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!
If you are looking for a place to unwind and gain peace of mind, the majestic Himalayas are the perfect escape with these hidden homestays in himalayas
Homestay in Himalayas are Perfect Himalayan Holidays
If you are looking for a place to unwind and gain peace of mind, the majestic Himalayas are the perfect escape. The mighty mountain range has in its womb several serene and beautiful places that will leave your senses mesmerized and your soul rejuvenated.
While hotels can offer you luxury and certain amenities, Homestay
in Himalayas can prove to be the perfect amalgamation of comfort and class. Browse through the options furnished below and choose the one that pleases your heart.
Kuflon Basics House, Uttarkashi
Those who love being close to Mother Nature, should opt for this enticing location as their getaway destination. The chirping of the birds, the hues of the fluttering butterflies and the waterfalls of the Asi Ganga will leave you besotted. Located at 5,000 feet, this is a true heavenly abode for trekkers! The harmonious surroundings come with the bonus of homemade scrumptious food prepared from fresh, locally sourced farm ingredients.
Nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas, this venue will please a conventional heart. Conceived in the 19th century, this getaway location is ideal for one and all – be it nature lovers or trekkers, those with creative inclinations or the ones seeking solitude for meditation. Give a boost to your appetite with Indian and Continental cuisines in the comfort of a rustic location. This dignified property, home to diplomats across the globe, offers the perfect holiday experience with an ancient touch to it.
Address: Village Paniyali, Padampuri (Nainital District), Uttrakhand, India
Aira Holme, Shimla
The scenic beauty of this stone cottage located on a hilltop amidst swaying Deodar trees is beyond expression. The ambience is ecstatic and the hospitality par excellence. Apart from the tranquillity and comfort, this venue offers you the opportunity of finally catching up you’re your reading. Billy, the owner of a well – stocked library there, can supply you with a wide collection of book on the topics ranging from art, architecture and philosophy to poetry, mythology and religion.
Unparalleled beauty and unexplored realm are the only adjectives that can possibly describe the magnificence of this location. Spiti, also designated as Little Tibet, is home to several renowned Buddhist monasteries. The exotic species of flora and fauna form part of its rich and varied repertoire. If you are fortunate, you just might end up spotting a snow leopard or a Tibetan wolf during your stay at any of the five Spiti homestay village locations – Langza, Komic, Demul, Dhankhar, and Lhalung.
Price: Rs 700 onwards
Contact: +91 9650656262
Hanle Village, Ladakh
Breathtaking beauty is what Ladakh symbolizes. This true jewel of nature is recognized over the world for its most enchanting and awe-inspiring landscapes. The homestays at Hanle village serve as ideal stress busters for those fatigued by hectic urban life schedules. Absolutely detached from the rest of the world, this incredible magnificent place also offers you an opportunity to see the renowned Hanle Monastry and the highest Astronomical Observatory in the world.
Price: Rs 700 onwards
Contact: No Mobile
Address: Hanle Village, Changthang
Mayal Lyang Homestay, Dzongu
The Lepcha hospitality of Dzongu welcomes visitors with exceptional warmth. Staying in this part of Sikkim is all about adventurous trekking, laid back fishing, relishing organic food and being one with the bliss of nature. The plentiful cascading waterfalls and the hot spring bath at Lingdem are sure to rejuvenate your senses. This land is totally non-commercialized and perfect for a peaceful, yet memorable, holiday!
Price: On request
Contact: +91 9434446088
Yuksom Homestays, Sikkim
This gorgeous destination can be reached via either Siliguri or Gangtok. The picturesque view during the journey will itself set the mood rolling for a wonderful holiday. From trekking to mountain biking, from river rafting to yak riding – the list of adventure activities will keep you busy throughout your itinerary. Nature lovers can visit the parks and sanctuaries to commune with nature. These homestays also provide foodies the opportunity to learn recipes of the authentic traditional cuisines.
Himalayan Village, Sonapani, Uttarakhand
This outstanding property is located amidst beautiful orchards, pine and oak trees. An ideal spot for those with an inclination towards trekking! Explore the adventure of trekking through trails based on your level of complexity and comfort. The 12 cottages offered to stay are well connected yet retain their privacy. The venue detaches visitors from the world of television soaps and takes you on a different journey altogether – one that is closer to nature and its virgin beauty.
