If there is one Indian state that provides simplicity with excitement, it is Himachal Pradesh. With snowy mountains, luscious green plains and deep open valleys, Himachal makes for an all-in-one tour that has something for everybody. It is home to many Indian as well as foreign tourists all year round. Vacationers and adventure enthusiasts from Israel and other neighbouring countries flock to this picturesque destination every month.
Trekking in India started when the land was inhabited in prehistoric times. There are perhaps as many trekking routes in India as there are Indians. It was in the 1970Ã¢â‚¬â„¢s and 1980Ã¢â‚¬â„¢s that trekking started gaining in popularity as a recreational/adventure sport. A number of religious sites and shrines across the country, especially in Jammu and Kashmir, and in the Garhwal region of Uttarakhand Ã¢â‚¬â€œ such as Badrinath, Amarnath, Gangotri, Hemkund, Joshimath, Kedarnath, Vaishno Devi and Yamunotri Ã¢â‚¬â€œ entail trekking for a couple of days in the mountains. Trekking in India has grown in leaps and bounds and the current trekking scenario is very promising, with thousands of Indians and foreigners hitting trekking trails each year.
What India can boast of is some of the most stunning trekking routes in the world Ã¢â‚¬â€œ many of the mountain passes in the Ladakh and Zanskar Himalayas are above 5000m. But there are plenty of gentler and smaller trails, at different altitudes, both in the mountains and in the forests. If youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re looking for less arduous hikes, youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll find plenty in in the Western Ghats and the Nilgiri Hills of south India (Munnar and Wayanad in Kerala, Coorg in Karnataka, and around Ooty in Tamil Nadu).
It is possible to rent/buy trekking equipment all over India from clubs and adventure- gear manufacturers. Do thoroughly check all gear before venturing out into the mountains.
1. Small rucksack / knapsack
2. Sleeping bag
3. Lockable duffel bag
4. Karrimat / Therm-a-Rest
6. Personal toiletries
7. Water bottle (at least 2 litres)
8. First-aid kit
9. Camera with spare batteries and film (carry more film than you think you will need!)
10. Headlamp/torch with spare cells
12. Diary/pen/reading material
13. Sewing kit
14. Swiss Army knife
16. Sunscreen Ã¢â‚¬â€œ with high SPF (at least 30, to better protect you from harmful UV rays)
17. Lip salve/ChapStick
18. Sunglasses with retainers/spare prescription glasses
20. Emergency rations/goodies
21. Parachute cord
23. Rope (for high-altitude treks)
24. Plastic bags and Ziplocs for packing gear
Best season in India
May/June and September/October for Garhwal, Kumaon (Uttarakhand), Sikkim and Himachal Pradesh
June/July and August/September for Ladakh and Zanskar (Jammu and Kashmir)
One can trek in the foothills of the Himalayas from October through till March
Trekking destinations in India
1. Jammu and Kashmir (Ladakh, Zanskar)
2. Himachal Pradesh
3. Uttarakhand (Garhwal, Kumaon)
4. Sikkim and Darjeeling
5. Northeast states (Arunachal Pradesh)
6. Western Ghats
7. South India (Nilgiris, Coorg)
2. Clothing / staying warm (Ã¢â‚¬ËœCover your head if your feet are cold gentlemenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ is an old English saying)
3. Packing a rucksack
4. Pacing yourself on a trek
5. Timing Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Ã¢â‚¬ËœStart early and arrive earlyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ is the cardinal rule of trekking
6. Porters and guides Ã¢â‚¬â€œ A guide, or guide-cum-cook, is important on routes that are remote, tougher and relatively less trodden. Porters, with the option of ponies, will come in extremely handy on longer trips, especially if youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re carrying lots of provisions.
7. Mules and horses on the trail
The lovely dales of Kullu have been a major attraction area for those who prefer to climb difficult but low peaks. The south Parvati area has peaks like Dibibokari, Pyramid, Papsura and Peak 20,101 (6127 m). This area too, is open to all climbers with peaks like Mukarbeh and Indrasan (6221 m), and has a lot to offer hobbyists and serious climbers alike.
