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A Detailed Guide to Trekking in India

 
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    A Detailed Guide to Trekking in India

    We provide you a detailed guide to trekking in India

    Photo credit: Leslie H - summitpost.org

     

    Trekking is one of the best ways to connect with nature. Be it climbing a steep slope or slippery rocks or the gorgeous landscape around you, trekking in India can be an extremely challenging and wonderful experience.

    India is a trekker’s paradise and if you are confused about visiting the right places for trekking. We list out some of the best places and seasons for thrilling hiking experience in India.

    Beautiful mountain scenery awaits you

    Photo credit: Francis Bacon - flickr

    Hiking in India can definitely be a great experience but you will have to take a few precautions before you actually embark on your adventure. Keep your checklist ready and read a guide to trekking in India. You should be completely aware of several aspects like the place of your trek, the best season to visit the place, the equipment you need to carry, permission, insurance etc.

    Planning your trek:

    Trekking on the mountains is a once in a lifetime experience

    Photo credit: Chandramohan B V - flickr

    1. Best Seasons for Trekking in India

    This guide to trekking in India will help you in getting a wonderful experience of India. The country is quite vast and there are a large number of places for trekking in the country. If you want to trek in the Himalayas, you could begin in August and go on till January. The details are below:

    Hiking in India especially in the Southern part like Kudremukh and Agumbe, is ideal after the monsoons which is between October and January where the weather is neither extremely cold nor is it unbearably hot.

    2. Plan Your Trips Well

    Always make sure you research the places of interest well before you visit it. For instance, if you wish to climb snow capped peaks or perhaps take detour to Ladakh monasteries. On the other hand, if you wish to go through dense forests and soak in the lush green landscape of mountains and valleys of Sikkim custom tour would be your right choice.

    Photo credit: Karunakar Rayker - flickr

    You can also opt for a trip with respect to hiking in India through the trails of Garhwal that are considered to be as breathtaking as the Himalayas. Don’t assume, instead plan out an itinerary that works best for you.

    [Set off on one of the most adventurous treks in Uttarakhand the Dodital & Darwa Pass Trek]

    Always include a few extra days so that you can take care of unexpected events like harsh weather, missing guides or even village celebrations. Avoid making ambitious plans like scaling the Himalayas in a single trip. This will ensure that your experience with respect to trekking in India is a smooth one.

    3. Get the Budget Right

    There are few things that need to be kept in mind when you plan your budget. The cost of hiring a porter, food, accommodation and transportation form an integral part of your budget plan. Ideally, make an estimate of your budget and double it. That way, you will never fall short and it will take care of all unforeseen expenses.

    Photo credit: sandeepachetan.com - flickr

    4. Ensure the Right Timing

    Make sure you stay aware of the weather conditions throughout trekking in India. Usually the peak trekking season is from March to June. The Himalayas are famous for their complex and unexpected weather patterns that even experienced travellers can sometimes find it cumbersome to go on treks here.

    [Experience the most admired and fascinating treks of India, the Darjeeling Singalila trek]

    Moreover, parts of Himachal, Uttaranchal Darjeeling and Sikkim experience heavy monsoons. Therefore, if you wish to go hiking in India and opt for this particular region especially in July and August, it is out of the question. Moreover, the Indian Himalayan region also experiences a long and cold winter from mid November until March.

    5. Hiring Good Porters

    Photo credit: Meghdut Gorai - flickr

    While planning your experience trekking in India, ensure that you hire the correct porters who have had ample experience in organising treks and traversing some of the popular trekking peaks in the country. Do your research beforehand. The best way to do this is to talk to a few people who have gone on trekking in those regions.

    6. Ensure you have the Gear

    Don’t really bother about fashion when you invest in a gear. It needs to be sturdy and reliable more than anything else. Never leave this for the eleventh hour. Get the best outdoor gear that will ensure that it will keep you safe at all times. In case, your arrangements are being made by an agent, double-check what is included. When in doubt, make sure you at least carry a sleeping bag, sleeping mat and a lightweight tent.

    [Book your slot for an amazing Himalayan trek the Har Ki Doon]

    Photo credit: Meghdut Gorai - flickr

    7. Important Equipment

    Always make a list of all the necessary equipment that is important for your trek. Moreover, you have the option of buying or renting such equipment.

