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What empowers a woman? Rather, what empowers you as a woman? After reading at least one or two crimes against women in India, it almost feels as if the country is not safe for women. Amidst all of this how can you, as a woman, empower yourself?
The answer lies within this very country. Obviously, you can take up the usual ways – read a motivational book, cook some great deserts for friends and family, watch Eat, Pray, Love back to back through the weekends; but here is a thing about all the solutions you read up there – they are temporary. And there is a thing about all that is temporary, at some point in the very near time, it will all vanish. How can you then call it empowerment?
Empowerment truly lies in finding your true self. Finding all that makes you happy and embracing it. Finding everything that scares you inside and facing it. Exploring the unexplored, going for the unthinkable, shutting the mouths of those who say ‘it’s impossible’ – that is where you get empowerment. So, what should you do as a woman who wants to empower herself in India? Join an NGO, go for rallies? Yes, for sure, in the long run. But before you do any of that, you need to find that power within your core so that you can help other find it within themselves. How does one do it you ask? By going places.
Women believe travelling in this country is not safe. You couldn’t get more distant from the truth. No matter what happens, India will always have places for travellers to go and immerse themselves into, irrespective of their sex, caste or religion. That is the beauty of this country. And that is why sometimes to find what is inside, you have to go outside.
Biking to Ladakh. Nothing will empower you more than doing things that break the image of the quintessential traditional Indian woman. For many ages, the patriarchy has prohibited the women to go out an explore themselves and their surroundings. Guess what, biking your way to Ladakh is exactly the opposite! Many of your ‘well-wishers’ from your friends and family will proscribe you from going on this trip. Listen to what your heart says. Riding through the roads as the dust kisses the air, the sun shines up but the winter has its own flair, the leather jacket covering you and the long road ahead and nothing to scare – that is what all biking your way to Ladakh is all about! With right preparation and guide, the trip can be comfortable and empowering at the same time. The best way to go for it will be by going as a group of women, ought to conquer the way to Ladakh!
Mountaineering in the North Indian mountain ranges. Mountaineering has long been thought to be a tough adventure sport. Getting all the gear, practicing, maintaining the physical and mental fitness, staying disciplined – it can actually be a tough one for many. That said, the tougher the challenge, the more joy it brings once you conquer it. The mountains can be painstaking for many people but the end results are always worth it. Many people who went for mountaineering and trekking returned as different people. After all, how can something scare you in life if you have managed to climb your way up to a 15,000 ft. mountain? And as they say, the world always looks beautiful from the top. It does, indeed. North India has plenty of peaks to empower you with trekking and mountaineering experiences – Singalila Kunchenjunga, Zanskar Frozen River Trek, Gomukh Tapovan Trek, Kuari Pass Trek and many others.
River rafting to Gangotri. Gangotri holds great religious significance to the Hindus in India. The Yamunotri and Gangotri treks are probably some of the best ones in the country. On one hand they can bring you to places of great religious beliefs and on the other hand they can help you connect with your true self when you are rowing your way down to the magnanimous Ganges!
The power resides within you. All you have to do is – find it. North India and is numerous adventure trips can do exactly that for you.
Yes, everyone has been to Delhi at least once in her/his lifetime. Yes, everyone knows the famous places in Delhi. Yet, Delhi is like a poetic puzzle, always having something unexplored, unheard of.
To start with, you must have been through these places on your Delhi Tour; but did you know the facts you needed to know while visiting these places:
Red Fort: We all are familiar with the Red Fort as it becomes an epitome of attention on the independence day speeches. Yet, many people do not know that originally the Red Fort was coloured mostly in white, with red walls. Years after construction, the white colour fall off and the British painted it red. Originally, the red fort got its name from the red walls surrounding the monument. Within Red Fort is the Rangmahal which was supposed to be the humble abode of the king’s wives and mistresses and no one except the emperor and the princes were allowed in the Rangmahal. The famous Kohinoor diamond was once a part of the Red Fort, which itself took ten years to build and was home to the last Mughal ruler Bahadur Shah Zafar.
