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    Go for an elephant trek at elephant safaris in India

    Photo credit: Brian Gratwicke - flickr

    Riding on an elephant’s back is a truly unique way of experiencing a jungle safari. Elephant safaris in India also happen to be safer and more reliable than other modes of transportation during jungle safaris.

    Be it mysteriously thick forests or dangerously deep valleys, choose to hop on to these gentle giants; riding on elephant-back gives you a never-before perspective of the breathtaking scenery and the thrilling chance to encounter wildlife at close quarters. Elephant safaris in India promises to be a unique experience that simply cannot be replicated through any other mode of travel.

    There are many organized elephant safari tours in India. Adding this kind of tour to your itinerary will add a new dimension to your entire holiday experience that you are sure to cherish through a lifetime.

    Where to go

    An elephant being washed

    Photo credit: timj.b - flickr

    Elephant Safaris are common in the forest areas of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Assam and the remote jungles of Northeast India. Almost all the national parks and wildlife sanctuaries situated across the country offer the Elephant Safari in an organized manner. It is the best way of transport in the dense and rugged terrains that cannot be accessed through jeeps or any other means.

    [Exprience elephant riding and spot one horn rhinos at the famous Kaziranga National Park]

    In addition, the elephants are undaunted animals; while riding on their backs, you do not have to fear other wild animals. These safaris are the safest way to experience the remotest parts of the jungles.

    What you need to know

    Kaziranga National Park and their elephant rides

    Photo credit: rajkumar1220 - flickr

    There are many Elephant Safari tour operators in India. They take the entire responsibility of organising tours and provide well-trained mahouts and guides in order to give you a fruitful and fulfilling experience.

    Mounting on the elephant’s back requires a written permission from the Field Director in every national park. In order to avoid disappointment, it is recommended that you book these rides well in advance.

    Some national parks do not offer prior booking and operate rides on a “first come, first served” basis. Safari timings and operability also depends on the availability of elephants. Hence, it is advisable to contact the park officials before planning for the trip.

    [Explore the exotic wilderness of Kerala while trekking and touring the Chimmony wildlife sanctuary]

    It is recommended that you visit the Safari offering regions during favorable climatic conditions. In the winter months, the jungle is barely visible under the impact of fog. It is paramount to choose appropriate timings when the forest would be haze-free.

    Elephant Safaris in India are not permissible during rainy days and other fixed days when the park is closed to visitors due to maintenance purposes. Hence, it is advisable to contact the park officials and check on the weather conditions before paying a visit.

    What you must carry

    Elephant riders waiting for passengers

    Photo credit: Conway, Hilleary Osheroff - flickr

    Elephant Safaris in India should be undertaken in comfortable clothing. During summers, one should opt for loose-fitting hassle free clothes. In addition, things like hats, umbrellas, sunscreen, goggles, and a first-aid kit should be added to your checklist.

    [Witness the unique wildlife in Kerala and the Anamalai Tiger Reserve]

    As the safari spans over hours, it is important to carry enough water to prevent dehydration. Make sure your luggage packed for the ride is compact as the seat fastened to the elephant’s back obviously comes with space limitations.

    Dos and don’ts

    Do not throw plastic, paper or eatables in the park area. Tampering with wildlife is strictly prohibited inside the park premises; this can invite unwanted as well as unknown problems.

    [Visit the evergreen and bountiful rainforests the Silent Valley National Park in Kerala]

    The mounted elephant should be treated well and with due care and affection throughout the trip. Photography inside the premises requires a special ticket and photographers are instructed not to interfere with or otherwise disturb the park’s fauna and flora.

    Top elephant safaris in India:

    Elephant safaris

    Photo credit: haiderali4496- flickr

    Corbett National Park in Uttaranchal and the Kaziranga Wildife Sanctuary in Assam come under the Himalayan region. The elephants waddle through the wildlife sanctuaries at their own pace which gives the tourists enough time to absorb the scintillating view of the Himalayas and etch them in their memory to last a lifetime.

