Wrote an article for Tribune Chandigarh
The human desire for adventure cannot be satiated; in fact, it eventually becomes a way of life. Trekking is one of the adventure activities that one can pursue as a long term hobby. The diverse Himalayan Ranges offer a multitude of treks. Himachal Pradesh,Uttrakhand,Jammu and Kashmir,Sikkim , Ladakhh have multiple trekking destinations. Trekking trips can be tweaked according to the number of days available and your physical ability. India has the option of treks which vary from 2 days, a week to even months. Here I would like to mention that trekking should not be confused with mountaineering. While the formal does not require any training the latter needs a sound knowledge of equipment and training.
Trekking Is the best way to experience nature. Right from the point when you step into a trekking trail you are in a different world. Apart from the elation of reaching the top of a mountain, a trekking trip gives you the option of experiencing a sunrise, a sunset, sleeping under the stars and having a meal in the wilderness. But above all these, it is an opportunity to observe nature from very close.
List of top treks in India
- Stok Kangri in Leh- 6153m
- Singalia Kanchanjunga trek in Sikkim-4940m
- Zanskar Frozen river trek in Ladakh-3850 m
- Gomukh Tapovan trek in Garhwal -4465m
- Kuari pass trek in Garhwal-4268m
- Pin Parvati trek-Himachal Pradesh-5335m
- Goechala trek - Sikkim-4940m
- Roopkund trek-Uttrakhand-5029m
Stok Kangri in Leh (6153 m) is the highest trekable summit in India.Churdhar Peak trek in Himachal(3600 m) is the highest peak of the Shivalik Himalayas. Chandrashila top in Uttrakhand (3925m) boasts of Tunganath temple, the highest Shiva temple in the world. Roopkund Trek, Goecha La trek, Chadar trek, Pindari Glacier trek are the trekkers paradise in India. The best part of trekking is that there are a lot of easy treks for the beginners which have a fixed trail and do not require guides. Triund is one such trek at Mcloudgang which gives you the spectacular view of the Dhauladhar range. It is a good one day trek for beginners and has facilities for camping at the top. Same goes with Nag Tibba Trek about 80 km from Dheradun and Khaliya Top Trek at Munsiyari. India being a religious country has many famous temples and Gurudwaras which are accessible only by trekking. Plenty of people do the 20 km trek each year to Hemkunt Sahib and if you are doing this trek in the month of July , you could also have the life time experience of Valley of Flowers. Same goes with Kedarnath, Gangotri etc.
With my extensive trekking experience in India and abroad, I would advise the beginners' to start with moderate treks preferably of a one day duration. Always do extensive research before embarking for a trek. Make sure that you are aware of the weather conditions during that part of the year and are well prepared for the same. Please carry two bottles of water, biscuits and some food for a day long trek. Carry a small map of the place and keep on checking from time to time for landmarks. Always try to be in groups especially in regions of wildlife. While a river, waterfall , lake may appear very appealing , make sure that water is not very deep and the flow too strong. A lot of waterfalls have the fear of falling stones and that has to be taken into consideration.I am listing down four trekking destinations for this summer where you can go without a guide. All these are a one day trek to the top and back.You will not need a tent for camping and just carrying two bottles of water and food per person will do.For any trek which is more than a day you must get a guide or go with experienced people who can put in tents and can cook basic food.
Top Treks for this summer
- Chandrashila Top: Trek starts at Chopta , Uttrakhand
- Triund Top: Trek starts at Mclouganj,Himachal Pradesh
- Nag tibba trek: Trek starts at Pantwari village,Mussorie
- Khali top trek:Trek starts at Munsiyari,Uttrakhand
When we talk of cost of treks it is excluding the fare you incur to the base point of the trek.
- A typical one day trek with camping in the night and food expenses would be around 1200 INR per person
- A typical 7-8 days trek with trekking agencies or hiring private guides would be around 8000-12000 plus the tip of the guides
- A long two weeks trek can range in between 20000-25000 INR
Equipments and things to carry
Good trekking shoes + pair of sandles to roam around campsite
Small/medium back-pack to carry water, food, camping gear.
Sleeping bag and sleeping mat (we may get wet ground).
Winter jacket, thermal wear and woolen socks for chilly weather
LED torch to get around at night.
One extra set of clothes to sleep dry in the campsite.
A pain relief spray.
Tiffin box, glass, fork/spoon for soup/dinner.
THREE reusable bottles with water filled (do not use bottled mineral water, they do a lot of pollution). Plastic covers to protect your stuff (especially cloth and sleeping bag) from rain
While preparing for treks the first step is getting a good pair of shoes, backpack and sleeping bag. Depending on the type of trek and the weather one may require tents and rain coats as well. There are a lot of stores which sell adventure gear and the staffs at these places are very well informed. For a day long trek you may not need a trekking guide but for long treks it is advisable to do treks with proper trekking guides and agencies. There are a lot of government and non government trekking agencies which offer their services. A lot of small companies also have come up and are delivering the service quite efficiently. The good thing about guides is that you will not have to worry about tents, sleeping bags, route maps, food etc. Moreover the guides know the local flora and fauna and can spot the exact peaks for you. A lot of trekking agencies also offer porter service so all you need is to be there
- Do adequate research before picking up a trek
- Acclimatizing is a must for any treks above 3500m
- Avoid loud music, liquor, smoking
- Travel in groups
- Keep safe distance between two trekkers
- Take care while walking on wet stones as they may be extremely slippery
- Carrying your personal medicines
- Falling stones from waterfalls and turbulent river waters
- Contact and idea of nearest hospitals
- Anti venoms in case of areas which have a lot of snakes especially south india