    Given below are the equipment that are necessary listed in guide to trekking in India:

    1. Trekking boots
    2. Running shoes
    3. Jacket with hood
    4. One heavy wool sweater
    5. Cotton shirts
    6. Cotton trousers or shorts
    7. Woolen trousers
    8. Wind- and rain-gear with hood
    9. Sun hat with brim
    10. Woolen gloves
    11. Woolen socks to wear with boots
    12. Cotton socks
    13. First-aid kit including medication for common ailments such as headaches and dysentery. Some antiseptic cream, surgical tape, band aids, sun cream  with 15% block out is advised for Spiti and Ladakh. Carry some lip salve and medicines as well. 
    14. Water purification tablets
    15. Toilet kit - including extra toilet paper, towel and soap
    16. Flashlight with extra batteries
    17. Sunglasses or snow goggles
    18. Water bottle, preferably wide mouthed, with at least one liter capacity
    19. Pocket knife
    20. Note book with pens and pencils
    21. Plastic bags - small size for books, film etc, larger bags for clothes, sleeping bags and duffel bag.
    22. Bag liners light
    23. Weight day pack
    24. Duffel bag - preferably waterproof

    Camping outdoors

    Photo credit: McKay Savage - flickr

    8. Optional Accessories

    Besides the must-have accessories, you could also carry a few more as per your requirements some of them are listed below:

    1) Camera and Batteries: Only if you have the appropriate permissions then get a good camera. Carry plenty of batteries as they are quite expensive in the outskirts limits and they are not easily available either.

    2) Binoculars: This will help you catch a glimpse of the vast landscape with great ease.

    3) Umbrella: You are aware of the fact that the weather conditions are predictable. You would not want to face the severity of weather without having something that could have made it better for you. Carry an Umbrella along, it will help in one way or the other.

    4) Repair Kit: You would not know what would break down in an isolated place. Like say, the strap of your bag? You could in trouble if you will have to use your hand to carry your backpack. Carry a repair kit with some essential stuff like needle thread, tape, scissors, blade, super glue etc. they will definitely come in handy.

    [Be amazed by the landscapes on an extreme adventure Ladakh tour]

    9. Getting Permits

    Photo credit: Stéphan Peccini- flickr

    If at all you are planning to trek in Nepal or any protected areas like wildlife sanctuaries , it is mandatory to get all the necessary permissions. You will have to mail the copy of your passports to registered permit offices. The officials will scrutinise your details, verify for authenticity and then intimate you about the acceptance or denial of your request. Make sure you mention all the details properly when you apply for the permission.

    [The mesmeric landscapes of Bangalore are perfect for a trekking expedition]

    You will get the copy of the permission letter from the officials of the concerned area either through email or post. You will have to carry this permission letter when you go for the trek. Corrections will not be entertained once you reach the starting point of your trek. All the members in your trekking group should carry all the necessary documents.

    For an international tourist, it is compulsory for you to carry your passport in India at all times. Also, for trips that include mountaineering in India or expeditions, special permission must be applied for a minimum of six months well in advance, through the Indian Mountaineering Foundation.

    10. Get Permits for Filming

    Photo credit: Senia L - flickr

    Capturing the beautiful moments on your trek is definitely a great idea, yes; of course you would want to take your adventures back home. One mistake here, can lead you a great trouble. 

    You should get the permissions for filming in some protected areas. It is a punishable offence to capture pictures without prior permission in some sanctuaries and mountain ranges for these pictures would be of a huge value outside. Therefore keep all your permissions with you at all times or you might get into serious trouble.

    11. Take a Medical Check-up

    Photo credit:  Kiril Rusev - flickr

    Before planning any trip, it is always advisable to have a thorough medical check up. Keep your physician informed on the altitude you will be reaching. Although it is not necessary, you can take shots for protection against cholera, typhoid, tetanus, polio and hepatitis. Always carry malaria suppressant tablets.

    [Discover lush green valleys of Sikkim while trekking in our Sikkim Custom Tour]

    You need to be as physically fit as possible. Make sure you exercise regularly before going on a trip. Inform your trek manager of any previous medical problems before you start your trek and, when on the trail, let him know if you feel ill or have any medical issues. Make sure you carry a standard medical kit that is stocked with basic medicines to cover the normal range of possible complaints. Serious illness is dealt with immediate evacuation to lower altitudes.

