How do you scale a mountain? One step at a time. Make sure you step in the right direction on your first or next hike. We have got trails for every level of enthusiast.
Triund, Himachal Pradesh
Level: Easy; for beginners
Distance: 6km (from Dharamkot)
Time Required: 3-4 hours
Best Time to Visit: April to November
Triund is located above McLeod Ganj in the lap of the Dhauladhar ranges, and the trek to it is one of the easier and more frequented ones – comfortable slopes, well-marked trails, and a few tea shops serving as pit stops.
(Photo: Karan Kapur)
“The landscape is brilliant!” says Rohit Seth, 27, business head, MobiNxt, who has been trekking for three years. “You walk through gorgeous oak and deodar forests, pass a small clear pond on the way, and once you reach, the sight of the snow-capped Dhauladhar ranges will take your breath away.”
While the trek is easy in terms of the slopes, the last kilometre is relatively steep. A lone forest rest house at the top of the hill remains shut most of the time, and trekkers usually carry their own tents and sleeping bags. “On a clear night, you can see the sky illuminated by millions of stars,” Seth says. “It’s a whole other feeling altogether!”
Other Easy Treks
* Kedarkantha, Garhwal Himalayas, Uttarakhand
* Brahmagiri, near Wayanad, Kerala
Visapur Fort, Maharashtra
Level: Moderate; for beginners/intermediates
Time Required: 6-7 hours
Best Time to Visit: July to September
Visapur is home to a hill fort about 60km from Pune, and the trek from Malavali station to the fort is one of the more challenging ones during the monsoon. Situated at a height of 3,500 feet above sea level, the fort houses several small temples, caves and cisterns, and offers great views of the hills around.
(Photo: Saurabh Chatterjee)
But it is the journey that is more interesting. “Because after walking for a few kilometres on flat, muddy ground, you make a steep ascent up through a very slippery waterfall,” says Saurabh Chatterjee, 36, founder/owner of SIA Photography and trekker for almost a decade.
“It is definitely one of the most scenic treks I’ve done in the Western Ghats with lush green landscape and innumerable small waterfalls all around. And the challenge of climbing through the waterfall is definitely worth it.”
Other Moderate Treks
Kudremukh, Chikmagalur district, Karnataka
* Dodital, Uttarakhand
Level: Difficult; for seasoned hikers
Time Required: 5 days
Best Time to Visit: June and September-October
(Photo: Karan Kapur)
"On the first two days, you pass through dense forests, on the third you cross the Bedni Bugyal – considered to be the largest grassland in Asia," says Kapur. On the fourth day, once you cross 14,000 feet, the landscape becomes barren due to lack of oxygen; it’s all boulders, snow and ice then.
"There are no villages along this trek, so you need to carry your tent, sleeping bag, food and other supplies throughout the journey," says Kapur. The lake remains frozen for most part of the year, but what is most exciting, and eerie, are the numerous human skeletons scattered around the lake.
Other Difficult Treks
* Chadar Trek, Zanskar region, Ladakh
* Ombattu Gudda, Karnataka
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From HT Brunch, June 14
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