The Indian Himalayas are an excellent destination for trekking. There, trekkers can enjoy magnificent views of the pristine nature and the tranquillity of the mountains. For climbing enthusiasts, Hampi in southern India has become a hotspot in recent years. This article provides information on the possibilities of trekking and climbing in India and what you should take into account before entering the country. As for many other destinations, travellers from the UK always need to apply for a visa.
Trekking in the Himalayas
The Himalayas in North India are perfect for all kinds of trekking. The snow-capped peaks, breathtaking views and wild landscapes with alpine forests are guaranteed to be an unforgettable experience for those who venture into the mountains for a trek of several days.
The Himalayas stretch across the entire northern part of India, which means that treks here can be very diverse. The most popular and best regions for trekking are Ladakh, Himchal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh.
The recommended season for trekking in the Indian Himalayas varies depending on the region and the trek chosen. Generally, the recommended time for trekking in Ladakh is summer (between June and August).
In Himchal Pradesh and Uttrakhand, spring and autumn are the best times to travel, while in Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh, the best time to trek is autumn (September to November).
For trips to the north-western Himalayas, Delhi airport is normally the first point of arrival. Many tour operators offer transfers from the city to the mountains. If you want to travel to the north-eastern Himalayas you should fly into Guwahati airport.
Trekking and Visa
A visa is always required for travel to India. After the COVID pandemic, a series of disagreements between the UK and Indian governments meant that British citizens could not apply for an e-visa to India. Currently, the situation is still the same, and British citizens must apply for a traditional physical visa instead.
However, it is expected that this situation will change in the future and that applying for an e-visa to India will be possible again. You should also take into account that, for some treks and mountain expeditions, a permit is required and in rare cases, a special mountaineering visa is also required. Travellers should check with their tour operator in advance if a permit or special visa is required.
Bouldering in Hampi
The landscape of Hampi is characterised by rocks and granite monoliths of various sizes, which are excellent for bouldering. In this climbing paradise in the south of India, there are thousands of mountains of different degrees, so that climbers of all levels can get their money’s worth.
Especially in the intermediate grades, there is a great variety of bouldering here, very close to the ancient ruined town of Hampi, which is on the UNESCO list. Most bouldering sites are within walking distance of Hampi. You just have to cross the river and you are in the middle of a sea of boulders.
Trip to Hampi
Hampi is relatively easy to reach, as the town is well connected to the road network. The nearest international airport is situated in India’s third largest city, Bengaluru, about 350km away. From here you can either drive directly to Hampi or first take a train or bus to Hospet.
Hospet is the largest town near Hampi and is only 13 km away. From here there are different ways to reach Hampi. As the town is a popular tourist attraction, there are several buses running from Hospet to Hampi every day. If you don’t want to wait for the bus and don’t want to rent a car, you can also take an auto-rickshaw, which waits for arrivals right at the station and takes travellers to Hampi for a few euros.
India entry and visa
Whether you are travelling to India to hike, climb or for culture, you should always be aware of the entry rules. On the one hand, you should be aware that it is temporarily not possible to apply for an e-visa to India and that you will have to contact the embassy for this. On the other hand, you should also check the current measures regarding the coronavirus. You must complete an online declaration form on the Indian portal Air Suvidha, for which you will need a scan of your passport and a proof of vaccination against COVID-19 or a negative RT-PCR test, no older than 72 hours before departure.