Last Updated: July 8, 2019 Arun Joshi
The young Himalaya sure knows how to have FUN! This long chain of mountains have good terms with adventure freaks, nature lovers and wildlife conservationists…it’s like the charm of these Himalayan mountains is so irresistible that one can’t help being drawn towards it time and time again. The Northern and North Eastern belt of India through which the Himalayan Mountains runs, is reckoned to be some of the best adventure destinations in the country. Undoubtedly, amongst all the other adventure activities in Indian Himalaya Trekking is the most exhilarating activity one can choose to pick. The states like Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Sikkim offers thrill and tons of fun to those who yearn to explore the challenging yet beautiful trekking trails of Indian Himalaya. It does not matter if you are an amateur or an expert; there is always something or the other in store for you on this North and North Eastern belt. This time around we have for you is a list of best places for trekking in Northern India that are both challenging and full of knowledge. Let us traverse together through the list below!
A simple trek that passes through dense forests, small rivulets and large grasslands, Dodital trek is filled with the pristine beauty of nature that never fails to allure the visitor. Dodital is a small lake situated in Uttarkashi district at an altitude of about 3000m above sea level. The lake is fringed by Rhododendron, Fir and Oak and is the home to the Golden Trout Fish. There is a small temple dedicated to Lord Ganesha situated at the side of the Lake that enhances the beauty of this already picturesque place. Since trekking to Dodital is easy, it has become one of the most popular treks in Uttarakhand. The trek begins from Sangamchatti and after passing through the beautiful Agoda Village and Manjhi one finally reaches Dodital.
Reckoned as the base of Fateh Parvat, Har ki Dun or Valley of God makes for a perfect trekking destination in India. Har ki Dun is situated at an elevation of about 3500m above sea level and is amongst the most famous treks in Garhwal Himalaya. The trekking trail to Har ki Dun comprises forest of Chestnut, Willow and Walnuts, terraced meadows and large patches of grassland complimented with the sky-kissing mountains and small rural settlements. The trek begins from Taluka and then further ascends to Osla, where one can see bean and rice fields along with quaint villages. Furthermore, from Osla a steady ascend leads to Har ki Dun. The pristine beauty captivates the heart of the visitor, while the snow-clad peaks and lush meadows welcome you to the Valley of God. If one wants, one can trek up to Ruinsara Tal via Debshu Bugyal. Ruinsara Tal is a beautiful place marked by conifer forest, terraced fields and large grassy patches. The place is absolutely photographers’ delight!
The Kuari Pass or the Lord Curzon Trail is a well-known trek in the Indian Himalaya. Situated at an altitude of about 3500m in the lap of Garhwal Himalaya, Kuari Pass makes for a wonderful trekking expedition. During this trek one comes face to face with the unparalleled beauty of the Garhwal region that boasts of dense forests of Oak, Deodar, Chestnut and Maple trees, gentle meadows and hulking high mountains. The view is truly impeccable and the trail is absolutely stunning. The trek for Kuari Pass-Lord Curzon Trail begins from Sutol Village. The trek continues to Ghunni Village and then to Jhinjhi Village. Crossing the bridge from Pana Village to reach a high altitude meadow area called Dakhwani, the trekking trail continues to Kuari Pass. The trail from Dakhwani to Kuari Pass has lot of side streams and meadow areas. Reaching Kuari Pass through Tali Meadow, one can witness splendid views of peak like Dronagiri, Nanda Devi, Changbang and Hathi Godhi Parvat.
Khatling Sahasratal Trek:
Khatling Sahasra Tal trek is one of the lesser explored treks in Uttarakhand. Shahasra is an alpine lake that is surrounded by jagged hills, whereas Khatling is a glacier, which is believed to be the origin of the Bhilangana River. Since, this trek is a lesser known one, trekkers can expect the place to be immaculate and isolated. Sahasra Tal is an ideal place for overnight camping. The trek from Khatling Sahasra Tal begins from Malla (At a short distance from Uttarkashi). The trekking trail eads to a gentle ascent to Kushkalyani via Sillachhan, from where the trail passes through Kyarki Khal (4077m). Traversing through a large meadow area and crossing Parital, one reaches the beautiful Sahasra Tal (where overnight camping is a must). Following several descends and ascends via Kalyani, Kharsoli and Tambakund, the trek leads to Khatling Glacier. Later if you wish to include Masar Tal in your trek, you need to follow a downhill track to reach upto it. The trek finally comes to an end at Rudraprayag.
