Put on your trekking boots and let this summer be a memorable one.
Summers are meant to be enjoyed outdoors. So pack your backpacks and get set to follow the trails along the trekking paradises in the country.
Western Ghats is one among the eight hotspots of the world’s biodiversities and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site last year. Geography textbooks may tell you that the Western Ghats or the Sahyadri hills are a mountain range that runs along the western side of India. What it didn’t tell you is that this mountain range can be a trekker’s delight.
Brahmagiri hill lies along the border of Karnataka and Kerala. Brahmagiri is a 30 km-trek from Mananthavady in Wayanad and 10 km, more or less, from the Iruppu Falls in Karnataka. Most trekking expeditions in Kerala require permission from the Forest department and officials in light of heavy wildlife protection measures. More trekking options and routes are opening up along the Kerala-Tamil Nadu-Karnataka border especially in the Nilgiri hills.
Dandeli in Karnataka offers the adventure seeker rock-climbing, river rafting, camping and long treks to the Kavala caves. The dense forests that lead to the caves are peaceful and just right for the trekker in you. Apart from trekking, one can also go for bird-watching at the wildlife sanctuary, mountain biking and jeep safari.
The Karla hills in Maharashtra are just as great for trekking. The Karla cave shrines are a major tourist attraction and inarguably visited by a large number of trekkers. Forts like Lohagad, Visapur and Tung are idyllic places not just for trekking, but even for a family outing. Lonavala hill station is quite close and about 60 km from Pune.
Trekkers ideally take the route through Malvali village and Bhaja Caves to get to Lohagad. It shouldn’t take more than three hours by foot to reach the base of the fort and the way to the fort is an easy climb. Many of the structures on the fort are still intact and relatively clean. Its twin fort, Visapur is on its eastern side and much larger. The treks are simple and one needn’t be equipped with the latest trekking gear or rock-climbing equipment.
The Himalayas is undoubtedly the most spectacular of places for trekking. Pictures and video footage in magazines and channels do not do justice to the wonder of these mountains. Most places would still have snow after the heavy winter season, but when summer sets, trekking here gives you the opportunity to view the snow-clad mountains, the lush greenery of the range and experience the adrenaline rush.
Kedarkantha in Uttarakhand impresses you with its view alone. The trek takes you through dense pine forests and breaks out to open meadows. You can even spot a few Himalayan Langurs on your way if you’re lucky. The trek can be wrapped up in less than a week.
Valley of Flowers is another alpine wonder in the Himalayas. The trek taking you through Govindghat, Ghangria to the valley and back is about 40 km. Carpeted with flowers of different hues and colours, the valley is known to make trekkers fall unconscious from the scent of its flowers! Now whether that holds true or not, trekking in the Valley of Fowers takes you along the blue and clear waters of the Alakananda. Can you say picture-perfect?
Two 1 litre water bottles (depending on the duration of your trek)
One heavy jacket/wind-breaker (depending on the location) and extra clothing
Flashlight with extra batteries
Medical kit (just in case)