journey through Himachal holds the promise of a deep and refreshing
communion with nature in its varying beauty. The lush river valleys
surrounded by snow-capped peaks, the fruit-laden orchards, gurgling streams
and the dense forests that echo with birdsong evoke enchantment and delight.
Closer to the Greater Himalayan and Zanskar range, delight gives way to awe
as one is faced with the stark, haunting landscape of the cold desert. Here,
still lakes gleam like emeralds and sapphires amidst towering white
mountains that stand aloof and forbidding in their majesty.
There are four mountain ranges running almost parallel to one another in
Himachal Pradesh and thus creating charming and beautiful valleys and passes
suitable for trekking. There are numerous passes on these ranges which
connect the valleys, making good trekkking routes for all types of trekkers.
One can cross one pass and return over the other or proceed further to cross
another on the next range. There are about two dozen passes on the
Dhauladhar, a dozen over the Pirpanjal range and 8-10 such passes over the
Great Himalayan range to cross over to the Zanskar valley. Himachal offers a
virtual bonanza for trekkers.
The four great mountian ranges and a fluctuating snow line gives Hinachal
very cold climate. Though there are some regions which have hot summers and
cold winters, majority of the trekking routes fall in those areas which are
perenially cold. Thus trekking in Himachal requires adequate preparation to
brave the cold wintry climate. For moderate to strenuous treks, the best
season is from June to October. It is advisable avoid the winters for
in the Ravi valley, the tracks follow the Gaddi trail in the Budhil nala and
across the Kugti, Choia and Kalicho passes lead to the Chenab valley in
Lahoul with the optionsof continuing to Leh, Spiti or Manali. Driving out of
the Ravi valley, the road takes in the Khajjiar meadow and a diversion to
the old hill station at Dalhousie. The treks can be divided in few
categories like Shorter options, Tough option, Watershed, countless flora
and many more.
Shorter Options :
from Kullu and reach the Manikaran hot springs. From here one can take a
walk along the Parvati to the secluded village at Pulga. One can take short
excursions upstream from here and return to Manikaran. This can be combined
with a trek up the Tosh valley bordered by the Pir Panjal range and Papsura
and Dharamsura peaks. Another 10-11 day trek can be taken up form Manikaran
along the Pir Panjal range. The trail winds its way past Khirganga, Mantalai
glacier to the top of the pass on the Kulu-Spiti divide. One reaches Dhankar
in Spiti from where one can drive to Kaza and the Kunzum pass into Lahoul or
take the Hindustan-Tibet road for Shimla.
There are number of trekking routes originating from the world's most
prominent watershed. Chitkul (11,000 ft) in Kinnaur district, five to six
trek days over the Rupin Pass lead to the Naitwar in the tons valley, over
the Borasu pass to the Haridun valley and the Lamkhaga and Chotkhaga passes
to Harsil in the Bhagirathi valley. Moderate treks (4 days) can be taken
over the Sutlej-Beas watershed.
Moderate to strenuous trekking for 5 days, over the Beas-Chenab watershed
leads to the Hamta Pass on the Pir Panjal range. The trek offers some
excellent views of high peaks such as Indrasan and Deo Tibba. The
Chandrabhaga triangular trek traces sources of the Chenab. Then there is the
moderate trek for 3-4 days accesses the Chanderkhani pass. The trek begins
at Jari and gets to the secluded Malana village which is said to be among
the world's oldest democracies. The Sach pass crossing entails fairly
strenuous trekking for 4 days. The trek begins at Trela. Once the Pass is
crossed, there are ample opportunity for the crosssroads enthusiast.
Tough Options :
Enjoy the 4-day trek tackling the Indrahar Pass. The trek originates at
Dharamsala, home of the Dalai Lama, high above the artistic traditions of
the Kangra school and descends to Chunarta near Brahmour. There are many
path options form here. Some of them are quite tough and require execellent
physical conditions to brave them. The Kugti, Chobia and Kalicho passes on
the Pir Panjal range tie up with the Miyar nala in the Chenab valley and
Lahoul, providing choices along the east fork to the Rohtang pass and Manali
on the west road to Keylong, Baralacha pass and Leh. The Kugti and Kalicho
passes have trek routes stretching between 5-6 invigorating days.
One of the Himachal's classic routes is the Chandra-Bhaga triangle and the
Bara Lacha Pass. It has a number of entry points and exits enabling many
combinations. One of the most fascinating routes in Himachal is from
Manikaran to Pulga rest house along the Parvati river. This continues via
Khirganga and Mantalai glacier to reach Pin Parvati Pass on the Kullu-Spiti
divide. Descend to roadhead at Dhankar in Spiti.