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

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


Chadar Trek:

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

chadar

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

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

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


Stok Kangri:

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

Stok Palace
Stok Palace

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

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

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

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


Markha Valley Trek:

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

markha

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

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

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


Also,

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

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

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

The pristine natural beauty of Kashmir has earned the title of “Paradise on Earth” for a reason. Featuring lush greenery and snow-capped mountains, the valley of Kashmir always captivates the mind and soul of travelers with its splendor. It is ornamented with alpine meadows, stunning rivers, gushing waterfalls, dense forests of pine and oak, and crystal-clear glaciers. Over the years, Kashmir has also grown popular for its trekking routes and destinations – most notably, the Tarsar Marsar Trek.

Fact Check: According to the locals, it was the ruler of Kashmir, Yusuf Shah Chak, who discovered these two stunning lakes. Tarsar Lake joins the River Lidder in Lidderwat and Marsar merges with a river in the Aru district.

With great trekking locations and scenic landscapes, Kashmir attracts lakhs of tourists throughout the year. It brings the trekkers and adventure lovers one step closer to the heaven on Earth. Sonamarg and Pahalgam are the two most famous hill stations in Kashmir and they serve as the base camp for various treks. The Tarsar Marsar trek is one of those expeditions where dreams of adventure seekers become true. While hiking in the mountains, trekkers will come across the lifestyle of rural people and get a glimpse of a pastoral-agricultural ethnic group called Gujjar. The Dachigam National Park is situated in the region of Marsar Lake.

Surrounded by the peaks of the Kolahi Mountain, the Tarsar Marsar trek takes you to a height of 4,100 m. It involves a beautiful journey to the most striking twin lakes i.e. Tarsar and Marsar, which are known for their almond like shape. And surprisingly, they flow in opposite directions too. The one thing that makes this trek special is its awe-inspiring exquisiteness and tranquillity.

Duration: 7 days
Max Altitude: 4,100 m
Distance Covered: 33 km
Level: Moderate
Maximum Age: 8 years
Base Camp: Srinagar
Start Point: Pahalgam
End Point: Sumbal

Best Time: Whether it’s summer, monsoon or winter, the beauty of Kashmir remains constant and unchallenged. Ardent trekkers undertake this trek all round the year. However, the suggested time to head for the Tarsar Marsar trek is from April to October as trekkers can enjoy magnificent mountains the most. Also, trekkers get to witness colorful birds and mountain animals like golden eagles, musk deer, bar-headed geese and brown bear. The average temperature ranges from 17°C to 20°C in the daytime and remains between 3°C and 4°C at night.

Near Sonmarg, Kashmir on the way in Tarsar Marsar Trek
Near Sonmarg, Kashmir

Walking On The Velvet Grassland
On every day of the trek, the contrasting views of lush green meadows against the gigantic mountains and sapphire blue sky will surprise you. The grassland also comprises exotic plants like gentian and poppy, which offer a sight similar to that of Delhi’s Mughal Garden. The dense forest and herders’ huts make the grassland even more beautiful.

Enjoy Staying At Stunning Campsites
The campsites are set amidst the green surrounding and striking mountains. The trek gives you an opportunity to spend nights at the most picturesque campsites of Shekiwas and Lidderwat that offer enchanting views of the snow-clad peaks and glittery sky.

The Base Camp: The village of Aru features a number of charming wooden cottages amidst the lofty trees of fir. The hamlet serves as the base camp of the Tarsar Marsar trek and on reaching Aru, you can experience its exquisiteness along with the river stream that flows aside the rustic hamlet. You can meet the locals to know more about their lifestyle and if you’re lucky enough then you might get to enjoy a few melodious folk songs.

Climbing On The Grassy Ridge
Have you ever thought of hiking the trail without the trekking shoes? No! During the Tarsar Marsar trekking expedition, upon reaching Shekiwas there is a grassy ridge where you can walk barefoot. From the top of this dazzling ridge, you can enjoy a sight of stunning sunrise. And this view is not only a great catch for your eyes but for your camera too!

Stroll Around The Striking Tarsar Lake
If you’re a nature lover or photography enthusiast then you must walk around Tarsar Lake. From the two opposite ends of the lake, you can enjoy distinct views of the lake. Undoubtedly, the lake even looks more stunning during the sunrise when sun rays paint the azure water of the lake in orange color.

Does the Trek Demand Physical Fitness? As most of the trekking trail goes through the lush green meadows, the Tarsar Marsar trek is a perfect one for beginners. Since it is a moderate trek, it doesn’t require much physical fitness. Any person above 8 years can undertake the trek to explore the beauty of Kashmir and the twin lakes.

Day 01: Srinagar to Aru Base Camp
After arriving at the airport in Srinagar, we first met a cab driver. He told us that he has come to receive us and he will take us to the base camp. We boarded the cab and reached Pahalgam in 3 hours, covering a distance of about 100 km. The driver stopped the cab near  a roadside restaurant where we had lunch. We reached Aru, located 12 km from Pahalgam, in one and a half hour. From the Aru road, we hiked towards the base camp.

The Bijbhera trail was dotted with scenic orchards of walnuts, apples and apricots. Our eyes glazed over with the astounding view of the base camp and Aru village. For that one moment, I felt like somebody has erased the memories that I have lived so far in my life and I have entered a world where I wanted everything to just halt right there.

Morning view of a town at Aru Valley near Pahalgam
Morning view of a town at Aru Valley near Pahalgam

Later, we met our guide and we were introduced to other fellow trekkers. He briefed us about the area, locals and trekking routes. We also found herders coming back from the hilltop with their cattle and children were playing games in the lush green area. In the evening, we relished Kashmiri tea, called kahwah, with a pan-shaped local bread, khambir. After dinner, we spent the night under the glazy sky amidst the gushing sounds of the stream.

Day 02: Aru to Lidderwat
We woke up with the sunrise and to the melodious chirping of birds, echoing in the valley and quickly got ready with our packed luggage. Our trekking expedition started after the breakfast. We gave our luggage to the porters so that we could easily climb in the mountains. While hiking through the scenic surroundings, consisting green pastureland and mountain animals like sheep and goats, we realized that why Kashmir is called the paradise on Earth. The climb was steep but easy and pleasant too. We hiked along the River Lidder and it took us around 4 hours to cover a distance of 9 km.

Lidder River Valley in Pahalgam, Kashmir
Lidder River Valley in Pahalgam, Kashmir

Post reaching the Lidderwat, we took a stroll around the valley and spent a night in a riverside camp.

Day 03: Lidderwat to Shekiwas
After capturing some wonderful pictures in my camera, I headed to Shekiwas with my friends and fellow trekkers. On the way to Shekiwas, we sang songs and shared our trekking experiences with each other. Initially, the trail was less rocky and it helped us in climbing faster. However, there was a point when we were surrounded by the cold winds which were hitting us very hard.

Thankfully, the trail took us to a dense forest of pine and that helped us escape the winds. We also sighted a deer and many exotic birds in the forest. Later, we crossed a river and suspension bridge. With that, we reached a valley which had several Gujjar huts. We enjoyed a cup of tea and snacks there. It gave us energy and helped us in climbing at a high altitude. Moving ahead, we reached Shekiwas in 4 hours. It is a lush meadow which offers perfect captures for the camera. Later, we had a bonfire night under the moon.

