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Showing posts with label Backpacking. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Backpacking. Show all posts

List of Best Treks in Uttarakhand that you must try

Uttarakhand often referred to as Dev Bhumi or Land of the Gods, is no less than heaven for all the nature buffs and adventure lovers out there. Uttrakhand is surely one of the most fantastic places in India, which is all covered with ethereal beauty. Situated in the foothill of Himalayan Ranges, Uttarakhand comes with an ample number of opportunities of trekking and camping, and with every new place, there’s something different and interesting present there to gain a whole new experience. Well, now summers are approaching and there could be no better excuse to take a leave from your work and make your way towards the mighty mountains. If you too wish to experience that adrenaline rush, take a look at some of the best treks in Uttarakhand and go on the trek you feel like trying out.

Bali Pass Trek
Let’s get started with the very famous trek to Yamunotri, which is situated there inside the Govind Wildlife Sanctuary and allows you to take a closer look at rich flora and fauna. You need to start your trek from Sankri and continue walking along the Supin River. After this, you need to climb up slowly to the Dhatamir and Osla Village. While walking through the pathway, you’ll come across River Tons and Siyan Gad. Go on and reach Har ki Doon, a cradle shaped valley full of a large variety of flowers, mind-blowing views, and amazing wildlife. Then you need to continue to the Ruinsara Tal that passes through mesmerizing grasslands and conifer forests. Walk slowly and reach the base of Bali Pass. After you cross the path, you’ll go downhill through the pastures and open forests to the Yamunotri shrine. After this, the route will take you to Janak Chatti and Hanuman Chatti. 
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Trek to the Enchanted - Valley of Flowers

Valley of flowers, at a height of 3046 meters above sea level, lies in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand state. Challenging trekking route and spectacular beauty of the mystical valley has always tempted botanists, nature lovers, foreign tourists and adventure lovers. Valley boast off over 500 species of wild flowers of unparalleled appearance and fragrances.

 

Although the picturesque valley remains open to the world from June to October, but it’s great to visit the valley around June, July and August, when the flowers are in abundance. For rest of the year valley remains snow clad.

 

Journey to the valley starts from Haridwar, where you can easily hire a cab for your entire trip. Below is the entire itinerary in brief. 

 

1. Haridwar to Govindghat - Around 300 Kms

2. Start from Haridwar - Cab is recommended. Very less frequency of buses.

3. Route: Haridwar – Rishikesh – Devprayag – Jayalgarh – Srinagar – Rudaprayag – Karnaprayag – Nandaprayag – Chamoli – Pipalkoti – Joshimath – Vishnuprayag - Govindghat

4. Govindghat – (Motorable-4Km) – Poolna (Trek 10 km) – Ghangaria – Total 14 Kms

5. Split routes from Ghangaria for Valley of Flowers Trek and Hemkund Sahib Trek

 

Drive to Govindghat around 300 Kms, which would take 10 – 12 hours of time to reach depending on the road conditions, please expect land sliding at various points throughout the drive.

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Forbidden Republic of Malana

When it is 21st century, it is very difficult to believe about places which are still lying disconnected from the mainland. Malana is such a spot which is 45 km. from much popular tourist destination of Kullu and has been lying isolated from the outside civilization for thousands of years. 


That much mention of such a solitary village was enough to stir the exploring soul of this vagabond. In line to my philosophy that Good travelers never plan in advance, I was on the way to Parvati Valley, situated to the north east of Kullu valley to see the sights of Malana.

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Dudhsagar Falls - THE MILKY WAY

Dudhsagar Falls aka Sea of Milk- a beautiful tie-red waterfall located on the Mandovi River in the Indian state of Goa on Goa's border with Karnataka state is the place I have been wanting to embark in my travel list since a long time.

 

Dudhsagar derives its name from the clouds of foam that form at the waterfalls.

 

According to the legend, a powerful king who ruled the Western Ghats had his palace in the forest. The king's daughter used to bath in the picturesque lake. She would have a jug full of sugared milk after the bath.


Once while she was just having her milk after a bath, a handsome prince saw her. Embarrassed, the princess poured milk in front of her so that it could form a curtain while one of the maids rushed to get her the dress. Since then, the sugared milk (Dudh) poured by the princess is believed to be flowing in torrents as a tribute to the modesty of the princess.

 

All you need is a weekend to cover this lovely place if you stay in Bangalore. One fine day, all of a sudden, we booked train tickets from Bangalore to Londa Junction in Rani Chenamma Express for next day travel. Around 8 AM, we reached Londa Junction and indeed that small station surprised us with its beautiful and breath freshening view.

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Manali to Rohtang Pass...

