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    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]


Trekking in India

Attractions

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Corbett National Park

Expanded over an area of 308 sq km, Jim Corbett National Park was established in the year 1936 and is one of the oldest national parks in the country. Situated at the base of the magnificent Himalayas, it is the first Tiger Reserve in the country and stands to be one of the most popular weekend getaways from Delhi. Though visitors are allowed to certain parts of the reserve, the park makes for a fun and exciting wildlife tour.

The national park is the perfect place for those wildlife species that seek refuge in its wonderfully green thickets. As the first national park to introduce and execute the ‘Project tiger’ campaign, Corbett national Park has been repeatedly termed as one of the best national parks in the country! So get your cameras and binoculars ready to go wildlife exploring soon!

Distance from Delhi: 254km

Best time to visit: November to June

Attractions: Bengal Tigers, Indian Elephant, Wild Buffaloes, Leopards, Crocodiles and Gharials

Activities: Jeep Safari, Elephant Safari, Wildlife Tours and nature photography

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Lal Tibba

In the local language, Lal Tibba means the Red Hill. This is said to be the oldest and the most populated place in Mussoorie. The place is known for its scenic beauty courtesy the pleasant sunrise and sunset that leave the visitors spell bound. Do carry woolens irrespective of the month of the visit.

Location: It is situated in the Landour area and lies at an altitude of 8000 metre above the sea level.

Highlights: Lal Tibba is even famous as the Depot Hill because of the presence of a depot here. Besides this there is camp of the Indian Military services, All India Radio and Doordarshan. Hills of the Lal Tibba are also popular amongst the shoppers as there are a number of markets in the nearby areas.


Best Time: The best and the most ideal time to visit Lal Tibba is the summer months of March and June. Avoid travel during the monsoon months as there maybe leeches here.
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Haridwar

Known as one of the most ancient and sacred cities in India, Haridwar is situated on the banks of the Holy Ganga River and is one of the few places near Delhi to visit at any time during the year, and if you are an ardent devotee, then there are specific times during the year that you can visit this place.

Revered by Hindus all over the country, Haridwar is one of the seven holiest cities of India and widely known as home to the Panch Tirth (five pilgrimage destinations) and three Siddha Peetha (a place where desires get fulfilled). A pious and holy place, Haridwar is a haven for photographers who can capture the deep beauty of the place and raw Indian culture.

Distance from Delhi: 208km

Best time to visit: February to March and August to October

Attractions: Har Ki Pauri, Holy Ganges, Shantikunj, Chandi Devi and Mansa Devi Temple

Activities: Rafting, Temple Visits, Cable Car Ride, Boat Rides and Ghat Visits 

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Valley of Flowers Trek

Amongst all the exhilarating trekking in Uttaranchal or Uttarakhand, the trek to the Valley of Flowers is known to be the most enchanting and mesmeric. Discovered in 1931 by Frank Smith, a vivid botanist, explorer and mountaineer, the locals still believes the valley to be the abode of the angels and fairies.

The mystical and heavenly appearance, mesmeric beauty and the splendid outlook of the valley make it such.
Originating from Ghangria; on the foothills of the Western Himalayas, this fascinating trek comprises of rugged terrains, narrow passages, enticing views of the nearby peaks and steep climbs.

 Ascending the strenuous terrains, it takes around a few hours to reach the main valley and upon reaching the flat land, one should spend enough time exploring and witnessing the wonders of the nature.

Best season:
 Mid July to Mid August

Duration:
 6 Days

Altitude:
 3,600 m
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Nainital

If lush green plains and misty clouds allure you to nestle in a hammock and read a good book, far away from the city life then you need to head to Nainital, a stellar getaway place near Delhi for trekkers and nature lovers alike! Situated in the Kumaon foothills of the Himalayan ranges, Nainital is also known as the 'Lake District' of India.

 It has also been termed as a pious place for Hindus and is one of the most popular hill stations near Delhi due to its fascinating hills, picturesque plains, enjoyable climate and stunning lakes.  Adventurers engage in trekking activities and hike to the top of the beautiful hills just to witness the beautiful view and the wispy sky.

Distance from Delhi: 278km

Best time to visit: March to June and October to February.