Day 04: Shekiwas to Tarsar
Next day, the trail took us through the lush green meadows, waterfalls and a river stream. Later, the path took us to a ridge on the stream that goes to Tarsar. We hiked to a stunning conical hilltop that offered astounding views of Tarsar Lake. The walk around the lake filled me with thrill and excitement. The overwhelming beauty of the place was so powerful that it kept us half-awake the entire night. Most of us kept looking at the sparkling water of the lake as it was offering a wonderful sight with the changing colors of the sky.

Day 05: Tarsar to Sundaresar
It was one of the most challenging days of the journey as we had to cross Tarsar Pass. We covered only 5 km in 6 hours and the ascent became even more strenuous as it rained for a few hours. Following a trail that goes through the dense forest, we reached Sundaresar. The shores of Sundaresar Lake welcomed us, and it was an ideal camping spot after the lovely trek from Tarsar.

Day 06: Sundaresar to Marsar and Back to Sonmasti
After breakfast, we started with a steady ascent to Marsar from Sundaresar. Our guide told us that we have to descend back to the base camp after visiting Marsar Lake. We reached a valley filled with vibrant flowers. Later, we sighted mountain sheep and goats that were grazing on the lush green pastureland. In 3 hours, we reached Marsar Lake and after capturing several group photos and selfies, we descended to the base camp via Sonmasti.

It took us around 7 hours to hit Sonmasti, which is a small village of Gujjars. The village was located amidst the pictorial surroundings, including a waterfall. We had fun with the Gujjars as they had some small get together, and luckily they asked us to join them. We danced to the tunes of Kashmiri folk songs that day. And, don’t ask me about the food, I can hardly describe you the taste of those lip-smacking traditional delicacies.

Day 07: Sonmasti to Sumbal; Drive to Srinagar
Last day, we arrived at Sumbal from Sonmasti in 3 hours and after bidding goodbye to our fellow trekkers, we drove back to Srinagar.

Not just a trek, it is an experience…
Trekking is not only a mere journey; it is also about discovering the different culture and natural beauty that the place offers. With smooth trails, alpine lakes and magnificent mountains, trekking in Kashmir always offers 5a unique pleasure and thrill that cannot be described in mere words.

The fascinating Tarsar Marsar trek allows you to find the real you. It gives you a chance to make some of the most beautiful memories of your life in the lap of nature. So, do not miss the chance and plan this wonderful venture in the ‘Paradise on Earth’.

With magnificent snow-clad mountains, beautiful river streams and mystical ancient temples, Himachal Pradesh is one of the most striking states in north India. The state reflects a perfect blend of Himachali and Tibetan culture. Hindu temples, Buddhist stupas and vibrant monasteries hold the essence of two different cultures and traditions together on one scenic landscape, which adds lots of charm to the beauty of Himachal Pradesh.

Its snowy peaks, emerald environs, Himalayan, Dhauladhar and Pir Panjal ranges, and picturesque yet smooth and rough trails, make Himachal an ideal destination for climbing, skiing, paragliding, bungee jumping and trekking. With evergreen exquisiteness, rustic hamlets, dream-like natural architecture and friendly locals, every step into the spectacular valley brings a different world in front of you. The eternal splendor of McLeodganj, Manali, Kasol, Lahaul and Spiti, displays various colors and richness of alluring terrains.

Trekking Expedition in the Land of Gods…Let’s Go!  

Moving away from the hectic and noisy city life for trekking is undoubtedly a perfect way for you to revive yourself. Every hill station in Himachal Pradesh has a number of treks which take you to extremely remote, peaceful and scenic areas. It doesn’t matter whether you are an amateur or ardent trekker, Himachal is known to accommodate the taste of each and every individual.

So, here’s a list of treks that can be undertaken by adventure enthusiasts and nature lovers.

  • Indrahar Pass Trek

Duration: 4 Days
Maximum Altitude: 4342 m  
Trekking Distance: 35 km
Level: Moderate to Difficult
Best Time: May to September
Temperature: Day – 12°C to 18°C, Night – (- 6°C) to 4 °C

indrahar-pass-trek-2

At a height of 4342 m, Indrahar Pass offers enthralling and majestic views of Dhauladhar range. The trek begins from McLeodganj and goes to Indrahar Pass through the dense forests of deodar, suspension bridges, snow patches and gushing streams. The route will take you to some of the most amazing sites that would surely be an amazing feast for your eyes. After hiking through challenging and difficult routes, you’ll spend a night under the glittery sky. And, one of the most stunning campsites on this trekking expedition is set near Lahesh Caves.

  • Beas Kund Trek

Duration: 3 Days
Maximum Altitude: 3690 m
Trekking Distance: 32 km
Level: Easy
Best Time: May to October
Temperature: Day – 10°C to 16°C, Night – (- 5°C) to 6 °C

River Beas
River Beas

If you’re looking for an easy trek then you must undertake the Beas Kund trek. On the journey, you have to follow a stream of River Beas in the opposite direction to reach the summit. Throughout the trek, you will be surrounded by lush green trees, alpine meadows and exotic flora and fauna. The 3-day trek begins from Dhundi, an idyllic spot for photography enthusiasts. Further, the course takes you to the mark from where striking River Beas originates and Hanuman Tibba is visible. Also, if you want to climb Ladakhi or Friendship peaks then Beas Kund is the place to be.

  • Hampta Pass with Chandratal Trek

Duration: 5 Days
Maximum Altitude: 4297 m
Trekking Distance: 26 km
Level: Easy to Moderate
Best Time: Mid June to Mid October
Temperature: Day – 8°C to 12°C, Night – (- 5°C) to 4 °C

hampta_pass

Nestled at an elevation of 4,297 m, Hampta Pass is known for the magnificent views of Himalayan and Pir Panjal ranges. The trek goes to Hampta Pass from Manali through Jobra, Chika and Balu Ka Gera, and ends in the valley of Chandra and Spiti. The trail, which starts from the dense forest of deodar and pine, takes you to an open lush green valley and gradually to a barren land featuring snow patches. On your way to the summit, you will come across the beautiful Lahaul and Kullu valleys and glistening Chandratal Lake. The most amazing part about this trekking venture is that it serves an ideal route for both the beginners and ardent trekkers.

  • Pin Parvati Pass Trek

Duration: 10 Days
Maximum Altitude: 5319 m
Trekking Distance: 78 km
Level: Moderate to Difficult
Best Time: June to September
Temperature: Day – 6°C to 10°C, Night – 0°C to 5 °C

Pin Parvati Pass Trek

One of the longest and popular treks in Himachal Pradesh, the Pin Parvati Pass trek is a must for adventure enthusiasts. On this journey, you can witness a majestic sight of the Parvati Valley, which is spread across Kullu and Spiti. While the Pin Valley displays a barren land, the Kullu Valley consists of vibrant flora and emerald scenery. Also, these two sites differ from each other, in terms of culture and traditions. Further, the trek begins from an isolated village of Rumsu and goes through gushing rivers, cuddling streams and deep forest to Pin Parvati Pass and impressive monasteries.

  • Deo Tibba Trek

Duration: 13 Days
Maximum Altitude: 6000 m
Trekking Distance: 48 km
Level: Moderate to Difficult
Best Time: May to June, September to October
Temperature: Day – 12°C to 20°C, Night – (- 2°C) to 6 °C

deo tibba

The Deo Tibba trek lends an exciting and thrilling opportunity to the adventure lovers. This trekking expedition requires experience and moderate physical fitness. The journey begins and ends at a high-altitude Himalayan resort town, Manali. You will be walking through pasturelands, glaciers, forests and rough ascents and descents.