Qutub Minar: The elongated minaret, which is also the tallest one of its kind in the world, also serves as the compound to India’s first mosque Quwwat-Ul-Islam, which is now in ruins. The complex in which the Qutub Minar stands was actually a place populated by Hindu and Jain temples. After Ghori invade Delhi and placed Qutbuddin Aibak on the throne, hence marking the start of the slave dynasty, Aibak decided to break these complexes to get the raw material for building mosques in the region. The minaret is named after the very Qutbuddin Aibak, but in reality during his four years of reign he hardly had the time or resources required to build a structure of such magnificence. In fact, none of the travellers or writers of his time who were consistently following his regime and work, wrote anything about the minaret. Till 16th century and the arrival of Babur, the minaret was recorded under the name of Altamash, Alauddin Khilji and Mohammed-Bin-Tughluq. Hence there is a possibility, that Qutub minar was actually not even built by Qutbuddin Aibak!
Delhi is extensively famous for both these places and when you visit them next time, you will surely start wondering about the above stated facts! That said, Delhi’s puzzle hides many a gems within the confines of the capital. Some of these unexplored places to visit in Delhi are:
Mirza Ghalib ki Haveli. If you are a literature buff or have even heard about Mirza Ghalib’s poetry, you have to visit this place. Located secretly in the hustle and bustle of Chandni Chowk. After having enjoyed the mouth-watering food in Chandni Chowk, you should visit this place. It is believed that the great poet Mirza Ghalib wrote his most prolific work Adhuri Khwahishon ki Dua at this very haveli. Many of Ghalib’s writing instruments and his original work in his very own handwriting have been preserved in the haveli. The haveli is also home to a museum carrying all of these, which has been preserved by the Government of India and kept for public display.
Agrasen ki Baoli. For most of the people, this is not a secret. Agrasen ki Baoli is a step well sitting right in the middle of Connaught Place. The secrecy of this place is not noteworthy, but its mystic beauty definitely is. Even in the scorching heat of Delhi in summers, the clever architecture of the place keeps it shady and cool inside. But the real beauty of the places rises to its epitome when you look at it from a certain angle. You should stand at the top most stair and look ahead of you. You will be able to see the Baoli downstairs and the crowded market of Connaught Place in the background. This beautiful juxtaposition of ancient architecture in the heart of a modern day market shows the real spirit of Delhi.
Jahaz Mahal Fort. The condition of this place is not something worth appreciating, and yet you will be able to see the shape of a ship forming as you observe the architecture of this ancient fort. It was named Jahaz Mahal because of its reflection in the nearby lake resembles the shape of a ship. It was built by the Lodi dynasty and is supposed to have served as an inn for various pilgrims travelling through Delhi.
Royal Enfield said in one of their ads – Mountains call us all. The difference is what we say back. There is something about the mountains. Whether it is the mystery that the clouds create by surrounding the peak, or the view of the world from the top or the echo in your voice or just the feel of having conquered something when you reach the hilltop – the journey of finding what you want to say back, is probably one of the most fulfilling emotions mankind can experience.
India, thankfully, is blessed with a beautiful geography enriched with those tall, magnificent peaks almost making the sky feel shy. If you are inspired by any Bollywood references to mountaineering, don’t think about it anymore. Climbing peaks in India is much more than that! Nothing – video, virtual reality, not even teleportation can give you that feeling of having conquered a peak, the feeling you get when you climb your way up there.
So, if you are planning to have a climbing expedition – congratulations. You are already in the winners’ club. Won’t you call someone who climbs through the tough mountains and does not give up till he reaches the peaks, a winner? And every winner deserves a plan. Here’s to the crazy ones who want to reach the top of the world and want to have a lot fun on their way up:
It is a trip for your physique, your mind and your soul. The idea of just putting a dart on the map and setting out to conquer is alluring but not for mountaineering. Every mountain range has its own set of challenges depending on the weather, the level of expertise of the climbers and the physical requirements. In short, do not plan to climb Mt. Everest on your first expedition. In fact, when going for your first expedition start with preparing your physique. You should be fit enough to be able to enjoy the challenges of the expedition. Consult your physician once, before setting out. Once you have planned to embark on the journey, start preparing your mind and your soul that you will do this. Reason? The view from the top will always be worth it!
Always go with a bunch of professionals. It’s really simple math – you can choose to climb a hundred peaks over a few years and get the expertise of mountaineering, or, you can simply go with professionals who have climbed hundreds of peaks and learn it all in one expedition. Most tour guides will provide you with professional instructors who will accompany you on your trip. Remember how you took your first steps? Even the brightest of minds needed some hand-holding. Climbing a mountain is almost like learning to walk – your legs should be well positioned, you should know how to maintain your balance, your eyes should be up and so on. Good instructors, like your guardians, will do the handholding whenever required and teach you how to enjoy the expedition!