Price: 4200 Single Occupancy
Contact: +91 8006300100
Address: Satoli Post Office, Via Mukteshwar, Nainital, Uttarakhand
Raju Bharti’s Guest House
Raju Bharti’s Homestay situated besides the Tirthan River in Himachal Pradesh at an altitude of 1600 meters, Tirthan Valley is a gateway to the Great Himalayan National Park. A place where one can easily forget the world to relax and have loads of nature walks following one trail or the other, into the woods or besides the river.
Price: Rs 3500 twin sharing with All meals (AP Plan)
Address: Village Gushaini (banjar), Kullu District
Mehreen Guest House, Hunder, Nubra Valley
One of Hunder’s last un-reconstructed genuine family homestays, Mehreen is great value with a lovely host family and just two rooms (a double and a quad). Find it by following the mani wall behind Karma Inn. The homestay is surrounded by Apricot and apple trees and located in the middle of their farm. When you stay at Mehreen Guest House you will be served fresh fruits and salads sourced from their farms.
So this holiday, plan a visit to the fascinating land of the Himalayas. The overpowering charm of this majestic range will leave you yearning for more! And homestays are the best way enjoy your Himalayan adventure and appreciate the local culture, cuisine and traditions.
Worst Year in the History of Nepal’s Mountaineering and Trekking History
Year 2014 is the worst till now in the Nepal’s history of mountaineering and trekking. First it was an avalanche on Mount Everest in April whick took lives of 16 Sherpas – and resulted strike by Sherpas and very few summits to the world’s highest peak during the main climbing season.
The latest tragedy hits during the peak trekking season. Thousands of trekkers head to Nepal during September and October for post monsoon trekking season to enjoy high altitude trekking pass and pristine beauty were caught in the heavy snowfall resulted because of HUDHUD cyclone in India.
The tragedy will badly hurt Nepal’s tourism, with officials worried about the wider negative message it sends. Trekking and mountaineering are the key backbones of the industry – the major foreign exchange earner for Nepal.
By the year 2070, we could lose…The Himalayas
Source: Fox News
Sherpa on Everest expedition dies in Nepal
A government official in Nepal says that a Sherpa who was guiding a group of climbers on an Everest expedition in the Himalayas has fallen into a crevasse and died. Sherpa had scaled the peak twice before. He is the second guide to die while climbing Everest in this year’s spring climbing season. Climbers generally try to scale Everest in May. On Wednesday, experienced climber Karsang Namgyal died from altitude sickness. Everest is the world’s highest mountain and has an 8,850-meter (29,035-foot) peak. Source: Fox News
Legendary Nepalese mountaineer completes Great Himalayan Trail
Legendary Nepalese mountaineer Apa Sherpa created yet another mountaineering milestone by traversing the 1,449 km Great Himalaya Trail between Taplejung in the far east Nepal to Darchua in the far-West in 88 days.
Apa, a record 21-time Everest summiteer, and his team traversed the trail from Ghunsa in Taplejung crossing almost 10 of the world’s over 8,000 meters summits. The theme of the traverse, flagged off by President Ram Baran Yadav, was not mountaineering but to create awareness among the people regarding climate change impacts in the mountain region. 51-year-old Apa started his epic trek from eastern Nepal on January 24 and concluded at Darchula district on April 20, said the Asian Trekking, the organiser of the event. “People in the mountains must be given livelihood opportunities that also address threats from climate change,” Apa said. “The experience of walking the entire length of Nepal’s Himalayas has made me even more committed in my resolve to speak for the mountains and mountain communities,” he said. Source: Deccan Chronicle
The arc-shaped Indian Himalayas extend along the entire northern boundary of India from the state of Jammu & Kashmir in west to Arunachal Pradesh in the east. The term “Himalaya” from Sanskrit meaning the “The Abode of Snow”. For centuries Indians have been fascinated by these mountains for pilgrimage in early days now for trekking and other adventure sports.
The Indian Himalayas cover a vast area along the northern frontiers of the country and span five Indian States — Jammu and Kashmir , Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh — from west to east. The true divisions of the Indian Himalayas are based on the mountain ranges rather than the state boundaries. From west to east, the Indian Himalayas can be divided into
Kashmir (Jammu & Kashmir)
Ladakh (Jammu & Kashmir)
Zanskar (Jammu & Kashmir)
Lahaul and Spiti (HP)
Arunachal (Arunachal Pradesh)
My Top Peaks in the Himalayas of India
Khangchendzonga / Kanchenjunga
Kanchenjunga gets its name from the the Bhutia and Tibetan languages which means “The Five Treasures of Snows” as it contains five peaks. Kanchenjunga is the third highest peak in the Himalayas and the world and the highest in India. Kanchenjunga stands tall with an elevation of 8,586 meters (28,169 ft).
