Why is it that trekking and camping hold
such a hold on people? Maybe because nature has immense recuperative
elements and can provide one with the luxury to bask in its
sensation of solitude and peace.
Imagine that India has deep valleys covered with rich and
luxuriant undergrowth filled with a vast variety of flora
and fauna, how will you rate this experience? simply unforgettable.!
Trekking is all about setting oneself a challenging pace or
a strolly one, to enjoy the landscape of wild flowers, grand
scenery, local people, breaking up when you please, conversing
and dancing, forgetting all worldly troubles and losing your
mind and soul to forging new, uncomplicated memories.
Trekking is a popular sport in the Indian
states and for exploring the magnificent world of the daunting
Himalayas there is no need for training or special equipment.
Of course there is physical fitness and an outgoing, adventure
There is no special reason for picking up
one particular trek. It is true that the Himalayan eco profile
varies widely, resulting in differing weather conditions,
terrain, flora and fauna. While the Ladakh Valley specifically
Leh, Zanskar and Nubra, offers spectacular and challenging
treks, the foothills in Himachal Pradesh, has emerald green
land lush with greenery.
In Himachal Pradesh there are the alpine
regions of Lahaul, Spiti ,kinnur and kulu. Sikkim is a trekking
destination with a difference:- its colorful traditional cultures
and exotic landscapes have lured trekkers for long. The picture
postcard state of Andhra Pradesh provides a striking contrast;
it rises from the rain forest foothills to the icy watersheds
of the Himalayas.
Standing somewhere between these stark contrasts,
are the Uttar Pradesh hill areas of Garhwal and kumaon. These
hills, with towering peaks reaching for the sky and flanked
by the mixed deciduous and alpine forests harbour some of
the most exotic species of wildlife and an amazing variety
of botanical species. One can cross small streams and rivulets
on log drifts or take a dip in the hot springs or soak under
a waterfall or laze off in the grasslands.
IN INDIA ONE MUST TRY
TREKKING IN THE FOLLOWING PLACES
‘The abode of Snow’s is the chain of the highest and the youngest
mountains in the world. The interiors of the mountains are
inaccessible by road and so they must be visited in the slowest
and most intimate manner by walking.
Yet walking in the Himalayas does not require any technical
Skill or ability physical fitness is a must. The powers of
endurance, patience, and a stomach to appreciate the grand
beauty are pre requisites. The glitter of the morning sun
on snow peaks still covered in mist; swift streams and lazy
rivers; emerald takes and pine forests; solitude and enveloping
peace on a grassy meadow covered carelessly with a profusion
of multicolored flowers and the silence of a clear starry
night, will be all that one needs.
There are trails, which ascend steeply, and paths, which go
around local villages, passing through forests of rhododendron
which gives way to fragrant stands of Juniper and conifers.
It is this very splendour that captivates and invites the
spiritual joy that trekkers have found to be alluring.
Himalayas affords trekkers with special interests such as
Flora and Fauna, photography, geology or anthropology at all.
Trekking have immense possibility of stretching the Trekkers
walking hours into an even more rich experience.
Himalayas for the adventurer is a fulfillment of inner strength,
mental and physical endurance.
This is a very hard trail. It is demanding and one is advised
to take it only after they have trekked on shorter trails.
But the long walking hours are more than made up the rich
Flora and Fauna visible on the way.
One can go the trail by the road linking Delhi and Dehra Dun.
The potholes are many and the progress is slow due to the
various obstacles. One passes through the Rajaji Sanctuary
area, and if one is lucky enough, then spotted deer are encountered.
The overnight half at Dehra Dun tends to bring welcome relief
from the heat. The climate change is felt immediately and
the light rip in the air actually sets the tone for the days
The next day is trekking through Naogoan, Purola, Jermola,
and Naitwar up to the road head at Sankri. The climb is steep
at times and one should be prepared for the occasional landslide.
Yes, not to forget Hocks of sheep too.
Tired body protesting, one can easily get lost in the breath
taking view on the way. There are quaint village houses huddled
together to fight off the strong mountain winds the winding
track continued to sankri.
Just before Taluka, one comes across a hair-raising river
crossing. One can manage by performing a Houdini - like act
on the narrow tree trunk that has been thoughtfully laid out
across the rushing waters. Situated at a height of 1900 m
the Taluka bungalow commands an imposing view of the hills.
From the canopy like structure one is afforded a birds eye
view of the hills of Har-Ki-Dun.
The walk from Taluka to Seema, at a height of 2560m, takes
approximately 6 and 8 hours with everything up and down. This
is a tricky trail because the trail hugging the river can
be dangerous. He needs to be alert for one wrong footstep
and everything is at end.