    Tigers, Lions, Leopards, Wild Boars, Sloth Bears, Rhesus, Jackals, Antelopes, and One Horned Indian Rhinos can easily be spotted during the Safari.

    1. Elephant Safari in Jim Corbett National Park

    Jim Corbett National Park

    Photo credit: Subharnab Majumdar - flickr

    Jim Corbett National Park is India’s first national park. It is indeed the most important attraction of Uttaranchal.  Situated in the Patlidun Valley at the base of the Himalayas and the banks of the river Ramaganga, this tiger reserve is blessed with revered species of fauna and flora.

    Corbett National Park is divided into five different zones. Among these five zones, the Dhikala and Bijrani tourist zones offer remarkable Elephant and Jungle Safaris.

    [Thrill yourself touring through a tiger safari in Corbett National Park and rafting in Rishikesh]

    A natural habitat of the magnificent Bengal tiger, Corbett National Park is treasured for its large leopard and elephant population. It houses around 700 elephants and this giant mammal can be easily seen grazing through the park.

    The only way to see the sacred wildlife activities here is from the back of an elephant. Elephant Safaris in India can take you to the unexposed regions and give you an adrenaline rush like never before.

    This royal mammal gracefully takes you through deep valleys, dense forests and craggy trails, offering views of the picturesque landscape from dizzying heights.

    Jim Corbett National Park offers elephant rides

    Photo credit: Subharnab Majumdar - flickr

    The Corbett National Park is well known for its Asian Elephants. Also found here are Spotted Deer, Barking Deer, Sambar, Ghoral, Rhesus and Langur Monkey, Wild Boar, Jackal, Civets, Porcupine, Bengal Tiger, Leopard, Hog Deer and Sloth Bear.

    Around the Ramaganga River, Mugger or the fresh water Crocodile, Gharial, Otters, Turtles, and a variety of fish can be seen. Reptile species include Monitor Lizards, King Cobra, and Rock Pythons.

    [Explore nature and wildlife the very first national park in the country]

    This park is home to more than 585 species of birds, and is a veritable paradise for bird lovers. Tawny Fish Owls, Crested and Stork-billed Kingfishers, Himalayan Flame Back, the exquisite Wall Creeper and Red-billed Blue Magpie are a few of the exceptional species that can be spotted here easily.

    Not just birds, there are 7 species of amphibians, 33 species of reptiles, 7 species of fish and 37 species of dragonflies that make this park a highly sought-after destination.

    Elephant Safari is the most promising ride in this park. Skilled elephants keep back other wandering wild animals and offer you incredible sightseeing opportunities. Sighting a Bengal Tiger chasing its prey, a majestic parade of elephants and other fascinating sights of wildlife in motion, all can be overwhelming experiences.

    2. Elephant Safari in Bandhavgarh National Park

    Bandhavgarh National Park

    Photo credit: NH53 - flickr

    The Bandhavgarh National Park that spreads only for 105 sq km is the place with the highest density of tigers in India. It is located in the heart of the country, in the state of Madhya Pradesh about 200 km Northeast of Jabalpur.

    This park never disappoints its visitors and offers splendid views of the royal beast and 22 species of other mammals such as the jackal, the fox, the Rhesus monkey and the hyena. Equally rich in housing birds, this place has about 200 species of birds including Jerdon’s leaf bird, the crested serpent eagle, the variable hawk eagle, and the pigeon.

    [Spot the royal Bengal tiger while on a Bandhavgarh Wildlife tour]

    The village of Tala, situated on the right side of the park's main gate is a place of heart-warming allure. Tourists flock in great numbers to enjoy the lovely meadows and charming valleys with a backdrop of the enticing Vindhya hills.

    The scintillating tiger tour or tiger show offered by the management of this reserve is a jaw-dropping experience designed to leave you spellbound. The show lasts about 10-15 minutes and provides a spectacular view of tigers wandering in their natural habitat. It is organised in a very systematic manner where trackers pass on the information about the tiger’s current location in the park to the control room.

