India

Description

India, Zanskar

Immense India, a colorful jigsaw of peoples, cultures, landscapes and climates, is a continent in its own right. The high snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas rise up across the north of the country, to form a natural border with China (Tibet). Also to the north are India's Himalayan neighbour states Nepal and Bhutan. The famous Ganges river and several of its tributaries flow from the Himalayan ranges and then turn east to form the scorchingly hot expanse of the Indo Gangetic Plain. Further south hills rise up again, such as the Aravalli range across arid Rajasthan, and the low Vindhya and Satpura ranges of Central India. Towards the southwest, parallel to the coast, several ranges collectively called the Western Ghats run all the way to India's southern tip. Their humid ridges, covered in sandal wood trees and coffee plantations, rise up well over 1000 m, and occasionally over 2000 m. In the east of India are several lower ranges of mountains and hills, known as the Eastern Ghats.

So what about hiking in India? Is it a popular local pastime? True, many Indians like to escape from the summer heat of the low plains to catch up on some fresh air in one of many hill stations, vestiges of the British colonial era. Yet, to actually set out on a multi-day hike for pleasure appears to be a primarily foreign visitors affair. Exceptions to this rule are the pilgrimages in different parts of India, most notably those in the foothills of the Himalayas, which draw whole families, the old and young alike from all walks of life. Strikingly lively and colorful events, little known by foreigners, and more of a bustling social occasion than a true hike. But then, India is changing too, and hiking is becoming increasingly popular with students and other young people.

For long distance hiking and trekking into the quietude of nature, some parts of India clearly stand out in popularity. First and foremost in the north, there are the relatively accessible western Himalayan ranges of Himachal Pradesh, with valleys such as Kangra, Kullu, Sangla and the more remote and arid Spiti and Lahaul. Altitudes in Himachal Pradesh vary widely, from the 600 m high Shivalik hills to peaks rising up well over 6000 m!

To the southeast of Himachal Pradesh is another attractive hiking and trekking region: Uttarakhand (formerly Uttaranchal), bordering on both Tibet and Nepal. The famous Hindu pilgrimage centers of Haridwar and Rishikesh are main gateway to the Uttarakhand Garhwal Himalaya's. Some lovely and not too difficult high altitude hiking and trekking options here.

Rather less easily accessible are the high altitude valleys of Zanskar and Ladakh, in India's far north. Like neighbouring Spiti and Lahaul (both part of Himachal Pradesh), these are located on the northern flanks of the Great Himalayan range. Sheltered from the monsoon rains, climate here is much more arid. Summers are pleasant and dry, but winters long and harsh.

Towards the southwest of Zanskar and Ladakh, back on the south side of the Greater Himalayan range, are the more populated valleys of Kashmir. A lovely area for hiking, but alas, bordering on Pakistan and currently not safe for foreigners.

Let's travel east now. The Himalayan range continues, and is covered by Nepal and Bhutan. However, squeezed in between these two is the former kingdom of Sikkim, now part of India. A popular area for multi-day treks at medium and high altitudes, and rightly so. For less demanding treks with great views of high peaks like Kanchenjunga (8586 m), set out from Darjeeling, a nearby old hill station surrounded by tea plantations just to the soutwest of Sikkim. Both Sikkim and Darjeeling have a monsoon season, so avoid this and go hiking from late March to May or from late September to early December.

Continue east past Bhutan, and tucked away in the far northeastern corner of India are the Himalayan ranges of Arunachal Pradesh. Although little known or explored as yet, there are some high altitude trekking possibilities here, as well as medium altitude treks through forested valleys and with great views of the snow-capped western Himalayas.

And there are so many places other than the Himalayas to go hiking and trekking in India. Most of India's countless National Parks and Nature Reserves offer guided walking safari's, day-hikes mostly. To name a few other options: Nagaland, Meghalaya, Western Ghats, Nilgiri Hills, Eastern Ghats, Orissa, Munnar Hills, Karnataka, Periyar, and so on.

