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Spectrum Tours » Adventure Tour Indian » Trekking in Himachal

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Trekking in Himachal

Himachal Pradesh is one of the fascinating areas of the Indian Himalayas. Famous for its breathtaking valleys, hill temple architecture, handicrafts and hospitable people, Himachal was founded in 1966 with the unification of a number of princely states, combining the grandeur of royalty, rugged natural beauty and modern tourist infrastructure. The state covers a total area of 56,019 sq km, most of which is hilly and mountainous terrain.

For trekkers and mountaineers, the valleys of Lahaul and Spiti, Kullu and Manali, Kangra and Chamba are the most exciting in the region. Lahaul and Spiti lie in the north-western region of the state and comprise of a vast mountain area, much of which is above the tree line and represents a high altitude desert landscape. Unlike the rest of Himachal which is predominantly Hindu, the people of Lahaul and Spiti are mainly Buddhists and a number of interesting monasteries dot the area. Lahaul has a central mass of high mountains and glaciers with peaks rising above 5,000 metres. Spiti is separated from Lahaul by a high mountain rib running north from the main Himalayan range. The two valleys are linked by the Kunzam pass at an altitude of 4,000 metres. Most treks into the Lahaul and Spiti valleys originate from Manali. These include a 14 day trek from Manali to Keylong to Udeypur to the Mt. Menthosa base camp. This is probably the most rewarding trek in the Lahaul valley and a number of monasteries can be visited en route. Another popular trek is from the Kullu Valley to Lahaul. This trek takes 16 days and reaches an altitude of 4,268 metres at the Hamta Pass. This route presents a magnificient contrast in landscapes and gives the trekker a chance to view the glaciated lake at Chandratal and the mountain peaks of Deo Tibba (6,001 m) and Indrasan (6,221 m).

Manali, at an altitude of 1,830 metres, lies in the upper Kullu Valley on the banks of the river Beas. Some of the popular treks from Manali include a 7-day trek into the Malana Valley which overlooks the Deo Tibba mountain peak. Malana has a population of just about 500 people who speak a peculiar dialect with a strong Tibetan accent. The 11 day trek from Manali to Chandratal is one of the finest in Himachal. This trek passes through high mountain passes like the Hamta and Baralacha la Pass. The Solang Valley trek takes just seven days to complete and takes the trekker to Beas Kund, the source of the river Beas.

Kullu, a small township at 1,200 metres is 42 km before Manali on the main Manali highway. Located on the western bank of the Beas river, the most popular trek from here is to Kulga. This trek can be covered in 3 to 6 days.

Kangra is often described as the 'Valley of Delight Protected by the Dhauladhar range of mountains in the North, Kangra is on the banks of the 14 river Beas and is characterised by lush green meadows interspersed by a network of mountain streams. Some of the popular treks from this valley include a l0 day walk from Baijnath to Chamba and Manali. Besides alpine pastures and high altitude lakes, this trek also passes through areas famous for Himachal's temple architecture. Trekkers can also follow trails from Chamba to Dharamshala, Palampur and Baijnath and over the Dhauladhars to Bara Bhangal in Chamba.

A historic temple town, Chamba was the capital of the rajas of Chamba from the 8th century. The township is perched on the top of a cliff overlooking the river Ravi and is surrounded by dense forests inhabited by a variety of wildlife. Part of the Dhauladhar range of mountains, Chamba offers a number of interesting excursions and treks. Short treks from Chamba are to Saroi (8 km), Bandal (24 km) and Chhatari (40 km). Longer trekking routes will take the trekker from Chamba to Udeypur via Tissa, Bindrabani and Purthi. This 12-day trek covers approximately 233 km and includes Kishtwar in Jammu and Kashmir, the Zanskar Valley in Ladakh and finally Lahaul and Spiti. One can also trek from Chamba to Manali either the Kalicho or the Kugti Pass. The tormer trek starts at Bharmaur, an ancient Hindu capital and passes through beautiful meadows and glades to the Dzoharang Springs. This trek takes 10 days of difficult walking. The second trek to Manali can be accomplished in 12-days and passes through lush deodar forests to the Kugti Pass and then to Shanshu, famous with botanists for varied plant life.
The trek also crosses parts of the Lahaul Valley and the famous Rohtang Pass near Manali.

The Dhauladhar Trek
The majestic snow capped Dhauladhar range forms a natural protection for the rich and beautiful Kangra valley. Dharamshala was the capital of the Kangra, Kullu and Lahaul valleys under the British rule. Today, McLeod Gunj, a part of Dharamshala, is the home of the Dalai Lama, the spiritual Tibetan leader. The town, influenced both by the British and the Tibetans, is a curious mix of colonial architecture and Tibetan culture.