    Elephants in Bandhavgarh National Park

    Photo credit: NH53 - flickr

    The officials then direct the safari organisers to the exact location and hence provide the perfect route for spotting the beasts. Elephant Safari is ideal for this tiger tour. Those on a budget or time constraint can opt for this short tour instead of the longer Elephant Safari tours.

    [Set off on wildlife expedition in Bandhavgarh and get up close with nature]

    Trained elephants take you to the remotest areas with so much ease and grace that you are sure to lose yourself in the splendid beauty of the region. The tigers of Bandhavgarh make an appearance every now and then, leaving you awestruck at their sheer majesty.

    Following these deadly beasts at such close quarters need no longer be a dream. Nature and animal lovers can now actually experience this with the Elephant Safaris of this park. Photography enthusiasts will find this park an extreme delight for their lenses! The much-acclaimed Elephant Safari organised in the Maghadi and Tala zone of this park deserves a special mention. It truly brings alive the untouched beauty of these lush forests -- an experience like none other indeed!

    3. Elephant Safari in Kanha National Park

    Kanha National Park

    Photo credit: NH53 - flickr

    Kanha National Park is situated in the central state of Madhya Pradesh and spreads across an area of 940 sq km. Also a tiger reserve, this park has the unique distinction of being the sole inspiration behind Rudyard Kipling’s masterpiece 'The Jungle Book'.

    The dense and spectacular forests with a thick growth of sal and bamboo tress against a backdrop of the Maikal hills, make the landscape extremely picturesque and grandiose in terms of vegetation and foliage. An amalgamate of moist and dry deciduous forests, valley meadows and plateau meadows, this park is home to some of the world’s richest species of fauna and flora.

    [Seeking adventure? Kanha National Park is a heaven for wildlife adventure lovers]

    The safari at Kanha National Park is very popular and routinely sought out by nature enthusiasts, adventure-seekers, filmmakers, photographers and educationists throughout the world for the richness it has to offer. It truly showcases the maginificent natural beauty that the park is endowed with.

    Elephant Safari is the only mode of transport through the hilly terrains, muddy valleys and luxuriant grasslands of the Kanha National Park. There are three safari zones in Kanha: Kanha, Mukki and Sarhi, where organised Elephant Safari takes place in order to provide a vivid and vibrant sightseeing experience every time.

    The park is renowned for its high probability of spotting tigers. Elephant Safaris in India also offers glimpses of bison, gaur, sambhar, chital and the world famous barasingha, which are the other star attractions here.

    Elephant rides at Kanha National Park

    Photo credit: Ankur P - flickr

    Kanha is the most sought after destination for its varieties of fauna including about 300 species of avifauna. Asian Paradise Flycatcher, White Rumped Shama, White Bellied Drongo, Spangled Drongo, Racket Tailed Drongo and Tawny Babbler are some of these fascinating species. A daylong safari in this park is a highly rewarding experience as the park is packed with undaunted wildlife and breathtaking natural beauty.

    [Experience the jungles of Ranthambore Pugmark, one of the largest tiger reserves in India]

    The Elephant Safari at Kanha requires prior booking for the day-long tour. But you can also opt for the smaller tour offered in the Kanha Park premises which lasts about 5-10 minutes and yet offers assured views of the royal tigers wandering in the wild.

    This is a paid tour which does not require any advance booking and the ticket for which can be obtained from the park authorities then and there. This tour can be organised only during the morning safari time when the day is bright and sunny. The Kanha National Park is open to the public from the month of October to June.

    4. Elephant Safari in Kaziranga National Park

    Kaziranga National Park, a UNESCO world heritage site, is located in the Golaghat and Nagaon districts of Assam. The oldest park of the state, it spans across an area of 378 sq km and is incredibly bound by the mighty Brahmaputra. This safari is in a class of it own from the other elephant safaris in India.

    This National Park tells awe-inspiring success stories of conservation of the vulnerable One-horned Indian Rhinoceros and many other species of Northeastern India. Moderate and favourable climate combined with the availability of healthy resources of food, supports the growth and survival of a unique and diverse wildlife in the park and surrounding regions.

