Learning Center
Plans & pricing Sign in
Sign Out

Trekking the Himalayas


									Trekking the Himalayas
(Some Sample Trips)

Introduction: If you have an appetite for outdoor adventure on a canvas of epic scale, then
the mountain ranges forming the northern boundary of India will inevitably make your short list.
You have a wide choice of treks that vary from “easy” to “extremely challenging”, and various
comfort levels to choose from, ranging from basic to deluxe. Since we are talking about the
Himalayas and high altitudes, summertime in India is the best time to indulge in the sport – say
from June through October, though in some of these months the monsoon rains may interfere
with your enjoyment.

The mountainous regions of Himachal Pradesh, Garhwal, Kumaon and Ladhak all offer very
choice hiking terrains. Whether you choose a gentle trek or a more challenging one, you will
have an extremely memorable and rewarding experience, because these are, to this day, less
traveled paths and the pristine wilderness they traverse is both awe inspiring and fragile.

                                            Har-ki-Doon Valley, literally “The Valley of
                                            the Gods”, nestling beneath the majestic Swargarohini
                                            peak in western Garhwal, has earned its name with its
                                            exquisite views of snow-capped mountains on all
                                            sides.     While you have a choice of approaches,
                                            distance (multiple drive/trek combinations) and
                                            duration (two days to ten) for this hike, all are easy to
                                            moderate in difficulty, with a maximum elevation of
                                            around 12,000 ft. The scenery is one of dense pine
                                            forests, craggy hillsides, mountain streams and high
                                            open vistas with glistening snowy peaks rising above
it all. You are likely to encounter a tremendous variety of Himalayan bird and animal life along
your trek, and angling possibilities for mountain trout exist.

                                         Valley of Flowers National Park is accessible
                                         only in the summer months of June to October. A
                                         hidden paradise discovered quite by accident in 1931 by
                                         an English mountaineer, Frank Smythe, the park is a
                                         glacial valley surrounded by mountains which turns into
                                         a brilliant carpet of flowers (over 300 species) every
                                         summer – poppies, primulas, calendulas, anemones,
                                         daisies, impatiens, and orchids, all bloom in a riot of
                                         breathtaking color. The hillsides support birch and
                                         rhododendrons forests, while wildlife spotting
opportunities include mountain goat, red fox, snow leopard and black bear. While the maximum
elevation is 13,000 ft., the trek can be made relatively easy by taking a car from Joshimath to
Govindghat, and then hiking the remaining eleven miles and back over several days, thus leaving
yourself plenty of time to walk the park, camp, and get back to Govindghat at leisure.
                                              Nanda Devi National Park: This is a
                                              more challenging trek (maximum elevation 13,500
                                              ft.), as this mountain peak is the second highest in
                                              India. The park is inaccessible for six months in
                                              winter, when it is snow covered, and the months
                                              of July and August can bring heavy monsoon
                                              rains. Surrounded by mountains and approached
                                              by a deep gorge, the park is breathtaking in its
                                              natural beauty.     Your nature trek can also be
                                              made one of pilgrimage, as the holy cities of
                                              Badrinath and Kedarnath are in the vicinity, as is
the Valley of Flowers. For environmental protection, entry to the park requires a special permit.
For those so inclined, the Outer Sanctuary of the park is more accessible and a gentler trek, but
equally rewarding.

                                          Pindari Glacier: A trek to the Pindari
                                          Glacier in Kumaon is regarded as an “easy” hike,
                                          with the maximum potential elevation of 13,000
                                          ft., and 60 miles being covered in 7 days.
                                          Including travel time from Delhi you need 10
                                          days. The hike takes you through the wilderness
                                          of the Nanda Devi Park to the glacier, which is set
                                          between the Nanda Devi and Nanda Kot
                                          mountains and is the source of the Pindar River.
                                          Hike through deep coniferous forests, along
mountain streams and vast open spaces, up to the glacier, with its backdrop of craggy snow
covered mountains.

                                              Khatling Glacier Region: Rated as “easy-
                                              to-moderate” the kick-off point for this trek is
                                              Guttu, which you drive to from Rishikesh. The
                                              trek itself is a 50 mile roundtrip, and the
                                              maximum elevation reached is about 13,000 ft.
                                              The trail leads past Sahastra Tal (lake), lush high-
                                              altitude meadows, and alongside the Bhilanganga
                                              River to the glacier. A charming legend has it that
                                              the comely maiden, Bhilan, tried to distract Lord
                                              Shiva with her feminine wiles, as he pursued his
                                              meditations in that tranquil valley. An outraged
Shiva, as a heavenly rebuke, turned her into the gurgling river, so that she may blend into those
exquisite surroundings and distract him no more. The valley offers beautiful views of snow-
capped mountains and hanging glaciers.
If you are not feeling too energetic, value your little luxuries, or are pressed for time, the areas
around the bustling hill towns of Naini Tal, Mussourie, Simla and Manali, (average altitude of
around 7,000 ft.), and the terrain around the foothill towns of Almora and Ranikhet, all offer
excellent day hikes in very appealing surroundings, while leaving you free to return to a gourmet
meal and warm bed in your plush hotel each night.

Clockwise from Top Left:   Naini Tal, Mussourie, Manali, Simla

To top