Last Updated: July 9, 2018 Arun Joshi
Bestowed with a tremendous scenic beauty of snow-clad Himalayan peaks, verdant forests, sparkling streams, torrential waterfalls and gurgling rivers, Himachal can undoubtedly, be called as a slice of heaven on earth. And if you crave to explore this scenic heaven, there can be no better choice to embark on a trekking expedition, uncovering its hidden treasures. With a plethora of trails that expose you to a different world altogether, a world that is steeped in deep mysticism and spirituality, a trekking excursion in Himachal is not only satiating your adventurous desires but, also having a rendezvous with different cultures and their age-old customs and beliefs. So, if you are a nature lover and an adventure junkie at heart who loves having a bit of cultural exploration too, grab your trekking gear this coming weekend and head to Himachal where some thrilling trails and adventure activities await you. And just for you, here is a consolidated list of top 20 weekend treks in Himachal that are sure to leave you asking for more; select the one that entices you the most and get going.
Beas Kund Trek
Nestled in the lap of jagged mountain peaks of Kullu valley in Himachal Pradesh, ‘Beas Kund’ is a high altitude alpine lake perched almost at an elevation of 11,500 ft. The holy lake is said to have been sanctified by the great sage Vyas who, according to mythological legends, used to take his daily bath in its pristine lakes waters. The tranquil lake today sits peacefully under the shadow of the snow-capped Dhauladhar mountain ranges and gives birth to the beautiful Beas River that gushingly flows down the hilly slopes of the region. The glacial lake is a primary attraction in Manali luring innumerable trekkers and adventure junkies from across the nation to venture on one of their life’s most soul-soothing journeys. The easy gradient of the ‘Beas Kund Trek’ also makes it a popular choice for beginners and first timers who crave to satiate their adventurous desires of hiking on the Himalayan trails.
The trek usually commences from Solang Nala and winds its way upward through the picturesque Solang Valley, verdant forests of pine, oak & walnuts, sparkling water streams and emerald green alpine meadows of Dhundi and Bakarthach. The magical vistas of snow-capped peaks of the Pir-Panjal range and River Beas follow all along the route, making your journey truly a mystical and spiritualistic experience. Undoubtedly, one of the most popular short treks in Himachal Pradesh, Beas Kund Trek also does not require any prior trekking experience and can be ventured on by people of all age groups.
Bhrigu Lake Trek
Himachal Pradesh has been bestowed with number of enchanting alpine glacial lakes with ‘Bhrigu Lake’ being one of the most beautiful amongst them. The pristine lake, perched at an elevation of almost 14000 ft. in the upper reaches of Kullu valley, gets its name from the legendary sage Bhrig who is believed to have performed a great penance on its shores thousands of years back. Today, the lake with its azure blue water cradles amidst the towering peaks of Kullu Valley, offering a bewitching sight to all the onlookers. The entrancing beauty of the lake along with splendid vistas of nature all along the way, makes it one of the most sought after trekking destinations in the region, inviting number of adventure buffs and trekkers from different corners of India and the world, all throughout the year. Needless to say, owing to its close proximity to the national capital region, the ‘Bhrigu Lake Trek’ is also counted amongst the best weekend treks from Delhi-NCR luring many adventurous Delhiites seeking to spend few peaceful days somewhere in the lap of mother nature, away from the hustle-bustle of their busy and monotonous lives.
The trek usually commences from the tiny hamlet of Gulaba, just an hour’s drive from the city centre of Manali and takes you through thickets of oaks & cedars, striking fruit gardens, charming villages and undulating carpets of lush grass covered in the veils of pastel alpine flowers. As you ascent the slopes, soak your souls in spell-binding vistas of snow-laden peaks of ‘Deo Tibba’, ‘Seven Sisters’ and ‘Hanuman Tibba’ that follow you all along the trek. Along this blissful journey of your lives, do lookout for colourful Himalayan birds including pheasants, snow cocks and Himalayan Monal that provide for an occasional rendezvous, making your trek even more exciting and enthralling.
Bijli Mahadev Trek
Yet another of the most famous and fascinating treks in the Kullu region of Himachal Pradesh is the ‘Bijli Mahadev Trek’. The trek not only attracts avid trekkers but also lures hundreds of pilgrims who venture on the mystical journey of getting divine Darshan of Lord Shiva in the form of a Shivlinga that is believed to be shattered into pieces by frequent lightning episodes in the region. After every such incident, the pieces are again restored back by the priest using butter and Sattoo as an adhesive. The temple that enshrines the sacred Shivlinga sits in the middle of a carpeted meadow perched atop the blessed Mathan Hill at an elevation of about 8000 ft. Fringed by tall trees of cedar and pines; as soon as one steps on this pasture land, the breathtakingly beautiful vistas of the Kullu and Parvati valleys, coupled with the reverberations of the ringing bells from the temple, are bound to cast a magical spell on him completely taking him in the awe of divinity and spirituality. For holiday seekers, nature lovers, adventure enthusiasts and spiritually inclined, especially from the Delhi-NCR regions wanting to venture on a trekking holiday over a weekend, the ‘Bijli Mahadev Trek’ makes for an ideal choice as it not only satiates their desire of witnessing the unmatched craftsmanship of nature but, also leaves them with one of the most beautiful and spiritualistic experiences of their lives.
