleepiness, weakness, unconsciousness.

Hypothermia Treatment 
The first aid is to restore core body temperature. Immediately warm the victim body core in a dry place, preferably indoors. Use warm blankets, hot water bottles, body warmth to warm them up. Don’t stay outdoors, go into a tent or building.

Preparation for a winter trek is quite easier than you might think. If you’re organized and follow these basic tips, we promise you will be insulated and also enjoy winters like never before.

“An adventure has no bounds; it can go as wild as you want it to be.” A few years back, I was just a run-of-the-mill kind of a person, who just talked about wild travel but never dared to live one. And honestly, there’re many people like me and all they need is just a push to move out of their comfort zone. So this winter, don’t just cuddle up in a blanket but make it adventurous by trekking to some of the most awesome places in India. One such place is Hampta Valley nestled in the vicinity of Manali in Himachal Pradesh. What a marvellous trek! You will be completely in awe of the charming aspects of the winter season this place depicts.

However, it is best explained in a series of photos. After all, a photo is worth a thousand words.

So without further ado, here’s what’s so special about Hampta snow Trek and why it should be on your travel wish-list for 2020:

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The trek will commence from Prini. You will come across the beautiful terrain of forest and relaxing fresh air will around to take you to the oblivion. You will be thrilled to see the massive Dhauladhar ranges and the gushing river Beas flowing adjacent to it. Crossing rivers and little streams will be an absolute delight on this trek! Enjoy the sounds of water thrashing against the rocks.hampta pass As you keeping ascending, you will soon come across snow-patches. Further upward, the entire route will be drenched in snow. On Day 3, you will leave for the pristine snow trek to Chika, nestled in Hampta Valley. Make sure you have carried all the essentials as today will be a snow trek. You must carry your cameras as you will be passing through the lush green Kullu valley on one side and the stark opposite desert valley of Lahaul on the other.hampta pass

dsc_3523Don’t forget to carry your cameras as the fascinating views of the snow drenched trail will be drop-dead gorgeous for your Instagram travel feed.pic17_u3g9gp-1 After the amazing trek, one tends to get all tired with legs paining inconsolably. And at this point of time, one just wishes to reach the campsite and relax by nature to rejuvenate oneself. The stunning camping scenes of the trek lured us so much that it ensnared us at one glance. Moreover, the night sky was so beautifully bejewelled with billions of stars, that by midnight we all were mesmerized by the little diamonds. If star-gazing is in your bucket list, you can check-off it here.
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ashmit-5The best part about the entire trek was the colourful campsites. If you are someone who loves living outdoors and has an admiration for nature’s galore, you must visit this place. I personally have a thing for picturesque campsites, it makes me feel alive and close to nature.pic24

In picture, Hampta Pass

Nestled near Old Manali, this trek can be easily completed in four days, meaning it can be categorized as a long weekend trek.
-Ideal for beginners
-Altitude 14,000 ft
-Dhauladhar Mountain ranges in view
-Locations covered: Old Manali, Sethan, Prini, Chika, Hampta
-Nestled between Kullu and Lahaul Valley
-Prettiest Campsites

Since it is a snow trek, please follow a trek essentials guide for a better trekking experience.

What are you waiting for?

Pack your bags and set out for this dreamland! Hampta snow trek can be undertaken by experienced and inexperienced trekkers each January-February-March. This is a perfect trek for your travel goal list. 

Sikkim, a tiny hill in one of the most stunning states of North-East India is sure to bring you peace and solitude on your visit. With cerulean lakes, lofty mountains, quaint villages, and pristine scenery, a road trip to Sikkim lure adventure freaks, nature-buffs, and trekkers owing to its myriad nature charms.

This year in September, I got lucky as I was finally able to turn my holiday plans into reality. Taking a break from the hustle and bustle of city life is not easy for an office goer. The happiness of just packing my bags and leaving for the vacation is unexplainable. I was yearning for a break! And for that matter, my holiday destination was Sikkim (Yayyy!) and if I could say “it was a motorbike trip to Sikkim”. Sounds interesting, right? A place that has not been explored extensively is capable of giving moments you never thought you could have experienced.

It was a Saturday night when I was telling my mother how beautiful this state is. I was telling her about the Silk route, the natural spa of Yumthang, Gurudongmar Lake, Lachung and more. While conversing about these kinds of stuff, we were also packing the essentials for my tour as I had to leave the next morning for my journey. At dawn, I left from my home to the airport for my flight to Siliguri. On reaching the Bagdogra International Airport, my excitement was kissing the sky and I was thrilled to commence the journey.

The Trip Begins Here

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 “You people are very lucky,” said the taxi driver, who took us to the hotel for check-in.

The driver further continued, the weather cleared today morning, as it was raining cats and dogs for straight three days. He looked like a hospitable man, wearing a clean light blue shirt paired up with a jacket, and a crisply iron trousers. The best part, he was talkative, so we told him that we are here to take a motorbike tour of Sikkim. He looked thrilled and his interest piqued quite soon, so we asked him about the local delights, places to explore and off-beat sites to see. Soon while chatting, we reached the hotel.

“All the best for your trip, it was great talking to you all” the driver expressed while taking out our luggage from the car. 

As I entered the hotel, the staff greeted humbly and showed me the way to the reception, where I filled all my details for check-in. After settling my belongings, I headed out with my friends to explore the surroundings and also had a brief with our team and trip leader. After bike allocation, we explored the city and later went back to the hotel for some rest as tomorrow we had to wake up early to leave for the much-awaited motorbike tour across the state.

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“Early to bed, early to rise, make your travel journey a blessing in disguise.”

As soon as the sun peeps out, we were told to pack up our belongings as our trip leader was about to guide us on how to tie your backpack on the motorbike. We were told to carry minimal stuff i.e. only the essentials needed for the journey. After checking our bikes and a hearty breakfast, we left together for the ride to Gangtok.

I must say that the splendour of Gangtok will ensnare you instantly at one glance. I was thrilled to firstly ride the journey with my friends, and secondly exploring Sikkim on two wheels in a single trip.

