Best Treks in India to escape quarantine boredom

Adventure Holidays, Hill Station in India, Treks in India

As the world finally opens up from a year of lockdown and quarantine, the wanderlust in people has gone overboard. Being cooped up in their urbane establishments for months, people want to escape into the bosom of nature. And not just escape, but move on from the terrible year that 2020 has been. Tourism, as an industry, is also reviving after months of crisis. 

With the COVID restrictions relaxed, the best treks in India have opened up again. It is a good way to relax out there and kill the boredom caused by months of quarantine. Many treks also have strict safety instructions that you must follow. 

What’s the best time to trek?  
December and January are the months when trekkers in India set off, to the snowy bits of the Himalayas. The snow-dipped trails present the adventurers with the challenge of doing something risky. The temperature in the mountains slips into the negative, enough to send your teeth chattering. Mountaineers who aspire to summit Everest someday, use the best treks in India as a training course. For all these kinds of people, here’s a guide to the treks in India you must endeavour once. 

Best Treks in India:

1. Chadar Trek

Let’s start with a trek that is known internationally. Despite its popularity, Chadar trek is one of the most difficult ones in India. Lying over the surface of the frozen Zanskar river in Ladakh, this winter trail goes from Chilling to Nerak, at a height of 11,150 ft. 

The whole distance from Chilling to Nerak is 105 km and the average trekker covers about 16 kms a day. The bitter cold weather in the winter can test the best of trekkers, with temperatures lingering about -30 degrees. It is truly the pinnacle of Indian trekking. One is literally walking on thin ice on this trail.

Best Season: January to February

2. Tarsar Marsar Trek

If you’re imagining winter grasslands with flowerbeds, then, this is the trek you should be in. Starting from Aru, this trek takes you into the valleys of Anantnag where you come upon not just one, but three alpine lakes. Tarsar, Marsar and Sundarsar- all three lakes enveloped by beautiful snow-clad mountains.

This is not one of those treks which challenge you physically. On this trek, you discover the true beauty of Kashmir, you find the peace you were seeking on this trek.   

Best Season: July to September

3. Kedarkantha Trek

Not to be confused with Kedarnath, which is a revered pilgrimage in the country, Kedarkantha is a trekking route in Uttarakhand that is filled with uniquely beautiful campsites. This way, the trail is just as much a treat for the eyes as the summit itself. At an elevation of 12,500 ft, the summit provides an awe-inspiring sunrise. From there, all you can see is peaks of snow. 

Best Season: Late December

4. Hampta pass

In crossover treks, you can tell that you are going higher, not by the shortness of breath, but by the changing landscapes. Hampta pass in Himachal Pradesh is one such trek. Starting from the breezy forests of Manali, you walk upto Hampta in Spiti. This pass, at 14,039 ft, acts as the boundary between Lahaul and Kullu valleys. 

This trek is not too difficult for the average trekker and a true delight for all the nature lovers. 

Best Season: June to mid-September

5. Goecha La

If you’re fed up of the many treks in Ladakh and Himachal Pradesh (though, I don’t see how you can), then, this one is for you. Goecha La in Sikkim provides quite a different trekking experience to any other place. This pass is the closest you can get to Kanchenjunga (third-highest peak in the world). In fact, it acts as base camp for the Kanchenjunga trek. But at 16,207 ft, it provides a snowy, spectacular view of its own.

The lower trails of this trek have beautiful flower decks for you to walk amongst. 

Best Season: Mid-April to Late-May and Mid-September to December

6. Stok Kangri

One of India’s highest trekkable peaks, Stok Kangri is not one of amateurs. The pertinent threat to life in this trail is enough to scare the best of climbers. But to the ones who dare to scale this summit, Stok Kangri is nothing short of a life-changing experience. For starters, at 20,085 ft, it provides a view of the valley like no other peak. And then, Ladakh itself is a vast space of untapped, natural beauty. 

Not quite the Everest expedition but the ascent to Stok Kangri is planned much the same way. It is a great test of grit and physique. 

Best Season: July to August

7. Roopkund

Popularly referred to as “The Lake of Skeletons”, Roopkund lake in Uttarakhand is a site of great archaeological significance. The skeletons found near the lake serve as a constant reminder that this trek is no easy feat. At a 16,740 ft height, the lake, along with the nearby glaciers and snowy mountains, is a view like no other. 

Usually uninhabited, the trekking popularity of Roopkund lake has proved to be a threat to its biodiversity. So, any trekkers should be mindful not to damage the natural beauty of this place. 

Best Season: Late-May to June and mid-September to mid-October

8. Sandakphu

This peak on India-Nepal border is a must for all trekkers. At 11,930 ft, four of the five highest peaks in the world- Everest, Kanchenjunga, Lhotse and Makalu- are visible from this summit. Easily accessible from Darjeeling in India, this trek is one of the easiest ones and can be climbed by amateurs as well. Apart from the snow-clad tall peaks, you also get to see the cloud-enveloped settlements below. 

Best Season: April to May and October to early-December

So, these are a few places the adventurer in you has to add to your trekking bucket list. With the world emerging from a pandemic-struck year, these treks are just the change of pace you need. And unlike what is said about Ladakh, these treks are very much feasible. Most of the Himalayan states have remained relatively unaffected from the pandemic and hence, very safe and free to visit. So, pack your trekking gear, plan your trails and reach for the top of the world. 

Image Courtesy: TOI, Altitude Adventure India, Bikat Adventures, Renok Adventures,
Thrillophilia, Hey Himalayas

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