Optima Travels organizes excursions to the Himalayas in India, Sikkim, Nepal and Bhutan. The Himalayas, meaning “Home or House of Snow”, is a mountain range of 14 peaks over 8,000 meters high and several of the world's largest glaciers. It covers about 3000 km and separates the Indian subcontinent from Central Asia. From a geological point of view, the Himalayas is a young mountain that arose as a result of a collision of the Indo-Australian plate with the Eurasian plate. Mount Everest is the highest peak with a height of 8848 meter.
This gigantic mountain range begins in the west, on the northern border of Pakistan, and crosses the Indian states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Sikkim, the Himalayan kingdoms of Nepal and Bhutan to the eastern foothills of Burma (Myanmar). The Tibetan plateau forms the northern limit of this chain of mountains.
The Himalayas make us dream and challenge sports. Hiking is not the only way to discover the Himalayas, but trekking is definitely an exciting way to explore it and discover the beauty of the high mountains. In the picturesque villages and on the summer pastures, you will meet the local farmers, join the pilgrims, the sadhus and the monks on their way to the holy places and through them will experience the cultural and religious diversity of the region.
In almost all regions you will find paths and roads that connect the villages. You will cross pastures and high-altitude passes that are frequently used by local mountaineers who move from one valley to another. Mountain paths and mountain passes generally do not require special skills or special equipment. But there are some great hikes that require a certain level of training and good equipment, such as the Nanda Devi Sanctuary trek or paths passing several high mountain passes that require special equipment to cross the glaciers.
Those who do not like to walk can explore the Himalayas by jeep. Multi-day jeep safaris include visiting monasteries and temples and crossing mountain passes with breathtaking views of snow-capped peaks. If your desires are more extravagant, helicopters and planes are available. The Himalayas become a popular destination for winter sports. You will go skiing or snowboarding on the endless snow fields, breathtaking beauty.
Hiking in the Indian Himalayas is a popular tourist activity, and can be tailored to everyone's needs. There are hikes for all tastes, short and long, which will take you to the remote mountain villages and several days trekking with local guides and luggage carriers where you will enjoy spectacular views. You will find in almost all the Himalayan valleys rural hamlets, and the mountaineers are traditionally very hospitable with the hikers.
In Ladakh, the "country of the high passes", the capital Leh is the starting point for hiking and visits of isolated monasteries. This mountainous landscape is an arid steppe marked by traces of extreme drought. Buddhism is the main religion, and it is necessary to visit the ancient monasteries which are open to tourists. Many festivals where dancers wear colorful masks are offered in the monasteries.
In the beautiful region of Garhwal lies the source of the sacred Ganges in the midst of breathtaking natural beauty and you will discover innumerable Hindu pilgrimage centers. The most popular route is via Rishikesh, an important place for yoga and meditation, passing through the mountain village of Gaurikund and arriving in the sacred pilgrimage town of Kedarnath.
The city of Dharamshala, near the mountain station McLeod Ganj, is the Dalai Lama's Indian residence and a famous tourist center in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. Several thousand Tibetan exiles have found refuge there and established a community according to Tibetan traditions with different centers of Tibetan culture. The area offers magnificent hiking trails.
Sikkim, which has opened its doors to a limited tourism, seduces by its luxuriant vegetation and the paradisiacal atmosphere of the eastern Himalayas. Around the imposing Kanchenjunga, the third highest mountain in the world, the traveler is welcomed by a magnificent landscape, torrents, turquoise lakes, terraced rice fields, orange groves and pine forests.
Other than Himalayas, other mountain ranges like Satpura, Vindhyas, Western Ghat etc are also home some nice hill stations. Munnar in Kerala, Ooty in Tamil Nadu, Mount Abu in Rajasthan, Panchmarhi in Madhya Pradesh etc are famous hill stations in other parts of India. These hill staions are known for excellent ambience for holidaying.