From traversing the uphill routes to glancing the magnetic landscape of Sikkim, this place houses nature in a way found nowhere else. The flutter of prayer flags and the rhythmic chants of monks throughout the city gives one an insight into the cultural side as well. Later, in the evening, we went back to the hotel. My room’s balcony was filled with my friends, chatting about the travel stories, Sikkim treks and appreciating the nature of Gangtok.

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“Here, it’s so green and breezy”, said Gaurav, while sipping his cup of tea.

“I miss mingling with nature when I am in Delhi”, said Rishabh, while gawking at the trees from the window of our hotel.

Then, at midnight, our drowsiness conquered us all to take some sleep for the next morning ride.

“Hey! Get up, come and see this”, said Radhika, pointing out the sunrise and its myriad shades in the sky.

The view was unmissable, it looked as if the sun broke into a colour palette. The morning came, and we all got ready to leave for the next destination, which was Lachen, a base for Gurudongmar Lake. We were so thrilled to see the confluence of Lachen and Lachung Rivers, which later combine to form a Teesta River, a religious river to the locals. Riding the bikes through the mountains, side by side to the river for an entire day, now it was time to chill for a while. We reached the hotel, kept our bikes and head out to the city’s food arena by walking. The fragrance of Thukpa from the big-stirring-pot watered my mouth for some hot meal. Post dinner, it was time to cuddle up in the squishy bed for a sound sleep.

SIKKIM

In the next two days, we explored the most rewarding sights of our trip to Sikkim; the Gurudongmar Lake and Yumthang Zero Point. I had read quite a lot about these two places that ‘how much it attracted tourists from all over the globe’. Named after Guru Padmasambhava—also known as Guru Rinpoche, the founder of Tibetan Buddhism, this site is sacred for Buddhists, Sikhs and Hindus. Well-known as one of the highest lakes in the world, Gurudongmar Lake is a revered site, where many travellers try to take a dip in the freezing waters of the lake for a reward of blessing from the divine. Caution: Do it at your own risk, it is bitter.

Yumthang Zero Point is famous for its loads of snow, crooked pathways and if you get lucky you might even see the frozen river or half-frozen river, depending on the weather conditions. It is called Zero Point, as after this there’s no motorable road and visitors are not allowed to go further beyond this point due to proximity to Chinese Borders.

Another noteworthy place was Zuluk; the spiral roads, the picturesque landscape of Kanchenjunga range and the feel of riding the motorbike on hairpin curves were just so awesome. Soon after riding the exhilarating tracks, we halted for some tea at a small hut whose unique selling point was its sweeping view of the mountain range in the backdrop.

zuluk
zuluk

We sipped our hot pipping tea and chatted for a while. It was our last day so we were recalling the best moments of our journey.

“I loved the confluence view of Lachen and Lachung River”, happily said Radhika while sipping her tea.

“No, man! Do you guys remember that amazing turn at Zuluk, I was shit scared at first but then I managed to make a turn”, exclaimed Harshit, an experienced bike rider.

“Loved the tranquillity and the calmness of the people here,” I said.

“True that”, said Radhika.

After clicking some pictures to the remarkable backdrop of Mount Kanchenjunga, we continued our journey back to where we started, Gangtok. On reaching, we were quite exhausted, so we rested for an overnight in Gangtok. The next morning, we all moved back to Siliguri, from where our return flights were scheduled.

To conclude the best, I would say the journey was memorable, unique and different from what I usually experience. I think it was due to the pristine environment and tranquillity within the valley. People were not in a rush, the air quality was splendid, nature was spell-biding, and the most important I was away from my daily life in a metro.                                                       

Ranging from the Bay of Bengal in the south to the Himalayas in the north, West Bengal houses a wide range of opportunities for trekking. And if we talk about Sandakphu trek, it is a standout amongst the most pleasant treks around Sikkim. The most noteworthy point in West Bengal, the trek offers a phenomenal perspective of the Himalayas. The valley enhances itself, with clear all-encompassing views of snow-topped mountains, as you begin your adventure from Chitrey towards Sandakphu. The fascinating thing is, you traverse India-Nepal border a dozen times because Sandakphu majorly lies between India and Nepal.

Sandakphu, as a town, is prominent on the grounds of West Bengal as it is the most elevated peak in the territory of that region. What makes it all the more astounding is its summit, from where you can see four of the five most elevated tops on the planet — Mount Everest, Kangchenjunga, Lhotse and Makalu, in a sweeping perspective.

flowers sandakphu trek
flowers sandakphu trek

Why is Sandakphu Trek so famous? 

  1. One of the most admirable rhododendron excursions; trek in spring to see the magnificence with your own eyes as you hike to the Sandakphu summit.
  2. Visit the amazing monasteries and stupas around; explore the lively Buddhist culture as you begin your trek from Chitrey town.
  3. Don’t forget to do camping in Singalila National Park as the view from the camp is memorable. Appreciate the outdoors amid North East’s radiance; wake up to dawn on Singalila range to catch a glimpse of blue bamboos in the wilderness.
  4. Nestled on the bank of the river, Tumling lies on the Indo-Nepal outskirt where you can take a stroll to the numerous tea plantation land and also gander at the whole Sandakphu trail from Tumling.
  5. After Tumling, set your eyes on the journey, as you would see the pristine lake, Kalaphokri or Black Lake. Even during harsh winters, it refuses to freeze. The lake is believed to be holy, surrounded by prayer flags, fluttering with the wind.
  6. The magnificent perspective of Sleeping Buddha (Kanchenjunga and sister tops) and a 180 degree perspective of world’s most noteworthy mountains including Everest, Makalu, Lhotse, Nuptse, Baruntse, Chamling, Chomolonzo, Machapucchare, Chomolhari and different pinnacles of Annapurna run.
A guest house in Tumling
A guest house in Tumling

How To Reach Sandakphu Through Trekking?