Opinions

Rate 8.7 | 3 votes | No 3. in Asia
  • sans4u2 April 1984
  • Rate 9
  • Positive its my country.. I like its unity in diversity.. I like its struggle to become a great nation.. I like its spirit. I like its vivid colours.. I like the Himalayas.. I like being an Indian The Himalayas of India are to live for and die for. The magical landscape of ladakh, the sharp rising peaks of the Pir Panjals, The Dhauladhar, The Great Himalayan range are one of the most enlighting place
  • Miguel September 2006
  • Rate 9
  • Positive Great mountain scenery in the Ladakh area (the only one I visited), with few people to be found beyond villages
  • pc22 March 1999
  • Rate 8
More opinions…

Trails

Regions

Mountains

Books

Stanfords
United Kingdom
  • Alan Stoob: Nazi Hunter: A Comic Novel
  • Alan Stoob, hero of this hilarious novel has been described as a new member of the great pantheon of British comic characters - genus awkward old bastard - that already includes Mr Micawber, Mr Pooter and Captain Mainwairing. Originally a Twitter sensation, whose fans include India Knight and Dara O`Brien, he now walks the pages of this book... Read more
The Book Depository
United Kingdom
2010
  • Indian Himalaya Trekking Guide - Maps 2010
  • Ce guide unique des montagnes de l''Himalaya indien, avec description et carte détaillée de 22 circuits de trekking, contient les informations nécessaires pour chaque niveau, du débutant au professionnel chevronné.La découverte de 10 régions (avec carte à l'échelle de 1/350... Read more
  • Also available from:
  • De Zwerver, Netherlands
» Click to open
De Zwerver
Netherlands
2010
  • Wandelgids Trekking Guide Indian Himalaya | TerraQuest
  • Gids met uitgebreide omschrijvingen van 22 wandelroutes. Inclusief detailkaarten, schaal 1:350.000, met gemarkeerde routes en hoogtelijnen. Verder informatie over eten en drinken, aanbevolen uitrusting, vervoer ter plaatse en informatie over afstand en tijd van de trektochten. De omschreven tochten zijn in de volgende gebieden: Kashmir, Ladakh,... Read more
» Click to close
Bol.com
Netherlands
  • Bharat
  • India is a vast South Asian country with diverse terrain – from Himalayan peaks to Indian Ocean coastline – and history reaching back 5 millennia. In the north, Mughal Empire landmarks include Delhi’s Red Fort complex and massive Jama Masjid mosque, plus Agra’s iconic Taj Mahal mausoleum. Pilgrims bathe in the Ganges in... Read more
  • Also available from:
  • Bol.com, Belgium
» Click to open
Bol.com
Belgium
  • Bharat
  • India is a vast South Asian country with diverse terrain – from Himalayan peaks to Indian Ocean coastline – and history reaching back 5 millennia. In the north, Mughal Empire landmarks include Delhi’s Red Fort complex and massive Jama Masjid mosque, plus Agra’s iconic Taj Mahal mausoleum. Pilgrims bathe in the Ganges in... Read more
» Click to close
De Zwerver
Netherlands
2012
  • Reisgids Kunstreiseführer Rajasthan und Gujarat | Dumont
  • Zeer diepgaande reisgids over Rajasthan en Gujarat op het gebied van kunst, cultuur en geschiedenis. Veel plattegronden van interessante bezienswaardigheden, beschrijvingen van achtergronden. Absoluut een aanrader voor de geïnteresseerde reiziger! Wenn es ein Paradies auf Erden gibt, dann ist es hier, dann ist es hier, dann ist es hier. So... Read more
  • Also available from:
  • Kompass, Germany
» Click to open
Kompass
Germany
2010
  • DuMont Kunst-Reiseführer Rajasthan und Gujarat
  • Wenn es ein Paradies auf Erden gibt, dann ist es hier, dann ist es hier, dann ist es hier. So steht es geschrieben über den Bögen der privaten Audienzhalle des Roten Forts in Delhi. Dabei zählen die beiden nordwestindischen Bundesstaaten Rajasthan und Gujarat zu den klimatisch unwirtlichsten Gegenden des Landes. Dennoch blicken sie auf eine... Read more
» Click to close
Bol.com
Netherlands
  • Also available from:
  • Bol.com, Belgium
» Click to open
Bol.com
Belgium
» Click to close
De Zwerver
Netherlands
2016
  • Reisgids India | Rough Guides
  • Zeer goede reisgids voor India, geschikt voor zowel de georganiseerde maar vooral voor de zelfstandige reiziger. Boordevol informatie over reizen, slapen, eten, maar ook musea en cultuur. Uitputtende bron van informatie, veelal nog completer dan de Lonely Planet. Inleidende informatie over land en cultuur is zeer goed. Thoroughly revised and... Read more
Bol.com
Netherlands
  • The Prince of India (Volume 2)
  • The final volume of Wallace’s, The Prince of India. The protagonist of this novel is “The Wandering Shoemaker” a figure from medieval Christian folklore whose legend began to spread in Europe in the 13th century. The original legend concerns a Jew who taunted Jesus on the way to the Crucifixion and was then cursed to walk the earth until the... Read more
  • Also available from:
  • Bol.com, Belgium
» Click to open
Bol.com
Belgium
  • The Prince of India (Volume 2)
  • The final volume of Wallace’s, The Prince of India. The protagonist of this novel is “The Wandering Shoemaker” a figure from medieval Christian folklore whose legend began to spread in Europe in the 13th century. The original legend concerns a Jew who taunted Jesus on the way to the Crucifixion and was then cursed to walk the earth until the... Read more
» Click to close
De Zwerver
Netherlands
2017
  • Reisgids Rajasthan, Delhi & Agra | Lonely Planet
