Trekking has always been my idea of an escape from the tediousness of daily life as I always feel close to the hills. I believe in not just ticking off destinations from my bucket-list, but also in having phenomenal experiences which will leave memories that last a lifetime. Being a mountain aficionado, Annapurna Base Camp trek promised to be just the kind of adventure I was looking for.

Known for its towering peaks, unspoiled beauty and narrow slopes, Nepal has always been on my mind ever since I started trekking, and I was finally able to travel there this March. It is a very popular trek among trekkers due to its unfathomable beauty that blows you away in amazement. Essentially a moderate tea-house trek that features the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri massif along with panoramic views of Machapuchare, this is one of the most staggering journeys you will ever take.

Walk though the grassland of Annapurna Base Camp
Walk though the grassland of Annapurna Base Camp

Trek Details:

Maximum Height: 5,415 m
Trek Time: 11 Days
Distance Covered: 34.4 km
Level: Moderate
Start/Finish: Pokhara
Nearest Airport: Pokhara Airport
ATM Point: Lake Side Pokhara

Highlights of Trekking to Annapurna Base Camp

Annapurna Base Camp
Annapurna Base Camp
  • Nestled at 1,400 m with a spectacular Himalayan backdrop, Pokhara valley serves as the starting and ending point to the Annapurna Base Camp trek.
  • As you journey through the hills, you will be fascinated with the lifestyle, culture and hospitality of the Magar, Thakali and Gurung people.
  • For resting, you can easily find guest houses and tea points throughout the trek.
  • Communicating with the locals won’t be problematic as the residents are quite friendly and are very helpful with tourists.
  • Don’t forget to watch the gorgeous sunrise and sunset on each day, as the exquisiteness of the different shades of the sky will take your breath away.
  • Experience the wilderness of this unspoiled region and revel in the diversity of flora and fauna species.
  • Relax your tired muscles at a hot spring in Jhinu Danda.

My Experience – Annapurna Base Camp Trek

water-3091455_960_720-pokhra
Pokhara

Arriving in Pokhara: I took a flight from Delhi to Kathmandu, and after completing all airport formalities, hailed a taxi to reach my hotel. The next morning, I took a tourist bus to Pokhara , and checked into a hotel as soon as I arrived. After resting for a while, I headed out to the nearby market to explore the city. Settled on a lake, Pokhara boasts of numerous exciting adventures, entertainment zones, various restaurants and buzzing markets. The city is also the starting point of the Annapurna Base Camp.

Permits to trek ABC: In order to trek to Annapurna Base Camp, you need a TIMs card and a permit (ACAP Entry). These are available at Pokhara, located at a short walk from the tourist bus station. Whether you are trekking solo or with the group, you need to have both the permits as you will be required to show it to the authorities at various check-posts during the trek. Keep the permits somewhere safe from rain, don’t get it wet.
Some trekking companies take care of the permits for you to save you the hassle of doing it yourself. This is what I did when I booked my trek.

Best Route that led me to Annapurna Base Camp

Annapurna - Nepal Himalayas
Annapurna – Nepal Himalayas

My trekking journey started from Pokhara, from where I took a public transport (bus) to Nayapul. You can also hire a jeep/taxi, but I suggest you to take the public transport as it would be cheap if you are travelling solo. The scenic countryside route adorned with curvy bends and turns from Pokhara to Nayapul would take around 1.5 hours. From Nayapul, I climbed uphill following the Burgundi River upstream for a steady 4-5 hours before reaching Tikhedhunga, which is a small charming village with a number of lodges to spend the night in.

After another early morning, I left the beautiful village of Ghandruk and started to trek to Sinuwa where the mesmerizing sunrise was a kick start to my day. Following the Modi River, I ascend for some time and crossed the bridge over the Kimrong River. Then, climbed a steep trail that took me the staggering village of Gurung people, Chhomrong where the nature excellence left me awestruck with its enchanting beauty.

