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

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

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

Base Camp: Sankri
Airport: Jolly Grant Airport, Dehradun

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

kedarkantha_trek__2_

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

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

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

Chang la pass, Ladakh
Chang la pass, Ladakh

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

You can visit Ladakh in the following three seasons:

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

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

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

Indus zanskar Confluence Ladakh
Indus zanskar Confluence Ladakh

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

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

Stok Kangri Trek

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

Stok Palace
Stok Palace

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

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

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

Markha Valley Trek

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

markha

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

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

How to reach Ladakh?

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

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

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

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

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

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

ladakh shutterstock_1873033_txzmh

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

Nestled at the splendid peak of Fateh Parvat and surmounting a height of 3,566 m from the sea level, Har ki Doon is one of the remotest places in the Devbhoomi of Uttarakhand. Its desolation, alpine vegetation and snow-capped peaks make this cradle-shaped valley, a perfect spot for trekking excursion. In addition, it offers several delightful views that leave the trekkers awe-struck, starting from the raw beauty of nature to ice-covered peaks of Swargarohini and Jaundha. The valley which is packed with the alpine meadows, stunning streams, vibrant Himalayan flowers and exotic wildlife species has many hidden gems that add an extra charm to the trekking expedition.

A Dream-like Trek to Har Ki Doon
Believe it or not – walking through the eternal meadow of Har Ki Doon is one of those experiences that remain entrenched in the heart and mind for life. The trail rewards you with fascinating views of mountain ridges, glaciers, ancient temples, alluring caves and rustic hamlets.

It is believed that this valley holds a religious significance for Hindus and shares its past with the age of the Mahabharata. According to the locals, the eldest brother of the Pandavas, Yudhishthira, scaled the Himalayan peak ‘Swargarohini’ on his way to heaven. Also, there is a temple dedicated to eldest brother of the Kauravas, Duryodhana.

High-angle shot of Sankri village
High-angle shot of Sankri village

The initial phase of trek begins from Sankri Village to Taluka, which is located at a distance of 12 km from Sankri. Further, the course goes through icy pools, alpine meadows, moraine ridges, and pine and oak forests. On way to the summit, trekkers get an opportunity to capture spectacular views of the valley in camera and learn about the simple yet amazing lifestyle of locals. Also, eyes will be fascinated with a sight of Brahma Kamal flower that blooms in a beautiful alpine lake called Mahinda Taal.

Location: Uttarkashi, Uttarakhand
Duration: 7 Days
Trekking Distance: 54 km
Maximum Altitude: 3566 m
Grade: Easy to moderate
Start Point: Sankri
End Point: Sankri

Best Season to Visit: With pleasant weather conditions, the Har Ki Doon Trek can be undertaken round the year, except the monsoons. From December to March, the region experiences incessant snowfall, thus, adventure enthusiasts need proper physical training and experience to head for the trek during this time. Notably, the average temperature ranges from 11°C to 2°C, although at night temperature dips below freezing point.

Moreover, spring season i.e. from mid-April to June is considered as the best time to engage in this expedition. At this time, the average temperature ranges between 22°C to 10°C.

Several trekkers undertake this trek from September to November due to safe weather condition. The average temperature ranges between 18°C to 9°C.

Warm-hearted locals
Uttarakhand is not only known for its majestic hills and religious significance, but also for its warm-hearted inhabitants. They are the one who makes this place a travel-friendly state. Visit the religious memorials in towns and villages and explore the lifestyle of people and traditional practices followed by them.You will be surprised to see that people of Uttarakhand keep culture and religion very close to their hearts. Their generosity and admiration for the travelers make the expedition one of the most cherished memories.

Quick Overview of Elevation Points: Basically, the Har Ki Doon trekking expedition starts from the capital of Uttarakhand, Dehradun. The drive from Dehradun to Sankri goes through charming villages of Purola, Nainbagh and Naitwar, taking around 7 hours. Situated at an elevation of 1950 meters, Sankri is the base camp of the trek that offers astounding vistas of the quaint Himalayas. Next day, move towards a small village called Taluka at 2560 meters. A major perennial Himalayan river, Tons flows from here. The trek heads to the final destination Har Ki Doon that stands at an altitude of 3566 meters. Leaving the mountains behind, descend to Taluka and then to Sankri.

Itinerary
Day 01: Dehradun – Sankri > Day 02: Sankri – Taluka – Seema > Day 03: Seema – Har Ki Doon > Day 04: Camp near Kalkatti Dhar – Har Ki Doon > Day 05: Har Ki Doon – Seema > Day 06: Seema – Taluka – Sankri > Day 07: Sankri – Dehradun

Har ki Doon Trek
Har ki Doon Trek

My Footprints in the Paradise Called Har Ki Doon

Unlike other Himalayan treks, Har Ki Doon trek deserves a special mention because of the splendid views it offers. Without any doubt, this trek is a delight for those who want to witness exotic Himalayan flora and fauna. For city dwellers, this is a perfect escape from the mundane life. A walk on lush green landscape along with snow patches is surely a delightful experience to one’s eyes and soul.

After planning an excursion with my two best friends, I landed at Jolly Grant Airport from Delhi. At the airport, we met our tour representative who welcomed us with a beautiful flower bouquet and a charming smile on his face. He briefed us about Sankri and asked us to wait for sometime as we had to wait there for our other fellow trekkers. Later, we became a group of 10 people with their arrival. We all boarded the taxis arranged by the tour representative and moved toward Sankri. 

The views of snow-covered hills, monasteries and temples were so stunning that they cannot be described in mere words. We had lunch at a roadside Dhaba near Nagthat. After 7 hours, we reached Sankri – a stunning village at Uttarkashi, which is located 13 km inside an exotic Govind Wildlife Sanctuary, where I captured splendid views of mountains animals like black peak, swarg rohini and bandarpunch. Further, the trail passed through River Supin and the dense forests of pine, maple and chestnut trees. The sound of gushing water and birds’ chirping poured into my ears like a melodious song. After reaching Sankri, we had a dinner at GIO camp Sankari.

village_in_himalaya__pczwm har ki doon

Next morning, we woke up to a spectacular view of sunrise. After breakfast, our trek began from Sankari to Taluka via Osla and Seema. In the initial phase, the trail was quite easy as it was filled with pastureland and vibrant flowers. Suddenly, it started raining and our guide instructed us to not move further. So, we took out our raincoats and after wearing them we sat in a place covered with trees. Showers made the trekking difficult and the trail turned foggy, however, the vistas became more alluring and mysterious. We crossed Seema Market and reached Taluka gradually. We spent a night in the tents under the glittery sky.

Today, it was the day to make it to the final destination, for which we had been waiting so long! After breakfast, we moved towards Har ki Doon. The trail was pleasingly undulating with a steady gradient, which helped us in maintaining good speed.

The aroma of orchards, Himalayan primroses and the forest kept seeping inside us, just like a magic these flowers create to attract a swarm of bees. The clear-crystal views of Swargarohini and Bandarpoonch peaks were a feast to our naked eyes.

Further, we crossed a cantilever bridge and just after that the path became extremely high and slopes turned rough and perpendicular. Climbing on that giant and the demanding trail took a lot of concentration and efforts. Despite that, it was a remarkable experience as success gave us an immense pleasure. En route, we luckily met local school-going kids aged between 5 and 8, along with their parents. We clicked several pictures with them and it was quite an overwhelming experience. Thankfully, I had a few chocolates in my bag which were distributed among the children.

Our next resting point was Charota waterfalls where we spent around 20 minutes and it gave us immense relief after a long exhausting day. Later, we reached Har Ki dun after a total of 6 hours walk. Sun had already set down in the valley but the enclosing peaks were reflecting the blonde shades of the sun. We captured several group selfies there and spent a wonderful night under the tents.

Old wooden temple in Sankri
Old wooden temple in Sankri

Way Back to Sankri
On Day 4, we moved to Hata Valley after breakfast. Trekking to Hata Valley was an experience in itself. We encountered with Shepherds came there from far away villages with their herds. In the afternoon, we came to Har Ki Doon.

Next day, we woke up to a beautiful morning in the valley surrounded by lofty trees and mountains. After breakfast, we descended towards Seema Market. We first reached to a temple in the Osla Village, where we interacted with the locals and collected more information about the place. Later, we reached Taluka from Seema and spent a night in the tents. Next morning, on our way back to Sankri, we captured amazing views of flora and fauna in our cameras. We reached Sankri after 5 hours of tiring yet fascinating journey. On last day, I headed to the airport with my two friends, after bidding adieu to our fellow trekkers and tour representative.

Do Not Forget!

  • Respect nature, wildlife and local traditions
  • Travel in a group of 3 to 4 people
  • Respect local culture and be sensitive towards wildlife
  • People with heart disease, diabetes, asthma or high altitude sickness should avoid the trek
  • Work on the fitness levels for the trek
  • Prior research is a must
  • Don’t try to compete with fellow trekkers, just set your own pace

A Handy List of Trekking Essentials

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

This trekking expedition to Har Ki Doon not only gave me a plethora of wonderful memories to cherish but also help me in conquering my fears. A closer sight at the jewels hidden in the snow capsule mountains is something that one should definitely experience at least once in a lifetime.