The first stage of the Dhauladhar trek will take the trekker from the spur of the range densely forested with deodar and pine trees, and lush tea estates to Triundi some 5,500 metres above, for a breathtaking view of the snow peaks. From there it is a short trek to Lakagot at the foot of the Indrahar pass (5,660 metres) on the Dhauladhar range. This trek combines natural beauty, culture and history. It runs through the ancient capital of Bharmaur to the temple city of Cl;1amba and then to Khajjiar, a saucer shaped meadow fringed by dense forests of deodar trees. The last stage of the trek is to Dalhousie, a hill station chosen by the British as a sanatorium for its invigourating climate and scenery.
Season: April to September
Grade: Easy
Duration: 11 days.
Stages: Dharamshala to Triundi (12 km);, Triundi to Lakagot (7 km), Lakagot to Chatta (10 km), Chatta to Kuarsi (12 km), Kuarsi to Chanota (16 km), Chanota to Bharmour (40 km), Bharmour to Gehra (23 km), Gehra to Chamba (56 km by vehicle), Chamba to Khajjiar (17 km), Khajjiar to Dalhousie (17 km), Dalhousie to Pathankot (80 km by vehicle).

Chamba to Manali
Chamba, at an altitude of 2,380 meters, is a picturesque town on the south banks of the Ravi river. Citadel of Hindu culture and religion for two milleniums, Chamba's religious heritage is symbolised by six tall stone temples dedicated to Shiva and Vishnu. The town is also the base of the hardy gaddis, pastoral shepherds who spend the summer in the upper reaches of the mountains grazing their herds of sheep and goats.

The first stage of the trek is to Bharmaur, kingdom of the Chamba area till the 9th century. This section can be done by vehicle. Bharmaur, on the banks of the Bhrahmah Nalla is famous for its ancient temples. From Bharmaur, the trek into the Lahaul valley and finally to Manali passes through dense deodar forests and through the passes at Kugti (5,215 metres) and Rohtang. Lahaul was once an important centre for Buddhist learning as it was well connected with trade trails from both Leh and Lhasa. Today ruins remain of what was once a prosperous wholesale market at Patsio. The Lahaul area, crossed by high mountain ranges is extremely beautiful with its large glaciers and lush green valleys.
Season: April to August.
Grade: Difficult. Duration: 12 days.
Stages: Chamba to Bharmaur (70 km drive), Bharmaur to Hadsar (12 km), Hadsar to Kugti (12 km), Kugti to Duggi (11 km), Duggi to Alyas (12 km), Alyas to Kugti Pass (6 km), Kugti Pass to Shansha (10 km), ShanSha to Tandi (15 km), Tandi to Sissue (2 km), Sissue to Khoksar (16 km), Khoksar to Rohtang Pass to Marrhi (15 km), Marrhi to Manali (30 km by vehicle).

Manali Beas Kund Solang Trek
Lush pine forests and a network of hill trails dominate the Kullu valley. Also known as the Valley of Gods, Kullu was originally called Kulantapith, the end of the habitable world. The picturesque Kullu valley is drained by the Beas river and fringed by the Pir Panjal range to the north, Bara Bhangal range to the west and Parvati range to the east. The valley is well connected by road and air, making it an ideal base for treks and excursions.

Manali is the valley's principal township. A quaint settlement, small enough to be explored on foot. Close to Manali (4.5 km) are the Vashist Hot Water Springs, and the spa offers much needed relaxation after and before an arduous trek.

The trek passes through interesting alpine meadows, high altitude passes, turbulent streams and offers excellent views of glaciers and snow topped peaks. The track from Dhundi to Beas Kund crosses the river at many points by simple rope-strung bridges. A steep 2 km walk brings the trekker to Beas Kund, the source of the Beas river at 4,100 metres. The view from here is uninteruppted and Hanuman Tibba, Ladahi peak and Mandi peak can be seen clearly. From Beas Kund, the trekker can also spend a couple of hours walking to the Lady Lake for a fine mountain panorama.
Season: Early April to end June, mid September to mid-December.
Duration: 5 days.
Stages: Manali to Solang Valley, Solang to Dhundi (8 km), Dhundi to Beas Kund (6 km), Beas Kund to Shigara Dug (8 km), Shikara Dug to Marrhi (10 km), Marrhi to Rohtang (23 km), Rohtang to Manali.

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