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