Any one who has been to the Himalayas, will attest to the fact that the Himalayas have a unique charm, which attracts them to keep coming back. Its not only the charm, but also the variety of unique experiences that a traveller can have, each unique in its own way, is what draws the travellers to the Himalayas every now and then.
We are sure that every traveller who has been to the Himalayas, has a memorable experience etched in their hearts forever. This post about the Most Amazing Bucket List Experiences in the Himalayas, is a curation of 20+ Amazing experiences that travellers have experienced, which also acts as an amazing Travel Bucket List.
We are pretty sure that once you are done reading this post, you will be adding a few experiences on your future Travel Bucket List, like we did.
The Annapurna Base Camp (ABC) Trek Experience
Annapurna Base Camp trek (or Annapurna Sanctuary trek) is the second most popular trek in Nepal (the first being Everest Base Camp) and every year thousands of trekkers from across the world visit it to get a glimpse of the world’s 10th highest mountain peak. It is also without a doubt, one of the Best Things To do in Nepal as well.
The ABC trek requires roughly 8-12 days with almost 10 km of trekking each day. Starting from the popular laketown of Pokhara, one can take a bus/cab ride to Ghandruk village where the road ends. From here the trek takes you over a few gorgeous hanging bridges and ever changing landscapes to the many tea house settlements before reaching ABC.
The base camp is surrounded by several snow clad mountains in a 360 degree panorama including the entire Annapurna mountain range. Standing there in the centre you can’t help but wonder in awe at the grandeur of it all.
The biggest challenge on the ABC trek is the thousands of never ending stairs you need to climb up and down all through the trek. The trek isn’t very difficult even for beginners but it definitely is very strenuous due to its long duration. A little exercise and fitness will definitely help.
It was my first ever high altitude trek. Although I thought it wasn’t very easy, the views we got through the entire route, plus waking up in the tea house at ABC in minus temperatures and seeing the sun rise from behind the Annapurna massif, made it absolutely worth it. That is what makes the trek so incredible and unforgettable.
Taking a flight from Kathmandu to Lukla
By Campbell and Alya | Stingy Nomads
The trek to Everest Base Camp starts with a little separate mini adventure, the flight from Kathmandu to Lukla. The short flight is infamous, because the Tenzing–Hillary Airport in Lukla is often called the most dangerous airport in the world. The airport’s located in the mountains at an elevation of 9,334 ft (2,845 m). The runway is short 527 m (1,729 ft) and it is not flat at an 11.7% gradient. The airport is seen as dangerous, because arriving and departing planes must use a single runway and there is a low prospect of a successful go-around on short final approach. You can see the pilots in the cockpit and we had a good laugh seeing our pilots going through a manual before take off and navigating with a car GPS.
The flight is a mountain flight and the small two prop plane does get very close to the mountains for spectacular views of the Himalayas. It is an exciting flight since the cabin is not pressurized or acoustically optimized to reduce engine noise, so the flight is loud and you feel pressure changes on your eardrums. The landing on the ‘uphill runway’ was great. We could see through the front window what was going on in the cockpit. Flights often get cancelled due to wind and rain and it has happened to us after trekking; we were stuck in Lukla for a couple of days and ended up walking back to Kathmandu.
Sunrise at Kala Patthar
By Jackson Groves | Journey Era
Kala Patthar is one of the most incredible viewpoints along the Everest Base Camp trek with striking views of Mount Everest. Located above Gorakshep, Kala Patthar actually means black rock and sits amidst some of the biggest peaks in the Himalayas.
After staying the night at Gorakshep during the Everest Base Camp Trek, hikers need to wake up early in the morning, several hours before the sunrise to begin the short but steep trek up from Gorakshep to Kala Patthar.
At the summit, which is 5,500m above sea level, hikers will be treated to one of the best views of Mount Everest in the region, which is why this viewpoint is so popular. The low oxygen at this altitude makes the short hike much more grueling than the short distance might suggest but it’s all worth it for the sunrise views with Mount Everest in the backdrop.
Seeing Mt Everest For The First Time
By Sharon | Dive Into Phillipines
My most memorable experience in the Himalayas was seeing Mt Everest for the first time. I saw this via scenic flight from Kathmandu which turned out to be quite the process – but that only made it more memorable when it happened.
I bought a scenic flight from my hotel in Kathmandu. It guaranteed seeing Mt Everest or you could keep trying until you did. It involved an early morning flight from Kathmandu airport when there was the best chance that it wouldn’t be covered by clouds.
I headed there the first morning hopeful that I’d be seeing Mt Everest. We didn’t even make it on to the tarmac before being told that earlier flights hadn’t been successful and it had clouds. We tried again the next morning, same story.
On the third morning, we made it on the plane and up into the air before finding out that there were clouds and needed to turn around. At this point, we were sick of the very early starts and disappointment so nearly quit. But we had one more morning before leaving Nepal so we decided to give it one last chance.