From hanging glaciers to flourishing meadows, witness the spine-chilling places during the trek. One thing that will keep you energetic and accompanies you on this journey is the views of the lofty mountains covered in the layers of snow. Further, the trek gives an opportunity to the adventure enthusiasts to witness the beauty of Dharamshala and McLeodganj.

  • Kareri Lake Trek

Duration: 4 Days
Maximum Altitude: 3099 m  
Trekking Distance: 29 km
Level: Easy to Moderate
Best Time: May to June, September to October
Temperature: Day – 10°C to 16°C, Night – (- 5°C) to 8°C

Kareri Lake trek

A small enchanting glacial lake, Kareri is situated at an elevation of around 3,099 m above sea level. The place captivates the trekkers with its unusual beauty, tranquil surroundings and refreshing air. The pond is enclosed by velvet-like grasslands and soaring trees. The trekking expedition starts from McLeodganj and gives you a chance to explore the Tibetan culture and lifestyle.

The campsite of Lioti is a delightful experience. The course from Lioti to the eye-catching pond offers beautiful views of nature, which is a treat to your camera. After reaching the famous Hindu temple of Goddess Guna, you can explore the spiritual sight of the place too.

  • Bhabha Pass Trek

Duration: 7 Days
Maximum Altitude: 4000 m
Trekking Distance: 50-60 km
Level: Moderate to Difficult
Best Time: June to September
Temperature: Day – 14°C to 20°C, Night – (- 2°C) to 10°C

The Bhabha Pass trek starts from the tranquil hill station of Shimla and takes you on an electrifying road trip to the beautiful Kafnu Village, after covering a 206-km ride. On your way to Kafnu, you will come across the impressive peaks of the Himalayas. Also, a walk into the dense forest of birch and pine will surely be a treat for senses. Further, the trail will turn difficult with narrow and sharp ascents after crossing a river on the third day of your venture.  Moreover, a walk on the snowy moraine and icy patches will surely test your trekking skills.

A ride from Kaza to Chandratal Lake will take you through the striking monasteries and a wonderful place called Kunzum La. Also, the charming Chandratal which is popular for its moon-like shape, offers one of the fascinating sights for your naked eyes.

  • Rupin Pass Trek

Duration: 8 Days
Maximum Altitude: 4648 m
Trekking Distance: 52 km
Level: Moderate to Difficult
Best Time: May to June, September to October
Temperature: Day – 13°C to 18°C, Night – 0°C to 7°C

rupin-pass

Nestled at a high altitude of 4,648 m, Rupin Pass offers absolute exhilaration and delight to the trekkers. The picturesque trek begins from Uttarakhand and ends at the scenic land of Himachal Pradesh. The trail takes you through rustic hamlets, startling rivers, suspension bridges, dense forests, lush green pasturelands, and garrulous streams and waterfalls.
The trek begins with a trail through the greener landscapes of Dhaula. And, later it moves to the frozen landscape surrounded by snow-capped mountains. Notably, 80 percent of the trekking expedition will be undertaken in Himachal Pradesh.

  • Kheerganga Trek

Duration: 2 Days
Maximum Altitude: 3500 m
Trekking Distance: 12 km
Level: Easy
Best Time: October to June
Temperature: Day – 14°C to 20°C, Night – 2°C to 10°C

trek-in-kasol kheerganga

The abode of Lord Shiva and his son Kartikeya, Kheerganga is beautifully located at a height of 3,500 m from the sea level. It is believed that around thousands of years ago, Lord Shiva meditated at the Sylvan Hill of Parvati Valley. The snow-capped peaks, lush green environs, gushing River Parvati, and exotic flora and fauna, are certainly a much-awaited pleasure to the trekkers’ souls. 

  • Bhrigu Lake Trek

Duration: 4 Days
Maximum Altitude: 4267 m
Trekking Distance: 29 km
Level: Easy to Moderate
Best Time: Mid May to October
Temperature: Day – 20°C to 25°C, Night – 5°C to 7°C

Bhrigu lake

If you want to treat your eyes with awe-inspiring scenery, then you just need to say yes to the Bhrigu Lake trek. The meadow trail takes you to the quaint lake, from where you can see the beautiful mountains and clear sky; adding an extra charm to the stunning place. The journey gives you an opportunity to meet the locals and explore the Himachali lifestyle and culture. Not just this, refreshing air and the fragrance of dense forests and apple orchards will revitalize your senses. Further, the trek starts from Gulaba Village and takes you to the charming lake through the green pastureland and startling streams, along with the splendid views of the Kullu Valley.

  • Prashar Lake Trek

Duration: 2 Days
Maximum Altitude: 2730 m
Trekking Distance: 12 km
Level: Easy
Best Time: December to February
Temperature: Day – 8°C to 12°C, Night – 2°C to 6°C

Prashar Lake Trek in Winter Snow

The Prashar Lake trek is a must-visit for those who want to undertake an adventure expedition in the winter season. The stunning lake is surrounded by grassland along with a pagoda-style temple featuring three floors. Built in the 13th century by King Bansen, the old temple is dedicated to the sage, Prashar.

The locals believe that the lake was discovered by the Pandavas. The trail will take you through steep ridges, rough slopes, striking rivulets and forest of fir and cedar trees covered with snow. The adventure begins from the beautiful village of Jwalapur and takes you to Prashar Lake, where you get a chance to enjoy a bonfire night on snowy land under the glittery sky.  

So, get ready for a whole new experience as you escape the mundane city life with these wonderful treks in Himachal Pradesh.

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

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

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

Base Camp: Sankri
Airport: Jolly Grant Airport, Dehradun

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nature’s resplendent display of wonders peaks in the North-eastern region of India. With Tibet in the north and east, Bhutan on its east, Indian state West Bengal in the south and Nepal on its West, Sikkim is one of the most important tourist locations in the North-East. Almost 35 percent of it covered by Kanchenjunga National Park, this state is the least populous and the second smallest state in the country.

Sikkim 2 (3)

Trekking in Sikkim: Nature and Nurture
Although home to a multitude of tourist spots, cultural fests, trekking summits owing to its proximity to the Himalayas and its abundant flora and fauna unique to this region, three of the most happening treks stand out as ideal getaway to the Himalayas. Goecha La is the best trek if a majestic view of Kanchenjunga and exploring Kanchenjunga on an intense expedition is one of your travel goals, Sandakphu is a picturesque trail for the trekkers that think the journey is as important as the destination itself and an excursion to Singalila offers up, close and personal views of the Singalila range and spotting rare wilderness in the Singalila National Park.

Here’s a complete breakdown of the three jewels of North-East:

Goecha La

Home to world’s highest mountains like Kanchenjunga, the trek to Goecha la is for those on the lookout for a trek that challenges them within and almost simultaneously delights them with the richness of natural beauty surrounding them. Exotic flora and fauna, alpine meadows, glacier basins, this place in Sikkim is a treasure trove for travelers curious to seek Nature’s wonders.  

goecha Best season: Best time to visit the Kanchenjunga National Park is from the last week of March to May during which the days are bright and nights are cold. Monsoons remain incredibly unfavorable because of the high possibility of landslides, blocked transportation, slippery trails, etc. Post monsoon, in the months of September and November, one can capture crystal-clear views of all the peaks. This is a good time to head to Goecha la. Due to heavy snowing, winters remain unfavorable for this trek.