  1. I started to trek from Chitre at a young hour in the morning after having a substantial breakfast. You can easily reach Chitre via a taxi from the railway station. I scaled through perfect pine forests and reached a viewpoint at a decent height. I halted for a 10-minute break to take a gander at the town of Darjeeling below. All along the up-and-down hike, I kept continuing with vigor and simultaneously gaze the snow-peaked crests on my right side in the north. I took some pictures against the stunning background, and then trekked down and crossed two little slopes. Toward the end of this walk, I reached a stunning viewpoint Tonglu/Tumling that lies on the India-Nepal outskirt. I stayed overnight in this beautiful little town.

  2. Desiring to see the ravishing dawn, I woke up at the first light to watch the mesmerizing sun peeping out from Mount Kanchenjunga. Post a delightful breakfast, I left for my adventure and descended till the town of Joebari. From here, the trail was steep, and in around 1.5 hours, I reached border check-post in Gairibans. Post lunch, I proceeded with the trek for around 2.5 hours along a trail that was steep, and achieve the town of Kalapokhari.

  3. Don’t forget to see the reflection of the breath-taking sunrise from Kalapokhri Lake. After a delightful breakfast, I started the trek to Sandakphu, which was around 6 KM from Kalapokhri. Hiking constantly for around 2 KM, I halted at a place called Beekaybhanjan and took a break to breathe the fresh air.

  4. After unwinding at this quiet spot, I resumed the trek to Sandakphu crest. As the climb from here would be sharp, you would need to take breaks at regular intervals. The final route to the peak would be quite difficult and grueling, as the trail keeps changing into a criss-cross pattern. However, when you will reach the top, the awesome view would shoo away all the tiredness of the extreme trek. Take a gander at the perspectives from up here and bear in mind to take photographs.

  5. In the morning I had a tea at the edge of the mountain and took a panoramic vista of the entire sleeping Buddha-range. After a scrumptious breakfast, I took my belongings and started walking towards Samandin Village. Explored the beautiful town and proceeded towards the town of Rammam. Then, I descended towards Srikhola and stayed overnight to retain back my energy. After a good breakfast early in the day, I drive to NJP/Bagdogra airport. Your fabulous trip will finally come to an end here and you will return home with some wonderful memories.

An alternative way to Sandakphu: The Motorable Road

Sleeping Buddha, Sandakphu
Sleeping Buddha, Sandakphu

There is also a motorable road, a 33 km track from Maneybhanjung to Sandakphu. The most convenient way to access the road is through a ride in the British-era land rover that adds drama to your journey. You can hire it easily for around 3000 INR. Since the roads are in bad shape, the ride can be quite bumpy. It is utilized by the locals, the carriage of merchandise/supplies, nearby neighborhood travelers and vacationers.

When travelling through road, the journey could be discomfort for many due to acclimatization reasons. It might get you to Sandakphu in 7/8 hours but many individuals might feel sudden altitude gain. Breathing issues, headache and feeling too much cold are general indications. So we suggest you choose trekking as an alternative or take your time to get your body to adjust to the higher elevation.

Information on Permits, Guides and More

You needn’t bother for any permits to do this trek, however having an individual guide (who take about ₹800 every day) is compulsory within the Singalila National Park, which begins after you cross Tumling, towards Sandakphu. Hire one from GTA Tourist Reception Centre or Mane Bhanjhang.

rhododendron-trek sandakphu

Maximum height: 12,000 ft.

Trek Time: 6 Days

Distance Covered: 48 km

Level: Easy

Start/Finish: Chitre and Srikhola

Nearest Airport: Bagdogra airport

Nearest Railway Station: New Jalpaiguri Railway Station

Best Time To Trek Sandakphu

A trek to Sandakphu is reachable throughout the year apart from the rainy months. April and October is the best period as during this time the rhododendron flowers add life with a blush shade to the trek. Not only rhododendrons, but you also get the chance to see numerous rare birds and diverse animals.

On the off chance that you luck out, you could even come across the slippery red panda! September, October and November offer clear mountain perspectives to appreciate sublime sights of dawn from Sandakphu and Phalut. If you wish to trek later in winter, the path could be quite challenging, however, the experience of early snow at Sandakphu is impressive!

An extremely glamorous trek, Chadar Trek is one for the adrenaline-junkies that like to go all in or all out. Trekking in Ladakh have gained immense popularity in recent years, and Chadar trek has become a favorite amongst Indians and travelers from other parts of the world. For me, it was 8 years back when I did Chadar Trek for the first time. Down the line, this little gorge now gets 20 times more people than those days. The trek is open for a small window of just 45 to 50 days, usually from 1st of January till 20th of February, depending upon the solid formation of Chadar – the ice carpet.

The thrilling Chadar Frozen River Trek
The thrilling Chadar Frozen River Trek

Also, Leh government along with ALTOA, (All Ladakh Tour Operators Association) now have come up with safe operating standards. The trek will run safely as it has been implemented with strict adherence of rules and regulations. Therefore, train your sights below for an on-ground experience of Chadar Trek. Find comprehensive details about the temperature, accommodation, the actual trek, food and some essential pro tips to execute the trek with finesse.

  1. Arrival, acclimatization and permits – 03 Day
  2. Actual trek – 05 Days
  3. Back in Leh and departure – 01 Day

Day 01 – Arrival and rest

Chadar Trek
Chadar Trek

With a group of 8 people including me, we arrived at Leh via an early morning flight from Delhi. From the airport, we took a cab to the guest house on our own (As airport pick up was not part of the package) and reached at around 0830 hrs. Soon after reaching the guest house we were asked to complete the registration process which included insurance form, 3 passport size photo to be given along with a copy of the Identity and Address proof (voter’s card, passport or Aadhar card) and signing the indemnity form.

Post a cup of tea and breakfast, some of us wanted to rest as we were having a slight headache, so we went to our respective rooms. All of us were awoken by 1400 hrs for lunch. We had ordered good vegetarian food from the guest house on extra payment as the food in Leh was not included in the package we opted. My partner and other two guys were having a severe headache along with nausea and they opted out from having lunch. They were given warm water and were asked to take rest.