    [The Kaziranga wildlife sanctuary is a treat for all wildlife lovers and photographers]

    This park is divided into 4 different zones: Kaziranga Range, Bagori Range, Agaratoli Range and Burapahar Range. The Bagori Range offers close-up views of the great Indian one-horned rhinoceros. Wildlife here mainly includes elephants, tigers, buffaloes, gaur, monkeys, deer, otters, badgers, leopards and wild boars.

    The vegetation here is a mixture of inundated grasslands comprising tall thickets of elephant grass and short grasses, tropical wet evergreen forests and tropical semi-evergreen forests.

    Kaziranga National Park

    Photo credit: Prashant Ram - flickr

    What makes this elephant safari in India unique is the diversity of flora that makes Kaziranga an ideal home to thousands of migratory birds from distant lands as far away as Siberia.  Exotic Northeastern bird species like Collard Treepie, Green-tailed and Ruby-cheeked Sunbird and Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker also flock to this Park. It promises to be a veritable birdwatchers' paradise!

    Elephant trekking is possible throughout this park except in the Burapahar Range, which can be reached only via a jeep. Elephant safari in the central region is fully operated by the government and is more productive in contrast to the privately operated safaris in other regions.

    The safari here lasts about 1.5-2 hours and it is the best way to traverse through the coarse elephant grass. Bookings are done on the spot and on a ‘first come, first served’ basis. In addition to the Elephant Safari, tourists can also opt to cruise in the Brahmaputra River and get a view of the reptile species that breed in this park.


Elephant safari in India

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Attractions

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Pangong Lake

Rather, the most sought after tourist destination is Pangong Tso in Ladakh region. It is the highest among the high altitude lakes in India which is filled with saline water but provides some awe-struck moments to the visitors with the unbelievable phenomenon of changing colours quite a number of times a day.

The reflections of the towering Himalayan peaks in the water add more charm to the lake. Currently, Pangong Tso is the favorite location for tourists as the banks of the lake give soothing bed to relax and the nearby places are enhanced by the beauty of this particular lake. The quiet lake is 134 km in length and 5 km in width is situated at an altitude of 14270 meters. But the major share of the lake lies in the area of China. Now, its recognition is spread everywhere in the world because it is termed as a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention.

The highly saline water does not accommodate any water species not even micro-organisms. But the banks of the lake give space for several birds and animals very rarely seen in the other parts of India. It is an important breeding ground for many migratory birds as well.

Height: The lake is located at an altitude of 4250 meters above the sea level.

Location: Pangong Tso is easily accessible as it can be reached after a five hour drive from Leh and the travel would be on a rough and dramatic mountain road. You will cross the villages of Shey and Gya during the tour and go through Chang La as well.

Best time to visit: The months from May to September are the ideal time to visit the lake as the other seasons may cause challenges due to the heavy snowfall.

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Nubra Valley

Something divine makes Nubra Valley close to heart and it is not an exaggeration but a fact that experienced and shared by the countless tourists visited the paradisiacal location in Jammu and Kashmir. Without touching the spectacular roads of Nubra Valley, a Ladakh tour will not be complete. The tri armed valley has Diskit Village as its capital. Ldumra, a magnificent name is the original name of the valley as the local scholars insist. Ldumra means Valley of Flowers. The large valley is formed after the merging of Shyok River with Nubra or Siachen River causing the separation of the Ladakh and the Karakoram Ranges. The valley is located 10000 feet that is 3048 meters above mean sea level and those who cross the Khardung La Pass can easily come to Nubra Valley from Leh.

Except the river beds, every other place in the valley shows scant vegetation and low precipitation levels. Most of the villages in the valley are occupied by Nubra skat speakers and in the villages, one can find lush greenery and farming which happen through the regular irrigation. Diskit is the place where native people are seen in abundance and Diskit Monastery is the entre of attraction as well. The Shyok River flowing on one side of Diskit has a captivating effect on the visitors. Nubra Valley unwinds a lot of surprising sights when you visit it and an unbelievable fact is that the valley was open to the public till Hunder until 2010. Beyond Hunder, it was the greener region in the lower altitude where the Turtuk village exists. Till 2010, the Government did not allow tourists to mesmerize themselves in the magnificent beauty of Turtuk where numerous apricot trees and other vegetation along with the tribal community were preserved as a virgin.