  • Goecha la offers splendid views of world’s third highest mountain Kanchenjunga and Pandin, Tien Chenkhang, Koktang, Jopuno, etc.
  • Explore the stunning stupas, monasteries, temples and wildlife sanctuaries located in the region
  • Traverse through lush green pasturelands, vibrant fauna, rare wildlife species, alpine meadows and glaciers to reach your final destination

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

  • Spot Eurasian tree sparrow, pied bush cat and green-tailed sunbird and enjoy the rare sight of Himalayan endangered species like musk deer, red panda and blue sheep in the Kanchenjunga National Park if you are lucky!
  • In Lamuney, walk through clouds and camp under the glittery sky at night

Sandakphu

Sandakphu trek is a brilliant trek for the simple reason that it offers unmatched views of the highest peaks in the world (Sleeping Buddha i.e. Kanchenjunga, Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse, Annapurna range) and the journey to that spot on the map is filled with mesmerizing natural wonders itself. At many a point, the exhaustion of trekking through dense forests is lifted by the joy of sighting a meadow as vast as the eye goes. Trekking alongside Siri river and staying in the guest houses or camping right there is another matter of delight. The trek offers striking views of everything you expect from a retreat into the lap of nature: forests, waterfalls, alpine meadows and then some.

Sleeping Buddha, Sandakphu
Sleeping Buddha, Sandakphu

Best season: While in the spring, the trail to Sandakphu is covered in the most scenic way possible by rhododendrons among other exotic flora (spot the magnificent mangolia from Chitre to Meghma!), the trek is accessible even in winters and the snow-laden trails are as charming as the destination itself.

  • One of the most beautiful rhododendron treks; trek in Spring to behold the beauty with your own eyes as you make way to the Sandakphu summit
  • Explore the vibrant Buddhist culture as you start your trek from Chitre village; pay a visit to the splendid monasteries and stupas around

    Singalila National Park
    Singalila National Park

  • Camping in Singalila National Park; enjoy the days of camping amid North East’s natural beauty; wake up to a sunrise on Singalila range and spot blue bamboos in the jungle!

    A guest house in Tumling
    A guest house in Tumling

  • Tumling’s guest houses set on the serene river bankside; Tumling lies on the Indo-Nepal border and houses many a beautiful tea estate in the region; you can look at the entire Sandakphu trail from the ascent after Tumling

    Black Lake or Kaliphokri
    Black Lake or Kalaphokri

  • Kalaphokri or ‘Black Lake’: After Tumling, reach the bean-shaped black lake that refuses to freeze even in deadly winters. Believed to be divine, the lake is surrounded by an array of Buddhist flags found fluttering in the wind.
  • Magnificent view of Sleeping Buddha (Kanchenjunga and sister peaks) and a 180 degree view of world’s highest mountains including Everest, Makalu, Lhotse, Nuptse, Baruntse, Chamling, Chomolonzo, Machapucchare, Chomolhari and other peaks of Annapurna range.  

Singalila Pass (and Phoktey Dara trek)

The Singalila range marks the western borders of Sikkim and Darjeeling with Nepal. You have a fantastic opportunity to trek to the passes and ranges that lie within India and/or Nepal. Once you reach Singalila pass, trek further to Kalijhora; the top of Kalijhora is Phoktey Dara which offers a spectacular viewpoint. In the far left (west), the majestic Everest group of peaks and to the right, three sisters– Chamlang, Baruntse, Kanchendzongha, Simvo, Pandim, Tenzingkhang, one after another. The entire Kabru range (North, South, Dome) Fork I/II, Rathong, Frey peak (just above Chaurikhang, HMI base camp area) are south to the gigantic Kanchenjunga and form a semicircle in front of the massif.

Singalila range
Singalila range

Best season: March-May and October-November are the best seasons to head out on an exploration of the Singalila range. 

  • Panoramic views of four of the five world’s highest peaks including Mt. Everest, Kanchenjunga, Lhotse and Makalu and more
  • Singalila range lies on the Indo-Nepal border: the western borders of Sikkim and Darjeeling with Nepal
  • Visit Kitam Bird Sanctuary and Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary to spot the Red Crossbill and Parrotbills. If you are lucky, you might spot the endangered vividly colored Satyr Tragopan or a Kalij Pheasant as well!
  • Walk through rich forests canopied by rhododendron, magnolia and bamboo
  • Witness spellbinding sunrise at Kalijohra
  • Stay at beautiful campsites in the evening which is near a hill slope thickly covered with Magnolia and conifers
  • Access remote locations that are extremely sparsely populated so enjoy the exclusivity of it all

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

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

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

Chang la pass, Ladakh
Chang la pass, Ladakh

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

You can visit Ladakh in the following three seasons:

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

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

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

Indus zanskar Confluence Ladakh
Indus zanskar Confluence Ladakh

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

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

Stok Kangri Trek

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

Stok Palace
Stok Palace

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

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

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

Markha Valley Trek

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

markha

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

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

How to reach Ladakh?

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

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

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

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

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

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

ladakh shutterstock_1873033_txzmh

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

A vale bounded by the ranges of Pir Panjal and the great Himalayas, Kashmir is filled with the pristine beauty for which it aptly owes the title of ‘Paradise on Earth.’ With its ideal geographical position and scenic topography, the place offers several trekking options to the visitors. Located above Sonmarg on the Srinagar-Leh highway, the Kashmir Great Lakes trek tops the list of the best moderate treks in Kashmir as it offers the awe-inspiring vistas of the rustic nature.

It is often believed that the true beauty of nature lies in the lush-green isolated places that are not accessible by roads. And surprisingly, the Kashmir Great Lakes, which includes alpine lakes, meadows and exotic flora and fauna, also remained unknown for years. Many of these beautiful lakes have interesting stories behind their formation and existence, besides being named after Hindu gods.

A drive through heaven on earth - Kashmir
A drive through heaven on earth – Kashmir

Some of the stunning lakes covered during the trek include Krishnasar, Gangabal, Gadsar and Vishansar. A magical view of ice sheets sliding off from the glaciers and feeding the alpine lakes is truly a feast for the eyes. And the icing on the cake is the sight of milky white ice sheet floating on the sapphire lakes.

Mobile market on the Dal Lake in Srinagar
Mobile market on the Dal Lake in Srinagar
  • Get a chance to explore five stunning glacial lakes situated at higher altitudes
  • Know about Kashmiri lifestyle, culture and traditions
  • Enjoy lip-smacking authentic delicacies of Kashmir
  • Witness a sight of snow-capped mountains along with the exotic wildlife
  • Spend a night in the camp, which is set aside the cold blue lake and under the glittery sky
  • An encounter with herders and their livestock,  including cattle and goats
  • Walk on the sharp gradient and pasture land with snow patches
  • Follow a trail that passes through green meadows, crystal clear glaciers, rocky barren land and gushing streams

Best time to plan your visit: April to October is considered as the best time to undertake the Kashmir Great Lakes trek. At this time, the pleasant weather allows you to witness the charming mountains and the beautiful valley. The average temperature during these months ranges from 17°C to 20°C in daytime and 3°C to 4°C at night.