This time, we saw Everest! On the flight, we were given maps of what we could see and all the surrounding mountains, although it was obviously seeing Mt Everest seemingly floating above the clouds which was the true highlight.
I am so glad I had ticked off this Bucket List experience in the Himalayas and didn’t quit and I highly recommend it.
Road Trip to Khardung La & Nubra Valley
By Ellie & Ravi | Soul Travel India
One of the most beautiful valleys in Ladakh, Nubra is a great destination for trekking and simple Ladakhi style homestays, within easy reach from Leh. A permit is required to enter Nubra valley if you’re a foreign national – it’s not a problem if there are two or more of you, but if you’re a solo traveller, you may need to get creative, as officially solo foreign nationals are not allowed. You’ll also need to double check the security situation if a visit to Pangong Tso (lake) is on your bucket list.
On the road from Leh to Nubra you’ll pass over the summit of Khardung La. At a height of 13,380ft or 4,078 meters, this is reportedly the highest motor-able road in the world. Expect to feel more than a little giddy as you stretch your legs at the top. If coming straight from Leh, remember the advice is always to rest in Leh for 2-3 days before beginning to trek so that your lungs can acclimatise.
Descending from Khardung La into Nubra Valley, the Shyok River, the Karakoram range on the other side and the mirage of mud blurring into the river is a stunning sight. The narrow winding roads reveal monasteries tucked into corners of rock just when you least expect them.
I was lucky enough to stay in two beautiful lodgings in Nubra Valley – the first in Sumur valley – Nubra Eco Lodge, at a very comfortable lower elevation of 2,800m, here breathing was very easy and there was plenty of time to enjoy stargazing from bedded tent and looking out into the sand dunes across the valley with the Karakoram mountains behind. The second, a simple homestay at the other end of the Shyok valley in a place where fewer tourists venture, Shyok River lodge is a treat with breathtaking views from whichever window you look out of.
Living with the Changpas in Ladakh
By Parnashree Devi | My Travel Diary
Living with the Changpas has to be the most exotic experience of my travel life till date. It was an exclusive experience of sharing 3 days with the nomadic people of Changpas in a remote land in Ladakh.
Changpas of Ladakh are a semi-nomadic tribe who mostly reside in the desolate highlands of the northern and eastern parts of Ladakh. Wandering from one place to another for greener pasture, taking care of herds, yaks and horses and surviving on limited resources, the lifestyle of the Changpas of Ladakh are beyond fascinating. When I got the rare opportunity to live a rustic lifestyle with them like a local, it was like an opportunity of a lifetime. Seeing them up-close by becoming a part of their daily life in a remote place called Tuchik gave me glimpses of their nomadic lifestyle.
I realised how living on the edge at the time of climate change, a community is beautifully co-existing with nature in the most rugged terrain by following the traditions of their forefather, of living a nomadic life and yet, producing the finest quality of Pashmina wool.
Experiencing the sheer beauty of Tso Moriri Lake
By Umang Trivedi | Travel Max
Remember the movie 3 Idiots? Remember the iconic climax scene, when Kareena Kapoor rides a red scooter, wearing bridal wear with the gorgeous mountains & pristine lake in the backdrop?
Well, this lake is NOT that one.
The lake shown in the movie is Pangong Tso, which is one of the highlights of this 7 Day Leh – Ladakh Itinerary. The one we visited is Tso Moriri lake, located in the same area and completely devoid of tourists.
When you leave Leh town, you can take a left turn to reach Pangong Tso, but we took a right to go deeper in the untouched landscapes of Leh and reached Tso Moriri. It added an extra hour, both ways. But we were definitely excited to explore the lesser known lake.
Believe me, we 4 were the ONLY people at the lake. Pangong lake is definitely beautiful! No contest there. But given that Tso Moriri calmly lies amidst an untainted landscape, our visit here was very surreal & peaceful.
The road to reach Tso Moriri lake is rather deserted. So make sure that you are carrying all the essentials and prepared for emergencies. It is not possible to cover Tso Moriri Lake & Pangong Lake in one day. The entire circuit of Leh – Pangong Tso – Tso Moriri – Leh would take — hours.
There is one unknown route which is generally used by the Army and connects Tso Moriri directly to Pangong Tso. But I believe you need special permissions to use that road as it is adjacent to the China border.
Visiting Tso Moriri lake was a memorable experience indeed. I am yet to visit Pangong Lake. That’s okay, I will see it when I visit Leh again. After my first visit to Leh, I was pretty sure that I was going to visit again!
Visiting the White Tso Kar Lake
By Suruchi Mittal | All Gud Things
The White Lake Tso Kar / Kar Tso / Tsho Kar is an L shaped brackish water lake in Ladakh at an altitude of 15,367 feet. The Lake is not a wide expanse of blue water but a marshland in the wide valley with deep water at places, spreading up to 7.5 Kilometer. It is surrounded by snow-capped peaks on the western bank whereas the colored reddish-purple hue mountains on the southeastern side.