Height: 3048 meters above the sea level

Location: The paradisiacal Nubra Valley is located at a distance of 140 km from Leh and the main road access to the valley is through Khardung La pass where you have to show the photocopies of your travel permit to the soldiers camping.

Best time to visit: The months from June to September is the perfect period to visit Nubra Valley

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Khardung La

Controversies regarding the proclamation that Khardung La is the highest motorable pass in the world is not yet diminished but Ladakh travelers still believe that it is the highest and most adventurous pass in the world. Despite the controversies, Khardung La keeps on attracting hundreds of adventure seekers every year, be it bikers, trekkers or visitors. Nestled amidst the most reverberating surrounding, the ‘Pass of Lower Castle’ is located at an altitude of 17582 feet. Near to the pass, the collection of awesome valleys will lure you and along with the natural extravaganzas, the Tibetan prayer flags are an additional charm.

The pass was constructed in the year of 1976 and later in 1988, it was opened to public and from then on, the pass was inviting uncountable bikers, trekkers and tourists. It is maintained by the Border roads Organization as the pass is highly significant and important to India because it was once used to carry supplies to the Siachen Glacier. Recently, Khardung La became the hot potato of the town with a happy news that a ten member team of visually impaired people is going to conquer the pass through cycling in 2017.

Height: Khardung La is located at an altitude of 5359 meters. But there is an incorrect proclamation on the signboards appear here saying that the height of the pass is 18379 feet.

Location: The highest motorable pass in Ladakh is lying about 39 kms away from Leh. By road, one can reach the pass. The first 24 kms of the road are paved and from there to the North Pullu check post, the 15 kms of the road are filled with loose rock, dirt and occasional rivulets formed after the melting of snow.

Best time to visit: The season between May to October is the best time to visit Khardung La.

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Tso Moriri Lake

It won’t be exceeding at all how much you describe the beauty of Tso Moriri in Ladakh, a highly protected lake in Changthang Region and a significant portion of Tso Moriri Wetland Conservation Reserve.  It is the largest of all high altitude lakes in India especially in Ladakh and is located at an altitude of 4522 meters above the sea level. The length comes to 26 km north to south and 3 to 5 km is the width and the water is wholly brackish. 

The water to feed the lake comes from the springs and melted snow from the nearby mountains. There are two major stream systems to lead the water to the lake. One in the north part of the lake and the other comes in the southwest part. Huge, extensive marshes are seen at both the entrances of the lake. Rupshu Valley, a breathtaking area is the guardian of Tso Moriri along with an array of the lofty Himalayan Mountains in the surrounding.

The number of people come to witness the beauty of this splendid lake is lesser when compared to that of Pangong Lake. It is because of the secluded location of the lake. Hence, it is a favorite home town for many migratory birds. They come to breed here especially birds like great- crested grebe, the brown-headed gull and the Brahmin duck. The rare Himalayan hares are also abundantly seen near the lake. Thus, the declaration of the lake as a reserved area is a right option to protect these species from extinction. Less human interference would keep their lives strong.

Height: The lake is situated at an altitude of 4522 meters.

Location: You can reach Tso Moriri via road from Leh. It is 150 kms away from Leh Airport. Kalka Railway station is the nearest one to the lake. You will get buses and taxis from the station as well.

Best time to visit: May, June, July and August are the peak season when tourists come to Tso Moriri in large numbers and other months will be filled with snow and have extreme cold conditions.

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Shanti Stupa

The white dome of Shanti Stupa is clearly visible from a far distance when you are on a tour of Leh. Peace Pagoda got its name like that because of many reasons mainly the silence persists in and around the pagoda always. This Buddhist prayer center is the most beloved attraction in Jammu and Kashmir. At a height of 4267 meters, the two storied stupa stands holding its head high and overlooks the bustling Leh town. The uneven mountain terrains in the surrounding gives the pagoda a remarkable shining. It is at a location which is 5 km away from Leh town and one who visits the stupa has to climb five hundred steps. The exotic view of the Himalayan peaks turns the beauty of the stupa also, a peace lover would dedicate his life to have such overjoying moments.