Though Manali is a small place, but it is base for onward travel to Rohtang and further to Leh, as widely acclaimed Leh-Manali highway starts from here only. First thing while in Manali is to set off to Rohtang Pass. Start as early as possible, so that you get ample time to enjoy the journey and can get back to Manali before it gets too dark in the evening.

 

In the morning as the sun was spreading its rays from behind the mountains and the city was about to come to life, the moment seemed like the whole world to us. It was an amazing Way to Go...


Well-defined snow capped peaks, Deodar and Pine trees, will give you company on this journey.

Start with adequate winter gear to counter any onslaught of the chilling winds at Rohtang pass. There are lot of shops at the exit of the city which rent out adequate winter gears and drivers insist a lot on taking those clothes from local shops. Time taken to cover 52 km. depends on how frequent you stop to enjoy the ambience. Road is in good condition, however occasional landslides.


However mighty mountains, falling waterfalls will keep you occupied. Click after click continue to capture the opulent nature and the snake roads. make sure you carry a good camera.

Limits of vision were the mountains only and nothing else. As it is said Human will to triumph is above all, we stopped at a place full of eateries. We wondered how much efforts must have been done by these shopkeepers to open such shops at this height. This place is "Marhi" and like everywhere else view from this point was staggering brilliant, barren mountains were incomparable.


We had to stop for 15-20 minutes due to some blasting work being carried out by Border Roads organization. Landslides are frequent here, may be due to lose mountains:


At RohtangThe view was "Incredible".

As our feet are always the best option, we decided to chart the course by walking on for the summit. However now you only must walk and trek, as gone are the days when one could have enjoyed a horse ride to scale the Rohtang peak.

 

Braving the winds and walking on the frozen rivers, one will constantly hear the noise of water gushing underneath the frozen layer of ice. Need not worry keep on moving. There is a small stupa at Rohtang.


Snow at the top was calling us and Step by step we kept on moving and it did not took long to reach the summit, with snow everywhere around. Rightly said "View from the top is what makes the journey of 1000 steps so exhilarating". A sense of Deja Vu ---


Return journey was as usual devoid of any thrill, except the fascinating memories gathered during the day. Fast changing landscapes from hills covered with trees to barren mountains, what a diverse panorama on display here.


While coming back, you can visit or indulge in adventure activities at Solang Valley (14 km. from Manali on way to Rohtang). Enjoy view from the top in the cable car...

Or slide/ glide in the romantic slopes...

Just before the Solang Valley is the entrance for the trek to Anjani Mahadev. Around 30 minutes of trek will take you to the place where waterfall is dripping over the Lord Shiva.
During the winters Shivling rises upto 5ft. in height due to dripping water. People from far off places come here to witness this marvel and offer prayers.

Ambience and surroundings are mesmerizing and you may feel like becoming a monk and stay here forever. Trek is also equally enriching, as one has to actually cross over a stream of water. There is a small cable trolley to cross this stream.

Adventure never stops in Manali. Keep travelling Guys...

The best plans should be kept early during the trip as one snowfall or landslide, the Leh Manali highway, which is the road to Rohtang gets closed. So, when in Manali first thing to do is to head straight to Rohtang.


Someone rightly told that you have to be lucky also to experience Rohtang.

Permit is required to visit Rohtang and beyond, please use the link for applying and getting the permit http://admis.hp.nic.in/ngtkullu. 400 Diesel vehicles and 600 Petrol vehicles are allowed during the day. To return to Delhi, book a Volvo or take any state roadways bus. Prior booking is advised for both options.

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Rejuvenate in JAYALGARH

Far from the Madding Crowd... when you feel to break all shackles and merge yourself into Mother Nature, come to "Jayalgarh"
"Are you not enthralled with the pics, if YES just wait. These are just on way to Jayalgarh". What's waiting for you is the gushing Alaknanda, innumerable treks, trails and rock formations in the nearby mountains. Jayalgarh is approximately 90 kms from Rishikesh near Devprayag. Pitched up on the bank of the gushing River Alaknanda, this would be a wonderful retreat for the entire family, a group of friends or just for you.

This is a story of 2 friends (Gaurav and Gaurav), their friendship, their adventures. In the summers of 2006, they boarded a late night bus from Delhi to Rishikesh. It took them around 6 hours to Rishikesh. Another 1.5 hrs. from Rishikesh and they were in jayalgarh at early morning 7 AM. They missed out several ATM's in the way in hope of finding the most coveted ATM in Rishikesh, which was non-existing.