Around the White Lake Tso Kar, there is dense and tall grass and thick salt deposits. The salt deposits on all the sides of the lake make it look all white. These deposits exactly resemble the days or month’s old snow from a distance. The salt from the lake is collected by the local nomads known as Rupsu Chang and traded locally in Jammu and Kashmir.
How to Reach Tso Kar Lake?
The White Lake Tso Kar can be reached directly from Tso Moriri, via going to Leh from Manali or via returning from Leh to Manali. It lies 90 km from Tso Moriri and 153 Kms from Leh.
Some Important Tips
- Lake is accessible only from June to October
- Evenings and nights are very chilly at Tso Kar. So carry and wear woolens timely
- There are high chances of being hit by AMS at 15,000 feet. So, take precautions to tackle it and stay warm. If AMS gets worse, do take help.
- Before heading towards the lake, check the trail carefully, as it is a marshland.
Meet the Aryans in Dha-Hanu Valley – Land Of Last Aryans
By Maitry Mehta | TravelNotes By Maitry
The valley is known as the ‘Land Of The Aryans’ as the people there are considered the purest descendants of the ancient Indo-Europeans.
The Villages Dha and Hanu are situated at a distance of approximately 163 km to the northwest of Leh. Crossed through Kaltsey, Domkhar, Skurbunchan, Achinathang. In the valley I found many villages, However, as a tourist I was allowed to visit the villages Dha and Hanu only.
Being situated on lower altitude these villages face more warmer weather than other parts of Ladakh. Major attractions I found in these villages were to see and meet the Aryans, admiring the landscapes inside and around these villages and most importantly getting the chance to know the life of the Drokpa community.
At the confluence of the river Shayok and Indus in the Kargil region, west of Leh live the Drok-Pa. I literally felt they are racially and culturally distinct from Ladakhis.
As of today, there are around 2000 people settled in the five villages of this valley.
Tarsar Marsar Trek | Kashmir
By Nishu | Tanned Travel Girl
Trekking in Kashmir? Are you sure it will be safe! After hearing everyone around me saying a strict no for my trek to the beautiful alpine lakes in Kashmir, I was even more determined to see them with my naked eyes. The beauty of these turquoise blue lakes in between snow-covered mountains cannot be described in words. For me, the experience was truly magical.
The trek starts from Aru Valley in Kashmir and passes through Lidderwat, Shekwas, and then to the majestic Tarsar and Marsar lakes. The trek can only be done in the months of July to September and is of medium difficulty level. However, if it rains, it can turn into a difficult one! But the sheer joy of seeing a rainbow over virgin mountains will be truly priceless.
We had camped right beside the Tarsar Lake on a clear sky night. The entire night was passed counting the shooting stars. Also, these lakes change colors as the sun rays move! I hope I have given you enough reasons to add Tarsar Marsar Trek to your bucket list!
Sunset Over Dal Lake | Kashmir
By Mayuri Patel | Fernwehrahee
One of the unique things to experience in the Himalayas is sunset/sunrise! I am not a morning Person, so I always opt to catch a sunset over sunrise. It was one of awe-inspiring moments when I first visited Kashmir for the first time. Kashmir is known as Heaven on the earth which is now a filled with Chaos of terrorism, considered as one of the most beautiful Place on the hearth and famously known as ‘Switzerland of India’. When you are in Kashmir, you can’t miss visiting the Dal Lake in Srinagar. Be it Shikara Ride or having Kahwa (Kashmiri tea) in a houseboat over Dal Lake or walking the boulevard of Dal Lake, all the major tourist activities revolve around the Dal Lake in Srinagar,Kashmir.
During the evening, the majority of people will gather to take a Shikara ride – very artistically and colourfully decorated hand roving boats start to float on Dal Lake with couples and families who are about to retire from the day or just spending quality time together! You can see communities living on Dal Lake, floating shops, markets during your Shikara Ride. As you sail the sunset ride, Shikara will take you to the different shops, floating markets, you can see people selling mouth-watering Kababs on Shikara! The whole atmosphere and landscape surrounding Dal Lake becomes orange as sunset happens! You can see the changing colours of the Sun over Dal Lake while the sun hides behind the hills! When in Kashmir, I highly recommend to take the Shikara Ride at Dusk to witness the amazing colours of Nature and to help the local community who solely depend on tourism.
Spending time in Pahalgam | Kashmir
By Anjali Chawla | Travel Melodies
When I talk about my most memorable bucket list experience in the Himalayas, Pahalgam steals the limelight. A sleepy tiny village set by the Lidder River, it is one of those places where time stands still. The eternal beauty and simplicity of the hamlet and its people stole my heart forever.
Lidder River is the soul of Pahalgam. It’s literally everywhere and changes colors (from turquoise to azure to milky) and forms (from quiet to gushing to wild) at every turn she takes.
