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

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

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

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

everest-base-camp-trek_1439798387

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

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

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

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

everest-from-base-camp

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

everest-base-camp

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

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

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


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

The blended one! - in Nepal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Check The List: Trekking Essentials

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

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

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

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

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

Almost all mountaineers wish to scale the mighty Everest on some lucky day of their hiking career. And why not? The feeling of touching the roof of the world, world’s highest mountain-the magnificent Mt. Everest (8,848 m), the sheer magnitude of which makes everything else feel puny and irrelevant: the feeling of having accomplished a feat like this is an ultimate life goal for trekkers worldwide. Many mountaineers prepare all their lives for it and yet a small percentage really ever makes it. Isn’t that alone so chilling to comprehend? EBC or Everest Base Camp trek is a stepping stone for many trekkers that wish to someday conquer this ginormous mountain.

everest-base-camp

For some trekkers, EBC trek alone is a huge travel goal! Rigorous training, honing patience levels, developing sustainable trekking stratagem, investing in reliable trekking gear are the many tasks on the to-do list when you are planning for an EBC trek. Add to that, the project of finding qualified trekking guide teams and trusting the uncertain weather. Discussing with professionals and booking early will take away half of those troubles and yet a few loopholes will still remain.

Naturally, when the achievement is so humongous, the stakes are higher. Sometimes, life threatening even. You can do best by putting some faith in your luck and winging it or you can know what to do if you face some serious problem on your EBC trek, the possibility of which remains significant. Here’s a complete guide to knowing what to do when things don’t go as planned on your EBC trek: 

mount-everest-climbing

Mt. Everest being in a very remote region and at a very high altitude doubles the risk factor. However, the chances of getting medical aid get scarcer as we go up. A mishap like a simple leg injury; life-threatening high altitude sickness like AMS (Acute Motion Sickness), HAPE (High Altitude Pulmonary Edema) or HACE (High Altitude Cerebral Edema); natural disasters like earthquakes, avalanches, and rock-falls can prove fatal. At such an altitude, one has to be rescued with the help of a helicopter and escorted to the nearest medical facility. An emergency evacuation via helicopter could cost more than US$10,000!

Next, never self-diagnose!

  • The symptoms of altitude sickness can vary with each body type. One should never self-diagnose, chances are you will be wrong and will worsen your condition further. Medicine delayed is medicine denied.
  • Update your guide regularly. Believe you, they have been doing it for years and know this like the back of the hand. Trusting their advice is not only recommended, it is necessary.
  • Eating garlic, drinking plenty of water, and sufficient rest can reduce the symptoms but ultimately descending is the only cure.

Reaching Lukla
Lukla is a small airfield with a very short landing strip. It is considered to be one of the most dangerous airfields in the world. Being a small airfield, only small aircrafts like Dornier 228 having short take-off and landing capabilities, are operated. These aircrafts do not have the ability to operate in bad weather and very low visibility. That means it can get cancelled or delayed for safety reasons if there is a bad weather condition. Always take a few grace days after your return to Kathmandu so that this does not affect you flight back home. In case you reach Kathmandu on time as per your schedule you can spend the free days to explore this colorful city of Kathmandu for its rich culture.

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

Different options you can choose from, in case your Lukla flights get cancelled are:

1. Wait and try again the next day
When we wait we are be given the last priority as others have already booked for the scheduled date. Therefore, when flight gets cancelled, we reschedule it for the next day. And this means that sometimes we don’t get them at the earliest. However, we try our best.

2. Pay for an expensive helicopter to get in or out
There are choppers available for this very case. But the catch is that they offer expensive rides to get in to Lukla or return back to Kathmandu. This is totally not in our hand. Sometime they offer less and sometime the price they offer is really high. There aren’t any fixed prices for the choppers so far and is totally dependent up on the situation. Chopper to Kathmandu is an option. Another option is a chopper to Phaplu from Lukla which may cost USD 800 (per chopper). Note: A chopper can carry 6 people. Add to that, 12 hours sharing jeep drive to Kathmandu.

helicopter viewed on the way to helicopter

3. Hike to Phaplu + Drive to Kathmandu(Cheaper Alternative)
It is a 2 days hike to reach Phaplu from Lukla and then it take 12 hours sharing jeep to Kathmandu. This is a way cheaper option for getting out to Kathmandu in the worst case scenario. Meant for those who do not want to pay for expensive helicopter or cannot wait for next day’s regular flights.

WATER RESOURCES-Staying hydrated is essential!
There are many natural sources of water all along the trail. It is advised to carry some water purification tablets and a good reusable wide mouth water bottle. You can get bottles water all the way till EBC but it gets more and more expensive as it gets closer to the EBC. Also, the bottled water is NOT a good idea as every other bottle means more and more garbage created.