Situated at an altitude of 2,050 m in the Beas River Valley, Manali lies near the northern end of the Kullu Valley in Himachal Pradesh. With sprawling pine and deodar forest and apple orchards, the resort town is known for its natural beauty and temples.

Majestic hills, its glorified past, blissful ambiance, religious beliefs, vibrant culture and time-honored traditions have rightfully christened Manali as ‘Valley of the Gods’.

A Traveler’s Perspective
Are you fond of hills, snow-capped mountains, lush green landscape, quaint villages, waterfalls, rivers, and clouds? Then, Manali is the ideal place to be! Owing to its geographical positioning, serene landscape, high-altitude mountains and deep dense forests, this beautiful town, nestled in the state of Himachal Pradesh, offers the perfect blend of thrill and excitement to adventure seekers. Lofty fir trees and snow-covered pines are the attractions that drive one into the natural charm of the world. Also, if you’re in the woods, you might get a sight of snow leopards and brown bears.

Be it solo travelers, couples or families, this place has something special for everyone; starting from wonderful tourist attractions to recreational activities. Also, it is a gateway for trekking in the Parvati Valley and skiing in the Solang Valley. Further, Manali offers opportunities for rafting, paragliding and mountaineering in the Pir Panjal mountains.

Parvati valley's serene aura
Parvati valley is popular with youth for its scenic vibe, local restaurants and a ‘home away from home’ feeling

Trekking: A Taste of Adventure and Nature
When it comes to trekking, Manali wholeheartedly welcomes both the ardent trekkers and beginners, and does its best to fulfil the aspirations of adventurers and nature lovers.

Here, trekkers will come across uneven territories, slippery course, thick backwoods and high meadows while walking through the Kullu Valley. Further, the beauty of Himalayas cannot be ignored. This is why Manali attracts trekkers from around the world.

From Chandratal Lake Trek with Hampta Pass to Bhrigu Lake, Manali has so much to offer. Here are 8 must-do treks from Manali:

  1. Hampta Pass with Chandratal Lake Trek
    Duration: 5 Days
    Starting Point: Manali
    Grade: Easy to moderate
    Max Altitude: 4297 m
    Trekking Distance: 26 km
    Best Season: Mid June to August
    Day 01 – Manali to Chika > Day 02 – Chika to Bhalu Ka Ghera > Day 03 – Bhalu ka Ghera to Siagoru across Hampta Pass > Day 04 – Siagoru to Chatru > Day 05 – Chatru to Chandratal | Chandratal to ManaliThe Hampta Pass Trek is known for offering a dazzling view of Kullu and Lahaul valleys in Himachal Pradesh. The ever modifying scenery has been fascinating nature lovers for years. The trek offers an exquisite sight of some amazing hidden gems in the valley, including glaciers and alpine forests. Certainly, Himalayan flora and fauna contribute a lot to making this five-day trek truly spellbinding.The expedition goes to splendid foothills of the Pir Panjal Range and the great Himalayas. While hiking towards the summit, the course offers different shades of nature consisting green pastureland to awe-inspiring views of Indrasan and Deo Tibba mountains.
  2. Beas Kund Trek
    Duration: 3 days
    Starting Point: Solang Valley
    Grade: Moderate
    Max Altitude: 3800 m
    Trekking Distance: 32 km
    Best Season: Mid May to October
    Day 01 –  Solang Valley – Dhundi > Day 02 – Dhundi – Beas Kund – Dhundi > Day 03 – Dhundi to Solang Valley | Drive to Manalibeas-kund-and-bhrigu-lake-trek
    The Beas Kund trek stands out as one of the best in Manali. It is considered appropriate for all age groups and no prior trekking experience is required to undertake it. The dells of Bakartach and Dhundi are incredibly majestic. Also, the little cold lake of River Beas, fed by the glaciers, is breathtaking.The trek begins from the stunning valley of Solang and passes through waterfalls, green meadows, small streams, and continues towards the striking snow-covered mountains. On reaching Dhundi from Solang, trekkers would find themselves surrounded by dense forest of deodar and oak trees. Nothing could be better than spending a night at the campsite, set by the striking stream. Here, you get this opportunity!
  3. Pin Parvati Trek
    Duration: 10 days
    Starting Point: Rumsu Village
    Grade: Difficult
    Max Altitude: 5318 m
    Trekking Distance: 78 km
    Best Season: Mid May to September
    Day 01 – Rumsu Base Camp > Day 02 – Rumsu Base Camp – Kheerganga > Day 03 – Kheerganga – Tunda Bhuj > Day 04 – Tunda Bhuj – Thakur Kuan > Day 05 -Thakur Kuan – Mantalai > Day 06 – Mantalai – Pin Parvati Pass Base Camp > Day 07 – Pin Parvati Pass Base Camp – Pin Parvati Pass – Riverside Camp > Day 08 – Riverside Camp – Mud Base Camp > Day 09 – Mud Base Camp Kaza > Day 10 – Kaza – ManaliConnecting Kullu’s Parvati Valley and Spiti’s Pin Valley, the Pin Parvati Pass trek offers the stunning vistas of snow-capped mountains along with the green pastureland. While the Parvati Valley in Kullu showcases a flourishing green and grassy landscape, the Pin Valley in Spiti is mostly barren without any vegetation. Even culturally, both these places are quite different from each other.
    It is the most adventurous and difficult trek in Manali, which remains untouched by a large number of trekkers. And this is why this serene-clean beauty allows the visitors to capture pristine views of the valley. The journey begins at Manikaran and goes along the River Parvati and ends in the Pin Parvati Valley.
  4. Bhrigu Lake Trek
    Duration: 4 days
    Starting Point: Manali
    Grade: Easy to Moderate
    Max Altitude: 4235 m
    Trekking Distance: 29 km
    Best Season: Throughout the yearDay 01 – Arrival at Manali Base Camp > Day 02 – Drive from Manali to Gulaba | Trek to Rohlikohli Campsite > Day 03 – Trek to Bhrigu Lake > Day 04 – Trek back to Gulaba and DepartureBhrigu lakeA crystal-clear Bhrigu Lake is formed by the melting glaciers. A route from Gulaba to Rola Kholi goes towards charming small towns, apple orchards, rustic hamlets and icy pools. The sights of Gulaba, Rola Kholi and Pandu Ropa offer a dream-like journey making you realize that childhood tales of wonderland.
  5. Deo Tibba Base Camp
    Duration: 6 days
    Starting Point: Rumsu Village
    Grade: Moderate
    Max Altitude: 4480 m
    Trekking Distance: 37 km
    Best Season: June and July
    Day 01 – Arrival at Rumsu Base Camp > Day 02 – Rumsu – Chikka > Day 03 – Chhika – Seri > Day 04 – Seri – Deo Tibba Base Camp– Seri > Day 05 – Seri – Jagatsukh – Rumsu Base Camp > Day 06 – DepartureFor those adventure seekers who want to make their vacation in Manali absolute pleasure, the Deo Tibba trek is an ideal option. The picturesque trek begins from Manali and goes through several deep wild forests, moraines, meadows, waterfalls, steep climbs and a high-altitude lake with blue water known as mini-Chandratal (4480 m). Also, the trek offers a wonderful sight of snow-clad peaks of Indrasan (6220 m) and Deo Tibba (6001 m) along with the glaciers of Jagatsukh.
  6. Sar Pass Trek
    Duration: 6 days
    Starting Point: Kasol
    Grade: Moderate
    Max Altitude: 4206 m
    Trekking Distance: 50 km
    Best Season: May to first week of July
    Day 01 – Registration and Orientation at Kasol > Day 02 – Trek to Grahan Village > Day 03 – Grahan Village to Min Thatch > Day 04 – Min Thatch to Nagaru > Day 05 – Nagaru to Biskeri Thatch via Sar Pass > Day 06 – Biskeri Thatch to Barshaini and Drive back to KasolSar Pass
    Situated in the serene Parvati Valley, the Sar Pass trek takes you to alluring green meadows and serene villages. This trek offers an exquisite sight of waterfalls and the majestic snow-clad peaks. A trekker also gets a chance to spend nights under the dazzling sky at some beautiful campsites like Ramsu and Grahan.
  7. Great Himalayan National Park Trek
    Duration: 3 days
    Starting Point: Kasol
    Grade: Easy
    Max Altitude: 3199 m
    Trekking Distance: 22 km
    Best Season: April to November
    Day 01 – Aut – Gushaini > Day 02 – Rola – Shilt > Day 03 – Rola – Gushaini – Autgreat-himalayan-national-park-trek
    For an ecstatic trekking experience, say yes to the Great Himalayan National Park trek in Shilt Thatch. This trek is filled with a range of wild flora and fauna, curves, steeps and hilly paths. The park has stunning River Tirthan and here you can get glimpses of rare species of wild animals residing in the dense Himalayan forests.
  8.  Chandrakhani Pass Trek
    Duration: 4 days
    Starting Point: Rumsu Village
    Grade: Easy
    Max Altitude: 3657 m
    Trekking Distance: 22 km
    Best Season: April to June, October -November
    Day 01 – Rumsu Base Camp – Sterling – Rumsu Base Camp > Day 02 – Trek to Ghan Kulhadi > Day 03 – Trek to Chanderkhani Pass – Stay at Chaklani > Day 04 – Descend to Rumsu Base Camp and DepartureMalana Chanderkhani
    Chandrakhani Pass offers pictorial vistas of Pir Panjal, Deo Tibba crest and Parvati Valley. It gives you an opportunity to experience the surreal beauty of the mountains! Meet friendly locals on the way while crossing lush green forests, charming snow patches, colourful flora and scenic landscape. Further, the trek goes through bhojpatra trees, dwarf rhododendron shrubs, and forests of oak, pine, fir and chestnut trees.  