Taking a sip of Kashmiri Kehwa while admiring the other-worldly views outside my homestay’s window – lush alpine meadows, deep mountain valleys blanketed by towering conifers, turquoise alpine lakes, mist-covered majestic Himalayas, and the ever-restless Lidder River flowing by – I fell head over heels in love with Pahalgam.
“Agar Firdaus bar roo-e zameen ast, Hameen ast-o Hameen ast-o Hameen ast”
(If there is a paradise on earth, It is this, it is this, it is this.)
The words by Amir Khusro started making more sense to me.
How can a place be so impossibly beautiful? It absolutely defines and epitomizes natural beauty. You can’t get enough of it!
And I can’t really talk about Pahalgam and not talk about its kind and beautiful people. I’m full of admiration for all the warmth, love, and kindness they shower on their guests. They seem happier, peaceful, and content despite living in a conflict region. Their expectations from life are simple and clear. Not as complicated as us. There’s a lesson or two I take back home, every time (I’ve lost the count now) I visit Pahalgam.
A trek to Shrikhand Mahadev in search of spirituality | Himachal Pradesh
By Joydeep Mondal | The Moonchasers
In the Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh, lies the route to a revered pilgrimage to the peak known to locals as Shrikhand Mahadev. The trek starts from a village named Jaon, which can be reached from the nearest town of Rampur. Many Himachalis, along with Sadhus and seekers of the spirit god Shiva take this 5 day trek to reach their destination on a snow capped mountain.
The first leg of the trek is through the lower foothills with the rarest flora and fauna to enchant one. In season, it is a pleasant moderate level trek with occasional rain showers greeting you as you make your way to the first checkpoint, Thhachru. Langars are set up around the pilgrim season of mid July here, stay for the night and food is free is provided to pilgrims for no cost, blankets are provided for a minimal charge of Rs 100-200. Anyone can do this trek whether or not a believer. However, I went on this journey without knowing what awaited before, that later became a decision that cured my soul.
We had made a thumb rule of trekking from 5am to 5pm, walking through the valleys. The second day saw us climb above the pine forests and walk through the hilly meadows. Valleys of flowers, flowing waterfalls and the buzzing of bees were the only companions apart from the billowing clouds. An occasional sadhu and the shade of vermilion broke the monotony of nature’s greenery. As we walked through the valleys, mesmerizing views greeted us, climbing down kala pahars ( valley of darkness) till our lunch stop at Hanuman Dwaar. We continued on our path. Our target for the day was beyond the base of glaciers to Parvati bagh. Next morning was our last leg uphill. As we reached Nayansarover, the climb uphill on snow clad slopes and gnarly glacier edges began. Often slipping, losing footing on the icy glacier, the faith in a divine soul and chants of the fellow trekkers on the route kept us going. What we witnessed next was a landscape unknown to even a well travelled eye. Where the clouds merged with snow in a play of white and an occasional Sadhu (Ascetic) meditating in the rocky coves, it was surely a place of surreality, the perfect setting to find inner peace.
Cometh the last few kilometers, sheer faith helps you climb the gnarly, dangerous rocky outcrops, almost like rock climbing to the peak. I don’t know whether it was the thin air or the joy of accomplishing the trek of 45 kms, reaching the top of Shrikhand Mahadev, left me with tears in my eyes. The sights I witnessed, the landscapes that seemed almost alien left me spellbound. Is this the beauty of God I know not. But this piece of nature one cannot find in the most pristine tourist destinations, I am sure of that.
Kheerganga Trek | Himachal Pradesh
By Anjali Chawla | Travel Melodies
Located at the height of 13,051 feet, nestled in awe-inspiring Parvati Valley in Himachal Pradesh, Kheerganga is where Kartikeya, son of Lord Shiva, meditated, and Shiva created a natural spring (kheerganga) with His Trishul for him to quench his thirst and hunger. In the Iron age, Shiva turned the kheer to water on Parashurama’s request.
Thus, Kheerganga holds natural as well as spiritual beauty, and the Kheerganga Trek is no doubt one of the Best Treks in the Himalayas. It’s hard to capture in words the moments when you see the snow-covered Himalayas towering over lush Parvati Valley, listen to the roaring sound of gushing waterfalls, and feel the true intimacy with God.
The trek to Kheerganga became one of the most memorable experiences I ever had in the Himalayas for two reasons – First, it was my first-ever trekking experience, and secondly, it was my 8-year old daughter’s first-ever trekking experience. The way she completed Kheerganga Trek, with great zeal and enthusiasm, despite all the rains and pains, made me feel proud. I never in my wildest dream thought that she could hike 25 km in a day while remaining calm and collected.
The trek eventually became an enriching travel experience that changed everything. It changed our perspective towards life @ large. We realized how important it’s to remain connected to nature and God.
Visiting Jibhi and Jalori Pass | Himachal Pradesh
By Heena Raheja | Travel Affairs
If you call yourself a traveller then you must have seen yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani. Do you remember that “Boodhi nagin ka Mandir” from the movie?
Yes that’s the point I always wanted to go since I saw that movie.
