New Route to Valley of Flowers

A new trekking route explored crossing Kunt kal pass in  Valley of Flowers of Garhwal Region.

Overview

There is something about the Himalayas not possessed by the Alps, something unseen and unknown, a charm that pervades every hour spent among them, a mystery intriguing and disturbing. Confronted by them, a man loses his grasp of ordinary things, perceiving himself as immortal, an entity capable of outdistancing all changes, all decay, all life, all death.

- Frank Smythe -

          A Valley in Garhwal Himalayas  gained  such a distinction & popularity in no time with name ' Valley of flowers '  after the  exploration by  Frank Smythe who is officially credited with discovering the Valley of Flower in year 1931 after his Kamet Expedition. 

        Frank Smythe camped in  valley of flowers  for couple of days to collect material for his book “ The Valley of Flowers” and took with him seeds for the Botanical Gardens in Edinburgh, Scotland. In furtherance of Smythe’s work,  Joan Margaret Legge went to the Valley of flowers in 1939 to study and collect  few more flowers. She camped at Valley of flowers for a few days, and unfortunately lost her life when she slipped from a rock while picking flowers in the valley. Later  a small memorial in the shape of a tombstone  in the valley of flowers. As a reminder of the great love she had for the Himalayas, inscribed on her marble tombstone, in valley of flowers are the following words –

                                    “I shall lift my eyes up to the mountains, from whence cometh my help.”

Valley of Flowers is at a height of 11000 feet to 14000 feet above sea level in western Himalayas. It is famous for its meadows of alpine flowers and outstanding natural beauty nearly 10 km in length, 2 km in width and concave in shape. Valley of flowers is divided along its length by a  river called the Pushpavati and several rivulets and waterfalls rush down from the glacial deposits to merge with it. The Pushpavati  joins the Laxman Ganga, flowing from Hemkund Sahib, at Ghangaria. This combined stream retains the Laxman Ganga till it meets Alaknanda river flowing from Badrinath  at Govind Ghat.

A massive snow mountain with snow called Ghoda Parvat and Rataban peak , blocks  valley of flowers at the other end. There is however, a traditional route which passes across a glacial pass at an altitude of 5091 mtr to Bank Kund and the pasture lands of the Gamsali Valley, via Bhuyandar Pass and eventually leads to Niti, the last Indian village on the border with Tibet. In valley of flowers, some of the flowers which can be seen are : Pink Primulas, Pedicularis, purple Campanullas , Erigerons , Golden Lily, creamy Anemones, large purple Asters, the rare white Androsace , the rosy-petalled Cypripedium,Morina Longifora, Green and chequered Fritillaries, pink Geranimus, purple , indigo-coloured Nomochairs, blue and yellow Pansies, the Himalayan Blue Poppy petals as blue as the ocean, white and red Potentillas, golden lilly, dwarf  Rhododendrons - Buransh,  Primulas in pink and blue and the deepest purple, Ranunculus, pink Epilobium, Bistorta and the heavily perfumed Brahma Kamal. The distance of Valley of flowers from Ghangria is 4 km  and of Hemkund Sahib is 5 km away.

             . The valley of flowers trek begins after crossing Alaknanda by a suspension bridge and then along a mountain path on the right bank of Laxman Ganga. The trek passes through dense vegetation and whispering forest and Laxman Ganga always appears to be hurrying down to meet Alaknanda down below. Then at 10th km of valley of flowers trek is the Bhyundar village from where a beautiful valley branches to Kagbhushandi taal. The Valley of Flowers trek continues along the Laxam Ganga and at 3 km from the Village, Laxman Ganga has to be crossed and then begins the final zigzag climb to Ghangaria. Ghangaria, nestled amidst the giant deodars, is conjuction  and  stopping  place for both Hemkund Sahib or Lokpal lake  and the Valley of Flowers. Camping in the Valley of Flowers National Park is not permitted , due to which visitors have to spend the night at Ghangaria only.