From Chhomrong, as I walked up and down the hill, I came across a scenic route that led me to the Chomrong Khola River where the encompassed view of bamboo, rhododendron and oak forest will enthral anyone crossing this path, and from there I hiked up to Sinuwa. I stayed overnight at Sinuwa while enjoying the breathtaking view of river and the lush green forests.

rsz_annapurna_south

Then in the morning, I travelled through the rich species of flora and fauna on my way to Hinku Cave and then finally to Deurali. From Sinuwa, I trekked till Bamboo passing the Kuldhigar onto the steep staircase to Dobhan and then crossed a suspension bridge. On reaching Sinuwa, I spend the night in a lodge and took rest after a gruelling trek of 6-7 hours.

As the morning unfolded, I continued my journey to Annapurna Base Camp. The route from Deurali to Machapuchare requires you to be tough and cautious as it is known to be the avalanche prone area. On reaching Machapuchare Base Camp, the valley opens up wide and features beautiful snow peaks. Then, after few hours of climb I entered the Annapurna Base Camp and enjoyed the magnificent vista of mighty Mountains. I stayed overnight at the camp and thoroughly cherished my triumph over the highland. Got up in the middle of the night to spectacle the Milky Way galaxy that illuminated the entire sky; I had goosebumps!

After absorbing the beautiful sunrise at Annapurna, I descend

till Bamboo, and followed the same route to Jhindu danda. On reaching Jhindu Danda, I settled my luggage and proceeded to relax in hot springs. Uh! It was so relaxing, it gave my sore muscles a soothing caress. I stayed overnight at Jhindu Danda. In the morning, I descended through the same route and reached Nayapul, from where I took a bus to Pokhara.

Which is the best season to plan your trek to ABC?

Annapurna Base Camp is accessible throughout the year apart from the late winters and monsoon season. Slippery and muddy monsoon trails, and winters trail laden with heavy snowfall makes both the season difficult to trek. The best season to trek this wonderland is during spring (April, May) and autumn (September to November). During this time the climate is not harsh, visibility is clear and the routes are uncomplicated and trouble-free.

Important Information

Camping in the Annapurna Sanctuary
Camping in the Annapurna

Annapurna trek requires medium-level fitness as you need to hike daily for 6-7 hours. At an altitude of 5,000 m, the oxygen levels will be low, and you might face breathing issues. You need to start exercising a month before your planned trip to increase your stamina. You need to carry medication in case you face AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness). Some must-have items to include on your trek are:

Trekking shoes
Trekking pole
Warm clothes and an extra pair of woolen socks
LED flashlight or headlamp with extra batteries
Sunscreen lotion, sunglasses, lip balm and mosquito repellent
Water bottles, energy drinks and bars
Emergency medical kit

“Trekking to the Himalayas of Nepal is an experience to be treasured. The picturesque valleys, startling rivers and towering peaks embellished with fluttering Himalayan flags everywhere, is definitely a treat to any traveller’s eyes. To sum up, a trek with nature in Nepal will give you far more happiness and peace than you will ever seek.”

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

Do give uphill trekkers the right of way

pexels-photo-532803

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

Leave No Trace

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

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

No Littering At Any Cost

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

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

Respect The Other Trekkers

pexels-photo-378153

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

Walk and Talk

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

Abide by the tent rules

pexels-photo-1840421

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

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

Do Not Eat Food of Other Trekkers

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

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

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

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

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

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

everest-base-camp-trek_1439798387

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

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

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

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

everest-from-base-camp

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

everest-base-camp

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

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

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


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

The blended one! - in Nepal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Check The List: Trekking Essentials

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

chadarFrozen Naerak falls.

