Up, up and away: Lesser explored treks in India

  • Ritwik Ghosh, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: May 13, 2015 11:43 IST

If you are looking for an adventurous getaway, now would be an ideal time for it. This time around, trek through the lesser travelled areas of the Himalayas, and experience the magic of clear skies, colourful landscapes, and uninterrupted views of the lofty peaks. Take your pick.

*Solang Valley
Located near Manali, at an altitude of about 2,560 m, Solang Valley offers a beautiful view of the snowclad Himayan range. A trek from Manali to Solang (16 km) is one of the best ways to reach the place. The trek will take you through paths with picturesque surroundings and deodar forests. Moreover, you won't just find snow-capped mountains to gaze at; the trail is laden with apple orchards, a few old villages, and abundant lush green environs. Once at Solang, you can try out activities such as paragliding, zorbing, horse-riding, etc.

A trek from Naggar, a quaint settlement in the Kullu district, to the village of Malana, takes about three days. Going through the Chanderkhani Pass is a part of the Naggar trek. It's a great opportunity not just to marvel at the beauty of nature, but also to experience the selfless hospitality of the rural folk living in these mountainous areas. On your trail, you will come across villages like Rumsu and pastures like Shillu Pathar that are ideal to camp for the night. The descent to the village of Malana is steep. Therefore, it is important to be careful while trekking.


There are several short and long treks in Himachal Pradesh.

Chalal is a small village situated very close to the small town of Kasol. It is located on the banks of the Parvati River and provides a much-needed break from the hustle and bustle of Kasol. This is a short trek, but it nevertheless proves to be an enthralling experience. The road to Chalal is scenic; the path runs along the river, which has huge boulders where one can relax in the middle of the trek. For anyone taking a trek to Rasol or higher, it is a good idea to stop by Chahal to rest or stalk up on supplies.

Sandakphu, a part of the Singalila Ridge, is the highest peak of West Bengal. With an altitude of 3,636 m, the summit is a surreal experience, and is a must-see for people who love adventure treks. It is one of the few places that offers trekkers a majestic view of four of the tallest mountains in the world - Mount Everest, Kanchenjunga, Lhotse and Makalu - spread across India, Nepal, Bhutan and further. The trek to Sandakphu is a long one, and it is advisable to carry enough supplies to last through the journey. The distances between one pit stop and the next are quite long. Once you start your trek from Manebhanjan, which is about an hour's drive from Darjeeling, it takes nearly four hours to reach Chitre. The trail is quiet steep, with a mixture of rocky, gravel-filled paths, as well as levelled land, which are easier for walking. The trail towards Kalipokhri is beautiful and you see an abundance of exotic, colourful birds. By the end of the day, you reach the small Black Lake of Kalipokhri - the sacred lake that never freezes, with Buddhist prayer flags hanging over it. You can camp at Kalipokhri and head out to Sandakphu the next morning, which is a relatively easier trek of about 6 km.


Local children play at an area on the way to Sandakphu (L), the castle at Naggar (R).

Situated at an altitude of 4,463 m, this is a moderately challenging trek. The Roopkund, or Skeleton, Lake, (several human skeletons were found at the site in 1942) is one of the sites that attracts adventure lovers. The challenging terrain is accompanied by picturesque sights of snow-capped mountains and the Bedni Bugyal grasslands.

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