India is full of exotic wildlife, fascinating people, and outstanding scenery! Many of these are best viewed up close and personal whilst hiking, trekking, camping or just wandering around the streets and alleyways sampling some of the delicious local delicacies on offer.
Whether it is taking a scenic heritage street tour, a guided tour of Chandni Chowk, walking leisurely through Lodi Gardens taking in the stunning Mogul architecture, mosques, 15th and 16th century tombs, or whether you opt for one of the many trekking holidays on offer on the outskirts of Delhi, there is definitely something to suit everyone from the beginner to the hardened trekker. There are various trekking destinations near Delhi that are enthralling. The diversity of India means that you can go trekking in the Himalayas, go desert trekking in Rajasthan, wander through the Valley of the Flowers in Uttarakand and then climb up to Hemkund Sahib (a sacred Gurudwara by a glacial lake in the Himalayas) or trek through the holy city of Rishikesh where you can also go white water rafting and bathe in the sacred river Ganges.
It situated in the Pauri Garhwal disctrict in the state of Uttarakand. This is the closest hill station to Delhi and it is only 245 km away. Two trains depart from Delhi daily, the Mussorie Express and the Garhwal Express. Haridwar is the easiest place to start your journey to Lansdowne. You can take the bus from Haridwar to Kotdwara. Within a five hours’ drive or short train journey, you can rest beside Bulla Lake and trek through the spectacular oak, pine, bamboo and silver fir forests that cover 1700 meters. You can also or visit Tarkeshwar Mahadev Temple, one of the oldest “sidhapeethss” in India, and its holy Shiv Linga. You can visit St Mary’s Church and also take time out to see the War Memorial and Rifle Centre or view the stunning scenery from the Tip-n-Top restaurant.
The Valley of Flowers National Park in Garhwal Hills
A little further away in Uttarakand, is The Valley of Flowers National Park in Garhwal Hills, West Himalaya. This is approximately 500 km from Delhi and starts at Joshimath, near Nanda Devi National Park, Govind Ghat, Ghangaria, Uttaranchal. Standing at 3600 meters above sea level, it is famous for its meadows of alpine flowers.. Here you may be lucky enough to see some of the wildlife of India. Home to the snow leopard, brown bear, Asiatic black bear, deer and so on there are also a great many plant species and medicinal plants. From Govind Ghat, if you wish, you can also climb the 19km trail to Hemkund Sahib, a sacred Sikh Gurudwara sitting next to a glacial lake. Due to heavy snow fall and inaccessible paths, this is only open from October till April. Overnight stays are not permitted at Hemkund Sahib so you have to leave by 2pm to make it back by nightfall.
This is another trekkers' paradise in Uttarakhand in the district of Chamoli. You can travel to Lohajung or Wan and then start your trek to Ran ki Dhar. On view are temples, Himalayan peaks, waterfalls, a lake and the beautiful meadows of Bedni Bugyal and Ali. Also worth a mention is the Roopkund Mystery Lake where human skeletons and artefacts were discovered in the lake. With a depth of only 2 meters, you can easily see the skeletons and artifacts lying on the bottom of the lake when the snow melts. No one knows the exact origin of the skeletons, or the exact date, but their existence has given the lake the nickname “Skeleton Lake”. There are over 30000 feet of forests and the extremely high and exciting treks make this a definite for all trekking lovers. Although very high altitude, Roopkund trekking can be completed by beginners.
It is only 20km from the holy city of Haridwar and 5 hours drive from Delhi. Here you can go for trekking, white water rafting in the Ganges, try bunjee jumping in India’s only bunjee jumping centre, and camp by the river. in one of the many adventure camps. You can also visit the 120 year old Kailas Ashram Brahmavidyapeetham promoting vedantic studies or take in the spirituality of the area bathing in the Ganges, Haridwar, Lakshman Jhula, the temples and Gurudwaras etc.
Corbett National Park
It is a 4 hour drive from Delhi in the Nainital district. Here you can try jungle trekking, a jeep safari, elephant safari, nature trails and camping. A tiger reserve, you can also see deer, wolves, elephants etc in the stunning nature reserve.
Travelling to Rajasthan from Delhi is not difficult. Only about 6 hours by car and an easy bus ride away, Jaipur is worth seeing. Rajasthan’s Aravali range is thought to be one of the world’s oldest mountain ranges (3200 billion years). Some treks here take you through Ranakpur where you can catch a glimpse of the famous Jain Temples.Impressive sights of Jaipur are Nahargarh Fort, the Hawa Mahal palace, Amer Fort and the Jantar Mantar observatorhy. Tired of walking you also can take time out to sample the camel safaris on offer by companies situated on the many sandy deserts close by.