Responsible eco-toursim means one is not encouraged to leave behind anything other than their footprints. 

trekking to EBC

REMEMBER, REMEMBER

  • There aren’t any ATMs located on the EBC trail. Remember to carry cash from Kathmandu itself. Currency exchanges on the trail offer especially inflated rates so it is advised to keep enough local currency with you i.e., Nepali Rupees.
  • Do not worry about food at all. Plenty of tea houses line up the trail and typically, all kinds of nutritious or sugary food is available all the way right to the top. Dal-bhat(dal and rice), chowmein and spaghetti are easy finds.
  • You will get sufficient data if you are in possession of a local sim. Most lodges will offer Everest Link and you can buy a Wi-Fi data pack to go with it. The wi-fi is slow, generally. You are likely to remain unavailable to your friends and family.
  • Even though helicopters are constantly hurrying up and down this vast network of mountains, it is extremely costly to be used for supplying materials. This is exactly why you will find everything priced pretty heavily, the further up you trek.

INSURANCE is a must in a trek like Everest Base Camp. Any insurance you go for should at least cover the following:

  1. Altitude cap should be at least 5,700 m
  2. Emergency evacuation by air in case of an accident, illness or natural disaster.
  3. Trip cancellation and delays
  4. Flight cancellations and delays including the internal flights to Lukla
  5. Baggage Loss
  6. All the countries you intend to visit during the trip
  7. All the adventure activity one intends to do during the course of the trip

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

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

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

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

Valley of Flowers and Hemkund Sahib Trek

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

Valley of Flowers, Uttarakhand

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

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

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


Har Ki Doon Trek

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

har-ki-doon

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

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


Roopkund Trek

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

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

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

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


Nag Tibba Trek

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

nag tibba

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

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


Kedarkantha Trek

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

kedarkantha_trek__4_

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

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


Kuari Pass Trek

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

kuari_pass__1_

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

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

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


Dayara Bugyal

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

dayara bugyal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

rupinsupin8

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s what you should definitely pack…

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

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

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

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

Some Tips To Make Your Rupin Pass Trek A Success

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

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

Everest is one of the most popular destinations in Nepal which is known for its majestic mountains and magnificent hills and peak. A trek to Everest Base Camp is a journey where dreams and expectations of an adventure lover turn into reality. Every step of the journey takes you to the most breathtaking mountain region and it also gives you an opportunity to get acquainted with the unique Himalayan culture and mountain climbers known as Sherpas. Moreover, while trekking to an altitude of 18,513 ft., you will be challenged by tricky slopes and curves, rough terrains and slippery path.

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My Meeting with Himalayas: A Journey That Changed Me Forever
There would hardly be anyone who doesn’t admire the stunning beauty of the mountains. The Himalayas have always intrigued me and I had never dreamt that it would ever be so accessible! While watching a video on YouTube, I learnt about the Everest Base Camp trek, and I was so fascinated by it that I decided to look more into it. After contacting a travel agent and planning a thorough itinerary of the trek, I began my prep in the rundown for this expedition and started working on my fitness level and physique.

Three weeks passed, and now it was time to board a flight to Kathmandu. I was welcomed by my guide at the airport and later we both headed towards our hotel. On Day 1, the guide held a pre-trek meeting where we were briefed about the trek and introduced to our fellow trekkers. Later, we visited world’s three UNESCO heritage sites i.e Bhaktapur Durbar Square, Boudhanath Stupa and Pashupatinath Temple.

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

Next day, we had an early morning flight from Kathmandu Airport to Tensing Hillary Airport at Lukla which is said to be the gateway to Everest. The landing at Lukla alone gave me an adrenaline rush as it is called the world’s most dangerous airport. Our porters were already waiting for us there. After breakfast and a brief stay in the tents, we descended towards Dudh Koshi River.

Dudh Kosi River
Dudh Kosi River

Our eyes were stunned by the beauty of the river. We clicked several pictures there and then moved towards Phakding. That day, the walking was quite easy and it took almost three hours to reach Phakding where the guide had arranged a night stay for us. We slept early that day as we were told that next day trek would be quite challenging.

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Our trek started at 8 am and we continued to walk along the bank of Dudh Koshi River. Crossing several suspension bridges, we entered Sagarmatha National Park which is a home to rare species like the snow leopard, musk deer and red panda. We met several Sherpas here and they shared their inspiring mountain climbing experiences with us.

everest From there, the trail climbs up steeply until we reached Namche Bazaar which is the largest village in the region. We were amazed to see quality restaurants, shops, hotels, bakeries and internet cafes at such height. Also, there were two banks and one ATM.

