For those fascinated by the unexplored, the mountain ranges of India offer
breathtaking, enthralling trekking routes. In the vast amphitheatre of the
Indian Himalayas and Karakorams, there are limitless possibilities for
trekking, mountaineering, skiing, and river rafting. Within this alluring
arena, the Garhwal and Kumaon regions, occupy the central place, with
special points of interest for the trekker.
apart, the Himalayan foothills are just ideal for trekking, offering
energetic out-door people a different and exciting option for a holiday. The
Garhwal and Kumaon regions of Uttaranchal are the most popular destinations
for trekkers, though Chamba and Manali in Himachal Pradesh, and Ladakh and
Zanskar in Jammu and Kashmir, have interesting trekking routes as well.
Darjeeling and Sikkim in the east also have some trekking
routes. While trekking as a sporting activity does not require prior
training or practice, except that the trekker should be in good physical
condition, there are certain dos and don'ts which should be adhered to.
Routes should be carefully chosen, as some treks may be more difficult, or
may involve high altitude trekking. It is generally advisable to be
accompanied by a local guide. Ensure that the pace of the trek is not too
rapid, since this could result in exhaustion, and would in any case not be
The adventure season, which till recently, was
confined to the summer months, now covers almost the entire year, including
winter. This has been made possible by improved equipment and
transportation, and the availability of year-round bookings in areas,
hitherto, considered inaccessible. Moreover, winter treks are gaining
popularity as a means of 'getting away' to relatively lower altitudes.
Precautions and Permits
It is advisable to be medically examined before starting a trek. The first
aid kit for the trek, should include basic medicines and bandages for cuts,
burns, headache, nausea, constipation, diarrhoea, and sore throat. Running
water should be used for washing, and washing should be done well downstream
of campsites. Keep a map handy, and set a comfortable pace. Allow for time
to enjoy the panoramic and magnificent sites of the awesome mountains,
rivers, flora and fauna.
Permits: Indian nationals need
no permission for trekking in any area, outside the Inner Line. For routes
inside the Inner Line, the local District Magistrate's permission, or that
of the Central Home Ministry is necessary. For foreigners, crossing the
Inner Line is not permitted. Treks upto 4900 mts need no permission, and can
be undertaken on tourist visas. For treks above 4900 mts, prior permission
is to be taken from the IMF. Camera permits are also necessary.
Equipment and Insurance
A firm rucksack with broad straps, sleeping bag, foam mattress,
comfortable walking shoes, raincoat, torch, matchboxes, umbrella, and water
bottles are essential. Personal clothing including woollen shirts,
pullovers, T-shirts, feather jacket, longjohns, toilet items, camera and
film, should be included to suit the duration and altitude of the trek,
while keeping the overall weight to the minimum.
Insurance: This is possible through
the standard insurance companies. The IMF, Indian Air Force, and local
authorities should, as far as possible, be kept informed of the route.
Grading of TreksThe treks described have been graded according
to their level of difficulty. Grade 1:: Soft trek, round the
year Grade 2: Seasonal / mild trek (April - November) Grade
3: Tough, high altitude trek (seasonal)