Garhwal has long been known as a place which is associated with finding peace and spirituality. But not only this, it has also been growing as an adventure hub. The tranquil mountains with their snow-capped peaks are growing as a tourist destination. The landscape consists of lush meadows, thick forest cover, as well as pristine lakes. The Garhwal Himalayan range offers a score of adventure activities such as hiking, trekking, rafting, canoeing, kayaking, wildlife safaris, bungee jumping, rock climbing to name a few. Here are 14 places you should definitely visit if you want your adrenaline flowing.
1. Rishikesh: Yoga and white water rafting
This is definitely one of the most well known places in this region. Situated at a height of 370 m, Rishikesh is also known as ‘the world capital of yoga’. White water rafting is almost synonymous with Rishikesh. Rafting here starts from Kaudiyala and goes on till Laxman Jhula. Rafting in the Ganges means one can encounter rapids which range from the grad 2-4 or even more. The 36 km stretch is a dream for both experienced as well as amateur rafters. If not this, there are also other activities such as cliff diving, bungee jumping, kayaking, rock climbing, etc.
2. Beas: Angling and fishing
This is a river that is also very well known among all. Situated on the bank of the River Ganges, angling and fishing are some of the activities that one can do here; the best spot for this would be the Nayar rivulet.
3. Tehri: Trekking, rock climbing and cycling expeditions
Tehri is the site of the merging of the Bhagiratha and Bhilangna rivers, and very popular as a pilgrimage site for Hindus. Apart from this, Tehri is also growing as a trekking destination. Some noteworthy treks in this region are Nagtibba, Sehastra taal, and Khatling Glacier. There are also rock climbing and cycling expeditions that end at a height of 3200 m in Gangotri.
4. Rajaji National Park: Wildlife safaris, forest jaunts
This national park has been named after C Rajagopalachari, a leader during India’s struggle for freedom. The park is open to the public from the months of November to June. Spread out over 820 sq km, the park will give you immense scope for exploration. There is also an abundance of wildlife one can hope to encounter, and the park is a hub for wildlife enthusiasts. Species such as the tiger, panther, deer, wild boar, Himalayan black bear are just some of the species that are often spotted here. Various wildlife safaris are organised by the park authorities from time to time.
5. Dhanolti: Trekking, horse riding and mountain biking, camping
Situated a mere 24 km from Mussoorie, Dhanolti is also known to be a trekking hub for many. It is also a great leisure destination and popular for picnics and camping. Situated at a majestic height of over 2000 m, Dhanolti is the also the gateway to the Chandrabadni and Kunjapuri temples. Activities such as horse riding and mountain biking can also be done in these mountains.
6. Nanda Devi National Park: Trekking, nature walks
The Nanda Devi National Park has been bestowed with a world heritage site status, and encompasses a total of 630 sq km. Rare animals such as the Blue Mountain Goat, snow leopards, Himalayan musk deer Himalayan Tahr can be found here. If you want your trek to be comfortable and dotted with great sights, a walk through the park will give you beautiful glimpses of nature in the form of meadows, gorges, valleys, etc.
7. Valley of Flowers National Park: Trekking
As the name suggests, this national park is home to flowers. But not just regular flowers, but those of the exotic kinds. Inula, Himalayan Whorl, and cobra lily are just some of the flowers one can spot here. One can also trek to this national park, which begins from Govindghat. It is only a 3 km trek.
8. Auli: skiing, hiking
Auli is well known as one of the well known skiing spots in the Himalayan region. Not only this, Auli also has various breathtaking treks. One of the more popular ones is the Auli-Kuari Pass Tapovan trek via Gurson. Gurson Bugyal and Kwari Bugyal are two spots that are frequented by passing hikers who wish to camp. Two noteworthy places to visit in and around Auli are Chattrakund and Chenab Lake.
9. Chopta: Trekking, birding
This valley is famous for natural beauty and the surrounding forest of pine and Deodar. Trekking is also one of the activities an adventurous traveller can do here. Some popular treks that begin from Chopta are Chandrashilla, Tungnath, as well as Devariyatal. There is plenty for everyone as the birdwatchers will also be interested in spotting various migratory and alpine birds while trekking through the jungles.
10. Dayara Bugyal: Trekking, skiing
Dayara Bugyal offers one of the most amazing views of the Himalayan Range. Situated at 3038 m, the trek route commences from the village of Barsu. The main draw of this trek is the Barnala Tal, which is a natural lake sublimely beautiful. Not only this, Dayara Bugyal is also well known as one of the best ski destinations in the nation and has moderate to difficult skiing conditions. Also famous here is the Bedni Kund, which is place that holds immense religious significance to many.
11. Chakrata: Camping, soft treks
Chakrata is a town which is dotted with forests of deodar as well as a perfect view of the snow covered Himalayan ranges. These views will have you reaching for your cameras. The picturesque meadows, ancient temples and views of snow are some of the reasons Chakrata is well known. It is a good location for camping activities and non strenuous trek.
12. Harsil: Trekking
Harsil is a small village which can be found on the River Bhagirathi. Well known for apple orchards, the trek from Harsil to Chitkul which goes all the way from Lamkhaga pass is a memorable journey as alpine forests are scattered throughout the trek. This journey might also include you spotting an ibex, a fox, or various alpine birds if you’re lucky.
13. Dodital: Trekking, camping
Dodital is a well known freshwater lake in the Himalayan region and is located at a steep altitude of 3024 m. A well known fishing destination, getting to Dodital can be done via an easy yet engaging 21 km trek. This trek begins from Sangamchatti. This is also a well known destination for camping.
14. Har ki Doon: Moderate trekking
Har ki Doon is a picturesque valley in the Garhwal Himalayan region. It is located at the base of Fateh Parvat, and is located at a height of over 3,500 m. A trek to Har ki Doon commences from Sankari, and covers a total uphill climb of 14 km. As a result, it is a moderate trek and can be enjoyed by families or with young ones. There are also various shepherd villages on this trek which will spark your inquisitiveness.