Also known famously by the term ‘Backpacking’, Trekking is an adventure sport that involves treading mostly though montane and highland terrains. The adventurers carry all the necessary equipments and supplies such as tents, sleeping bags and basic survival gear in their backpacks and transverse through wilderness, done mostly on foot.
Being home to a large variety of alternating terrains and the mighty Himalayas and several other enchanting mountain ranges, India is one of the most sought after destination for the adventurers from across the globe. Staying true to this fact, let us look at some of the most awesome trekking hotspots in India.
1. Tarsar Marsar (Kashmir)
Known to be one of the most popular Himalayan treks, Tarsar Marsar is located in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir in the north-western region of the Aru Valley. The name of the trek comes from the two lakes Tarsar and Marsar, which are separated by the 4,000 meters tall peaks of the Kolahoi Mountain. Famous among both beginners and moderate trekkers, Tarsar Marsar trek is the best way to experience the true natural beauty of the mountain state. The trek lasts for a minimum of 7 days and transverses several scenic locations such as rivers, waterfalls, flowery meadows and plenty of montane lakes.
2. Chadar Trek (Ladakh)
Open only during the winters, the ‘Chadar’ or the blanket trek derives its name from the frozen zanskar river, which allows the trekkers to access the innards of the Zanskar Valley. Known to serve only the most seasoned of trekkers, the Chadar Trek passes through several picturesque hamlets that are set deep in the Zanskar Valley. The Zanskar River is a tributary of the ancient Indus River and provides some marvellous views of the icy peaks of Ladakh. The trail is only open during the winters when the temperatures drop below -30 degrees, freezing the rivers for tourist access.
3. Goecha La Trek (Sikkim)
Located in the north-eastern state of Sikkim, the Goecha La Trek takes a minimum of 10 days and takes you through several scenic routes as you cross several lush green landscapes, orchards and deep forests that are teeming with innumerable variety of flora and fauna. If you are a J.R.R Tolkien fan, then the beginning of this trail will remind you of the Shire. The trek starts at a humble little hamlet in Yuksom Valley and passes through several picturesque locations like rivers, waterfalls, glacial lakes, flowery meadows and snow-capped peaks. A must visit for moderate and expert trekkers.
4. Nilgiri Hills (Tamil Nadu)
Referred to as the ‘Blue Mountains’ due to the smoky haze of the eucalyptus plants and the rare Neelakurunji flower which blossoms once in every 12 years and covers the mountains. A part of the larger Western Ghats mountain range, the Nilgiri Hills comprise of several lush green hills, meadows and picturesque tea and spice plantations. With more than 11 peaks, this trek is great for adventurers as well as the nature lovers who find the routes to have a fine mix of challenges and several up-close and personal encounters with nature. The Nilgiris can be accessed from Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka and feature several hill stations like Ooty, Coonoor and Kodaikanal which were developed during the British rule in India. A trek in the lush green surroundings of the Nilgiri Hills is sure to mesmerise your senses for years to come.
5. Valley of Flowers Trek (Uttarakhand)
Located in the larger Nanda Devi Biosphere reserve in the state of Uttarakhand, the Valley of Flowers is an 8 day trek that would leave you awestruck in the lap of nature. The trek route transverses the flowery meadows and the misty hills of the Valley of Flowers national park and several other picturesque locations in the Garhwal Himalayas. The protected reserve is known for housing the wide variety of montane flowers and herbs along with several rare and endangered wildlife species. Animals such as the Snow Leopard, Himalayan Black Bear, Flying Squirrel and a large number of endemic and migratory birds can be found here.
Due to its diverse geography and culture, India has always been a place of special interest for the outside world. Be it spiritual relaxation through yoga and meditation, or simply quenching your thirst for adrenaline and a little alone time in the wilderness, the above trek routes will certainly make your trip to this country a memorable one.