Fascinating Tales About How Some Of India’s Most Well-known Treks Acquired Their Names


It was April 2021. We had simply began from Tapoban, the bottom camp of our Kuari Go trek. We had trekked for hardly two hours, when commanding views of Mt.Dronagiri introduced us to a halt. Our trek chief determined it was the proper time for a break, to enlighten us with tales of the mountains and trails. 

He took us again to 1905, when Lord Curzon, the then Viceroy Common of India and an avid trekker, was on a quest to discover the mountain ranges of the Garhwal area. So smitten was he by the pristine fantastic thing about this land, that he requested his native guides the native translation for the phrase ‘virgin.’ “Kuari,” they stated. Thus was born the Kuari Go Trek.

Kuari Pass - Trek - Indiahikes
Kuari Go is a kind of particular treks that lets you rise up shut with few of the most important Himalayan peaks with very much less effort. Image by Valay Bhatt.

Fairly fittingly, the Kuari Go Trek is often known as the Lord Curzon Path.

As I researched this text, I spotted that the majority trails have a narrative behind them — some extra apparent than others and a few shrouded in fables and folklore. Realizing these anecdotes isn’t nearly simply listening to a narrative. It offers a depth, a perspective that makes one respect all the expertise a lot extra. 

If you’re about to set off on any of those treks, I hope, realizing these tales; some truth, some fiction, provides to the magic of your journey.

1. Tarsar Marsar Kashmir Trek

Extensively thought-about one in every of India’s prettiest trails, the Tarsar Marsar Kashmir Trek takes you to 2 of probably the most stunning alpine lakes of the nation. However behind the shimmering waters and crystal clear mountain reflections lurks a story of thriller. 

Trek Chief Vijeet Shaw provides me the lowdown. “Tarsar is taken into account to be sacred, a lake that’s blessed. Marsar, then again, is taken into account to be cursed. And there’s a motive for it. 

“Native legend is that there as soon as was a shepherd who took his sheep grazing in these valleys. Someday, his herd ended up going near Marsar and unintentionally wandered into the lake. He ran after them however sadly, that they had already gone too deep into the lake. 

“For the subsequent couple of days, the shepherd stored hoping his sheep would come again, however to no avail. Nearly on the verge of giving up, he appeared as much as the skies and prayed to the heavens. 

“God heard his enchantment and instructed the shepherd to go to Tarsar Lake. He advised him that he would discover his herd there. At Tarsar, the shepherd discovered his sheep rising from the lake, one after the other. 

“The shepherd bought curious and determined to seek out out the place the sheep have been rising from. However God cautioned him from doing so. Not paying heed to the recommendation, he went into the lake, on the lookout for the remainder of his herd. It turned out to be a mistake. The sheep that had already emerged from the lake bought to the security of the shore, however the remainder of the herd by no means got here out.

Tarsar Marsar - Trek - Indiahikes
The hanging blues of Tarsar Lake. Image by – Kishan Harwalkar.

“That’s how the lakes bought their identify – Marsar means the lake that kills (‘Mar’ means to kill and ‘sar’ means lake in Kashmiri) and Tarsar means a lake that provides life, that resuscitates (‘Tar’ refers to ‘तैरना’ or to swim).

“Even right now, locals are frightened of going close to the lake or touching its waters. And for that motive, no person camps round Marsar, and it’s an remoted lake. You possibly can watch it from a distance, however you can not contact its waters,” sums up Vijeet. 

2. Valley of Flowers Trek

One of the in style trails in India, the Valley of Flowers Trek wants no introduction. Yearly, tons of of trekkers from around the globe make their method by the valley to marvel at near 500 species of flowering vegetation and pay their respects at Hemkund Sahib.

The identify is so simple as it will get. However what’s attention-grabbing is how the valley was found and named.

Valley Of Flowers - Trek - Indiahikes
A path by the valley with flowers on both sides. Image by – Rupesh Thakre.

Trek Chief Nitesh Kumar narrates the story.

“In 1931, a British mountaineer referred to as Frank Smythe was making an attempt to climb Mt Kamet together with a handful of different explorers. After a profitable summit climb, the group misplaced their method. On the best way down, they discovered themselves in a valley coated in mist and clouds. When the fog cleared, they seen that all the valley was a carpet of flowers. Frank Smythe discovered himself in a setting so gorgeous that he thought he had died and gone to heaven. 

