Thinking about exploring the beautiful natural mountains of India? Well then you should definitely consider a trip to Jammu and Kashmir. Majority of the Himalayan Range lies in Jammu and Kashmir due to which it resides many exciting trekking routes. It is the best way to explore and enjoy the serene natural beauty of India.

Trekking became a popular part of the state of Jammu and Kashmir because of the fact that it is surrounded by mountains everywhere. Jammu and Kashmir is full of beautiful mountains, lakes and valleys. Most of the trekking routes are open for tourists during summer season while some remain open during winter also. It is the trekker’s choice that they want to explore jungles or hills. Some popular trekking routes in the state of Jammu and Kashmir are Jammu, Kishtwar, Ladakh and Gulmarg. These trekking routes comprise to be one of the very best camping sites you will ever find.

There are several trekking sites in Jammu and Kashmir but Ladakh is the king among them all. It is also known as the “Trekker’s Paradise”. Ladakh steals away the show when it comes to adventure sports. Ladakh is a breathtakingly beautiful place full of flowery meadows, delicious smelling wild orchards, snow capped mountain peaks, beautiful forests of coniferous and peaceful and calm rivers and lakes. Srinagar which is the capital city of Jammu and Kashmir is said to be the base camp for all kinds of trekking activities and trekking sites like Shankaracharya Hills and Zabarwan Hills.

Trekking in this part of Himalayas is not a child’s play and therefore requires extreme trekking experience. As a trekker you have to be fit, healthy and experienced to successfully trek in this place. The World’s Largest Glacier is the Siachen Glacier which is located outside the Polar Region. This Glacier is the toughest trekking site in this place. April to August is considered to be the best time to get involved in trekking activities in Jammu and Kashmir. But if you are interested in the traditional trekking season, then it starts in early June and ends in mid October. But you can have the Indus Valley Trekking season in May also. There are some trekking routes which are more prominent during autumn. This is because during summers rivers and lakes fill up the routes which make it impossible for trekkers to follow the track.

Some major trekking routes in Jammu and Kashmir are Amarnath Trek, Sonamarg Trek, Gulmarg Trek and the Thajiwas Trek. Amarnath is a place which is sought out by both pilgrims and trekkers. Its route leads to a scared cave which has a natural made ice sculpture of Lord Shiva. The Amarnath Trek can be divided into three stages: Chandawani, Sheshnag and Panchtami. As for Gulmarg it offers a memorable and excellent trekking experience in the Pir Panjal Range located in North Jammu and Kashmir.

Trekking in Gulmarg

The word Gulmarg means “Meadow of Flowers”. It is a sweet little hill station situated at an altitude of 2653 meter and located 51 kilometers away from the Srinagar, the capital city of Jammu and Kashmir. It is surrounded by tall and exquisite pine trees, huge fir trees and snow capped Himalayan range. The North Pir Panjal Region is the major trekking site that Gulmarg has. It is also famous because Nanga Parbat is visible from many viewing points here. Some of these viewing points are Khilanmarg which is located in the west of Gulmarg and is at a height of 1500 feet. The Pir Panjal when viewed from a distance looks round. It is only when you start climbing this hill you realize that its green slopes are smooth and are as steep as the Himalayan Mountains.

Trekking In Ladakh

Trekking in Ladakh is every trekker’s dream. The only condition is that you have to be extremely fit to successfully trek in this region. Even during the summer season the temperature drastically varies between day and night. The days are generally warm but sometimes it gets hot too because of the barren desert but nights can be exceptionally chilly requiring a good deal of extra clothing.

If you are thinking about visiting Ladakh make sure that you bring lots of woolens with you. For trekking purposes, a good pair of rubber trekking shoes is sufficient. You should bring woolen socks for trekking on ice otherwise cotton socks are sufficient. You would also need a sleeping bag which comes with insulate ground pads. It would keep you warm at night. These were all the necessary gear for a trekking trip to Ladakh.

You will pass a few villages and monasteries on your way but it is advisable that you carry all the important amenities with yourself. You don’t want to take a chance even if you have booked a decent place for your stay. If you are thinking about stretched out treks then you should carry all cooking amenities, water proof tent and other provisions.

Some additional things that you should carry with you on a trekking trip in Ladakh include woolen undergarments, Balaclava, wind Parkas, etc. You should carry all toiletries with you along with a first aid kit. It’s very cold here so make sure you carry products like lip balms, moisturizers, water purifying tablets, sunscreen, disinfectants, medicine for high altitude sickness, nausea, etc. If you are trekking in arid regions then you should carry a portable yet big water container to carry sufficient water in it. Carrying a flashlight with extra batteries is also a good idea. To protect yourself from high exposure to harmful UV rays you should carry sun glasses with good filter factor and a sun hat.

Ghans Galli (Boktol La)

This trekking region is situated in the East part of Kashmir and considered to be one of the best trekking places in the whole Himalayan Range. This place is sublime and the hospitality is amazing. You would have a time of your life here.

The Required Trekking Equipments

All important trekking gear is made available by Jammu and Kashmir Tourist Department. They are available for rent in Srinagar Office or Leh and Kargil Offices. Important items for purchase like two man tents, sleeping bags, insulated ground sheets and jackets, rucksacks and trekking shoes are available at these stores at a very affordable price. To promote tourism the Government itself sets a very reasonable price for these items. There are also some private stores which allow you to hire trekking gear at a good price.

Keeping the Environment Clean

The environment in Ladakh largely depends upon a stable ecology. Although the land is barren but the life and the livelihood of the inhabitants depend totally on the land. As a tourist it is your responsibility that you keep the trek routes of Jammu and Kashmir clean and tidy and don’t disturb the natural ecology of the place. When you start camp here you are advised that you don’t leave behind any kind of filth or garbage. Garbage should be properly buried but in case of plastic and polythene products, they should be properly burned.

Note: There are many travel agencies which also provide you the privilege of booking a trip in Jammu. For more details you have to contact TRC Tourist Office.

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