If you take adrenaline rushes well and are an adventure freak, then this is just for you. The Indian terrain is brimming with trails and trekking routes that spell nothing less than paradise. Here are some of the most challenging, offbeat yet refreshing trekking trails, that ensure that your valiant streak stands satiated. Be it winter or summer or even monsoon, these treks are marvelous for their own season.
Kuari Tapovan Trek
The Kuari pass trek is amongst the best winter treks in the Garhwal mountains. The trail takes one through lush green fields, remote villages and virgin forests. along with numerous other peaks is the reward that awaits the trekker atop the Kuari pass ! Since Lord Curzon once trekked upto KuariPass, the trail is known as Curzon trail. The trails can also give the chance to catch the glimpse of Himalayan black bears and pugmarks of leopards.
The Trek: With Rishikesh as the base for Kuari Pass, the trek entails a distance of approximately 50 kms at the elevation of 3650 meters. The best time to embark on this trek is from November to March, witnessing large meadows anticipate being snow-blanketed anytime soon.
Highlights: The Gohna Tal lake is a special attraction on this trek. The close range view of Nanda Devi Massif, the Vinayak Pass, Tali Top and the Gorson Bugyal are a trekker’s visual treat!
Gangotri Gomukh trek
Gomukh, also known as “Gaumukh” or “Gomukhi” is the snout of the Gangotri Glacier. A journey in the Garhwal Himalayas of Uttarakhand, this trek takes you to the Gangotri glacier at Gomukh, the source of the Ganges. A true natural delight, the region features a large diversity of plants and animals, including rare blue mountain goats. The glacier is surrounded by beautiful mountains on all sides, a truly mesmerizing sight to behold, the highlight being
The Trek: The trail to Gomukh begins from Gangotri, the total trek distance of 57 kms, at an altitude of 3048 metres. One can stay at the GMVN Bunglow, or at the Lalbaba’s Ashram or at Ram Baba’s ashram; both ashram charge Rs 300 for a day that includes lodging and food. The best time to experience this trek is May Till June and September till mid-October.
Highlight: Gangotri temple, holding religious value for Hindus and the mouth of River Ganga.
Valley Of Flowers
Valley of Flowers is one trek where many people begin their journey of trekking in the Himalayas. And why not? It is one of those rare natural botanical gardens in India. Flowers bloom everywhere in a riot of colours. On one side of the flower-decked valley tall cliffs climb to the sky. The other side is guarded by snow-clad mountains. A serene river glides through the middle of the valley. If there is a picturesque setting that is perfect, then this must be it.
The Trek: The trek to Valley of Flowers (VoF) and Hemkund starts a little beyond Joshimath, at a pilgrim hamlet called Govind Ghat, on the route to Hemkund Sahib, upto Ghangaria. The trek, all of 57 kms, is at an altitude of 15,190 feet.
Highlights: There is a Sikh Gurudwara and a Lakshman temple built on the bank of the lake, which itself is a natural paradise. Don’t miss the Langar at the Gurudwara!
The Chadar Trek or the Zanskar Gorge is a winter trail in the Zanskar region of Ladakh, in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. Traditionally the only means of travel in the area during the harsh winter months, the trail has become popular with international adventure tourists.
The Trek: The trail’s walls are near vertical cliffs up to 600 m high and the Zanskar River (a tributary of the Indus) is only 5 metres (16 ft), covering a distance of approximately 105 kilometres (65 mi), the walking distance of an average trekker being 16 kilometres (10 mi) per day! The best time to do the Chadar trek is January to February, when the temperature during the winters drops sometimes to -30 to -35 degrees.
Highlights: Trekking over the frozen lake is an unforgettable affair that has to be experienced to be believed.
Goecha La trek
Goecha La, a trek in the heart of the beautiful Sikkim region, puts you face to face with Kanchenjunga, the third highest mountain peak on the planet. Be it beautiful rhododendron forests, picturesque hill stations, or clear blue Himalayan lakes, this trek has it all. The trek is quite challenging, but when you view the majestic Himalayas from Dzongri, you’ll definitely find it worth the effort.
The Trek: Entire Goecha la trek trail runs inside Kanchendzongha National Park. The route climbs steadily to cross a ridge at Dzongri, then proceeds north to the Oglathang Valley to reach the high altitude pass , Goecha La at its head. The Goechala trek starts at Yuksom, a fairly large settlement in West Sikkim, with the trek running 90 kms, at an altitude of 15,100 feet. The best time to trek on this trail is March and April, when the rhododendron forests.burst with pink and red flowers!
Highlights: Dzongri top offers amazing panorama of high peaks in Sikkim and Nepal. Few to mention are Kanchendzonga Range, Kabru North, South and Dome, Pandim, Rathong, Kokthang and Siniolchu. The Samiti Lake is another big attraction on the Goechala trek.
If you’re trekking in India, the Roopkund trek is a must-do! It’s got everything going for it. Deep virgin forests, gurgling brooks, breath-taking campsites, miles of undulating meadows, snow and ice and the taste of a great adventure. Roopkund, perhaps the most popular trek in India, is almost picture perfect. The Roopkund trail climbs out of splendid dark forests suddenly bursting into Ali and Bedni Bugyal, arguably India’s most beautiful high altitude meadows. Out of the meadows the trail quickly gets into terrific alpine stretches.
The Trek: Lohajung is the starting trekking point for Roopkund,with the height of 3200 meters. As you climb from 8,000 ft to 16,000 ft, the trek trails 53 kms. Roopkund trek can be done twice a year. Summer time – May to June and September to October. Though the same place and same route, the different seasons offer different experience. However, it should be kept in mind that the weather is generally hostile throughout the year and travellers need to be fully equipped and prepared for these conditions.
Highlights: The sight of Mt Nanda Ghunti welcomes you to Lohajung.
Located in Gharwal Himalayas in the State of Uttrakhand, Dodital trek is a beginner’s delight. The trek takes you through dense forest and open meadows and eventually to the beautiful Dodital Lake and eventually to Dwara Pass Top at 4150 Meters offers mesmerising views of Dhauladhar and Greater Himalayan Ranges. At 3050 Meters Dodital Lake is a beautiful campsite surrounded by pine and oak trees the Lake is also home to Fresh Water Golden Masheer one of most famous trout fish in the Himalayas.
The Trek: The trek originates from the Bhagirathi valley, which is nestled at an altitude of 1,350 meters, and passes through a mysterious forest and ascents gently to a lofty height of 4,150 meters to Darwa Top. The total trek climb of 54 kms, upto 13,612 meters, is possible from March through the rest of the year,
Highlight: The most emphatic highlight is the Crystal Dodital Clear Lake and Himalayan trout that infest it. It is an experience that just cannot be missed. Witnessing the Verdant Valley: Asi Ganga Valley, Bhagirathi Valley and Yamuna Valley, enroute, are worth a mention.