Head to the Himalayas this monsoon for a uniquely adventurous MOUNTAINEERING experience
Make the most of the monsoons with a hike in the magical mountains! Citadel correspondent and avid hiker NIDHI MEHTA shortlists the best treks that you can undertake this rainy season!
Planning your annual midyear getaway? Look no further, because there’s nothing more magnificent t han t he mountains in monsoon! The lush green hill slopes, the heady petrichor lling the fresh air, and the raindrops awakening every pore of your being as you climb to the summit are a treat for the senses! Though several trails are closed in the rainy season due to risks of landslides and inaccessible terrain, there are some treks which are undertaken especially in the monsoon for the sheer beauty of the valleys in full bloom and breathtaking waterfalls and streams that dot the journey to the top. The soothing serenity of the mountainside, a far cry from the noise, pollution and stress that are a way of life in the city these days, coupled with the adrenalin-lled excitement of traversing the slopes, makes a holiday in the hills an experience like no other! Here are some of the most scenic treks that will make you wish you lived in the mountains... Shimla district in Himachal Pradesh is a relatively unexplored t rekking destination. There are several treks of easy to moderate level difficulty here, and one such trek is Buran Pass Trek, which serves as a pastoral bridge between Pabbar Valley in Shimla district and Sangla Valley in Kinnaur district. It involves crossing of Buran Ghati at 15,500 ft above sea level. Buran Ghati is a hidden gem. This trek is a blend of lush green deodar and pine forests. Stunning views of watersheds, waterfalls, meadows and lakes add to the beauty of this trek. Poised gracefully at 9,000 ft, the village of Janglik is where it all begins. The trails take you through
the serene meadows of the Dayara and Litham Thatch, with their upclose and spectacular views of mighty snow-capped mountains, to the sacred Chandranahan Lake, a glacial lake which remains frozen for most part of the year. The most exciting and nerve-wracking part of this trek is the 400 meter ice wall decent which you rappel down from with a rope, followed by six long snow slides that are sure to bring out the child in you. The trek ends in Kharcham, which is located at the junction of the Baspa and Satluj river, and is connected by road to Shimla. After a day’s rest, one can also visit the ancient temple of Hatkoti, situated between Jubbal and Rohru and the picturesque villages of Kinnaur, Chitkul and Kalpa. Offering breathtaking panoramic views of the Himalayan foothills, Buran Ghati is definitely one of those special treks that will remain etched in your memory for eternity.
Hampta Pass Trek connects the two beautiful valleys of Kullu and Lahaul, and on this trek one can witness ever changing landscapes from incredible views of glacial valleys to thick pine forests, and lush open meadows to adrenaline pumping waterways. The uniqueness of this trek is that each of the campsites on this trek is distinct from one another – the wildower meadows of Jwara, the fjord of Balu ka Ghera, the desert oasis that is Shea Goru and Chhatru, which lies beside Chandra river in the interiors of Lahaul. Every day of this trek brings forth a different terrain to experience. As the Hampta Pass approaches, the terrain becomes a bit challenging and involves walking over screed slopes and boulder ridden trails. The close views of Deotibba, Indrasan and other unnamed peaks give a feel of being completely immersed in the lap of the mighty Himalayas. The last stage of the trek is in the
stark and beautiful Lahaul Valley, which connects to Chatru from Shea Gahru. Generally, it takes 5 days to complete the Hampta Pass Trek, but one more day is added to visit the famous and striking Chandrataal, a jewel of the mountains and one of the nest high altitude lakes in the country. One of the least explored treks in the Indian Himalayan region, Pin Bhabha Pass Trek in Himachal Pradesh, is a bridge between the rich Kinnaur valley and barren landscape of Spiti. This trek fascinates you with its changing topography, from the evergreen and rejuvenating naturescape of Kinnaur valley to the stark cold desert of Spiti valley. The journey becomes more adventurous as it crosses two other major mountain passes, the Kunzum Pass and Rohtang Pass. Further on, the trail moves through several quaint villages that reect the ancient IndoTibetan culture and one can pay a visit to several Gompas that house ancient manuscripts and paintings. The major attractions are the Kungri Monastery, Ki Monastery and Tabo Monastery. The divine beauty of snow-clad mountain peaks, charming hamlets, stunning apple orchards, dewy meadows, carpets of alpine owers, virgin forests and gorgeous landscapes that you encounter through this route make the journey easy and rewarding. Once you reach the Bhaba Pass, breathtaking vistas of surrounding mountains, beautiful Kinnaur and Spiti valleys and Pin Parvati Pass, will make you speechless and you will want to stay here till eternity. Descent from the Bhabha Pass takes you through the Pin valley that lies on the periphery of the Pin Valley National Park, giving ample opportunities to have a glimpse at rare Himalayan birds and animals, which includes snow leopards, ibex, and Himalayan fox. The Pin Bhabha Pass Trek is an opportunity to soak your souls in exquisite scenic beauty and wildlife adventures, and also offers you a chance to interact with local Himachali people and their rich culture.
