India

Description

India, Zanskar

Immense India, a colorful jigsaw of peoples, cultures, landscapes and climates, is a continent in its own right. The high snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas rise up across the north of the country, to form a natural border with China (Tibet). Also to the north are India's Himalayan neighbour states Nepal and Bhutan. The famous Ganges river and several of its tributaries flow from the Himalayan ranges and then turn east to form the scorchingly hot expanse of the Indo Gangetic Plain. Further south hills rise up again, such as the Aravalli range across arid Rajasthan, and the low Vindhya and Satpura ranges of Central India. Towards the southwest, parallel to the coast, several ranges collectively called the Western Ghats run all the way to India's southern tip. Their humid ridges, covered in sandal wood trees and coffee plantations, rise up well over 1000 m, and occasionally over 2000 m. In the east of India are several lower ranges of mountains and hills, known as the Eastern Ghats.

So what about hiking in India? Is it a popular local pastime? True, many Indians like to escape from the summer heat of the low plains to catch up on some fresh air in one of many hill stations, vestiges of the British colonial era. Yet, to actually set out on a multi-day hike for pleasure appears to be a primarily foreign visitors affair. Exceptions to this rule are the pilgrimages in different parts of India, most notably those in the foothills of the Himalayas, which draw whole families, the old and young alike from all walks of life. Strikingly lively and colorful events, little known by foreigners, and more of a bustling social occasion than a true hike. But then, India is changing too, and hiking is becoming increasingly popular with students and other young people.

For long distance hiking and trekking into the quietude of nature, some parts of India clearly stand out in popularity. First and foremost in the north, there are the relatively accessible western Himalayan ranges of Himachal Pradesh, with valleys such as Kangra, Kullu, Sangla and the more remote and arid Spiti and Lahaul. Altitudes in Himachal Pradesh vary widely, from the 600 m high Shivalik hills to peaks rising up well over 6000 m!

To the southeast of Himachal Pradesh is another attractive hiking and trekking region: Uttarakhand (formerly Uttaranchal), bordering on both Tibet and Nepal. The famous Hindu pilgrimage centers of Haridwar and Rishikesh are main gateway to the Uttarakhand Garhwal Himalaya's. Some lovely and not too difficult high altitude hiking and trekking options here.

Rather less easily accessible are the high altitude valleys of Zanskar and Ladakh, in India's far north. Like neighbouring Spiti and Lahaul (both part of Himachal Pradesh), these are located on the northern flanks of the Great Himalayan range. Sheltered from the monsoon rains, climate here is much more arid. Summers are pleasant and dry, but winters long and harsh.

Towards the southwest of Zanskar and Ladakh, back on the south side of the Greater Himalayan range, are the more populated valleys of Kashmir. A lovely area for hiking, but alas, bordering on Pakistan and currently not safe for foreigners.

Let's travel east now. The Himalayan range continues, and is covered by Nepal and Bhutan. However, squeezed in between these two is the former kingdom of Sikkim, now part of India. A popular area for multi-day treks at medium and high altitudes, and rightly so. For less demanding treks with great views of high peaks like Kanchenjunga (8586 m), set out from Darjeeling, a nearby old hill station surrounded by tea plantations just to the soutwest of Sikkim. Both Sikkim and Darjeeling have a monsoon season, so avoid this and go hiking from late March to May or from late September to early December.

Continue east past Bhutan, and tucked away in the far northeastern corner of India are the Himalayan ranges of Arunachal Pradesh. Although little known or explored as yet, there are some high altitude trekking possibilities here, as well as medium altitude treks through forested valleys and with great views of the snow-capped western Himalayas.

And there are so many places other than the Himalayas to go hiking and trekking in India. Most of India's countless National Parks and Nature Reserves offer guided walking safari's, day-hikes mostly. To name a few other options: Nagaland, Meghalaya, Western Ghats, Nilgiri Hills, Eastern Ghats, Orissa, Munnar Hills, Karnataka, Periyar, and so on.

