The Indian Himalayas have hundreds of trekking routes that run across the splendid landscape. These treks take you across lush valleys, deep gorges, high altitude passes and to some of the highest points of India. Trekking in the Himalayas of India is truly a life-changing experience that lets you explore the pristine beauty of remote landscapes and the rich cultural heritage of quaint villages tucked in the many folds of Himalayan foothills.
Where would you like to go? Check out the Top Treks in Himachal Pradesh. Heading to Uttarakhand instead? Here’s a list of Top Treks in Uttarakhand. If you’re looking for something truly spectacular, check out the Best Treks in Ladakh.
The Indian Himalayan Region is part of the Himalayas in India, running across the northern states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Sikkim. The Indian Himalayas are home to some of the world’s tallest mountains like Mount Kanchenjunga, the world’s third-highest peak at 28,169 feet, and many other towering peaks like Nanda Devi, Kamet, Saltoro Kangri, etc.
Along with such sky-piercing peaks, the Indian Himalayas are home to immense beauty. Ancient rivers carved deep gorges in the land. Crystalline alpine lakes freeze and thaw as the seasons change, and fill rivers that gush down into the plains. Glaciers crawl down the sides of glaciers, rumbling and groaning as they move. High altitude passes keep the secrets of ancient trade routes. Silent deserts remain unchanged over decades, while forests bloom and flourish on the slopes.
And within the many folds of the Himalayan ranges, there are quaint villages with unique cultures and rich heritage, inspired by both Hinduism and Buddhism with a tinge of Tibetan influence. The Indian Himalayas are home to some of the highest villages in the world too – Spiti itself has Komic and Kibber, as well as the world’s highest post office at Hikkim.
There are hundreds of trails that run all over the Indian Himalayas to these locations, making it one of the best trekking destinations in the world. Every year, thousands of adventure lovers, nature enthusiasts, trekkers and mountaineers flock to the Himalayas of India to explore the gorgeous cultural and natural wonders that are only found here.
In India, there are Himalayan treks for all fitness levels, from short easy treks for absolute beginners to multi-day summit climbs to high mountains and passes suitable only for the experienced. Here are some of the best Indian Himalaya trekking destinations based on fitness levels:
The Indian Himalayas have many easy treks that consist of en easy trail that can be done by beginners as well as families who want to explore the Himalayan landscape. And even though these treks are easy, they still showcase the alluring beauty of the Himalayas including the snow-capped peaks, glaciers, lush forests, lakes, etc.
Some of the top easy Himalaya trekking destinations in India are:
Triund trek: An easy trek to the gorgeous alpine meadow located in Kangra, Himachal Pradesh; perfect for bird watchers, stargazers and photographers.
Chopta-Chandrashila trek: A perfect trek for a beginner to the Chandrashila peak at 13,123 feet in the Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary, offering beautiful views of Nanda Devi, Trishul, Chaukhamba, etc.
Valley of Flowers trek: A serene family trek to the breathtaking meadows of the Valley of Flowers that are covered in thousands of colourful wildflowers and surrounded by snow-clad Himalayan peaks in Nanda Devi National Park of Uttarakhand.
The Indian Himalayas also has a number of trails that are moderately challenging. These treks are the perfect doorway into high-altitude Himalayan trekking and mountaineering. These treks push your endurance levels and challenge your comfort while at the same time being accessible. Most of these treks are perfect for experienced trekkers but even beginners with high fitness levels can also attempt these treks.
Some of the top moderate-level Himalayan treks in India are:
Brahmatal trek: A trek to the high-altitude Brahmatal lake in the Himalayas of Uttarakhand, at an altitude of 12,500 feet offering splendid views of Nanda Devi, Trishul, Kamet, etc.
Kuari Pass trek: A trek that crosses the high-altitude Kuari pass at an altitude of 14,002 feet in the heart of Garhwal Himalayas offering gorgeous views of Nanda Devi, Dronagiri, Chaukhamba and many other peaks.
Hampta Pass trek: A trek to the high altitude Hampta pass at 14,100 feet that winds across the Pir Panjal Range connecting the lush valley of Kullu to the desolate Spiti Valley.
Along with the easy and moderate treks, the Indian Himalayas are also home to many challenging treks that take you to high-altitude lakes, frozen rivers and mountain peaks while bracing harsh winters of the Himalayas. These treks should only be attempted by experienced trekkers.
Here are some of the topmost difficult Himalaya trekking destinations in India:
Stok Kangri trek: A thrilling trek to the highest peak in the Stok Range at 20,182 feet offering breathtaking views of Ladakh including the Zanskar and Karakoram ranges.
Goechala trek: An exciting trek to the high-altitude pass in the untouched landscape of Sikkim offering mind-blowing views of Mount Kanchenjunga.
Kedartal trek: A challenging trek to one of the highest lakes in Uttarakhand at 14,518 feet, offering mesmerizing views of the Bhrigupant Peak, Join group of mountains and the imposing Thalayasagar.
The Himalayas of India experiences dramatic climatic changes when the seasons change. The landscape of the Himalayas changes entirely as a new season arrives, and with it, some routes are washed away, some become inaccessible, and some open up. So, there are trekking routes for every season and the best time to go for a Himalaya trek depends entirely on what you want to experience.
Summer, in the Indian Himalayas, is the season when the snow finally begins to melt, uncovering the gorgeous flora that was hiding underneath the white blanket of snow. Along with this flora come the many birds and animals out of hibernation.
The standstill landscape of winter is now replaced with a pleasant sun shining over the gorgeous landscape, paired with clear skies, cool breeze and superb views. Although there is still snow in the upper reaches, the climate is not as harsh.