              After 45 years a new route opens for  Nature lovers at Bankund after crossing Ghangaria with Camping at Palsi Udiyar  and Crossing the Kunkal  Pass further reaching Hanumanchatti on Badrinath Road . Birds View of National Park and  Nilgiri peak is a experience of lifetime.

 

Everest Base Camp via Gokyo - Ri

Emerald Gokyo lakes and Cho La Pass

Overview

          Everest base camp trek including high altitude emerald Gokyo lakes and Cho La Pass   is one of the most adventurous trekking route in entire Everest region. The trekking trail is popularly known as Everest Circuit trekking. It follows the route over high altitude pass called Cho - La Pass at 5330 meters into Everest Base Camp. This trek begins from Lukla a  hamlet situated 2860 M . After one day acclimatization in Namche bazaar it follows all the way to Gokyo Lake. Explore glacier lake  around the Gokyo valley.  From Gokyo lake  two hour climb to the Gokyo-Ri (5480m). Here one can enjoy the  stunning view of  summit views of mountain scenery including 8000 m peaks such as Everest peak ,Makalu peak and Cho Oyo peak .

The thrilling part of the  whole trek is to cross Cho  La Pass (5330m) over moraine and snow and finally reaching at Dzongla. After Dzongla the trail continuing rises steadily lateral moraine from the crest. On the left at the head of this valley a snow covered glacier can  see which is another pass to the right of the Kangchung peak. The final ascent  to the Cho La pass is the most prominent part in this trekking. The Cho La Pass also known as a Chhugyuma La in Sherpa communities. After crossing glacier lake can be seen major snow peak in Everest region including Mt. Everest. The trail continues downhill icy and rocky before to reach easier Yak pastureland in Dzonglha at 4830m.

Everest Gokyo Chola pass trek is another exiting opportunities is to reach foot of the world  highest mountain mount Everest. After  visiting  Everest Base camp via Gorakshep the  ultimate goal is  to  climb the summit of Kalapathar (5545m) from where you enjoy a glimpse and panoramic view of Mt. Everest and surroundings.

During Everest Base camp downhill circuit  trek you will  pass through Tyangboche, a place where a famous magnificent monastery is located. We take a rest there and savor the incredible scenery enchaining views of Mt. Everest, Mt. Amadablam 6812 M - Popularly known as Mothers Necklace, Mt. Thamserku, Mt. Kangega, Mt. Kwangde, Mt. Nuptse etc and back to Lukla airport 2860 M . On the next morning you take flight to Kathmandu. 

Saraumga Pass

Saraumga Pass

Overview

          Considered as one of the pristine and most beautiful  valleys in Himachal , the Tosh is a feeder valley of the popular Parvati Valley which leads to the Pin - Parvati Pass. The Tosh Nallah meets the Parbati river at Pulga coming from the North. The Tosh valley is initially narrow but as you progress higher the valley starts to open up and you cross several beautiful meadows. At the head of the valley is the Tosh Glacier surrounded by some well known peaks: Papasura (6451m) & White Sail (6446m), Tiger Tooth peak etc. After crossing Sara Umga Pass, you descend into yet another beautiful  Lahaul valley.

Maldaru Lake

A Lake of Faith

Overview

          Lakes have always beeen considered as sacred and worshippped in mountainaous regions. There are Several High Altitude lakes and pristine waterbodies tucked away in the gharwal region of Himalayas. Maldaru Taal or lake  is one such  remote  ablong lake  located South – Eastern region of  Harkidhun valley  at a altitude of 4800 m above sea  level. The village folk  of Puoni , Osla and Dharkot  consider this lake as abode of  gods. The path towards  lake  Itself  is a  memorable experience. Walking through pine forest and  alpine meadows  of  Vishkopri  and  Raasi. The meadows carpeted with  flowers in various hues and colors is a feast to eyes. Walking on the ridge is really exillarating experience. View of Swargarohini  peak  6252 M from close quarters  standing  on the edge of lake  is unique experience. The aroma that emanates from the flowers Brahma Kamal , Phen Kamal which profusely grows there is feast to eyes.

