Trekking in the Himalayas- Magical Experiences...!

The 32nd session of the Dekho Apna Desh webinar series of Ministry of Tourism on 13th June 2020 titled “Trekking in the Himalayas- Magical Experiences” highlighted the potential of tourism in the Indian Himalayan mountain range that offers experiences that are unique and magical. 

In the Indian Himalayas, one can see the pristine nature, snow covered thick pine forests and hidden secrets that can enthral and captivate trekkers from all over the World and across age groups and fitness levels.  Exploring the myriad trails, engaging with the friendly local villagers and taking in the wonder of the lakes, rivers, meadows are guaranteed to leave one with experiences of a life time to cherish and plan a trip again. DekhoApnaDesh Webinar Series is an effort of Ministry of Tourism to showcase India’s rich diversity under Ek Bharat Shreshta Bharath.

The session was moderated by Rupinder Brar, Additional Director General, Ministry of Tourism.  The session was presented by Anupam Singh, Co-Founder& Director, SharedReach and  Parag Gupta, Co-founder & Partner, The Bucket list Travel Company. The two presenters virtualised a mesmerising trip to different treks ranging from easy, moderate and difficult ones which are truly magical and breathtaking.

The presentation shared stories about every rock, peak, pristine natural beauty, amazing spectacular sunset, the colours of fall and the spring. Important treks and tips for trekking.

  • How to go about for Trekking- Understand the season, choosing a trek, Trek operator/guide.
  • Preparing for the trek – Fitness, Clothing, gear/equipment.
  • Be prepared for the unforeseen.
  • On the trail, leave only footprints behind.
  • Survive to tell the tale about flora, fauna, big, small, tiny findings your way, snow.
  • Acute mountain sickness or altitude sickness.
  • Listen to guides and no need to take shortcuts.
  • Family trek is fun and interesting.

 “Experiences of a lifetime”.

(a)        Kuari Pass(Uttrakhand) – (3800 m/12500 ft) is classified as an easy  moderate trek. Best time for this trek is from April to mid June and in Spring from mid  September to Early November. The trek starts at 6,900 feet at Dhak and reaches a  maximum altitude of 12,516 ft above Mean Sea Level on the pass crossing day. On the Kuari Pass trek, you'll be trekking for an average of 4-5 hours every day, except the pass crossing day which will be 8 hours long.

Delhi to Haridwar by Rail or road.From Haridwar – Joshimath- Gulling top- Tali Forest camp-Kuari pass and back via Khullara top.  Tali Forest Camp-Joshimath via GursonBugyal and Auli.Joshimath- Haridwar.

The majestic and magical experience of HathiGhori Parbat, Dronagiri and Nanda devi peaks can be enjoyed.  One get to see lovely alpine lake on the way, snow covered mountains, golden meadows and an heavenly experience.

(b)        The Brahma Taal(3,855m/12,650 ft) takes one to a frozen alpine lake with a mythology to match, it is an easy to moderate level of trek. The trek requires 6-7 days from Kathgodam to be completed. Best time for this trek is from December to February. The place is easily accessible from Delhi where one has to reach Kathgodam  and then a drive from Kathgodam to Lohajung. The climb starts from BekalTaal, a frozen alpine lake and camp on the snow. The trails go through a forest and when you reach Telindi top, behold the enchanting views of the mighty Himalayas.Next day           climb to Brahma Taal, the mystical lake where it is believed that Lord Brahma meditated. After a night on the snow, climb to Brahma Taal top, for enjoying the magnificent views. Next day, descend down directly to Lohajung and conclude the trek and depart to Kathgodam.

(c)      The HarkiDoon Valley(3,566m/11,700 ft) located at the Valley of Gods, in Garhwal region of Uttarakhand. It is a moderate level of trek and requires about 6 days from Dehradun. Best time for this trek is from April to June and September to December. From Dehradun, drive to Sankri, then onwards to Taluka, via Mussoorie. From Taluka the real trek begins uptoSeema village and then from Seema climb up to HarkiDoon  with an overnight stay at HarkiDoon. En-route one will witness the Swargrohini-I (6,525 m/20,512 ft) regarded as the Gateway to Heaven and is associated with the mythological tales of Mahabharata. The next day, one can directly descend to Seema, via the hanging village of Osla. The village has historical temple wherein Duryodhana  is being worshipped.

(d)       The Fotoksar (4,100 m/16,000 ft) is a picturesque village in Ladakh. It is the part of the Lingshed- Padum trek (also known as The Great Zanskar trek)- not accessible for about 6 months every year due to heavy snows and avalanches. It is a moderate level of trek and requires 9-10 days from Delhi. The best time to visit is from June to            October. There are options for homestays which would help in gaining local experience and supporting the local economy. From Delhi one can take flight to fly in at Leh (3,500 m/11,500 ft). It is advisable to acclimatize in Leh to prevent Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). From Leh, drive to Lamayuru-Kargil road and reach the  Wanla Village. After an overnight stay at the village, next day proceed towards Yapola river and stay at Hanupatta village before climbing upto the SiSir La Pass at 4,890 m/ 16,000. Next day descending to the Fotoksar village, hanging off the edge of the cliff.

(e)        The Roopkhund(4,785m/15,700 ft) is another popular trek of Garhwal region, Uttarakhand. The level of difficulty lies from moderate to difficult and requires about 6 days from Kathgodam to Roopkhund trek. Best time to do this trek is from December to February. A drive from Kathgodam to Lohajung. Trekking through Lohajung pass, crossing the Bedniriver and overnight stay at Didana village. The next day a steep climb to Ali Bugyal (12,500ft), the largest meadow in Asia. With an overnight stay at BedniBugyal, next day proceed to an amazing camp site next to glacier Bhaguwasa (14,100ft). Next day start an early morning trek uptoRoopkund Lake. Visit to the lake side and return to the camp by lunch time. The next day descent to Lohajung. The mystery of skeletons lying in the Roopkund trek is that about these are the skeletons of about 500 people who were crossing Roopkund caught in a lethal hailstorm around the 820 AD. This fact has also been confirmed by the scientists after inspecting the bones and dating the carbon within them.

RupinderBrar, ADG Tourism stated that the trekking and experiencing the Himalayas are on the Bucket List of many people, across all age groups and fitness level and therefore as soon as COVID-19 is subdued one could plan to experience and explore them thus peeking into the thrill of adventure, wonderful flora & fauna and the awe of the mysteries that the “Abode of Snow” hides.

The moderator informed that trekkers to identify the tracks of their choice. For most of the destinations there are local guides and also one can contact any tour operator who is a member of ATOAI, i.e. Adventure Tour Operators Association of India.

As a responsible trekker, we have to abide by certain basic guidelines:

  1. Do not litter. Nothing other than your footprints should be left behind.
  2. Keep the trek clean.
  3. Do not disturb the animals and birds.
  4. Don’t create any noise.
  5. Privacy of the locals must be respected.
  6. Respect the local customs and their culture.

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