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The Garhwal region contains some of the finest Himalaya mountains and is highly accessible. The low-altitude Sivalik foothills that run across the state are stepping stones from the plains to the Greater Himalayas. This region has the trekking possibilities especially during the winter. Trekking can be performed in the Inner Himalayas for 7 to 20 days with an experienced outfitter and modern camping equipment. The trekking can be enjoyed in small groups. Each group is accompanied by an English-speaking trained guide and experienced kitchen staff to serve fresh meals. The trekkers do not have to carry their backpacks more than 3 to 5 kilograms. The rest of the equipment can be carried by porters who accompany them. Dehradun, the capital city of Uttaranchal is the base point for trekking.

Uttaranchal Trekking

The history behind the trekking goes back to the beginning of the 19th century. When the Gurkhas were expelled from Kumaon, Garhwal and Himachal Pradesh after the 1814-15 Gurkha War, Nepal and Britain signed a non-aggression pact which neither side violated. However, Nepal adopted an isolation policy, closing its doors to the rest of the world. Then, it became a forbidden land and this stimulated a curious fascination among the outsiders. The discovery that the Everest is the highest mountain in the world added to the mystique. When Nepal opened its doors again in 1950, the first visitors were captivated by this medieval kingdom that was seemingly unaffected by the 20th century. The members of the first expeditions to Everest marveled at the beauty of Nepal and widely advertised it. Then came the trekkers and tourism gathered a momentum. 

Uttaranchal Trekking

This region had been open since the British took over in 1815 but it was abandoned by explorers in favour of Nepal. Various early Himalayan exploration were undertaken here. The Trisul Parvat, after it had been climbed by Dr. Tom Longstaff in 1906 remained the highest mountain climbed for the next 30 years. The famous mountaineers of 1930 like Bill Tilman, Eric Shipton and Frank Smythe marveled at the beauty of the region. Later, climbers like Chris Bonington, Peter Boardman and Mick Tasker used alpine techniques to conquer Changabang and Dunagiri. The hill folks and pilgrims also trekked over hills and dales due to lack of roads and means of transportation. Adi Shankaracharya trekked in the Garhwal Himalayas in the 8th century A.D. and he was the pioneer who opened trekking routes in this part of the country.

There are many trekking routes which offers some of the most spectacular walking and scenery. Around Gangotri and Yamunotri there are very good treks. The valley of Har-ki-Doon, Pindari glacier, Kuari pass and Dodital are the famous trekking routes. Some of the lesser known routes are Ruinsara, Bali Pass, Buran Pass, Sahastratal and the Rudranath and Milam Malari treks. One of the popular trekking route is from the Kuari Pass to the Valley of Flowers. The maximum height which can be reached in this trek is 3658 metres. Many of these routes lead across high-altitude meadows, passes, lakes and highest, perennially snow-clad peaks like the Nanda Davi, Kamet, Neekanth, Mana. The scenic splendour of these mountains lies partly in the fact that the forests around the big peaks are still in marvelous condition and the local population is unaffected by the ravages of mass tourism. The best seasons for trekking are Februray and March at lower altitudes for the spectacular rhododendrons, April and May at higher altitudes, and October and November, when temperature is low, the skies are clear and the vegetation is green.

Treeking Routes in Garhwal

Panch Kedar Trek
Panch Kedars are the five different forms of the Hindu God Shiva and are Known as Kedarnath (3584 m), Madmaheshwar (3289 m), Tungnath (3810 m), Rudranath (2286 m) and Kalpnath (2134 m). The mountainscape from each temple is fascinating, the valley is full of rich flora and fauna and the people are  hospitable.

Kedarnath - Vasuki Tal Trek
The trek from Kedarnath to Vasuki Tal is a continuous ascent along a goat track and it offers a panoramic view of Chukhamba peaks. The trek starts from Gaurikund, where one can have a refreshing bath in the hot water sulphur springs. The trek from Gaurikund to Rambara winds along the river Mandakini through forests and across beautiful waterfalls. The final trek to Vasuki Tal is downhill for 1 km. At the bottom of this, one can see rectangular slabs of rocks.