History

The stupa was constructed by both Japanese and Ladakh Buddhists. The construction was started in 1983, many Buddhists and Indian Government officials have supervised the procedures throughout.

Structure of the stupa

Among the two structures of the pagoda, the first level depicts the central relief of Dharmachakra which has deer on each side and the turning wheel of Dharma also has a golden image of Buddha at the center. The second level displays images which show the birth of Budhha and the death as well. In addition, both the level have smaller images of Buddha meditating. The stupa came into existence in order to spread the word of peace and harmony among people and it came into establishment as a commemoration of the valuable 2500 years of Buddhism.

Location: Any one can reach the stupa via road from Leh, only 5 kms from the town, a walk of fifteen minutes would require.

Timings: 05:00 am to 09:00 pm

Highlights: The sunset and sunrise views from the stupa are inevitably beautiful


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Magnetic Hill

Magnetic Hill is still a mystery yet a famed attraction that pulls the adventure lovers on a large scale toward it. A mystifying phenomenon which stunts the science and fiction together and exists as a magic to the normal people visiting here. Magnetic Hill is a trump card of every Ladakh tour because of the awe-struck moments it would promise the travelers. There is a sign board placed which says that the hill defies gravity completely and inviting everyone to experience the magical phenomenon.

 If you keep your vehicle in neutral at a position marked on the road and wait, you will be surprised to see the vehicle starts moving uphill at 10-20 km per hour. And this is the unexplainable feature of Magnetic Hill that confuses the world of science. It is located on Leh-Kargil-Baltic Highway and on the east, the beautiful Sindhu River is flowing calmly. Near the hill there is a Sikh Gurudwara maintained by the Indian Army. Due to the natural attraction as well as the human architectural brilliance, the hill has gained popularity in a short term. 

Not just the vehicles hitting the road but the aircrafts and helicopters crossing the radius which Magnetic Hill comes in would feel the same magnetic effect. If the aircrafts are going on a slow pace, then it starts jerking while they are in the circumference of the hill. So the only solution to escape from the clutches of this phenomenon is that the crafts should move at a greater speed.

Height: Magnetic Hill is located at an elevation of 14000 feet above the sea level.

Location: To reach the hill, you can hit the Leh-Kargil-Baltic National Highway and it is situated at a distance of just 30 kms from Leh town.

Best time to visit: The best time to visit the Magnetic Hill is from June to October.

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Chadar Trek

For some years, adventure seekers all around the world have been talking about Chadar Trek in the Zanskar Region. Until this year, hundreds of people have experienced the thrill hidden and the mind blowing sights around Chadar frozen river. In fact, Chadar Trek is the most sought after and one of the breathtaking treks in the Himalayas. The winter trek is so special for those who are ready to have adventure at the maximum level. 

The river trek starts from Chilling where the river begins to freeze and mostly, travelers choose February as the best time to cross the frozen river as the ice sheets will be comparatively stable. The precarious snow-flakes would pose severe threats during the trek but in some other time, the challenges would be kind to the trekker. The surrounding of the river are completely vertical cliffs tall up to 600 meters. The Zanskar River is a tributary of the Indus and is 5 meters long. 

A trekker would have to cover 16 kms per day to complete the Chadar Trek. Usually, people opt for 10-15 days of trek depending on the climatic conditions persisting here. The temperature at Chadar will come to the lowest at -35 degree Celsius during winter and thus Chadar Trek becomes more intimidating. Approximate trekking distance one would have to cover in total is 75 kms.

Maximum altitude: 11123 feet is the height at which Chadar Trek would lead you to.

Location: To take part in Chadar Trek, one should arrive in Leh and from Leh, the journey starts and goes to Chilling, the beginning of the Zanskar River in the frozen state. From Leh it would take about 65-70 kms to reach Tilad via Chilling, the base camp of the trek.

