The call of the mountains can be very difficult to ignore. Ansoo Gupta, who conducts the popular Meet, Plan, Go travel event across the country, explains it best when she says, “Trekking is different from our daily routine in many ways. And considering how we in the city have given up on walking, treks have become the best way to connect us with nature. Our body moves in a very different way than what it is accustomed to. The pull of nature is a big draw to those who heed the mountain’s call.”
The more challenging the trek, the harder it is to pull away from it. Here are some of the most challenging treks you can undertake within India:
The most famous trek of all, the Chadar Trek is so named because of the blanket of ice that covers the Zanskar river on which adventurous trekkers sojourn in temperatures that range between -25 to -30 degrees. Ancient Buddhist monasteries and small pockets of villages are your only companions on this trek that challenges even the most avid hiker. “Although I’ve done my fair share of trekking, like many others the Chadar trek is on my wishlist,” Gupta says and adds, “It’s a challenge to be taken out of your surrounding and stay and eat with only the most basic comforts at your disposal.”
Zemu Glacier Trek
This trek in Sikkim is doubly difficult because not only do you need to be fit enough to undertake it, you also need to deal with permits to complete the trek. The Zemu Glacier trek begins at Lachen, about six hours from Gangtok. If you fancy a glimpse at Kanchenjunga and other mighty mountains while keeping company with bharals, then this trek is just what you need. And because it is relatively unknown, the vistas have an unspoiled feel to them.
Pin Parvati Trek
Spiti Valley in Himachal Pradesh is probably the last remaining place of raw wilderness because of its hidden location and high altitude. The Pin Parvati trek of over 100 kilometres is a great way to enter this place of wild beauty as it takes you past some of the best scenery on offer. Don’t go if you’re a beginner though – rising to a height of over 5300 metres above sea level, treks such as this one must be undertaken only by the most advanced trekkers.
Stok Kangri Trek
Do not be fooled by operators who promise an easy hike to Stok Kangri in Ladakh. They just want your money, plain and simple. The Stok Kangri trek requires proper acclimatization because this is a seriously tough hike to the top that lies at 6153 metres – that’s over 20,000 feet by the way – with the last 1000 metres being the one of the most hair-raising, steep climbs you will undertake. Additionally, you must factor in the unpredictable weather before attempting this trek. Climb a few other mountains before attempting this trek. But once you do, don’t be ashamed of showing off your pictures from the peak. It’s a rare feat to achieve and you have every right to show off!
After Lord Curzon crossed Kuari Pass in 1905 and gave his name to the trek, the journey to this pristine part of Garhwal Himalayas has drawn many trekkers who all want to catch a glimpse of its famous view of the twin peaks of Nanda Devi and Dronagiri, among other famous mountains. Apart from the mesmerizing view of Nanda Devi, the route, dotted with Oak and Deodar forests, is another factor that draws trekkers to this trail.
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