Uttarakhand has been the recently formed state of union of India and has been carved out from the state of Uttar Pradesh. The north Indian state is enriched with its life size mountains and snow cladding peaks of the Himalayas. Also the state assumes significance due to its flora and fauna. The state is famous for its various trekking destinations and forms a visual delight for both professional and novice trekkers.
The Uttarakhand tourist department has customised trekking packages for all and sundry based on ones expertise. Trekkers have a wide range of option from a host of trekking sites such as glaciers and rough mountain climbs. Milam Glacier, Pindari Glacier, Sunderdhunga glacier and Lord Corzon pass are some of the hot favourite trekking destinations of the adventure tourists. Most of these trekking sites are accessible from the New Delhi, Capital of India. Munsari forms the base of trek towards the Rlam, Namik, Milam and Poting Glaciers and Munsiyari is on the arterial water body of Gauriganga which emerges from the Milam Glacier system of the eastern flanks of the Nanda Devi Sanctuary, fed by the Kalabaland Glacier and the Panchichullu from further east.
Another important trekking marvel which lies in the state of Uttarakhand is the Pindari Glacier. It is one of the most easily accessible of all the Himalayan Glaciers and a perfect ground for first time adventurers. The pristine beauty of the glacier mesmerizes the soul and showcases a breathtaking experience. The Pindari Glacier lies between the NandaDevi and Nandakot Peaks and has an altitude of 3627 meters.
The length of the Glacier is about 5 Kms with a snout of about 6 meters. The Pindari River emerges from the Pindari Glacier and the area offers a perfect platform for the trekkers to perform their feat. Kauri pass or Curzon’s trail is another favourite trekking passes for the professional trekkers. Lord Curzon went up to the Kwari-pass in 1905 and hence the trek is named after him as “Corzon Trail”A lot of European and American travellers inhabit the place every now and then and gauge their trekking skills with the vicinity of nature.
A star attraction to the traveller’s, the kauri pass offers a majestic view of the Nanda Devi, Kamet, Dronagiri and Hathi-Ghodi Parvat. The pass is situated at a height of 4265 meters above the sea level and is considered a challenge by most of the trekkers due to its rough trails which passes through forest of oak, conifer and bamboo trees. Also one can have a chance meeting with a leopard or a Himalayan black bear while on this trail. For travellers on a spiritual odyssey, the trek from Kedarnath to vasukital is a right place to be in.
The goat track offers a panoramic view of chaukamba peaks along with mesmerizing Vasuki Lake in all its pristine beauty. The water is crystal clear and this is accustomed with floating blocks of glistening ice. The see through properties of water enchants the visitor with its natural aura and one can see the rectangular slabs of rock beneath the silently gushing water. During winters the Vasuki Lake takes a silent precedence and completely shades itself with the white snow
Char Dham Yatra is a pilgrimage tour to India’s most desired holy destinations Badrinath Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri. All of these temples are located in the Garwhal district of Uttarakhand.
Yamunotri is dedicated to Goddess Yamuna, Gangotri is dedicated to Goddess Ganga, Kedarnath is dedicated to Lord Shiva and Badrinath is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. These four ancient temples also signify the spiritual springs of the four sacred rivers: River Yamuna (Yamunotri), River Ganga or Ganges (Gangotri), River Mandakini (Kedarnath) and River Alaknanda (Badrinath). Char Dham Yatra Start at Yamunotri, then move on to Gangotri, Kedarnath and finally to Badrinath. CharDham Yatra is of great importance and it is believed that every Hindu should make a Chardham Yatra at least once in his life.
Dayara Bugyal is considered the most breathtaking hike. The hike brings us to the upland meadow in Uttarkashi. The meadow stretches far and wide. Dayara Bugyal’s panoramic views of the Himalayas are breathtaking. Bugyal is completely covered in snow as it looks like small brilliant diamonds scattered all over the country and has become one of the most popular hiking trails for people who are willing to hike in Uttarakhand.
Har Ki Dun Trek is one of the most sought after hikes in the Garhwal Himalayas. The Har-ki-Dun Valley is a winter paradise and a hiker’s delight; the Har Ki-dun Valley is a staircase to the wonderland. One thing that distinguishes this hike from the other is that you can hike here in summer and winter, and its beauty will amaze you every winter. It takes you through the most charismatic alpine meadows, pine forest glaciers, a treat for the eyes.
Kuari Pass Trek gives you a golden opportunity to admire the magnificent mountains’ impressive silhouette up close. Lord Curzon once ran the route to Kuari Pass in 1905, and that is why the Kuari Pass hike is often referred to as the Lord Curzon Trail. The trek passes through the thick alpine forests of oak and conifers, rhododendrons, and birch, the hike to the Kuari Pass is thus connected to all adventure elements that begin frequently and with steep ascents and descents, narrow and awkward trails and erupting streams
Valley of flowers trek A backpacker’s paradise and a photographer’s delight, the Valley of Flowers is a place you must visit before you die. If you are looking for a place where you can experience nature in its most pristine form and stay away from the so called “civilization”, the Valley of Flowers National Park offers an excellent option. A part of the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve, an UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the valley comes into life for a brief period of four months from June to September every year when the entire valley gets covered with flowers of varied colours and shapes. However, it is not easily accessible and needs a bit of prior planning. However, it is a must see destination in the Indian Himalayas for true nature lovers as well as photographers. Based on personal experience of the author, a few quick tips are being provided below for future travellers. How many days does it take? – 6-7 days from and to New Delhi to Valley of Flowers but it must be planned well. What is the best time to visit? – June-August What are the modes of transport? – From Delhi trains and buses are available to Haridwar. After that buses or rented cars are the only option. They move very slowly due to the difficult terrain and it takes time to cover small distances. But the good thing is that they are not costly at all. The usual route is, Haridwar-Rishikesh-Rudraprayag-Chamoli-Joshimath-Govindghat. At Govindghat the real trek starts. One can hire mules or horses up to Ghangaria if the trekking becomes too difficult. Ghangaria is the last place offering accommodation and food en route. After that one must trust their feet to reach the Valley of Flowers. Camping at the Valley is now allowed and the visitors must come back to Ghangaria by the evening. What kind of Food is available? – It is mostly vegetarian considering there are a lot of pilgrims in this route. After Govindghat, a plate of Maggi noodles is the best option at any point of time. Budget? – The entire route to Valley of Flowers is a backpacker’s delight. The costliest thing will be the mule ride from Govindghat to Ghagaria with costs INR 500. A single person should wrap up the entire trip to and from Delhi within INR 5000-7000. What about accommodation? – Budget accommodation is available till Ghangaria and it should not be a problem for anyone. But if you are looking for luxury resorts, you might be disappointed. Should I hire a guide? – Basically there is only one road and a normal traveller cannot possibly get lost and hence a guide is avoidable as well. Still if you are feeling insecure you can hire one at Joshimath