Rest of the story from them directly, Day 1:
Mighty Alaknanda and the Himalayan ranges were there to receive us. De-boarding the bus, the first things we noticed were the camps alongside the river. In no time we were there, inquiring about a possible accommodation for both of us. What we get to know was "The camps have been booked by a company ALSTOM, our last company and they were to arrive any moment". Next momemt we were running out of the camps "Paaji sir pe pair rakh ke bhaag lo". At the same time both of the minds were busy in devising ways to surprise encounters with Alstom.

We got a resort just above those camps. After our breakfast, with our binoculars, cameras and preparation we were ready for trekking on naked mountains and testing the strong currents of Alaknanda. Next 2-3 hours were the time of our lives, as we totally drenched ourselves to the rigors of trekking with bare hands and no equipment at all. What a time it was?  With our souls we finally conquered the mountain and halted only after reaching the top of the cliff. 

After this adventure, we thanked to GOD in a temple on the clif. Also chatted with local children, the joy we missed staying in cities. Now we felt to replenish our energies. After the lunch in our resort, the moment we sat down to rest, we fall unconscious for next 3-4 hours.



On getting up in evening, filled with adrenaline we started to explore further and left for SRINAGAR (this one not the one in J&K) for another temple visit. In the way we made sure to arrange spirits to keep us in good spirits. While coming back, we managed to give Alstom a sight of things to come (You know Gaurav, what I mean).
"Travellers never think themselves of being foreigners" was our mantra.
The road we chose to wait for a bus to take us back to jayalgarh was worth every minute even it had started to dawn and finally one localite offered us the lift to our resort. After the dinner, we again set out for night walk on totally dark roads, only light was from our mobiles.
DAY 2:
It was morning again in no time. A person from resort came to woke us up saying, a nearby river rafting camp wants to meet us, if we are interested for rafting. I couldn't believe my ears when he told we have few seats vaccant in our boats.....rest others were filled by ALSTOM, ha ha ha we sensed blood and it was the time to go for a kill. What a news it was and we both started waiting for the moment...
Our previous bosses, the reaction seems they wanted our blood. But we were the merrier ones interacting with our old friends. We shared the same bus and again came to Srinagar to start our rafting. We saw lion hearts crying like babies a midst of river. Even some were so horrified they needed water to regain the senses, when there was water everywhere. Water going down in a gush, raft overturning, screams we witnessed/ enjoyed all. But the most we had a duel with the river Alaknanda, check out the brave soldier in me.

All good things have to end, so was with our exploits on reaching Jayalgarh. But we still looking around to have some more moments, we picked up a Kayak to try our hand at that also. We also tried our hand at Volleyball and when everything else got over, we decided to call it a day.


We started in evening, enjoying the TEA and snacks at roadside dhabas. Adventure was still very much with us in our spirits. We had dinner in Rishikesh and by Sunday morning we were back in Delhi. This has been our close to heart memories, we will talk of it rest through out our lives.
We will keep coming to Rishikesh...At this time we have come much ahead in our personal and professional lives. 



As said by Al Pacino in movie Scent of Woman: "Some people live a lifetime in a minute" We lived a lot more than in those 2 days...But we both realize that a trip again to this place is due, lets hope when it materializes...
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The Magical Manali...

Far from the Maddening crowd, in the realms of Nature, surrounded by mountains lies an incredible holiday spot, we call it as "Manali".  It is an excellent place for a holiday, a favourite resort for trekkers to Lahaul, Spiti, Kinnaur, Leh and Zanskar regions in Kashmir valley.

 

Amazing Landscapes, flowing river, green mountains are a few to keep you enthralled during your road trip to Manali...also known as the "SWITZERLAND OF INDIA".


We started from Shimla at 9:00 AM in a taxi, which the best way to explore the beauty all the way till Manali. Every mile was asking us to stop and see...but we had to reach Manali - -so we kept on moving, though with occasional stops. Each turn was unfolding stunning panorama of nature, and landscapes were getting better every time. Pandoh dam for hydroelectric power generation is one of such stops during the way. Photography of the dam is strictly prohibited, unless you risk forfeiting of your camera by security agencies:


Whether it was the green waters of the rivers, eye catching hills or the 3 km. long tunnel, all of them kept us glued on our windows. We kept on moving and enjoying...

Once you reach Kullu, stay for 2 days and cherish the amazing spots in the Valley of Gods. In the way, around 45 km. from Kullu is a place which is still disconnected from the mainland. While going to Manali or while returning, take some time to explore Malana...


280 Km. distance took around 9 hours including a few stops to relish in the majestic beauty of the Himalayas. In Manali, select a room with a captivating view of the opposite mountain ranges the land where the music of the mountains was reigning supreme.