Seema was earlier called Osla though the village by that name
is across the river a km. away. The valley widens from here
and more terraced fields come into view.
The walk from Osla to Har-Ki-Dun has another river crossing
which is this time over a man made bridge.
Now, the incline is steady. At a distance the Bandar punch
and Swargarohini ranges come into view as do the profusion
of Flowers, anemones, buttercups and scores of primulae. This
road leads to the last bungalow at the head of the Har-Ki-Dun
valley and takes about 6-7 hours from Osla.
Then one can move in the Ruin Sara Tal direction. There are
2 routes to approach this picturesque lake, a popular base
camp for expeditioners, from Har-Ki-Dun. A high altitude trek
over a pass that drops off near the Swargarohini peak is also
another option but requires same expert maneuvering over snow.
The next is to back track towards Osla until the river crossing
and then follow the Ruin Sara trail along the Tons river.
Before, the crossing in middle of tall deodar and an abundance
of rhododendrons lies a nomad’s hut where one can rest.
The next day is the descent from here to the bridge. The trail
meanders close to the river. The walk is long, ridge after
ridge, but the reward is a definite treat for the trail enthusiast.
KULLU, LAHAUL AND SPITI:
The above form the chain of interest for shorter treks.
The very famous and popular due to easy access in the nullah
north west of Manali.
A short drive gets one to the road lead at solang village
and a 5 hours. Trek is to Dhundi a green patch next to river
Beas. This trek is like a pleasant walk through the Bhojpatre
trees and Hanuman Tibba or the Solang weishom can be seen
will it’s impressive rock face letting off an occasional stone.
The next day’s trek is to the Beas Kund, the source of the
River Beas at approx 3,800 meters where you will tend a cirque
While only one day is required for Solang, the more experienced
and trained can take the Tentu or the Solang Pass which, at
5000 mt. allows to cross over and come back to Manali in 4
Similarly, the other trek goes up to Jagatsukh Nullah south
east of Manali. For those interested in climbing ,there is
an easy peak called Deo Tibba at a height of 6,001 mt. and
a sister peak nearby rightly called the consolation peak,
the latter a convenient option if you fail to get to the top
of Deo Tibba.
Yes, if one travel further not to Manikaran and access the
Tos nullah from the east, one would encounter not only the
famous Manikaran spires-excellent rock pinnacles peaks like
Dharmasura and Papsura, which, at 6,446 and 6,451 meters are
By the month of July, the Rohtang Pass, which is really the
watershed between the Kullu valley and Lahaul, opens up and
the road journey is itself an adventure. The Rohtang Pass
situated at 13,500 feet allows for an excellent panoramic
view of the mountain ranges of Chandra Bhaga, Mulkila and
the Kao Rong.
Whilst most people start trekking either in school or later
in life, one can also go through the experience of undertaking
an adventure or basic course in one of the climbing institutes
either at Darjeeling, Uttarkashi, Manali or Kashmir. Equipment
being a vital aspect, this is available with a few firms like
lbex Equipment or climbing clubs or trekking associations
also help as they can loan equipment to their members.
Trekking can be taken up at any point provided one chooses
the right trail.
One such trail for beginners is the trek to the Beaskund area
in Himachal Pradesh and this strikes out form Manali which
is now connected via Vayudoot or reachable by a 15 hours bus
journey via Chandigarh.
The trail takes the road form Manali to Puchan by bus and
then an easy trek of 4 hours to a beautiful camping meadow
called Dhundi. The next day is a good walk to Beaskund at
a height of about 10,000 feet. This is the bowl from where
the Manali, Shitidhar and Friendship peaks can be viewed and
indeed ascended if one is an experienced climber.
A middle-aged person can also go on a trek for the first time
and combine the religious aspect by taking off to the Garhwal
in the Uttar Pradesh hills. A drive of 10 hours gets one to
Uttarkashi via Rishikesh and then another day’s bus ride through
the Rishi Gorge to Gangotri. A quick dip in these holy waters
and one takes the trail to go on to Gaumukh the source of
the Ganges which one can reach in 2 days easy trekking stopping
to Camp at Bhujbasa which is 16 kilometers from Gangotri and
then a short haul of 4 kilometers to Gaumukh. For the more
hardy there is a possibility of trekking on to Tapovan at
4,400 meters on the green pasture, which is shepherded by
peaks like Shivling, Meru and the Bhagirathi peaks.