Jotnu Pass & Manimahesh Kailash Parikrama

A Mountain of Faith

Overview

   A Pass seperating two of the faces  stands at a height of 4710 meters adjacent to Kailash peak and is also known as Dham Godi Pass. It is scenic and difficult trek too and the last leg of this trek requires superhuman effort. Only recommended for seasoned trekkers. Parikrama means circumambulation of the Manimahesh Kailash peak. This route is mostly preferred by Lahauli’s coming over the Kugti Pass. Of late, trekkers too have started venturing out here. The trek starts from Kugti Village, The local beliefs say that it is mandatory to visit the Kelang Wazir temple or Karthik Swamy located 4km off the track from the Kugti- Jotnu trail. And it is recommend that you do visit the temple because you get to see the Kailash Peak in its absolute glory. The first pit-stop comes at the Hanuman Mandir, where another trail coming from Bada Bhangal merges.

      Huge slippery boulders make the matters even worse. In case it is foggy, just cling to the feet of the Kailash Peak because that’s the safest way. After a long walk of a couple of kilometers you arrive at the Kamal Kund where from you can either go back to Dhancho or head towards the lake. There from you take a turn and move towards the Sukh Dali Pass.

     Manimahesh Lake is situated at 27 km from Bharmour at the foot of Manimahesh Kailash. Lord Shiva is believed to reside on this snow-covered mountain. The lake and peak are considered sacred and a fair called as Manimahesh fair (Manimahesh Yatra) is held at the lake each and every year in the month of August and September; the yatra held from Janamastmi to Radhastami each and every year. It is believed that on this occasion both Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati gets the bath in the Lake. For this holy moment lacks of peoples comes from the country and abroad to take holy dip in the Manimahesh Lake. Providing a rare occasion to see and study the customs and rituals of the local people. And the glorious views of Manimahesh Kailash in the morning and at the time of sun rising touches the hearts of visitors.

      Regarding Manimahesh Kailash it is said that no one has been able to climb to the peak. Local legends clarifying that people point out rock projections, human-like in appearance, and say that one is of a hermit, the other is of a shepherd, frozen stiff during their futile effort to reach the top of Manimahesh Kailash. Many holy places come in the way to Manimahesh, at the distance of 6 km from Hadsar, a Dhancho famous for water fall and after 5km from Dhancho Gaurikund come. Gauri is another name of Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva. A dip in this lake is considered sacred because it is believed that Parvati used to bath in this lake and only ladies are allowed to take dip in the kund. About one kilometer ahead is the Shiva Kalotri spring-said to have its source in Lord Shiva's feet. Two kilometer from Shiva  Kalotri Kamal kund is situated in the foot of Manimahesh Kailash. After a short run from Gauri kund reaches the Manimahesh Lake is shallow circular lake gives it an enchanting appearance. A roofless temple, conspicuous with many iron trinkets, is seen on the opposite side. For beginner trekkers Manimahesh trek is the best route for beginning as the gradient is good and also provide pilgrimage visit to Manimahesh Lake. Manimahesh Parikrama is a route which covers Manimahesh Kailash & Lake with round trip via Kugti village and back journey via Gaurikund and Dhancho.This route also covers the Famous Temple of ancient Chaurasi Temples & Goddess Brahmani Mata at Bharmour with Kartik temple and Mata Marali Temple at Kugti. The tentative route will like following and see the beautiful pictures of this trek.

