escape - trekking in Uttaranchal

Uttaranchal is the closest mountain state to the international airport in Delhi. Within a few hours of landing you can be sipping a chai (tea) in the foothills of the Himalaya. Here you’re bound to bump into pilgrims on the Char Dham route. This route takes in the source of Hinduism’s four most sacred rivers, the Ganges at Gaumukh, the Yamuna at Yamunotri, the Mandakini at Kedernath, and the Alaknanda at Badrinath. All of these are easily accessible and a trek to one or more of these sacred sites will certainly give you an insight into Indian culture.

The treks in Uttaranchal are some of the best in the Himalaya, providing amazing scenery and breathtaking views even at relatively low altitude.

If you like to celebrate the end of your trek with a drink and a hearty meal you should bear in mind that all holy sites in Uttaranchal are ‘dry’ which means no alcohol and no ‘non veg’ food which means no meat or eggs. The villages on the Char Dham, Rishikesh, and Haridwar all fall into this category.

 

Nanda Devi Sanctuary
The holy grail of treks in Uttaranchal. This World Heritage sanctuary was closed to visitors from 1983 until recently and still only allows 20 visitors per week. It wasn’t until 1934 that the famous mountaineers HW Tilman, Eric Shipton, and three sherpas finally succeeded where many had failed and found a route into the inner sanctuary. Nanda Devi is the highest peak completely within India at 7816m. The mountain is surrounded by a vast almost impenetrable wall of mountains with only one way in or out via the deep Rishi Gorge where the Rishi Ganga river winds its way until joining the Alaknanda.

Trek Grade: Moderate - Demanding
Duration: 9 Days
Season: May to June, and October to November

 

Chandershila Top
A short relatively easy trek along a good trail to the beautiful Devra Tal lake. The view from the lake is incredible! This is the only place we know of where you can see a true 360 degree view of the Indian Himalaya. So if you want a great view without doing anything too strenuous this is the trek for you.

Trek Grade: Easy
Duration: 4 Days
Altitude Reached: 4000m
Season: May to June, and September to October

 

Dodi Tal to Yamunotri
This uncrowded trek is an ideal introduction to trekking in the Himalaya. You don’t have to contend with tricky passes and very high altitude but are rewarded with some fine views and scenery along the way. At the end of the trek you’ll join pilgrims at the source of the Yamuna river in Yamunotri.

Trek Grade: Easy - Moderate
Duration: 8-9 Days
Altitude Reached: 4150m
Season: May to June, and October to November

 

Kuari Pass
This popular trek, also known as the ‘Curzon Trail’ due to Viceroy George Nathaniel Curzon’s affection for the area, provides some truly stunning views of the Great Himalaya without requiring trekking to very high altitude. On a clear day you can see Nanda Devi (7816m), Duagiri (7066m), Nilgiri Parvat (6474m), Ramadan (6166m), Hathi Parvat (6727m), Gori Parvat (6708m), Neelkanth (6596m), Kamet (7756m) and Mana Peak (7272m)! Along the way you’ll also experience village life, waterfalls, wildlife, and wilderness.

Trek Grade: Moderate
Duration: 8-9 Days
Altitude Reached: 3640m
Season: May to June, and October to November

 

Above is just a sample to whet your appetite. Other popular treks include…

Gangotri, Gaumukh, and Tapovan
Har-ki-dun and Ruinsara
Nanda Devi East Base Camp
Rup Kund
Rupin Pass & Kinnaur
Khatling Glacier
‘Shipton & Tilman’ Badrinath - Kedernath
Hem Kund & Valley of Flowers
Pindari Glacier
Milam Glacier & Nanda Devi