Namche Bazaar from the top
Namche Bazaar from the top

On Day 5, our guide told us that there were two acclimatization stops and after 5 hours of trekking, we reached Hotel Everest View, which is one of the highest perched hotels in the world. While sipping a coffee and gobbling a cup of Maggie, we enjoyed a beautiful sight of Himalayan ranges. On the way, we also visited Sherpa Museum where we saw photographs of mountain expedition of the greatest climbers i.e. Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay. The trail to the hotel offered spectacular panoramic views and luckily the weather was clear that day so we got a chance to see a magnificent view of Mount Everest and Ama Dablam. Another morning, the trek continued along the glacial river of Dudh Koshi. After 4 hours of trek, we reached Tengboche and visited local monasteries. It is believed that Tenzing Norgay spotted this monastery from the summit of Everest. The trail continued for one more hour until we reached Mong La, where we had lunch.

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Next morning, we walked through dense rhododendron forests and steep slopes. From the forests, we reached meadows and small grasslands. From there, we saw Cho Oyu, which is said to be the world’s sixth highest mountain. The trail took us to Inja Khola and then climbed up to Pangboche where we had our lunch. We captured mesmerizing views of Mount Ama Dablam and after 2 hours of trek we reached Pheriche and proceeded to the Imja Valley. Here, we passed through River Lobuche and went on a steep hike to Dingboche for overnight stay.

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Day 7 was an acclimatization day. As we didn’t want to lose this opportunity, we walked to a Nankan Sa Peak situated at 4,900 m. From here we got to see the world’s top three mountain peaks – Mount Cho, Mount Lhotse and Mount Makalu.

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Next day, we went from Dingboche to Dughla, the trail offered some of the best views so far as we enjoyed the sight of magnificent mount Pumori (7,138 m) and a glacial lake.

On Day 9, we climbed to Lobuche which is positioned next to the Khumbu glacier. We crossed Dughla Pass/ Thukla Pass.

Day 10 was the moderate trek of around 6 hours. It was an absolute glacier course which took us to Gorakshep (5,170 m) and it eventually proceeded to the Everest Base Camp (5,364 m). This part of hiking made me feel like I’m stepping towards heaven amidst the glaciers. It was the most important and difficult day of the whole trip. We continued walking on the side of Kumbhu glacier; it took 3 hours to reach the base camp where we saw colorful tents of mountaineers who were attempting to climb the gigantic Mt. Everest. We stayed here for a brief period and celebrated our accomplishment like winners. We clicked as many pictures as we could. Two hours later we found ourselves in the lodge at Gorakshep where we spent the night.

Mt. Everest in all its glory
Mt. Everest in all its glory

Next morning, with the support of the headlight, we hiked to Kala Patthar at around 4 am where we saw the most magnificent view of Mt. Everest. After breakfast, we descended to Loubouche for lunch and finally Pheriche which was an end to the wide Himalayan valley. Next day, we climbed down to Namche Bazaar and there we bought souvenirs. On day 13, we hiked to Lukla and on day 14, we proceeded to Kathmandu.

Take a Note!
Maximum Height: 18,513 ft
Difficulty Level: Strenuous
Nearest Airport: Kathmandu, Nepal
ATM: Namche Bazaar has two banks and one ATM point
Trek Time: 14 Days

Best Months to Visit
Except for January, July and August, all other months are suitable for the trek.

Trek Itinerary
Kathmandu – Lukla – Namche Bazar – Tengboche – Lobuche – Gorak Shep – Everest Base Camp – Kala Patthar – Namche Bazaar – Lukla – Kathmandu

What level of fitness is required?
A trekker has to hike at altitudes higher than 12,000 ft and that too for 6-7 hours daily. Also, due to lack of oxygen,  breathing issues are a problem. Thus, both mental and physical fitness are required for this trek.

Believe me, a meeting with the jewels hidden in the snow-capped mountains of Everest gave me an array of experiences and memories that one should definitely experience at least once in a lifetime.

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

The Divine beauty of Sikkim – Goecha La (16207.35 ft)

Situated in the Himalayan range of North-East Mountains, Goecha La is a tiny yet unforgettable place for thousands of adventure lovers across the world. Perched amidst striking hills and multi-colored flora and fauna, Goecha La trek takes you toward the astonishing beauty called Kanchenjunga National Park. It is not just the third-highest mountain in the world, Kanchenjunga, that makes the Goecha La trek such a great pleasure but also the other big summits that can be clearly seen from here around the year. You can also spot the splendor of various mountains like Talung, Kabru, Pandim and Simvo during the trek.

Mt. Kanchenjunga
Mt. Kanchenjunga; it is said that when government officials first witnessed the view of majestic Kanchenjunga from Goecha La, they were so impressed by the scenic sight that they thought to feature it on the Rs.100 note!