Region: Jammu and Kashmir
Duration: 8 days
Altitude: 4206.24 m
Trekking distance: 63 km
Difficulty level: Moderate
Minimum age: 10 years
Starting Point: Sonmarg
Ending Point: Naranag
Railway Station: Srinagar railway station
Airport: Sheikh ul-Alam International Airport

Kashmir Great Lakes

A Quick Recap of Elevation Points
The trek will begin from the mesmerising hill station of Sonmarg to Nichnai (3505 m). The trail goes through the dense forests, beautiful streams and enchanting valley encompassing green pasture land. Hiking through the rough and rocky terrain, the next stop will be Vishansar Lake (3657 m). The terrain will take you to Gadsar (3657 m) via Krishansar Lake and Gadsar Pass (4192 m). Next day, while enjoying breathtaking views of mountains, hike through steep slopes and rough mountainous region to reach Satsar (3657 m). Follow the course that goes through the coniferous forest to arrive at Gangabal Twin Lakes (3503 m). On the last day of expedition, descend to reach a rustic hamlet called Naranag (2270 m).

Trekking through the Sublime Beauty of Kashmir Lakes
Being an admirer of nature and its enchanting beauty, the Kashmir Great Lakes trek gave me lifetime memories of splendid nature residing in the abode of Sonmarg Valley. The trek is known for reflecting an astonishing contrast in the landscape that begins from lush green valleys and ends at the semi-arid and cold region of Naranag. A walk through dazzling meadows, alpine forests, grassland and glaciers made my journey truly enthralling and exciting.

After comprehensive research, I planned the trek with my childhood friends and booked our flights to Srinagar and then we packed our bags with all the necessary equipment like trekking pole and shoes.

Day 1: Reach Srinagar and then Drive from Srinagar to Sonmarg
We boarded a flight from Delhi to Srinagar at 9 am from Indira Gandhi International Airport. After enjoying a stunning view of sun amidst the floating clouds, we reached Srinagar in 1 hour and 15 minutes. Our guide was waiting for us at the arrival hall. He greeted us with a bouquet and said Khush Aamdeed, which means you’re welcome. From there, we left for Sonmarg and reached there in next 2 hours. The place is famous for lush green meadows and is said to be the last Kashmiri town on the way to Ladakh.

High-angle shot of Sonmarg village
High-angle shot of Sonmarg village

We reached our guesthouse by the afternoon. After gorging on a refreshing hot cup of Kashmiri tea called kahwah with snacks, we were briefed about the trek by our tour representative. In the evening, we took a stroll in the town and found some singers who were singing melodious folk songs. Despite being unaware of the language, every word of that folk song was falling on my ears like a magic that was taking me to the ancient times. We clicked pictures with these women and also played pithoo with the children. At night, we were served delicious Kashmiri thali in dinner.

Day 2: Trek from Sonmarg to Nichnai
We got up at around 6 in the morning. After breakfast, we were driven to Nichnai, which was situated just a few kilometres away from Sonmarg. In 35 minutes, we reached a point from where we had to start our trekking expedition. Initially, the trek was a steep climb up to a place called Table Top. While hiking, our eyes were able to catch the magnificent views of the famous Sonmarg glaciers and the valley in the background. It was our first day of trekking and climbing in an upward direction wasn’t an easy task for us, as many of us had started facing breathing issues.

But thankfully, we encountered a dhaba (eatery) at Table Top, which is run by a beautiful Kashmiri couple. We spent around 20 minutes there and had a cup of tea and snacks. And, it literally gave us the much-needed energy. From here, the trail also turned gradual as we entered a valley of birch trees. We reached Nichnai at 2.30 pm and found that a beautiful campsite next to a stream was arranged for us. We quickly settled down in our tents as we were about to get some tea, pakoras (fritters) and Maggi noodles. We spent a night in the camp.

Day 3: Nichnai to Vishansar Lake | Day 4: Acclimatization
Next day, we hiked for around 30 minutes, following a stream next to our campsite. The steep path later led to alpine grasslands. After an hour, we encountered a small glacial lake, where we captured several pictures. Thereafter, we crossed a stream of River Beas and then ascended towards the Nichnai Pass. We kept resting after every hour.

Later, we descended towards a beautiful meadow that took us to Vishansar Lake. It was such a big and beautiful lake, which is named after Lord Vishnu. We also enjoyed a sight of the majestic glaciers that feed this lake. As it was important for us to acclimatize before heading upward, another day was also spent in a campsite set aside Vishansar Lake.

Day 5: Trek from Vishansar Lake to Gadsar via Krishnasar
If you ever try this trek, this is going to be the longest and prettiest day on this trek. After crossing Vishansar, we steadily ascend towards Krishnasar, which is the second beautiful lake on this journey. This lake is named after Lord Krishna. Notably, our guide told us that scientists have classified these lakes as oligotrophic lakes, which mean these lakes have higher levels of oxygen and less organic content; making it perfect for drinking. After crossing this stunning lake, we climbed towards Gadsar Pass.

Now, the most difficult part of the journey began as the trail challenged us both mentally and physically. While trekking, we had energy drinks and bars. Gradually, after a walk of about 2 hours, we were able to see dazzling Vishansar Lake. Later, we crossed Gadsar Pass and descended towards Gadsar Lake. The course passed through the beautiful grassland filled with vibrant wildflowers. That day we were quite lucky as we saw Himalayan Marmots too. The dazzling view of Gadsar Lake with glacier and wildflowers in the background is breathtaking. We reached Gadsar Lake by the late afternoon. The best part about this journey was that we got a chance to spend a night in an Indian Army Camp.

Day 06: Gadsar to Satsar
It was a day when we all were ready to start our expedition to Satsa which was located about 10 km from the military camp. We walked on a sloppy land and crossed a river and then ascended to the heavenly mountains. On the way, we found apple and walnut orchards and of course, we plucked some to eat. After 2 hours, we arrived at mountainous grassland, which was surrounded by lofty mountain peaks. Now, we had to take a permit from the army to hike deeper as an army check post was located there. After getting the permission, we reached a stunning glacial water body called Satsar Lake.

Day 07: Satsar to Gangabal Twin Lakes
We woke up to a dazzling view of sunrise and after heavy breakfast, we moved ahead on the 9-hour expedition. We crossed a rocky terrain and ascended to a valley from where we could see the striking Mt. Harmukh. This mountain is said to be the abode of Lord Shiva and it is believed that no human feet can touch the Harmukh Summit. Later, we entered a dense forest of pine and oak trees, where we captured the sight of beautiful birds in our camera. We passed through around three ridges and gradually the course became sharp and rocky. Also, we met a few locals here who came to the hilltop from the nearby village with their cattle. In next four hours, we arrived at Nundkhol Lake and walked further for 30 minutes to reach Gangabal Lake. This lake is named after the River Ganges and is considered sacred to Kashmiri Pandits.

Day 08: Gangabal to Naranag | Drive towards Srinagar
The last day of this beautiful expedition started from Lake Gangabal to Naranag. The path going along the lake entered a green landscape dotted with yellow flowers. We walked around 2 hours in the forest and then descended to the village of Naranag. Following the stony trail, we finally reached the picturesque village and visited a Lord Shiva temple, which was built by the Kashmiri ruler of the 8th century, Lalithdatiya Muktadiya. Later, we boarded a taxi and went back to Srinagar, which was around 2 km far from here.

kashmir

Apart from providing a beautiful sight of the Kashmir Great Lakes, this expedition surely has a lot more to offer. A lovely meeting with the locals, listening beautiful folk songs from them and knowing about their socio-cultural lifestyle was a lifetime experience.

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

Sikkim Silk Route
Sikkim Silk Route

Know About Goecha La trek (4,876 m)

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

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

6

Is there an ideal time to do Goecha La trek?