Buran Ghati Pass

Buran Ghati Pass

Overview

    The Shimla district in Himachal is not known for treks but, if one speaks to locals and checks out the geology of the place then, it is a very convenient place for small and medium treks. One such trek is the Buran Ghati pass - A medium difficulty trek which can be undertaken between May-June and Sept-Oct. It is a direct route from Pabbar valley (Shimla district) into Sangla valley (Kinnaur District) of Himachal Pradesh and involves crossing of a 4578m high Buran Ghati or Barua Pass. Dhanwari, near Rohru in Shimla district, is the convenient road head and can be approached from Shimla via Theog and Jubbal. An ancient temple of Hatkoti between Jubbal and Rohru is an added attraction and has a tourist rest house. The trek ends in Kharcham which is a located at the junction of the Baspa and Satluj rivers, and is connected by road to Shimla. One can rest another day to visit the beautiful Kinnauri villages like Chitkul and Kalpa

Kailash Inner Core Full

Circumbalating the  Abode of Lord

Overview

Mt. Kailash is the most Sacred of all mountains of the world and is considered as the centre of the universe. In inner Kora Kailash Pilgrimage you get an opportunity to move very close up with this holiest mountain and also do parikarma of Nandi, the vehicle of Lord Shiva. In fact it is one of the most sacred and challenging tour among devotees. The journey involves climbing and camping . The route for inner kora is via Asthapad, visiting Sapta Rishi Cave and parikarma of Nandi you drive back to Kathmandu night halting at Darchen, Saga and Nyalam. The Nomenclature, Orthography and Entomology of Sacred Mountain.
It can be derived from the word 'kelasa' which means crystal. In Tibetan dictionary Chandra identifies the entry for kai la sha which is a loan word in Sanskrit 'kailasa'. The Tibetan name for the mountain is 'KANGS RIN-PO CHE'. Gangs or kangs is a Tibetan wordfor snow peak which means is an honourific meaning 'precious stone'. So the combined word may be translated as'precious jewels of snow'."Tibetan Buddhists call it Kangri Rinpoche; 'Precious Snow Mountain'. Bon texts have many names: Water's Flower, Mountain of Sea Water, Nine Stacked Swastika Mountain. For Hindus, it is the home of the mountain god Shiva and a symbol of his power symbol om; for Jains it is where their first leader was enlightened; for Buddhists, the navel of the universe; and for adherents of Bon, the abode of the sky goddess Sipaimen'' Another local name is Tise mountain which derives from ti tse meaning 'water peak' or 'river peak' in Zhang-Zhou language connoting the mountain status as the source of mythical lion, Horse. Peacock & elephant rivers. In fact, the Indus, Yarlug-Tsangpo/Dihang/Brahmaputra, Karnali & Satluj all begin at the Kailash- Mansarovar region.
RELIGIOUS SIGNIFICANCE:-
In Hinduism : According to Hinduism, Lord Shiva- the destroyer of ignorance & illusion resides at the summit of the legendary mountain KAILASA, where he sits in perpetual meditation along with his wife Parvati. According to Charles Allen, one description in 'Vishnu Purana' states that its 4 faces are made up of ruby, crystal, gold & lapiz lazuli. It is the pillar of the world at the heart of 6 mountain ranges. The ancient 'Koneshwaram temple' is heralded as 'Dakshin Kaliasam'because it lies in the same longitude as Mount Kailash & due to its pre-eminence in Saivite belief. Koneshwaram early black granite cut architectural shared similarities between to the famous Kailashnathar temple.Many of the Kailasanathar temples sculptures and reliefs depict episodes relating to Lord Shiva and Maa Parvati, including Ravana's tale. (Ravana was a devotee of Lord Shiva. Ramayana does not document Ravana shaking the mountain.) Ravana's mother had fallen ill. As they were great Lord Shiva devotees, he had attempted to carry the temple on his back to bring it closer to his mother. Shiva, being stunned by his boldness, had blessed him with immortality as Ravana had passed Lord Shiva's test of devotion.
IN JAINISM : Kailash is also known as Meru Parvat or Sumeru. Ashtapada, the mountain next to Mt.Kailash is the site where the first Jain TIRTHANKARA, 'Rishabdeva' attained Nirvana (moksha).
IN BUDDHISM : Tantric Buddhists believes that Mount Kailash is the home Buddha Demchok also known as Demchog (or Chakrasamvara). There are numerous sites in this region depicting & associated with Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava) whose tantric sites around Tibet are finally credited with establishing Buddhism as main religion of the country in 7th- 8th century CE.
IN BON : The Bon, a religion which predates Buddhism in Tibet, maintain that the entire mystical region & nine- story 'Swastika' mountain are the' SEAT OF ALL SPIRITUAL POWER'.
PILGRIMAGE
Every year thousands make a pilgrimage to Kailash, following a tradition going back thousands of years. Pilgrims of several regions believe that circumbalating Mount Kailash on foot is a holy ritual that will bring good fortune. The peregrination is made in a clockwise direction by Hindus & Buddhists. Followers of Jain & Bongpo religions circumbalate in anti-clockwise direction. The path around Mount Kailash is 52 km (32miles ) long. Some pilgrims believe that the entire walk around Kailash should be made in a single day, which is not considered an easy task. A person in good shape walking fast would take perhaps 15 hours to complete the 52 km trek. Some of the devout do accomplish this feat, little daunted by the uneven terrain, altitude sickness and harsh conditions faced in the process. Indeed, other pilgrims venture a much more demanding regimen, performing body-length prostrations over the entire length of the circumambulation: The pilgrim bends down, kneels, prostrates full-length, makes a mark with his fingers, rises to his knees, prays, and then crawls forward on hands and knees to the mark made by his/her fingers before repeating the process. It requires at least four weeks of physical endurance to perform the circumambulation while following this regimen.