To venture on this trek, start your journey from the base camp at the town of Naggar, located almost 21 kilometres from Manali. Navigating your way through beautiful deodar forests, apple & pomegranate orchards and quaint little villages enroute, do stop by in between to admire the captivating views of the snow-clad peaks that stand tall in their crowning glories as if trying to embrace you with their open arms. Once you reach the top, pay your obeisance to the lord and do not forget to thank him for a fulfilling trekking expedition.
McLeodganj – Triund Trek
Hidden in lap of Dhauladhar Mountains in the upper reaches of the beautiful Kangra Valley, ‘Triund’ is a gorgeous trekking destination, most famous amongst beginners owing to its easy gradient and a short distance from the base camp. Despite of its short and easy hike, it still provides with a dazzling mountain experience and all the fun and excitement that one looks forward to in a good trekking expedition. Needless to say, ‘Triund Trek’ is even perfect for those seasoned trekkers who crave for their next trekking excursion but, only have a day or two in hands to quench their thirsts.
Your traipse to Triund begins from the tiny village of Dharamkot, a 45 minutes’ walk from McLeodganj, the residence of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. Following a jungle trail from Dharamkot that traverses you through the famous ‘Gallu Devi Temple’ and a picturesque ‘Bhagsunag Village’, you can easily reach the Triund Hill in 5 – 6 hours. Many small eateries, tea shops and Dhabas along the route provide with ample opportunities for short breaks and off-course, the much-needed refreshments to keep you going. As you walk along the trail, the picturesque vistas of snowy peaks of Dhauladhar ranges, misty clouds and deep valleys covered in layers of oaks and rhododendrons keep you well engaged with your cameras.
A trek to Triund is incomplete without an overnight camping experience, so, do take your camping equipment along; light a bonfire and spend an enthralling night under thousands of twinkling stars. If you have a day to spare, go exploring some of the mystical caves that are abundant in the region.
Churdhar Peak Trek
Tucked away at an elevation of 12000 ft. in the upper reaches of the Himalayan range in Sirmor district of Himachal, ‘Churdhar Peak’ makes as a great trekking destination for both seasoned trekkers and first timers; though, a bit roughness of the terrain sometimes makes it difficult for the beginners. So, to all the first timers! If you are planning to venture on the ‘Churdhar Peak Trek’, work out on both, your physical and mental fitness. Besides being a popular trekking spot in Himachal, Churdhar Peak also holds a great religious significance owing to its association with the legends of Lord Shiva and therefore, you will find a huge rush of pilgrims too on this hiking trail, especially during the month of April when ardent Shiva devotees venture on the trek to seek blessings of the lord on the auspicious occasion of Shivratri.
Though, the conventional starting point for this trek is from the quaint little town of Nauradhar (Rajgarh) 40 kms from Solan, some trekkers also prefer commencing it from Saharan-Shimla owing to the shorter trekking distance. Having said so, the Shimla route is much steeper and treacherous as compared to the Nauradhar route. Also, the mountain scenery on the Nauradhar trail is incomparable to one that you get to see on the Shimla trail. The Nauradhar route unveils a wealth of hidden mountain treasures along the trail and provides you with an unmatched opportunity to soak your souls in entrancing vistas of snow-clad ranges, distant frozen glaciers, spectacular waterfalls and bright alpine flowers occasionally popping out from multiple hues of green along the tracks. Also, as the trail traverses through the middle of the ‘Churdhar Wildlife Sanctuary’, it makes for a surprising retreat for the wildlife enthusiasts giving them a lifetime opportunity to have an encounter with the rare Himalayan wildlife; as you make your way through the sanctuary, keep your cameras handy to capture some occasional sights of Musk Deer, Leopards, Black Bears and a variety of birds including Red Jungle fowls, Indian Pheasants, Himalayan Monals and multi-hues Laughing Thrush.
Revelling in the nature’s mysticism, sighting the wildlife treasures and taking in the fragrance of fresh mountain air, once you reach the summit, prepare yourselves to be overwhelmed by the hypnotizing views of the wild Gangetic plains and snow-clad peaks of the area that can be easily seen on a clear sunny day. Spend few minutes here gazing at the mesmerizing scenery and then make your way to the holy ‘Chureshwar Mahadev Temple’ that sits on the summit, blessing all its visitors since many past years.