It was solely after six years of learning flowers and studying gardening that Smythe returned to the valley once more. Armed with intensive data of the area’s flowers and a deeper appreciation of the valley’s splendor, Smythe christened the area ‘Valley of Flowers.’ He additionally wrote and revealed a ebook titled The Valley of Flowers in 1937. 

That’s when the entire world bought to learn about this place. It was 51 years later that the Valley of Flowers was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Website, in 1988,” says Nitesh. 

3. Gaumukh Tapovan Trek

Half pilgrimage, half journey, Gaumukh Tapovan is among the earliest established treks in India. Younger and previous come from close to and much chanting Jai Gange and Har Har Gange to be within the presence of the holiest river of India — the Ganga. Whereas trekking alongside its waters is an expertise in itself, realizing the importance behind the identify ‘Gaumukh Tapovan’ makes the journey a mystical one. 

Gaumukh Tapovan - Trek - Indiahikes
The snow white Mt Shivling at midnight of the evening. Image by Nitish Walia.

Nitesh talks concerning the mythology related to the trek. 

“You possibly can hint the story of Gaumukh Tapovan again to the BC interval. 

Gaumukh is the origin of the River Bhagirathi, which later merges with the Alaknanda to kind the River Ganga. The Bhagirathi River derives its identify from a king named Bhagirath, who is claimed to have introduced the Ganga from the heavens to the Earth. 

The story goes that King Bhagirath, who was the ruler of the Sagara dynasty, gave up his kingdom to atone for the curse laid upon his ancestors by Saint Kapila. He headed to the Himalayas to hope to Goddess Ganga to return down upon Earth to purify his dynasty of the sins of his ancestors. 

Happy by his devotion, Goddess Ganga appeared earlier than him and agreed to descend from the heavens. She, nevertheless, warned Bhagiratha that Earth wouldn’t have the ability to deal with her energy. She might come down provided that her powers have been reined in, and the one one that might do this was Lord Shiva. 

King Bhagiratha approached Lord Shiva and requested him to regulate Ganga’s fury. 

That’s when Lord Shiva wrapped Ganga round his jata (his hair) thereby controlling her circulation. He then let her enter Earth from a glacier within the Himalayas. The snout of the glacier was formed just like the face of a cow or Gau mukh— a deep symbolism in Hinduism because it represents Nandi, Lord Shiva’s car.

“Tapovan, then again, interprets to holy land of penance. And the way stunning is it that proper on the coronary heart of Tapovan, you see Mount Shivling, a type of Lord Shiva?” says Nitesh. 

With a gradual stream of trekkers doing the troublesome climb to see the awe-inspiring Mt.Shivling, its attract and distinct non secular vibe stay undiminished. 

4. Ali Bedni Bugyal Trek and Brahmatal Lake Trek

It’s not simply the basecamp of Lohajung and majestic views of Mt.Trishul and Mt.Nanda Ghunti that the Ali Bedni Bugyal and Brahmatal Lake treks share in frequent. On these adjoining trails, trekkers can see the expansive meadows of Ali Bedni Bugyal from Brahmatal prime and vice versa. It’s, subsequently, no shock that the tales of those two trails are inextricably tied collectively. 

Trek Chief Syama Krishna throws gentle on the legends surrounding the meadows and mountains of those trails – 

“It’s believed that Lord Brahma wrote the Vedas from totally different elements of the world. One of many locations the place he wrote part of the Vedas is considered Bedni Bugyal. Actually, Bedni Bugyal derives its identify from “Ved,” known as ‘Mattress(h)’ within the Garhwali language. Bedni Bugyal actually interprets to Meadow of the Vedas. 

Ali Bedni Bugyal - Trek - Indiahikes.
An imposing Mt Trishul rising behind Bedni Bugyal in month of April. Image by Tarun Gupta.

That is the place the story of Brahmatal is available in. 