In the evening, we had to take her to the hospital due to severe hypoxia and AMS symptoms. The hospital was super cozy, clean and highly organized. The doctor admitted her for 2 HRS and administered oxygen and prescribed some medicines. Her health improved drastically after oxygen administration, after which we returned to our guest house by late at night.

Day 02 – Acclimatization walk

chadar trek

After waking up to a fresh morning, all of us were fit with no signs of AMS. Post a scrumptious meal of breakfast, a long and exhaustive briefing was given which comprised important points like

  1. How to acclimatize easily
  2. Protection from elements
  3. Demonstration of cloth layering
  4. Principles of Leave No Trace policy
  5. Women hygiene and safety
  6. A brief idea of what to pack during the trek.

Then we were led to Shanti Stupa for an acclimatization walk. Took some photos there and headed back to Leh market to have lunch and do other purchase. Some of us even had to take photos as they were not carrying one, few went to buy some chocolates and others to get a pair of gumboot. Later, we decided to have our dinner in the guest house and went for a sound sleep.

Day 03 – Permit day

chadar trek

Today’s morning after breakfast we all started our walk to TIC (Tourism Information Center) in Leh. By around 1000 hrs we reached TIC. First, we had to show our boarding pass to the insurance company (ASC 360) along with the 100% accurate and complete insurance form which we had filled on Day01. After verifying and entering all our details into their computer, they gave us a medical form which had to be filled by us, and certified by the doctor and the medical team sitting on the adjacent room. Once in the medical room, we have to pay them Rs. 200/- for the medical check-up.

They will check your BP, and oxygen level first and then once you meet the doctor he will just casually ask a couple of questions regarding your previous health history in a very jolly way. If everything is normal, you are good to go! You get a stamp “APPROVED” on the form. Now with this form, you get back to the insurance office where they issue an insurance card, on the payment of Rs. 2000/- per person. It covers your emergency medical check-ups, emergency evacuation and many more. Now with the insurance card and the list of all the people in your group, you go to the ALTOA desk where they provide you with the following permits after paying the respective fees.

  1. Wildlife
  2. ALTOA fees
  3. Environment fees

Boom! Yes! Now you have got your passport to Chadar trek.

It took us almost a full day to get everything cleared from there even though we were the first group to be there for permits. After receiving the permits we went to the market and had an awesome dinner from a local joint called Darjeeling Corner. After some small shopping like nuts, dried fruits and chocolates for the next day trek, we took a cab and reached the guest house. On reaching, there was an exhaustive briefing on how to and what to pack in a backpack for the trek tomorrow. You can also read our blog that states what should one pack for Chadar Trek.

Actual Trek

Day 04 – Drive and trek to Tso Ma Poldar

chadar-frozen-river-trek

We got ready by 0700 hrs and had our breakfast by 0730 hrs. The vehicles were ready when we came out, it was 02 tempo travelers. We were all packed while the vehicles were loaded with all the ration and equipment needed. After some photo sessions and briefing, we departed from Leh around 0920 hrs. The drive till Chilling was fast, smooth and beautiful. After that, the drive became challenging, treacherous and scarier yet amazing.

The road was wide enough for a tempo traveler to pass through with its tires just inside the road and part of the body overlooking the deep gorges. The adrenaline rush was building in by just seeing the road and the frozen white Zanskar River beneath. By around noon, we reached Tilad Do. We had a quick tasty hot lunch made by our cooks along with hot black tea. Then, it was time to pack and push towards the first campsite. It was a technical walk of around 3 hours and by 1630 HRS we reached the campsite.

chadar trek

Most noteworthy part of the campsite was that the medical camp was placed next to our camps. The medical camp operated by the insurance company ASC360 had two doctors and a few assistants ready 24*7 for any medical support needed. One of the doctors was supposed to travel to the next campsite and luckily he joined us till the next camp.

Talking about the climate and weather, the temperature here drops dramatically after the sunset. The best remedy to curb the cold was the hot soup prepared by the camp chef that helped us keeping ourselves warm. The dinner was just too tasty and fulfilling. We all went to sleep by around 2100 hrs. It was pretty cozy inside the tent compared to the harsh bone-chilling cold outside. The sleeping bags were double layered and we used a hot water bottle for extra warmth.

Day 05 – Trek from Tso Ma Poldar to Tibb

chadar

After a delicious breakfast, we started our trek towards Tibb Cave. It was a long icy walk and by the time we stopped for lunch break, all of us were pretty much comfortable in walking over ice. The landscape was so mesmerizing that sometimes we forgot that we were ice walking over a frozen raging river and water is still flowing beneath at Godspeed. A small mistake can be fatal here.

 

Chadar Trek - Leh Image Credits: planetwayround.com
Chadar Trek – Leh
Image Credits: planetwayround.com

Tibb campsite was comparatively colder than Tso Ma Poldar, but by now we were accustomed to the cold. People who still felt cold were founded by the small fire made by the porters.

Day 06 – Trek from Tibb to Narek Waterfall

chadar trek

Today’s trek is significant as today we are going to witness the much-awaited site, the frozen waterfall in Narek. The trek was long but the enthusiasm and energy in the group were very high. The only aim was to reach Narek falls for the classic group photo with the frozen falls as a backdrop. The place where we stopped for lunch, we saw a few young boys taking a dip in the water. We were tempted to do the same however the initial briefing stopped us from doing anything like that.

The excitement and energy in us went exponentially very high as soon as we saw the frozen falls. It is so majestic and indescribable in just mere words. It looked like somebody just waved a magic wand at the waterfall and it went frozen instantly.

Day 07 – Trek from Narek to Tibb

chadar-trek

After taking some photos of the falls, we started our walk back towards the road head. The walk back felt longer than it actually was before. We reached our campsite a little later than our actual estimated arrival time.