Best time to visit: January end to February is the best time suitable for trekking in the frozen river of Chadar. Quality and safe trekking gears and highly warm clothes are required.

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Markha Valley Trek

Adventure lovers always had an affection to Markha Valley and still it fulfills the dreams of a trekker or adventure seeker with the unrivalled collection of natural spectacle. Long day trekking tours are offered by a lot of tour providers all over India which promise a journey through the most scenic locations and villages. The awesomely exciting feature of this trek is that it will let the trekker cross two high altitude passes in Ladakh; Gandala La at 4980 meters and Kongmaru La at 5276 meters.

 Being one of the diverse treks in Ladakh region, Markha Valley trek offers a lot of adventurous moments throughout. The barren land of Ladakh and the Buddhist temples found throughout the journey make the trek special. The route winds past the Ladakhi villages and it goes to Hemis National Park where the chances to spot some rare wildlife species are comparably high. The nomadic groups of people will be a unique picture to keep in heart. The symbols of Buddhism like ‘chortens’, stupas, multi colored prayer flags and numerous monasteries narrate the story of Buddhist culture embraced Markha centuries ago. Another interesting fact heard about Markha Valley trek is that it is also called ‘tea house trek’ due to the accommodation provided in parachute tents in most of the villages during the tour.

Maximum altitude: 15000 feet is the maximum altitude the trek will cover.

Location: In most of the cases, the trek starts from Leh. The trail usually goes through Chilling, Skyu and then to Markha. From Markha it would take the trekker to reach Hankar and Nimaling and finally return to Leh. The ideal trekking distance is 75 kms and it would be graded as difficult.

Best time to visit: The months of June, July, August, September and October are recommended as the best time to do Markha Valley trek.

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Stok Kongri Trek

Stok Kangri, Ladakh is one of the most popular places for high altitude trekking in India. Although the beauty of Ladakh draws in innumerable tourists and trekkers from all over the country and the world, the Stok Kangri trek isn’t really suited for anyone and everyone.

It is advisable that only experienced trekkers set out on this expedition as the climatic and geographical conditions of the place may not suit novice or amateur trekkers. Nonetheless, Stok Kangri is one of the most beautiful tourist destinations in the country. It is for this reason that the Stok Kangri trek forms an inevitable experience while trekking in India.

The trek begins from Leh, which is noted for its natural beauty as well as the warm and hospitable people. During the first couple of days of the trek, you can move around Leh, go sightseeing and get acclimatized to the weather of the region. These couple of days will prepare you for the trek ahead. You will next be taken to Chang Ma via Stok Village by road.

The journey from Leh to Stok Village takes you to witness the amiable yet fictional setting which includes lush greenery, glistening snow peaks and scenic splendor of the region in this stretch. On reaching Chang Ma, you reach a snow covered region and begin trekking. You will need to climb on for about three hours. From here you will head on to Manokorma, which is at an elevation of 14200 feet.

During the trek, you will be able to view some very beautiful peaks such as the Gulap Kangri, Parcha Kangri, etc. The base camp of the trek is at an elevation of 16, 300 feet. From here, the journey continues till you reach the Stok Kangri. The rewarding scenery from the top is what draws trekkers from all over the world to high altitude trekking in India. The trek back to Leh is a bit arduous and you may need to be careful while climbing down the mountainous terrain.

Best Season: June - October

Difficulty Level: Medium

Max. Elevation: 5000 m

Number of Days: Maximum 10 days of trek can be done here

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Manali

From Manali, breathtaking views of the Dhauladhar and Pir Panjal ranges are a perennial specialty. This is the place where mountain adventures takes on a new dimension. A haven for tourists, Manali is replete with scenic quotients offering trekking enthusiasts an experience of its own kind.

Attracting visitors from all over the world all year round, this is a place for backpackers to explore the serene settings of the Himalayas. It is also the place where adventure tourists can enjoy exhilarating activities such as paragliding, rafting and skiing while on Manali to Leh Road trip.

