Climb mountains, not because the world can see you, but because you can see the world.
Mountain peaks have always been a mesmerizing challenge for people, and the hunger to surmount every peak drives some to the greatest heights of victory. The picturesque scenery, stunning natural beauty, the enormity of the surrounding evokes humility and the triumph of existence. From the tall, huge but equally charming Himalayas to the hidden passages of the Northeast, we bring some of the lesser-known mountains of India, which will drive you to the conquest.
I. Kalindi Khaal
An extremely challenging expedition, this trek is one of the toughest peaks in the world. Connecting the Gangotri and Badrinath, this pass traverses through the spectacular Garhwal Himalayas, with the scenic experience of rocky screens, rough glaciers, and crevassed snowfields. It covers a distance of 99 kilometres, as the route passes through one of the most breathtaking mountainscapes under the shadow of the great peaks of Garhwal.
With unfolding views of one of the most majestic peaks of the Indian Himalayas, the speciality of the trek is that it takes you half way round Garhwal from the Bhagirathi river Valley to the Alaknanda river Valley. A must trek for the ones who love to experience the thrill and aura of the giant Himalayas.
II. Auden’s Col
Considered as one of India’s most dangerous treks, it is a pass that connects the Gangotri III (6577) and Jogin I (6465). With a small depression between the two mighty massifs, we approach the Col from Rudugaira glacier and descend through the ice falls and the heavily crevassed Khatling glacier at an altitude of 5,490 metres.
This requires a certain affinity towards extreme climatic conditions as the route traverses a glacier known for its crevasses and craters. One of the most challenging and least explored treks, it is a strenuous terrain abundant with moraines, narrow cliffs, boulders and difficult ridges. It starts at the Gangotri and ends at Kedarnath, offering magnificent views of peaks like the Rudragaira, Gangotri group, Jogin group, Bhagirathi group of peaks and Kedar Dome. One of the most scenic walks in the Himalayas, it offers the finest multi-terrain challenges!
III. Indrahar Pass
Located at a height of 4,342 metres, it is a mountain pass that lays bare in the Dhauladhar range of the Himalayas, near the town of Dharamshala. A geologically active region and set on a major thrust zone of the Indian plate, it is a strong reiteration of its diverse offerings. Forming a border between Kangra and Chamba districts, it is one of the most awe-inspiring treks in the Himalayas sprawling with beautiful landscapes, sparkling streams, deep gorges, tranquil lakes and deodar forests throughout the journey. With the fascinating glimpse of hamlets, it also uncovers the tranquil waters of Lake Mankiani and Kareri.
Nonetheless, the dark boulder road tracks of the Dhauladhar and rhododendrons and a wide range of avifauna at different altitude simply enriches the journey and wins the hearts of travellers.
IV. Kalihani Pass Trek
Called the ‘Pass Of The Black Glacier’, the Kalihani Pass Trek is an ancient shepherd trail of Himanchal Pradesh around the remote village of Bara Bhangal, Manali, at an elevation of 4,800 metres. This is a tricky technical traverse through ice, glacier and moraine, culminating in a pass. Divulging into the hidden pastures within the Himachal Himalayan region, it further takes you to the upper Pir Panjal range that gives you an excellent view of the peaks like Hanuman Tibba, Indrasan, Deo Tibba and several others.
The trail is further occupied with several patches of flowering plants, and the landscape’s fusion of mountain wilderness, alpine colours and remote villages enriches the journey. The trail allows you to tune in with the musical harmony of the Himalayan birds and feast your eyes on the spectacular silver horizon in parallel with the serene blue sky. Although the gradient is moderate, be prepared for freak hailstorms, long trudges and complete isolation.
V. Dzo Jongo
One of the most technical and challenging peaks, the Dzo Jongo mountain stands at a height of 6,280 metres in the Markha valley. Involving 200-300 metre of rope climbing at its initial phase from the west face, the surrounding views during the trek are spectacular and breath-taking. It is a great climbing experience as there are patches of steep slopes of snow and ice. A varied trek across high passes with tremendous views of the snow-capped mountains, gorges, arid landscape dotted with villages, this trip is a trekker’s delight to see its countryside as well as meet with the locals, thus getting a good cultural insight.
The views of the summit are beyond expression; on a clear day, one can see the mountains of the Karakoram range.
VI. Lamkhaga Pass
This remote Himanchal Pradesh Trail is a bridge between Harsil in Garhwal and Sangla in Himachal Pradesh at an elevation of 5,420 metres. Regarded as one of the high altitude mountain passes in the Garhwal Himalayan region, it is one of the toughest treks in the Indian Himalayan ranges, hence not for the faint-hearted. The best time to hit the tracks is during the peak summer season and autumn, but beware as the temperatures can be brutally cold and whiteouts have been known to occur.
The journey encounters through numerous alpine meadows, moraines and small gushing streams followed by several secluded hamlets. Most of the trail being journeyed along the Indo-Tibetan border, one crosses through the dense forest of Deodar, Pine and Bhojpatra and then downhill and uphill trail along the Jalindragad River to the meadows of Kyarkoti and acquaintance with the Baspa valley.
VII. Damdar Kandi Pass
Set at an elevation of 5,604 meters, the Damdar Kandi Pass is one of the high altitude mountains passes in the Indian Himalayan region that is located in the Garhwal Himalaya and connects the two Hindu pilgrimage sites, Gangotri and Yamunotri en route to a distinct landscape that is perched with several solitude hamlets, alpine meadows and thick forest of Deodar, pine and rhododendrons. Being one of the toughest treks in the Garhwal Himalayan region, the trek involves continuous uphill and downhill trails through narrow cliffs and rocky, snaky and crazy paths.
The feather in the hat is that along with the difficulties of the high passes, one gets to witness nature at its best. The path leading towards the Damdar Kandi Pass is adorned with lush forests and beautiful alpine meadows. The trek further cuts across several small gushing streams and cuts through moraines and glaciated tracks that often turn out deadly.
VIII. Bhupu Pass Trek
At a height of 2,900 metres in Himachal Pradesh, the trek is easy on the feet and a rejuvenating one through a thick forest on one side and a rocky terrain on the other. A connector between the Chuhar Valley and Lag Valley, the natural views are something to savour. With Bhang and historical importance on one side, one can see the Cannabis in full bloom, with their cultivations, apple orchards, and birch trees across the Himri pass to give the feel and thrill of the Dhauladhars.
Marvellous small villages and pagodas of Buddhist believers ornament the 47 kilometres way. The best time to experience the beauty of nature is during the early rains and late winters, taking one through scenic forests, alpine ridges, pictorial countryside and gurgling streams.
So pack your rucksacks, tie those laces and wander into the magnificent and mammoth arms of these beautiful expanses!
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