In 2016, randomly on the internet, I somehow saw a place, called “Sojha”.
5 kms from Sojha is Jalori Pass & there is a small trek from Jalori pass to Serolsar Lake.
On the lake, there is “Boodhi Naagin ka Mandir”
It was like a dream come true. Jalori Pass is the highest mountain pass in Kullu District of Himachal Pradesh.
There are 5-6 small dhabas at Jalori Pass that only serve Maggi, omelettes, Rajma rice and curry rice. And honestly that’s one of the tastiest meals that you could ever enjoy with such beautiful mountains covering you from all sides.
One has to visit the place to actually understand and feel the Vibe of it. Pictures or videos will never justify the real charm of Jalori pass.
Trek to Serolsar Lake is very easy. There are a few campsites and a small food point on the way.
Jalori Pass looks even more beautiful during the winter season because it’s all covered with snow which makes it look no less than a fairy land. Do not expect any luxury at Sojha or Jalori Pass.
If you are someone who loves culture and nature, the place is for you!
Spending a night in Batal in Spiti Valley | Himachal Pradesh
By Avantika Chaturvedi | Wayward Wayfarer
About three years ago, when Spiti Valley could still be considered an ‘untouched’ beauty, I packed my bags and booked a bus to Manali. The young, carefree (often careless) college-going teenager that I was back then (not that 22 is considered much older anyway), I underestimated how hauntingly beautiful Spiti could be. With each turn after Rohtang Pass, the greenery seemed to give up until all was barren and different shades of brown. Around lunchtime, the bus halted at Batal, the ‘village’ that was my destination for the day. This ‘village’ – I realised – was nothing more than a couple of dhabas surrounded by naked mountains. I enquired for a possible accommodation at the famous Chacha Chachi ka Chandra Dhaba and for 200 rupees a night, I was shown to a shared hut built of quarried stones with a tin sheet for a door.
Just as the sun made its final path behind the towering mountains, the wind came out to say hello. It was the kind of a gust you could hear blowing, the eerily shrill sound that comes with strong gales. Tibetan prayer flags fluttered faster than my camera could keep up and the sole iron bridge that hung low over the Chandra River rattled because of the wind’s force. And around dinnertime, altitude mountain sickness (AMS) hit. 4,000 meters above sea level was no joke after all, and I had gained a good 2000 meters height in a span of just about 7 hours. The top of my head seemed like it would explode any minute and the little sips of whiskey I naïvely took only made matters worse. My overconfident plan of trekking the 9 odd kilometres from Kunzum to Chandrataal were quashed and I spent the night in agony, holding on to dear life, hoping to make it till tomorrow.
Thankfully, tomorrow came and with that came a higher sensibility. That was the first time I realised that I am nothing but a tiny speck in the vast, vast universe and how a little recklessness can go a long way in breaking everything you have so dearly built. I have since learned to not smoke or drink alcohol to better acclimate myself to a higher altitude and to constantly keep taking swigs of water. However belated this knowledge may have been, I will never forget this altercation with the elements and how I learnt to have a healthy balance of respect, fear, and love with Mother Nature henceforth.
Waking up in a cute cottage in a deodar forest in Dharamkot | Himachal Pradesh
By Zinara | NatnZin
When we went to Dharamshala, we wanted to just while away the time and soak up the atmosphere. We found a place called Vidya Ashram in Dharamkot. Vidya Ashram has three cottages. The popular Triund Trek starts from here so it’s often busy with trekkers. Our cottage was, however, a tiny secluded one guarded by the deodar trees. On our first day, we want for some casual walks. At night, tired, we dozed off. All we could hear was the faint hum of the deodar trees. Then there was the gentle autumnal cold in the Himalayas. It was October. It was neither too cold nor too hot.
When we woke up the next morning, what we saw was the beaming sun, slowly rising over the snow-clad peaks. The golden light flickered through the deodar trees, brightening up our cottage and warming our souls. Our caretaker arrived with two cups of chai. It was surreal. For me, it was one of those moments I cannot describe in words. Your favorite person beside you, with a cup of chai, a touch of Himalayan cold, and the morning sun giving new life. To this day, it remains one of my most memorable experiences in the Himalayas.
Para Cycling in Bir | Himachal Pradesh
By Nidhi Khurana | Safarnama By Nidhi
I am crazy about waterfalls, hence I do not miss any chance to visit one no matter what! It was in May 2019 when I visited Bir Billing, the upcoming Digital Nomad Hotspot in Himachal Pradesh which is renowned for paragliding, cute cafes, beautiful sunsets, and monasteries. Everything aside, my focus was to hunt for a nearby waterfall. Passing through tiny streams and stunning views, I finally found one but sadly because of the scorching heat it was dried out. While returning to the hostel with a sad face, I stopped at a house to quench my thirst. Maybe what they say is true that what happens, happens for a reason as here I learned that just behind the house goes a little lane which leads to a para-cycling adventure spot. And Aha! Feels like my spirit was dancing with joy. I had never heard about para-cycling in Bir and therefore, was super excited to try it out. Without wasting a single second I was headed to give my adrenaline some rush!