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

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

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

Summer (Last week of March to May)

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

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

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

Monsoon (June to August)

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

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

Autumn (September to November)

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

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

goecha la

Winter (December to February)

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

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

Don’t Forget The Trekking Essentials! 

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

So, here’s some final advice…

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

Goecha La

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

Amidst the royal mountains of Himachal Pradesh, the Beas Kund Trek takes trekkers away from the hustle-bustle of the city, along the banks of River Beas. Passing through the lush green meadows and glaciers, the trek offers majestic views of snow-capped mountains of Pir Pinjal ranges. The grasslands of Bakartach and Dhundi are magnificent in their own beauty.

Origin of the Beas Kund
Situated at a high altitude of 3,800 m, the stunning lake of Beas Kund is fed by glaciers. The term Beas has been derived from the word Vyas (Sage), while Kund means a lake. It is believed that in this sapphire lake, Rishi Vyas, the author of the Indian epic, Mahabharata, took his daily bath. Visitors travelling here often take a dip in the icy cold lake.

As it is an easy trek with less curves, rough and slippery path, it doesn’t require any prior experience.

Base camp: Solang Valley, Manali
Duration: 3-4 days
Difficulty level: Moderate
Maximum altitude: 3800 m
Trekking distance: 32 km
Average hiking daily: 4-5 Hours

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Beas Kund Trek: Quick Itinerary
The trek starts from the mesmerizing valley of Solang and passes through lush green meadows, small streams, and waterfalls, before continuing towards stunning snow-covered mountains. The next stop is Dhundi, which is known as the birthplace of River Beas and is surrounded by dense forest of deodar and oak. Here, you will spend the night at the campsite, set by the striking stream.

After crossing a few bridges lies Bakartach, from where one can enjoy a 360-degree view of the Great Himalayas. Here, a trekker will be surrounded by the mighty peaks of Deo Tibba, Hanuman Tibba and Shitidhar. This is an ideal spot for photographers as it offers an opportunity to capture some lifetime memories in camera. You will reach the final destination in a matter of hours.

Right Time to Trek

A perfect time to explore the Beas Kund Trek is from mid-May to mid-October. During this period, the weather remains pleasant.

Summers are quite cool, with the maximum temperature of 25 degrees Celsius and minimum of 10 degrees. In the winter season, between November and February, the place receives a good amount of snowfall, and temperature ranges from 12 degrees Celsius to -15 degrees Celsius.

So here are five reasons why Beas Kund Trek has become one of the most sought-after treks this summer:

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  1. Trekking along Alpine Glacial Lake:What can be more exciting than trekking along a serene high altitude alpine glacial lake! The trek offers an opportunity to cross mountains and witness the source of the Beas River with your own eyes. It is a rocky yet picturesque spot with the River Beas flowing through the forested hills. The campsite arranged by the river will give you real thrill and your ears will be pleased by the wonderful sound of gushing water. Here, you will realise that this was a moment you were looking for, away from the hustle-bustle of city life. The cool breeze and sight of maple, deodar, toss and oak trees on the way can make you feel rejuvenated.

    Beaskund Trekking

  2.  Stunning Views of Some Amazing Peaks:It is at Dhundi where you will witness the splendid sight of four major peaks of Himachal Pradesh – Friendship Peak, Hanuman Tibba, Deo Tibba, and Shitidhar. Standing at an altitude of 5289 m, Friendship Peak is a magnificent mountain, which is a part of the Pir Panjal range in Himachal Pradesh’s Kullu District. Also called White Mountain, Hanuman Tibba is the highest mountain in the Dhauladar Range of Himachal Pradesh.
  3. Capture the views of Solang Nullah and the Manu Temple:In the abode of Solang Valley, Solang Nullah is a stunning stream flowing through snow-capped mountain peaks, dense forest encompassing wild colourful flowers and lofty trees. It is the most serene place on the earth where nature remains in its purest and artistic form.

    One of the most-famed religious sites in Manali, Manu Temple, is named after the holy Sage Manu, who is believed to be a divine creator of the human race. According to Hindu mythology, he lived and meditated in Manali. Thus, the temple holds great significance for Hindu pilgrims.

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  4. Meeting the Locals: The trek gives you a chance to meet locals of Burua, Goshal and Sannag villages. Talk to them and try to know about their simple yet fascinating lifestyle. Himachalis are true devotees of nature, and they are quite reserved about their culture and traditions. However, they share a great bond of brotherhood and togetherness. Also, they are very helpful and if you’re lucky enough, they may offer you lip-smacking local delicacies. In village markets, don’t forget to buy uniquely designed handicrafts and paintings made by the locals. night-839807_1920
  5. Spend Night under the sapphire glazy sky: Your campsite will be arranged in the beautiful location at Dhundi from where you will be able to enjoy striking views. Celebrate the victory of completing the summit with bonfire and music. And last but not the least, spend a night under the sapphire sky amidst the scenic landscape and be the admirer of its magnificent beauty.

 

It might not be a trek that gives you a sudden adrenaline rush; however, its natural beauty will offer excitement and leave you in a state of awe. So, if you want to make some beautiful memories filled with the scenic beauty of green landscape, streams, waterfalls, and flora and fauna in the beautiful Himachal Pradesh, then there is nothing to wait for; pack your bag and say yes to Beas Kund Trek.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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!

    snowedout_route
    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

Located in the majestic Dauladhar Range of the Himalayas in Himachal Pradesh, Triund trek (3,000 meters) is among the most popular treks in India. The main cause of popularity is its moderate climate, snow-capped mountains, natural grandeur, green-lush valleys and serene environment. The exhilarating views of Kangra Valley from the Triund top feel like some fantasy. One can experience the exquisiteness of nature at every step of the journey. While the tricky route and tiresome curves on the way bring difficulty for the first time trekkers, chilly breeze takes away all the weariness as soon as you reach Triund peak.

triund_trekkingIn Himachal Pradesh, places like Triund and Mcleod Ganj showcase the Tibetan culture with vivid monasteries, striking architecture, prayer flags, wheels, vibrant markets and Buddha’s stupas.

Night camping at Triund is an experience to die for!
It is true that stunning views of mountain ranges, green forest and water streams will make your trip memorable but what makes it a lifetime experience is night camping at Triund top. A beautiful campsite next to gushing streams and a night spent under the dark blanket of white glazy stars will turn out as the best camping experience ever!

Where do we start?
There are several starting points for the trek but McLeodganj or Dharamkot are among the most popular ones. From Dharamkot, a 7 km trial goes to Galu Temple. Here you will witness a beautiful sight of the valleys and Dharamsala cricket stadium. Triund is just a few metres away from here.

triund

The Best Time to Visit
Triund trek is available around the year, except from January to February. The best time to visit is from March to June and September to October as at this time, there is no snowfall and the weather is quite comfortable to enjoy clear views of the mountains.
March to June: The temperature ranges from 20 °C to 10 °C during the day time and 7 °C to 2 °C at night.
September to October: The temperature ranges from 10 °C to 7°C during the day time and 5 °C to -5 °C at night.

Pack a bag! 

  • Warm jackets, caps and gloves (in case of cold weather)
  • Trekking shoes, Trekking pole
  • Water bottles, energy drinks
  • A pair of sunglasses, camera
  • Basic toiletries, bed sheets
  • Power bank, Flash light (with spare batteries)
  • Insect repellent, First-aid kit

Attractions Nearby:
A day at Dharamsala Stadium: You don’t need to worry even if you’re not a cricket lover; a trip to Dharamsala offers an enriching experience. The stadium is situated 1,457m above sea level amidst the setting of the pictorial Dhauladhar Range. You may not know this but it is a favorite holiday destination of Aussie cricketer Mathew Hayden.