Day 08 – Trek from Tibb to Shingra Koma and drive to Leh

Chadar Trek

Today, we started earlier than usual as we had to trek till the road head and drive back to civilization in Leh. It was a very emotional moment for everyone to leave the beautiful Chadar behind. We reached Leh by around 1830 hrs, and had our lunch at the road head in Shingra Koma.

Day 09 – Departure from Leh

We had an early morning flight back to Delhi. The other two trekkers in our group also had the same return flight therefore we decided to tag along with them till Airport. Finally, an amazing memorable nine days came to an end. If you ask me what has changed from my previous visit and this one, I would say a lot has changed.

Pro tips

  • Ensure you carry a well broke in waterproof hiking shoes
  • Gumboots is a savior, but not an alternate for hiking boots
  • Layering is the success mantra
  • We do not recommend to use crampons. It needs a good experience to be used accurately. Alternatively, you can use easily available “microspikes
  • Trekking poles can be very helpful on the slippery ice
  • Do not expect the same level of service as the life is harsh there. People serving you are also humans; they do their best to keep you safe and cosy but don’t expect luxury.
  • It takes an initial two to three days to get adjusted to the prevailing cold conditions. Ensure the right clothing and layering and avoid heaters.

Read our other blog ‘Short Guide to Chadar Trek”.

You often have heard a lot of stories about the challenges of Chadar Trek that hinders you from experiencing this magnificent trek. As said, ” Don’t Listen to what they say, go see for yourself”. This trek is unique, one of its kind, and must be experienced by all the adrenaline seekers. So if you are someone who wants to see something rare and surreal, it’s time for a new adventure.

When it comes to road trips the ‘Land of High Passes, Leh-Ladakh is the place to be! Extending from the Kunlun mountain range to the Great Himalayas to the south, the mystical region of Leh-Ladakh features jaw-dropping landscapes as far as your eye can go. The emotion of riding to Ladakh irrespective of your gender is so pure that it can be understood only by bike and mountain fanatics. It is often said that road trips are the best vacation of all, and Ladakh is the mother of all road trips. A riding tour of 13 days to the ‘little Tibet’, where you are free from the cluster of the modern world, free from the traffic rules of riding and free from the extensive crowd, Ladakh Bike tour is just the perfect break you need.

motorbike-expeditions-ladakh

Nature beautifully showcases its magnificence in Ladakh, and it is the only place on Earth that has rivers, mountains, lakes, deserts, and snow, all in one region. So to make your trip hassle-free, we thought to give you a guide for Leh Ladakh Bike Trip preparation prior to your journey.

The first and foremost thing to understand about Ladakh is its magnetizing landscape that lures people from all around the globe. The dynamic landscape comprises of snow-filled mountains, drooling sunsets, barren roads hugging high mountains and the most rewarding route for the ride to Khardungla Pass, the Pangong Lake and the Nubra Valley. So to ride in such a territory, one needs to be loaded with some essential tips and tricks.

Temperature Check

Before heading to Ladakh Bike Trip, make sure you have checked the temperature and weather of the location. The place is hot during the day and freezing chilly during the night. The temperature nature shifts drastically, so to have an experience of your life, make sure you carry warm clothes and don’t freeze. Dress in layers so that you can easily remove clothes in case you want to.

motorbike-expedition-ladakh_1439473379

Plan holidays in Advance to avoid price surcharges

Pre-plan your holidays to avoid peak charges of hotels, holiday packages and more. The later you book the more price you will have to pay as a bike tour to Ladakh is one of the most selling packages in May, June, July, and August. Grab early bird offers to make your bookings cheaper, and affordable. Keep up in touch with us on our social media pages for deals and offers.

Safety Gears – For your own betterment

Bike tour ladakh

It is essential for you to wear all the gears important for the riding, as the roads are barren and bumpy, while the wind is fierce, making it difficult for the rider to zoom past the environment without gears. Whether its knee-pads, helmet, or gloves, make sure you are properly dressed. The journey and terrain is quite long and grueling respectively.

Get Your Route Mapped

Know your route before you travel as the journey is lengthy, and it is not possible for the entire group to ride together. So for safety, if anyone loses the track, the rider can refer the map to know on which route the group is riding.

Recheck your Motorbike

It is necessary for you to recheck your motorbike before leaving, and also keep checking it throughout the tour before leaving from any destination. This is to make ensure that your vehicle condition is up to date, in case you face any issue. If you are planning to use your own motorbike, it is important for you to evaluate the health of your motorbike. Make sure you have it serviced, and also carry the basic spare parts, in case something happens.

Get Your Medicine Game Strong

Make sure you carry enough medicines, as you never know what trouble you might get into. People often face AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness) in which symptoms like headache, nausea, burning of eyes, or fever occurs. To combat these, one must drink loads of water, as due to dehydration you face AMS symptoms. Hence, always keep a bottle of water handy!

Feel the rage of the winds in Ladakh
Feel the rage of the winds in Ladakh

Exercise! Exercise! Exercise!

Please do exercise before you leave for the major motorbike tour. Since the oxygen level is less at a higher elevation, you must practice some breathing exercises. Also, cycling and swimming increase your stamina. Sitting on the motorbike for a long run reduces your mobility. Hence it is essential to pull your muscles beforehand.

Give alcohol and smoking a miss!

People tend to get dehydrated easily if water consumption is less at higher altitude. And taking alcohol and smoking will dry you twice more from inside. As the oxygen is already less, consuming these will lead you to AMS symptoms.

Want to Book? Yes! But when?

ladakh bike

The ideal time for Ladakh bike tour is from mid-May to October. The roads get open in mid-May if you go from Srinagar, whereas the Manali route is opened after May. The autumn and summer season is best for a bike tour, or else, you will have to take a flight.

Smile! Whenever you can

Smile at strangers as it won’t cost you a dime. Travelling is not just about exploring, it is also about connecting. The locals, truck drivers, helpers, cooks, smile at them, you never know, you might make someone happy with your gesture. When things go wrong, these people will come forward to rescue you asap.