Get the equipment. All of it. Have you heard about that bike which can run without an engine? Or that horse cart without the horse? That is exactly how mountaineering works – without all the pieces in places, you will never get the full picture. Your tour guide will give you a list of equipment to be acquired before you set out. The pro tip here is – buy it, even if you have an option to rent it. That is because once you reach that one peak, you will want to do it again. Mountaineering is not the one-time thing. It’s highly addictive in all the good ways and that is why you should invest in quality gear like – Ice axe, rope, flash light, pulley, climbing pack, harness, signalling mirror, shovel and everything else. Your tour instructor will give you a list of tools and the ideal sellers as well; that one is easy. The essentials, hardly anyone will tell you – spare batteries, water-proof cases for your phone, binoculars, first aid kit, toilet paper, swiss-knife and a lighter.
Research and Plan. Before setting your heart and soul on that one peak, research about it. Different peaks are for people having different experiences in mountaineering. Peaks at and around the Indian Himalayas are definitely most popular peaks in India but Satopanth, Stok Kangri, Hunuman Tibba, Nun, Kun, Shivling and Friendship are also great options.
When you hear Ladakh, what comes to your mind? Royal Enfields? Biking groups? Treks? Tents? Lack of luxury? Well, you are not incorrect you are just misinformed. Although they are a few sides of Ladakh, they are not the only sides.
Ladakh is also home to some of the most exquisite valleys, mountains and river areas in India. Not only does it have the great mountainous region to boast for, it also has the rough patches which can give any biker nightmares; but, this is not about biking. This is about colors and dancing and masks and music. Cannot picture Ladakh with all of that? Read more to know!
Ladakh is also home to the Hemis National Park. The national park got its name from one of the oldest monasteries in the region – the Hemis Monastery. The monastery has great repute for its beautiful structure and peaceful surroundings, but the jewel in its crown is the Hemis Festival Ladakh. Probably imagining a festival in Ladakh might be difficult for you. So, here are 5 reasons why you cannot miss Hemis Festival 2018:
Charm of the seasons. Ladakh is famous as a trekking destination, a place for adventure sports and who can forget the immense bike rides. Almost everyone can connect Ladakh to only the elongated bike rides and groups of people following each other. If not this, then the sound of echo between the mountains and no signs of humans for miles and miles. Adding to that, the best people can think of are the tents, the fire lit outside and the hot tea. That is, it? Definitely not!
Ladakh may challenge with its unexpected turn of climate, sometimes getting a bit extreme! The best part about the Hemis Festival 2018 is that it will be held in the month of June where soft summers are melting the harsh winters down to the most comforting levels! So, instead of being greeted by the harsh winters you might usually expect throughout the year, in the month of June Ladakh gives you these soft summer-wintery chills where you can enjoy the warmth of the local tea and can still go out in a t-shirt.
The legacy. The festival has immense legacy, both historical and cultural. To start with, the festival is to remember Guru Padmasambhava, who is supposed to be the reincarnation of Buddha. He is the most prominent religious figure after Buddha in the valley and is known to have saved the people of Ladakh from evil in his times. The festival itself was started 200 years ago by the royal family then ruling the valleys of Ladakh. In fact, it is believed that the initiator of the festival was a member of the royal family who later was reborn as the head of the Hemis monastery by the name of Sras Rimoche. A unique addition to the festival is a painstakingly created Thangka (Buddhist painting) of Guru Padmasambhava, which is erected every 12 years and stands almost as tall as two floors.
The dance performances. The dance is probably the most spectacular part of the entire festival. The Chhams (Lamas of the monastery) come out dressed in beautiful and bright coloured costumes. They have masks on their faces, each one representing the good or the evil. After the Thangka is brought in front of everyone, these Lamas come to the courtyard for their performances. The performances are musical acts which depict the various holy acts of Guru Padmasambhava. All the acts are accompanied by mesmerizing music played using long horns, drums and many other musical instruments.
The souvenirs. Every trip eventually is about answering this one really simple question – what do you bring back with you? Some people are happy with the photos, some are fond of the unique videos. Some like local offerings in forms of edibles. One of the best parts about the festival are the souvenir shops that are brought out specially for the Hemis Festival! With them, you will carry physical memories and the culture of Ladakh.