    Majestic peaks await you

    Photo credit: Pradeep Kumbhashi - flickr

    12. Always Consider Safety First

    Never assume that you will be able to rely on your GPS all the time when you are out hiking in India. Moreover, your ‘travel plan’ should go beyond the usual travel advisories. Make sure you read up on the climate and topography of the region before heading there. Sometimes, some of the most detailed contour maps tend to be wrong. So, make sure you hire an experienced tour guide.

    13. Get Insurance

    Photo credit: Kiril Rusev - flickr

    Insurance is also as important as the permission. You should carry the emergency medical and repatriation insurance at the least when you go on a trek, especially if it involves mountain climbing and the insurance must cover the cost of the mountain rescue by a helicopter.

    Your insurance should cover all the details of the place of your visit. In case your trekking zone has ice, snow, glaciers, deserts it should all be mentioned in the insurance.

    In case you are planning for mountain biking or river rafting, it should also be covered in your insurance. Also, cycling in the mountains could be quite risky as they are slippery and steep.

    Outdoor activities has it dangers too

    Photo credit: Pradeep Kumbhashi - flickr

    14. Ensure that Repatriation is Possible

    Injuries and common health issues need to be taken care of. You may want to get your further treatment from your own place rather than the place of your trek. In case your injuries are of a more serious level and of you will have to be accompanied by a nurse to travel or say you cannot travel back in a seat, naturally the expenses will increase. Your insurance should cover all these aspects completely. Such things may seem to be silly but when you look into it, they would really make sense.

    [Also check out places to visit on to Ladakh tour]

    15. Know the Emergency Contacts

    It does not matter where you are trekking, but make sure that the authorities are aware of your presence in their zone. Any guide to trekking in India would tell you this. All the trekking destinations have their own local officers and travel agencies it is always better to commence your trekking expenditure with proper permissions. Keep their contact details in hand. Should you fall in any kind if trouble, inform the officials, they will come to your aid.

    Tips for trekking:

    Tips for trekking

    Photo credit: Partha Chowdhury - flickr

    1. Plan your Trip in Advance

    Check out the season and weather of the place you are planning to trek. Ask around some locals or any experienced trekker regarding the place you are about to visit. It is always best to have some homework done in advance, especially when it comes to trekking in extreme locations.

    2. Start your Trekking Training Early

    Photo credit: Rajesh - flickr

    It is you who will have to carry yourself during the entire trek. You are the fuel of your entire journey, and thus it is best to be prepared for the journey well in advance. Jog regularly and train yourself well in advance. Keep fit and eat healthy, you will be able to take up any challenges that can come during the trek.

    [Trek along the majestic mountains on the Darcha Lamayuru trek]

    3. Choose the Right Footwear

    Photo credit: McKay Savage - flickr

    Trekking is not simply walking down a muddy patch. You can have to climb high and above jagged rocks, slippery moss and many such dangerous paths. Your shoes should be able to handle the slippery paths and the sharp stones that may come on your way. Make you sure that you have a good quality shoes with sufficient ankle support, but then make sure they are not too high either as they may irritate the tendon muscles above your ankle. Your feet should not be cramped within your shoes, they should enough breathing space.

    4. Strengthen your Leg Muscles 

    Exercise well in advance so that your calf muscles are trained and ready for the trip. Do not strain them too much either. Your calf muscles should be strong enough for the whole trip or you might run the risk of suffering from cramps. Leg presses, weighted squats are some of the exercises you can try so as to keep your leg muscles strong and prepared.

    5. Train Yourself to Walk

    Take up walking, so that your heels get used to taking the weight of your whole body for a long time. Keep your routine constant and regular. Do not keep it on an irregular mode for you may end up tiring yourself further rather than gearing up for the trip. Do not simply cover normal distances during your training sessions. Try to walk in the lanes and patches that are similar to the ones you cross when you trek. Practice you only make you strong, the more your practice, less strenuous it will be when you actually take the trek.

    Photo credit:  Kiril Rusev - flickr

    6. Practice Walking with your Bag Pack

    Besides you calf and heels your back should also be able to take carry the weight and your shoulder should continue to support you throughout.