Kinnaur lies north of Shimla, in Himachal Pradesh. The National Highway leads through Kinnaur to Spiti. Recent changes in policy allow visitors entry to the area west of the road without official permission. Which means, high peaks like Jorkanden (6473 m), Manirang (6593 m) and several others are now easily accessible.
Above the eastern valleys of Baspa, Tirung and Leo Pargial (6791 m) rise many peaks above 6000 m. Kinnaurs architecture, its people and customs could each attract curious minds, interested travellers.
The area north of the famous Rohtang Pass road consists of the valleys of Lahaul. It has been open to mountaineers for many years now. Around the Bara Shigri glacier rise peaks like Kullu Pumori (6553 m) and Shigri Parbat (6626 m). Towards its north the Chandra Bhaga group (CB Group) has peaks like Minar (6172 m), Akela Killa (6005 m) besides others with different numbers, of around the same height. Phabrang (6172 m) and Mulkilla (6517 m) are the chief draws of the west side. Motorable roads lead to almost all the valleys here and the approached are easy and free of hassels.
Spiti is the most barren Trans-Himalayan area. In the east, the highest peak is the defiant Gya (6794 m), still unclimbed. The controversial Shilla (6132 m) stands proudly above this valley. In the west, are the Ratang, Gyundi and Khamengar valleys. Khangla Tarbo is one of the better known peaks here. Here, too, no permits needed!
Here are some of our favourite destinations if youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re after some serious adventure travel.
Assam: Underrated and not nearly as appreciated as it should be Assam is one of our favourite offbeat destinations for adventure travel in India. The mighty Brahmaputra that flows through the state will let you raft his playful rapids and camp on his river banks under starry skies and by gurgling waters. Majuli Island, the worldÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s largest river island, will let you explore her cultural and natural secrets and the friendly faces of the Assamese people will leave you with warmth in your heart and wanting to come back for more to this state of many charms.
Exotic India can best be discovered in the spring season just before the scorching summer start spreading its ferocity. The country offers virtually everything from scenic ravines and hill stations to beautiful meadows and lush green wildlife sanctuaries that can rock your spring vacations. The spring season is almost here and we can suggest some of the must-visit destinations that can really spice up your trip to India during this time. These are:
Himachal Pradesh: This northern state of India boasts some of the most picturesque and happening hill stations and mountain passes around the world. The best of them are Shimla and Kullu-Manali. Another fairyland landscape in the state is Dharamshala, which is popular worldwide for its Buddhist culture and utter serenity.
For more details:Ã‚Â http://www.shikhar.com/category.asp?CatID=12
Ladakh: Another mesmerizing hill station that will jazz up your springs expedition in India is Ladakh. The place dishes up host of wonderful trek routes and enthralling lunar landscapes. A true delight for nature lovers, Ladakh offers some exciting pastures and passes, such as Brandy Nala Trek, Markha Valley, The Apricot Valley, Zanskar Valley, to mention a few.
For more details:Ã‚Â http://www.shikhar.com/category.asp?CatID=12
The Golden Triangle: After having a striking sojourn at hill stations of North India, you can head on to bask in the rich cultural heritage in what is popularly tagged as Ã¢â‚¬ËœThe Golden TriangleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ of India. The Triangle comprises of historic cities of Agra, Delhi and Jaipur, all are highly-venerated for their opulent cultural and historic sites. Delhi, the capital city of India, is the melting pot of diverse cultures, and houses slew of notable buildings and eye-catching sites. Agra epitomizes the imposing combination of Mughal and Indian architecture, with the Taj Mahal standing at the forefront of all. Another historic site in the line is Jaipur, popularly known as Ã¢â‚¬ËœThe Pink CityÃ¢â‚¬â„¢, is home to sumptuous palaces and forts.
For more details:Ã‚Â http://www.shikhar.com/package.asp?PackID=81
Goa: The place that can offer you a wholesome holiday package this spring is the Western Indian state of Goa. This premier beach destination of India is cherished world-over for its absorbing beach trance parties. This perennially vibrant beach city is at its visual best during spring season when the Goa Carnival is in its full swing.
For more details:Ã‚Â http://www.shikhar.com/GoaTravelPack/destinations/goa.html