The best way to experience the Himalayas – Part 1

The Rupin Valley. Took this one while taking a short break before i trekked down the treacherous slope.

The Rupin Valley. Took this one while taking a short break before i trekked down the treacherous slope.

No it’s not by going to Manali. Not that I have anything against Manali, but it’s beyond touristy now. It’s a great starting point for for experiencing the real himalayas though. Yes Rohtang does come close. For those who have never seen much snow, it well worth it waiting 2 hours in a cramped Tata Sumo to see the fresh ice. Anyway, I am talking about experiencing the himalayas by going on a trek–backpacks and tents included. The allure of a trek is that you get to spend time in the wilderness, away from the bustle of cities and city people.

Living in Singapore is great but the weather can really get to you. It is hot and humid all year around. To make things worse, there is barely any wind. The real feel is always > 36 degrees. So when we decided to go on a trek, it had to be in a cold place. The alps were out of the question due to time and expenses. So I started searching around for cold places to trek in. It had to have:

  • forests
  • snow
  • rivers
  • valleys
  • mountains

 

It took me about 5 minutes of brainstorming to realise that i could experience all of the above in my own backyard – The Himalayas. Next: which part of the Himalayas to go to? For the uninitiated, the Himalayas are the tallest and the most intimidating mountain ranges in the world. They span across from Afghanistan all the way to China and East India. They include some 12 countries along the way. They are the source of fresh water to 500 million Indians. The high himalayan glaciers give rise to the massive Ganges, Brahmaputra and Indus rivers. So then again, where do we go?

Nepal? Sikkim? Arunachal? Himachal? Ladakh? Uttaranchal? Kashmir? Gilgit-Baltistan? Tibet?

So i turned to google images. Well, all these placesĀ seemed quite breathtaking. I needed a better approach to decide. But first, I settled on trekking in the Indian Himalayas. For starters, it’s my homeland and that would make navigation and communication pretty easy. This meant that I had to narrow down to one region among Sikkim, West Bengal, Himachal, Uttaranchal and Kashmir. To help me decide, I turned to the old faithful – r/India. Took me about 10 mins of perusing the trekking threads to come across Indiahikes. These guys are a trekking startup based in Bengaluru. They organize trekking tours across India. Their website even listed treks based on whether you wanted to experience snow and which months give you the best experience. They had treks to Himachal, Uttaranchal and Sikkim. They listed treks based on difficulty level. Man each trek had a baseline fitness level you had to have!

So I looked at the different treks mentioned and settled upon Rupin Pass. It’s a trek that starts in Uttaranchal and ends in Sangla, Himachal Pradesh. An 8 day trek with days 4-8 in high snow…and this is in the month of May when the snow cover is the highest. Being at a high altitude, the Himalayan villages are spared the wrath of the Indian summer. Temperatures of 2 degress in India in May felt like a great deal. Sitting in Singapore in 30 degree weather, I knew I had to do this Rupin Pass trek.

 

And so we paid the fee of INR 14000 for the 8 day Rupin Pass trek in May 2015. Next, getting fit enough to do the trek and buying trekking equipment….

on-way-to-jiskun

On way to the hanging village of Jiskun

 

3 Responses to The best way to experience the Himalayas – Part 1

  1. Dennis Quek May 7, 2016 at 1:23 pm #

    Hi Vikram.

    Like your comments but being here in Singapore – all hot and humid. Tell me about it, I lived here for 49 years.

    Good to hear that you are going rupin pass. I am also going too in June but not with Indiahikes. Going first to goecha la trek with them in May.

    Have a good and safe trip. Look forward to reading about your experience when you return.

    May be contacting you later in a couple of months to develop a website because I am exploring a social enterprise in Nepal.

    • Vikram Bahl May 16, 2016 at 3:22 am #

      Hi Dennis,

      I am back! shall be updating this space soon with some pics and videos and hairy tales. Good luck on goecha la!

  2. Vikram Bahl May 10, 2016 at 9:13 am #

    Well, stay tuned for Part 2!

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