Fuel Up to keep your Oil Burning

Always make sure your bike fuel is full, as the petroleum stations are less during this route. So whenever you are about to ride, make sure your fuel tank is always full.

What all things you need to carry

Since Ladakh Bike tour is an ultimate adventure of all time, a road-trip to this land should be well-prepared. Whether it’s your bike, clothes, or other essentials, these few things will make sure you have the best time in the mother of all road-trips, Ladakh.

  1. Full Face Helmet with clear Visor: Get a good quality full face helmet for the ride to protect you from the cold winds while riding.
  1. Riding Gloves: Gloves is necessary for the ride, as after a while you might feel cold, and if not it gives a good grip and protect your hands in case you fall down.
  1. Elbow and Knee Guard: If you are not comfortable wearing a riding jacket and riding pants, the least you can do is wear elbow and knee guards.
  2. Riding Shoes: Make sure you wear riding shoes, and if not then gumboots with thermal socks will serve the purpose.
  1. Sunscreen Lotion: UV rays at high altitude keeps getting harsh which is quite damaging to the skin. Carry a plus SPF 30, as you don’t want a bad tan.
  1. Water Bottle: It is necessary to drink 4-5 litres of water at high altitude to avoid dehydration. As it will later might result to AMS (Altitude Mountain Sickness) symptoms like nausea, vomiting, headache and burning of eyes. So keep your body hydrated at all times.
  1. Clothing: Always dress like an onion (dress in layers) at high-altitude, it is better than a thick woollen. Carry at least 2-3 spare shirts, with 1 pair of riding pants, and 1 pair of jeans.
  1. Cap: Carry a cap to keep yourself protected from the harsh winds while riding. It will protect your forehead, ears and even neck.
  1. Driving license: This goes without saying, carry your DL at all times as it required to show at certain checkpoints.

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.

Nowadays, traveling has become an exit from the mundane life and the desire to explore new, unspoiled, unblemished and natural environment is peaking. But, people still explore places like Ladakh, Goa, Kasol, etc, making these places a tourist cliché. What I mean, is that there are places in India which are worthy of your utmost admiration and exploration. And recently, a place that has caught my eyes is Northeast India. With many scintillating states that beckons travelers, nature buffs and food connoisseurs, Northeast India must be explored once in a lifetime. One such place is Nagaland, called the state of ancient tribes is so colorful and the people are so in high spirits that you will want to visit this place again and again.

But to completely take in the grandeur experience, one must attend the most famous jamboree of Northeast, the Hornbill Festival. The display of celebration in Naga style and the infectious vibes lures people from all around the globe. The Hornbill festival also contributes expressively to the tourism of the state since tourists attend the festival and take joy in knowing the magnificent architecture, rich cultural heritage, and its ethnic cuisine. So make sure you save the date in December, as it is a treasurable month since all the 17 tribes of Nagaland come together to make this event a successful affair.

What to expect at the festival?

Hornbill Festival

  • The festival is held in the first week of December in the Kisama Heritage Village, which is nestled near to Kohima.
  • You will be amazed to see the mélange of 17 different tribes, cultural performances, fairs and the multi-faceted music concerts.
  • Feasting is an important aspect of Northeast festivals. Relish Naga cuisine ranging from spicy delicacies to sweet dishes. You will blown way with flushing flavors of these amazing cuisines.
  • Another thing to notice about the festival is the colorful costumes of the Naga Tribes. The ornaments, feathers, caps and the entire tribal attire is so unique and different from each tribes present at the festival.Chilly eating competition
  • For some fun, participate in games like Naga chilly eating competition, pork eating and other traditional games like archery.
  • Try to interact with the locals, to know some stories and to gain some knowledge about their culture.
  • Get your soul and spirit high with the rock music concert, and enjoy your evening some Blues! Look forward to some scintillating performances by Indian and foreign artists.
  • Don’t forget to get yourself a souvenir from the exhibition of hand crafted items and traditional art.

Why and How is the Hornbill Festival celebrated?

hornbill_1_9bxtsc

Named after the bird Hornbill, this festival highlights the bird as a symbol of respect. As per the folklore by the natives, the symbolism is beautifully portrayed in the tribal dance where the tribes wear feathers on head to depict the bird. Initiated by Nagaland Government, the festival agenda is to bring the tribes closer and also to promote the cultural heritage of the region. The mélange of tribal performances, display of ethnic crafts, music concert, food, sports, fairs and games, all together unveils the authenticity of this place and the festival.

When and where is the Hornbill Festival celebrated?

This 10-day long festival enchants people to leave behind their office mails and switch on their enjoyment mode. Held in Kisama Heritage Village, at a distance of 10 km from the state capital, Kohima. The festival daily starts at 9:00 am, with an invocation to the religious deity through tribal dance.

How much is the cost of the festival tickets?

The cost of the festival entry tickets is nearly between Rs 10-50. You also need to pay for camera charges which is around Rs 50- 100, depending upon the type of camera you carry. Tickets are available at the gate entry so you don’t need to get worried about buying the tickets in advance.

How to reach Kohima and Kisama Heritage Village?

b4

To reach the beautiful village of Kohima, you will have to take the roads. After reaching the airport of Dimapur or the railway station, a 3-4 hour drive will take you to Kohima. From here you will easily find taxis that will take you to Kisama Heritage Village. If you feel to take a road trip, you can also come from Guwahati. The winding roads will keep you hooked throughout the journey.

Tips to do Hornbill Festival the Right Way

  • Kohima will be crowded so expect delays in traffic while getting to the biggest festival.
  • Book your stay in advance as the hotels and guesthouses fill up fast. If you are planning for last minute, make sure you arrange everything for camping. Also, bring your own tent equipment’s as in the festival you will only get rented tent.

