Tag Archives: Mountains


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Blog | Travel

21 October 2017

Chandernahan Trek: A Hidden Paradise in Himachal Pradesh

Intrigued by an Instagram post on Chandernahan trek, our adventurous traveller friend Harish Sharma was fast to elope into the throes of beauty at Chandernahan. With backpacks, a childhood friend and a cooked up story about leaving for a friend’s sister’s wedding to convince his parents,  Harish left home with quite an itch in his feet.


He boarded an HRTC bus from Shimla to Rohru and the journey was filled with bumpy rides, unplanned night stays, the random surprise of a new company, and unknown paths.

After a bus to Rohru, then Rohru to Chirgaon followed with another two-hour journey from Chirgaon to Tagnu village, they commenced walking to a nearby village called Janglikh. That is where they had to start trekking for Chandernahan via Dyara Thach and Litham.


It hadn’t been a smooth journey as it is, with collapsed bridges, long walks, heavy rainfall and unplanned delays. It had already been half-past five in the evening and the villagers recommended that they stay the night there as they can’t reach Dyara Thach the same night. Being the rebels they are, Harish and his entourage started trekking right away and they were glad to have done so as the trek up was lush with greenery and the beautiful landscape enveloped them with magnanimous streams of water flowing down the mammoth mountains. The dense forest with deodar trees and the green meadows were worth the trouble.

Finally, they reached Dyara Thach around 8 pm and set camp with packed paranthas from Chirgaon and a sky full of stars. That’s everything they needed to devour!

After a well-deserved slumber night, they started out early the next day to reach Litham and yet again, everything around left them spellbound. It was no less than the landscapes they see in the movies, except it was even better to experience the cool breeze and the raw beauty of nature, in reality, the trek seemed easy and upon reaching Litham within two hours, they got into a conversation with an amiable Shepherd with interesting stories to tell. He guided them further to reach Chandernahan. That 2 km trek was a steep climb up the mountains and took them about an hour.



Finally, Harish and his friends reached Chandernahan and what they saw from up there can’t be put into words, they say. At an altitude of 4000 metres, they were surrounded with snow in the month of June. Except for beautiful brooks flowing with a delicate magnanimity, there was nothing to touch their own sweet solitude.


There are seven lakes in Chandernahan and mostly, the people of the valley walk on the frozen lakes barefoot and never go beyond three lakes because of a religious belief that all their Gods originated from these lakes. When Harish and his friends went to the frozen lakes, there was nobody to see if they went without shoes but they decided to respect the beliefs and launched into the lakes bare feet.

They were like kids running and chasing each other on the glacier with feet all bare and well, it was indeed fun and adventurous.


By noon that day, they had found and enjoyed all the lakes, breathed in the stupendous view, filled their lungs with air as pure as it gets and finally, decided to head back.


The journey back was as eventful and tiring as before, or even more. But this time these boys were taking back what they had come for. An experience where they followed their heart, treated their eyes with everything heavenly and satisfied their souls.

Words by Aishwarya Choudhary | Photos by Harish Sharma


Check out his full feature in July’17 Edition of Inspiro India Magazine issue#40 – Download Free.



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Blog | Travel

16 October 2017

Traveller of the Week : Akhtar Shaikh

Akhtar Shaikh, a simple human being who seeks happiness in the little things in life, loves to see the smiling faces of people when they see him like a twinkle in the children’s eye when he holds their little hands! ‘Connecting with nature, open skies, green boulevards and streams of water, birds chirping, colours of the mountain and the diversity in the culture of this country attracts me’, says the traveller.


A creative thinker, Akhtar loves to ride his Royal Enfield Classic motorcycle and has been an enthusiastic biker for 10 years now. A lover of creative forms of art, music, travelling and riding his motorcycle, he says, ‘I put my mind and soul into exploring new places and meeting new people and witness new culture, their living, food, personalities and all that while I ride to these places’.


Akhtar Shaikh


Riding solo is not only a sense of freedom for the happy traveller, it also helps in self-healing and self-development. Riding has not only been a hobby or a source of transport to move from one place to the other, it has also developed into a passion over time. Riding his 535 cc Royal Enfield Classic changes his interpretation of being a just a biker!


The traveller prefers travelling solo, group travel prevents him from self-reflecting which is vital in improving himself.