    7. Use Walking Poles

    Photo credit: Bob Witlox - flickr

    Using walking poles could be another great option to assist your trek. Walking poles offer enough support as you wade through the jagged and the rough patches of land.

    8. Keep Hydrated

    Whatever may be the climatic conditions, keep yourself hydrated . The moisture level in your body needs to remain constant. As you might have understood, trekking is not as simple as it seems to be, but of course with the precautions, you can definitely make the best of your trip. Given below are a few frequently asked questions that will aid you in your trip.

    Frequently asked questions:

    Camping out in the open

    Photo credit: McKay Savage - flickr

    1. What is trekking?

    Trekking or the experience of trekking is the constant urge to explore unknown territories as well as attach oneself with nature. You can decide on the duration of the trek based on your interest. There are treks just for a day or even more than a week. There are options where you could go trekking in the morning and return back to your lodge and relax the night on a comfortable bed.

    [Misty Mandalpatti offers one of the most picturesque trekking routes in the Western Ghats]

    You could easily get addicted to the hills, mountains and green surroundings as you become a part of nature. Trekking requires a certain level of fitness that would enable you to enjoy and make it a memorable experience. The best ways to attain that fitness would be cycling, swimming, jogging and long walks. All in all this will ensure a great experience mountain climbing  in India.

    2. What should be carried on my trek?

    All treks would be different depending on the location, this would require varied equipment. Carry some standard equipment required for the trek depending on the duration of the trek.

    The standard equipment may include tents, meals, maps, stove, camping mattress, camping stools and basic medical kit. If you need anything more, depending on the location of the trek, make sure you carry the necessary items.

    Photo credit: Kiril Rusev - flickr

    3. What can be the minimum age criterion for kids?

    It is advisable to plan a family trek if your child is between 6 and 15. Moderate treks are preferred for the age group 15 to 18 years.

    4. What kind of landscape can I look forward to on a family trek?

    Photo credit: Kiril Rusev - flickr

    A trek would generally be very enduring by itself. When it comes to family, treks would be specifically designed to keep your family needs in mind. The enduring parts would be altered with scenic landscapes that would ensure a memorable time. All the treks would be graded and you can choose the level of endurance your family is ready to go through.

    [Experience the best of trekking in majestic Himalayas]

    5. What if I get tired? What can be done?

    Treks would be pre planned with the distance of the trek as well the endurance level, its recommended to choose the trek wisely. Resting occasionally is recommended on any adventure tour in India. Do not overexert yourself. Keep the communication clear and make sure that all your team members know about your status well.

    Do’s and Don’ts:

    Photo credit: McKay Savage - flickr

    Do's:

    1. Do know what you are getting into. Understand the terrain, climate and difficulty of the place you choose to do through a guide to trekking in India. Ask adequate questions about the trek you chose.  

    2. Do know your personal limit. If you overestimate your energy levels you may risk injuring yourself and others in the group.

    3. Do use your hiking shoes beforehand. To avoid blisters make sure you wear your shoes on a few hikes or walk around in them two weeks prior to your trip. It is better to adjust yourself than hurt yourself on the trek.

    4. Do pack appropriately. Remember that a day pack is required for a day’s hike, and a backpack is used to carry all your gear for multi-day trips that include mountaineering in India.

    5. Do eat well. It is recommended to have breakfast at least 3 hours before the trek starts. As well as its recommended to have proper meals on the days before the trek so as to maintain a proper balanced fitness.

    6. Do stay with the guide. Adequate time would be provided for you rest and explore the area on your own, but it is required to not leave trail or the guide during the middle of the tour.

    7. Do learn to handle the equipment. It is requested to pay attention to the equipment provided and know how to handle it. Knowing it would help you in using it better during the trek.

    8. Be sensitive to the environment. Knowing the terrain is one thing but understanding nature is a whole new ball game altogether. Respect and take care of the environment wherever you go.

    Photo credit: World T.E.A.M. Sports - flickr

    Don’ts:

    1. Do not take anything from the forest.

    2. Do not litter on land or in water.

    3. Do not buy wildlife based products.

    4. Do not make unnecessary noise.

    5. Do not put yourself or your trek mates in unnecessary danger. Ensure that saftey is in place at all times.

    Happy Trekking!

    [Got excited? Contact us for an amazing trekking trip of India]