Here are some of the top summer treks in the Himalayas:
Nag Tibba trek: A great trek to the 10,000 feet peak in the Lesser Himalayas of Uttarakhand offering magnificent views of the Bandarpoonch Range, Kedarkantha, Chanabang, Black Peak, etc.
Kheerganga trek: A trek in the Parvati Valley of Kullu region, where you enjoy the gorgeous views of Parvati and Tosh rivers, the glacier of Lahaul Spiti and the lofty Himalayan mountains.
Har Ki Dun trek: A gorgeous valley trek in one of the least explored parts of the Govind Wildlife Sanctuary of Uttarakhand, at the base of Fateh Parvat, where you can enjoy the breathtaking views of Bandarpoonch, Swargarohini, etc.
During the monsoon months, the Himalayas are lashed with heavy rains that leave many routes and trails inaccessible. But there are some trails that are accessible. During these months, the colours of the Himalayas come out vividly surrounding you with the ineffable beauty of the lush valleys bustling with flora and fauna against the splendid backdrop of the snow-covered mountain peaks.
Monsoon trekking in Himalaya is perfect for nature lovers who want to explore the gorgeous landscape of the Himalayas in all its glory. Here are some examples:
The Great Lakes of Kashmir trek: A magnificent trek to the famous blue-green lakes of Kashmir including Vishansar, Kishnasar, Gadsar, Satsar and the twin lakes of Gangabal, set amidst the gorgeous Himalayan landscape.
Kanamo Peak trek: A thrilling trek to the peak of a glacial mountain at 20,000 feet in the arid Spiti Valley, where you can see the dramatic views of Lahaul-Spiti, Peak Shila and the Pin Parvati Pass.
Pin Parvati Pass trek: An exciting trek across the high-altitude pass at 17,400 feet connecting the lush Parvati Valley in Kullu to the desolate Pin Valley in Spiti.
Winter, a season when the Himalayan landscape gets covered in a thick blanket of snow and lashed by the biting cold winds with sub-zero temperatures. This harsh environment renders many treks inaccessible.
And though trekking during these months can be a challenge, the mind-boggling views of the snow-covered mountains, sprawling snowfields, frozen lakes and rivers more than make up for the effort. There are many snow treks in the Himalayas of India, here are some of them:
Chadar trek: Trek over the frozen Zanskar River in sub-zero temperatures and visit frozen waterfalls and remote villages while enjoying the unique view of Ladakhi landscape.
Sandakphu trek: A trek to the highest mountain peak of West Bengal at 11,900 feet that lets you catch the majestic views of Kanchenjunga and Goechala, etc.
Kedarkantha trek: Trek to a beautiful peak at 12,500 feet, offering views of Bandarpoonch, Swargarohini and Black Peak.
The Indian Himalayas experience drastic changes in the landscape when seasons change. As seasons change, some routes are covered in thick snow, some are washed away, and some are revealed. There are many trekking routes for every season in the Himalayas, and the best time to go entirely depends on what you want to experience while trekking in the Himalayas.
If you want to explore the gorgeous flora and fauna of the Himalayas and trek in the serene atmosphere whilst escaping the heat of your city, then you can go for one of the many summer treks in the Himalayas. You can go in the monsoon season if you want to see the flourishing landscape of the Himalayas with lush valleys and bustling forests. And if you want to experience the chilling winters paired with the magnificent views of the snow-carpeted landscape, then you should go for winter treks in the Himalayas.
Altitude sickness is the effect of low air pressure over an altitude of around 8,000 feet on the human body. Symptoms of altitude sickness include nausea, vomiting, headache, dizziness, etc. If not treated on time, this can be fatal.
If you are going on a trek that takes you to an altitude of over 8,000 feet, then you need to take special care acclimatizing to avoid the onset of altitude sickness. To do this, you need to spend at least a day at leisure at that altitude. And if you have already begun your trek and feel altitude sickness, then you need to stop ascending. If the symptoms don’t seem to improve, you need to descend to a lower altitude as soon as possible.
You may even use a Diamox to help you with acclimatization but it is recommended that you consult your doctor before taking this tablet.
Most Himalayan treks in India begin in or near major tourist destinations like Sikkim, Manali, Kaza, Haridwar, Dehradun, etc. These spots are easily accessible by roads or flights and some can be reached by train too.
What you wear for Himalayan trekking depends on which season you’re going in and the kind of trail that you go for. If you’re going for an easy summer trek in the Himalayas, then you only need to wear basic clothes like t-shirts and trek pants along with a light hoodie.
However, if you’re going during the winter season, then you also need to wear inner thermals, down and fleece jackets, synthetic gloves, and socks with neck gaiters. It is also a good idea to carry a raincoat/poncho, especially during the monsoon season.
Regardless of the weather, you should also wear comfortable trekking shoes that are well broken in.
For your Himalayan trek in India, you should carry a rucksack, daypack, personal essentials like sunscreen, sanitizer, etc. along with sunglasses, sun-cap, and a personal medkit.
The tour operator will also provide a packing list upon booking the trek. Follow the list thoroughly to ensure a safe and comfortable trekking experience.
The Himalayas of India has various trekking routes of varying difficulty levels. There are easy weekend treks that give you a glimpse of the Himalayan landscape and there are difficult treks that take you deep into the Himalayan landscape.
The easy treks of the Himalayas can be done by absolute beginners and even families with children. These treks have very few steep sections and the trails are well marked.
On the other hand, the moderate ones are perfect for experienced trekkers, but even fit beginners can attempt these treks if they have good fitness levels. These treks have some steep sections and a somewhat challenging trail.
And for the difficult treks in the Himalayas, you need excellent fitness levels and prior experience of trekking in the Himalayas. These treks should not be attempted by beginners.
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