Dodi Tal Trek
The trek to Dodi Tal starts from Uttarkashi to Sangam Chatti and is approachable by motor. It is a gradual climb from Sangam Chatti to Agoda through woods, fields and villages on a mule track. The trek from Agoda to Dodi Tal is steep and through thick forests. Dodi Tal is situated at an elevation of 3024 meters, north of Uttarkashi and is surrounded by dense woods of oak, pine, deodar and rhododendrons. Dodi Tal, the crystal clear lake is full of rare fishes and the Himalayan Golden Trouts. 

Gangotri - Kedarnath Trek
The Gangotri-Kedarnath trek is along the old pilgrim route from Gangotri to Kedarnath. From Gangotri one has to come down to Mala by motor. The actual trek stats from Mala, after crossing the river Bhagirathi. The trek is on level upto Sauri–ki–gad and from this point the climb to Belak is gradual. From Belak to Budha Kedar, it is downhill through dense forests full of birds and wildlife. From Budha Kedar to Panwali, it is an uphill climb through terraced fields and picturesque villages. The enchanting view of the Garhwal Himalaya is very refreshing and compensates the efforts of regular ascend and descend. The ‘Bugyals’ (alpine meadows) on this trek are most beautiful, specially the Kush–Kalyani and Panwali Bugyals.

Kalindikhal Trek
The Kalindikhal Trek provides a rare experience for the most adventurous trekkers. The trek takes one from Nandavan to Vasuki Tal after due acclimatization. There is a gradual ascent of 10 kms. and there after, the trek negotiates Kharapathar at a height of 5456 m. before camping at Kalindi base. After crossing the Kalindi Pass, one treks down to Arwa glacier and Arwatal to Badrinath via Ghastoli with two main rivers crossing on the way. 

Valley of Flowers and Hemkund Trek
The Valley of Flowers and Hemkund trek starts from Govindghat, on the way to Badrinath, having two major gradients, one from Alaknanda bridge of Govindghat to Pulana village, for 3 kms. and other from Bhundar to Ghangharia. After trekking 3 kms. from Ghangharia, a bifurcation point is reached. The Valley of Flowers is surrounded by the river Pushpavati and small streams. The Valley is nearly 10 kms. in length and 2 kms. in width. 

Khatling - Sahasratal - Masartal Trek
The Khatling glacier is a lateral glacier, at the source of river Bhilangana. Sahsratal and Masartal are on the west and east of it. The valley of Bhilangana affords a panoramic view of snow capped peaks and hanging glaciers like Jogin group, Kirti Stambh and Meru. The whole trek passes through thick forests and beautiful lush green meadows. In the rainy season, the meadows burst with splendid flowers. Trekkers will have to cross scores of small streams on improvised log bridges on this route.

Har-Ki–Doon Trek
At an elevation of 3566 meters, the Har-Ki-Doon is surrounded by glittering peaks and dense forests. The forests are rich in wildlife and is a paradise for bird watchers and nature lovers. The road from Netwar to Osla is through dense forests of chestnuts, walnuts, willows and chinars. The trek from Osla to Har–ki–Doon is through terraced mountain fields, lush green grassy land and conifer forests.

Roopkund Trek
Roopkund is situated at a height of 5029 meters in the lap of Trisul Massif. This area is usually called the ‘Mystery Lake’ since human skeletons and remains of horses from the Paleolithic age were found here. The lake is surrounded by rock stewn glaciers and snow clad peaks. The starting point of the trek is Tharali, easily approached by motor from Rishikesh. Roopkund can also be reached from Ghat, connected by the motorable road with Nandprayag situated on the main highway to Badrinath. The route passes through lush green grassy land and conifer forests clinging on to the slopes of hills. The trek thereafter winds its way along the Pindar river. Then to round off this trek, one can approach Homekund via Shall Samudra glacier and then move on to Ghat or Nandprayag. 