Kasol – Kheer Ganga Trek
For avid and experienced trekkers seeking to get a Himalayan rendezvous in an unparalleled way, the ‘Kasol – Kheer Ganga Trek’ nestled in the lap of mystical Parvati Valley in Kullu region of Himachal Pradesh, undoubtedly makes for an ideal choice. Although the trek is not an easy one, it is still worth the expedition owing to the rustic Himalayan scenery it offers to its visitors.
The trek starts from the small sleeping village of Barsheni near Kasol and traverses you through thick forests teeming with abundant wildlife, treacherous mountain trails and rickety wooden bridge crossings. The surreal beauty of the gurgling Parvati River, enchanting waterfalls, striking apricot orchards, and pastoral meadows on the route keep you motivated to reach your destination at a faster pace. The ethereal and jaw-dropping scenery of the raw mountains and nature starts making its presence felt even more as you reach the mid-way stopover at spiritual village of Rudranag; this is the right time to bring out those hidden cameras and start capturing nature’s phenomenal art in your lenses for the lifetime; do not forget to click some memorable pictures against the backdrop of the picturesque Rudranag waterfall, which is one of the major tourist attractions enroute the Kheer Ganga trek. From Rudranag, your final destination is just a short but, steep and strenuous ascent. A holy site where Lord Shiva is believed to have meditated for 3000 years, Kheer Ganga sits at an altitude of 13000 ft. and is famous for its natural hot water springs consecrated with healing properties. Once you reach the top, take a dip in the soothing waters of these springs which are sure to take away all your fatigue and tiredness in just a matter of few seconds. Do make sure to pay your reverence to Lord Shiva at the ancient temple at the site before heading your way back home.
Kareri Lake Trek
A relatively unexplored and untouched glacial lake, ‘Kareri’ snuggled between the soaring Dhauladhar Ranges of the Kangra region in Himachal, takes you with complete surprise owing to its entrancing beauty and serene aura. The postcard perfect splendour of this elliptical-shaped alpine water body entices innumerable trekkers from all across the world who throng here just to witness fine artistry of nature that is truly at its viable best here; every twilight, as the sun starts to set in, the rays cover the emerald green lake with a veil of crimson-golden hues and the azure sky transforms into a beautiful painting by God, the spectacle gets just beyond words when night takes on and the stars reflect their magic on its shimmering waters.
To reach this enchanting lake, the idealistic choice is to get on with a trekking adventure from Ghera village that sits nearly 20 km. from Dharamshala. Traverse your way uphill, revelling yourselves in the splendid vistas that Mother Nature should offer at every twist and turn of the journey; cross dense jungles of oaks and rhododendrons taking in the aroma of crisp mountain air, marvel on the beauty of bright and colourful alpine flowers that spread through long stretches of grasslands, hear the sound of the lapping streams and get enthralled to see beautiful Himalayan birds filling the air with their melodious chirps. As you reach your destination, you are sure to be taken aback by the serenity and tranquillity of the place; take in few moments to gasp in the reality and admire the exquisiteness of this fairy-tale land. Spend a night camping under the twinkling stars and feeling in the quiet and silence of the nature around.
One of the most spectacular treks in the Himachal region, the ‘Kareri Lake Trek’ is certainly going to leave you with an experience unprecedented. Also, if you love exploring off-beat destinations in Himalayas, this should be the destination next on your trekking itineraries.
Indrahar Pass Trek
Himachal Pradesh is by far one of the most famous adventure getaways in India hiding in its store, a score of high mountain passes, shimmering glaciers, alpine lakes and lofty peaks, the magic of which lures thousands of trekkers, hikers and mountaineers every year from different corners of the world. Perched at an altitude of nearly 14500 ft., ‘Indrahar Pass’, nestled in the lap of Dhauladhar ranges of the great Himalayas, is one such adventure destination that has attracted many brave hearts from across the globe. A short distance from Dharamshala also makes it an ideal choice for a weekend trek from Delhi-NCR and Chandigarh regions. The astounding trek leaves you awe-struck with a completely different facet of the Himalayan beauty; lush carpeted pastures, flower-studded meadows, verdant forests of deodar and rhododendrons, quaint alpine villages and small ice-cold water streams follow all along the route, bestowing you with a heavenly charm. As you bask in the opulent beauty of the Himalayan terrains, be prepared to also brave the challenges of making your way through rocky terrains, climbing steep and strenuous slopes, walking over boulders and crossing dangerous moraines. Winding your way, winning over all the challenges, when you reach the Indrahar Pass, magnificent vistas of the Dhauladhar ranges, the sacred peak of Mani Mahesh Kailash and Pir-Panjal ranges greet you with a big smile; spend some time here admiring the beauty of nature and its divine work of art.
