Formerly known as Uttaranchal, the state of Uttarakhand in North India has been an everlasting boom to the country’s travel growth. Also, known as the ‘Land of Gods’ or Devbhumi because of the existence of innumerable sites of religious importance, Uttarakhand is the ultimate Utopia for nature-lovers, adventure enthusiasts, and adrenaline-junkies. Located on the foothills of Himalayas, surrounded by the mighty Shivalik range, the mountain state offers some of the best opportunities for camping, trekking, hiking, and other such outdoor activities.
Even though the state received its official status as the 27th state of India in 2000, historians claim human inhabitancy in the area since the primitive eras. Records claim that out the total area of 53,483 square kilometres, 86% pf Uttarakhand are mountains and 65% is covered by forest and greenery.
Below are some of the must-do treks in Uttarakhand that you just can’t miss:
Chopta Chandrashila Trek
Altitude: 4,090 metres (13,415 feet)
Duration: 6-7 days
Season: All Year
Grade: Easy to Moderate
One of the most picturesque treks of in the Garhwal Himalayan region, the Chopta Chandrashila Trek starts in Haridwar/Rishikesh and takes you through the beautiful valleys and mountains in the region. Your usual start point for the trek will be Sari (reached by taxi from Haridwar/Rishikesh). From here, you trek to Deorital, a crystal-clear lake, and making your way through forests and mountains, you arrive in Chopta. After a short break at the famous and the highest of its kind in the Himalayas, Tungnath Temple, proceed to Chandrashila Summit trek. Before you rush for your cameras, take a moment and take in all the serenity and fresh air that the peak offers.
Dodital Darwa Pass Trek
Altitude: 4,150 meters (13,612 feet)
Duration: 8 Days
Season: January to June; September to December
Grade: Moderate to Tough
An eclectic mash-up of the best of nature – mountain passes, lakes, pilgrimages, and forests, Dodital Darwa Pass Trek is a popular hit amongst first timers. Irrespective of its challenging nature, the trek offers more in terms of activities. Recreational activities such as harpooning, boating and bird watching are some of the perks of this panoramic trek. To add some thrill into your experience, you can extend the trek to Yamunotri, significant sight for Hindu pilgrimage which is the source of holy river Yamuna. Once at Darwa Top, feast your eyes on the peaks of Bandarpoonch and Swargarohini.
Altitude: 3,048 metres (9,998 feet)
Duration: 6 Days (including to and fro from Delhi)
Season: All Year except July and August
One of the lesser known treks, Nagtibba is a trail near Mussoorrie is perfect for those with time limitations. It is considered one of the finest weekend treks in the Garhwal area. Trekkers at this route often enjoy the perks of solitary and calmness and an amazing opportunity to camp amidst beautiful meadows and dense forest areas. Bandarpoonch, Swargarohini, and Black peak are few of the most prominent summits that are visible during the trek. An outstanding feature of this route is the existence of a circular trek, meaning that the trek begins and finishes at two different spots and the routes do not overlap at any point during the trek.
Valley of Flowers Trek
Altitude: 3,858 metres (12,654 feet)
Duration: 7 Days.
Season: End June – September
Perhaps one of the most famous treks in the valleys of Uttarakhand, Valley of Flowers, as the name suggests is a trekking nirvana for nature lovers. Endless shades of green and a full-blown canvas of the nature, the Valley is highly popular because of the presence of endemic alpine flowers and presence of some of the rare and endangered animal species of the country – snow leopard, Asiatic black bear, blue sheep, and the brown beer. Valley of Flower is also a recognized UNESCO World Heritage Site. The beauty offered by this trail is unmatched to anything you may have seen in your lifetime. If you are a photographer or a writer, rest assured to find the best inspirations here.
Uttarakhand is home to numerous short and long treks and the mountain setting of this state gives birth to new treks almost every season. To have seen all the mystic and nature that the ‘Land of Gods’ can offer may take a lifetime, but starting now will be a good idea to at least see a good part of it. Happy exploring!