Kuari Pass Trek
The Kuari Pass is approached through a narrow goat track at an elevation of 4265 mts. in the heart of Chamoli District. The glorious view of the imposing eastern peaks of the Garhwal Himalayas is unforgettably enchanting. They appear so close with their grand glittering snow caps that one feels like almost touching them. If the weather is clear then the Nandadevi, Dunagiri, Bethartoli, Devathan peaks are visible from Kuari Pass. Since Lord Curzon once trekked upto Kuari Pass, the trek is known as Curzon trek.

Treeking Routes in Kumaon

The Kumaon hills are the most picturesque hills in the country and offers breathtakingly adventurous trekking routes. Some of these routes are

Pithoragarh - Tawaghat - Parwati Lake - Chhota Kailash - Sinla Pass Trek
In this exciting trekking region of Kali, Kuti and Dhauli rivers, one not only walks along a large portion of the Kailash – Mansarovar route, but also gets an exposure to the socio-cultural life of the people living in the Chaudans, Byans and Darma valleys. Dharchula is the base camp for trekking that takes one to Jolingkong called Chhota Kailash and its small but beautiful lake called Parwati Tal. The route to Sinla Pass is under a heavy blanket of snow and from here one can constantly see the Chhota Kailash peak.

Bageshwar - Liti - Namik Glacier Trek
In this trek one can see the snout of Namik Glacier and the stream coming down from Anargal and meeting the main stream after going through Jogi Udiyar the ascent of Bhindawali and Penthang. 

unsyari - Milam Glacier Trek
Munsyari is situated on the arterial water body of the Goriganga, which emerges from the Milan glacier of the eastern flanks of the Nanda Devi Sanctuary, and also fed the Kalabuland glacier and the Panchachuli from further east. The Milam glacier snout at 3872 m. is the nodel point for a variety of high grade routes and peaks.

Bageshwar - Saung - Sunderdhung
Glacier Trek
36 kms. from Kausani, at the confluence of the rivers Gomti and Saryu lies this religious town of Bageshwar. Bageshwar is an important pilgrimage centre of the Kumaon Himalayas and adorned by temples and places of worship. Bagehwar is also the base for the popular trekking routes of Sunderdhunga, Pindari and Kafni Devikund, Durgakund Glaciers.

Bageshwar - Saung - Pindari Glacier Trek
The trek from Bageshwar to Pindari glacier is 3kms. long and ¼ km. broad. It is connected to the south–western slopes of the outer walls of the Nanda Devi Sanctuary.

States in North India
Delhi || Jammu & Kashmir || Haryana & Punjab || Himachal Pradesh || Madhya Pradesh || Rajasthan || Uttar Pradesh || Uttaranchal

Information about Uttaranchal
Introduction || Geography || Economy || People || Pilgrimage || Adventure Sports || Hill Stations || Trekking || Wildlife Sanctuaries

Cities in Uttaranchal
Almora || Champawat || Dehradun || Pithoragarh || Ranikhet

Distances from Cities in Uttaranchal
Muzzafarnagar || Saharanpur

Hill Stations in Uttaranchal
Mussoorie || Nainital

Pilgrimage Places in Uttaranchal
Badrinath || Gangotri || Haridwar || Kedarnath || Yamunotri || Other Pilgrimage Places

Festivals of Uttaranchal

Makar Sankranti || Basant Panchami || Phool Dei || Haatkalika Fair || Kumbh Mela || Syalde Bikhauti || Jageshwar Fair || Bat Savitri || Ganga Dusshera || Harela and Bhitauli || Ghee Sankranti || Janopunyu || Khatarua || Jauljibi and Thal fairs || Nandadevi Fair

Wildlife Sanctuaries of Uttaranchal

Corbett National Park || Govind Wildlife Sanctuary || Valley of Flowers National Park || Chandraprabha Wildlife Sanctuary || Nanda Devi National Park
|| Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary


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