5. Simply, to look at Ladakh from a different angle! This is not so off-setting but highly required! You need to visit the Hemis Festival 2018just to look at this dancing, musical and colourful side of Ladakh!
India is a religious country. There is obviously no doubt about it. There are many people who are debating the rise of fundamentalists in India, but somewhere within the true spirits of this country, religion has actually played a key role in whatever development we have achieved as a nation. Many people consider religion as an obstruction in the way of development and progress but to the people of this country, religion is much more than worshipping – religion stands for belief, religion stands for righteousness, religions stands for community and religion stands for unity. This is the reason why even today in the capital of this country, you can find a mosque, a Hindu temple, a Jain derasar and a Gurudwara only a few footsteps away from each other.
If you truly want to understand India, it makes sense to understand the religions of this country. Now, you may or may not have strong religious belief, but for a moment, look at religion as a tool for the search of truth and for exploration of peace. That is what religion has been in India for centuries. This religious standing clearly resonates in the pilgrimage tour taken up by many citizens of the country. Now, you may wonder that a pilgrimage tour in India will be a simple tour consisting various temple tour accumulated into one. That is not true. Going on a pilgrimage tour in India is not a touring experience, it is indeed a spiritual one.
So, when you look for the best temples in Indiaor the best places for pilgrim tour in India, you are actually looking at places which can give you the peace you are looking for, the truth you are searching for. Here are few of the best places for pilgrim tour in India:
Badrinath Kedarnath Yatra. It is also popularly called the Do Dham Yatra. Both Badrinath and Kedarnath come under two of the four dhams and have two of the twelve Jyotirlingas. In 2013, Kedarnath saw one of the most destructive natural calamities when the Kedarnath mountain which is 6 km away from the main temple started melting and the water levels in the Charbari lake started rising, resulting in mass destruction of the main temple. Although, the Government of India formed in 2014 did a splendid job of rebuilding the place and has made it up and running in no time.
The tour usually starts in Haridwar, which in itself has great religious significance. From there, one heads to the Gauri Kund and goes to Kedarnath. After having visited Kedarnath, one has to come back to Guptakashi and head to Badrinath via Joshimath. After having covered Rudraprayag in the journey, you would’ve been through some of the most important religious places for Hindus.
Chaar Dham Yatra. A step above the Badrinath-Kedarnath yatra is the Char Dham Yatra. Apart from the Badrinath and Kedarnath yatra, the Char Dham yatra includes Gangotri and Yamunotri. Both Yamunotri and Gangotri derive their significance because of their standing by two of the holiest rivers in Hindu belief system – Yamuna and Ganga, respectively. Yamunotri is blessed by a beautiful mountainous surrounding. It is in Uttarkashi and extravagantly surrounded by glaciers, Yamuna river and mountains. Gangotri obviously has great religious significance but also holds a unique mix of adventure sports like mountaineering and trekking. Gangotri National Park is an addition to the travel, apart from the Gangotri Glacier.
Baara Jyotirlinga Yatra. The pilgrimage of the Baara (twelve) Jyotirlingas is considered to be the most auspicious pilgrimage for devotees of Shiva. Each of the Jyotirlinas are located in eight states in twelve different temples spread over in North, West and South India. The Baara Jyotirlinas, also known as the Dwaadash Jyotirlinas in Sanskrit, are: Somnath and Nageshwar in Gujarat, Mallikarjuna in Andhra Pradesh, Mahakaleshwar and Omkareshwar in Madhya Pradesh, Kedarnath in Uttarakhand, Bhimashankar, Tryambakeshwar and Grishneshwar in Maharashtra, Vishwanath Temple in Uttar Pradesh, Baidyanath in Jharkhand and Rameshwaram in Tamil Nadu.
Apart from these places, there are still many tours which you can opt for – the Vaishno Devi tour which will make you climb a mountain on stairs. There is also the Shirdi and Shingapur tour, which take you to the origins of the great saint Sai Baba and the city of Shingnapur which is famous for not having locks on the doors of its residents. India, as a country, is a giant colour-box filled with different colours representing different religious faiths. It can take a lifetime to explore all, but even then, that lifetime would be worth it.
Here come the vacation and here comes the million-dollar question – what to do in these vacations! Take your children to movies? Yes, that will cover up a few hours. Shopping? Sure, a few more hours. Visit the relatives and grandparents? Probably a week will be invested. Buy them a PlayStation? Sure, then also start looking for solutions to make them get rid of it when the schools open! All in all, these are so short termed plans that they are almost futile!
