We recently interviewed Kratika Jain, a digital marketer from Ahmedabad. In a candid chat, she tells us about her first time trekking experiences to Hampta Pass in July. Read on!
Q: How did you start trekking?
A: Actually, this was my first time trekking, and it all happened rather quickly. Quite a lot of my friends were doing it, and I couldn’t handle their pictures, it was too beautiful, and I really needed a break from my job as well! The satisfaction of the mountains couldn’t be felt in a city like Ahmedabad, and I really wanted to get away. So I quickly opened up Google and started looking for a trek to do.
Q: How did you end up choosing Hampta Pass?
A: I simply searched which trek was popular during July, and Hampta Pass popped up!
Q: What was Hampta Pass like, for you?
A: It was easy to moderate, even though it was my first time trekking, but the last two days were quite difficult(during the pass crossing and descending). Even the day we crossed Hampta Pass, we walked for 12 hours. I thought to myself, “Oh shit I’m killing myself !”, but looking back when we finished it, it was a really nice experience, and at that point, I realised that we(the group) had actually done something exciting in life!
Q: How did it feel when you reached the pass itself?
A: Actually, I wasn’t feeling that good, since there was still some portion of the trek remaining. When I reached the pass, I was jubilant, but then thought “Oh shit, abhi aur chalna hai(I still have to walk more!)”. Then, on the final day, my feelings were the exact opposite and I was thinking “Oh damn, it’s the last day”, and then we felt like it was too short, we wished it was longer. Suddenly all my energy came back that day and we wished we could do it all over again!
Q: Sounds like it was quite a task managing the trek. What inspired you to keep walking?
A: You see so much natural beauty and variations in weather, which you would not get to see in a crowded city like Ahmedabad. The scenery is amazing and beautiful, sometimes it’s flowers, mountains, waterfalls, sometimes it’s rivers. It all inspires you to keep going!
Q: Speaking of rivers, how’d you find the river crossing at Jwara?
A: At first, I felt like not doing it, then I felt a lot of adrenalin during the actual crossing itself, and then I felt like doing it again! It was adventurous, but thankfully I was never scared.
Q: Once you cross Hampta Pass, you come to Spiti and Chandra Tal. How did you like those?
A: It was absolutely beautiful! I had never seen mountainous landscapes, especially since it was my first time trekking. My immediate reaction was “Why don’t they shoot Bollywood movies here? Why do people go abroad to countries like Thailand? Spiti is equally, if not more beautiful”. The truth is, Himachal is really unexplored. That is because of its inaccessibility. But it is this same inaccessibility that allows this region to remain peaceful, calm, and serene. By contrast, we saw Rohtang Pass on the way back, and wahan pe to mela laga hua tha!
Q: Being an Indian woman, was there any hurdle you faced while informing your family about going for the trek?
A: I just told my family, don’t wait for me, agar mai waapis nahi aayi! They were asking for a phone number to contact me in case of an emergency, and were shocked to learn ke waahaan pe signal hi nahi aata. They could not comprehend that there are still regions in this country jahaan pe signal nahi aata! All jokes aside, they were mostly fine, they just wanted me to stay in touch, since it was my first time trekking.
Q: Was there any particular event from the trek which stood out for you?
A: The truth is, I wasn’t in a good condition, and desperately wanted a break from my life. I wanted to move out of the city and go to the mountains. So this trek was a big break for me, and genuinely a life changing experience, which I felt I needed. So I would describe the entire trek as an event that stood out for me. To top it all, the Renok staff were really nice and supportive. The group members too were very cooperative. Some of the group members and guides are now friends of mine!
Q:Do you have any advice for first time trekkers?
A: What I witnessed on the trek was that people were scared of the altitude, saying “No, mujhse nahi hoga(I will not be able to do it), I can’t do this” etc. If we keep this sort of mindset, we will not be able to concentrate on the trek and enjoy it, enjoy the scenery all around. For those for whom it’s their first time trekking, I have to say this. We should soak in every moment, because every moment is unique, memorable and enjoyable, and we should not forget this in our tiredness!
Q: Finally, has this trek had any lasting effects on you?
A: Apart from being in touch with all the group members, I have realised a lot of things about the mountains. Trekking is not boring, ever, and it probably won’t be for anyone. Anyone can go for it, people from all walks of life, age, etc., so everyone can disconnect from their individual backgrounds and connect together to the mountains. Trekking also helps you get to know yourself as a person, and nothing can be better than staying with nature. I felt so much positivity when I returned from Hampta Pass, it’s been life-changing for me. Whenever I’m faced with a negative situation in life, I think of the mountains, and I channel positivity through them into me. When I returned from Hampta, I kept telling my family and friends the tales of my trek, and now they’ve started to grow bored! Even now, I am in the same mood, dreaming of the mountains. Ab to keeda lag gaya hai(I’m hooked to the mountains now), to trek once or twice during the year.