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

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

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

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

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


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

An Experience Like Never Before 

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

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

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

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

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


Dreamlike Chadar Trek: Enjoy Camping Under Starlit Skies 

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

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

Lifesaver Tips: Exercising Precaution While Treading On The Frozen River 

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

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

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

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

chadar trek

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

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

chadar

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

  • Acute Mountain Sickness: According to a report, around 15 trekkers are reported to have been hospitalized in 2018, due to symptoms of AMS such as nausea, vomiting and breathlessness. During Chadar trek, trekkers can trek up to 11,123 feet. This sudden change in altitude may affect one’s body, thus failing him from accomplishing the trek. In order to prevent such as thing, trekkers are advised to first stay in Ladakh for a few days before starting the trek. This will enable one’s lungs to adjust according to the change in altitude. This time can be fruitfully used by taking acclimatization walks by trekkers.
  • Constant change in trekking trail: As a major portion of Chadar trek is covered over the frozen icy path formed by Zanskar River, the slightest of change in temperature has an extreme impact on the frozen trail of Chadar trek. It is highly suggested that travelers should pay attention to all the commands and instructions of the team leader and trek on only sledge routes. During an average day, the frozen river undergoes a constant process, which involves the formation of new ice sheets, melting of old ice and irregular breaking of ice blocks. During Chadar trek, travelers will always find the frozen river in a different condition. At times, the whole river will be completely frozen and its surface will be suitable to walk. At other times, the frozen stream of ice will completely melt from the center portion, thus leaving only narrow side trails of ice to walk on. There will also be times when the river would completely melt and the trekkers would have to leave the melted stretch of the river and climb the mountains. When there won’t be an option to climb the rocks, trekkers would also have to wade through the cold slushy stream of the river. It is suggested that trekkers should walk in small packs comprising of 6 to 7 people along with a person, who has all the necessary equipment including rope, carbines, harnesses, slings, a throw bag, sleeping bag and is ready to handle any kind of worst-case scenario. In case a trekker falls into the deeper portion of a running stream, he or she should prevent flowing along the stream. In such a case, a leader would throw a throw bag end, so that the drowning person may grab hold of it and get saved. In order to prevent such a situation, trekkers can opt to get anchored with the leader, who will be attaching all the trekkers by rope to his or her anchor.
  • Extreme cold conditions: The excessive cold conditions during Chadar trek often result in causing hypothermia to trekkers. Hypothermia occurs due to lack of warmth within one’s body. Usually, during a trek, hypothermia sets into one’s body after he or she has worn wet clothes for a long duration or even during the sleeping hours. People having weak bones should refrain from opting to go on this trek as the slippery icy terrain leads one to fall numerous times. Also, people with any kind of serious heart condition are also prone to hypothermia. The cold weather during the trek shrinks the blood vessels in one’s body, thus causing an immense pressure within the heart and leading to hypothermia in people with serious heart conditions. In order to tackle the issue of hypothermia, a trekker is required to be constantly active and warm during the Chadar trek. During the day, trekkers should constantly keep their body in motion, which will help in keeping themselves warm. It is suggested that trekkers at camping site should perform activities such as exploring campsite, interacting with locals or even playing some sports on the icy field. Trekkers are required to bring warm clothes which may protect them from snow blizzards and avalanches.
The ice sheets are dangerously thin at some points. Extreme caution is advised to the trekkers.
The ice sheets are dangerously thin at some points. Extreme caution is advised to the trekkers.

IN THE UNLIKELY SCENARIO OF A DROWNING: 

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

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

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’.

Beautifully nestled in the Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh, Bir Billing is the hub of all kinds of adventure activities. Famously called, “Paragliding capital of India”, Bir attracts thousands of visitors throughout the year. Bir is a part of Billing Valley. The paragliders are launched from Billing and land down at the stunning site in Bir, after covering the distance of around 18 km. The landscape of Bir Billing features deep gorges, impressive snow peaks, misty woods, flowery meadows, lush green valleys, glistening lakes, gushing waterfalls and enthralling lakes.