To be honest, I was very afraid to ride a bicycle on a rope that was connected from one hilltop to the other with the gushing river flowing beneath. Even the thought of being there had me goosebumps. But, I’ve always been an adventurous kid, so how could I miss para-cycling? Without any second thoughts, I paid INR 1500 to the concerned person and was on my way to the other hill. Thankfully the wind was by my side, hence, balancing the cycle wasn’t really an impossible task. The operators made sure to make the whole activity safe and were attentive throughout. Even today I fail to get the amazing feeling of riding that bicycle in the air out of my head. I must say, I’ve had wonderful memories of Himachal but this experience has to be the best one by far.
Visiting Manikaran Sahib | Himachal Pradesh
By Priyanka Gupta | On My Canvas
Manikaran, also popularly known as Manikaran Sahib, is a tiny village in Parvati Valley near Kullu-Manali. While Kasol and other parts of the valley could be too chaotic, Manikaran is a peaceful hamlet mostly visited for its temples, natural hot baths, and simple mountain life.
And of the temples there are many. The locals and the travelers come from around the world to visit the popular Manikaran Sahib gurudwara(Sikh temple), Shiva, Ram, and Vishnu temple. Located on the banks of the milky Parvati river, the white Sikh temple is a piece of marvel.
The special thing about Manikaran and all the temples is the natural hot water flowing through the village.
The hot water is so soothing that a bath absorbs all the travel fatigue. Post-bath, a hot ginger tea in the street also seems like the most extraordinary thing.
You can take a dip at either of the temples, at public baths along the river, and in private baths in the guesthouses. Simple Indian food is available throughout Manikaran. Another quiet and picturesque village of Gargi is also just an uphill hike away.
Manikaran can easily be reached by car or bus from Kasol, Kullu, and Manali. The best time to visit would be the summer months between May and August.
Birdwatching in Maharana Pratap Sagar Dam, Pragpur, Kangra Valley | Himachal Pradesh
By Chandreyi Bandyopadhyay | The Moonchasers
Spread over 60,000 acres of wetlands in the Siwalik Hills region of Kangra Valley, Maharana Pratap Sagar Dam is the highest earthfill dam in India, on the Beas river. What makes the fondly called Pong Dam so interesting to deserve a place on this article is the wide variety of migratory birds visiting this rest stop every year. Created in 1975 as part of the Ramsar Convention, the Pong Dam is a very large reservoir that attracts birds from India, South and Central Asia, as far as Siberia!
Reachable by road from Pragpur, Kangra City or Dharamshala easily, Pong Dam makes for a delightful stop in the early winter or spring months for bird watchers and nature lovers. Hundreds of different species of waterfowls flock together, being noisy and taking dips in the pristine waters. There is no lack of food as the reservoir is rich with 27 varieties of commercially viable fish. One can only imagine the view of over 150,000 waterfowls at play until visiting this place. If you are lucky, you’ll spot the bar headed geese taking flights towards their next destination in huge numbers. Notable other species here includes the popular Ruddy Shelduck, Norther Lapwing, Northern Pintail, Eurasian Coot, Black Headed Gulls, Red necked grebe, Greylag goose, common teal, terns and plenty of warblers, babblers, munias, kingfishers and Spot billed ducks.
It will be a wise choice to plan for an early morning or late afternoon visit as there are limited places to stay apart from a Forest Rest House. It is reported that efforts are being made to increase eco-tourism in the area to attract more tourists. Nearest places of interest include the Masroor rock cut temple, a historic site of importance and intriguing as a monolithic rock cut structure.
Sunset over the Dhauladhar at Kangra Fort | Himachal Pradesh
By Ami Bhat | Thrilling Travel
It is one thing to see the mighty snow-peaked Dhauladhars of Kangra but a completely mesmerizing experience to see them turn pink at Sunset. What made this sunset even more special was its location – atop the mighty Kangra fort. Standing up on its terrace, on one side , I saw how the setting sun pierced through the low clouds to create magical silhouettes around the Ban Ganga River. While on the other side, the white peaks of Dhauladhar had started glowing pink.
The stunning play of light and colors cast plenty of spotlights on the key attractions of Kangra fort – bringing alive its age-old heritage. While on one side, it cast a glow on the fallen pillars of Laxminarayan temple, on the other, they turned the ancient doorways to beautiful frames to capture those pink Dhauladhars.
The spellbinding experience of the Dhauladhars lasted only for 30 minutes – not because the sun had set. It was the closing hour of Kangra Fort. Given the enormity of one of the oldest forts in India, it is best to be here at least one and half hours prior to the Sunset. This gives you enough time to enjoy the views along with the history of the place.