Riding solo is not only a sense of freedom for the happy traveller, it also helps in self-healing and self-development. ‘There’s a certain beauty in riding alone and engaging into your possibilities are limitless’, says the rider.


Travelling wasn’t full-time spree, ‘Initially, I used to travel on weekends or 1-2 days for an extended weekend and complete my rides. However, now I am fortunate and have the liberty to plan and travel as much as I can and whenever I can’ adds the solo rider. His family has been an immense source of inspiration and believe in him more than he himself would. A great support system and understanding from the domestic front have actually allowed him to perceive his passion and endure his dreams!


My family has been the most important source of inspiration and their Belief in me is more than myself and in fact that their complete support and understanding has actually allowed me to perceive my passion and endure throughout.


A planned traveller, everything ranging from servicing his bike, finalising the route and booking accommodation is a must. A checklist helps to minimize any breakdown and helps in a hassle-free trip. The traveller does believe impromptu trips to be a challenge for oneself and thrilling as well. Offroading into most of the hilly terrain of Maharashtra, Goa and Bidar come under the spontaneous trip category for Shaikh!


Akhtar has covered Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Telangana, Goa, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Kerala.

Topmost locations worth every traveller’s while according to Akhtar are Leh, Spiti, Jammu, Rann of Kutch, Uttarakhand, Old Goa and Rajasthan.



The motorcycle traveller also directs in investing in a riding jacket if one’s a rider or a nice weatherproof jacket to keep oneself warm and cosy along with cash, camping equipment including a tent, good sleeping bag, water bottle, outdoor chair, a stove, kettle and maggi. Not to forget a good mobile phone for photography and videos, a GoPro or DSLR will do too!


‘Never ever give up and keep trying’ advises the rider! A lesson he has learnt during years of motorcycle trips, he also believes ‘Happiness is only real when it is shared’, a very famous quote by Christopher McCandless.

Words by Harpreet
Images by ©Akhtar Shaikh


Follow Akhtar:  Instagram | Youtube

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Blog | Travel

27 March 2017

Traveller of the Week : Varun Chaudhary

Varun Chaudhary is a photographer by profession but loves to travel, camp, hike and cycle. The motivation to travel comes from within, says Varun, who also admits to being an outdoor kind of person. He doesn’t really remember when he first travelled but its been quite a long time, nothing has stopped him ever since. He is good with connecting with people and talkative which do hinder his solo travels but nonetheless, he avoids travelling in a big group of people. ‘Travelling with 1 or 2 folks is just a perfect blend’, says Varun Chaudhary.


Varun Chaudhary


There are many perks of being a travel photographer and one of them is travelling full-time. He does come across a few issues and problems but frequent travel based work trips have taught him to keep them at bay!

Varun is more of a spontaneous trip lover but doesn’t mind if the trips are well planned in advance.


Being brought up in Himachal Pradesh does have some fancy rewards, being able to travel the north part of the country and also visiting one of his favourite destinations along with Ladakh and Zanskar region in Jammu and Kashmir. Other than that Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh in the North East, Rajasthan and Goa in the West are few of his favourite destinations. South India is next on this traveller’s mind, he’d love to visit Kerala as soon as he gets the opportunity, says Chaudhary.

Varun admires the beauty of the landscapes, being a photographer that does come naturally, along with getting to meet new people who have extensive information on all the offbeat places is a win-win for any traveller. The culture, architecture and the local cuisine is unforgettable in its own way as well.




The experienced traveller has covered quite a lot kilometres starting from Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Goa, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Delhi. A recent international trip to Bhutan made him fall in love with the country and it’s well disciplined and decent population.


As a full-time traveller on duty, his camera gear is equally important but he does advise us to go light on carrying things around on travels. Cash is really important as credit and debit cards won’t be acceptable everywhere, a cell phone with a working  GPS for navigating maps is also a must! For hikers and campers, a sleeping bag, tent, food or dry ration, water and warm clothing shall not be forgotten, says the tourer!


Varun Chaudhary surely has learnt a lot from his travels, most importantly how meeting and sharing thoughts with different people at different locations can be applied in one’s life. It eventually does make some kind of impact on any traveller’s lifestyle. He says,’ It’s a good thing. Travel, learn and execute!’