Bhrigu is a prominent holy lake of the Kullu region, located to the right of Rohtang Pass. Legend has it that Maharishi Bhrigu meditated here and many local gods of the Kullu region took a dip in its sacred waters. The trek commences from the popular hill station of Manali and leads to Gulaba. The rolling meadows here stretch far and wide, undulating, almost like an endless carpet. Often one nds horses galloping and sheep grazing in this high altitude pasture. The trail continues from Gulaba to Kothi Thel. After a steep ascent from Kothi Thel, the trail winds up for an overnight camp at the vicinity of Bhrigu Lake. At almost 14,000 feet, this glacial lake changes colour and shape every week! Sometimes it is totally frozen. At times, its water is a royal blue; at other times, an emerald green. Just to see which gorgeous colours the lake has adorned, it is worth doing this trek. The downhill trek leads to the Vashishth village and the journey presents trekkers with a great view of the entire Kullu valley. The trail down to Manali passes through a thick forest and slowly emerges into the apple orchards and nally reaches the Vashisht hot springs before culminating in Manali. ‘Kanamo’ is composed of two words, Ka and Namo, which mean ‘a white lady’. Looming in the background of the Kibber and Tashi Gang village, the Kanamo Peak or White Hostess is a snow-bound mountain ridge that is an adventure waiting to unfold that offers the experience of nature in its truest and rawest form. In the rst stage, there is an arduous but spell-binding drive from Manali over the Rohtang Pass into the Lahaul valley to reach Kaza, from where the trek commences. Surrounded by the Kibber plateau, the region of Kaza is pristine and has its fair share of wildlife ranging from blue sheep to Himalayan to Tibetan wolves and the elusive snow leopard. From Kaza, there is a hike up to Chandratal (Moon Lake), a high altitude glacial lake that is a fantastic sight to see with high mountains all around it! The Kanamo peak requires establishing a base camp near Kanamo Lake. The summit approach is from the South-East side of the ridge. From the summit, one gets a 360 degree panoramic view of Ladakh, Spiti, Kullu and Kinnaur peaks! With so many beauties waiting to be discovered in the Himalayas, pack up your bags and head to these snowclad peaks, lush ambiance and placid lakes this monsoon for a well-deserved adventure-lled break!
The sacred Bhrigu Lake in June
The scenic Dayara meadows in Buran Ghati
Sparse beauty seen from the top of Kanamo Peak Descending the pass by rapelling at Buran Ghati
Wild horses galloping in the alpine meadows seen during the Bhrigu Trek
The lush green Jwara campsite enroute the Hampta Pass Trek
Breathtaking visuals of the Pin Bhabha trek in monsoon
The summit climb at Kanamo Peak
Descending to the Lahaul Valley in the Hampta Pass Trek
From Kafnu to Mulling in the Pin Bhabha Pass Trek
Head up to Himachal for a monsoon hike this year!