Ibex ExpeditionsIndia is the ultimate destination for a trekking holiday, offering everything from short, easy excursions to the long challenges of major expeditions. The key to a successful trek is to do your homework and prepare for your experience. Trekking alone is not encouraged, but other options include hiring a porter or hiring a sardar and crew in India, and booking through a travel agency before you arrive. And the majestic scenery, welcoming local cultures and invigorating mountain experience make it all worth it. Trekking routes pass through several provinces and. Here are some highlights:
Uttarakhand: Along with varied geography, Uttarakhand also offers some of the holiest sites in India like Gangotri, where Hindus believe The Ganga descended from Heaven and the shrine of Kedarnath. Rishikesh, a holy city itself is a staging area for the 14-day trek through Uttarkashi, Gangnani and Lanka to Gangotri; Kedarnath is a seven-day trek from there along an old pilgrim trail. Rishikesh is also the starting point of popular glacier treks like the Khatling-Sahsratal-Masartal trek and the Pindari Glacier trek.
Joshimath is the jumping off point for a 10-day expedition to Nanda Devi Sanctuary, protected by law and guarded by more than 70 peaks. The town is also the start of the trek to the Valley of Flowers, considered one of the natural wonders of the world. You can continue the trek to the Sikh shrine of Hemkund Sahib.
Himachal Pradesh: Himachal Pradesh boasts hill temples, handicrafts, a hospitable people, and breathtaking valleys.
Manali, in the upper Kullu Valley is the starting point for a 14-day trek to Keylong and Udeypur; a 16-day trek to Lahaul; a seven-day trek into the Malana Valley; and an 11-day trek is to Chandratal.
Kangra is known as the Valley of Delight and is the jumping-off point for a 10-day walk from Baijnath to Chamba and Manali. The capital of the rajas of Chamba since the 8th century, Chamba is the trailhead for routes to Dharamshala, Palampur, and Baijanath.
Kinnaur in the Greater Himalayas offer routes like Kinner Kailash Parikrama, Sarahan to Sangla, the Snow Leapord’s trail in Pin Valley National Park, plus the Chandra Tal and Suraj Tal treks. There are also other very fulfilling treks that go up from Spiti to Ladakh.
Kashmir: A wonderful mixture of lakes, rivers, high altitude meadows, fruit orchards and snow capped peaks, Kashmir also offers heli-skiing, trout fishing, house-boating and the highest 18-hole golf course in the world. Gulmarg offers walks through pine forests and is the trailhead for day hikes to Khilanmarg and the five-day Gulmark Tosamaidan return trek, the most popular in Kashmir.
Sonamarg is the staging point for some of the most popular higher altitude treks including a one-day excursion to the Thajiwas Glacier; the Kashmir Lake Trek, to Gangabal, Kishansar and Vishansar lakes, the latter Vishnu’s Lake.
Pahalgam is the starting point for one of Kashmir’s oldest and most popular treks, the Amarnath Yatra. Usually done during the full moon of Sawan (July/August), the five-day trek visits the holy ice lingam at the Amarnath Cave. It is also the trailhead for a day walk to Aru; a daytrip along a pony trail to Bhai Saran; a four-day trek to Sonamarg; and a six-day return trek to the Kolahoi Glacier.
Darjeeling: Darjeeling boasts uninterrupted views of the Himalayas. The best trekking months are April/May and October/November. The six-day Darjeeling-Phalut trek offers spectacular views of Mt. Kanchenjunga and Mt. Everest.
Sikkim: Next to Darjeeling, Sikkim is dotted with more than 50 Buddhist monasteries, and home to more than 4,000 varieties of flowering plants and shrubs. The 15-day trek from Pemayangtse monastery (the second oldest in the state) to Dzogri passes through Yaksum, Bakkim, Thangsing and Goeche La.