ABOUT TREKKING IN INDIA AS A MAJOR ATTRACTION:
“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity.”
- John Muir
India offers a plethora of vantage trekking points from which the Himalayas are clearly visible. Standing at some staggering heights, the arresting sights of the captivating mountains are a treat to the sore eyes. Getting an opportunity to trek in these otherworldly places is an experience to cherish. Going on a trek in India, you can bathe in the beauty of the sweeping vistas of Mt. Kanchenjunga, come face to face with the rugged beauty of the routes and places like Leh Ladakh, and walk along the banks of chortling rivers.For instance the pristine Zanskar River, the sight of which is sure to rejuvenate yourself with its burbling sound and fresh air. You can also enlighten yourself with visits to the age old monasteries and saturate yourself with the chanting of mantras, thereby feeding the spiritual aspect of your soul, not to forget about the chance to visit the quaint old villages to feel the invigorating beauty of mountain life.
Trekking in regions like Kumaon and Garhwal Himalayas will take your breath away looking at the serenity of the panoramic ranges, rolling landscapes, scintillating meadows, quaint valleys and gorges. Here you discover a unique blend of faith, spirituality while negotiating ascents and descents. The less travelled pathways of different regions in India will bedazzle all the trekking enthusiasts with their untouched beauty. Trekking in India means being at one with nature’s diversified topography. You can try your skills at the ethereal treks in the Shivalik Foothills and get to the highest peaks in the range. With the advent of time, numerous innovative trekking trajectories and locations have been unearthed and explored by the trekkers.
5 BEST WINTER TREKS:
Duration: 6 days
Distance: 20 km
Maximum altitude: 12,500 ft.
Trek Grade: Easy to Moderate
Best time: December to April
Tucked away in the Western Garhwal Himalayas at a formidable height of 12,500 ft in the Uttarkashi district, the Kedarkantha Peak is one of India’s most notable snow trekking sites, adorned with the unparalleled beauty of winter snow and rimmed with pine trees. This trek commences with a thrilling journey through the Govind National Park, a treasure trove of vegetation and animals including bears, musk deer, leopards, and an exotic species of birds! This journey is remarkable as it blends with the spectacular landscapes with not so difficult a terrain.
This trek entails one of the most scenic drives from its base camp meandering through the Mori valley beside the tranquil river Tons. Throughout the Kedarkantha journey, the trekkers will be rewarded with a diverse assortment of plants and animals. The magical routes of Kedarkantha Trek wind about and through Uttarakhand’s Govind Pashu Vihar National Park.
The swooning beauty of the Kedarkantha Trek has had such a terrific impact on the trekkers that it has been rightfully labeled as “Queen of Winter Treks”. This location enamors the trekkers with the beguiling beauty of the summit, the stunning views of the thick layers of snow all over the landscapes in the winters, a network of intricate pathways, scented and wooded pine forests, luscious meadows and serene rivers. You will experience a tremendous sense of gratification and pleasure as you ascend to the summit seeing the looming Himalayan peaks and the Kedarkantha peak with its magical surroundings.
Kuari Pass Trek:
Duration: 6 days
Distance: 21.5 km
Maximum altitude: 12,200 ft.
Trek Grade: Easy to Moderate
Best time: Mid-September to Early November
Resting at an elevation of 4264 m in the Chamoli district, the Kuari Pass trek is literally a trekker’s paradise. This trek houses some of the most rugged and glittering mountain ranges around the summits like Kamet (7756m), Trishul (7120m), Chaukhamba (7128m), and the majestic heavenly peaks of Nanda Devi (7817m). Other peaks, such as Nanda Ghunti, Hathi Ghoda Parbat, Neelkanth, Dronagiri, Mukut Parbat, Mana, Rishi Pahad, and Changbang, make their magnificent presence felt in the clear cosmic sky. The Kuari Pass Trek offers you to have a quick glimpse at this breathtaking panorama of the gigantic peaks.
The journey originates near Joshimath. The hike then continues across isolated Himalayan settlements. Walking through these sleepy hamlets on the Curzon trail is a terrific opportunity to get to understand the hill people. The woods are decked up with the brilliant hues of blazing yellow-orange colours of fall, creating a colourful contrast with the backdrop of brown mountains and snowy tops. This trek carries you past beautiful forests of oak and deodar trees. Leopards and Himalayan black bears can be seen in these forests. Rhododendron trees, which have flaming red blooms, are also abundant in these regions. This trek also blesses the trekkers with the enchanting views of the landscapes beside the flowing Bhagirathi and Alokananda rivers.
The most invigorating aspect of the hike is strolling through the beautiful Himalayan meadows, known locally as ‘Bugyals.’ The Gorson Bugyal, which consists of large sloping green fields, is the most impressive. This trek also provides you an unforgettable opportunity to visit Auli which is known for its ravishing skiing slopes. The trip also takes the trekkers to some of the additional minor passes, including the Vinayak pass and Tali top, before arriving at the climatic point of the trek, the Kuari Top. This trek is not that challenging and the minimum physical strength and endurance that you invest in this trek will be doubly rewarded with the sight of the Nanda Devi Massif and some other striking Himalayan ranges in the bargain.