When Lord Brahma was writing the Vedas sitting within the meadows, he wanted to moist the tip of his finger to show a leaf in his ebook. He wanted pure water to show the pages with, and thus Lord Brahma created Brahmatal. “Tal” means lake in Hindi and Garhwali. The identify actually interprets to Brahma’s Lake.” 

Brahmatal - Trek - Indiahikes.
The frozen Brahmatal Lake in winter. Image by Gajendra Kumar.

Non secular or not, realizing that you’re strolling the lands the place the Vedas might need been written provides a sure attract that can not be quantified. 

5. Roopkund Trek

The Roopkund Trek holds a really particular place for Indiahikes. In 2007, Arjun Majumdar, CEO, and founding father of Indiahikes wrote an in depth account of his trek to Roopkund that caught the creativeness of trekkers across the nation. This propelled him to begin Indiahikes in 2008, saying the primary organized trek to Roopkund.

Roopkund - Trek - Indiahikes
Trekkers standing by the Roopkund lake at 15,750 ft. This image was shot in summer season (Could) by Ravi Singh Rana.

Roopkund Trek is a trek surrounded by lores and legends! Whereas the most well-liked tales surrounding Roopkund are associated to the skeletons discovered within the lake, Nitesh advised me the story behind how and why the lake and trek bought its identify. 

“This can be a story that not many individuals know,” narrates Nitesh. “There was a fierce battle between Goddess Ambika (Durga’s incarnation) and a demon referred to as Raktabija. Maa Ambika was joined on this battle by the Matrikas or divine moms. However they discovered it robust to defeat him. 

Raktabija had a boon that each drop of blood that fell from him would flip right into a clone of Raktabija. Quickly, the battlefield was stuffed with duplicates of the asura. 

To assist the Devis, Parvati took the type of Maa Kali. She prevented even a drop of blood from touching the bottom by amassing it in a bowl and ingesting it. She went on to kill the opposite Raktabijas that had emerged from his blood drops by swallowing them complete. Nonetheless, even after Raktabija was destroyed, Maa Kali’s fury didn’t subside. She went on a rampage demolishing every thing that was in her path. Nothing and no person might assist her get out of this fury. 

It was then that Lord Shiva was referred to as upon to place an finish to Maa Kali’s rage. Shiva went and lay down on the prime of Kalu Vinayak, a steep hill close to Bhagwabhasa. Unaware of her actions or environment, Maa Kali stepped on Lord Shiva unintentionally. 

As quickly as she realized that it was her husband underneath her ft, Kali was extraordinarily ashamed of her actions, and her tongue got here out.

This act introduced her to her senses. Lord Shiva proceeded to calm her down and requested her to return with him to Kailasa. At that time, Maa Parvati checked out her reflection within the small glacial tarn and realized that she wanted to return to her authentic kind earlier than going again to Kailasa. She proceeded to beautify herself, her roop, and that’s how the tarn bought the identify Roop Kund. ‘Kund’ means small lake within the native language.” 

6. Kedarkantha Trek

The Himalayas are thought-about the abode of Lord Shiva, and you’ll hear tales about Shankar Mahadev on many treks, together with the Kedarkantha trek. 

Kedarkantha interprets to Shiva’s (Kedar) throat (kanth).

There’s a really attention-grabbing story behind this. It’s believed that when the Pandavas have been journeying by the Himalayas, they needed to hunt Lord Shiva’s blessings. Shiva, nevertheless, didn’t need to meet them and remodeled himself right into a bull. 

Nonetheless, Bhima acknowledged that the bull was none aside from Lord Shiva and rushed after him. To get away from the Pandavas, Shiva hid, and through the entire course of, the elements of his physique bought separated from one another and landed at totally different locations. The locals consider that Shiva’s throat landed on this mountain and thus the identify Kedarkantha. 

Kedarkantha - Trek - Indiahikes
The golden hour! With snow altering its color from pure white to golden. Image by HarshitChawla.

It’s attention-grabbing to notice that Juda Ka Talab, a lake that comes on the best way to Kedarkantha prime, can also be stated to have been fashioned when Lord Shiva, who was meditating there, let his hair free and the water dripping from his Juda fell on the bottom and fashioned the lake. 