To embark on this fascinating and eye-opening journey of your lives, start the trek from the little town of Dharamkot near McLeodganj; wind all the way up to Triund, Lahesh Caves and then finally to Indrahar. Go for an overnight camp stay at Ikaqa Got and descend back the next morning. If you are a first-time trekker, give a pat on your backs for successfully accomplishing one of the toughest treks on your very first trekking excursion.
McLeodganj – Chamba Trek
Yet another of the most famous treks in Himachal, ‘McLeodganj – Chamba Trek’ can be aptly called as an extension to the ‘McLeodganj – Triund – Indrahar Pass Trek’ that gives you an opportunity to enter gorgeous Chamba Valley through one of the well-treaded paths used by the local Gaddi shepherds. Starting from the Tibetan settlement of McLeodganj, you cover all the way up to the Indrahar Pass where lofty peaks of Dhauladhar and Pir-Panjal ranges await you with great eagerness. Gasping in some air and revelling in the marvellous vistas for a while, you make your way to the Chamba Valley, crossing narrow streams, walking over snowy bridges and cutting through snow-laden patches. Few picturesque Gaddi villages, lush Barley fields and flower-strewn meadows make occasional appearance along your descend; for tired souls, meadow of Chatru Parao makes for a great stopover where trekkers can pitch their tents and spend the night gazing the stars. If you are interested in getting some cultural insight on your journey, after crossing the pass, stop by at the village of Kwarsi and go exploring the village, interacting with the local tribes and paying your tribute at the small Shiva Temple that stands as a heartbeat of the village for past many centuries. End your trek at the beautiful town of Chamba; do not forget to explore this historic city and its attractions before heading back to your home towns.
Tosh Valley Trek
A feeder to the enchanting ‘Parvati Valley’, ‘Tosh Valley’ is a quiet and relatively unexplored heaven in Himachal. The tranquil and serene aura of the valley is good enough to calm down even greatest of the distressed souls. A slice of paradise hidden in the lap of lofty mountains, Tosh is a great destination for trekkers and adventure freaks to embark on a trekking journey unprecedented.
The expedition starts from the quiet and quaint village of Tosh that sits on the confluence of the raging Tosh and Parvati Rivers, a short drive from Barsheni village near Kasol. The narrow trail passes through dense jungles of pines, oaks and deodars, finally opening at wide and scenic meadows carpeted with blossoming flowers and lush green grass. The area around these meadows is home to several natural hot water springs; lookout one for yourself and have a refreshing dip to wash away all your fatigue. After a short break and a nice dip, continue ascending the trail along the Tosh River until you are greeted with some splendid views of the Tosh Glacier; the frozen milky white stretch is sure to leave you enthralled for few moments. Also, do watch out for the ‘Kullu Makalu Peak’ that looks resplendent standing tall in its pristine glory. As you ascend further towards the ‘Animal Pass’ where your memorable ‘Tosh Valley Trek’ comes to the finale, beholding sights of snow-clad peaks of ‘Deo Tibba’, ‘Papsura’, ‘White Sail’ and ‘Devachan’ mesmerize you with their alluring charm; get hold of your cameras and capture some breath-taking portraits of nature to your heart’s content.
A little insight for those coming to this secret wonderland of Tosh for the first time – the village alike Kasol is notoriously famous for its hippie scene and comes to life with rave parties as the sun goes down. So, when roaming in the village during night time, be ready to witness few groups of people high on dose of cannabis and hash, going wild and dancing crazily in trance-like state; better to stay away from such groups and just enjoy few moments watching them from a distance.
Malana Village Trek
Parvati Valley in Himachal is undoubtedly a treasure trove of gorgeous Himalayan trails, some of which remain an enigma and hard to find on a conventional trekker’s map. Malana is one of these enigmatic trails that abound in hidden mysteries and interesting stories. So, if you are one of those trekkers who love going off the beaten track and uncover the veiled secrecies, Malana is a village to go exploring the next time you plan for a weekend trekking expedition. A self-contained Himalayan village tucked away in the remote corner of Parvati Valley, overlooking the ‘Deo Tibba’ and ‘Chandrakhani Pass’, Malana is inhabited by the people who claim themselves to be descendants of Greek who came here with the army of Alexander the great thousands of years back. These people have their own laws and jurisdictions and are quite wary of any influence of outsiders. You would be surprised to know that touching any local in Malana or entering their homes or temples is a big offence that can even cost you paying huge penalties. That is the reason, for outsiders, village authorities have made special arrangements for guesthouses on the outskirts of the village. One more thing which brings a lot of people here from different corners of the world is its famous Malana cream and marijuana business. Yes! You heard it right. Malana is one of the world’s best traders of marijuana and cannabis is grown here just like any other crop, which means it is a legal business here. With all that said, leaving aside the notorious part of this serene little hamlet, the place is truly a piece of heaven that provides the much needed tranquillity and piece to the tired souls.