Get going to Goecha La

One should visit Goecha La from September to November as during this period you can see the snow-clad mountains clearly. Trekking in the cold climate would be a bit tough but if you’re aspired to scale the mountain, you will notice that you’re easily tackling both the rough and slippery paths. Moreover, you can also start your trek anytime between April and June.

Temperature Tally 

April to June: The temperature ranges from 15 °C to 22 °C during the day time and 7°C to -1 °C at night.
September to November: The temperature ranges from 10 °C to 15 °C during a day time and 5 °C to -5 °C at night.

Facts about Goecha La you need to know before you visit 

Trekking Distance: 90 Km
Maximum Altitude: 16207.35 ft (approx)
Duration: 11 Nights and 12 Days
Grade: Moderate to Challenging

Are you ready for a challenge? Beware: Goecha la is not for beginners!
Are you ready for a challenge? Beware: Goecha la is not for beginners!

Exploring the charm of Goecha La; a step-by-step guide 

The adventure began from Bagdogra Airport to Jalpaiguri, West Bengal. I boarded a vehicle to reach a hamlet called Yuksom which is located in the West District of Sikkim. On my way, I witnessed the amazing sight of striking mountains, lush green valleys, misty clouds and locals who were dressed beautifully in their traditional
dresses. The one thing that actually put me at ease immediately was how the locals, especially kids, greeted me with a heartfelt smile.

Once I reached the hotel, I gorged on some hot snacks and a cup of delightful coffee. I didn’t want to waste any time, so, in the evening, I visited Tashiding Monastery and Khecheopalri Lake with one of my trek companions whom I had met in the hotel. Next morning, we woke up to the beautiful views of the sunrise. Our guide briefed us about the program and then, we all were ready to move towards Sachen. We arrived at the destined place after crossing the valley of the river called Rathong, a trail that entered to the coniferous forest, several villages filled with mud houses; Pha Khola – a suspension bridge over a stream; a stunning waterfall, and Mentongang River.

bridge
Crossing Sachen, one step after another

We started our trek to Tshoka the very next day. While trekking to this sublime beauty, we passed through a bridge over Perk Chu stream, the off-beat trail, isolated hamlets, and Bakhim – a place surrounded by diverse species of flora and fauna. At Bakhim, we stopped by a food stall that served scrumptious momos and Maggi. Here, we got an opportunity to call our family members or friends as the networks of BSNL and Airtel were working quite well at this place. We spent a night at this charming campsite that completely won our heart!

The way to Dzongri via Phedang is quite beautiful, it is an easy climb and I found myself up there just after 1 hour of trekking. Frankly, I was a bit scared because a few people warned us beforehand that it would be an 80-degree steep climb.  However, setting up camps and staying at Dzongri while being surrounded by mountains from all sides was absolutely heartwarming.

Don’t forget to take a good number of pictures and group selfies after reaching Dzongri!

Camping on the Goecha La trek
Camping on the Goecha La trek

We arrived at Thansing via Kokchurang – an uneven slope with a river flowing beside it and evergreen coniferous vegetation. Thansing was a place where I felt like I was walking in the clouds, with crystal clear views of Mt. Kanchenjunga and Mt. Pandim. The clouds turned dark and the valley echoed with the sound of thundering. Though the views were splendid, the joy and excitement stopped right there, as we were freezing. By god’s grace, we woke up to clear skies and sunny weather the next day.

We wore our headphones and enjoyed the 2 hour trek to Lamuney. Before ending the journey for that day, we spent some time at Samiti Lake where we got an opportunity to see wild blue deer, a natural rarity. In the end, it was quite a lucky day for us as it was a full moon night and we enjoyed a glimpse of Mt. Kanchenjunga in the shadow of stars and moonlight.

Climbing to Goecha La was the toughest part of the whole expedition as trekkers are not only required to scale the heights of Goecha La but also supposed to pave their way back to Kokchurang. We woke up at 3 am. We hiked to the mountain and reached the plateau of Zemathang glacier that was covered by a thick layer of snow. Around 5.30 am, we witnessed the sunrise over the Kanchenjunga Range. We reached Goecha La pass in another 2 hours. It is said to be the highest point of the trek which acts as the base camp for the mountaineers who take a challenge to scale Mount Kanchenjunga.

After capturing picturesque views of mountains and group pictures in our cameras, we began our trek down to Kokchurang. That day, we erected the tents for ourselves to spend a night by the riverside.

The ending of a journey: Kokchurang to Tshoka – Tshoka to Yuksom – Drive back to NJP

We started our downward journey to Tshoka via Phedang. As there was no elevation, we quickly covered a distance of around 10 km within 4 hours. We rested for a while in Phedang and then started our journey towards Tshoka that took around 3 hours. Here we met some locals who served us lip-smacking traditional foods such as Dhindo, Thukpa and Sha phaley.