Exploring Kinnaur | Himachal Pradesh
By Jitaditya | Travelling Slacker
Kinnaur doesn’t really need an introduction but it hides a lot more than it shows. Spots like Kalpa, Nako, Sangla, and Chitkul are tourist favourites but many are not aware of the likes of Bhaba Valley, Ribba, Moorang, Lippa Asrang etc.
As it is on the way to Spiti, most people spare a couple of days here and visit a few popular spots. However, I encourage people to spend more time here and explore Kinnaur’s numerous treks and trails, syncretic culture, and epic views. From local wines to pine nuts and from apple orchards to pink buckwheat fields, delights of Kinnaur are endless.
Trek to Deoria Taal and Camping by the lake | Uttarakhand
By Jyotsna Ramani | Wander With Jo
Trekking to Deoriatal with a bunch of like minded female adventurists was an amazing experience. Nestled in Uttrakhand, Deoria tal lake offers stunning reflections of the snow covered Himalayas.
It is a 8 km treacherous trek from Ukhimath market but doesn’t require any prior expertise of fitness regime. It can take around 4 hours as you cross pretty fields. breathtaking views at every corner and enjoying birding opportunities.
Once at the lake, you will be amazed at the sight of Chaukhamba peak and the snow capped views of Garhwal himalayas right outside your tent. You can even see their reflection in the clear waters of the lake or gawk at the view from the water tower – which is a sight to behold.
Grab some tea, maggi and prepare yourself for a fun filled night under the starry sky in laps of nature. Camping at Deoria tal was one of the best experiences in the Himalayas for me.
Roopkund Trek | Uttarakhand
By Aditi Goyal | Moodee Foodie
Roopkund is a special trek that overawes the most seasoned trekkers with its myriad of terrain. From the quaint town of Lohajung leads a rock strewn path to a tiny village called Didna, the only night one sleeps under a roof during this challenging trek. An early start leads across the pine forest and into the mesmerizing, illimitable meadows of Bedni bugyal. A cool zephyr offsets the sunlight that glistens the soft grass, a true idyllic panorama.
A crossover to the flip side of the mountain presents a stark contrast; from sunkissed grasslands to murky, dark clouds and relentless winds. The conditions at Patar Nachauni weaken the most hardened trekkers. A sleepless night only makes the climb to Bhagwabasa more strenuous, which at an altitude of 14000 feet marks the daunting base camp for the summit. The abandoned trenches, wild crows, misty weather, bone chilling winds and rugged land only add to the haunted vibe.
One can only imagine what a frozen lake of skeletons of a thousand people would have in store for the travelers. Even a cruel wake up call at 3 am feels welcome for the dream to summit the mysterious frozen lake. A seemingly gentle slope feels punishing as we plod on in the dense snow, only for it to become a steep ascent. The numbness fades out the senses as we march with our eyes set on one destination, unperturbed by the incessant sleet. Euphoric would be a mere understatement to describe the feeling of summiting Roopkund.
Valley of Flowers Trek | Uttarakhand
By Reshma Narasing | The Solo Globetrotter
A trek to Valley of flowers is one of the most memorable experiences in the Himalayas. The best things about this trek are that you can do it without a guide, on your own, and is very cheap.
The Valley of Flowers National Park, which also happens to be one of the Best National Parks in India is located in Chamoli, in northern Uttarakhand in Indian Himalayas. It is a UNESCO heritage site known for a wide variety of gorgeous Himalayan Alpine wildflowers and is also home to rare endangered animals. These hundreds of thousands of flowers bloom right after monsoon. As you along, the waterfalls from the surrounding mountains, the swollen rivers roaring amidst the Valley coupled with beautiful streams that you encounter make the trek a blissful experience.
Starting from Rishikesh to the Valley of Flowers and back, it takes a week to complete this trek. The trek to the national park takes one day, and since you can’t camp overnight, you will have to climb down to reach Ghangaria the same day.
The park is open to the public only during these blooming months, from June to October every year. Opening hours are from 7 AM to 2 PM. Entry fee is INR 150 for Indians & INR 600 for foreigners.
North East India
Sandakphu Trek | West Bengal – Nepal
By Debjani | The Vagabong
Sandakphu was the most memorable experience in the Himalayas, I had in my recent times. For this was where I witnessed mighty Kanchenjunga peak up so close. It also gives an exhilarating feeling of standing at the highest point in West Bengal. It is a fairly easy to moderate trek.
This is a tea house trek which means it will give you an experience of trekking through Indian terrains of mighty Himalayan range but will you stay on the other side of the international border, i.e. Nepal
There is no other trek which lets you experience two countries at one go, to my knowledge.
During springtime, you will be blessed with perfect weather and scenic views of Rhododendron blooms which will definitely soothe your senses. And during deep winters, you will experience heavy snowfall but clear skies to see the entire panoramic range of 4-6 most important peaks including Mt. Everest (highest peak in the world).
Also, Singalila National Park which is on the way to Sandakphu, will let you experience a variety of flora and fauna views up there.