To embark on the trek to Malana, drive to Jari, a short distance from Kasol to get the necessary permit required to navigate further. From Jari, board a shared cab and wind your way uphill, taking in the scenic vistas of spectacular waterfalls, deodar carpeted hills and small rivulets running beside the tarred mountain roads; do notice the terraced cannabis fields that lay in abundance all along the route. Once at the base of the village, it’s now time for actual trekking. Navigate further uphill climbing a series of concrete steps. Awe-inspiring views of the picturesque hamlet fringed with trees of pines and chestnuts standing tall against the backdrop of snowy peaks, are sure to take your breaths away as you reach the top. Take in the cannabis scented air and after relaxing for a while, go for a walking tour of the village; a labyrinthine of wooden houses, temples decorated with skulls, bones and animal horns on the outer walls, and faces of little Himalayan kids staring at you with a mysterious smile are sure to answer those curiosities that you must have had in your brains before starting off for Malana. As you walk across the village, don’t be surprised if you are approached by kids or women offering local hash at cheap prices; as a matter of advice, stay away from buying the dose of this sweet intoxication as there are stringent checks by police on people returning from Malana.
Chandra Khani Pass Trek
Boasting an unmatched scenic charm, ‘Chandra Khani Pass’ tucked at an elevation of almost 12000 ft. in Kullu Valley of Himachal, is undoubtedly, one of the favourite haunts for trekkers from across the globe. The pass also has a mythological legend associated to it according to which, Lord Jamlu, the chief deity of Malana, who was once carrying the local Gods of Kullu in a basket, stopped by at Chandrakhani for a while and opened the basket. As soon as the basket was opened, a strong wind blew and scattered all the gods to different places all over the valley to their present-day abodes and from then, Kullu Valley came to be called as the ‘Valley of Gods’. Besides trekkers, many spiritually inclined people also visit the Chandrakhani Pass owing to its religious significance. A trek to this pass meanders its way through verdant forests, luscious groves and dewy meadows, filling every traveller’s heart with a warmth of pictorial beauty. Additionally, a rendezvous with a distinct Himachali culture and a deep insight into strange Hindu myths and traditions (much prominent at the village of Malana, a visit to which is normally covered in the Chandrakhani Pass Trek), even more make this trek a unique, eye-opening and insightful experience.
Usually the trek starts from Rumsu, a short drive from tiny settlement of Naggar near the touristy town of Manali. The scenic trail traverses you through forests of pines and conifers, exquisite alpine meadows, sunny pastures and striking orchards of cherries, apples and apricots. As you ascend on your journey, breath-taking vistas of Pir-Panjal and Dhauladhar ranges continue to mesmerize you with their alluring charm. An unbelievable magic of Himalayas unfolds before your eyes when you reach the top; be ready to witness fabulous vistas of ‘Deo Tibba’ and ‘Pin-Parvati’ ranges engulfed in a veil of mist and clouds that provide an out-worldly spectacle, sure to leave you breathless for a while. Spend some time here cherishing the heavenly beauty before descending to the enigmatic village of Malana and then to Kasol, finally ending the trek at Manali. After completing this trek, you will have with yourselves, a treasure of beautiful memories that will stick in your minds and hearts forever.
Hatu Peak Trek
Just a short distance from the hill town of Shimla, ‘Hatu Hill’ is more of a winter skiing destination that makes for a perfect trekking destination too for trekkers looking for a day hike option from Delhi/Chandigarh that can quench their thirst for a rewarding mountain adventure. The peak sits at an elevation of 12000 ft. above sea level and is acclaimed to be the highest summit in Shimla region of Himachal Pradesh.
A trek to the peak of Hatu can be commenced from small town of Narkanda, located at about 60 km. from Shimla. Reaching Narkanda, one can easily lookout for the main bazaar from where a 7 km. long trail cuts through a mixed forest of blue pines, maple, fir, spruce, cedar and conifers. Navigating through shaded trails of the forest, the route gradually makes its way through a steep ridge that offers splendid views of the distant snow-capped Himalayan peaks and beautiful villages surrounded amidst lush forests and fruit orchards. If you are on the trekking journey to Hatu Peak around end of February or beginning of March, patches of fresh and soft snow on the trails will bring out the hidden child in you, making you stop in between for the exciting and fun-filled snow-ball fights. As you ascend further, the steepness of the climb will start testing your endurance; keep yourselves well hydrated and motivated to reach the summit where breathtakingly charming peaks of the ‘Greater Himalayan Range’ greet you with a warm smile. Spend some time basking in the beauty of the place and pay your obeisance at the ‘Hatu Mata Temple’ before heading back. If you are more adventurous at heart and trekking with a group of friends or colleagues, hike further till ‘Jor Bagh’, an enchanting meadow and enjoy a memorable night stay, camping under the stars with a bon-fire and a circle of Antakshari to wake up the sleepy mountains.