Yuksom; get a cultural fix on the trek as you get to interact closely with the locals
Yuksom; get a cultural fix on the trek as you get to interact closely with the locals

Next day for Yuksom, we followed the same route that we used to reach Golcha via Bhakim and Sachen. The night was spent there in a lodge. The last day, it took us around 6 hours to be back at New Jalpaiguri.

Essential Trek Gear You Need To Get For Goecha La

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

What You Need To Do (and don’t)

  • One needs to work on the fitness levels for trek at least two months before.
  • Prior research is must!
  • Don’t try to compete with fellow trekkers, just set your own pace.
  • Don’t take off your clothes just after reaching the camp as this drastically cools down your body.
  • Greet the locals well and talk to them to grab more information about the place.
  • Respect mountains, fellow trekkers and trekking staff.
  • Last but not the least, take out your camera at the right time to capture as many memories as possible!

Presenting a delightful mix of adventure, pleasure and self-fulfilment, trekking has been close to the heart of fun-lovers. And what better place to fulfil this desire then trekking in the lap of the mighty Himalayas?

Sikkim is a hidden treat for many people, and the scenic beauty it has to offer is yet to be fully explored. For me, the Goecha La trek was a journey of self-realization, the steps that took me to the raw beauty of the natural world. And, if you are willing to take up the challenge, mark my words – it is going to be the most thrilling discovery nestled in the abode of nature!

Read more about Himalayan Treks that can get your blood pumping on our blog!

Situated at an altitude of 3,700 m, Beas Kund is an alpine lake which is said to be the original source of Beas River. Set in the backdrop of several peaks such as the Shitidhar Peak, Friendship Peak and others, Beas Kund has a unique way of making people fall in love with nature. Home to some of the most pictorial views of the region, it allows trekkers to embrace the beauty of fascinating lands, majestic peaks, hospitable locals and cascading waters. So, do not miss the chance to experience the respite and magnificence of the Himalayas with Beas Kund trek.

What draws the attention of the masses? 

There are several treks to enjoy your journey to the mighty Himalayas. However, Beas Kund trek is an ideal trek for those who have a desire to witness isolated miracles of nature away from the proximity of urban settlements. The natural splendor of Beas Kund that extends from the giant ski slopes of the Solang Valley to the meadows of Dhundi and Bakarthach is beyond comparison. Being a trek for everyone, it is convenient as well as easily accessible. Without any age restrictions and prior experience, it is a trek that appeals all equally.

Meadows and mountains on the Beas Kund Trek

A quick glimpse into my illuminating trekking expedition to Beas Kund: At times, it becomes difficult to deal with the curve balls that life throws. When the desire to do something new and different starts awakening, it’s time to paint it with colours of spirit. In my case, trekking to Beas Kund helped me to rekindle that fire.

Somebody has rightly said that it is better to see something than hear about it a thousand times. Many of my friends had been singing praises of their experiences, and I finally decided to embark on the journey. I packed my bags and left home with a desire to give voice to those unruly and wild screams which the din and noise of human settlements had pacified. With that welcoming hope in my heart, I reached the first leg of my trek, Dhundi. While driving with other group members from the Solang valley up to the Dhundi road, there were several views that left us awe-struck.

Following river Beas, witnessing the best skiing slopes of India and crossing the stream from one side to the other was a lifetime kind of experience. Surrounded by wildflowers and their scenic beauty, Dhundi served as a perfect site to set up camp for overnight stay.

Meadows of Beas Kund
Expansive meadows and exotic flora and fauna; let yourself loose!

The next day, we proceeded from the 9,000 ft tall quaint little mountain helmet, Dhundi, to Bakartach. Situated at 10, 800 ft, Bakartach is a high-altitude meadow which literally translates as ‘shepherd’s field’. The guide told us that these sun and windswept meadows are very popular pastures for a hardy nomadic tribe of shepherds, Gaddis. The sight of sheep grazing in this pastoral idyll gave us a pause, as we gazed upon the picture perfect scene.

The almost flat walk from Bakartach’s meadows gave gradual way to moraines and stray boulders that made the climb little steeper. It was little difficult to climb from boulder to boulder until we crossed the river that took us to the ridge which was marked by systematically placed cairns. At this point of time, we all were feeling tired and needed rest. To sleep in the lap of nature amidst its music and rhythm was a dream-like adventure. Our endless talks, excitement and the desire to explore more of the area kept us awake all night.

Beautiful verdant mountains as you make your way on the Beas Kund Trek

An early start the next day and a short climb up the ridge through Bhoj Patr got us to our final destination. When we reached here, the guide enlightened us about the historical and mythological importance of Beas Kund. He told us that it is believed that the author of the great epic of Mahabharata, Sage Vyas, had meditated here. Protected by an igloo-like stone structure, the Kund is a site of great religious importance to devotees across the country, especially Hindus. Besides being regarded as sacred, it is home to spectacular views of the nearby located Shitidhar, Ladakhi, Friendship and Hanuman Tibba peaks that can leave anyone numb for a while.