Opinions

Rate 8.0 | 1 vote | No 2. in Asia
  • pc22 March 1999
  • Rate 8
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Trails

Regions

Mountains

Books

De Zwerver
Netherlands
2010
Stanfords
United Kingdom
  • Trekking in the Indian Himalaya
  • Trekking in the Indian Himalaya in the Walking Guide series from Lonely Planet; profiling in comprehensive detail the walking opportunities, from day walks to long distance hikes, available in a range of international destinations. Frank and informal in style, the guides introduce readers to a selection of walks in each country and are designed... Read more
  • Also available from:
  • The Book Depository, United Kingdom
  • Stanfords, United Kingdom
  • Stanfords, United Kingdom
  • De Zwerver, Netherlands
» Click to open
Stanfords
United Kingdom
  • Trekking in the Indian Himalaya
  • Trekking in the Indian Himalaya in the Walking Guide series from Lonely Planet; profiling in comprehensive detail the walking opportunities, from day walks to long distance hikes, available in a range of international destinations. Frank and informal in style, the guides introduce readers to a selection of walks in each country and are designed... Read more
Stanfords
United Kingdom
  • Trekking in the Indian Himalaya
  • Trekking in the Indian Himalaya in the Walking Guide series from Lonely Planet; profiling in comprehensive detail the walking opportunities, from day walks to long distance hikes, available in a range of international destinations. Frank and informal in style, the guides introduce readers to a selection of walks in each country and are designed... Read more
De Zwerver
Netherlands
2009
  • Wandelgids Trekking in the Indian Himalaya | Lonely Planet |
  • Our expert author, trekking the Indian Himalaya since 1970, will be your guide to some of the world´s most awesome trekking. This book covers the region´s top treks, through the Buddhist villages and high passes of Ladakh, the spectacular mountains and verdant valleys of Himachal Pradesh, and the sacred pilgrimage sites and high-altitude... Read more
» Click to close
Stanfords
United Kingdom
  • Walls
  • The world's walls are supposed to be coming down. We speak of globalization, international markets and global villages; barriers to trade keep falling, and it is now possible to communicate instantly from nearly anywhere in the world. But just as these virtual walls come down, real walls rise. In this evocative blend of travel writing, history... Read more
  • Also available from:
  • Stanfords, United Kingdom
  • Stanfords, United Kingdom
» Click to open
Stanfords
United Kingdom
  • Walls
  • The world's walls are supposed to be coming down. We speak of globalization, international markets and global villages; barriers to trade keep falling, and it is now possible to communicate instantly from nearly anywhere in the world. But just as these virtual walls come down, real walls rise. In this evocative blend of travel writing, history... Read more
Stanfords
United Kingdom
  • Walls
  • The world's walls are supposed to be coming down. We speak of globalization, international markets and global villages; barriers to trade keep falling, and it is now possible to communicate instantly from nearly anywhere in the world. But just as these virtual walls come down, real walls rise. In this evocative blend of travel writing, history... Read more
» Click to close
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Maps

IGN
France
2010
  • Carte de trekking Himalaya indien
  • Carte unique des montagnes de l'Himalaya indien, la plus précise parmi les cartes de cette région publiées jusqu'à présent.Contenu de la publication :carte de 10 régions dans l'est de l'Inde à l'échelle 1/750 000 (Cachemire, Ladakh, Zanskar, Lahaul et Spiti, Rupshu, Kinnaur, Garhwal,... Read more
  • Also available from:
  • De Zwerver, Netherlands
» Click to open
De Zwerver
Netherlands
2010
  • Wandelkaart - wegenkaart Indian Himalaya | TerraQuest |
  • Mooie gedetailleerde kaart, geplastificeerd. De kaart heeft op de ene kant een algemeen overzicht van de Indische Himalaya met schaal 1/750.000 en op de andere zijde vind je de 22 trekking routes op schaal 1/350.000. Op zich geen zeer gedetailleerde wandelkaart. Er van uitgaande dat je de tochten toch met een gids of met een groep doet, dan... Read more
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Walking holidays

Shoestring
United Kingdom
  • India & Nepal with Trekking; Nepalese tea houses and the Golden triangle
  • This marvellous trip combines the rich history, remarkable architecture and cultural heritage of 3 of North Indias most prominent crowd-pleasers together with the natural beauty, stunning scenery and the opportunity to do some relatively easy but thoroughly rewarding trekking in Nepal. Delhi typically marries old with new, Jaipurs' old walled... Read more
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Forum

  1. Cancel
  • Seema 2013-03-25 06:06:57
  • Valley of flowers
  • Valley of flowers is one of the most beautiful natural wonder on this earth. Do you know some one organizing treks to valley of flowers. I have come across http://www.valleyofflowers.info. Do any one has ever gone through them to valley of flowers.
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  • bodhichittaindra 2012-05-21 12:35:32
  • Reise in den Himalaya
  • Hallo

    Im Juni 2012 moechte ich in den Himalaya laufen um mehr ueber Tara zu erfahren. Ich Bin Buddhist der Tibetischen "Neuen Kadampa Tradition" und Tara ist mein Deity.

    Da ich beschlossen habe Buddhistischer Moench zu werden, werde ich als Bettelmoench in den Himalaya laufen.

    Wer moechte mitlaufen?


    Liebe Gruesse
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