Speak about thriller and mystique! And but, there are such a lot of extra to listen to and know. One of the simplest ways to seek out out concerning the historical past of your trek is to ask your Trek Chief, native guides, and kitchen workers who accompany you on the path. Consider us once we say they’re a wealth of data! 

The Legacy Of Indiahikes – Exploring And Naming A few of India’s Most Standard Trails

At Indiahikes, our endeavor has all the time been to discover and current new trails in a number of the most pristine and untouched elements of our nation and allow you to expertise the transformative nature of trekking. 

Among the treks that we popularized have been trails that have been already established, corresponding to Kedarkantha. We now have introduced new routes such because the EBC by way of Gokyo Ri for some well-known treks, and for nonetheless others, we have now mixed a number of trails to present trekkers a extra full expertise. Examples of this are the Har Ki Dun – Ruinsara or the Deoriatal Chandrashila Trek. 

However, for some, we’ve had the consideration of exploring virgin trails and even naming them. Two of those have been the Kashmir Nice Lakes Trek and the Phulara Ridge Trek. 

We went straight to the explorers themselves to seek out out the again story of how these treks have been found and named.

Arguably, one of the vital stunning trails in our nation, the Kashmir Nice Lakes Trek, or KGL as it’s popularly identified, was explored by Sandhya, the cofounder of Indiahikes, method again in 2011. 

“Throughout 2010-2011, we explored many treks in Uttarakhand, Himachal, Sikkim, and even Ladakh. We thought that if there was one thing else we needed to discover, it must be very totally different from all these. Arjun steered Kashmir since he felt that the great thing about Kashmir was unmatched by the rest. Kashmir was somewhat past our creativeness and was popping out of troubled instances. Tourism was beginning to choose up, and trekking was remarkable. 

Since Kashmir was well-known for its lakes, we began researching and discovered a cluster of lakes ranging from Sonmarg. Folks both did the start lakes or the top ones on this path, however we thought, why not make a path that connects all of those. This trek didn’t have a reputation earlier than this.

We gave this exploration a reputation – The Kashmir Nice Lakes Trek. We didn’t know the way these lakes have been. We simply knew that we might join the path to all of those. We had this perception that because it was in Kashmir, it could be stunning. However once we went there, it surpassed all our expectations.  

We named the trek with out seeing a single {photograph} and our hunch turned out to be proper! The lakes actually have been the GREAT lakes. We additionally needed Kashmir to be celebrated and on the forefront, and that’s how the Kashmir Nice Lakes Trek was born,” she recollects.  

The Kashmir Nice Lakes Trek is a big milestone for 2 causes. It was one of many first main treks in Kashmir to be supplied by any trekking group. Secondly, the beginning of our Inexperienced Trails initiative began with the KGL trek.

Suhas, who heads the Expertise Coordination workforce, talks concerning the discovery and naming of the Phulara Ridge Trek. 

“The entire discovery of Phulara Ridge was a facet impact of one other trek exploration we had embarked upon. We had simply come again from the Devkyara Meadow exploration. As we mentioned issues over tea, our slope supervisor talked about that the Taloti area was gorgeous and price testing. Arjun Sir requested me if I needed to take a look at the path, and I jumped on the alternative. 

The second day of the trek blew my thoughts. Strolling on the ridge with 250-degree views of the snow-clad mountains was an expertise! And we had these views for a steady 4-5 hours! I felt just like the mountains have been trekking together with me. Having gone on a number of different treks, I assumed this ridge stroll was one thing I hadn’t skilled earlier than. So I knew that the phrase ‘ridge’ needed to be a part of the identify. After I got here again, I spoke to Arjun Sir and Sandhya ma’am, and so they have been satisfied that we should always supply this path to trekkers. 

We have been throwing out a number of names. I remembered there was a clearing referred to as Phulara on the trek close to the ridge. That felt apt due to the flowers that I bought to see throughout the exploration. The ridge and the forest part additionally had a variety of flowers. Even the meadows are laden with flowers, particularly after the monsoon. And it had a neighborhood connection, and that’s how we knew that naming it the Phulara Ridge Trek was an ideal selection.” 

What are a number of the most fascinating tales you have got heard in your treks? Share them within the feedback sections. We’d like to learn them!

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