Beas Kund River Crossing
Waterfalls and rivulets galore; the trek is a retreat into nature

The best part of the journey was to locate the valley amidst the numerous streams and waterfalls. After discovering this lake nestled at an altitude of 3,700 metres, we decided to capture the splendid views that it offers. It was reflecting the pristine and untamed beauty of nature which was worth-experiencing after this long and tiresome journey. Before heading back, we decided to rest here for some time. 

Let not routes puzzle your mind: 

There are several modes of transportation to reach the first location of the trekking expedition to Beas Kund. People can travel by air, rail and road as per their own convenience. However, the most convenient way to reach Manali is by bus. The view offered by the window serves as a microcosm of the entire journey that you wish to undertake in the lap of nature and in a desire of adventure.

As there is no airport in Manali, Bhuntar airport serves as the nearest airport. It is located at a distance of 50km from Manali and 10km from Kullu. Chandigarh Airport is 300 km away from Manali and runs scheduled flights from major cities likes New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Bangalore.

The nearest railway station to Manali is Joginder Nagar railway station. Situated at a distance of 166 km, it is known for connecting several important cities of the country. Chandigarh and Pathankot are the other convenient railheads.

Being well connected to major North Indian cities such as Delhi, Ambala, Chandigarh, Dehradun, Haridwar, Shimla, Dharamsala and Chamba/Dalhousie, Manali provides regular bus service that makes it convenient to ply between these stations. 

Flowers on the trek to Beas Kund

Do not let the wrong time spoil the fun:

The best time for Beas Kund Trek is from mid-May to mid-October. During this period, the weather remains quite salubrious and is suitable to explore the beauty of the place. 

Beas Kund Trekking Tour Highlights: 

  • Witnessing the stunning views of Indrasan, Hanuman Tibba and Deo Tibba Peak
  • Enjoying the calm and solace offered by Solang Nallah and the Manu Temple
  • An opportunity to seek information about the simple yet fascinating life of the inhabitants of picturesque villages such as Goshal, Sannag and Burua
  • Camping under the open sky, amidst the scenic landscape and to recall your own childhood.

Load your bags with some essentials:

  • Trekking shoes
  • Trekking Pole
  • Warm clothes
  • Trekking pants
  • Moisturizer
  • Torch
  • Synthetic hand gloves
  • Emergency Medical Kit
  • Required Documentation:
  • Original and photocopy of identity card
  • Medical certificate 

To sum up – it is not under our control to live longer but we can make efforts to live deeper. It is important to rediscover those impulses that fill one’s life with fun, excitement, thrill and tonnes of happiness.

 

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.

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

What sways the mind of millions?

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

uttarakhand_valley_of_flowers_trek

A quick glimpse of my trekking expedition:

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

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

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

trek_uttarakhand_valley_of_flowers

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

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

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

webp-net-compress-image-10

A part of the journey which was a spiritual surprise:

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

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

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

Load your bag with few essentials:

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

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

Great people have dubbed the hike to Everest as the “stairs to heaven,” and rightly so. Wrapped in wonderment and thin air, this monument of nature sees travelers from all around the globe, exploring the nearby monasteries and bazaars if not the base camp itself. Naturally, this beacon of glory only deserves the bravest of trekkers to even imagine what an experience it must be to even feel the mountain air that surrounds it, to scale the height and make a life-altering journey to the roof of the world. Here is a list of the most basic to slightly advanced requirements for deciding if you should even consider going on the Everest Base Camp (EBC) Trek. This should not be treated as a final word; it is advised that you speak to your doctor and a professional trekker before you decide on making this incredible hike.

everest-base-camp-trek_14397983871. Are You Experienced Enough?
For reasons very simple, more experience with high altitude – especially altitude that can be compared to EBC’s (29,028 ft) – will mean you are already mentally and physically equipped to deal with this to a significant extent. More experience reduces the chances of distress calls that you are most likely to face on a trek like this. With temperature that drops as low as -60 degree Celsius in the coldest month of the year, only trekkers of advanced calibre are advised to do this.

Everest Base Camp
A view of the mighty Everest from the Base Camp

2. Do you have the level of strength it takes to make it to EBC?
Recognize your strengths if you dream of climbing the highest mountain of the world:

a) You are generally fit with no life-threatening diseases that may or may not be elevated due to high altitude (eg. heart disease, lung disease).
b) You have a great skill in walking for long hours. You will be required to trek for 4-10 hours with sufficient breaks on the EBC trek. The key to surviving this is sustained effort.
c) You have a passion for trekking. It is very important to stay focused and inspired throughout this trek.
d) You appreciate team work. Know that taking on this journey with a few more interested people will inspire you and help you in crucial conditions that you are bound to face on this heck of a trek! 