Get ready for adventure like never before! Go and enjoy the sights of glaciers and mountains from these thrilling trekking spots. Meet locals and learn about their unique culture and traditions. Capture those lifetime moments on camera and make wonderful memories as nothing could be better than a refreshing delight in the hills, away from the hustle-bustle of your daily city life.

Trekking in Uttarakhand has lately become so much more than an adventure sport. Now a popular destination for weekend getaways, long treks, river rafting, camping, mountaineering, ziplining and other adrenaline-inducing adventures, it has also long been a important location for pilgrims for decades for it harbours the origin of GangesGangotri. The Garhwal and Kumaon ranges offer the most promising treks, courtesy its position in the foothills of famous Himalayan peaks.

The second highest mountain in India and the highest mountain located entirely within the country, Nanda Devi (7,816 m) lies right here in the Garhwal Himalayas; it is the holy site for a lot of cultural festivals that take place annually. Lots of other 7000 m+ peaks loom over this region in North India. Therefore, so far as cultural, geographical and historical importance is considered, Uttarakhand is naturally a winner.

Gangotri, on the banks of Bhagirathi and the origin on Ganga
Gangotri, on the banks of Bhagirathi and the origin on Ganga

Keeping in mind a lot of factors that make a trek worthwhile, the best treks located in Uttarakhand are Roopkund Trek and Har Ki Doon Trek. These treks offer great views of the Himalayan peaks, challenge one’s trekking skills and endurance in controlled limits and are spread over a comfortable number of days to accommodate the best experiences without exhausting oneself completely.

But the major catches remain: Expansive alpine meadows; lush valleys; dense oak, deodar and pine forests; high altitude lakes, moraines, ridges, hanging glaciers; towering Himalayan peaks looming over. These trek features are entirely unique to Uttarakhand’s picturesque locales and that is what makes it such an invigorating experience for trekkers of all backgrounds.

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The best time to visit any of these treks are the sunny summer months: April to June. Avoid monsoon season for there’s possibility of flash floods, landslides, slippery trail and other dangers.  

First one on this list is Roopkund Trek, The Mystery Lake:

Roopkund 1

  • Everything a Himalayan trek can offer!
    Alpine meadows that stretch as far the eye goes, oak and pine forests, frozen waterfalls, scenic peaks that make this trek incomparable. So picture perfect!
  • The mystique and the memory of a past forgotten
    The Skeletal Lake is said to have buried in it skeletons of travelers that were caught in a hailstorm. So far, no conclusive research has shown where exactly the group of travelers was headed. Spooky, right? Visit in the summers so that the lake is not completely covered by sheets of snow.
  • The adventure, the thrill, the views
    Roopkund trek, over the years, has remained one of the most popular trekking destinations in North India. Each year, thousands of people set out to make it on this trek. Perhaps, the biggest selling point of this trek are the adrenaline-inducing climb up to the lake and the chilling views of Mt Trishul, Nanda Ghunti, Badrinath. The trek is not meant for beginners.  

Har Ki Doon, a paradise in the lap of Himalayas on the border between Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh: The valley is reached through Govind Wildlife Sanctuary which is a repository of the most exotic variety of flora and fauna.

Har ki Doon Trek
Har ki Doon Trek
  • Follow Pandavas’ steps to the Swargarohini
    This trek offers mesmerizing views of Swargarohini – I, II, III, Bandarpoonch and Blackpeak, Ruinsara, etc. In the Hindu mythology, Pandavas ascended to heaven following the very route trekkers take. How is that for some rich history?
  • In the foothills of Fateh Parvat, Har ki Dun is one of the most scenic valleys and, therefore, perfect spot for your photography passions! So is the nearby Hata valley.
  • Enjoy camping next to Kalkatti Dhar
  • Trek to Jaundhar Glacier and spot lush greens and snow-capped peaks. An exhilarating view that will leave you wanting for more, definitely!

Quit being afraid. The world awaits.

Trekking in Uttarakhand
Trekking in Uttarakhand is more than an adventure, it is an experience worth a thousand memories that will last a lifetime. Underneath the picture perfect hillocks touching clear skies, in the lush valleys and amid flowing rivulets, through pine and oak lands, find your own nature calling!

Situated at a height of 21,778 feet, the majestic Mount Kailash is said to be an abode of Lord Shiva hailed as ‘destroyer of evil’. The grand mountain is nestled in the South-Western part of Himalayas Tibetan Plateau.  Also, located in close proximity to Lake Rakshasta and Lake Manasarovar, Kailash paves the path for four major rivers of Asia i.e. the Brahmaputra, Indus, Sutlej and Karnali.

Therefore, Kailash Mansarovar Yatra doubles as a pilgrimage for ardent Hindus and a journey into the magnificent Himalayas for wanderers.

The Most Fascinating Journey Ever!

The journey to Kailash Parvat is not just a regular yatra, it is a completely life-changing experience for those who undertake it. A hike to this breathtaking, isolated, eternal and fascinating sacred spot is like a journey within oneself. Kailash Mansarovar Yatra is like an experience of a lifetime!

Lake Mansarovar
Lake Mansarovar

Situated at a height of 15,015 feet, the emerald green and sacred blue Manasarovar Lake is just at a distance of 20 km from Kailash Parvat. The lake is said to be an embodiment of purity which has the power to wash away your sins and heal your wounds.  

The spiritual journey involves meditation sessions, satsangs and bhajans which would subsequently be followed by the difficult yet exciting trek to the North face of Kailash. You will get an opportunity at the Kailash Mount to meditate in the presence of the Almighty.

Hidden Jewels on Kailash Route
On this journey, one would visit the world’s highest city and the capital city of Tibet, Lhasa. There are several tourist attractions on the way to Kailash such as Jokhang temple, Bhakor Street, Sera Monastery, Potala Palace, and the lively Lhasa market.

One can enjoy the stunning picturesque sights of Darchen, Dirakphuk and Zuktulpuk.

My Journey to Sacred Mount
We all arrived at the Tribhuvan International Airport which is situated 6 km away from the city centre. After reaching Kathmandu airport, I first met my tour representative, he gave me a warm welcome, and we later moved toward the booked hotel. I completed all the check-in facility and went to relax for a while after lunch. Later, the tour representative introduced me to 9 other trekkers who were set to undertake this exciting journey. He then briefed us about the program schedule. When the session got over, I thought to take a stroll in the hotel garden.

Next day, we woke up to a striking view of sunrise in the valley that was echoing due to pleasing sound of chirping birds. Afterwards, I enjoyed an appetizing breakfast in the hotel’s restaurant. Our guide came to the hotel and briefed us about today’s itinerary and then he took us to the most sacred temples in Nepal, Pashupatinath and Budhanilkanth dedicated to Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu respectively. Our lunch was organised in a Nepali Restaurant, where we savoured some authentic delicacies like Thupka, Sel Roti and Momos. We also paid a visit to the Patan Museum and the Taragaon Museum.

Day 3 involved 6 hours bus journey from Kathmandu to Dhunche. Though the unsteady path was quite tough to handle, the drive through the majestic mountains was lovely. The one thing that propelled us throughout was acquaintance with the rare sights of nature away from the hustle-bustle noise of the city. We spent a night at a booked guesthouse. Next morning, after consuming yummy paranthas and curd, we moved toward Rasuwagadi, a point from where initial trekking began. The moving clouds, lush greenery mountains and chilly wind added an excitement to our journey. After a few hours of walk, we reached Lipulekh Pass where we waited for the Chinese authorities to complete the immigration facilities. After 1.5 hours of monitoring by the officials, we boarded a bus that took us to Kyirong. We spent a night at a lodge in Kyirong. We explored Kyirong markets and monasteries on the 5th day.               

Next day, while moving to Dongba, pictorial views of mountain terrains and blue lake, Pieko-Tso and Yarlung Zangpo (the Brahmaputra River) worked as a feast to our naked eyes. After 7 hours, we reached Dongba guest house for night stay.

Now, it was the day to trek to the highest and holiest lake in the world, Lake Mansarovar. We first crossed Mayumla Pass where we had our lunch. Later, we reached Prayang County and we stayed there for 15 minutes to catch a glimpse of striking Mount Kailash.

The view of blue and emerald green lake was overwhelming. The blend of snow-capped mountains, incredible vistas of sand dunes and white clouds were simply majestic and truly breath-taking. This was a spiritual day of meditation and prayers. I experienced a revitalizing and cleansing dip in the purest lake, which is said to have the power to wash away all our sins. We stayed overnight in the camp set on the banks of the lake. Next morning, it was a time to get ready for a trek that was as testing as it was rewarding.