Here is a ‘one size fits all’ solution for you and your family to bond, enjoy and live together – why not take an adventure trip to India? India is one of the most blessed countries in terms of natural flora and fauna, diversity and oh, did you ignore the Himalayas and the Northern India? You cannot!
Adventure travel is not the first thing that comes to people’s mind while planning for an ideal vacation. Most of the people think, “Hey, we work hard throughout the year. Vacations are meant to relax!”. Yes, it is true. We all deserve some relaxation with our families after having worked hard throughout the year. On the other hand, who told you that you cannot relax at the peak of a mountain? Or in a dense forest looking at the snow leopard or a blue deer? Or you cannot relax while checking out the Himalayas on one hand, the Ganges on the other while standing amidst the most beautiful flowers you have ever seen! Yes, these are not your everyday ways of relaxing, but follow this, once you have walked up a mountain for six kilometres in a day, you will have the best possible sleep at night! And who said adventure travel cannot be relaxing? You will understand it once your eyes are freshened up with the beauty of your natural surroundings and once you have had the required digital detox; and all of this will happen, only once you set off fir that adventure trip!
Adventure travel has lately become more of a family thing than what it used to be, a vacation plan for the fans of Lonely Planet! Any ways, there are many reasons you should seriously consider and actually go for an adventure trip in North India. Here are a few:
There are so many options. Literally, so many to choose from! When looking for an adventure travel destination in India, you might actually get perplexed by the varied and large number of options available. Here is saving you some time – eventually you will end up somewhere in Northern India, so why not start your search from there! North India has the best to offer when it comes to adventure travel in India. There are the mountain ranges, the dense forests, the ever beautiful waterbodies and the diverse wildlife to gaze. You, your family and everyone following you on Instagram will be more than grateful after the trip!
You finally get some family time. Almost every working professional and their family members have a consistent problem that they are unable to spend quality time together. As work load increases and children grow up, getting this family time becomes all the more difficult. Hence, going on an adventure trip can finally bring the entire family together and make a few beautiful memories to cherish forever.
You and your entire family gets to build new experiences with each other. A family that goes on an adventure together, stays together! It actually works. Children can come closer to their parents, when their parents actually help them out in tense situations. Why not have these ‘tense situations’ in the form of a river rafting experience or maybe a mountaineering experience? Finally you can show up to your children, how you truly love and guard them all the time.
An adventure trip will have something for everyone. Yes, a family is made of different people with different tastes and different choices. Is it even possible to keep everyone happy in one trip? Yes, it is possible, if you choose the right one! You can actually choose to go for skiing in India and have trekking and camping for the adventurous ones. You can sit by the side of the flowing Ganges and tell each other stories, for the peace loving ones. You can also choose to go for bird watching to satiate the quench of the nature lovers in the family!
Summer vacations can be tiresome for children. They are so excited to enter into their vacations right after the tensed exams are over; but as soon as the vacation strikes, so comes another problem – what to do with all that extra time? Kids do not realize that their school and studies help them grow and also help them utilize their daily time, but for vacations, one has to plan for all the hours of the day! There is only so much TV one catch, only so much cricket one can play and only a handful of relatives one can visit. What to do with all that time? Here’s a solution, why not explore the beautiful North India?
Summer camps for school children can be an amazing experience for any kid. One gets to learn the importance of disconnecting from the world, one gets to learn the discipline required to overcome obstacles and finally to add up to everything, it’s a great way to learn about the North India and its natural beauty. Now, your child’s school may or may not organize summer camps for students of the school, does that mean you give up on the plan? Obviously not. You can talk to other parents, because utilizing all the vacation time is a problem common to all the children who don’t have regular hobbies to work upon. You can form a collective group of parents and arrange a summer camp for your children with the help of an organized tour guide.
Sounds like too much of efforts? Here is why camping in North India can be the best gift you can give your child this summer:
They will learn how to appreciate nature. It is true that the urban culture helps children grow into more educated and aware citizens. Children get to stay abreast with the technological advancements, stay connected with the world and develop a modern outlook of things around them. That said, it also serves as a predicament because children almost get disconnected from life! This is primarily why a summer camp will help your child immerse into nature and learn more about it. Science textbooks are important but experiencing things first hand is still the best way to learn! And what can be a better way to learn about and appreciate nature than to go for a adventurecamp in Uttarkashi or a camp in Shimla!