  • De perfecte reisgids voor zowel de georganiseerde als de zelfstandige reiziger. Naast een algemene inleiding van het land / streek vol met praktische informatie over hoe je er het beste kunt reizen: slapen, eten, vervoer, excursies ... alles kun je er in vinden. Engelstalig. Lonely Planet Rajasthan is the jewel in India’s crown. From fairy-tale... Read more
De Zwerver
Netherlands
2017
  • Natuurgids A Naturalist's Guide to the Mammals of India | John Beaufoy
  • This easy-to-use identification guide to the 280 mammal species most commonly seen in India is perfect for resident and visitor alike. High quality photographs from India's top nature photographers are accompanied by detailed species descriptions, which include nomenclature, size, distribution, habits and habitat. The user-friendly introduction... Read more
Bol.com
Netherlands
  • Bhutan
  • Contains excerpts from literature on India, an introduction to palaces, museums, festivals, wildlife, and practical tips on clothing, trekking, and transportation.</p> Read more
  • Also available from:
  • Bol.com, Belgium
» Click to open
Bol.com
Belgium
  • Bhutan
  • Contains excerpts from literature on India, an introduction to palaces, museums, festivals, wildlife, and practical tips on clothing, trekking, and transportation.</p> Read more
» Click to close
Bol.com
Netherlands
  • There Are Other Rivers
  • Alastair Humphreys walked across India, from the Coromandel Coast to the Malabar Coast, following the course of a holy river. Walking alone and spending the nights sleeping under the stars, in the homes of welcoming strangers or in small towns and villages, he experienced the dusty enchantment of ordinary, real India on the smallest of budgets.... Read more
  • Also available from:
  • Bol.com, Belgium
» Click to open
Bol.com
Belgium
  • There Are Other Rivers
  • Alastair Humphreys walked across India, from the Coromandel Coast to the Malabar Coast, following the course of a holy river. Walking alone and spending the nights sleeping under the stars, in the homes of welcoming strangers or in small towns and villages, he experienced the dusty enchantment of ordinary, real India on the smallest of budgets.... Read more
» Click to close
Bol.com
Netherlands
  • The Minaret of Djam
  • The 12th century minaret of Djam is one of Afghanistan's most celebrated treasures, a magnificent symbol of the powerful Ghorid Empire that once stretched from Iran to India. The second tallest brick minaret in the world, Djam lies in the heart of central Afghanistan's wild Ghor Province. Surrounded by 2,000 metre-high mountains and by the... Read more
  • Also available from:
  • Bol.com, Belgium
» Click to open
Bol.com
Belgium
  • The Minaret of Djam
  • The 12th century minaret of Djam is one of Afghanistan's most celebrated treasures, a magnificent symbol of the powerful Ghorid Empire that once stretched from Iran to India. The second tallest brick minaret in the world, Djam lies in the heart of central Afghanistan's wild Ghor Province. Surrounded by 2,000 metre-high mountains and by the... Read more
» Click to close
Bol.com
Netherlands
1998
  • Garhwal and Kumaon
  • A guidebook to trekking in the Garhwal and Kumaon regions of the Himalayas of northern India. Garhwal and Kumaon, known together as Uttarakhand, are the mountain regions of Uttar Pradesh in India, bordering Nepal and Tibet. They are situated almost at the centre of the great Himalayan chain with more than 250 peaks above 5500m high, culminating... Read more
  • Also available from:
  • Bol.com, Belgium
» Click to open
Bol.com
Belgium
1998
  • Garhwal and Kumaon
  • A guidebook to trekking in the Garhwal and Kumaon regions of the Himalayas of northern India. Garhwal and Kumaon, known together as Uttarakhand, are the mountain regions of Uttar Pradesh in India, bordering Nepal and Tibet. They are situated almost at the centre of the great Himalayan chain with more than 250 peaks above 5500m high, culminating... Read more
» Click to close
Bol.com
Netherlands
  • Woven Vibe
  • Woven Vibe is a book about weaving textiles on a table loom or handlooms for that matter.It describes how ten scarves can be made out of fibers such as silk/merino, bamboo, banana, nettle and hemp. There are textile swatches of fibers such as nettle, grewia, hemp, goat hair and cotton in the book as well. The book includes photographs, design... Read more
  • Also available from:
  • Bol.com, Belgium
» Click to open
Bol.com
Belgium
  • Woven Vibe
  • Woven Vibe is a book about weaving textiles on a table loom or handlooms for that matter.It describes how ten scarves can be made out of fibers such as silk/merino, bamboo, banana, nettle and hemp. There are textile swatches of fibers such as nettle, grewia, hemp, goat hair and cotton in the book as well. The book includes photographs, design... Read more
» Click to close
De Zwerver
Netherlands
2013
  • Reisgids Trotter Zuid-India en Goa | Lannoo
  • Beroemd om zijn betrouwbare keuze van hotel- en restaurantadressen in alle prijsklassen; Berucht voor zijn kritische noten en persoonlijke visie; Overvloedige achtergrondinformatie over het land en over de bezienswaardigheden; Speciale aandacht voor extra tips die een reis net iets meer pit geven. Trotter houdt geen cliches in stand, maar biedt... Read more
More books…

