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Last updated : Nov 2009
Trekking
Trekking India - TravelPuppy.com
Desrcibed Below are the most popular trekking locations in India. For additional details on trekking, see the Sport section.

Jammu and Kashmir

Jammu and Kashmir is India’s northernmost state, and the one, which is most famous for its trekking. It is an extremely beautiful area with flower-spangled meadows, impressive coniferous forests, wild orchards, icy mountain peaks and clear rivers and streams.

The capital, Srinagar, is the hub for many treks, particularly to the blue Shankaracharya Hill and Zabarwan Hills.. The 3 other main bases in Jammu & Kashmir are Pahalgam (100 kiloemtres / 62 miles from Srinigar) in the Lidder Valley, the base for treks to sacred Aru, Amarnath, Lidderwat and the glacial lakes of Tarsar and Tulian; Gulmarg (51 kilometres / 32 miles from Srinagar), from where treks can be taken the upland lakes of Vishansar, the crystal tarns of Apharwat and Alpather, and Gangabal and the Thajiwas Glacier; and Sonamarg, in the Sindh Valley, the starting point for treks into the surrounding mountains.

Srinagar is also the base for trips into the dry plateau of Ladakh, an area of constant drought, home of yaks and wild asses with high ranges and many of the largest glaciers in the world outside the Polar Regions.

Leh, the divisional capital, is located on an ancient Silk Route and is the starting point for excellent treks across this remarkable landscape.

Further south, there is outstanding trekking in the vicinity of Jammu, the railhead to the Kashmir Valley. There are three main centers; Kishtwar, Poonch and Doda.

Himachal Pradesh

This province varies hugely, from the barren rocks and raging torrents of the valleys of Lahaul and Spiti in the north, to the southern orchard country of Kangra and Chamba.

Treks begining from Manali include the Bhaga River to Keylong, and on to the Bara Shigri glacier or over the Baralacha Pass to Leh. Kullu, set in the middle of the province, sits in a narrow valley between the Himalayas and the River Beas, and is well known for its temples and religious festivals. Treks from here cross terraced paddy fields and on to more remote regions of ice and snow. The view from the Rohtang Pass is truly spectacular.

The town of Dharamsala, in the Kangra Valley is the starting point for treks into the Bharmaur Valley over the Indrahar Pass, and on to other even higher passes beyond. Chamba, located on a mountain above the Ravi River, is named after the perfumed trees, which thrive around its intricately carved temples.

Treks starting from the nearby town of Dalhousie lead to the glacial lake of Khajjiar and to the passes of Chini and Sach.

Shimla, once the summer destination of the British, is a tall hill station and the hub for treks into Kullu Valley via the Jalori Pass and on to the Kalpur and Kinnaur valleys.

Garhwal

Located high in the Garhwal Himalayas, this region (which is also known as the Uttarakhand) abounds in myths and legends of the Indian gods. It is also where the source of the revitalizing ‘Ganga’ can be found; indeed, several of the great rivers of northern India have their headwaters in this land of lush valleys and high snow-capped peaks.

Mussoorie, a hill station heavily used by the British to escape the treacherous heat of the plains, is a superb base for treks into the Gangotri and Yamounotri valleys. The source of the Ganga at Gaumukh can also be found from here.

Another hill station, Rishikesh, is located just north of the holy city of Hardwar, and is the base for treks to another holy shrine, Badrinath. A very rewarding stop along the route to Badrinath is the breathtaking Valley of Flowers, which August, is in full bloom.

Additional destinations include Mandakini Valley, Hemkund Lake, and Kedarnath, 1 of the 12 Jyotirlings of Lord Shiva with an attractive temple.

Kumaon

This region, which spans the Himalayas in the north to the lush foothills of Terai and Bhabar in the south, consists of 3 northeastern Himalayan districts of Uttar Pradesh, all are very rich in wildlife.

1 of the main trekking centers is Almora, a superb base for treks into pine and rhododendron forests with stunning views of stark, snow-capped mountains.

