Enough with the beach bods and sunny seasides. Strap those boots and get the woollens out for a snowy or a green retreat in the Himalayas. Team Viva finds out about picturesque trekking expeditions being offered this season
Remember when nerdy Deepika Padukone in Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani decided to let go and take it easy for once as she hopped on a train to Manali in DDLJ style as she rushed to clutch hottie Ranbir Kapoor’s hand. This was followed by a journey into the lush and breezy atmosphere of the mountains where any one would love to stick their head out of the window and breathe in the freshness while feeling alive.
The decision to go on an adventure, that one daring step proved to be life-changing for her. Yes we know the filmy love factor, too, was involved but we are concentrating on the change in environment for once. The challenge to scale a mountain with a bunch of vibrant beings (even lousy ones), the mist in the air, campfires at the peak of a mountain with some roasted marshmallows, sustaining on instant noodles and energy bars and trying to catch a few winks in the camping tents, is what trekking means for most of the people. An array of adventure sports are being offered to the wanderlusts with trekking being the most popular one.
Whether it is scaling the Himalayan ranges or exploring the mountains of Maharashtra, trekking excites not only the daredevils, but also those who have always harboured to do something out of the box just to feel those spine chilling moments.
Though safety is of utmost importance, trek clubs are ensuring that they arrange everything in advance so that trekkers have nothing to worry about. Pranav Kukreti, co-founder and director of Treks n Rapids shares, “We only want the trekkers to focus and enjoy the experience. They are asked to bring along their winter clothes and that is it. We provide them with all kinds of necessities ranging from food, trekking equipment, to medicines.”
Kailash Rath, representative of Trekker’s Paradise, informs that apart from offering the regular facilities, they have their own cottages and base camps where these rangers can stay and then get going on the trail. “We also have study programmes, for both kids and adults, on the flora and fauna of the location. One brilliant way to connect with nature is to have knowledge about it,” he says.
Pankaj Tiwari, co-founder of Himalayan Trekking Club, says, “Since we plan and organise, rather than making bookings, we take care of every aspect with a personal touch. Our choice of destinations (which are less travelled), our safety and hygiene measures, that’s our USP.”
The agencies prefer taking groups comprising five - 35 people and along with them the cooks and instructors would travel as well.
Of course, your queries will be innumerable with regard to safety, the route et al., which you may post on their social media website pages. Kukreti shares that the agency’s Facebook page can provide the users with the information required and they are also quick in responding to the enquiries.
Rath, on the other hand, tells us that the first day of the trek camp is reserved for basic training by the instructors. “It is like an orientation programme where the members of the group will learn about what’s in store for them. They learn about the dos and don’ts, about safety rules and we also teach them how to walk on snow,” he tells us.
According to Tiwari, “For trekking tours we meet up at our touch base camp a day prior to trek over campfire. The day is usually reserved to acclimatize and learn about mountain etiquettes and understanding the importance of team spirit. They also learn to use safety gears. Newcomers are usually pretty excited about this.”
Need to be in the pink of health in order to walk the trail? Not really. Kukreti says that it is not only for those with Superman or Wonder Woman-like physique, rather they are willing to take along all those looking for an ultimate adventure experience. Rath, too, agrees that it isn’t necessary that you hit the gym everyday, in order to tread the path which might be laden with a few obstacles. But if you are above the age of 35, then the agencies might ask you for a health check-up before you sign-up for the trek.
Those snow-peaked mountains or that grassy path with colourful wild flowers around may make excellent wallpapers for your phone and desktop screens. These expeditions promise the same picturesque destinations all over the country.
Tiwari lists the popular points including parts of Western Ghats known as Sahyadri in west, the Konkan coast, along side the Arabian Sea, Western Ghats in Karnataka and Nilgiri in southern most area also known as south Himalaya. Himalaya from east to west is favourite destination for trekkers from all over the world. Some famous treks from Himalaya are Pin Pass, Hampta Pass, Markha Valley, Thamsar Kalihani Pass, Chadar Trek, Roopkund Trek, Rupin Pass, Valley of Flowers, Kashmir Great Lakes, basically the list is endless.
Coming down to the money involved, you need to ask yourself and your mates a few questions first. While trekking you don’t spend even a single rupee but before you start a trek so think what all you want when you will be among wilderness, alone. Do you need guide or porters? How many heads are there to share the cost? “Our packages cost accordingly. Broadly, the standard package will be of `2,200-`2,500 per person per day, and the luxury one would cost you `4,000-`5,000 per day person for group of at least six people,” informs Tiwari.
Some range from `1,000 to `10 lakh depending on the destination you pick. “Harder the trek, more the money,” says Kukreti. The average amount, according to Rath, is “`3,000 to `3,500”.
“Winter is coming”, said all characters of Game of Thrones and we do agree now. Snow trek in the months of December and January might make you feel like a wild walker (not the spooky pale ones) and if you are not a winter person then maybe June to August is when you may embark on the journey.
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