They will develop the fundamental skills required to excel in life. Schools today are getting very updated with the curriculum by making children work on a varied array of subjects. Even after that, there are certain things which schools can talk about, but teaching those is really difficult – soft skills. Soft skills including communication, team work and taking an initiative. It is true that academics help people open the doors of opportunities but with polished soft skills, once chances of making it big with those opportunities increases. At a summer camp, each child has to grow out of her/his comfort zone, work in teams, be clear about communicating and take initiatives. A single camp can teach more about these practical skills than an entire year of books.
They grow independent of the electronic medium for entertainment. Most of the parents today have a common problem that they are tired of watching their children get stuck with the smartphones, the laptops and the TV sets. When summer vacations come, children just start exploiting these gadgets even more. Finally, when there is a flowing river on their tent’s side, a snow covered peak in the background and the most beautiful flowers they have ever seen in their entire lives right in front of them – the children will forget the ‘digital addiction’ they are otherwise used to!
They will form new, stronger friendships and learn more about themselves. You can always teach your children the importance of helping others, knowing oneself and forming strong relationships – but children remember only by experiences. It is said that if they read it once, they will remember it for a while, if they understand it they will remember it for a bit longer but if they experience it, they will remember it forever. Summer camps make children explore their own strengths and weaknesses and help them become greater human beings.
Finally, they will actually get something to brag about on the first day of their new class, so why not give them a gift they will actually appreciate!
Normal people have ‘normal plans’ for the summers. You know, like staying in the AC, binge watching series, hanging out with friends or maybe shopping. There is a thing about this normal – it is boring! You get one summer in a year and you want to waste it sitting within four walls?
People with the jigar for adventure have plans that help them explore what lies within themselves and the most magnanimous offerings of mother nature. They don’t need the ACs because they are surrounded by snowy peaks, they don’t binge watch series because they are watching the tides of rivers flow and instead of hanging out with friends, they are hanging from cliffs while trekking! Trekking certainly is the amalgamation of all the fun and adventure one can have while doing only one activity; and when it comes to trekking, Uttarakhand is definitely the most beautiful place to visit.
Uttarakhand has so many treks available that one can easily get lost wondering – where to go! That is where we step in. Here is a guide of best summer trekyou can plan, if you want to have a summer trek in Uttrarakhand:
Sources of Ganges Trek: This is a trek which holds significance in two key areas: the beauty of the fauna you get to see and the religious side of the trek. Most organized trekking tours start from Rishikesh. After a day or evening in Rishikesh, you can take a ride to Gangotri via Uttarkashi, from where the trek begins. Rishikesh, Gangotri and Uttarkashi – all the three are important as base places to start the trek and for visiting the numerous Hindu temples in the region. From Gangotri it is a 13-15 km trek to Chirbasa or Bhojwasa which is on an easy to moderate level for even first time trekking participants. From Bhojwasa, you get to Gaumukh from where Ganga origins and move on to Nandanvan via Tapovan. In Nandanvan you visit the Vasuki Tal lake which is one of the most prominent places of the trek. Most of the treks return from Vasuki Tal, back to Nandanvan and heading finally towards Rishikesh following the same route.
Valley of Flowers Trek: The trek, as its name suggests, is the best for someone who wants to enjoy walks down the river streams in mountainous regions and wants to see exquisite wild flowers on the way. The trek is extremely famous for its flower attractions like Sediams, Saxifrages and Calendula; adding to that, you may also get to see wonders of the wild like the brown bear, snow leopard or the blue sheep! The entire trek does not take more than 12-14 days and is easy to moderate on the difficult levels.
Chopta Chandrashila Trek: Chandrashila via Chopta and Tungnath is one trek that you have to go to, at least once in a lifetime! The trek’s final destination is the Chandrashila peak which stands at 13,000 ft. and literally translates to Moon Rock. The peak is great significance for any traveller as one can easily see the Western and Eastern peaks of Uttarakhand like the Himalayas, Nandadevi, Kedar Park, Trisul and Chaukhamba peaks. Chaukhamba’s reflection in the lake at Deorital is an imagery you cannot miss!