EBC Trek

3. Have you recognized the areas you have to work on?
All humans are fallible and all of us have our faults. However, you need to start planning ahead immediately and  ramp up your physical fitness training regime at least 6 months prior to the trek.

 If you have a potential health risk from a heart or lung disease, unfortunately, you will not be allowed to undertake this journey. If you are a smoker or someone who regularly drinks, it will be considerably tougher for you to accomplish this feat as compared to other people who are in a better physical position to deal with the stress of high altitude trekking. Smoking will impair your breathing skills at high altitudes and drinking or influence of any other substance impairs judgement which is a potential health risk again.  

4. Do you understand how important acclimatization is?
Please note that Altitude Sickness or Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) is a real health danger triggered by high altitude. High altitude, lower oxygen levels, and low air pressure coupled with exertion leads to AMS, generally felt after 8000 ft and above. The symptoms will include dizziness, nausea, headaches, and shortness of breath. Most instances of altitude sickness are mild and heal quickly. In rare cases, altitude sickness can become severe and cause complications with the lungs or brain.

Namche Bazaar
Spend a day or two in Namche Bazar; acclimatize while having fun exploring really popular tourist spots!

To combat with all this, steady acclimatization to high altitude by spending one day or two at some areas before you begin trekking or while trekking is absolutely necessary. Pick itineraries that heed this advice and allow you enough time to acclimatize properly in order to avoid health problems. Generally, an EBC trek should take you 13-20 days to complete. 

5. Do you have all the essential trekking gear that you need to bring with you?

a. Sunglasses + Sunscreen

b. Clothing (Base=Thermal wear + First Layer=Warm Trekking T-shirt/Trousers + Second Layer=Fleece jacket + Third Layer= Waterproof Shell Jackets you need in case it is especially cold/rains)

c. Headwear (Hats and buffs to keep your head and face warm to avoid catching disease)

d. Gloves (Inner + Outer Insulated)

e. Footwear (2 pairs of thermal hiking socks + Hiking shoes. You can also get leg gaiters!)

f. Bags and Backpacks (Keep it waterproof!)

g. Sleeping Gear

h. Trekking Poles

i. Medications and Toiletries (A first aid box is necessary. You should also carry medicines for relieving any slight to serious AMS symptoms.)

What you need to bring
What you need to bring

6. Do you have a fair idea about nutrition on this trek?
Consider this very important. Nutrition is extremely important in order to complete the trek in a healthy condition. A proper diet needs to be followed while you are trekking to EBC.

Apart from the food that your sherpas/guides will provide you at the tea-houses you stay in and it is most likely going to be a light meal that is easily digestible, you will need the following to soothe your munchies:
Herbal tea
Electrolytes
Light snack bars and energy bars
Dried fruit
Digestive biscuits

7Have you started preparing already?
Prior to the trek, almost two to three months before the actual trek, you will have to devise an effective exercise regime that lets you build stamina for long treks over time.

a) You can try walking for 4 to 5 kms daily for 60 days before the trek.
b) You should do some shoulder exercises like planks.  
c) Practice a bit of yoga to help improve your breathing problems, if any, and build core strength.
d) You can swim/cycle once a week to build a bit of lean muscle.

Very many encomiums written and paeans of praises sung after it, naturally, Mt Everest remains to be one of the most popular mountains in the world; thousands of trekkers decide to undertake a trek to the Everest Base Camp each year. If you think you can handle the glory of being one of those lucky ones to have scaled the skies, good luck!

Limitless deserts, thriving jungles, prosperous rivers and breathtaking views – with every step you take on the Markha Valley Trek you are introduced to nature, beauty, adventure and a heap of emotions felt never before.

With its trail taking you through the Hemis National Park where there’s a good chance you’ll spot a snow leopard to further heading to tiny Himalayan hamlets with huge parachute tents and a unique Buddhist culture to finally crossing high mountain passes that offer you views so enchanting that you almost never want to leave, the Markha Valley Trek has it all!

So if you’re planning your next trekking adventure, look no further! Here are 5 Unbeatable Reasons to do the Markha Valley Trek this summer.

Explore Diverse Landscapes
Unlike the numerous treks that take you through forests or arid deserts of the region, the Markha Valley trek introduces you to landscapes along flowing rivers, green pastures, scenic valleys, and flourishing national parks, and bone-dry desert expanses. On this trek, you will experience excitement – when you spot a snow leopard; hardship -when you cross stretches of the waist-deep Markha River; peace -when you take a stop at the confluence of Indus and Zinchen Rivers; thrill -when you conquer over 17,000 feet at Kongmaru La Pass.