Offer prayers at St John’s Church:  Designed in neo-Gothic architecture and dedicated to John the Baptist, it is a perfect place to offer prayers and click pictures. The church which is surrounded by Deodars, has the Belgian stained-glass windows donated by Lady Elgin, wife of Lord Elgin.

Take bath at Bhagsunag Waterfall: Take an early morning stroll to the stunning Bhagsu Falls located just near to the Bhagsunath Temple. It is one of the best tourist attractions in Mcleodganj. A 20 m high waterfall offers a spectacular view and it holds the attention of its visitors in such a way that they want to get lost in its beauty.

Attention, Shopaholics: Don’t forget to take back some souvenirs!
Kotwali Bazaar in McLeodganj is an ideal destination for shopaholics. Tibetans sell beautifully handcrafted sculptures, accessories and utensils. Prayer Thangkas, Tibetan artifacts and dresses, rugs, carpets, bronze or silver statue can be purchased from here.

Triund

Triund Trek Tales 
For city dwellers, hills are the best place to get a break from noisy city life and mundane schedule. And what’s better than going on a long weekend trip in Himachal Pradesh. Taking the benefit of the opportunity, I decided to ask some of my friends to accompany me on a trip and our bags were packed immediately thereafter.

Home to Dalai Lama, Dharamsala is all about grand monasteries, colourful flags, rolling prayer wheels, ringing bells and an abundance of flora and fauna.

Our journey began from Delhi at around 10 pm. The thrill of going to our favorite holiday destination doubled this time as we had a plan to scale Triund. On that day, we hardly slept for an hour, most of our night was followed by researching about the Triund trek. Next morning, our Volvo dropped us at Dharamsala. It was around 7 am and we checked into our hotel.

Tip: Though the Best Western Indraprastha Spa Resort is quite costly, they offered us a good discount as we used to visit it at least five times a year.

After a warm welcome by the hotel staff, we went to our rooms. We had a scrumptious breakfast and some of my friends decided to sleep for a while. I was a bit impatient as I didn’t want to spend my precious time sleeping. Thus, I first visited Dal Lake that was located very close to our hotel. My family had warned me to not come back if I didn’t visit Bhagsu Nag Temple so I decided to go check it out. I had planned it in such a way that my friends were already at the waterfall (Bhagsu Nag Waterfall), I took a pleasing stroll from the temple to the decided destination. After spending a little while there, we decided to move ahead and pay a visit to Tsug Lhakhang together, it is the residence of Dalai Lama along with his private office and temple. As we reached that place, the weather changed and it all turned dark and breezy. The sudden change of weather is kind of usual here, don’t worry. The only thing that gave us a feel of heaven was the mesmerizing beauty of lush valleys surrounding us and a spectacular view of Tsug Lhakhang.

Next, we were hungry so our next two hours were devoted to a couple of cafés like Indique, German Bakery and Buddha Delight Café. You will find everything here to soothe your hunger pangs: maggi, momos, pancakes, thupkas, pizzas. The night was spent at the hotel. From there, we immediately rushed to Naddi View Point to capture the sunset in our respective DSLRs. The night was spent in our hotel.

The morning of Day 2 was quite a lazy one. After getting dressed, we moved to Jimmy’s Italian Kitchen where we gorged ourselves in white sauce pasta and smoky red wine sauce chicken. It was like offering you something just at half of what you get at Big Chill. It was hard to move with stuffed bellies but somehow we managed to reach shopper’s paradise i.e. the Kotwali Bazaar. I bought a variety of jewelry for my cousins and a Buddha sculpture for my father who is an ardent devotee. We shopped around for 2 hours and later we tried the traditional Himalayan momos filled with Pak Choi and Potato. The breathtaking view is worth the hike.

We spent a night at Dharamkot which is a small village next to Mcleodganj. Here, we enjoyed the wood-fired pizzas along with freshly made apple juice. We also ordered a plate of pita and hummus and I must say that an entire plateful of hummus is not meant for people with low-appetite.

Triund top view!
Triund top view!

The final day had arrived! It was a time to pave our way for some adventure. A 9 km trek to Triund from Mcleodganj provides breathtaking view of Kangra Valley and snow-capped mountains. The trial was getting steeper and the curves were making it difficult for us to continue the trek. We had Maggi and some snacks midway. Reaching the top was worth all the puffing and huffing. I headed further up, after consuming a cup of ginger tea. Another halt was ‘Magic View Mountain’ which offers panoramic scenes. The splendid views of Dhauladhar Range, and overlooking Kangra Valley and Dharamsala stadium from the top were way better than what I expected. Under the shadow of the glittery sky, we had a camp stay for the rest of night.

Landing at Bir Billing grounds
Landing at Bir Billing grounds

The last day was quite exciting, we moved to Bir Billing in Palampur, where we decided to jump off a mountain cliff with a paragliding chute, situated at an elevation of about 2,600 m. I felt like a free bird when I jumped from the top. While swaying under the sky, I enjoyed mesmerizing views of lush green tea gardens.

A closer look at the jewels hidden in the snow-capped mountains gave me a gamut of experiences that I would surely cherish until the next time I visit.

Hampta is a dream come true for trekking enthusiasts who are constantly on the look out for an unforgettable experience in the scenic valleys of Kullu and Lahaul in Himachal Pradesh. Why, you ask? Hampta Pass Trek is literally a paradise filled with eye-catching views and ever modifying scenery that captivates travelers in a lasting trance. Every turn of the trail is an immensely rewarding experience as it reveals nature’s hidden treasures. The rare sights of alpine forests, glaciers, and Himalayan flora and fauna make this expedition truly spellbinding.

Hampta Pass Trek – A Newbie’s Pleasure chi_4114
It’s a moderate trek that goes to magnificent foothills of the Pir Panjal Range and the great Himalayas. As you gain altitude, the trail offers different shades of nature, from green pine forests to the awe inspiring view of Indrasan and Deo Tibba mountains.

A Quick Overview of Elevation Points
The adventure began from Manali, situated at 2,050 meters. This is the point from where you will head towards Jobri by road, taking you to Chika at 3,100 meters. You will trek from here to your base camp – Balu Ka Ghera Hampta Pass at 3,600 meters. Also known as the ‘Heaps of Sand’, it is said that brown bears hibernate at Balu ka Ghera in the winters. The place offers the breath-taking sight of the magnificent Dauladhar Ranges.

Trekking will continue to an elevation of 4,000 metres at Shia Ghoru. The next stop will be Chatru and later you will arrive at the crystal clear Chandratal Lake at 4,270 metres. Moreover, steadily flowing streams, the long wavy bridges and a range of vibrant flowers offer great delight and peace.

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Measuring the Trek
Region: Himachal
Duration: 6 Days
Grade: Easy to moderate
Max Altitude: 14,100 ft.
Trekking Distance: 26 Km

The Friendly Locals: Living in the beautiful Himalayan region of Himachal Pradesh, the locals are quite reserved about their traditions and living customs. The socio-cultural lifestyle of farmers and artisans is reflected in their conventional heritage. They are ardent lovers of nature and its creation. Uniquely designed handicrafts and paintings can be discovered in the markets. People share a great bond of togetherness and brotherhood. They will surely help you whenever you ask them about the route and even if you’re lucky enough, some may offer you scrumptious traditional delicacies at a reasonable price or free of cost.