A melting point of cultures

shutterstock_5387715_att6z

Amidst the scenic and serene settings, striking temples, soulful monasteries and stupas represent a perfect blend of Himachali and Tibetan culture. Not only Himachalis, a sizable community of Tibetan refugees also resides in the village. The Bir Tibetan Colony features several monasteries and local restaurants, where travelers can enjoy lip-smacking delicacies with an essence of the friendly culture that Bir offers. The incredible sight of bhikkhus and Tibetan monks offering prayers in the monasteries give a sense of peace to one’s soul.

Many-splendoured Tea Gardens 
Famed for organic tea farms, the Bir Tea Factory is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Bir. As the tea factory remains open to the public travelers, visit the place along with their children to learn about the plantation skills of India’s most consumed hot beverage. Hills are always suitable for tea production and this is why one can find various kind of tea that are grown in the garden and processed in the Bir Tea Factory.

The factory is located in close proximity to Bir Bazaar, from where one can buy a selection of dry fruits, fragrant tea, handmade articles etc. In the tea garden, a sight of men and women labours dressed in traditional attires with a beautiful basket on their back is a great capture to the cameras of photographers.

Paragliding, Hand-gliding, Motorbiking, River rafting, Trekking and Camping: Bir Billing has it all! 

  • Soaring High: Tandem Paragliding
    One of the major highlights of Bir Billing is Paragliding. Nothing could be more eventful than flying under the sky from where you can see a whole different world around. Remarkably, Bir is considered as the world’s second best site for paragliding after Lake Como in Italy. Paragliders are launched from a lush green valley of Billing, which is situated at a height of about 2400 metres. And these paragliders land in the grassland at the western edge of the Bir Tibetan Colony in Chowgan.
    Landing at Bir Billing grounds
    Landing at Bir Billing grounds

    Keeping the protection in mind, beginners get a chance to enjoy an adventure-packed ride in a two-seater glider with a skilled trainer. Bir witnesses a huge crowd in October as it hosts the event of ‘paragliding pre-world cup’ every year.

  • Trek To The Top
    1
    Bir Billing offers a number of trekking options to the adventure enthusiasts and nature lovers. This activity gives you an opportunity to explore the exotic Himalayan flora and fauna, stunning rivers, gushing streams and waterfalls. From easy to difficult and 1 day to 1-week treks are available near the Bir Billing. Some of the trekking destinations include Sach Pass to Pangi Kareri Lake, Manimahesh Lake and Chamba over Jalsu Pass.
  • Camping in Bir
    India-Camping
    Staying at hotel becomes dull at times, especially when you’re surrounded by the mountains and lush greenery. To have a wonderful experience in the lap of nature, you need to avoid the option of hotel booking as Bir gives you a chance to spend a night under the glittery sky at some of the exquisite locations. While living in tents, you can enjoy the sights of splendid vistas of nature.

Plan a weekend in Bir
If you are on long holiday and have explored enough of Bir Billing, then you can opt any destination from the list of wonderful weekend getaways near Bir Billing.

There is no dearth of amazing weekend getaways from Bir Billing. Getaways like Manali, Leh, Ladakh, Kullu, Shimla, Dharamshala and McLeodganj offer peaceful surroundings that revitalize your mind and body with exciting activities. Other nearby attractions include: 

  • Deer Park Institute
  • Chokling Monastery
  • Dharmalaya Institute
  • Sherab Ling Monastery
  • Baijnath Temple
  • Drukpa Kagyu Monastery
  • Chowgan Tea Gardens
  • Tashi Jong Village
  • Chauntra Bazaar

If you’re looking for accommodation options at Bir Billing

  • Tatva Bir Camp
  • Siddhartha Greens Bir Billing
  • Hotel Paul Manor
  • Big Mountain Camps
  • Bir Resort
  • Camp Oak View

If you’re looking for some food joints…

  • Norgay Kitchen
  • Sterling Restaurant
  • Glider’s Pizzeria
  • Bruce House
  • Cafe Cloud Door

How to Reach this Amazing Holiday Destination?
Bir Billing is very well connected to other Indian states. As it is situated away from the hustle-bustle of city amidst the snow-capped mountains, one has to put an extra effort to reach there as there is no direct flight or train available from the major cities like Delhi and Mumbai. However, the travel journey to Bir is joyful and a one of its kind experience.