Trek Ladakh Today
Trek Ladakh Today!

Discover Ancient Buddhist Villages
The Markha Valley Trek takes you through some diverse landscapes and while most of the hike is shadowed by wilderness, there will be days when you will stop by tiny mountain hamlets. Trek through scenic landscapes and pass along river banks; meet the region’s locals and come face-to- face with religious shrines at Lhatos and confront the Mani walls. Mani walls are stone structures that are formed by the compilation of intricately carved stone tablets mostly with the inscription of ‘Om Mani Padme Hum’ loosely meaning ‘ Hail to the jewel
in the lotus’.

Hike through the villages of Umlung and Hangskar. Much like an eagle nest perched on the tallest tree, the Techa Monastery in Umlung is one of the highest located monasteries and is easily a 1000 years old. Although Umlung offers the comforts of a monastery and a handful of homestays, a visit to Hangskar (the last hamlet in the valley) with its ever welcoming locals and their hot butter tea is a reward in itself. Some of the other villages that you will pass by during the Markha Valley Trek are Spituk, Shingo, and Siku among others.

An Encounter with the Wild
One of the best parts of about the Markha Valley trek is that it takes you through the charming Hemis National Park. Best known for having the highest density of snow leopard in any protected area in the world,
the Hemis National Park with its large population of rare species of wildlife is arguably one of the best parts of this trek. Tibetan wolves, red foxes, Eurasian brown bears and Asiatic ibexes – they are all here. But that’s not all – the region also boasts of being the only habitat of the Shapu in India and is also home to the mountain weasel and the Himalayan mouse. The park is also a bird watcher’s paradise and visitors are often lucky to spot the Lammergeier vulture, the fork-tailed swift, Fire-fronted serin and Tibetan snowfinch in their natural habitat.

Camping in Ladakh
Camping in Ladakh

Live in Parachute Tents
The Markha Valley trek is also known as the ‘tea house trek’, takes you through diverse terrains and arid deserts but that’s not the only fun part of this excursion. While the villages on the trail have ample homestays that provide the comfort of a home away from home, this adventure also lets you have the experience of camping in parachute
tents. These parachute tents are massive tents where you camp the night with your entire group. Fun much? Oh, you have to experience it to know how much!

Be an Achiever
The trek begins from the green landscapes of the Hemis National Park but don’t let the lush environs fool you, this is just the beginning. The Markha Valley trek takes you through striking contrasts. Trek through the land masses with powerful rivers that are knee-deep if not more and pass through rocky canyons to reach the towering peaks of
Ganda La at 15748 feet, and Kongmaru La at 17060 feet. Reach the top and be welcomed by breathtaking views of Ladakh and the Zanskar ranges. It’s a superlative achievement that feels a million times better
than it reads.

In Leh
In Leh

It’s not every day that you come across a trek that offers an out-an-out Ladakhi experience. Raw and natural beauty, exciting adventure, the Buddhist culture, the local food, and the warm hospitality of the people
– everything’s covered.

This trip is everything that dream vacations to Ladakh are made of, and if it resonates with your idea of adventure, let there be no place else you head this summer.

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!

I associate May, especially the May of North India (non-Himalayan regions) with searing heat, dryness and perpetual sweating. But, as they say, “Every cloud has a silver lining”, May is also the time when most schools close for vacations and you finally have the time to go someplace. Most of us visit our grandparents and sit in their house, often doing nothing. I personally never liked going to Lucknow and staying there for 1-1.5 months. We hardly ever went out because it was hot; even after the sun set, there was little respite. The only silver lining there was that I had a cousin, with whom I would run around the house or play cricket in the backyard, but we grow up after a while and feel no excitement in such things.

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

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:

What goes in your mind, when you read about someone else’s adventurous trekking expedition, especially in the Himalayas? Do you hear an inner calling? Does your heart and mind tell you that someday, you too should do this? Then, what is stopping you? Every year, thousands of amateur trekkers go on their first expedition into the Himalayas. All that one requires is a basic physical fitness level, necessary trekking equipment, a bit of mental strength and loads of zeal. We have listed down a few trekking trails in the Himalayas that are perfect for beginners like you. Read on to know about them so that you can start planning your impending desire to trek in the Himalayas.

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

One has different shades of blue and snowy peaks to allure you and the other takes you close to the world’s highest peak. Still wondering which teahouse trek to go for first? Everest base camp is a dream for anyone who gets into the flavour of trekking, Everest being the world’s highest scalable mountain peak. Annapurna main of the mighty Annapurna range is the 10th highest peak in the world. Not many know that the toughest peak to scale is also The Annapurna main and not K2.