Chadar lake trek:
Duration: 8 days
Distance: 62 km
Maximum altitude: 11,123 ft.
Trek Grade: Difficult
Best time: January to the End of February
Ladakh, nestled between the alluring Karakoram and Himalayan ranges, is known to be blessed with mystical hidden gems of nature. Chadar trek in Ladakh is its most treasured wonderland. Trekking this Chadar lake trek will be a one in a lifetime experience. In the winters, the Zanskar river completely freezes with a sturdy coating of ice on its surface, which is known as,”Chadar” in local parlance. This is regarded as one of the most daunting treks in the world. With adequate protection and proper precautions, you can take away from this trek a spiritual sustenance of the most sublime kind.
The most intriguing aspect of this region is that the nature of ice-cover on the lake changes frequently taking on a new shape. With the rise of dawn the lake blankets itself with fresh sheets of ice. The snow that accumulate at night melts, and reappears in the morning. The Chadar Trek’s unrivalled experience involves travelling across this icy Zanska River, an adventure to be forever cherished.
Besides providing the most thrilling walks over thick sheets of ice in the Zanskar River and Chadar Lake, this trek also takes you to some of the seemingly extra-terrestrial places of this region like the Magnetic Hills, the Gurudwara Pathar Sahib and some of the frozen waterfalls. The most iconic location of this trek is the 56ft long Nerak Waterfalls. The water descending from a height of around 56 ft apparently seems to be stuck, frozen in mid-air. This rare unusual sight will make this trek an unforgettable one. If you want to feel the real adrenaline rush by trekking in India then Chadar Lake trek is the way to go!
Duration: 6 days
Distance: 24 km
Maximum altitude: 12,100ft.
Trek Grade: Moderate Level
Best time: Mid November to March
The Brahmatal Trek, snuggled in the lap of Himalayas in the pious state of Uttarakhand is dedicated to Lord Brahma. The wide panoramic ranges in the summit of this trek are blanketed with thick layers of snow which gets drenched in the hues of yellow and orange during sunsets. This rare sight features as the most sought after experiences of this trek. The route provides access to ancient old woodland of oak and rhododendron. Many Roopkund Trek locations also come to view when strolling through the meadows along Brahamatal Ridge.
The Brahmatal Hike is a traditional winter trek. Aside from the challenging terrain, the walk is strewn with breathtaking sceneries, spreading woods, majestic Garhwal Mountains stretching across the blue skies, and dazzling rippling snowfields all around. The never-ending mountain stretches, expansive Bugyals, high elevation lakes, and dramatic vistas make it an appealing wintertime climb.
This trek runs throughsprawling forests and freezing meadows. Camping near picturesque lakes like, Belkaltel and rare jaw-dropping sites of some show-shrouded peaks like Mt. Nanda Ghunti and Mt. Trishul gleaming across the dazzling sky, will swim into mind’s eye when you are back living humdrum of life.
The Brahmatal trip, which spans 24 km, commences at the base hamlet of Lohajung in the Chamoli region of the Garhwal Himalayas. The 6 km hike from Lohajung to the Gujreni campground passes through deep conifer, cedar, oak, and fir woods. The Gujreni campground is located in the centre of a magnificent clearing encircled by oak and rhododendron trees, with breathtaking views of snow-topped mountains.
Dayara Bugyal Trek:
Duration: 4 days
Distance: 24 km
Maximum altitude: 3340 m
Trek Grade: Easy to Moderate
Best time: May to November
Many of the famous treks entail covering high pasturelands in the mountains. Dayara trek is a virgin beauty which can be undertaken from Uttarkashi in a short trek. The trek commences from the sleepy town of Barsu.
Dayara Bugyal is a circular plot of land carpeted with lush green grass and ringed with dense oak and maple forests. Beyond this threshold lies range upon famous range like Bandarpoonch, Srikanth Peak and Black Peak. A brisk footloose walk along the wavy terrain of the Bugyal will show you at every bend some magic in the form of silver oaks forests and mesmerizing peak views that unfold gradually before your eyes.
The wondrous point of this trek is the ascent to the Dayara Top. This location has an intersection point of all the other meadows of the area. This converging point will course its way to another glimmering meadow called Giddara Bugyal. This trek will also bring you to its fresh water lake, the Dodital Lake surrounded by out of the common wildflowers, green forests, and mountain passes. The snow-topped Bandarpoonch will steal the show of this trek, creating an indelible impact in the minds of the trekkers.
Souromi Banerjee is an aspiring content writer at Moxtain. She is associated with Voices, The Statesman, where some of her articles have been published. She is currently pursuing her English Major from Loreto College, Kolkata. She is a travel junkie as mountain is in her bones. Her other hobbies are dancing and painting.