Baraadsar Lake Trek:
The Garhwal Himalaya is just magical, as it mesmerizes and captivates the heart of many. This particular trek to Baraadsar Lake is indeed a good way to explore in great detail the beauty of Garhwal region. The trek to this stunning lake is also an adventurous one, as it has a trail that crosses through valleys, boulder-strewn paths and a ridge (it divides Rupin and Supin Valley). The Baraadsar Lake Trek begins from Dhaula and further leads to Bitri, Masundha Dhar, Dhalka Dhar and opens to a large meadow area of Dev Bhasa. It is only crossing through the meadows; one shall reach the Baraadsar Lake. The highlight of the trek is Mansudha Dhar, from where one can see the sun coming out from the back of Swargarohini Peak; the view is simply breathtaking! After trekking to Baraadsar Lake, cross through Rehla and Phitari to reach Dhara, which is the confluence of Supin and Obra. From Dhara move towards Jakhol, the ending point of the trek.
One of the best treks in Garhwal Himalaya, Roopkund trek is looked forward to with anticipation by many adventure aficionados. The lake is located in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand and is also known by the name of Skeletal Lake or Mystery Lake. There is a large number of human skeletons scattered in the area around the lake, which is why it has got the name Skeletal Lake. Trekking to Roopkund is a one of its kind experience in Garhwal Himalaya; it is one of those treks where one can see a dramatic change in the landscape. The beginning of the trekking trail of Roopkund is replete with dense forest and also human settlements, but the further you go, the villages and forest seems to vanish and all one can see are widespread meadows. The trek to Roopkund begins from Lohargunj. From Lohargunj, the trail further moves to Kulling Village and then a steep ascent to Didina starts. From Didina Village, another steep ascend begins towards Ali Bugyal via Tolpani and Tolkaan. Climb to Chang Ma from Ali Bugyal and then follow an easy trek to Ghora Lotani. From Ghora Lotani, the climate starts to change and walking on the snow line one reaches Bhagwabasa via Kalu Vinayak. Roopkund is about 5kms uphill trek from Bhagwabasa. After climbing to Junargali, one can return through Bedni Bugyal to Lohargunj to end the trek.
Kalindikhal Pass Trek:
This is the Big Daddy of all the treks; Kalindikhal Pass Trek is indeed one of the most challenging treks in Garhwal Himalaya. Since, it is an arduous trek, only veteran trekkers are allowed as it requires knowledge of some mountaineering as well. It is one thrilling experience where one encounters small natural lakes, rough glaciers, crevassed snowfields and valleys. The trek to Kalindikhal Pass begins from Bhojwassa. The trek further continues along the side of Bhagirathi River, from where the views of the Indian Himalaya are absolutely stunning. From Bhojwassa, the trail moves to Gangotri Glacier and one can enjoy the breathtaking view of Shivling, Bhagirathi, Sudarshan, Thelu peaks and Kedardome. A steady upward trail leads to Vasuki Tal via Chaturangi Glacier and further to Khara Pathar and finally to the base of Kalindikhal. From here start your trek to Kalindikhal via Raja Parav. One can even trek to Badrinath from here via Arwatal, Ghastoli and Mana Village.
It is a noteworthy trek in Ladakh that offers panoramic views of three gorgeous ranges namely, the Great Himalayan Range, Zanskar Range and the Karakoram Range. Also, one has the opportunity to interact with the shepherds and nomads and learn about their simple lives. Thus, the trek to Ripchar Valley is worth giving a try in the Indian Himalaya. Ripchar Valley trek begins from the majestic Lamayuru Monastery and then passes through a trail that is replete with willow trees to Hinju. Further a steep ascent takes you to Prinkiti La; a gradual descent later leads the trail to Sumdo Chenmo. The trek becomes gentle by the time it reaches Lanak. Further the trail continues to a small pass called Dungduchun La (4700m) from where the view is spectacular. From the pass a gradual descent takes one to the beautiful village called Chilling, where nomadic and rural settlements can be seen, and it is also the last destination of Ripchar Valley trek.
It is one of the most popular treks in Ladakh as it covers two states (Ladakh and Himachal Pradesh). Darcha-Padum trek is amongst the most beautiful treks that can be accomplished by crossing valleys, high mountain passes, quaint human settlements, Tibetan Monasteries and rivers. Apart from giving the opportunity to witness the beauty of landscape, this trek gives a offer an insight on the culture and lifestyle of the the nomadic tribes of Ladakh. The trek begins from Darcha, which is situated in Lahaul Valley in Himachal Pradesh, and ends at Padum, which is tucked in the stunning Zanskar region of Ladakh. The trekking trail of Darcha-Padum trek leads past the boulder field, Rarick and Chikka (last villages of Lahaul Valley) to reach Palemo. After a gradual walk on a large boulder-strewn meadow area and crossing several small streams one reaches Zanskar Sumdo. From here a short ascent to Shingola begins; one has to ascend a rough trail to reach a large flower-strewn meadow that leads to the foot of Shingola and further to Chummik Marpo. After crossing an ice-chilled stream a deep descend to Zanskar Valley starts and one has to wade through Kargyak River to reach Lakhang. More chilling streams had to be crossed to reach Kargyak Village from Lakhang. Purni will be the next destination of the trail, which is situated on the confluence of Tsarap and Kargyak River. From Purni you can trek to the exquisite and lesser explored Phutkal monastery. Taking a trail along the river Tserap one can reach Raru via a beautiful village called Ichhar. From Raru, one has to trek to Padum via Mune Gompa and Bardan. From Bardan, take a route to Rangdum and then from Rangdum drive to Kargil and then to Leh.