Flight: The Kangra Airport is situated at a distance of 68 km from Bir Billing. The airport is situated in Dharamshala and is very well connected to and from Delhi and Mumbai. However, passengers can board a non-stop flight from Delhi to Dharamshala and a connected flight from Mumbai. Notably, the air route remains closed due to bad weather, especially in winters. After reaching the airport, travelers have to hire a taxi or board a bus to reach Bir.

Train: At present, one can get a toy train that takes you to Bir Billing. Kangra valley railway runs a toy train from Pathankot, which covers the distance in 7 hours via Ahju. The distance between Pathankot and Bir is around 143 km.

Taxi or Bus: If you’re among those who always look for astounding vistas or adore long drive then you should visit Bir either by taxi or bus. You can board a bus from the Inter-state Bus Terminal (ISBT) and it takes around 12-14 hours to reach Bir. Notably, the distance between Delhi and Bir is around 520 km.

If you have decided to hit Bir Billing by road then you can follow these routes:

Route 1: Delhi>Ambala>Banur via Chandigarh bypass>Kiratpur>Anandpur Sahib>Nagal>Una>Kangra>Palampur>Baijnath>Bir

Route 2: Delhi>Ambala> Banur via Chandigarh bypass>Kharad>Kiratpur>Bilaspur>Mandi>Jogindernagar>Bir

pilots_on_a_paragliding_takeoff_at_bir-billing_01

Is Bir Billing Accessible throughout the Year?
The entire summer season is an ideal time to beat the heat of hot cities like Delhi and Chandigarh. Here, the weather remains pleasant and the temperature ranges between 10°C and 22°C. Notably, the monsoon season receives moderate to heavy rainfall and the region might become prone to landslides causing blockage of roads. So, this is not an advisable season for a visit.

Despite the harsh and cold weather in winters, Bir experiences a heavy flow of tourists. Also, the months of October and November are perfect for paragliding and the average temperature ranges from 4°C to 12°C. The temperature drops below freezing point at night in the months of December and January.

What are you waiting for? Plan a trip to one of the most splendid tourist destinations in Himachal Pradesh to explore the fun like never before!

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.

There are several places in India that are considered to be the spiritual destinations, however, Kailash Mansarovar Yatra has something special to boast about. It is a journey which represents a unique bond between nature’s creativity and the sheer spiritual energy that the place emanates. Being a perfect exemplar of the “image of God” recreated by the sacred texts of the religions across the globe, Kailash Mansarovar Yatra is popular for providing a lifetime kind of experience. It not only helps to revive the lost connection with one’s own self but also offers a chance to get appealed by the feelings of being integrated, unified, organized and whole.

The major attractions of the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra include a Parikrama of Mount Kailash and a holy dip in the Mansarovar Lake. The journey is also famous for the difficult feat that the trekking enthusiasts have to cover in order to fulfil their passion for adventure and thrill. Being one of the most arduous treks, Kailash Mansarovar Yatra also gives a chance to live an epic climbing adventure.

Best Time to Visit: The best time for the trekking expedition to Mount Kailash and Mansarovar Lake is considered from mid-May to mid-October. During this time period, the weather remains steady and visibility of the region is at its finest. Moreover, the temperature levels are cool throughout the day. In addition, it is believed that the best time for Kailash Mansarovar Yatra is during Saga Dawa Festival. Being one of the important festivals in Tibetan Buddhism, it witnesses a huge flock of tourists who wish to have a quick glance at the cultural roots and traditional heritage of the region.