Har Ki Doon Trek: This is probably one the best treks for beginners. Like all the treks, this one too holds great significance religiously. According to mythology, the Pandavas walked through this very while on their way to heaven and that is how the name Swargrohini, a famous spot in the trek, comes from. The trek sits right in the laps of the Garhwal region in the Himalayas. The trek is ideal for summers and would usually have five to six hours of trekking on a daily basis; that may sound a bit too much for the beginners but with the local facilities and refreshments available at most of the places within the trek, it is actually a great trek for beginners. Another benefit of the trek, for the beginners, is that it mostly runs through dense forests, giving great moments to nature lovers and bird watchers and at the same time does not demand for adaption to high altitudes. If you want to visit only the Himalayas, the Kuari Pass Trekhas almost identical features to Har Ki Doon – great for beginners, dense forest region and spectacular access to flora and fauna in the region.
We all have had that one friend who was once an inseparable part of our life but somewhere in the ambitions and the crowd and the hustle – we lost him. Old Delhi is that old friend who is lost by the travelling spirits of most of the travellers.
People like to think of Delhi as the capital of the world’s largest democracy. A hustling bustling city with the corporate high towers, the night clubs and the traffic jams. Yes, that is also a part of Delhi. Old Delhi is that hidden gem which is lying right in front of people and people keep missing it, struck by the shines of New Delhi.
So, here is what you see when you walk down the memory lanes of a forgotten gem – Old Delhi.
The mornings when peace steps out of religious places and covers the streets.
No Old Delhi tourcan guarantee you to keep you intact from the crowded narrow lanes of Old Delhi. Yet, when you are taking a stroll in the morning, the city shows you its real charm. The galiyaare (narrow streets) are covered by silence and serenity. You can almost see the city is sleeping, waiting for another poetic day to begin.
At the distance of a few steps, a new religion awaits you.
On one end of the street you will find a Hindu temple. Somewhere while crossing the same street you will find a Jain temple. As you walk ahead, you will see a Gurudwara and just a few steps ahead would be a Mosque. Such is the charm of Old Delhi! It knows only one religion – of love and unison. It is remarkable to see how each religious belief is sitting so close to each other, like a group of old friends sitting at the last benches of the school. The school called Old Delhi!
Everyone knows the Jama Masjid that sits royally with its dome standing as a prideful ruler standing in Delhi, admiring the grandiose of his kingdom! If you want to surprise your senses and trust Old Delhi for the same, Old Delhi will not disappoint you. If you visit Jama Masjid in the morning, just a few lanes away, you will find the Sisganj Gurudwara which is echoing with the enchantment of hymns in the morning. Take a few more steps and you will be heading towards the Gauri Shankar temple, this time welcoming you with the ringing bells. Finally, as you move ahead, you will be welcome by a 16th century Digambar Jain temple. All the religions sitting beside each other.
Your taste buds are up for a challenge.
Old Delhi will first welcome with the friendship of the religions and then tease you with the sprawling tastes you get! It is said that you can fill your stomach fully for an entire month if you just try to taste food at each food joint in Old Delhi! Well, if you go at the best ones, you will hardly be able to take a step ahead, because there are so many smells in the air just calling you to the shops! There is Daulat ki Chaat for the lovers of tangy flavours, Natraj Dahi Bhalla for the ones who like it spicy and tangy at the same time, Jung Bahadur Kachauriwala for the ones who want to properly cheat on their diets, Moti Mahal literally the place which gave birth to butter chicken and Nemi Chand Jain jalebiwala for the ones with a sweet tooth! Old Delhi just does not disappoint anyone, no matter how your taste buds are aligned!
This is it. Although unlikely, if nothing up there attracted you, this one is for you. Visit Old Delhi for its heritage. Some of the shops in Old Delhi’s food streets are older than hundred years and probably run by the fourth or fifth generation of cooks! That is not even the heritage that will attract you. The heritage is in the monuments which stand tall in pride and have a story to tell. An Old Delhi heritage walkwill be the one you remember for the rest of your life. Starting from Red Fort and going through Jama Masjid, there are a thousand stories worth exploring.
When in Rome, behave like Romans do. When in Old Delhi, behave like puraani delhiwaala. The truest Old Delhi folks still take a rickshaw. So, if the walk doesn’t attract you, give Uber and Ola a day’s holiday and give yourself the pleasure of taking a rickshaw ride in Old Delhi.
The majestic Himalayas stand in all their glory putting forth some of the most challenging climbs for the trekker, the chance to explore beyond the ordinary & move through some demanding trails & eventually conquering those peaks… Does it get any better? The adrenaline rush, the thrill & exhilaration, the quest to win & testing your limits & unshakable determination is what it takes to get going in the adventure… And mind you, you need some excellent skill & technique to defy danger & have your victory!