Jalsu Pass Trek
A gateway between Chamba and Kangra valleys of Himachal, cuddled amidst the westernmost end of the mighty Dhauladhars at an elevation of approximately 13000 ft., ‘Jalsu Pass’ offers a splendid trekking experience, especially to those who have only in recent years started having the taste of mountain exploration. Said to be the easiest connecting link between the two valleys, the pass is also extensively used by the nomad “Gaddi” shepherds who shuttle from one end to the other in search of green pastures for their sheep and goats. One of the most spectacular yet relatively unknown treks in the region, ‘Jalsu Pass Trek’ not only provides an opportunity to feast your eyes on the astounding scenic beauty that abounds here but, also gives you a deep insight into local Himachali culture and a sneak-peek into the lives of the nomadic tribes that live in extreme remoteness of the mountains, braving all the odds and tough weather conditions.
The trek starts from the bustling town of Bharmour near Chamba and takes you through a series of alpine meadows covered in carpets of multi-hued flowers, sprawling grasslands that lay hidden under the shadow of towering Himalayan peaks, small yet picturesque high-altitude mountain villages and patches of wild forests where Musk Deer, Leopards, Sloth Bears and Himalayan Thar roam about without any restrictions. A walk along the mystical trails of this trek also bring to your attention, some of the ancient temples of the region that have deeply influenced the lives of the locals; pay homage in these temples, listen to the interesting legends associated with them and continue your journey further to reach your ultimate destination. When you reach the pass, sit back and relax to bask in the nature’s work of art, hear the sound of your breath and endlessly gaze at the hypnotizing sight of the sacred Mani Mahesh Peak that seem to be blessing you even from miles away.
Jalori Pass Trek
Located at an elevation of 10570 ft. in Karsog valley of Kullu district in Himachal, ‘Jalori Pass’ is yet another of the most sought after trekking destinations in the region and is ventured on by countless trekkers from across India and the world every year. A serene ambience, complete with bewitching beauty of pastoral flowers that bloom amidst the pristine solitude of the valley, makes this trek more alluring and enticing. What more? A soft aroma of herbs and plants that abound along the trails leaves every traveller with a sense of deep rejuvenation and relaxation. A trek to the ‘Jalori Pass’ is a great learning experience too as it provides a lifetime opportunity to have an insight into the history of some of the ancient forts such as ‘Kalagarh Fort’ and ‘Fort of Raghunathpur’ that stand abandoned amidst the majestic mountains for past many years. For wildlife and nature lovers, this trek is like a dream come true as it gives them a rare chance to navigate through the heart of the ‘Great Himalayan National Park’, uncovering some of the most unique wildlife treasures hidden in the lap of Himalayas. There is something for the spiritually inclined too on the ‘Jalori Pass Trek’; a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ opportunity to witness few of the exotically carved temples of the region and have divine Darshans of the local gods – truly an experience to cherish for the lifetime.
The most popular trekking route to Jalori Pass is via Narkanda-Shoja near Shimla, some trekkers also prefer to start from Manali, eventually ending at Shimla. Whatever direction you choose for the trek, the scenic trails are sure to leave you enthralled with the dramatic beauty of the snow-capped Himalayan peaks. Enroute to the pass, revel in the mesmerizing sights of thick jungles shaded with beautiful alpine trees, soak your souls in the out-worldly charm of tiny mountain villages, take a dip in the ice-chilling waters of the small flowing streams, try your hands at some trout fishing and last but not the least, go exploring the ruins of ancient forts that speak endless stories of their intriguing past. Once you reach the ‘Jalori Pass’, embrace the craftsmanship of nature and immerse yourselves in the tranquil aura of the place; do visit the ‘Jalori Mata Temple’ to seek blessings of the almighty. For a more divine and enchanting experience, trek further to the ‘Sereolsar Lake’, a magical place with a heavenly beauty beyond description; go for an overnight camp on the shores of the lake and watch countless stars illuminating the dark sky with their incandescent glow.
Chandratal Lake Trek
Located at an altitude of 14000 ft., ‘Chandratal’, which translates to ‘Moon Lake’ in English, is an epitome of serenity and surreal natural beauty that has magnetized many nature lovers, ardent trekkers and passionate adventure freaks from across the world. It is believed that it is at this lake from where Lord Indra carried Yudhisthira, the eldest brother of Pandavas, to heaven. Therefore, Chandratal is also counted amongst one of the holiest alpine lakes in Himachal and is thronged by umpteen devotees from far and wide. A trek to this sacred lake, cuddled in the tranquillity of the Spiti Valley, one of the most enchanting and captivating experiences of lifetime, giving an opportunity to witness and admire an exquisite painting drawn by Mother Nature herself.
