Hiking & Trekking in India
by: Manish Kothari, Pankaj Parekh and Bhairavi Parekh

Pictures

As a fairly inexperienced trekker, I look forward to doing many more trips to the Himalaya (and elsewhere) with my family and friends; however, if you have not already been to the Himalaya, we hope that this helps convincing you to go, and points you to some great options. We will periodically post different hikes that we have loved. We would like to invite others to share their comments, experiences and recommendations about trekking/hiking in the Indian Himalaya.

The hills and mountains have a certain lure, and once enthralled by them, like an addiction, one keeps going back for more.

It all started on weekend trips to Lonavala and Khandala from Bombay. I distinctly remember taking the Deccan Queen through the verdant ghats with their numerous waterfalls. I will never forget, and still long for, that special green colour of the monsoon hills - a green that is so pleasing to the eye, and so hard to describe in words. In those days, we went hiking in the hills at a whim because it was so close.

Then, in 1977, when I was eleven, I first visited Jammu & Kashmir, and was quite literally, amazed. For someone who had grown up in Bombay, it seemed so beautiful. That was my first glimpse of the Himalaya. Thereafter, in February 1978, my brother and I, while having dinner one evening, were strongly encouraged by a cousin (who has and will continue to contribute to this section) to join a group of school students going that summer for a Himalayan trek (organised by the NHTP, National Himalayan Trekking Program). Fortunately, after initially being reluctant to send us, our parents though it was a good idea too. We got our rucksacks, hunter boots, etc. and went to wonderful a 12-day trip to the base of Brahma peak in Kashmir. Thereafter, in 1979, we went to the Manali area (in Himachal Pradesh), and trekked a beautiful route that took us across Rohtang Pass. Then, in the winter of the same year, we hiked in the Deccan area.

Several years later, in 1990, I had the opportunity to hike in the Andes in Peru, in a lovely region called the Cordillera Blanca, and at once reminesced of the Himalaya. Then, in August 1994, my wife & I went to Harkidun in the Bandarpuuch area near Dehra Dun in Uttar Pradesh with our cousin (organised by BNHS, the Bombay Natural History Society).




Harkidun Trek

Total Days: 8-10 (round-trip from Delhi to Delhi)

Total Trekking Distance: 75 km.

Trekking Season: April end to November

Terrain: alpine woods, mostly along the Sons and Tons , upper tributaries of the Ganga

Altitude: 6,000 ft to 12,500 ft

Trekking Seasons:

  1. Summer trek: April end to June. Climate:0-25C. Occasional showers.Long days. Mountains almost fully snow-clad.
  2. Monsoon trek: July to mid September. Climate: -5 to 20C.Heavy showers. Flowering season - meadows covered with Himalayan flowers.Thick foliage. If you are lucky, you may see double rainbows.
  3. Autumn trek: Mid September to November. Climate: -10 to 15C.Occasional showers. Short days. Clear views of mountain peaks ranging from 18000ft. to 24000ft.

Main Villages along route: Netwar, Saankri,Taluka, Osla.

Approach Route:

Day 1:
Take a bus from Delhi to Dehra Dun. The bus travel time is about 8 hours. Buses are available frequently, from ordinary grade to luxury grade.
Altitude of Dehra Dun : 1800 ft.
Stay overnight at Dehra Dun. Lodging and Boarding available: one star to three star hotels.

Day 2:
Take a bus from Dehra Dun - early morning at 5.30a.m. for Saankri village.
Bus travel time: 10 hours. Semi-luxury buses.
The travel is through the Himalayan range.
Altitude of Saankri: 4500ft.
Stay overnight at Saankri.
Lodging and boarding available at rest house.

Day 3:
Trek from Saankri to Taluka.
Distance : 12 km.
4 to 5 hour walk - gentle climb.
Altitude of Taluka : 6500ft.
Stay overnight at Taluka.
Lodging and boarding available at rest house.
One can sight Himalayan birds and animals.

Day 4:
Trek from Taluka to Seema (Osla village)
Distance : 12km.
6 to 7 hour walk - medium gradient climb.
Altitude of Seema : 8300ft.
Stay overnight at Seema.
Lodging and boarding available at rest house.
Walk along the river bank and through forests.
One can sight rainbows here.

Day 5:
Trek from Seema to Harkidun.
Distance: 11km.
8 hour walk - steep gradient at certain places.
Altitude : 12500ft.
Stay overnight at Harkidun.
Lodging and boarding available at rest house.
Walk through the meadows of Himalayan flowers, especially during the monsoon.

Day 6:
Wandering aimlessly around Harkidun in solitude, absorbing the spirit of the mighty Himalayas. In summer, the snow covers the base of the mountains. In autumn, one gets the clear view of the mountain peaks and the effect of the sunrise and sunset. It is chilly and cold, but one gets the feel of freeness. Stay overnight at Harkidun.

Day 7:
Descend from Harkidun to Seema. Stay overnight at Seema

Day 8:
Descend from Seema to Saankri.
Stay overnight at Saankri.

Day 9 :
Bus from Saankri(early morning at 5.30a.m.) to Dehra Dun.
Stay overnight at Dehra Dun.

Day 10 :
Take a bus from Dehra Dun to Delhi.

Equipment and clothing:

  1. High altitude sleeping bag with carry mat.
  2. Rucksack with a capacity of 15 kilos weight.
  3. Warm clothing and wind cheater.
  4. Trekking shoes(hunter shoes)
  5. Shorts, T shirts and personal necessities.

Porters:
Porters are available .

Note:
This area (from Netwar village to Osla ) is a wild-life sanctuary, and conserved forest area.

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