Stok Kangri Trek:
It is certainly one of the most enthralling trekking expeditions in the Indian Himalaya. Situated in Ladakh, Stok Kangri trek is every trekker’s delight! The highlight of this trek is that the entire summit is trekable, although it is not an easy climb. Stok Kangri trek leaves Ladakh unveiled in front of us; it is a unique trek that crosses high passes, offers views of snow capped mountains, gorges, arid landscape, and villages that are dotted with fields of mustard and barley. Meeting with the locals and taking a peek inside their lives is yet another highlight of this trek. Trekking for Stok Kangri begins from Lamayuru and via Prinkiti La; the trail further continues to Wanla Village. From Wanla follow the Yapola River to reach Hinju via Penjila. For crossing the Hinju Valley, one has to traverse through Konzke La and from there descend towards a large pasture area and then further to Sumda. An exhaustive trail leads from Sumda to Chilling Village via Base of Dundunchenla. Meet the people of Chilling that are experts at making items like ladles Tchang pots, tea pots and work on the metals like copper, tin and silver. Following the Zanskar River upstream reach Sakaya that later joins the Markha Valley Trek and leads to Shingo. From here, ascend to Ganda La and then descend to the beautiful Yurutse Village, cross the river and reach the Rumbak Gompa. Rumbak Gompa has an easy trail that leads to the Base of Stok Kangri via Stok La. Next is the arduous task of reaching Stok Kangri summit, which is undoubtedly rewarding!
A unique and exciting trek in Ladakh, Chadar trek surely brings the chill when spoken about! As soon as one says Chadar Trek, an exhilarating image conjures up of a place where time has stopped, where the waterfall has stopped cascading and the river has stopped flowing, the white sheet of snow covers the tallest mountains and as far as you see everything is under the spell of snow. It is a pretty picture isn’t it? But of course you can’t forget its challenging environs as well. The Chadar Trek is one of the most difficult treks in India and obviously the most exciting one also. This trek connects Zanskar Valley to Chilling village. In order to accomplish this trek one has to walk along the Zanskar river and off and on has to wade through extremely cold water, duck under the low overhangs and walk over frozen river that has unexpected breakages every now and then. Sounds challenging? You still wish to do it? YES! OK, here is the route that you have to take for it. Your trek begins at Chilling village, from where one has to trek to Tilat Sumdo, then further trek to Shingre Koma (9.5kms), then to Tibb (14kms) and continue to Nerak. At Nerak, you shall witness the famous 50ft waterfall called Nerak Fall; traversing by it, one will reach Nerak Village from where one can return.
One of the most popular treks in Ladakh, the climb to Parang La is a memorable experience. Travelling from Kaza in Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh over the 18,300 ft Parang La pass and into Ladakh is a one of its kind experience. The trail follows the traditional trade route between Ladakh and Spiti and offers some fantastic views from a high mountain, through which the Pare River flows. From Spiti’s steep gorges and barren environs, the landscape opens to high Tibetan plateau which makes up Ladakh. After days of trekking over the jagged mountains, the journey ends at the magnificent Tsomoriri Lake. Tsomoriri is known for its fantastic panorama and the abundance of birds and wildlife. Parang La trek is surely one of the best treks in Ladakh! The trek begins from Kibber in Spiti and then further continues to Dumla, descending to Thaltak Meadows and gradually ascending Bongrojen via Jagtha. Parang La is at about 4kms away from Bongrojen; one can get great views of Changthang valley and Parilungi Conical Peak (the only peak of Ladakhm visible from Parang La). The trail from Parang Pass descends to meet the track along the Pare River, which further leads to an open valley at Datang Yongma via Dak Karzong. Follow the trail to Racholemo to reach Chumik Shilde and from there another trail will take one to Lake Tsomoriri. An exciting and challenging trek, Parang La is ideal for those who want to explore both Himachal and Ladakh.
Well, I hope by now, you have chosen one or two treks for yourself. Nothing can beat the fun of trekking in Himalaya and if you consider yourself an adventurist at heart you have to go on a trek in Indian Himalaya.
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Published: 11 Oct, 2014