Manali is a small place with some amazing sightseeing options here, notable among them Hadimba temple, Maharishi Vashisht Temple, Anjani Mahadev, Solang ValleyMall Road and Old Manali. It is the experience and AURA of this place that sets it apart from other destinations in this region. Manali is also the base for going to Rohtang Pass and further to Leh.

 

There are some things which you always desire, and Snowfall is one of them. It was November, but we got up to witness Snowfall. We were in for a heavenly experience.


Trees, Houses and ground covered with snow were simply irresistible to stay indoors. We too came out to have our share of enjoyment in the falling snow. At breakfast, hotel staff complimented us for being lucky to witness snowfall in November as it usually happens in January. We were rejoicing on our good fortune.

The snow had a magnetizing effect on us and we continued to explore whatever we could have. Check out, what was the closest encounter with snow we could have had. I saw a few kids playing with the snow, in the snow. Just a glance of them was ample for me to join their game. With in a few seconds I went back to my childhood days. Staying in the big cities we miss out on lot of simple yet delightful activities. Rightly said - "Those are the moments which make life worthwhile". So guys Live Life to the fullest before it gets too late.
We realized that local sightseeing was due, when our cab arrived. Though we did not wanted to stop the fun in the snow with the kids.

First in the list was Maharishi Vashisht Temple, it was a small but impressive temple. We were in for another surprise, as there was snow all around the floor and we were supposed to cross it barefooted. Isn't it Enticing Guys...?

We saw a few tourists praying from outside and returning back. The snow had a terrifying effect on them. However, we went inside without our shoes. Brains and feet were fighting out for moving fast or maintain a balance to avoid slipping. By the time they would have reached to a conclusion, we had performed the rituals and were out of the temple.

 

Vashihst temple, without snow:


The place has been the meditation place of Maharishi Vashishta and there is a famous hot water spring. According to legend, Laxman (younger brother of Lord Ram)had come to take help of Rishi Vashishta for Ashwa Megha Yagya. However Lxxman was unable to bear the cold of this place and had shot an arrow into the ground which resulted in gushing out of hot water from the ground and provided him the much needed respite from the cold weather.

Also adjacent to Vashisht temple is the Ram temple:

Some distance from Vashishth temple is Jogini Waterfalls (4 km. from Mall Road). A gentle trek of around 30 minutes from the main road (Manali to Rohtang) will take you to this stream of waterfall which is on its way to join river Beas. People of Vashishth village worship Jogini falls with a belief that Goddess Jogini reside inside the rushing waters of this waterfall.
The way fighter pilots prepare before every flight, same way with our spirits rejuvenated, we started for Hadimba Temple. 

Cladded in snow and snow falling from the Trees, Hadimba Temple was posing like a panorama only seen in artists' sketches. What could have been the icing on the cake, we were walking besides the rabbits. There were rabbits all around to cheer you. Our shoes have got wet by the time, but we were not complaining. With snow all around and rains embracing us, we got to know, why it is called as "SWITZERLAND of INDIA". Do you have any question guys?

Hadimba temple without snow:

Instead of returning to our hotel we decided to get to the Mall. Every hill station in India has a Mall Road and Manali is no different. Artefacts sold by different shops exhibits ample glimpses of diversity of India culture. Laughing Buddha, Dragons' souvenirs, Lord Krishna pictures and masks used in South Indian dances, all at one place - that's what we call "UNITY in DIVERSITY"

Exploring Manali on foot with complimentary sight seeing and cool breezes is an experience to cherish life long. Adjacent to Mall Road is a beautiful  Tibetan Monastery, Gadhan Thekchoking Gompa Monastery:

Adventure does not end here. Manali is also acclaimed for adventure sports activities. One can indulge in River rafting, Paragliding, Trekking, camping and can learn mountaineering. For budding mountaineers there is a mountaineering institute too.


I do not have many words to describe the Aura of this place. To be honest you must come here to feel yourself. In short, a special place and a must visit for all. Situated at a height of 6,398 ft and distance of 550 Km. from Delhi, Manali is a very popular hill station in Beas River valley. Going further ahead on Delhi-Manali Road, one can drive till Leh, which is world's one of the best motoring roads on account of natural beauty. Isn’t it enticing:


For me this is the best time to be in Manali (October- November), as you can go to Rohtang Pass. So guys, ready 1,2, 3.......Vroom, coz one snowfall and road to Rohtang will be closed. Would you like to miss the lovely drive on the above road?

Permit is required to visit Rohtang and beyond, please use the link for applying and getting the permit http://admis.hp.nic.in/ngtkullu. 400 Diesel vehicles and 600 Petrol vehicles are allowed during the day. To return to Delhi, book a Volvo or take any state roadways bus. Prior booking is advised for both options.

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