Yam Dwar
Yam Dwar

We packed up our stuff and drove to the starting point of the trek, Yamadwar, and then hiked to Dirapuk. En route, we beheld the sights of cliff-top monasteries, and yak caravans gently wandering over snowy passes. Finally, the time to experience the powerful and inexpressible phenomenon of this sacrosanct mountain arrived. For half an hour, we indulged in the exquisiteness and immensity of the esoteric Kailash. We spent a night at its base.

Staying in Diraphukh
Staying in Diraphukh

On Day 8, we moved from Dirapuk to the north face of Kailash for meditation and then back to Dirapuk. Then we headed back to Manasarovar and one more night was spent in amidst the mountain and beautiful lake.

Next morning, the journey to Zuthulphuk began with a steep climb up to the Dolma-La Hi

For bike lovers, nothing could be better than just hitting the roads of Ladakh to experience the serene and heart-warming beauty of nature. The two-week long Ladakh motorbike expedition gives an unprecedented opportunity to explore the majestic charm of this cold desert which is hidden behind the snow-capped mountains at a relaxing and slow pace.

Go solo or have fun with a partner-in-ride!
It’s completely on you whether you want to undergo this expedition alone or with a partner. Your journey will be both picturesque and exhausting. The uneven, narrow and meandering mountain roads with pointed curves, deep canyons at frequent points will surely give you an adrenaline rush.

When Do I Need To Get Going
You can opt for the Ladakh motorbike expedition at anytime of the year, but one should avoid the winter and rainy season, as slippery roads may cause an accident. Further, it is advised to not visit Ladakh via bike in the months from December to February and July to August.

Ladakh motorbike expedition

The Most Adventurous Ride of My Life
I always had a dream to take a ride that would remain as a lifetime memory with me. Home to unruffled pictorial lakes, sapphire clear waters, isolated roads and an uneven striking terrain, the Ladakh motorbike expedition came as a lifetime opportunity to me. A ride into majestic mountains and unfamiliar valleys always provide me with an absolute pleasure and good sense of adventure.

Before starting a long race, I met my tour guide to get the essential information. The guide provided map and details on each and every minute detail related to the expedition. The journey started from New Delhi.

Along with my four besties, I headed towards Chandigarh. While riding on the smooth highway road, I witnessed lush green farmlands of Haryana and Punjab. Also, the beauty of flowering plants kept us engaged. After completing a long and tiresome bike journey of around 260 km, we rested in the hotel for 4 hours.

As we didn’t want to waste our precious time, we began our day with a fresh start and headed toward Manali, a beautiful valley nestled in the state of Himachal Pradesh. While riding we came across stunning sights of Beas River, rocky slopes of the mountain, majestic hills featuring pine and deodar forest and sprawling apple orchards. Moreover, the tricky bends and stretches on the road were not only testing us but our bike’s strength too.

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

Next day, we started our bike expedition to Leh Ladakh while riding towards Jispa. On the way, we crossed one of the most spectacular destinations in the entire Kullu region, Rohtang Pass. It is situated at an elevation of 3,978 m. We noticed a sudden change in the scenery as trees had started disappearing and brown terrain with barren slopes was replacing the greener portions as we were reaching the Lahaul and Spiti district. The next stop was Sarchu, and after 3 hours, we reached the place for overnight stay. In the morning, an incredible view of the sunrise over the mountain appeared as a reminder that light always follows the darkness.

Thiksey Monastery
Thiksey Monastery

Now, it was a time to ride slowly and carefully on a comparatively difficult road through Baralacha La. The place is infamous for accidents due to the icy uneven runway, thus, it was very important for us to be extra cautious as we were supposed to cover 90 km distance today. As we entered the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir, we left behind all anxieties and enjoyed the spectacular views on our way. While passing through passes such as Nakee La, Lachung La and Tanglang La, located at high altitudes, we realized that nature knows no bounds. We stopped at the popular Thiksey Monastery and observed the art behind the rare paintings like thangkas and ancient stupa. After capturing several stunning views and covering a distance of around 250 km, we finally touched Leh. That day we were extremely exhausted, so we decided to check into the hotel and rest.

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Next day, we all took our bikes for servicing as we wanted to be on a safer side before exploring more of Leh. We even got an opportunity to enjoy a sight of Stok Kangri and the mountain ranges of Ladakh. Later, we visited Shanti Stupa which was located on the hilltop in the Changspa region. And then we continued riding toward the Nubra valley, it was here when we crossed muddy routes and the world’s highest road pass, Khardung La. We spent a night at a campsite in this magnificent valley.

Remember the lake in Aamir Khan’s 3 idiot movie? It was the day when we were going to visit it. This ride came as the most exciting and adventurous one. Situated at the height of about 4,350 m, Pangong Tso Lake has been much-talked about due to the incredible sights that it offers. It is also a perfect place to set up an overnight camp.

The journey was not over yet! After checking out from the Leh hotel, there were many surprises en-route. We crossed Zoji La pass and entered the awe-inspiring valley of Sonamarg. Later, we hit the road that took us to Srinagar and here we visited numerous places of interest, such as Shalimar Bagh and even enjoyed a Shikara ride on the picturesque Dal Lake. The night was spent in the beautiful Kashmiri houseboat. From Kargil to Drass, Tiger Hill Peak to Srinagar and Pathankot, there were a plethora of astounding views that we enjoyed on our Ladakh bike tour. Next morning, we hit the road back to Delhi.

Must Carry Essentials

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

Dine in Leh! Must-try cafes and diners: 

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

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The memories of this trek are so close to my heart that whenever I close my eyes or somebody say Ladakh, it reminds me the whole journey encompassing rough terrains, lush greenery, chilly winds, snow-capped mountains, dancing clouds, playing kids, mountain animals and what not…. It’s a far-flung trip for the adventure seekers searching solace for the soul, its snow-covered mountains and extreme climatic conditions are enough appealing for any biker who wants to go on a trip to Ladakh. Moreover, the essence of Ladhaki culture has left its imprint on my mind and heart. To experience the real adventure, one has to hit the road.

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

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

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

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

In Tosh
In Tosh

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Must Carry Essentials

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

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

Long gone are the times when adventure was reserved for Christopher Columbus-types. Today, mesmerizing trails laden with snow and rhododendron leading to a majestic view of the literal top of the world are accessible to even people having 9 to 5 lives. Sandakphu trek, a rhododendron trek, is not just a treat for the eye, but a chance to walk alongside the Sleeping Buddha, and so much more! Here are ten reasons why you are missing out if you haven’t planned a getaway to this little paradise yet:

  1. Rolling with the Rhododendrons 

    rhododendron-trek sandakphu
    Out of the few rhododendron treks in India, Sandakphu trek carried out in the northern part of West Bengal is a beacon of beautiful trails that are covered by rhododendrons in the spring. It’s a spectacle to behold with your own eyes!

  2. Chitrey Monastery: A reservoir of Buddhist culture
    Picture Credits: India Mike
    Picture Credits: India Mike

    The trek will begin from the Chitrey village that boasts of a majestic monastery and stupas. The government of Bengal has recently decided to promote Buddhist tourism and this is definitely going to be the center of attention. And for all the right reasons, just look at it!

  3. Kalaphokri or ‘Black Lake’kaliphokli-or-black-lake
    A bean-shaped black lake that is circumambulated by fluttering Buddhist flags is another highlight of your Sandakphu trek. It is rumored that even in really low temperatures the lake does not freeze. This lends it a strange charm, an air of mystery even. This will be your next stop after you cross Tumling.
  4. Lushness of Sandakphu’s natural charms: Forests, Waterfalls, Alpine Meadowssiri_riverThe entire hiking trail looks resplendent in the greens of lush meadows, dense forests and gurgling waterfalls and brimming Siri River. Often times, an exhausting trek through a forest will open up to a splendid meadow. Like, after you cross Lamyadhura.
  5. Spring tales

    flowers sandakphu trekIf you would love the mountainous air with a gentle smell, come down in the spring. Mountain trail through forests showcase blooming flowers all along. Spot magnificent magnolias blooming all along the trail from Chitre to Meghma.
  6. Winter is coming!

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    Walk the willowy snow-laden trails of Sandakphu trek if you choose to visit in the winters. This way, the destination is not the only scenic spot on your map, the journey is filled with a whole lot of beauty as well!
  7. Wake up to the magnificent view of Sleeping BuddhaSleeping buddha sandakphu
    Kanchenjunga family of peaks seen from Sandakphu seem to be imitating Buddha in a sleeping position. The view is simply spellbinding.
    Right here, one can also spot the ridge between Goecha and Pandim which is basically called the Goecha la trek in Sikkim.
  8. Tumling’s tea estates and guest houses
    A guest house in Tumling
    A guest house in Tumling

    Tumling, lying on the Indo-Nepal border, houses beautiful guest houses. Lots of trekkers/travelers stay right here in the beautiful guest houses by the side of the ebbing river. To your right lies India and to your left is Nepal. Furthermore, on this trek, you will get to traverse through many a beautiful tea estate in the villages that lie on the border.