Nanda Devi (25663 ft, 7824 m)
Nanda devi is the second highest mountain peak in the Himalayas in India. This is the highest peak (entirely) in the country, as Kanchenjunga lies on the border areas of India and Nepal. It was the highest known mountain in the world until 1808 when western surveyors discovered Dhaulagiri. The mountain stands tall at an elevation of 7824 meters (25663 ft). The Nanda devi peak is the part of Garhwal Himalayas and lies in the state of Uttrakhand.
Climbing is not allowed on Nanda Devi as it is declared as holy peak. During my discussion with Mr. Kushang Sherpa (Climbed Everest from all side including Kangshung face and other 8 thousanders) he said that Nanda Devi is the toughest to climb. A fabulous trek that takes you into the Nanda Devi Sanctuary is the Kuari Pass Trek.
Kamet (25446 ft, 7756 m)
Kamet is the second highest mountain peak in the Himalayas of Garhwal. It lies in the Chamboli District of Uttrakhand. It is the third highest peak in India (according to India however, the rank is much lower as it includes in its list of mountains all those in Pakistan occupied Kashmir).
Saser Kangri (25172 ft, 7672 m)
Saser Kangri (or Sasir Kangri) is the highest peak in the Saser Muztagh, the easternmost sub-range of the Karakoram range in India. This massif lies toward the northwestern end of the Saser Muztagh, at the head of the North Shukpa Kunchang Glacier, a major glacier which drains the eastern slopes of the group.
Mana (23860 ft, 7273 m)
Northeast of Badrinath is another impressive cluster of mountain peaks in the Himalayas. The mountains rise almost on the Indo-Tibetan border with Mana and Kamet as the principal peaks. Mana itself marks the eastern extremity of the Zanskar range. It lies between the pass of the same name and the Niti Pass.
Things you need to know before your first Himalayan Trek
Your first Himalayan Trek is one of the most exciting adventures you can take. There is so much to discover. Probably the biggest mysteries you unlock will come from within yourself. Indeed, many who embark on Roopkund, Dodital or theKuari Pass trek return with a completely different view of their place on this planet.From narrow paths traversing deep gorges, to ice bridges, to the altitude adjustments in your body, there are real mental and physical feats you will have to face. When you return home after your first Himalayan trek, you will be a new person and want to celebrate and reflect.
Things you need to know before your first Himalayan Trek
1. Good Quality Trekking Shoes
An old proverb says, “Your feet carry you forward in life, take good care of them.” Get a pair of trekking shoes. If you need help read our blog finding the best trekking shoes.
Every gram of weight you carry will feel like ten times more than you think after 2-3 days of trekking in the Indian Himalayas. It’s not just the climb, it’s also the lessening of oxygen as you get higher each day. So, start with a backpack that does not weigh much itself, and then pack as light as you can. We can take a look at this nice info graphic to guide you getting the correct backpack
Wear your pants, shirts and socks as many days in a row as you can. Nobody really cares what you look like. Showers are or non-existent, but there are streams and small water bodies on most Himalayan treks, so use them and just keep your body as clean as possible. This will keep your clothes a little fresher. Avoid jeans or denim jackets. They are heavy, dry slowly, and not very flexible. Take neoprene or nylon clothes and be sure to have a fleece and some warm layers for underneath. Himalayan passes are freezing. You can go from extremely hot to extremely cold in the same day.Try to wear clothes in layers. To know how you can read our blog dressing in layers.
You need a flashlight (small), a camera, spare batteries, and that’s about it. Electricity is sparse on the rooftop of the world. Some villages do not have any electricity at all, and the ones that do are subjected to load shedding.Make you have charged back-up batteries for everything.
As great as it seems to be out there experiencing nature in a meditative,quiet way too many people have gone missing in the last few years.If you don’t have a trekking partner go with a trekking company or reliable guide.
6. Get some cultural Information before you leave.
The various people of the Himalayas represent beautiful ancient cultures. Read up a bit on them so that your experience is more enriching.