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  • The festival is pretty much free. You will need to pay only camera surcharge and for entry tickets that ranges around 10-50 Rs.
  • Make sure you are carrying some warm clothes, as post sunset the temperature drops and it gets freezing.
  • You will be meeting 17 tribes, spend a little time with them to get familiar with their culture. Some of the Naga tribes’ names are Angami, Ao, Chakhesang, Chang, Dimasa Kachari, Garo, Khiamniungan, Konyak, Kuki, Lotha, Phom, Pochury, Rengma, Sangtam, Sumi, Yimchungru, and Zeliang.b5
  • Bring your own booze as the alcohol is ban since 1989. So you will either get rice beer prepared by the locals, or BYOB.
  • Head to the festival in the morning as the colors lit up during the day. After 2 pm the sunlight goes away, making the environment gloomy, yet rejoicing.
  • If you are a solo traveler, whether male or female, you are safe here. People are really respectful towards females, so don’t worry just enjoy the festival.
  • Photographers must get up early to get the best shots for their Instagram feed.

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

Manali, a resort town is a well-known destination for both summer and winters. Thanks to its pleasant weather, exquisite nature and wonderful people. It is a perfect hill station if you want to get away with the scorching heat of summer. In winters witness the entire city drenched in snowfall, looking just marvelous to your eyes. Not only the place is stunning, but it is also adventure packed attracting all the intrepid travelers. You will be compelled to trek in Manali once you see it with your naked eyes. The symphony of Beas River roars throughout the city, making it great for people who love the amalgamation of a hill station settled by the river.

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Everyone has their own reasons to visit Manali, some go to get away from the monotonous life, some go to seek peace, and some go to experience the craziness this town holds. Yes! I am talking about the invigorating treks of Manali that take travelers to a whole new world where the houses are set next to the river, the trails are explicitly laden with greenery, the people are utterly humble and the experience of nature and self-awareness can be felt in this dreamy town. So to help you plan your Manali vacation more appropriately, here are five amazing treks around Manali for you to consider this summer.

Sar Pass: A Little Paradise in Parvati Valley

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Beating every other trek in Manali, Sar Pass trek has emerge as a win-win choice for people looking to trek within abundance of greenery. The perfect amalgamation of towering peaks, lush green meadows and beautiful valleys with crystal clear streams make Sar Pass a perfect trek for those who wish to experience all the beauty that nature has to offer. Nestled in Parvati valley, at an altitude of 13,000 feet, the trek trail is laden with coniferous trees, rhododendron plants and colorful flowers making this place a fairytale world. Along the majestic views, the simplicity of this place will keep you hooked through the entire trek. You will be delightful to see the much awaited final destination of the trek, Sar Pass where you can spend some quality time to escape from the mundane struggle of your daily life.

Hampta: A Magnificent Cross-over Trek

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A magnificent cross over trek from Manali to Spiti, Hampta Pass trek is ideal for people who are beginners and are exploring their love for trekking. The trek trail is beautifully laden with colorful flower beds making your trek a delightful experience. You will trek till an elevation of 14,000 feet, from where the grandiose views of Spiti deserts will charm you instantly.

The trek might not be that adventurous but the tranquility and beauty of this place will leave you in awe. Usually, it takes for 4 days to complete the trek, however if you have opted for Chandratal, a high altitude alpine lake makes the expedition even more fruitful and interesting. The variations of trails is ginormous; stunning landscapes, meadows, glacial valleys and thrilling crossover pass make this trekking expedition to Hampta Pass an exciting one.

Bhrigu Lake: A Trek with the Nature

Bhrigu lake

 Get respite from the scorching heat of summer, and lose yourself in the ravishing beauty of nature with a trek to Bhrigu Lake. Quite adventurous and perfect for experienced trekkers, the treks draws quite attention from trekkers due to its natural extravaganza and challenging terrains. Nestled at an altitude of 14,000 ft., the Bhrigu Lake trek facilitates fit people. Not only the trek is immensely beautiful, but it also has relations with mythology. According to locals, Sage Bhrig performed strong meditation and rituals on the banks of the lake thousands of years ago. It is believed that numerous gods of Kullu valleys have dipped in the holy waters making it sacred for the devotee. Gushing streams, meandering trails, scenic vistas and lush meadows makes the trekking experience overwhelming.

Beas Kund: Trek to the Source of Beas River

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Sitting royally at an altitude of 12139 ft., Beas Kund trek is an adventurous trek and a perfect choice for beginners because of its short duration. Mesmerizing meadows of Dhundi and Bakarthach will be your camping sites, from where you can also spectacle majestic peaks like Hanuman Tibba, Friendship Peak, Shitidhar, and Seven Sisters. When you reach the final point, you will be able to see the source of Beas River. On the way, you will come across wild strawberries and mushrooms, make sure to pluck it and taste. This trek also has a mythology connection, it is believed that Sage Vyas use to take bath in this lake while he meditated for years.

Pin Parvati Pass: A Trek For An Experienced

Pin Parvati

 Well-known as a tricky pass, Pin Parvati Pass falls on high altitude covered with snow throughout the year. During the trek one come across abundance of greenery and unspoiled nature. The intense alpine forest, attractive landscape, colorful wild flowers, stunning village, gushing waterfalls, in all this trek is the best summer break which will surely tempt every adventure trekkers. Located at a height of 17,054 ft., Pin Parvati Pass spells smashing magnificence one cannot deny. The last two sections of the trek requires strength. On reaching the final destination, you will be able to spectacle striking view of high mountains laden with snow and barren Spiti valley on the other.

So next time if you are planning to visit Manali, make sure to explore its hidden treasures. These treks will take you away from the mundane life to give you that utmost peace. Whether its winter or summer, Manali always welcome travelers for a unique experience.