Kailash Location: Western Tibet
Altitude: 23,080 Ft. above sea level.
Base Camp: Darchen 14950 Ft. above sea level
Climate: Unpredictable (Max 20 Degree Centigrade to Min –10 Degree Centigrade)
Beliefs: Hindu, Buddhist, Jains, BanPo (all AMU followers)

 

Animal Pass

Overview

The Tosh is a feeder valley of the popular Parvati Valley which leads to the Pin Parvati Pass. The Tosh Nallah meets the Parbati river at Pulga coming from the North. The Tosh valley is initially narrow but as you progress higher the valley starts to open up and you cross several beautiful meadows. At the head of the valley is the Tosh Glacier surrounded by some well known peaks: Papasura (6451m) & White Sail (6446m).

Kailash Inner Core

Circumbalating the  Abode of Lord

Overview

Mt. Kailash is the most Sacred of all mountains of the world and is considered as the centre of the universe. In inner Kora Kailash Pilgrimage you get an opportunity to move very close up with this holiest mountain and also do parikarma of Nandi, the vehicle of Lord Shiva. In fact it is one of the most sacred and challenging tour among devotees. The journey involves climbing and camping . The route for inner kora is via Asthapad, visiting Sapta Rishi Cave and parikarma of Nandi you drive back to Kathmandu night halting at Darchen, Saga and Nyalam. The Nomenclature, Orthography and Entomology of Sacred Mountain.
It can be derived from the word 'kelasa' which means crystal. In Tibetan dictionary Chandra identifies the entry for kai la sha which is a loan word in Sanskrit 'kailasa'. The Tibetan name for the mountain is 'KANGS RIN-PO CHE'. Gangs or kangs is a Tibetan wordfor snow peak which means is an honourific meaning 'precious stone'. So the combined word may be translated as'precious jewels of snow'."Tibetan Buddhists call it Kangri Rinpoche; 'Precious Snow Mountain'. Bon texts have many names: Water's Flower, Mountain of Sea Water, Nine Stacked Swastika Mountain. For Hindus, it is the home of the mountain god Shiva and a symbol of his power symbol om; for Jains it is where their first leader was enlightened; for Buddhists, the navel of the universe; and for adherents of Bon, the abode of the sky goddess Sipaimen'' Another local name is Tise mountain which derives from ti tse meaning 'water peak' or 'river peak' in Zhang-Zhou language connoting the mountain status as the source of mythical lion, Horse. Peacock & elephant rivers. In fact, the Indus, Yarlug-Tsangpo/Dihang/Brahmaputra, Karnali & Satluj all begin at the Kailash- Mansarovar region.
RELIGIOUS SIGNIFICANCE:- 
In Hinduism : According to Hinduism, Lord Shiva- the destroyer of ignorance & illusion resides at the summit of the legendary mountain KAILASA, where he sits in perpetual meditation along with his wife Parvati. According to Charles Allen, one description in 'Vishnu Purana' states that its 4 faces are made up of ruby, crystal, gold & lapiz lazuli. It is the pillar of the world at the heart of 6 mountain ranges. The ancient 'Koneshwaram temple' is heralded as 'Dakshin Kaliasam'because it lies in the same longitude as Mount Kailash & due to its pre-eminence in Saivite belief. Koneshwaram early black granite cut architectural shared similarities between to the famous Kailashnathar temple.Many of the Kailasanathar temples sculptures and reliefs depict episodes relating to Lord Shiva and Maa Parvati, including Ravana's tale. (Ravana was a devotee of Lord Shiva. Ramayana does not document Ravana shaking the mountain.) Ravana's mother had fallen ill. As they were great Lord Shiva devotees, he had attempted to carry the temple on his back to bring it closer to his mother. Shiva, being stunned by his boldness, had blessed him with immortality as Ravana had passed Lord Shiva's test of devotion.