Visiting the Gurudongmar Lake | North Sikkim
By Suruchi Mittal | All Gud Things
Gurudongmar Lake, one of the highest lakes in the world lies at 17,800 feet in North Sikkim, India, just 5 Kilometers away from Chinese-Tibetan Border. The Lake is believed to be named after Guru Padmasambhava and is sacred to Hindus, Buddhists and Sikhs.
The glacial Lake peripheral length is 5.3 Kilometers. It is surrounded by snow-clad Himalayas from all sides and is a source to River Teesta. It’s turquoise blue water changes its color every minute in the sun leaving one completely mesmerized. The whole Lake remains frozen from November till May except at one point, which is believed to be the blessings of the revered Guru.
How to reach Gurudongmar Lake?
The high altitude Gurudongmar Lake lies 190 Kilometers from Gangtok & 67 kilometers from Lachen. It can be reached only via car from Lachen, after taking the Inner Line Permit (for Indians) or Protected Area Permit (for International Tourists).
- Start your journey from Lachen early because as the day progresses, weather near Gurudongmar worsens.
- Being at high altitude there are high chances of AMS. So, as soon as you feel any of the symptoms, start your journey back to Giagong / Lachen.
- To avoid AMS, keep sipping water/ tea and have small meals too
Note: Children below 5 years and adults above 60 years are not allowed to visit Gurudongmar Lake. Also the people with ailments like Heart diseases, high Blood pressure, need to have a doctor recommendation for visit.
Exploring Kala Patthar | North Sikkim
By Sudip and Sudeshna | The Floating Pebbles
A hidden gem of Sikkim, Kala Patthar is located near Indo-Tibet border, around 12 kms away from Thangu and a 3-hour ride from Gurudongmar Lake. A detour from the main road leads to this dreamscape. The journey is back-breaking, as the ‘road’ is made of just gravels and pebbles.
Situated at an altitude of 14,850 feet, Kala Patthar derives its name from the surrounding mountains which are made up of black rocks. The onyx mountains create a breathtaking contrast against the fair snow. The place is covered in thick snow round the year and makes it a perfect snowy wonderland.
As we reached Kala Patthar, it was already snowing. Oh the flashes of delight we felt when we caught speckles of snow on our palms. The wind was getting so chillier that we could barely hold the camera. Amidst the bone-chilling cold and numbing sensation of our hands, our minds were blown by the snowy vistas laced with mists.
Few locals from Thangu sell momos, Maggi, brandy and hot beverages in makeshift shacks. In our futile attempt to warm us, we had multiple cups of coffees. The momos tasted heavenly, more so under the snowfall.
If you are venturing in North Sikkim, include Kala Patthar in your itinerary for that extra thrill.
Road trip to Old Baba Mandir near Nathula Pass | Sikkim
By Sandy & Vyjay | I M Voyager
The vistas that stretched outside the window compelled us to stop and get out of our vehicle to enjoy the moment. Clouds floated merrily almost within arm’s length, snow-clad peaks glistened in the distance. The only sound was that of the wind blowing through the empty expanse and that of our own breathing. We were on a road trip in Sikkim, which is a great summer destination, and were driving from Gangtok to Old Baba Mandir near Nathula Pass and not too far from the Indo China border.
The Old Baba Mandir is unlike any other temple, it is dedicated not to any God or Goddess but to a soldier of the Indian Army. The temple is maintained by personnel of the Indian Army and is an ode to Captain Harbhajan Singh who died while on duty in the high altitude terrain of the Eastern Himalayas. It is believed that his spirit still patrols the borders and warns of enemy movements along the border. The temple is located below the actual bunker where Captain Harbhajan Singh kept vigil. A visit to the place etches indelible memories that stay with you for a lifetime. Old Baba Mandir is about 60 kilometres from Gangtok at an altitude of 14,146 feet.
Wandering In Zuluk | East Sikkim
By Sudip and Sudeshna | The Floating Pebbles
Zuluk is a quaint hamlet in East Sikkim, nestled in the lofty Himalayan ranges and laced with swirls of puffy clouds. Located at a height of 10,000 feet, Zuluk was previously a transit point of the historic Silk Route that connected India and Tibet.
With barely 700 residents, Zuluk is a perfect place for seeking solace from the hustle-bustle of busy lives. The mountains, the clouds, the frequent rains, the foggy mornings, the friendly people – it was a love at first sight with Zuluk. The rustling of winds takes your mind away from everything, while the pitter-patter of rain at night soothes the soul.
Highlight of Zuluk is a thrilling ride through 32 hairpin bends on a single road, popularly called Zuluk Loops. The zigzag road first stops at Thambi View-Point, which provides a perfect panoramic view of the Loops, and then to sacred Kupup Lake, situated at 14,000 feet. The winding road further leads to picturesque Gnathang Valley.
Zuluk can be reached from Gangtok or Kalimpong (distance from both being around 90 kms). Special permits (available from Rongli and Gangtok) are required as Zuluk is an Indian Army base.
Wander to Zuluk, where your hands will be cold, but heart warm.
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