Tracing Our Steps To The Holy Abode of Mount Kailash
Before signing up for the trekking expedition to Mount Kailash and Mansarovar trek, there were several things that gave me cause to wonder. In the moments when my decision was swirling around the waves of uncertainty, I was confident of rediscovering the most neglected “me” on the journey. With a streak of adventure and a hope for joy, I stepped into the unknown zone to battle against the nightmares of living into a world of constructions.

Kailash Mansarovar from Kathmandu
Kailash Mansarovar from Kathmandu

The trekking expedition to Kailash Mansarovar Yatra took its flight when I reached Kathmandu, the sprawling capital of Nepal. Perched at an elevation of about 1,400 meters, it lies on the bowl-shaped Kathmandu valley which is the spiritual heart of the state. It is believed that the valley is created from the bed of a sacred lake by deity Manjushri and is symbolic of the beautiful patchwork of terraced fields and sacred temple towns showcasing the glory of the architects and artisans of Nepal. The beauty of the place was immensely captivating and drifted my mind to the astounding scenic views that nature beholds. Despite getting tired after such a long journey, the curiosity to explore more of the area was intact. But the call of drowsy eyes and waning strength made it difficult for me to play my curiosity to the fullest.

Trekking In Kathmandu
Trekking In Kathmandu

Next day, I began my sojourn by seeking blessings at Pashupatinath Temple and Budhanilkanth Temple. This was the day when I drove from Kathmandu to Dhunche to reach Kyirong. Here, my way had been blocked by the immigration formalities that need to be completed before moving ahead. Thankfully, I carried all the documents that saved me from any mishap and helped to enter in those geographical boundaries to which nature had not added any fence, unlike humans. If the journey through this place has to be explained in few words, I must say it was a journey of introspection. It not only enlightened me on the superficial construction of boundaries by humans but also offered moments where one can seamlessly relate to one’s own fragmented self. 

Lake Mansarovar
Lake Mansarovar

Further, I reached Dongba, a place of majestic beauty which knows no bounds. Home to a panoramic view of the blue lake Pieko-Tso and the astounding views of Yarlung Zangpo (the Brahmaputra River), the place lends an experience of one-of-its own kind. The beautiful mountain terrains and high plains double the level of excitement of hiking.

The best part about this location is the highs and lows of this terrain that lead to the sight of an abode of purity, Mansarovar Lake. Nestled in the lap of nature at an altitude of 22,028 ft above sea level, it is the highest freshwater lake in the world. The crystal clear blue water of the lake and its emerald green appearance has never failed to sway the mind of thousands of tourists across the world. The view of such an exceptional beauty of nature gave me a plethora of opportunities to turn into a photographer to create negatives for the moments lived in ecstasy and excitement.

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

And therein arrives the time to start trekking to Mount Kailash. As the first day of Kailash Parikrama begins, Yama Dwar served as the starting point of the trekking expedition. Yama Dwar, the Gates of the Lord of Death, is believed to be the gateway where all mortal bonds have to be shaken off to meet the deity of great religious relevance, Lord Shiva. It is a place of symbolism where truth prevails and the spiritual concept of supreme reality holds value. It also offers the closest views of a place of great religious significance and mythological importance, Mount Kailash.

Standing tall at 21,778 feet, Mount Kailash is considered to be the source of four mighty rivers of Asia including the Brahmaputra, the Ganges, the Indus and the Sutlej. Mount Kailash is a testament to one of the popular sayings, ‘The best views come after the hardest climb.’ When the rays of the sun fell on such a mighty mountain, the whole region brimmed with light and transformed into a matrix of unbelievable possibilities. For a while, it seemed that the Lord himself has sent a messenger to remind that after darkness, comes the light, and that life holds in surprise for those who know how to give fire to the flickering hopes. Before descending through rocky paths and loose stones, it was time to dig deep into those experiences that made this journey worth-undertaking.