For the more experienced it is that fascinating land called
Ladakh and Zanskar where a journey is a must. One of the classic
routes is the Lamayuru Padam trek, a route of 10 days starting
at the famous Lamayuru Monastery and going through the heart
of Zanskar over passes like Wanla 3,245m and Hanupatta 4,265m
and finally Sirsir La at 4,900m. There are various gompas
on the way and through this arid land of colourful mountains
(due to different minerals present in the soil) the trekker
reaches the far-flung destination of Padum from where it is
a 2-day bus ride back to Kargil and back one day to Srinagar.
To get the best out of any taking expedition one must be prepared
to better the elements of nature. So best equipments available
have to be bought. Agreed that it might be expensive but it
is worth while for it will last long.
1) A good wind and waterproof jacket :
This is a very necessary item on the agenda. The ones made
from the expensive goretex fabric are the best in the market
for not only are they waterproof but they are also ‘breathable’,
which helps to avoid the wet and clammy feeling of normal
waterproof. If not there is the inexpensive waterproof nylon
2) A Rucksack :
Again this is an essential item for trekking. A good-sized,
waterproof, nylon, rucksack is a must. An internal frame system
is required. This is good to the shoulders. Make sure that
all the buckles are of the ‘quick release’ type. But remember
that no rucksack is totally waterproof so make sure that you
line it with of polythene bag .
3) A Sleeping Bag :
Avoid a nightmare by choosing a sleeping bag carefully. There
might be snow on the trek. There might be stones under your
tent, so sleeping bag becomes an item of survival used Holofil
bags to retain the trapped body heat in the loft even when
wet. Avoid zippered bags. Try a slide-bag. It is good and
warm even in temperature of 0 to 5 C. Do not forget to spread
a mat under your bag.
4) A Tent :
Take a strong tent to protect you from strong wind. They come
in two basic shapes. The ‘A’ shaped with aluminium alloy poles
and the dome shaped with aluminium or fibre glass rods The
‘A’ shaped tent with an inner layer of ‘breathable’ cotton
and the outer (fly sheet) of waterproof nylon fabric, is the
best for low altitude treks. Check the tent for strength and
resilence. Take care never to pack wet or damp tents in their
bags as they tend to mildew and rot.
5) A Woollen Balaclava (monkey cap) PEAK cap.
6) Sun Glares (preferably ones that block ultra violet rays)
7) Sun Screen Lotion.
8) T-shirts and Shorts for the day.
9) Socks, stockings and Gloves that are 20 percent acrylic
and the rest wool. Hundred percent wool often shrinks if wet.
10) Also wear a pair of cotton socks under woollen socks.
This allows perspiration to be soaked up by the first layer
thus avoiding ‘matting’ of the socks.
11) Many layers of clothing. The more layers you have, the
more air you trap. Air, as you know, is a bad conductor of
heat and retains body warmth.
12) A Swiss army Knife
13) Pen Light.
14) A Whistle and Cord.
You can now rough it out in comfort
One of the famous treks in the state is to the Amarnath Caves
at 3,900 meters. Watch the wondrous creation of an ice lingam
at the shrine. The trek could be done in four days beginning
at Chandanwari. Beautiful fresh water lakes and fir covered
mountains are the highlight of the region.
The ten day Padam-Lamaguru trek routes along Burden Gompa
begins at Padam, the capital of Zanskar. Walking through the
Padam valley along the river Zanskar, the trek affords views
of grasslands and popular trees. En route at Tungri, camp
is pitched by the village of Yo Youlang, close to saini Gompa,
considered to be one of the largest living monasteries of
Another interesting four to six days option beginning at Pahagam
is to a glacier in the valley - Kolahoi (3,700 metres). Anglers
would find excellent opportunities for trout fishing in the
leider. Located in the idyllic surroundings, the six day trek
to Gangabal Lake passes along several smaller lakes and wild
meadows. The trek begins at Sonamarg and concludes at Kangan,
both on the Srinagar-Leh highway.
Excellent opportunities abound for trekking
enthusiasts in the hill region of Garhwal and Kumaon in Uttar
Pradesh. The season for trekking are between May and June
and again from September through October. For years, Countless
pilgrims and trekkers have walked about 20 kilometres from
Gangotri to reach the snout of the glacier which gives birth
to Ganga, one of the most sacred rivers in the country. Only
a few bother to travel another five kilometers along the glacier
to the breathtakingly beautiful Tapovan, the land of the sacred
flower known as Brahmakama. The 19 kilometers trek to the
famous Sikh shrine is best done in two days. Through the thick
cyprus forests, this trek could earlier be combined with an
excursion into the Valley of Flowers.