A Way to trek
Hampta Pass trek originates from the places like Manali, Naggar and Dharamshala. Manali is accessible by rail, road and air and well connected to cities like New Delhi and Chandigarh. The nearest airport is Bhuntar Airport, which is located 52 km from Manali.

Joginder Nagar Railway Station is situated at the distance of 166 km from Manali. Volvos and taxis are considered to be more convenient to reach the scenic destination.

An Amazing Experience of 14, 100 ft.
Actually, the story started on a boring Sunday when on the spur of the moment I decided to gift a solo trip to myself. While doing my research, I came to know about an exciting trek to Hampta Pass. I flew from Mumbai to Delhi and then boarded a Volvo AC bus to Manali. As it was going to be my first solo journey, I was very cynical about taking a long bus ride without any familiar faces. Surprisingly, the solo trip ended right in the bus, as a Korean woman sitting next to me was going for the Hampta Pass trek. This is the fun part of solo trips that you move all alone but come back home making several friends. While sharing some wonderful travel stories, Alena told me that it was the 4th time she had visited India.

After reaching Manali, we both rushed to Rambaug Circle on Manali Mall Road where we met our other group members and guide. We stayed at our booked hotel that day.

Capture
Get, set, ready to capture the most scenic of views on this breathtaking trail

The next day we were headed towards the base camp – Manali to Chika via Jobra. We drove to a certain point and from there we started trekking. When we began, it started raining. Thankfully, we were carrying umbrellas. We climbed through the forest and lush green meadows. As it was just the first day of hiking, I was literally gasping for breath. At that point, I felt like I should have better trained myself for a month before saying yes to the adventure. However, the enchanting sight of a wide range of deodar and oak trees on the way can make you feel refreshed. The slope seemed to be very easy for my Korean friend who was constantly smiling as she was amazed to see such a pristine beauty of nature!

chika
After a span of 3 hours, we reached Chika which was the perfect site to relax amidst the serene surroundings.

In the evening, our trek leader briefed us about the program and handed out a route map. In the evening, I captured some beautiful views in my DSLR camera which was recently gifted by my father. Later, we enjoyed dinner at the camp.

sun

We woke to a stunning view of sunrise and after having Chai and Parathas, we were all set to go on a long trek. Though the trek was very challenging, the sights of the valley, rivers and meadows made it all easier. You know what? I did pretty well on the steep trail which was covered with snow. We reached Balu Ka Ghera. The camp was organised at an elevation of 11,900 ft with a stream on one side and river flowing on the other.

Balu ka Ghera
Balu ka Ghera, the most beautiful campsite ever!

Day 3 was the final day! The most challenging yet the most exciting one, we were going to conquer Hampta today! Many of us were excited and nervous. We wore our snow spike shoes, took out our trekking pole and hiked towards the destined end. I was playing safe as I was mostly trekking in the middle troupe. The green valley made our way to the icy mountains and glaciers.

Yoga at Shia Goru
Yoga at Shia Goru

We finally reached Hampta. It was very foggy there so we were supposed to move forward as early as possible. We stayed there for 20 minutes and descended to Shea Goru. It was a slippery route and many group members rolled down when they fell on the ground. And then we couldn’t control our laughter. We created a warm corner of memories by clicking a plethora of pictures that I couldn’t even count. When we reached the spot, we saw that our guides had arranged a bonfire night at our camp. So, we sang and danced together that night!

On day 5, we moved towards Chatru and this was the place that gave us an opportunity to capture the most stunning views we only ever dreamt of. The valleys of Lahaul-Spiti and Pir Panjal Ranges added a charm to the beauty of the place. Notably, Chatru is the base point for three locations namely Spiti Valley, Hampta Pass and Rohtang Pass. We spent the night at Chatru.

The glorious Chandratal lake
The glorious Chandratal lake

Next morning, we had to say goodbyes to some really nice people that we met on the trek. After taking selfies and exchanging some warm hugs, I boarded a cab that took me to magnificent Chandratal Lake, which is said to be a jewel of the mountains. It is believed that the lake was the home to one of Pandavas – Yudhisthira, the eldest son of Kunti. After witnessing the purest form of nature, I hit the road back to Manali.

Facts|Figures

Know About Mobile Connectivity and ATM Facility
You should withdraw money from ATM at Manali or Prini. No ATM service is available after Prini. So, if there are chances of falling short of money, it’s better to take some from here.

Mobile connectivity is quite good till Prini but beyond that, you don’t get such facility. You should make sure that all your important calls are made.

Take Note on Temperature and Trekking Time
The best time to go for Hampta Pass is from June to August and September to October. The harsh climatic conditions vary at high altitudes, thus, it is important to choose the right time to get acclimatized. There are chances that you witness heavy snowfall and rain during the monsoon season.
June to August: The temperature ranges from 20 °C to 15 °C during the day time and 7 °C to -2 °C at night.
September to October: The temperature ranges from 15 °C to 10 °C during the day time and 5 °C to -5 °C at night. During this period, trekkers can enjoy the clear views of snow-capped mountains.

Things to Carry

  • 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)
  • Insect repellent, emergency medical kit
  • First-aid kit, binoculars, sleeping bag

Got some time? Check out these nearby attractions!

  • Siyali Mahadev Temple
  • Gadhan Thekchhokling Gompa Monastery
  • Museum of Himachal Culture & Folk Art
  • Rahala Waterfall and Jogini waterfall
  • Beas Kund
  • Tripura Sundari Temple
  • Solang Valley
  • Rohtang Pass

Don’t Forget to Carry Your Documents
You are required to carry your ID cards and photocopies of your driving license or voter ID or passport (along with visa for non-Indian travelers). Passport size photo is a must. When it comes to your fitness for the trek, you may need to show a medical certificate signed from your doctor.

hampta pass

Hampta Pass has been the best experience of my life so far! It came as a confidence booster to me as it had cleared all my hesitation for a solo trip. The natural landscape, amazing trek group and friendly locals gave me a bundle of beautiful memories that will remain entrenched in my heart forever.

Interested in knowing more about trekking in Himachal Pradesh? Read some of our other blogs!

Triund Trekhttp://www.adventurenation.com/blog/triund-trek-unraveling-himachal-pradeshs-treasure-trove/

Kasol-Kheerganga Trekhttp://www.adventurenation.com/blog/kheerganga-where-the-mountains-meet-the-moon-kasol-to-kheerganga-trek/

Sar Pass Trekhttp://www.adventurenation.com/blog/sar-pass-trek-a-little-heaven-in-parvati-valley/

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

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

Beautiful Views

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kathgodam
Lohagunj– a fantastic starting point for your Roopkund trek

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

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

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

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

Day 4 of Roppkund trek

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Things to carry

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

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

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.

 

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

What magnetic pull does the activity exert?

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

Kailash Mansarovar from Kathmandu
Kailash Mansarovar trekking from Kathmandu

A quick peep into the deep itinerary:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bath at Mansarovar Lake
Bath at Mansarovar Lake

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

Darchen Guest House
Darchen Guest House

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

Yam Dwar
Yam Dwar

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

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

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

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

When to visit this land of spiritual beauty?

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

Let routes not confuse you!

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

Load your bag with essentials:

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

Things that need a constant check:

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

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

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.

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.