Known for its cultural variety, India is the home of almost 1,200 million people, as it is the second most populated country in the world. From the big northern mountains to the beaches in the southern coast, India gives any traveller a perfect excuse for getting to know any of its territories. With more than a dozen religions, India offers the best answers for spirituality lovers, either Buddhist or Hinduist. A country full of noticeable contrasts that won’t leave the tourist cold.
The trips and expeditions organised by X-plore in India take place in four of the main mountain ranges of the country: Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh, Garhwal and Sikkim.
The Little Tibet, known as the last bastion of Tibetan Buddhism, is popular due to its culture and antique traditions, perfectly preserved thanks to its historical isolation from the modern world for lots of decades. Located in the north of the country, in Cachemira’s territories, and bordering Pakistan and the Tibet, the Ladakh is a land with infinite mountains, beautiful height lakes and in its valleys hundreds of Buddhist monasteries are raised. Its people are kind and hospitable, and they always welcome the visitor with a smile. From Leh, the capital city, located 3,500 meters high, we will be able to make tours to the valleys and mountains in the different areas of the region.
Shyok and Nubra: To the north of Indo’s river valley, Ladakh’s mountain range shelters some summits which surpass the 6,000 meters range, as well as valleys that go down to the valleys of the rivers Shyok and Nubra. They are very beautiful areas, perfect for having a walk far away from the usual routes.
Zanskar: To the south east of Leh and over Stok’s mountain range we can find this area, which was a part, with other Ladakh’s areas, of the ancient kingdom of Guge from the Tibet. The river’s Zanskar gorges, where rafting descents are organised during the summer, are well known. In the winter, when the roads to Zanskar are shut off, the only way to enter this remote region is walking over the frozen riverbed.
Rupshu: Located to the south east of Leh, between the Zanskar and the Tibetan border, is the less known area and the most elevated zone of the Ladakh. Geographically, it is a part of the Chang Tang’s plains, a territory which extends itself to the east from over 1,000 kilometers inside the Tibet. Morphologically, the Rupshu is a complex clutter of valleys and mountain ranges, with glaced peaks which surpass the 6,000 meters range and a rough and extreme weather, where sedentary life is almost impossible. In this area we will be able to meet the limited nomads who still wander around the mountains, known as the Chang-pa nomads.
Located inmediately to the south of Ladakh, the Himachal is a exuberant natural spot: almost 40% of its territory is covered by the forest, home for a varied wild fauna. Contrary to the Ladakh, Himachal’s topography offers a big variety of heights and landscapes, from 300 meters peaks to snowed-capped summits which surpass the 7,000 meters range. One of the best areas for developing high mountain activities are Lahaul and Spiti valleys, located in the north of the region, which offer the traveller a huge assortment of valleys and high peaks. Lots of them haven’t been climbed yet.
Garhwal – Kumaon
The mountains of Garhwal are, with no doubt, one of the most beautiful mountain ranges all over the Indian Himalayas. This region has huge glaciers as the famous Gangotri, where the Ganges’ waters are born and the spectacular peaks graze 8,000 meters, as the Nanda Devi (7,816 m) or the Kamet (7,756 m).
This Indian region is set in the territory located between Nepal and Bhutan. It is one of the smallest and less populated areas of the country, but offers a big range of possibilities concerning really beautiful trekking routes. Just quoting Kanchengjunga’s name (5.895 m), we can understand that the mountains of the higher part of the Sikkim have all the charms for not losing sight of this lovely region. From Darjeeling, the city where Tenzing Norgay (the first sherpa who climbed the Everest) was born and died, tons of expeditions start out their routes to the heart of the Himalayas. The most popular trekking in the area is the one which climbs Goechela’s hillock, located 5,000 meters high, where we can obtain an incredible overview of the Kanchengjunga and other powerful mountains which are higher than 7,000 meters.
The climate in the mountanious Indian regions is basically conditioned by the monsoon season. The central and eastern Himalayas regions have two dry periods, before and after the monsoons (from March to May, and from October to December), a rainy period which meets with the monsoons (from June to September) and a cold and snowy period which extends itself from late December to late March. However, the most western areas as the Ladakh live in the shadow of the monsoons and the best season to visit its mountains ranges from late May to September. During this season, the daily temperatures can reach 30ºC, but during the night and in the high areas can go below zero. During winter time, Ladakh’s temperatures can lower easily from -15/20ºC and most of the valleys and mountains get sunk under a thick snow layer.
Places to visit
Apart from the mountanious regions we mentioned before, our trip can easily be combined with visits to the northern areas. We can pay a visit to the capital city, Delhi, to the popular Taj Mahal temple in Angra or the desert and to the wonderful cities and temples located in Rajastan.