The first name in the sky high list of mountains that especially proves to be a tricky one is Mt. Kamet in the Garhwal region, at an altitude of approx. 7765 meters – 29th highest peak of the planet being a challenging climb, a target for climbers who have managed to conquer peaks as high as 7000 metres of advanced mountaineering. The trail remains remotely accessible, the best time to take on the climb being July to September, embarking from the East Kamet Glacier, passing through the Meade’s Col, routing to the northeastern segment, with some of the most spectacular views along the way.
This impressionable mountain stands high at an altitude of 7274 metres, among the Garhwal range set in the midst of the Niti and Mana passes linked by a ridge & the horizon overlooking the Indo-Tibetian border, proving to be a great challenge for the climbers looking to trek along this region. It lies close to Joshimath & the Badrinath temple, the climb closing in on from 2 routes – the eastern trail through East Kamet glacier and the second trail through Nagthuni and Banke Kund glacier.
As the name suggests, the towering massif is formed like four pillared slopes also being the four summits, nestled in the Garhwal range at a height of 7,138 meters make for a tricky climb, the climb accessible through 4 approaches. The routes include the North East Face being the main summit – through the Bhagirathi Kharak Glacier, the west face, the northwest ridge & the southwest face. With the spellbinding views & thrill of the climb come the challenges & difficulties of the climb, which need to be carefully factored in before the ascent.
Being one of the most difficult treks in the Indian Himalayan region, the majestic peak looms at a height of 7,816 meters approx., the trek set on the Nanda Devi East Base in the Kumaon area – a sight to behold, what with its imposing altitude & stunning views of meadows, the Milam & Gori Ganga valleys with bustling flora & fauna across the circular trail, seemingly one of the most beautiful yet challenging summits with a slippery route prone to landslides. It is a breathtaking experience, a chance to explore the region, its culture & beauty in all its glory!
Literally meaning the ‘pathway of the truth’, this peak boosts of a moderate but tactical climb, a propelling one for the passion driven climbers needing to put all their strength, skill & technique to conquer this feat – routing through glacial slopes, edgy ridges & tricky trails, factoring in the altitude of 7075 meters & the acclimatization process as the same in the other climbs. It is considered to be a prep climb to thinking one on the Everest, with striking views of the rugged terrains trailing across lakes & valleys through the course.
The name suggests the peak forms the shape resembling Lord Shiva’s trident, a group of 3 Kumaun Himalayan peaks known together as the Trishul peak located in Bageshwar, looming at a height of about 7120 metres, forming the south-west enclosure of the Nanda Devi Sanctuary. The access approaches include the North Ridge, Western face & the Southern Ridge, of which the best time to visit remains September – October.
This glacial climb is yet another challenging feat, a remote peak in the group of Nanda Devi Sanctuary peaks, at an altitude of 6931 metres, routing through glacial slopes, rocky trails & edgy cliffs, needing all your skill & experience to trail through this one.
The relatively lower yet rocky climb has some spectacular views of the Himalayan ranges on the skyline, at a height of about 7174 metres, overlooking the meadows of Bagini and Changbang covered with blooms of purple and yellow wildflowers. The trek puts forth a challenge to the avid climber to tread through glacial slopes & rocky climbs & explore the rugged terrain.
Another one in the Garhwal region, at an altitude of about 6,663 metres is this pin shaped peak lies amongst the Nanda Devi range laden with stunning sceneries & mountainous terrain full of high alpine targets.
The mountain seems to be named literally as ‘The Monkey’s Tail’, one with 3 peaks the highest looming at 6316 metres, part of the Sanskari range forming a share of the within the Govind Pashu Vihar National Park and Sanctuary, also paving way for the source of the Yamuna River from the Yamunotri Glacier down below. While the trail remains fairly straightforward it trails along fissured crevasses proving to be a great experience for trekking other challlenging Himalayan expeditions.
Set in the midst of the Western Garhwal Himalayas, the mountain stands tall at an altitude of 6792 metres, the trail routing through the ridge that runs from Vasuki Parbat south to the 6,702 m high South Summit and then westwards lending way to Bhagirathi I in the proximity while the e 7075 m high Satopanth lies about is 4.9 km south-east of the parbat.