It looks like Kratika had a gala time. Do you think Hampta Pass could be your calling too? Head on over here to find out!
The Himalayas is divided into five regions i.e. Punjab Himalayas, Kumaon Himalayas, Nepal Himalayas and Assam Himalayas. Himalayas are home to various snow capped peaks, here is the list of The 10 Highest Himalayan Mountain Peaks of Uttarakhand in Kumaon Himalayan region.
Most famous Himalayan Peaks in Uttarakhand
1. Nanda Devi (7816 m, 25,636 ft)
Nanda Devi is the highest peak wholly in India lies in Kumaon Himalayas in Uttarakhand. Nanda Devi is a two peak massif forming a 2 kms long east west ridge. Nanda Devi main is higher and together these peaks are referred as twin peaks of goddess Nanda. Nanda Devi is known for its steep rise from the local terrain, it rises over 3300 m from its base on the south Nanda Devi glaciers. Renowned mountaineer Mr. Kushang Sherpa describes it as the toughest peak to climb in the world.
Chaukhamba meaning four pillars is the highest mountain massif in the Gangotri group of Himalayas of the Western Garhwal. The four peaks have heights of respectively 7138 7088 6995 and 6854m. On the western slopes lies the head the Gangotri glacier. The Gangotri glacier gives rise to the Bhagirathi, one of the two main sources of the holy river Ganga.
3.Trishul (7120 m, 23353 ft)
Trishul massif is a group of three Himalayan mountain peaks which takes the shape of a trident. Trishul Mountain lies in northern Kumaon region of Uttarakhand in Bageshwar district and is best viewed from Kausani or during the Roopkund Trek from Bedini Bugyal.
4. Satopanth (7075 m, 23206 ft)
Satopanth is formed from two Sat means Truth and Panth means path, so Satopanth means Path of Truth. Mt. Satopanth situated in Garwhal Himalaya and second highest peak in the Gangotri Group of Garwhal Himalaya range separating the Gangotri and Chaturangi glaciers. Mt. Satopanth is quite famous among those who want to move to next level of Mountaineering as their first climbing peak.
5. Kedarnath (6962 m,22835 ft)
Mount Kedarnath is a part of Gangotri Group of peaks in the western Garhwal Himalaya in Uttarakhand. Mount Kedarnath has a sub peak called Kedarnath dome and they both were first climbed together, in 1947, by a Swiss team led by André Roch.
Photo Credit: Rabin
6. Panchachuli Peaks (6905 m, 22649 ft)
Panchachuli lies in eastern Kumaon Himalayas in Pithoragarh district of Uttarakhand. It is believed that this is the place ‘Five Chulis’ (cooking hearths) where the Pandavas cooked their last meal on the way to heaven. They are majestic and form a famous barrier between Darma and Gauri Valleys. Panchachuli base camp trekking route is one of the exciting basecamp trekking.
7. Thalaysagar (6904 m, 22645 ft)
Mountain Thalay Sagar is located just north of Gangotri in Western Garhwal Himalayas. It is one of the most difficult mountains in the Garhwal with no easy ascent route and to be considered as the test piece of contemporary mountaineering. In 2008 the first successful Indian ascent was accomplished by Mr. Basanta Singha Roy the famous mountaineer (He is a banker works with Panjab National Bank) from West Bengal.
8. Changabang (6866 m, 22520 ft)
Changabang peak is part of the Garhwal Himalaya of Uttarakhand and it is part of a group of peaks that form the northeast wall of the Nanda Devi Sanctuary. Changbang is particularly is a rocky and steep peak in Garhwal Himalayas and considered as tougher climbs though having a lower altitude than other peaks in the vicinity.
Photo Credi: Doug Scott
9. Nanda Kot(6861 m, 22504 ft)
Nanda Kot peak lies in Kumaon Himalayas of Uttarakhand just outside of the ring of peaks enclosing the Nanda Devi Sanctuary. The name Nanda Kot literally means “Nanda’s Fortress” and refers to the abode of one of the sacred forms of the Hindu Goddess Parvati.
Photo Credit: Lost in Nature
10.Bhagirathi (6856 m, 22487 ft)
The highest peak of the Bhagirathi Group forms a complex and topographically complicated massif. Mount Bhagirathi has three major peaks. It stands at and dominates the end of the valley leading up to Gaumukh which is the end of the Gangotri Glacier and the source of the river Ganga. The upper part of the river Ganga is also called Bhagirathi, and both the mountain and the river are named after King Bhagirath.