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

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

Holy Lake Mansarovar
Holy Lake Mansarovar

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Experience rural life at Osla Village

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

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

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

Postcard-like Campsites

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

Discover wide-variety of Flora and Fauna

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

Spectacle Majestic Mountain Views

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

Isolation from the bustling world

En route Har ki Doon Trek

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

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

Do give uphill trekkers the right of way

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

Leave No Trace

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

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

No Littering At Any Cost

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

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

Respect The Other Trekkers

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

Walk and Talk

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

Abide by the tent rules

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

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

Do Not Eat Food of Other Trekkers

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

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

Winters adventures in India draws millions of intrepid travelers who love to explore the wilderness in its true form. Winter in northern India is filled with an abundance of activities, and is also the perfect time to experience some adventure in the South. If words like snowfall, coffee and snuggling appeal more to you, then head North, and to get some warmth, the southern regions welcome you with open arms. So this winter if your wanderlust feet are itching, it is time for you to take one of the winter adventures to make sure you have spent this season right.

Skiing: Slithering on snowy-slopes

Skiing
Skiing in Gulmarg is only for the gallant and the gusty

Snow-capped gigantic mountains surround India’s North, which also serves as a great spot for skiing. Snaking through the white-powdered snow, while taking in a panoramic view of the entire snow-dressed region makes up for an astounding thrill. You can fulfil your search for snow in Gulmarg(Jammu and Kashmir), Auli(Uttarakhand), and Manali(Himachal Pradesh). Gliding on snow laden slopes will give you memories you can treasure forever. Plus the skiing gear looks quite cool!

Gulmarg-ski-resortAn ultimate postcard location, Gulmarg looks so blissful in winters that you won’t be able to take your eyes off it. Snow settles so perfectly and delicately on the houses, meadows and trees that the entire city looks out of this world. Slide on the shimmering snow while taking in the entire perspective of the snow-covered Pir Panjal mountain range. This place experiences snowfall from December to March, so make your winters exhilarating. To better convince you, hit movies like Jab Tak Hai Jaan and Haider have been shot here, owing to its immense natural beauty.

skiing in Auli

Nestled in Garhwal Himalayas, 250 km from Rishikesh, skiing in Auli is gaining a lot attention among skiers, and snow lovers. Due to its good variation in the slopes, skiers get a great amount of thrill while skiing. What is better than a slide from 3 km high-rise slopes? Isn’t it an adrenaline you wish to experience? And with a drop in elevation of 500 m from peak-high altitudes, Auli is one of the best skiing grounds in the world.

Hot Air Ballooning: Talking to the air

Hot air Ballooning Goa

Rising above the clouds, taking in the marvellous spectacle of the horizon, and peeking through the clouds to see little patches of land; hot air ballooning gives a grandeur perspective of the entire world one lives in. If you always wanted to see the earth from a bird-eye-view, you must take this exhilarating ride to meet the sky. India is a land of diverse locations, culture, people and terrains. A ride from the above will be just spectacular due to the variety in terrains India boasts of.

Jaipur Hot Air Ballooning
Jaipur Hot Air Ballooning

Hot air ballooning in Goa is an additional  perk to the bag of thrills that this beach paradise boasts of. What a sight it would be! Hovering over the sparkling azure sea with the golden shores. If you have less time, and still want to explore the city of sunlit beaches, take the amazing balloon ride and you will thank yourself for the awesome choice. And to add more winter adventure to your bucket-list, you can choose to do hot air ballooning ride in Jaipur, Pushkar, Lonavala and Neemrana.

Paragliding: Flying like a bird

Paragliding

Have you ever thought what it would be like to soar high in the sky and experience a bird’s eye view of the world? If you do, plan your next trip adventurous and give Tandem Paragliding at Bir-Billing a try. The best way to feel like you’re flying without dying is through a jump from the second highest Paragliding site in the world. It will take your senses to next level, which is why Bir-Billing is one of the best gliding sites in the world. Jumping off from an edge and rising high in a second gives you an adrenaline rush you will love, which is what winter adventures are all about! You can experience this insane thrill at Kamshet in Maharashtra as well.

Scuba Diving: A peek into the underwater world

Magical underwater world!
Magical underwater world!

Feel like you are a part of the ocean as you swim through the rainbow of colorful marine life and reef fish at the top, and that amazing wall of white soft corals. Explore the world under the surface of the oceanic water in Goa and Netrani Island. Leave your stress at the surface, and plunge deep into the water to discover a world existing into our own world. Before you attempt Scuba Diving in Goa, you will be trained by experienced divers, who will impart some basic, but important skills required to do it.

India is enriched with bewitching landscapes and cities, and to experience the diverse nation, what is better than these adventures? Choose whatever suits you best, because when it comes to an adventure, India has tonnes of exhilarating activities which makes this country an ideal getaway destination for adrenaline seekers. Make your holiday awesome!

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

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


Chadar Trek:

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

chadar

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

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

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


Stok Kangri:

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

Stok Palace
Stok Palace

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

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

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

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


Markha Valley Trek:

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

markha

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

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

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


Also,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

everest-base-camp-trek_1439798387

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

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

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

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

everest-from-base-camp

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

everest-base-camp

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

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

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


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

The blended one! - in Nepal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Check The List: Trekking Essentials

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

chadarFrozen Naerak falls.

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

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

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

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

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


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

An Experience Like Never Before 

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

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

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

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

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


Dreamlike Chadar Trek: Enjoy Camping Under Starlit Skies 

The thrilling Chadar Frozen River Trek
The thrilling Chadar Frozen River Trek


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

chadar

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

Lifesaver Tips: Exercising Precaution While Treading On The Frozen River 

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

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

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

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

Walking on the frozen Zanskar River
Walking on the frozen Zanskar River

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

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

Chadar Trek

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

  • Acute Mountain Sickness: According to a report, around 15 trekkers are reported to have been hospitalized in 2018, due to symptoms of AMS such as nausea, vomiting and breathlessness. During Chadar trek, trekkers can trek up to 11,123 feet. This sudden change in altitude may affect one’s body, thus failing him from accomplishing the trek. In order to prevent such as thing, trekkers are advised to first stay in Ladakh for a few days before starting the trek. This will enable one’s lungs to adjust according to the change in altitude. This time can be fruitfully used by taking acclimatization walks by trekkers.

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

IN THE UNLIKELY SCENARIO OF A DROWNING: 

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

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