One can reach the Pindiri Glacier and the valley of Someshwar from here. Another base is Nanital, an appealing orchard-rich hill station. It is the start for short treks to Bhimtal, Khurpatal and Binayak Forest.

Ranikhet, with a spectacular view of the central Himalayas, is the base for treks to Kausani. The view from here is definitely 1 of the most stunning in India, and inspired Mahatma Gandhi to write his commentary on the Gita-Anashakti Yoga.

Darjeeling and Sikkim

Dominated by the five summits of spectacular Kanchenjunga, the Darjeeling and Sikkim area of the Eastern Himalayas is also a region of gentle sloping hills and dales, turquoise lakes and babbling streams and pine forests.

1 of the best ways to travel to this area is by the ‘Toy Train’ from New Jalpaiguri. The town of Darjeeling is the home base of the Everest-climber Tenzing Norgay and the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, and is the base for both low- and high-level treks. Destinations are Tiger Hill (with a breathtaking view of the Himalayas), and the peaks of Phalut, Sandakphu, Tanglu and Singalila.

To the north, Sikkim is a wonderland of flowers and ferns, birds and butterflies, bamboo and orchids, forests of oak, cherry,and pine, all set among gently flowing rivers, paddy fields and blazing rhododendrons.

Far into the interior are Sikkim’s famous monasteries, their white prayer flags flapping against a deep blue sky. Gangtok is the capital, a convenient base for treks into the mysterious north and east of the region, to holy Yaksum, Pemayangtse and the mountains near Bakkhim and Dzongri.

Aravalli Hills

The Aravallis, remnants of the most ancient mountain range in the subcontinent, look like outcroppings of rocks rather than mountains and are almost totally barren except for thorny acacias and date palm groves found close to the oases.

The main resort in the region, Mount Abu, is located on an isolated plateau surrounded by lush green forest. Several one-day treks are possible from here, all of which offer the opportunity to visit some of the remarkable temples in the region, most notably Arbuda Devi Temple, carved out of the rock face and providing amazing views across the hills. Guru Shikhar, Gaumukh and Achalgarh Fort can all be reached by taking 1-day treks from Mount Abu.

Satpura Range

This range in central India forms the northern border of the Deccan. The main hill station is Pachmarhi, an attractive resort of lush green forest glades and deep ravines with beautiful views of red sandstone hills. Short treks can be taken from here to the Mahadeo and Dhupgarh peaks.

Western Ghats

The Western Ghats run alonside the west coast of India from the River Tapti to the southernmost tip of the subcontinent. The mountains thickly forested, although they are not as awesome as the great Himalayas, the region has an abundance natural beauty.

The hill station of Mahabaleshwar, in the north of the range, is the highest in the area and is a perfect base for trekkers. Other ideal bases and trekking destinations include Lonavala, Matheran Khandala, Matheran and Bhor Ghat, a beautiful region of lakes, waterfalls, and woods.

Further south in Karnataka is Coorg, sitting on a green hilltop and encircled by mountainous countryside. Madikeri is a starting point for treks in this region.

The Upper Palani hills in Tamil Nadu are an offshoot of the Ghats, adorned in rolling downs and coarse grass. Kodaikanal is a base for 2 short treks to Pilar Rock and Green Valley View. Courtallam, also in Tamil Nadu, is dense with vegetation, coffee and spice plantations; abundant in wildlife, it is also among the most beautiful areas of the Western Ghats.

Nilgiris

The gentle heights of southern India, while not as daunting as the Himalayas, are friendly and approachable with simple treks in moderate altitudes and a pleasant climate. Also known as the Blue Mountains because of their lilac hue, they are famous for their orange orchards, tea gardens, wooded slopes and serene lakes.

There are three major trekking centres here: Ootacamund (commonly known as Ooty) is the starting point for treks to the Wenlock Downs, the Kalahatti Falls and Mudumali Game Sanctuary; Coonoor, conveniently located for Drogg’s Peak and Lamb’s Rock; and Kotagiri, the oldest of the three, whose isolated position allows it to provide many shaded treks to explore the serenity of the Nilgiris.
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