Attractions: Nainital Lake, Governor's House, Eco Cave Gardens, Naini Peak and Snow View Point

Activities: Lake Visits, Village and Wildlife tours, Cable Car Rides, Rock Climbing and Trekking

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Chopta-Tungnath Trek

Chopta Tungnath trek is a relatively unexplored trekking destination, which is known for its mesmerizing scenic beauty. The trek towards Tungnath, the 3 from Tungnath takes you to Chandrashila, which is situated at an altitude of 4,000 meters above sea level.

Chopta is blessed with rich flora and fauna as it is located in the midst of dense forests, with a beautiful floor of rhododendrons, interspersed by deodar and pine trees. During the first one and half kilometers, you will pass through a sea of brightly coloured rhododendrons and silver oak forests. Following this the vista opens to green alpine meadows which take you to the Tungnath temple.

According to folklore, the arms of Lord Shiva are believed to have emerged here. On trekking a kilometer further ahead, you will reach the Chandrashila peak from where you get spectacular views of the snow capped peaks of the Himalayas glistening in the sun rays. The grassy meadows of the region make it an ideal spot for camping too.

Chopta is well-connected by roadways connecting Guptakashi and Gopeshwar. The weather is lovely and the views are simply breathtaking.

Best season: May to June and August to September

Duration: 3 Days

Altitude: 3680 m

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Mussoorie

Known as the ‘Queen of the Hill Stations’, Mussoorie is situated in the foothills of the Himalayas and was discovered by Captain Young in the 18th century. It serves as a perfect getaway to escape from the heat of Delhi summers and is located at an altitude of 2000m above sea level. Mussoorie has its emerald hills enveloped in thick, rich greenery and attracts tourists from all over the country!  You can explore the quaint marketplaces in Mussoorie and sightsee some of the popular landmarks in the area such as Landour Bazaar, Lal Tibba, Chaar Dukkan, Gun Hill, the Mussoorie Library and the Savoy Hotel.

Mussoorie is undoubtedly one of the best hill stations in the country. Home to some of the most stunning waterfalls in Uttarakhand, Mussoorie offers the most enchanting panoramic view of the Shivalik Ranges and the Doon Valley.

Distance from Delhi: 270km

Best time to visit: March to June and September to November

Attractions: Gun Hill, Waterfalls, Lakes, Benog Wildlife sanctuary, Tibetan Buddhist temple,  Sir George Everest's House and Nag Devta Temple

Activities: Trekking, Nature Walks, Bird Watching, Boating, Ropeway Rides and Temple Visits

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Nag Tibba

One of the most well-known treks near Delhi, the Nag Tibba peak stands in the Tehri Garhwal region of Uttarakhand. This trek over the weekend is witnessing growing footfalls, and offers splendid views of the Bandarpoonch, Swargarohini, Gangotri and Kedarnath mountain peaks en route.

What makes this an ideal first trek are the relatively easy routes etched along the mountain. Thick Deodar forests blanket the hill, and the best seasons to visit are between February and June, and September to December. The Nag Tibba trek route is circular in nature, and the differing starting and ending points ensure that there is no overlap at any point. The lush meadows hide patches behind them that act as serene camping sites.

Distance from Delhi: 347.4 Kilometers approximately

Nearest Railhead:
Dehradun Railway Station

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Har Ki Doon

A pristine hanging valley in the Garhwal range, Har Ki Doon is one of the simplest trekking places near Delhi—making it an ideal foray into Himalayan trekking for amateurs. Fulfilling scenes of nature’s majesty carry you through rampant alpine vegetation, glaciers and breath-taking views. For the hill folk, time has remained elusive and one gets to notice their lives from close quarters. The best season to visit is during the months from April to November, and is one of the closest places for trekking in Delhi.

Distance from Delhi: 299 Kilometres approximately

Nearest Railhead: Dehradun Railway Station

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Kedarkantha Trek

Close to another marvel of nature, Har Ki Doon, lies the Kedarkantha trek passing through windy trails of the Garhwal Himalayas. A classic winter trek unravelling untouched mountain-villages on its path, it’s the perfect trek to prepare for the other more arduous Himalayan treks. 

Abound with flora and fauna, the Kedarkantha treks passes around the rim of Govind National Park and is open throughout the year. This place for trekking near Delhi is flanked by the Swargarohini peak and a hanging valley, complete with views that’ll blow your mind away.

Distance from Delhi: 428.2 Kilometres approximately

Nearest Railhead: Dehradun Railway Station

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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 for 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 centre 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

To see the pure, rugged face of nature, One must visit Ladakh once in their lifetime.

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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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