TREKKING IN THE INDIAN HIMALAYA
The Himalaya does not stop on the borders of Nepal. Indeed, experienced trekkers will testify that the Indian Himalaya compare very favorably with Nepal. The trekkers are varied with opportunities to trek in the space of a couple of weeks from the green, verdant valleys of Himachal Pradesh over the Himalaya range to the trans-Himalayan landscape of Ladakh. There is no shortage of vantage points to take in the peaks. The early British travelers were in awe of the high mountains of the Garhwal and maintained that the vistas in the vicinity of Nanda Devi were the best in the entire Himalaya. Then there are the remote trails of "Little Tibet" comprising Ladakh and Zanskar, were many famous old gompas on the top of Sugarloaf Mountains reflect a thriving Buddhist culture close to Tibet. Wildflowers enthusiasts will delight in visiting the renowned "Valley of the Flowers" or similarly impressed with the sheer variety of rhododendrons in the forests of Sikkim that burst into bloom in late spring. These different wildflowers from green hills to alpine zone, many different cultures, different local village lifestyles and wonderful mountain views make your unforgettable Indian Himalaya trip.
Ladakh is a land of high passes on the borderlands of Tibet and Pakistan. It is known as "Little Tibet" Ladakh is an integral part of the Jammu and Kashmir State although it is administered by the local Hill Council. This trans-Himalayan region is accessed by trails linking old ancient monasteries set on Sugarloaf Mountains. Explore a landscape devoid of vegetation except in the deep gorges, where whitewashed settlements thrive amid barley fields linked by trails over high, windswept passes. A land where the turn of the prayer wheel reflects the deep seated Buddhist culture closely akin to Tibet. During the trekking season, May to October, we share our campsites with nomads, in small villages, near the rivers and alpine meadows with beautiful views of colorful landscapes and snowy peaks. From these rarefied heights, sometime we get opportunity to see Snow leopard. To capture the spirit of Ladakh we undertake a trek out of Leh, Ladakh's historical capital, with opportunities to explore many different areas which are very popular. The people of Ladakh are called Ladakhi and they speak Ladakhi language.
The Himalayan ranges of Himachal Pradesh are wonderful for trekking. Possibilities abound to explore the remoter valleys of the Dhaula Dhar and the Pir Panjal through Hindu villages before ascending oak and conifer forests to alpine meadows set beneath impressive snow capped peaks. Appreciate the flowered meadows that burst into bloom along the watercourses. Share a camp with the Gaddi shepherds who migrate over the high passes to grazing areas on the borderlands of Himachal and Ladakh. In Himachal Pradesh there are also many different trekking routes.
Seasoned trekkers will testify that the Himalaya Range of Uttarakhand offers many spectacular opportunities. These include Nanda Devi (7816m), the highest peak within India and a host of other 7000m peaks that stretch to the borderlands of Tibet and western Nepal. For pilgrim, Uttarakhand is revered as the true "Abode of the Gods". The main sources of the Ganges flows from these mountains giving rise to the Char Dham- the pilgrimage undertaken by thousands of Hindu devotees each year to Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath. Gangotri is the actual source of the Ganges, though the stream emerges from the snout of an impressive glacier at Gaumukh. Yamunotri is the source of the Yamuna River, a main tributary of the Ganges. Kedarnath is recognized as one of the divine resting places of Lord Shiva, while Badrinath is assigned to Vishnu. Then there is Hem Kund, revered by Sikh pilgrims and nearby Valley of the Flowers. In Uttarakhand there are many beautiful trekking routes.
DARJEELING AND SIKKIM
Darjeeling and the Sikkim area besides having common borders are linked to each other in many other ways. Long sequestered in the laps of the Himalayas, this area especially Sikkim has now attracting the attention of the tourists and scholars alike. The pristine and unspoilt natural beauty includes alpine landscapes and thick luxuriant tropical forests, rivers in torrents and peaceful lakes a true Shangri-La. Kanchenjunga (8586m) the third highest mountain in the world provides an inspiring backdrop when trekking in Darjeeling and Sikkim. Viewing its huge flanks rising high above the foothills, many 7000m peaks complete an impressive panorama. The trails lead from steamy, subtropical forest with bamboo, luxuriant ferns and orchids to temperate forest bands with its ancient oak and rhododendron trees before heading to the alpine meadows that afford uninterrupted views of the high mountains. There are also the cultural attractions. If trekking through the dominantly Nepalese villages situated on the Singalila Ridge out of Darjeeling, it would not be hard to imagine that you were undertaking a trek in Nepal. In Sikkim, anticipate visiting Lepcha settlements and Tibetan villages, reach at bottom of the Kanchenjunga and then get opportunity to visit many famous small towns of Sikkim.