Monsoons is the time for celebration in India. Saawan ke jhoole (the monsoon swings), music and dance, tea and hot fried fritters – these are the usual delights that the rains bring along. Adventure enthusiasts and nature lovers of India, however, await the monsoons for a very different reason. The rains bring with them some of the most beautiful trekking experiences as well. This is the season when nature wears its most colourful hues – flowers bloom and the greenery takes on deeper hues. Here is a selection of the most beautiful trekking trails across the country that remain favourites with trekkers during the monsoon season.
Valley of Flowers, Uttarakhand
The trek through the Valley of Flowers in Uttarakhand is any adventure enthusiast’s dream come true. The Valley of Flowers is a national park and a core zone of the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve. The breathtaking natural beauty of the valley makes the trek a very pleasant endeavour. Over 500 different species of beautiful flowers grow along the trek route and these bloom between June and October making it a monsoon delight. The trek route starts from Govindghat on the banks of the Alakananda River and covers a distance of about 13 kilometres till Ghangharia. The Valley of Flowers is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Kashmir Great Lakes, Jammu & Kashmir
The beauty of Jammu and Kashmir is legendary and for adventure enthusiasts the trek from Sonmarg to seven beautiful alpine lakes in the state. Not only is this 72 kilometre stretch one of the most popular trekking routes, but also offers some of the grandest views of the Himalayas. This 8 day trek should take you through 72 kilometres of green valley, colourful flower meadows, and clear blue skies. The seven lakes that you are likely to visit on this trek are Gangabal Lake, Gadsar Lake, Vishansar Lake, Krishnasar Lake, Dal Lake, Manasbal Lake, Wular Lake, and Tulian Lake.
Hampta Pass, Himachal Pradesh
The state of Himachal Pradesh is a favourite with tourists and trekkers. The Himalayan passes in this part of the country are beautiful and picturesque at the same time. The Hampta Pass trek that takes you from Manali to the Spiti Valley, across the Leh Manali Highway, is one of the best crossover treks in the country. Going through the mesmerizing valleys of Lahaul and Kullu, the trek is likely to take about 4 days, though nature lovers take a couple of days more to visit the Chandrataal lake. Though moderate in difficulty, the trek is also suitable for beginners who have prepared well.
Sinhagad Fort, Maharashtra
Come monsoon, trekkers in Maharashtra have a number of trails to choose from. The Sinhagad Fort is at an altitude of about 4320 feet above sea level. The fort is a short trek from Pune (about 90 minutes). This is one of the best options available for a non trekkers. Going through Atekar Vasti, you are likely to enjoy the cool breeze, the green forested tracts, and gurgling streams. The Sinhagad Fort is a historic one and the nearby ghats a pleasant place to spend time. On this trek, do not miss out on the memorial to Tanaji and Lokmanya Tilak’s home
Tadiandamol Peak, Karnataka
If the Himalayas dominate the north and northeastern region, the western ghats offer unique trekking experiences to those who head to the west of the country. The beauty of Coorg is legendary and the trek to Tadiandamol Peak the crown jewel of an adventure enthusiast’s dreams. The Tadiandamol peak, at an altitude of 5740 feet, is the highest point of Coorg. The trek from Kakkabe base camp through Madikeri is well defined and takes you through verdant grasslands and through the Shola forests. The region comes alive during the monsoon months and the flora and fauna here will make great company.
Tarsar Marsar, Jammu & Kashmir
“Gar firdaus bar-rue zamin ast, hami asto, hamin asto, hamin ast” (If there is a heaven on earth, it’s here, it’s here). This is the quote that often comes to mind when we speak of Jammu and Kashmir. But once you undertake the Tarsar Marsar trek, you will know it is true. The 7 day, 33 kilometre trek will take you through a valley full of colourful and fragrant flowers. The Kolahi Mountains guard two beautiful lakes, the Tarsar and the Marsar. The region from Aru base to Sumbul is home to a variety of flora and fauna that is indigenous to the Himalayan belt.
Undulating green meadows, gurgling streams, blue skies, and white cotton clouds – the 5 day trek to Roopkund in Uttarakhand will not leave you with one moment of boredom. The trek starts at an altitude of 7,700 feet at Lohajung at a distance of about 85 kilometres from Karanprayag. The trek takes you through Bedni Bughyal, Patar Nachauni, Bhagwabahsa and other beautiful points. The green mountains that stretch into the horizon and the ultimate beauty of Roopkund lake is a treat for nature lovers. Going through gentle slopes, this trek is perfect for the novice trekker as well as the experienced lot.
Yumthang Valley and Zero Point, Sikkim
Sikkim is the ultimate destination for adventure lovers in India. Treks through this state are often difficult but very rewarding in terms of the natural beauty they take you through. The trek from picturesque Lachung through Yumthang Valley to Zero Point, the final outpost of human civilization in Sikkim is one of the most amazing escapades in India. The trek will take you through hot sulphur springs, stately Buddhist monasteries, and colourful rhododendron sanctuaries. The trek is extended to Mount Katao and Yumesamdong, nearby attractions by nature lovers and avid adventure buffs. Towering white mountains and gurgling waterfalls along the way keep you immersed in the state’s natural beauty.