    After the ascent from Tumling, you will reach a point where from you can look at the entire Sandakphu trail lying ahead all at once. It will be the ultimate power-up you need to push through!

  9. Camping in Singalila National Parksingalila national park
    Spend a night camping at the best sites on this trek in Singalila National Park. As you wake up the next day, witness the sun rising from the Singalila range. This is truly what you came all the way for.
    You can also spot blue bamboos in the jungle!
  10. Witness the grandeur of world’s highest mountains in a 180 degree view

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    At Sandakphu, to the west lies Makalu, Lhotse, Everest, Nuptse, Baruntse, Chamling, Chomolonzo, Machapucchare and other peaks of Annapurna range. To the north, Sleeping Buddha and three sister peaks. To the east, Chomolhari. What more could a trek offer!

Is there any other trek that boasts of such spectacular views of the highest mountains in the world, blooming rhododendron alongside mountain trails that lead you through dense forests to vast meadows that are so lush, it fills your heart with an overwhelming joy?

Sandakphu trek can leave you speechless momentarily but it will give you a lot to reminisce and talk about later.

The initial point of Stok Kangri trek is at Leh. Here, you get acclimatized for the trek. Leh is accessible by road and air. The road travelers can reach here via Delhi, Chandigarh and Manali. Though, the road journey is quite hectic and considerably longer than a flight, the picturesque sights along the way will make it all worthwhile. The roads going to Leh are accessible only in summers because cold weather and snowfall during winters makes the roads unusable.

All Assemble at the Base Camp
Perched at an elevation of 20,180 ft., the Stok Kangri trek is known for real adventure. The height offers spectacular views of Tibet in the East and Himalayas in the South. The expedition starts at Leh and goes to the astounding Khardung La at 18,372 ft

Base camp
Base camp

Undoubtedly, the base camp which is situated about 15 km away from Leh, is an amazing place to be. It offers a course that requires physical strength and fitness for high altitude climbing. Moreover, the base camp is set beside a frozen river, which makes it an ideal camping spot for the trekkers. Not only this, the valley embraces striking pasture lands, which are usually covered with snow and alongside flows a water stream channeled from Gulap Glacier’s moraine.

Embark On An Unforgettable Journey Today (But first plan for it!)
Due to the heights, the temperature at Stok Kangri drops below freezing point. Considering the climate, the best time to embark on this trek is from July to September. The weather between October and November is harsh yet suitable for the trekkers who are willing to challenge themselves and take the risk. For the rest of the months, the route going towards Leh and Ladakh are padlocked and trekking is forbidden.
July to September: The temperature ranges from 20°C to 15°C during the day time and 7°C to 2°C at night.
October to November: The temperature ranges from 15°C to 10°C during the day time and 5°C to -5°C at night.

Go On This Trek For
Leh: One of the most friendly-places for the travelers in India. The place is surrounded by well-designed stupas and beautiful mud-brick hamlets. Travelling to an ancient town built by King Sengge Namgyal in the 16th century is a journey in itself, as it was once ruled by royal families whose relics still remain conserved.

Khardung La: Khardung La is a lifted mountain range that lies at an altitude of 18,372 ft. It is the gateway to the magical valleys of Ladakh’s Siachen Glacier and Nubra. The place that offers splendid views of the Karakoram Range is often known as the ‘Pass of Lower Castle’.

Stok Village: The structural designs of Stok Village blend ideally with traditional and the contemporary architectural styles. The two major attractions are Stok Palace and Stock Museum. Both these sites offer panoramic views of the valley from the rooftop.

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Delve in the rich cultural experience with the locals
Peace loving locals in the region of Ladakh are absolutely distinct from the rest of the country. Their food, lifestyle and dressing are something that one should experience at least once in a lifetime. The reflection of Buddhism is widely visible in their culture with the Buddhist monasteries and its engravings. Generally occupied with their traditions and beliefs, the Ladakhi community finds joy in their religious and socio-cultural activities.

Stok Kangri: A story of fears and thrill
Stok Kangri Trek is not for all! It is a 9-day expedition that will test you emotionally, physically and psychologically. Moreover, when you will come back home, the summit will give you jitters for over a month. Low oxygen levels, dark surroundings, challenging winds and the uneven slippery path will make you curse yourself, asking why you decided to scale this peak.

The harsh rays of the sun, dry winds, freezing cold nights, surprising flower trails, thorns and rocks, beautiful rivers, snow-capped high passes -all of the elements joined hands to instill in me a lasting inspiration.

My trek to Stok began when I headed from Leh to Chilling, a village situated along the banks of River Zanskar. Accompanied by our guide and her staff, five of us started trekking from Chilling and crossed the River Zanskar through a pulley bridge. Later that day, we stayed at Chilling and paid a visit to Buddhist stupas, monasteries and local markets from where I bought a woollen sweater for myself. I had a great time with the local kids who were playing football; they got way too excited when we requested them to add us to their respective teams.

Next day before my scale to Chang Ma, for which I had been maintaining my fitness for these past four months, there was some uncertainty caused by the harsh weather and an unexpected decline in our team as two of our team members decided to go back. Chang Ma is situated in the South of Leh, and from the motor vehicle, I enjoyed dazzling views of magnificent mountains and the blossoming green gardens nuzzled amidst them.

Stok Palace
Before crossing the Stok Village, we visited Stok Palace which was home to the former Ladakhi royal family, and Stok Museum here showcases their belongings.

Diskit Monastery

When we reached Diskit Monastery, the locals told us that it was constructed sometime in the 14th century.

Around 5 pm, we arrived at a beautiful campsite at Chang Ma. After taking rest for an hour, our trek guide summoned us and gave us the following instructions, “Step your feet firmly and use your heels to move down”, as we headed out from our base camp to practice a little. The giant white shoes are also used by our soldiers on borders. The soft surface and heavy leather coating inside allow you to dig your feet firmly into the snow. While walking with heavy weight on my ankle, I fell down several times and couldn’t decide whether the practice session was fun or irritating. Our tents were set up on a rocky and uneven slopes, the experience was completely strange all together as it was hard to lie on the rough base.

At 2.30 am, we were rounded up for a marvelous early morning climb. I immediately wore my gears, which included snow boots, four layers of clothing, trek pants, harness, crampons and a rucksack with a warm water bottle, energy bars and food. And so, we all were ready to scale 3,000 feet in the next few hours, the trial started with a steep climb. At 5:45 am, the course welcomed us with colorful Buddhist prayer flags that marked the beginning of the ice masses. Yes, the white milky glaciers! The mount to the edge began here, and I felt both woozy and giddy with gratitude for where we have reached. We passed through stunning streams, alpine lakes and scenic high-altitude Ladakhi mountain valleys.

Stok Kangri Expedition
Stok Kangri Expedition

Soon, an hour-long hide-and-seek game of the Sun ended as it shined out brightly against a blue charming sky. While rest of the environment was subtle, the only thing that was moving ahead with us was the crystal-clear white clouds. Around 9 am, we arrived at Mankorma, we spent our day there for acclimatisation and training at a few smaller peaks here. Mankorma was a treat to the eyes since it offered us a picturesque sight of grey and purple mountains that seemed like something out of a fairy tale.

Next day, while on our way to base camp we enjoyed the views of some beautiful peaks like Parcha Kangri and Gulap Kangri. Along the way, I captured spectacular pictures of mountainous meadows and sheep grazing on soft green grass. After 3-4 hours of trekking, we arrived at the base camp. It was day 6, we rested in our camps to get acclimatized to the geographical conditions and weather. Our guide provided us key information that was a must to scale the summit. She talked about various challenges and hazards that we might face during the trek. She also handed me a trekking map with all the important guidelines mentioned on the back of a map. Later, we took out our cameras and captured some stunning views of valley and sunset.

Stok Kangri in the Himalayas
Western Flank, Stok Kangri

Next day, after 9 hours of steady climbing, we reached over 19,850 feet, it was the highest point that I had ever climbed in my life. To be very true, our guide’s instructions and training helped us a lot in dealing with breathing issues, and also motivated us to aim high. The slope was at about a 75 degree incline and the trail was loaded with small rocks and massive boulders. The Stok Kangri trail was packed with moraine, glaciers and steep snow-white slopes.  In total, it took us around 9 hours to reach the destination. It was right here when we were surrounded by the colossal Himalayan ranges of Karakoram and Zanskar, including K2, the world’s second highest peak with an assortment of gentle clouds around it. With the feeling of scaling Stok – so high above the unaware beings that exist on Earth, I was enveloped by a sense of gratitude for my team.

I settled myself in the right place and delightfully absorbed the panorama around. But the picturesque views eluded us too soon as we had to descend to return to the base camp before sunset.

We moved downwards, the dusty snow made it effortless for us to slide down rapidly. I felt like I’m a part of some Telugu action film as we held our trekking poles like a handle and swiped down like a rocket. Just kidding! After 8 hours, we reached the Buddhist flags from where the story of our glacier walk had started. Next day we were back in the abode of Leh valley. I boarded a flight for Delhi next morning, thinking that despite all the odds, it was the best trek of my life till date.