The trek to Chandratal commences from the beautiful hill station of Manali and meanders its way through gorgeous flower-carpeted meadows, quaint mountain villages, enchanting valleys and enticing fruit orchards. As you walk along the trails, get captivated with stunning vistas of sparkling water streams, gushing waterfalls and lofty peaks of Moulika and Chandrabhaga ranges covered under thick layers of snow. The trail to Chandratal offers its own challenges too; be ready to ascend steep and slippery slopes, cross over rickety bridges, navigate your ways through fast flowing streams, walk over stone-strewn patches and even cut through snow beds. Overcoming all the challenges, when you reach the crescent-shaped lake, the post-card perfect scenery and a divine aura is sure to take your breaths away. Spend some time here and watch the waters of the lake reflect different hues as the sun changes its direction. The vast meadows on the shores of the lake offer excellent camping opportunities so, if time permits, go for an overnight camping experience here which is surely going to leave you with some wonderful memories for the lifetime.
Parashar Lake – Tunga Mata Trek
Away from the maddening crowds of some of the most commercialized hill towns in Himachal, Parashar, located in Mandi district, is a destination steeped in immense tranquillity and peace. The tiny settlement is gradually taking up as a favourite spot for holiday seekers, nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts, inviting them to have a quiet and peaceful time amidst immaculate serenity of soaring mountains and hills. The quaint town is much known for its pristine lake named after the great rishi, ‘Parashar’ who is believed to have meditated on its shores in pre-vedic times. The town of Parashar also gets its name after this sacred lake that sits calmly amidst the towering Himalayan peaks, presenting a stunning spectacle before your eyes. A beautifully carved ancient temple dedicated to sage Parashar is an added attraction near the lake, which is thronged by many religious minded and spiritually inclined souls. Beyond the small hill town of Parashar, at just few kilometres, lies another world where the magic of Himalayas unfolds itself. Yes, I am talking about the ‘Tunga Bhagwati Mata Temple’. Cradling in the lap of mighty Dhauladhars and Kinnaur & Pir-Panjal ranges, a sight of this beautiful temple gives a new definition to surreal natural beauty. A mere glimpse of such a heavenly beauty undoubtedly, is a great draw for numerous trekkers here who venture on a trekking expedition from the Parashar Lake.
Meandering through mystical jungles of rhododendrons, the trail to the ‘Tunga Mata Temple’ exposes you to few of the crowning gems of Himalayas, the lofty peaks of ‘Hanuman Tibba’, ‘Deo Tibba’, ‘Dharmsura’ and ‘Papsura’. As you walk along the trails, splendid vistas of small flowing rivulets, gurgling Beas River and enchanting valleys, make the trek even more enticing. One of the most appealing treks in Himachal, the ‘Tunga Mata Trek’ is sure to leave you with a blissful experience, the memories of which will be etched in your minds forever.
Deo Tibba Base Camp Trek
One of the little jewels glittering in the crown of the Pir-Panjal range in Greater Himalayas, ‘Deo Tibba’ is a daunting mountain that needs no introduction. The peak of Deo Tibba sits at an altitude of 20,000 ft. above sea level and inspires many ardent and experienced trekkers and mountaineers from across the globe to conquer its heights. With that been said, reaching the summit of Deo Tibba is not an easy job and requires a high degree of technical training, physical fitness and most importantly a great will power. So, for those who look for a real mountain adventure but, are casual climbers with only few days in hand to spare, ‘Deo Tibba Base Camp Trek’ makes for an ideal choice. A trek known for its moderate gradient and a wealth of nature’s offerings, ‘Deo Tibba Base Camp Trek’ is by far the finest in Himachal and is suitable for both amateurs and seasoned trekkers. As the name suggests, the trek takes you to the foot of the Deo Tibba peak, offering some jaw-dropping vistas of the snow-blanketed mountain and it’s precariously hanging glaciers that sling right over your heads. As you walk along the scenic trekking trails that traverse through undulating meadows, vast grasslands and open pastures, admire the creations of nature that are in abundance here. This trek is absolutely a photographer’s delight providing him ample opportunities to click some of the finest pictures of nature’s work of art.
The trek commences from the village of Jagatsukh, a short drive from the famous hill station of Manali. Snaking your way through thickly wooded hills, marvelling on the sights of lush meadows and crossing few fast-flowing streams over log-bridges, you will reach Tenta plateau, which makes as the base camp for the Deo Tibba peak; revel in the bewitching beauty of the peak from here and look around for some magnificent views of the ‘Chota Chandratal Lake’ that sits shimmering with its emerald waters amidst the snowy peaks. After an overnight camp at Tenta, head back to Manali, taking few wonderful memories along.