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Roopkund Trek

Counted among the best treks in India, the Roopkund trail is a trekker’s paradise. Roopkund’s topography is complete with verdant forests, acres and acres of open meadows, trickling brooks, and the celestial snow of course. Roopkund also comprises of the eerie Skeletal Lake, and is great for one’s initiation into high-altitude trekking. Pre-monsoon and post-monsoon seasons make Roopkund one of the compulsory trekking places near Delhi.

Distance from Delhi: 308 Kilometres approximately

Nearest Railhead: Kathgodam Railway Station

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Kuari Pass Trek

Kuari Pass which signifies doorway is one of the best treks in Uttaranchal. It is also known as Curzon trail as this trekking trail was discovered by Lord Curzon in 1905. The panoramic views of the eastern slopes of the majestic Garhwal Himalayas, Neelkanth, Mana, Hathi Ghori Parvat, Bertholi, Trishul, Dronagiri, Kamet and Nanda Devi peaks can be experienced on Kuari Pass Trek.

The trek has dense deodar, ok and rhododendron forests which present a picturesque view. Rare and protected flora and fauna can be found on this trail.  The trek passes via major rivers like Mandakini, Kaliganga and Dhauli Ganga .The ideal time to visit here is in summers.

Best Season: December - January
Duration: 6-8 Days
Max. Elevation: 4,264 m

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Dodital Trek

Dodital trek is a short trek and must to do when you are on trekking in Uttaranchal tour. Difficulty ranges from easy to moderate through thick forests and across majestic Himalayas landscapes, large meadows and stream crossings.  

The trek begins from Sangamchatti (kalyani) road near Uttarkashi and completes at the Hanumanchatti. From Dodital Lake, you will need to trek uphill to reach the Darwa pass, also called as Bakaria Khaga pass. The alpine meadows of Kanasar are an ideal place for camping.

Best season: May - October
Duration: 10 Days
Altitude: 4150 m

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The Castle Manali

Built in 1460 AD, the Naggar Castle has a unique architecture that comprises of stones and wood. About a century ago, this castle of Raja Sidh Singh of Kullu was converted into a rest house, and presently it is being taken care by the Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation.

In its rechristened avatar, the castle is now The Castle Heritage Hotel. Naggar Castle came into the limelight after a bollywood movie was shot here. A grand Tibetan carnival dance was shot here and hence this castle grew in touristic prominence.


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Van Vihar National Park

One of the most frequent places to visit in Manali, the Van Vihar National Park attracts visitors mainly because of its ideal location, which is bang on the Mall road in Manali. The park is a welcome respite from the crowds and the pollution with its tall and shady groves of Deodar, birch and pine. There are a number of wooden and concrete benches within the park, which provide rest, relaxation and recreation to its visitors.

Take off your shoes and take a leisurely walk across the garden paths of this wonderful haven of nature. You could also have fun cruising around in a boat that sails in the small pond within the vicinity of this park. Set amidst beautiful and verdant environs, the park is a perfect respite for anyone who chooses to visit it and makes up for a great place for a spontaneous picnic or simply a long walk!

Timing:

08:00 am – 07:00 pm (summer)

08:00 am – 05:00 pm (winter)

Entry Fee: 10 INR per Person

Photography Allowed: Yes

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Gyuto Monastery

Gyuto Monastery is one of the most famous and popular monasteries in Tibet. This monastery is well known for its tantric meditation and people there study a lot about this subject. It is also known for its various tantric ritual arts and Buddhist philosophy. Gyuto monastery was founded in the year 1474 by the prime disciple of the 1st Dalai Lama.

Location: It is situated in the town of Dharamshala which is easy to reach through road, rail as well as airways. Transportation is not a major issue while visiting the place.

Highlights: You can find majestic statues of Buddha with a backdrop of snow clad mountains covering it. If you want to have a nice afternoon, it is the most peaceful and serene place to be at.



Best time to visit: Since this is a monastery, there is no particular season that makes any difference. However, if you are planning a full trip of the place, April-May has to be the best months.