Trekking in Himalaya in India
TREKKING IN HIMALAYA FOOTHILLS
From the main gateway at Delhi, the Himalayan foothills are only five hours drive. A number of secondary airports, rail and road network make the innermost parts of the mountains accessible within two or three days.
In this vast wonderland, trekking itineraries from one to fout weeks or more provide endless opportunities for discovery.
At the western end, downstream of Demchok in Ladakh, where the Indus enters India from Tibet, lies the elevated plateau of the Changthang. The Sutlej too cuts across the Himalaya along an old Indo-Tibetan trade route. Now far away lies the greatest watershed on earth. Here the Himachal-Uttar Pradesh crest separates the waters of the Indus system flowing west to the Arabian Sea from those of the Ganges, draining eastward to the Bay of Bengal.
TREK ROADHEADS – TREKKING IN HIMALAYA
On the land route, express trains from Delhi connect Jammu, Pathankot, Chandigarh and Kalka with the trek roadheads in the Kashmir valley, Kishtwar, Zanskar, Ladakh, Lahaul & Spiti, Chamba and Manali. Shimla in the gateway to the Hindustan-Tibet road, Kinnaur and Spiti as well as Eastern Himachal for the Pabbar Valley, Nahan and Renuka Lake. These are nearer the Garhwal trekking routes which originate in the valley of Yamuna, Bhagirathi and the Alakananda, usually approached from Dehradun or Rishikesh. Garhwal is also called Dev Bhoomi, where the Ganges rises, and is home to the holiest shrines at Gangotri, Badrinath, the Panch-Kedar and the towering Nanda Devi (25m645 ft), the presiding deity of Uttarakhand.
Further east up the Gangetic arc, the road takes a 6-hour swing from Delhi through the Terai. Skirting the renowned Corbett National Park, it reaches the Kumaon lakes at Nainital and Bhimtal. These hill stations, with neighbouring Ranikhet, Almora and the Goriganga villages still retain the flavour of the old trails to the Pindhari and Milam Glacier and the Lipulekh Pass leading to Mansarovar.
TREKKING SEASON – TREKKING IN HIMALAYA
The trekking season, from the traditional late spring to summer, covers virtually the whole year including winter at lower attitudes. Professionally operated ground transportation, trained staff and good quality equipment are available in Delhi with tour operators and outfitters specialising in trekking tour to the Himalaya. Ideally, by crossing a pass one may avoid back-tracking and experience the union between different valleys.
RESPECT LOCAL TRADITION – TREKKING IN HIMALAYA
At the outest it is necessary to dispel the myth that a trek requires special athletic ability. Nothing could be further from the truth. For beginners and regulars alike, the essential conditions are care for the mountain enviornment, fondness for nature and reasonable physical fitness. Local customs must be respected, being as much a source of interest as the flora and fauna of the region. For safety, the overriding brief is that while one should have the time to “stand and stare”, it is equally necessary special interest. It may also be remembered that a trekking holiday could ideally be combined with a river run, an excurtion into the forest or a mountain safari.
Indian nationals need no permission for trekking in any open area i.e. not the inside inner Line. For routes inside the inner Line, the local district magistrate’s permission or that of the central Home ministry is necessary in advance. Foreign nationals do not need permit for trekking in open areas but crossing the Inner Line is not permitted.
Trekking routes can be regarded according to the anticipated level of exertion and the degree of difficulty.
GRADE LEVEL OF EXERTION – TREKKING IN HIMALAYA
1) Low altitude excursion, with or without trekking. Appropriate for anyone in good health.
2) Trekking below 5000 metres up to five or six hours a day. Some trekking experience, though not essential, would facilitate orientation.
3) Trekking routes going above 5,000 metres, requiring greater physical activity including sustained periods above the tree line. Previous trekking experience preferable.
4) Good physical condition and basic mountaineering skills essential.
5) High grade physical condition and advanced mountaineering experience required.
In addition to trip grading, which indicates the required level of physical activity, each route can be further categorised by degree of difficulty.
A. Elementary; B. Medium; C. Strenuous.
As a general safeguard, pre-departure arrangements should include insurance, rescue and evacuation. The local authorities should be kept posted about the itinerary.
The route suggestions that follow are intended to provide a mini Himalaya peep.There are of course dozens of others.
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Trekking in Himalaya in India
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