TREKKING AND MOUNTAINEERING
India’s snow capped peaks and wilderness to the north make it a delight for trekkers and mountaineers. Easy treks, difficult treks, long treks, short treks — the options are almost endless! Trekking in India started when the land was inhabited in prehistoric times. There are perhaps as many trekking routes in India as there are Indians. It was in the 1970’s and 1980’s that trekking started gaining in popularity as a recreational/adventure sport. A number of religious sites and shrines across the country, especially in Jammu and Kashmir, and in the Garhwal region of Uttarakhand – such as Badrinath, Amarnath, Gangotri, Hemkund, Joshimath, Kedarnath, Vaishno Devi and Yamunotri – entail trekking for a couple of days in the mountains. Trekking in India has grown in leaps and bounds and the current trekking scenario is very promising, with thousands of Indians and foreigners hitting trekking trails each year.
What India can boast of is some of the most stunning trekking routes in the world – many of the mountain passes in the Ladakh and Zanskar Himalayas are above 5000m. But there are plenty of gentler and smaller trails, at different altitudes, both in the mountains and in the forests. If you’re looking for less arduous hikes, you’ll find plenty in in the Western Ghats and the Nilgiri Hills of south India (Munnar and Wayanad in Kerala, Coorg in Karnataka, and around Ooty in Tamil Nadu).
It is possible to rent/buy trekking equipment all over India from clubs and adventure- gear manufacturers. Do thoroughly check all gear before venturing out into the mountains.
1. Small rucksack / knapsack 2. Sleeping bag 3. Lockable duffel bag 4. Karrimat / Therm-a-Rest 5. Tent 6. Personal toiletries 7. Water bottle (at least 2 litres) 8. First-aid kit 9. Camera with spare batteries and film (carry more film than you think you will need!) 10. Headlamp/torch with spare cells 11. Maps 12. Diary/pen/reading material 13. Sewing kit 14. Swiss Army knife 15. Whistle 16. Sunscreen – with high SPF (at least 30, to better protect you from harmful UV rays) 17. Lip salve/ChapStick 18. Sunglasses with retainers/spare prescription glasses 19. Lighter 20. Emergency rations/goodies 21. Parachute cord 22. Ski-stick/ice-axe 23. Rope (for high-altitude treks) 24. Plastic bags and Ziplocs for packing gear
Best season in India
May/June and September/October for Garhwal, Kumaon (Uttarakhand), Sikkim and Himachal Pradesh
One can trek in the foothills of the Himalayas from October through till March
1. Hydration 2. Clothing / staying warm (‘Cover your head if your feet are cold gentlemen’ is an old English saying) 3. Packing a rucksack 4. Pacing yourself on a trek 5. Timing – ‘Start early and arrive early’ is the cardinal rule of trekking 6. Porters and guides – A guide, or guide-cum-cook, is important on routes that are remote, tougher and relatively less trodden. Porters, with the option of ponies, will come in extremely handy on longer trips, especially if you’re carrying lots of provisions. 7. Mules and horses on the trail
1. Jammu and Kashmir (Ladakh, Zanskar)
2. Himachal Pradesh
3. Uttarakhand (Garhwal, Kumaon)
4. Sikkim and Darjeeling
5. Northeast states (Arunachal Pradesh)
6. Western Ghats
7. South India (Nilgiris, Coorg)
MOUNTAINEERING IN INDIA
Arunachal Himalaya :-Gyala Peri – Kangto – Nyegi Kangsang – Gori Chen
Sikkim Himalaya :- Kabru – Kokthang – Rathong Zemu glacier valley – Kangchenjunga
Uttarakhand Himalaya :-Kumaon – Garhwal – Western Garhwal – Nanda Devi Sanctuary
Himachal Himalaya :- Kullu – Lahaul – Kinnaur – Spiti
J & Kashmir Himalaya :- Kishtwar – Ladakh – Zanskar – Kashmir – Eastern Karakoram