Laka Glacier Trek
‘Laka Glacier Trek’ is yet another gem of the numerous popular and beautiful treks in Himachal that can be successfully completed in a short duration. Best time to venture on this trek is during pre-monsoons i.e. between March and June when the glacier is full of fresh snow and offers an unmatched visual spectacle. Attracted to the glacier’s blissfully scenic beauty, many trekkers and nature lovers embark on this trek from far off locations. A cultural exploration of the Tibetan settlement of Dharamshala and McLeodganj further adds to the rustic charm of this enticing trek.
A journey on the ‘Laka Glacier Trek’ begins from the small village of Dharamkot, a 45 minute’ walk from McLeodganj. Following a narrow trail that traverses you through a mixed forest of oaks, rhododendrons and deodars that finally opens at the meadow of the famous ‘Triund Hill’, the trek leaves you enchanted with stupendous views of the Dhauladhar ranges and beautiful Kangra Valley. Triund itself is a famous trekking destination and a popular base for many other difficult and high-altitude treks in the region; your further ascent to the Laka Glacier actually begins from Triund. At this juncture, prepare yourselves for a steep ascent and a walk on a thin ridge running along the glacial moraines to reach ‘Laka Got’ which sits at the nose of the glacier. From here, marvel on the views of the milky white stream of snow that runs all the way from the peaks above. To make your trek an even more fascinating experience, either descend to Bhagsu Nag and soak your souls in astounding vistas of its pristine waterfall or ascend further few kilometres uphill to the Lahesh Caves and spend an enthralling night under the star-lit sky.
If you are one of those who crave for mountain adventures from time to time but, do not have ample time to go on lengthy trips, the ‘Laka Glacier Trek’ is a perfect alternative that is sure to leave you asking for more.
Nestled in the lap of lofty Dhauladhar ranges of Himalayas in Himachal, Dalhousie is a charming hill town known for its exquisite natural splendour and an enchanting colonial charm that provides it that magical aura of a rustic village set in some European countryside. Though, the little town is quite famous amongst holiday seekers and nature lovers, in recent years, it has also gained a reputation of a decent trekking destination. Numerous trekkers throng to Dalhousie over a weekend and explore its neighbouring areas on foot. ‘Dalhousie Trek’ is one of the easiest in the region and can be ventured on by people of all age groups; if you are on a holiday in Dalhousie with your family, do try taking them on a trekking expedition here and I am sure, they would love the whole experience.
Start your trek by first visiting the breath-taking site of ‘Panch Pulla’; bask in the astounding beauty of its gushing waterfalls, sparkling streams and panoramic vistas of the rolling hills and thick forests that surround the area. Revelling in the marvellous spectacle of Panch Pulla, make your way further up to the ‘Satdhaara Falls’ known for its gorgeous water springs teeming with therapeutic properties; take a dip in its rejuvenating waters and make sure to capture the gorgeousness of this place in your cameras forever. Its’ now time for a little longer hike to the ‘Kalatop Wildlife Sanctuary’ that is located at just 12 km. from the city centre of Dalhousie. Walking under the shadow of the snow-clad peaks of Dhauladhars, fringed with trees of oaks, pines and deodars, this hike is sure to leave you enchanted with a beautiful experience. Enjoy a hearty dinner at the overnight camp near the sanctuary. Next morning, begin your trek for the next wonderful destination, ‘Khajjiar’ often called as the ‘Mini Switzerland of India’; traverse through thick forests of deodars listening to the musical chirps of the birds. Do lookout for the Himalayan wildlife that abounds here. In a duration of around 6 hours, you should be at Khajjiar and you would get to know that you are at the right spot when a vast carpeted meadow with a beautiful lake cradling between the snowy peaks will make a sudden appearance, almost hypnotizing you with its heavenly charm. Relax for a while and take in the vistas of nature all around; spend a full day here engaging in fun activities like zorbing, paragliding and horse-riding. After a fun-filled day at Khajjiar, head back for Dalhousie. On reaching Dalhousie, if you are left with some more energy, plan a trek to the ‘Dainkund Peak’ that sits under the shadow of gorgeous Himalayas and provides captivating views of verdant forests and valleys criss-crossed by gurgling Ravi, Beas and Chenab Rivers.
If the bewitching scenic beauty, an unlimited adventure, bit of cultural exploration and an idea of thrilling wildlife encounter beguiles you, the unexplored and untouched Himalayan trails await you in Himachal. Don’t give a second thought and embark on one of the most exciting and enthralling trekking journeys of your life. But, before setting on, do take a note of weather conditions in the area you are going to hit.
Published: 25 Nov, 2016