And, whenever, I look back at the journey encompassed with gigantic mountains overpowering the beautiful landscape, my heart says only one thing, “It’s not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves”.

Important Information: Permits
A person is required to carry driving license, voter ID or passport (along with visa for non-Indian travellers). A passport size photo and a medical fitness certificate are a must for the trek. Notably, a person has to take a climbing permit from the Indian Mountaineering Foundation in Leh which is mandatory for the trekkers. It takes almost a day to be issued.

Region: Leh Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir
Duration: 8 Days
Grade: Difficult
Max Altitude: 20,180 ft.
Approx Trekking:  40 Km
Airport: Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport, Leh

Trekking Gear You’ll Need

  • Trekking shoes and 4 to 5 woollen socks
  • Thermal innerwear, heavy fleece clothes
  • Torch, whistle, camera
  • Winter jacket and water proof coat
  • Trekking pants, woollen cap, gloves, etc.
  • Sunglasses, Trekking Pole, Water Bottle
  • Sun screen lotion and other toiletries
  • First aid kit, Swiss knife

Traveling is as much about the experience you gather while on the trip and the pleasure you take when sharing it while after the journey ends. One such place, a favorite among the most adventurous travel enthusiasts, is Hampta Pass and its better half, Chandra Tal Lake.

Read further why you need to go on this trek to make the best memories and tell the craziest stories later.

What’s so unique about this

Hampta Pass is not just splendid in its charm but a rare spectacle at that. It is a narrow pass that climbs out of the Kullu valley and overlooks Lahaul valley’s long, desertous and scenic stretches. There is a vast difference in landscapes that this trek packs.

Traverse through alpine forests, huge rock formations and exotic flora-fauna to reach the glistening Moon Lake, a mythicized beacon of nature. Not only does this trek offer Lahaul’s vegetation and cold deserts, it provides the best views of Dhauladhar ranges. What’s more is that you get to closely observe the culture of the inhabitants of nature’s high altitude marvels. Why travel? Experience.

What’s the trail like

Camping at Chikka
Camping at Chikka

Chikka: You will begin your journey from Hampta Dam. Trek to Chikka, close to Manali, after spending a day acclimatizing at the base camp in Manali.

Balu ka Ghera
Balu ka Ghera

Balu Ka Ghera: This location is basically a heap of sand (“balu ka ghera”) right below the Hampta Pass. This is one of the best campsites in the entirety of your trek. The whole view is picturesque. It is a lush, expansive plain ground on the bank of a river. Marvel at the surrounding Dhauladhar ranges, the outer Himalayan peaks.

Hampta Pass Trek is one with a vast difference in landscapes throughout the trek
Hampta Pass Trek is one with a vast difference in landscapes throughout the trek

Hampta Pass via Shia Goru: From Balu ka Ghera, you will trek further to Hampta Pass (4270 m) via Shia Goru. Gaze at the desertous Lahaul valley in a panoramic view. Notice the vast change in landscapes this trek has to offer. Descend back to Shia Goru for a star-studded overnight stay.

Chatru and moving on to Chandra Tal Lake – 

Chandratal Lake or “Moon Lake”; why it’s the best addition to your Hampta Pass Trek

The glorious Chandratal lake
The glorious Chandratal lake

The cherry on the top (quite literally, since it sits atop the Hampta Pass) is this high altitude glacial lake called Chandra Taal (Moon Lake). In mythology, this is the point where from Yudhisthra (in Mahabharata) ascended to heaven. Surely, the feeling of just standing by its side and holding its reflection in admiration is nothing short of heavenly in itself.

Likely on your last day of the trek before you descend, you will visit the lake. Set out on a early morning and trek to Pir Panjal ranges and to Chandratal from there. Descend back to Chatru, the point where Spiti valley, Rohtang Pass and Hampta Pass meet – for your overnight stay.

hamptapass-trek-himachal

So what is the best time to make your way to Hampta Pass and Chandratal Lake?

Best time to take a getaway and spend a charming week in Hampta Pass is from June to late September. Within this time frame, most people visit in June or the next month. It is clad with snow, perfectly and all over. What a breathtaking view!  

Hampta Pass, the starting point of your tryst with Himachal Pradesh

Hampta Pass in Himachal Pradesh is a favorite among trekker’s who are not too advanced but have some prior experience. These trekkers love an escape into the beatific Himachal which offers unparalleled views of the Himalayan peaks and is home to some of the most exotic Himalayan scenery and flora-fauna.

Once here, you will forever cherish and long for another visit. Most people go on to trek to other places in Himachal Pradesh after they get back from Hampta Pass. You are likely to continue being on a long and rewarding journey with nature after this one.

The beauty of the snow-clad Himalayan peaks and the blessings of Lord Shiva make Kailash Mansarovar Yatra trek an incredibly spiritual journey where one can attain Nirvana. People of different religious communities participate in this sacred expedition where adventure comes with a tinge of faith, belief and devotion. Often referred to as the sacred land of historical and natural mysticism, Kailash Mansarovar Yatra trek is symbolic of a unique blend represented by cultural significance, religious values, mythological importance and exquisite beauty of nature.

What magnetic pull does the activity exert?

Being one of the world’s most revered holy places, a trek to Mount Kailash and Mansarovar Lake has something more to offer than just adventure. Standing tall at 22,000 feet, it is said to be the abode of Lord Shiva and is famous for the spiritual energy that the place emanates. Kailash Mansarovar Yatra trek is primarily known for two things – a Parikrama of Mount Kailash and a holy dip in the Mansarovar Lake. In addition, it lets you experience the thrill of discovering high elevated regions nestled in the beauty of nature and its grandeur.

Kailash Mansarovar from Kathmandu
Kailash Mansarovar trekking from Kathmandu

A quick peep into the deep itinerary:

During my school days, I had often heard about Mount Kailash and its awe-inspiring height and beauty. The journey to Kailash Mansarovar always used to fascinate me, and it seems that all this while, I was waiting for the right time to embark on this journey.

The journey to my long-awaited dream started last month. That morning, I left my home and reached Indira Gandhi International airport to board the flight to a bewitching city in the foothills, Kathmandu, which served as the first location of my Kailash Mansarovar Yatra.

The first day of the trek offered us a chance to get acquainted with the beauty of the place. I and my new friends began the sojourn by seeking blessings at Pashupatinath Temple and Budhanilkanth Temple, two of the most revered temples in Nepal, dedicated to Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu respectively.

Next day, a big step to Kailash Mansarovar journey was waiting. We drove from Kathmandu to Dhunche. Due to the traffic conditions of the place, driving consumed extra time and became tiring as well. But, a plethora of photos clicked of the beautiful scenery made it worthwhile. Then, the day came when we set foot in Tibet.  Home to several majestic landscapes, the place boasts of a mystical charm that stole our hearts right away!

We reached Kyirong after completing all the immigration formalities. Acclimatizing ourselves to the high altitude was the most important part of the journey, so the guide took us on short hikes to familiarize us with the air and temperature of Tibet. Also, drinking warm water at regular intervals helped us a lot to get back to the even breathing process.

We then moved on to Dongba. Crossing the beautiful mountain terrains and witnessing a panoramic view of the blue lake, Pieko-Tso, were some special moments that I will never forget. On our way, the astounding views of Yarlung Zangpo (the Brahmaputra River) and the Northern route through the beautiful town of Saga, situated at 15,879 feet above sea level, left us amazed. Before we got a chance to express awe over God’s beautiful creations, the high plains of Tibet left us speechless. It was difficult to decide what to take note of! With every ounce of energy drained, we came to rest at guesthouses, which featured dormitory style rooms.

Bath at Mansarovar Lake
Bath at Mansarovar Lake

The time came to begin the spiritual sojourn, as we were not far from one of our destinations, Mansarovar Lake. During our drive to Lake Mansarovar, we also managed to get a short glimpse of Rakshas Tal (Demon’s Lake) which lies on the other side of the lake. Famous as Kailash Parvat, Mansarovar Lake is described as Supreme Holy Lake where it is believed that  the Gods Shiva and Indra swam as swans. It is quite hard to reach such a high altitude, which is why only a few thousand pilgrims are able to do the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra every year. Without any doubt, we were considering ourselves lucky to be a part of this cathartic and highly emblematic journey. The spirituality of the place seeped into us when we took a holy dip in Mansarovar Lake. What an overwhelming experience it was! Finally, the time arrived to start our trekking expedition to Mount Kailash.

Darchen Guest House
Darchen Guest House

Moving ahead from here, the first day of Kailash Parikrama began. Last night, Darchen was our stop point which served as the base point of Mount Kailash. Today, we reached the first location of the actual trek, Yama Dwar. Due to gradual climb, the trek was easy initially.

Yam Dwar
Yam Dwar

After crossing Derapukh, the first view of Mount Kailash was visible. It was a moment which will always remain etched in our memory forever. I am not a morning person but when I woke up that morning, I was rewarded with the falling rays of the sun on Mount Kailash turning it into ‘Golden Kailash’.