IN JAINISM : Kailash is also known as Meru Parvat or Sumeru. Ashtapada, the mountain next to Mt.Kailash is the site where the first Jain TIRTHANKARA, 'Rishabdeva' attained Nirvana (moksha).
IN BUDDHISM : Tantric Buddhists believes that Mount Kailash is the home Buddha Demchok also known as Demchog (or Chakrasamvara). There are numerous sites in this region depicting & associated with Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava) whose tantric sites around Tibet are finally credited with establishing Buddhism as main religion of the country in 7th- 8th century CE.
IN BON : The Bon, a religion which predates Buddhism in Tibet, maintain that the entire mystical region & nine- story 'Swastika' mountain are the' SEAT OF ALL SPIRITUAL POWER'.
PILGRIMAGE
Every year thousands make a pilgrimage to Kailash, following a tradition going back thousands of years. Pilgrims of several regions believe that circumbalating Mount Kailash on foot is a holy ritual that will bring good fortune. The peregrination is made in a clockwise direction by Hindus & Buddhists. Followers of Jain & Bongpo religions circumbalate in anti-clockwise direction. The path around Mount Kailash is 52 km (32miles ) long. Some pilgrims believe that the entire walk around Kailash should be made in a single day, which is not considered an easy task. A person in good shape walking fast would take perhaps 15 hours to complete the 52 km trek. Some of the devout do accomplish this feat, little daunted by the uneven terrain, altitude sickness and harsh conditions faced in the process. Indeed, other pilgrims venture a much more demanding regimen, performing body-length prostrations over the entire length of the circumambulation: The pilgrim bends down, kneels, prostrates full-length, makes a mark with his fingers, rises to his knees, prays, and then crawls forward on hands and knees to the mark made by his/her fingers before repeating the process. It requires at least four weeks of physical endurance to perform the circumambulation while following this regimen.

Kedar Tal

Overview

This fascinating ten day trip takes one to Gangotri , the ancient source of the holy river Ganga and onwards to one of the most picturesque  high altitude  lakes - theKedar tal (4912 mts)! The lake acts like an observation post for the Greater Himalayan peaks e.g. Thaleysagar (6904 mts), Brigupanth (6772 mts) and Jogin Group of peaks, and this area is used by mountaineers as a staging point for scaling the surrounding mountains. The unspoilt lake fed by the  Kedar glacier and is also the life source of river Kedarganga, a tributary of Bhagirathi, considered as lord Shiva,’s contribution to Bhagirathi. One has a fair chance of witnessing a varied variety of high altitude fauna e.g. Bharal (blue sheep), Goral, Himalayan black bear and a great variety of birds, during the course of the trek. Though a bit strenuous, the rewards of going on this trek are very high indeed.

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