Bonfires fanned by freezing wind, scarlet mountain tops before the sundown, and the unbending oak trees in the crowd of Rhododendrons: all conspire to give you the experience of a lifetime. Whether you are a seasoned trekker or trekking has recently caught your fancy, winter is the time to dedicate some days exploring the mountainous trails in India. From difficult terrains to scented pathways and crispy brown leaves to delicate sunshine, every bit of your journey will add to your fond memories.
#1. Dodital Trek, Haridwar, Uttarakhand
Most people drive to Uttarkashi after a river rafting expedition in Rishikesh, and each one of them has a great purpose: a forest trek to Dodital – a sacred lake. The real trekking begins after you take a jeep excursion to Sangamchatti. The road to this high-altitude (3,310 meters above sea level) lake is graced by the presence of Oak, Rhododendron, Fir, and Deodar trees. The temptation of camping along the Dodital Lake is as irresistible as the hope of getting incredible view of Bandarpoonch peak and the snow-capped peaks of Dhauladhar. What keeps you going is the sight of Bush Robin, Pink Finch, Red-Billed Blue Magpie, Himalayan Whistling Thrush, and other Himalayan birds.
#2. Chadar Trek, Ladakh, Jammu & Kashmir
Imagine this: you are walking over ice with a rucksack on your back and the fast-flowing water of Zanskar River just a couple of inches below your feet. The trek from Chilling to the Zanskar Valley in Kargil district of Kashmir is demanding and rewarding in equal measure. The real fun lies in trekking on shiny ice while absorbing the views of icy peaks as you meander through the frozen canyon. There’s no feeling like spending the night at cave camps with bonfire giving you company and keeping you warm. If challenges excite you, you can put up with this.
#3. Sandakphu Trek, Darjeeling, West Bengal
If you want to get stunning views of some of the highest mountain peaks – Mt. Everest, Kanchenjunga, Lhotse, and Makalu – come to the ‘Trekker’s Wonderland’. The trekking expedition, which starts from Jaubhari and ends at Sepi, offers you some thrilling and chilling moments. From the curious Kalipokhri (a black lake whose water never freezes) surrounded by Buddhist prayer flags to orchid-ridden paths, you find a brilliant collage of nature. Camping at Gorkhey and watching sunset from Sandakphu at sub-zero temperature are rare thrills, to say the least. Remember, the 21 km stretch from Sandakphu to Phalut is considered most pristine.
#4. Dalhousie – Chamba Trek, Himachal Pradesh
The Himalayas have always made people wonder, especially when it wears the snow cap. Dalhousie, one of the most coveted hill stations in India, is the gateway to a wonderful trekking expedition. It’s an experience to walk through the Deodar forests of Kalatop, feel the gorgeousness of oak and rhododendron in Khajjiar (also called the Mini Switzerland), and enjoy the stunning view of wide valleys and Pir Panjal range. It is one of those easy treks where even kids can accompany you.
#5. Dzongri Trek, Sikkim
A fully illuminated Kanchenjunga is a “heavenly searchlight.” To behold this magnificent spectacle, you have to go trekking in Sikkim. The trip starts from the historical town of Yuksam and goes on to script a memorable ending. On the way to the Dzongri peak, some stunning waterfalls greet you. As freezing weather, bonfires, and beer give you company, you walk into the heart of Sikkim. Watching sunset from the Tiger Hill and challenging oneself to take the steepest climb from Tsokha to Dzongri are ingredients for everlasting memories.
#6. Kedarkantha Trek, Uttarakhand
Beautiful campsites surrounded by giant pine trees and a huge blanket of snow wrapping the peaks are a visual delight for travelers. From the time you reach the base camp of the Kedarkantha peak, your journey takes a turn for the better. Undoubtedly one of the easiest treks in the Himalayas, the trail takes you through the Govind National Park. On reaching the summit of Kedarkantha, you feel equal with the glorious mountain ranges such as Bandarpoonch and Black Peak.Published On: Monday, November 16th, 2015