Must-carry essentials:

  • Trekking shoes and Trekking pole
  • Duffel bag
  • Torch with extra batteries
  • Hand gloves
  • Warm clothes
  • Tracksuit
  • Extra pair of socks
  • Moisturizer
  • Camera
  • First Aid Medical Kit

To think back to ones’ own childhood, it reminds us of our free self where the idea of a creative life used to inspire us. However, when we started growing, those creative impulses have been slowly replaced by the struggles of life. But one should never forget that life offers a chance to all to design it beautifully. The imbalances that clog lives and limit the innate capacity for joy cannot keep one away from adding a memorable experience to the calendar of his life. So, do not hesitate to play hide and seek with perceived realities to restore the fun that sometimes lies in living life on the edge. And one such experience lies in the trekking expedition to Kailash Mansarovar Yatra.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

webp-net-compress-image-18

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

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

Roopkund 1

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

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

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

Quit being afraid. The world awaits.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trekking Gear Essentials for Markha Valley Trek

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

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

Shanti Stupa
Shanti Stupa

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

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

Thiksey Monastery
Thiksey Monastery

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

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

Spituk

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

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

Stok Kangri in the Himalayas
Western Flank, Stok Kangri

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

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

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

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

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

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

"<yoastmark

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

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

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

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

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

Undoubtedly, there are some beautiful chapters in our lives that cannot be described in words. A trek to Valley of Flowers and Hemkund Sahib was one such chapter for me! Located in the ‘Land of Gods’, in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand at an altitude of 3,600 m, this stunning paradise was unknown for centuries. The site was explored by the British mountaineers in 1931 when they came to visit Uttarakhand and lost their way. And then they stepped in the magnificent valley brimming with wide varieties of flowers. Hence, the gorgeous dale was named ‘Valley of Flowers’.

In 1982, the Indian Government included it in the list of national parks and UNESCO gave it a title of ‘World Heritage Site’ in 2004. The course to the valley also goes toward Gurudwara Hemkund Sahib which is situated at an elevation of 4,320 m.

Valley of Flowers National Park
Valley of Flowers National Park

Here’s when to plan a getaway 
One can visit the valley from mid-May to September as it is the time when the site is splashed with thousands of bloomy colourful flowers. It is known for 600 different types of flowers including the Brahma Kamal, Snake Lily, Cobra Lily and Blue Poppy.

Valley of Flowers in Hindu Mythology 
The dazzling land is said to be the abode of various Hindu deities. Some say it was garden of Lord Indira, Nandan Kanan. A few others believe that Lord Rama‘s devotee Hanuman found Sanjeevani here, the magical herb that brought back unconscious Lakshmana to life. Whereas the locals believe that this place was home to fairies.

My ‘Flowery’ Tale: Exploring the flowery bed on a 3-day trek 
I’m the kind of a person who wants to travel to each and every corner of the world. But my plan to travel Valley of Flowers turned out to be an alternate to Kashmir. Each journey brings out a unique experience leaving its imprints on my heart and soul in the most special way. When I visited the Valley of Flowers and Hemkund Sahib I truly felt that ‘Dev Bhoomi’ is nonetheless a heavenly paradise.

My journey began from Delhi to Rishikesh. My journey through lush green fields was simply mesmerizing. I had breakfast at Gulshan Da Dhaba, Roorkee. And the next stop where I halted my car was Haridwar, I visited Triveni Ghat and took a dip in river Ganges. I spent around 2 hours at this divine land. It was interesting to witness the religious significance that influences the lifestyle of the people of Haridwar. After two hours of driving, I reached Rishikesh and a cup of chai at a tea stall. There, I heard news that a landslide occurred on a way to Govindghat on the same day. So, as advised by locals I decided to spend a night in Rishikesh only. I had a dinner at Choti Wala and an amazing night at the rooftop of my hotel that was located along the bank of Ganges.