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

When I climbed up to the Dolma-La High Pass, located at about 18,172 feet, the path became uneven and steep making it difficult for me to put one foot after another. At the top of Domla-La, we visited a place covered with prayer flags and other Tibetan ornaments, Shivasthal. It is said to be a place where you can feel the divine connect.

The steep descent came into play. The rocky paths and loose stones made it a tough descent and we were asked to keep excessive care and maintain concentration. Finally, we reached back to Kathmandu, totally exhausted and satisfied.

When to visit this land of spiritual beauty?

One of the crucial elements of the journey is to choose the right time. It becomes important to understand the changes in the weather before beginning the journey of Kailash Mansarovar yatra. The best time to go for Kailash Mansarovar Yatra trek is between mid-May to mid-October. During this period, weather conditions remain normal enough to explore the astounding scenery of the Tibetan mountain area on which Mt. Kailash is located.

Let routes not confuse you!

In order to reach Kailash Mansarovar, people can travel either by flight or train, and even by bus as per their own convenience. The area does not have any major international airports. For those who wish to travel by flight, the nearest airport is Ngari Gunsa airport. As the area does not have any railway station of its own, the nearest railhead would be Lucknow Railway Station. People can hire a taxi or a cab to travel further from the station. You can even travel by bus.  From certain regions in India, China and Nepal, the bus service to Kailash Mansarovar is available. Other modes of transportation include a jeep safari or helicopter.

Load your bag with essentials:

  • Warm clothes
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Trekking shoes and trekking pole
  • Torchlight or Flashlight
  • Sunscreen and Sunblock
  • First Aid Kit

Things that need a constant check:

  • Avoid spoiling the beauty of the trail by littering
  • Do not take shortcuts and walk with the team members
  • Watch your way through uneven and steep paths

Kailash Mansarovar Yatra is far from just a trek. It is a journey to self-actualization, the steps to heaven. If you are ready to listen to the calling, this experience is surely one to be had. 

What’s expansive, majestic and home to the highest peaks on the planet? Of course, the Great Himalayas! An enigma in itself, the Himalayan Range lures travelers with its arresting landscape of snow-laden mountains, glaciers and plunging river valleys, along with the ever-so-colossal Mount Everest sitting at a whopping elevation of 8,848 meters above sea level.

But there is more to the Great Himalayan range than just natural grandeur…

Stok Kangri in the Himalayas
Stok Kangri, Himalayas

India’s prime outdoor adventure refuge- Himalayas- house some of the most prominent winter-sports destinations like Gulmarg, Auli, Leh, Manali and Narkanda. While Kashmir offers some of the world’s highest, tough-to-tread but blissfully unexplored ski slopes, just right for extreme snow sport enthusiasts, the gentle slopes of Himachal Pradesh provide a perfect base for novices.

Whizzing past jagged and raw terrains, plunging from great heights will fill you with a sense of exhilaration and make you want to immerse yourself in the unparalleled beauty of the surroundings. All this at a fraction of the cost in contrast to famous European resorts! Well, does that make you want to go on a snow-sporting vacation right away? If you are still not convinced, here are our top reasons to go skiing and snowboarding in the Great Himalayas:

Tanglang-La
Escaping the well-trod path; explore Himalayas in the most action-packed way

You Don’t Get To Do This Every Day!

Winter sports in India are not that prevalent. You do not get to experience such activities every day. That makes the Himalayan resort towns even more special. But if you wish to experience uncharted and unique snow challenges, then the Himalayan Range is your eternal playground. Forget the jam-packed and well trimmed Alpine slopes, the Himalayas offer next-level skiing and snowboarding experiences, adding a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘going-off-piste’!

skiing in gulmarg
Discover Hidden Treasures of Gulmarg

Adventure tourism is on the rise with Kashmir’s Gulmarg leading the pack! Often touted as the Mecca for skiers, Gulmarg has one of the highest ski lifts in the world and it is certainly not just another alpine escapade. While the naturally smooth gradient of Kongdoori Peak makes it an ideal spot for novice skiers to get a hang of the activity, it is the Mountain Apharwat that steals the show! Strictly meant for advanced skiers, it offers an once-in-a-lifetime experience. Here, you will find the world’s highest gondola- The Gulmarg Gondola that takes fearless skiers to the world’s most uncharted slopes at a vertigo-inducing altitude of 13,400 feet- almost reaching the peak of Mount Apharwat.

Advanced skiers feeling a little frisky can really push their boundaries in these elevated terrains. How about exploring the hoary playground filled with firs and pines by taking on the mountains from dizzying heights where the Gondolas do not reach? Picture taking a helicopter ride to the most untouched and dramatic mountaintops of the world and get ready for a flabbergasting Heli-skiing experience amid the mystical wilderness of Gulmarg. Those who cannot imagine a skiing holiday without the comforts of gourmet dishes can look forward to an authentic experience with Kashmiri offerings like soothing mint teas, flavored curries, and some warm conversation.

Lose yourself in the picturesque Garhwal slopes of Uttaranchal..
The lesser-known cousin of Gulmarg, Garhwal woos adventure enthusiasts with its intoxicating natural splendor and is just as generous in terms of thrill!

Auli
Auli, a pristine stimulation

Auli– Enveloped by the mighty Himalayan range, Auli has some of the gentlest slopes covered in just the right amount of snow. The ski-worthy slopes range somewhere between 2000-3000 meters, making it an ideal playground for both amateur and skilled skiers. To enhance the thrill, an 800 meters long cable car runs between Auli and Joshimath offering magnificent views of the Dronagiri, Kamet and Nanda Devi peaks. On top of the mountain peaks, there is a government operated ski resort equipped with amenities and guide which also features a 500-m long ski-lift.

Dayara Bugyal– With multiple trails, gorgeous scenery and an awe-inspiring ambiance, this Himalayan hamlet has skiing slopes extended about 28 square kilometers in area that brings back skiers for more. The magnificent snow covered slopes are a dream to ski and the enchanting views of the Tal and Barnala lakes add further charm to the site.

Mundali– Another entrancing winter-sports destination in Uttarakhand, Mundali offers sublime views and the perfect snowy slopes for skiing adventures. The powdery snow-draped slopes work as a magnet for both amateur and expert skiers. Getting to the hill station is a thrill in itself. Expect to fight through a tough terrain, unmetalled roads and steep treks to reach this unspoiled paradise.

The Thrill of Mystical Slopes of Manali in Himachal Pradesh

Himachal Pradesh
Himachal Pradesh is a calling for the venturous souls

Manali has evolved from being a quaint holiday destination to a promising base for thrilling winter-sports like skiing, heli-skiing and snowboarding. Covered with miles of glaciers and surrounded by snow-clad peaks, skiing trails in Manali takes one through cedar-birch forests and jaw-dropping ridgelines that is sure to raise your adrenalin levels.

Apart from the above mentioned places, the other Himalayan towns that offer memorable and thrilling skiing experience include Pahalgam, Kufri, Narkanda, Solang Valley, Tawang, Yumthang Valley, among others.
Have you been to the Great Himalayas for skiing or snowboarding? Tell us about your experience in the comments below!

If you know a bit of history, then you would be aware of the fact that India has been ruled by numerous dynasties. Many of these were not from the subcontinent, but from Central or West Asia. And back then, there were no proper roads, cars, aircraft or any other contemporary means to travel. Now, look at the geographical map of India for a while. You will realise that all those, coming from the north or northwest of the Indian subcontinent, had a natural barricade in their way in the form of the mountain system of the Himalayas, Karakoram and Hindu Kush. In the absence of modern transportation means, the question arises, how did they cross the mountains?

In the words of the famous Greek storyteller, Aesop, “Adventure is worthwhile”.
When it comes to holidaying, I guess most of us become a little too mainstream. We go where everybody else is going and do what has already been done by many before. The true adventure is when you take the road not taken; step into the unknown, without having an idea about what might come next.In the book of India, Arunachal Pradesh is a chapter which is skipped by most readers. The north-easternmost state in the country is still a virgin territory, waiting to be discovered by adventurers, who dare to do something new, something different.

Don’t know about you, but 2016 was amazing for me. I started the year with a bang, and that’s how it ended. Doesn’t it feel great when everything falls into place and all your dreams are realised just as you wanted them?! I hope it does not sound like I am bragging, but I get excited just thinking about it. Some moments that I had been longing for ever since I can remember, happened in the past few months. Here is an account of things that I checked off my bucket list this year:

Rajasthan, the name which translates into the Abode of the Kings is enough to make one think of unmatched royalty and grandeur. You do not need to mention the myriad opulent palaces that dot this state. But even if you do, you can’t just stop with one or two, since there are many and every single one of them is more captivating than the other. From Lake Palace of Udaipur and Umaid Bhawan Palace of Jodhpur to Lalgarh Palace of Bikaner and City Palace of Jaipur, these man-made marvels are located in every nook and corner of the state.

