Trekking Guide to India – list of Top Indian Treks


The Slopes at the pinnacle of Sar Pass

“It’s not a death wish, It’s actually a life wish!” How better can we put that feeling we get when walking along a ledge  thousands of feet above ground, facing some of the strongest hardships this planet has to offer and the heart pounding through the chest with excitement and lack of oxygen! Finding ourselves in the heart of nature, in places on earth only a few have stepped on before and witnessing the wildest wonders of the planet; this is not just any other special moment in life, but one of ‘THE’ special moments of life. It has to be chosen, has to be worked for and earned and definitely has to be loved.


A white highway of snow formed over a mountain brook

India has a history of explorers finding landscape treasures and enchanted destinations discovered. The diverse topography, endless surplus of natural reserves and the mighty Himalayas give enough trekking opportunities for a lifetime. There are dozens of treks in each combination of environment, climate, geo-scape, altitude range, difficulty level and experience to choose from, and hundreds of these combinations available. The trekking scene in India is not exactly the same as anywhere else in the world, but nothing a brief know-what can resolve.

A panoramic ‘Sleeping Buddha’ view of Kanchenjunga from Sandakphu


A wild red panda in it’s last remaining natural habitat

Treks in India can be broadly clubbed into two categories; Himalayan and Non Himalayan treks. Almost all of the Himalayan treks can be started from Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand or the north east. As named, these treks make you step along on of the ranges of the great Himalayas. The snowy slopes rise up above the clouds, hiding beauty beyond imagination. They have passes that flow through towering mountains, filled with fresh snow and green meadows, trailing along forests, cliffs, rocks and rivers that can make you forget there is an outside world.

And then there are peaks that test the human spirit and soul, making us sweat and tear, yet along some breath taking views that will make you feel that it is all worth it. Imagine crossing paths with an endangered red panda, or sipping some luscious water from freshly melting snow, or camping under the stars so bright, you can see the milky way with your naked eye. Now imagine all of these and a hundred more, and that is a week of trekking in the Himalayas.

The slopes of a Civilization: Darjeeling, India


A group of kids in a Himalayan village, eagerly waiting for a candy from a passerby trekker.

Lucky for us, India is blessed with innumerable hiking spots in India. Treks like Sar Pass, Sandakphu, Kedarkanta, Roop Kund, valley of flowers, Great lakes and Chadar have been the crowd favorites for a long time now, and we can find a lot of trekking companies and private sherpas for these expeditions. A lot more routes are being discovered and operated, whose flair is nothing less than the big giants. Manali, Srinagar, Leh, Kasol, Mussouri, Darjeeling are some of the famous trekker’s hubs and base points.

One can find a lot of day hikes and smaller treks from any of these hotspots. But the real fun starts from the longer, harder and higher ones, which start form nearby villages that can be easily reached through road. The cultural grace from these mountain villages is immeasurable. It’s amazing to see and feel a life, wanting so little, leading a self sustainable and minimal routine, revolving around the charm and fascination of the majestic mountains.

The infamous lion maned monkey watching the sunset from the western ghats.

Most of the non Himalayan treks can be found around Maharashtra, Goa and the western ghat ranges in Kerala and Karnataka. The white slopes are replaced with thick tropical forests, but the wonders they contain still keep up their count. Humongous trees envelop the top while the sun peeks through the leaves with sharp strong rays, accompanied with swinging monkeys and chirping birds, and occasional cliffs reminding how high you are; an authentic forest hike is guaranteed all along. A line of more rocky and barren routes can be found in parts of Maharashtra, setting the stage for an adrenaline filled bouldering, rock climbing and rappelling adventures.

The last few years have seen an incredible boost in interest, accessibility and awareness in this field. One can easily find top notch gear to buy or rent in any of the major cities and trekking base camps. Trekking in a tropical country involves a lot of sweat and one must be prepared for it, in the non Himalayan treks. The usual rescue squads, medical help and aid found in western countries is widely lacking, so every trekker must be self equipped for emergencies. Beginner and Intermediate hikes do not go more than two days far from nearest civilization in any case. Rules for camping and obtaining permits for trekking are very relaxed and should not be an issue. However campfires are restricted in most of the wilds, and whenever allowed, should be closely contained.

It’s at the top of the world, where the heavens and the earth meet.

Putting up all our strength and determination, facing the cold and the terrain and being rewarded with some of the most peaceful and spectacular moments in our life; there is no perfect combination. A poet awakens with the cold breeze, a spark ignites from that ultimate serenity, and we stop surviving and start to live. The mountains are calling. Get Packing.

Here are some of the best treks to try out in India:

In Himachal Pradesh;
Hampta Pass
Pin Parvati Trek
Rupin Trek
Sar Pass
Chandrakhani Pass

In Uttarkhand;
Dayara Bhugyal Trek
Deoriental – Chandrashila Trek
Har ki doon Trek
Kedarkanta Trek
Roopkund Trek
Valley of flowers Trek

In North-East;
Goecha La Trek
Sandakphu Trek
Reiek Mountain Trek
Living root bridges Trek

In Jammu & Kashmir;
Kashmir Great Lakes Trek
Stock Kangri Trek
Chadar frozen river Trek
Nubra valley Trek
Markha valley Trek

In Maharastra and Goa;
Sandhan valley Trek
Kalsubhai peak Trek
Dudhsagar Trek
Korigad Fort Trek
Mainapi Falls Trek
Butterfly Beach Trek

In Karnataka and Kerala;
Kumara Parbata Trek
Kodachadri Trek
Sakleshpur Trek
Agastyarkoodam Peak
Chembra Peak
Anamudi Peak

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