Walking holidays

Snp Wandelreizen
Netherlands
  • India - Ladakh
  • In het noorden van India, tegen de Tibetaanse en Pakistaanse grens, ligt het afgelegen berggebied Ladakh, bekend om zijn bijzondere maanlandschap. Na acclimatisatie in het hooggelegen Leh maak je een unieke 4-daagse trektocht aan de rand van de Indus vallei. Onderweg zie je prachtig gekleurde rotswanden, felgroene oases van gerstakkers en... Read more
  • Also available from:
  • Snp Wandelreizen, Netherlands
» Click to open
Snp Wandelreizen
Netherlands
  • India - Ladakh
  • In het noorden van Ladakh, tegen de Tibetaanse en Pakistaanse grens, ligt de afgelegen en nog maar weinig bezochte vallei van de Shayok. Na acclimatisatie in het hooggelegen Leh maken we een unieke 7-daagse kampeertrekking van de Indus naar de Shayok vallei, die we vervolgens vanuit een aantal fraaie resorts gaan verkennen. Onderweg zien we... Read more
» Click to close
Snp Wandelreizen
Netherlands
  • India - Kerala
  • Met deze fietsvakantie verken je de weelderige Zuid-Indiaanse deelstaat Kerala. Je vindt hier  koele heuvels met theeplantages, uitgestrekte bossen, binnenwateren en witte zandstranden. De reis begint in Kochi, vroeger bekend als Cochin, het perfecte startpunt voor deze betoverende regio. Het koloniale verleden in Kochi is duidelijk herkenbaar... Read more
More walking holidays…

Forum

  1. Cancel
  • Seema 2013-03-25 06:06:57
  • Valley of flowers
  • Valley of flowers is one of the most beautiful natural wonder on this earth. Do you know some one organizing treks to valley of flowers. I have come across http://www.valleyofflowers.info. Do any one has ever gone through them to valley of flowers.
Cancel
  • bodhichittaindra 2012-05-21 12:35:32
  • Reise in den Himalaya
  • Hallo

    Im Juni 2012 moechte ich in den Himalaya laufen um mehr ueber Tara zu erfahren. Ich Bin Buddhist der Tibetischen "Neuen Kadampa Tradition" und Tara ist mein Deity.

    Da ich beschlossen habe Buddhistischer Moench zu werden, werde ich als Bettelmoench in den Himalaya laufen.

    Wer moechte mitlaufen?


    Liebe Gruesse
Cancel
More questions…