Moreover, these are not the only points of interest to explore; there are numerous others. For instance, if you are in the Pink City, you can spend time exploring Hawa Mahal, Amer Fort, Jantar Mantar or Nahargarh Fort. In case your Rajasthan trip brings you to the City of Lakes – Udaipur, do not miss to visit City Palace, Monsoon Palace, Jag Mandir or Saheliyo Ki Bari. I can go on and on with the other cities of Rajasthan, but that’s no use. All of us know about these attractions, even those, who haven’t been to Rajasthan even once. There’s a lot to see and explore here.

I was shocked when one of my friends told me that he had grown tired of visiting the state. I thought that maybe because he is from Rajasthan, he must have seen everything. But then I found that this wasn’t the case. While conversing, I asked him about his trip to Alwar, and to my surprise, he told me he hadn’t been there. How can anyone claim to have explored the whole of Rajasthan when you haven’t even been to Alwar once? I know it’s not that popular, but it’s a visit-worthy destination.

Freedom is a feeling, which cannot be expressed in words. I know we have left monarchy far behind, but sometimes I feel like we are still not liberated. The chains of responsibilities have kept us from doing what we love. When these bonds get too heavy, we need to break them off and escape. Live life like a nomad and see the treasures of the world; do something adventurous and feel what it really is to be free. I guess there is no better way to feel free than being on a motorbike trip. They say life is about the journey and not the end, and isn’t that exactly what a motorbike trip is? You pick up your bike, get the tank full, and then see where the path takes you; leaving behind the mundane.

Not only for the youth, but a motorbiking adventure is also for the ones who are young at heart; people who are passionate about riding endlessly. Freedom is what they seek and are ready to travel hundreds of kilometres just to get that feel. Na, I haven’t been on a bike trip yet, but I plan to and which place could be better for it than India – the land of different terrains. Here is a list of some of the best biking routes in the country that are just waiting for the daredevils.

Delhi to Rajasthan: A Ride through the Land of the Kings
Rajasthan is a place that everyone must visit at least once in their lifespan, be it to see the opulent palaces, or estimate the strength of the erstwhile rulers with the mighty forts they got constructed.

A bike ride through the different cities of Rajasthan is a brilliant way to explore the landscape of the state and see its hidden gems. Just make sure you have ample time to enjoy the Rajasthani hospitality to the fullest. After beginning from Delhi halt at the small town of Mandawa, your first step into the Rajasthani heritage. It is a 250 km journey. What follows is a trip through Bikaner, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Pushkar, and finally, Jaipur. The journey will let you explore Junagarh Fort, Mehrangarh Fort, Umaid Bhawan Palace, the City Palace of Udaipur, Monsoon Palace, Saheliyon Ki Bari, Brahma Temple, the City Palace of Jaipur, Hawa Mahal and Amer Fort. The complete venture, ending back in New Delhi, is around 1800-km long.

jodhpur

Guwahati – Tawang – Zemithang – Nameri: A Scenic Trip through Arunachal Pradesh
Arunachal Pradesh was hidden from the eyes of the globetrotting crowd for a long, long time. Since its awe-inspiring natural splendour and cultural heritage has been unveiled to the world, it has become a major tourist destination. A bike trip in the state will give you a glimpse of the quintessential Himalayan landscape. Riding on its winding roads, along the gushing rivers and through dense national parks, you will forget about the stress of the city life.  

The 10-day long, 1200-km journey begins from Guwahati and brings you to Tezpur. After which, you can drive for about 325 km over the course of two days to reach the Tawang town, crossing Sela Pass en route. Needless to say, if you are in Tawang, you must visit the namesake monastery and admire its murals. The sojourn also introduces you to the beauty of Zemithang, and Dirang – better known for its hot springs.

arunachal-motorbike-ride

Delhi – Manali – Leh – Kargil – Srinagar – Delhi
I believe it is a sin to not mention a DelhiLadakh trip when talking about the best motorbiking routes in India. A favourite of many is the Leh via Manali segment and then return via Srinagar; hence, completing a full circle. The journey is about 2250 km, but if you add trips to Pangong Tso and Nubra Valley, it rounds at about 2800 km. Now, this is some way to spend two weeks.

Begin the trip with a thrilling 250-km journey from Delhi to Chandigarh, followed by a 310-km road adventure to the hill town of Manali. Between Manali and Leh, there are two pit stops, namely Jispa and Sarchu, where riders can relax after a long day of conquering winding roads. On your way, you will pass numerous passes like Khardung La, Nakee La, Tanglang La, Lachung La and Rohtang La. One of the most thrilling sections of this trip is the Gata Loops – a series of 21 hairpin bends. You will never know what will come your way till you reach the turn.

The majestic Pangong Tso and the ever-beautiful Nubra Valley are only a day’s drive from Leh. Many people choose to return via the same route that they took to get to Leh, but I do not see much fun in that. If you head to Kargil, you can return via Srinagar, and get to drive on a few other high passes like Zoji La and Fotu La.

Ladakh

Kanyakumari – Alleppey – Munnar – Ooty – Gokarna – Goa: Beaches, Backwaters, Hills and More
While thinking of a bike trip in India, only the above-mentioned places come to mind. But why? The southern coast of India is undoubtedly beautiful and who says exploring it on a bike is a bad idea. The journey can be started from the southernmost town of Kanyakumari and you can travel towards Goa from there. There’s a lot to see, do and admire between the two destinations. If you choose to travel with an operator, you get to start your adventure from Bangalore, and reach Madurai before Kanyakumari. The backwaters of Alleppey will win your heart just as much as the sight of snow-capped Himalayas does. A visit to Alleppey will be complete only with a night stay on a houseboat.

Like Alleppey is the realm of scenic backwaters, Munnar is synonymous with misty hills and sprawling tea and spice plantations. One breath in its salubrious environment and you will forget every hardship you might have faced during the excursion. In two days, you can reach Goa, the ultimate party destination in the country.

munnar

Bangalore to Coorg
It is a short scenic drive to unveil the beauty of the Western Ghats. Being dominated by misty, rolling hills, Coorg or Kodagu makes for one of the best weekend getaways from the bustling city of Bangalore. A perfect escape, the 270-km ride takes you through lush forests of teaks and coffee plantations. The district in itself is quite large, precisely 4102 sq km; therefore, there are aplenty points of interest to explore here. Riders can take the adventure a notch higher by visiting the famous Nagarhole National Park. The 643-sq km wildlife park is home to animals like the Bengal tiger, deer, Indian leopard, Indian elephant, gaurs and wild boars.

coorg

Kolkata – Gangtok – Ravangla – Yuksom – Darjeeling – Bagdogra: A Ride in the Eastern Himalayas
You have to come to Sikkim at least once to see the generosity that nature has bestowed upon it. Its mountain peaks inspire you to aim high, and its welcoming people never let you feel uninvited. The route takes you from aromatic tea gardens and peaceful monasteries to quaint hamlets. On this route, you will pass numerous settlements of the Sikkim’s tribal population, like the town of Yuksom. The historical place also holds immense religious significance among locals. The bike excursion should ideally take around 9 to 10 days to complete. Since it takes place in the Himalayas, riders here obviously have brilliant photo opp.

snowedout_route

Salem – Rasipuram – Kolli Hills: A Tryst with 70 Hairpins Bends
If you live in or around Tamil Nadu, you have got to visit the Kolli Hills. The small mountain range, which reaches about 4663 feet at its highest point, is the realm of scenic views. However, if you are a rider, its geographical features and the 12th-century Shiva temple may not lure you as much as the 70 hairpin bends. While here, you can click pictures with Akasa Gangai falls. A sight of this 300-feet landform will definitely leave you speechless. The round trip between Salem and Kolli Hills sums up at around 120 km; a perfect weekend escape with the lads.

Kolli hills

Chennai – Mahabalipuram – Pondicherry – Chidambaram -Rameshwaram – Tuticorin
East Coast Road or State Highway 49 is undoubtedly among the best places in India to go for a long ride. Stretching along the Bay of Bengal, it connects Chennai with Cuddalore, but has extended up to Kanyakumari, making it a riders’ paradise. You can begin your trip from Chennai and travel to Pondicherry via Mahabalipuram. While in the Union Territory, use your time exploring the world-famous Auroville. The quaint town of Rameshwaram will take your breath away with its beauty. It would be a mistake to not to visit the revered Nataraja Temple in Chidambaram. Some sculptures here date back to the 2nd century; how many times do you get to see something that old.  

pondicherry

Thus said, above are the best options to go for an exciting bike trip. Just get your Bullet serviced and embark on the journey.  

Nowadays, we hear people, especially youth, talking about travelling and exploring new places. But, what do most do? They go to places like Ladakh, Goa, Kasol and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, making these places somewhat of a tourist cliché. What I mean is that these places have become so popular that many people visit them and there is almost nothing new left to explore. Whatever there is in such places, the tourist guide books have in their pages. So, what are we really ‘exploring’ by going to places, where already so many have been.

A few days ago, one of my friends returned from a tour of the United Arab Emirates and shared his experience with us. Dubai, the ultimate holiday destination in the Middle East, is where he spent most of his time. I asked him his reaction on seeing Al Quoz, the centre of Dubai’s art; and to my surprise, he hadn’t visited it. I was left astound! I know, Al Quoz is not that popular, but I consider it a must-visit attraction for anyone spending more than a week in the emirate.