I could only manage to reach Govindghat by noon, which in itself was like an adventure before the trek began. Seeing locals cleaning the rocks on the road after landslide, I found myself trapped in Govindghat. Thankfully! My trek leader reached right on time, the man-in-charge greeted all my confusion and apprehensions with a stoic smile and somehow managed to assuage my fears of reaching the base camp Ghangaria. He also briefed me about the trek plan and introduced me to two other persons who were ready to hike with us.

webp-net-compress-image-11

Day 1: Govindghat to Ghangaria
We started our trek to Ghangaria after a langar in gurudwara. The delight of visiting gurudwara is always amazing as it gives peace to one’s soul and it is open for everyone – regardless of beliefs, caste or colour. After walking 1 km, our guide advised us to submit our luggage to the porter as he thought we could not carry it anymore! We enjoyed a cup of tea and pakodas at Barsati Wali Chai ki Dukan. The course to Ghangaria goes along the River Lakshman Ganga for most of the way. It was quite a smooth trek as I didn’t have to trek uphill.

It was not only us, as there were hundreds of people who were going up in palkis and horses. Moreover, beautiful streams, waterfalls and lush greenery on our way hypnotized us. While trekking to this sublime beauty, we came across isolated hamlets, oak forests and diverse species of flora and fauna. We covered around 13 km to reach Ghangaria, we spent a night at Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam.

Day 2: Ghangaria to VOF
We woke up to a stunning view of sunrise amidst the ravishing panorama of lush green mountains. After breakfast, we started our way to VOF. The striking mountains helped us to regain our energy. A trail was filled with beautiful flowers and we finally scaled to Valley of Flowers. My eyes were glazed by an incredible sight of different kinds of flowers I had never even dreamt of. I enjoyed a sight of majestic flowers such as Balsam, Dwarf Globe, Brahma Kamal and Marsh Marigold. These exotic flowers were spread like a flower bed sheet that was stretched over an expanse of 87.50 km. A quote that comes to my mind as I write this is, ‘Nature is never in a hurry, yet everything is accomplished’.

A unique blend of snow-capped mountains, green meadows, and white clouds made our trek a dreamlike adventure. After spending 2 hours at VOF, we descended to our base camp where our guide had arranged a bonfire night and dinner for us.

Day 3: Ghangaria to Hemkund Sahib
We woke up early in the morning and started our trek to Hemkund Sahib, a revered site for Punjabis and Sikhs. It was a 7 km long expedition which began with a gradual incline through the Himalayas. On the way, we clicked several pictures of grazing cows and goats, stunning waterfall and lakes. It was like a tea house trek, as the course was lined with a number of tea plants. After two hours of trekking, we reached the point where the views of snow-capped mountains started getting better. Later, we reached a river gorge from where the oxygen levels started reducing. Somehow, we managed to reach the Hemkund Sahib gurdwara bang on time and the Hemkund Lake was just behind it. We paid homage at Laxman Mandir. We spent around 3 hours there and later descended back to Ghangaria.

Exquisite!

Spend some time in the serene lap of nature and visit this tranquil bed of flowers overlooked by towering Himalayan peaks. Don’t miss out on capturing some beautiful pictures when you do!

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.

chi_4251

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/

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!

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. 

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

What sways the mind of millions?

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

uttarakhand_valley_of_flowers_trek

A quick glimpse of my trekking expedition:

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

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

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

trek_uttarakhand_valley_of_flowers

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

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

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

webp-net-compress-image-10

A part of the journey which was a spiritual surprise:

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

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

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

Load your bag with few essentials:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trek Ladakh Today
Trek Ladakh Today!

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

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

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

Camping in Ladakh
Camping in Ladakh

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

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

In Leh
In Leh

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

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

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

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

Stok Kangri in the Himalayas
Stok Kangri, Himalayas

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

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

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

You Don’t Get To Do This Every Day!

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

skiing in gulmarg
Discover Hidden Treasures of Gulmarg

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

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

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

Auli
Auli, a pristine stimulation

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

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

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

The Thrill of Mystical Slopes of Manali in Himachal Pradesh

Himachal Pradesh
Himachal Pradesh is a calling for the venturous souls

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

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