Images by ©Varun Chaudhary


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Trek to Spirituality : Manimahesh, Chamba, Himachal Pradesh | Inspiro India

“I and one of my friends planned to do the Manimahesh Trek in the time of the famous sacred Manimahesh Yatra. We started from Pathankot. We preferred public transport because the distance was large and we had an idea of how tired we would be on the way back after the trek, so driving on our own was not an easy option. We boarded a bus from Pathankot at around 12 midnight. We reached Chamba in the morning at around 5 am. Then, we boarded another bus from Chamba for Bharmour and reached there at around 11am. It took us around 3 hours from Chamba to  Bharmour.  Then we decided to stay at Bharmour for the day.


01Manimahesh Kailash Peak

It is believed by the local crowd that if one is going to Manimahesh Trek, one must do the Brahmani Devi trek first and take a spiritual bath in the water in the temperature of around  -degree Celsius. It is said that one’s Yatra to Manimahesh stays incomplete if one does not take this spiritual bath. So, we first decided to visit Brahmani Devi  and take the spiritual bath. It is a very beautiful trek covered by apple trees on both sides and surrounded by mesmerizing landscapes. The trek was quite easy. On the peak is the temple of Brahmani Devi . Before going to the temple, one has to take the spiritual bath. We reached the peak at around 7 pm. When we attempted a dip in the water body there, we realized it was not going to be easy. The water was chilling cold and cold winds were blowing. The water body was 4.5 feet deep. It took us around 15-20 minutes to take the bath and we were ready to go to the temple. We took ‘Prasad’ and started for Bharmour again. By the time we started our walk back, it was all dark around. We reached Bharmour in few hours and stayed at ‘Churasi’- the temple of 84 ‘Devtas’.

Next day, in the morning at 10 am, we started from Bharmour. We reached Hadsar at around 11am. We stopped there for breakfast. Hadsar is actually the place from where the Yatra begins. We went through the checking process there and then finally, we began our Yatra. Without taking a pause, we walked for around first 1.5 hours. The trek was quite steep right from the beginning. We stopped at a place after 1.5 hours to take a break. There was a beautiful river flowing nearby. So I decided to stop and take some shots there. After I was done with my captures, we started again. At a distance of about 3 km was Danccho. There is a beautiful waterfall at Danccho. Since I love photography, this place was a true treat for me. It is believed in Hindu mythology that when BhasmaSur was following Lord Shiva to attack him, Lord Shiva took shelter there. We stopped here and took a cup of tea. Immediately after having tea, we started again. Then we reached Sundrasi.  On our way, we met many people who crossed us and some of them whom we crossed. All this while, my Camera was at work. The nature was simply at its best. By this time, it had started raining. So we stopped for a while and because of the rain, we had to take a pause of around 45 minutes. This is, basically, the point after which even on a sunny day one starts feeling cold, so, one must carry jackets or sweaters or warmers.  Now next, we were supposed to cross a glacier. This path is totally covered with snow and you have to walk through it. We crossed it. The Sun was setting. The entire view was picturesque. All this while, I was trying to encapsulate whatever was around. Our next destination was Gauri Kund. If Hindu mythology is to be believed, only girls can go and take bath at Gauri Kund. We spent the night there in a tent. We brought a tent for Rs. 400/- . It is advisable to carry one’s own sleeping bags there because the weather is chilling cold there.






05View of Bharmour from Brahmani Devi



Due to the weather, my friend preferred going and resting inside the tent where as I was more interested in spending time in nature and taking some shots. I came out of the tent and took some shots including first shots of the galaxy. This is the point from where you can actually see half of the view of Kailash. I took pictures from around 8pm to 9:30 pm. There are few shops here at this point but the price of the commodities is comparatively high. After taking few more shots, we had dinner and we preferred sleeping early due the weather being cold and the other reason being we had to get up early in the morning. We actually had to club 6 blankets together in order to beat the cold weather and even after that we were quite chilled. The good shot here is that Himachal Pradesh Govt. has made all the arrangements of toilets. It was completely comfortable staying here.  Also, there is no problem of water even at this height, all because of the successful efforts of Himachal Pradesh Govt. The next morning we woke up at 7am, we freshened up and got ready to continue the trek. From here, we saw two ways going to different destinations one of which we came to know goes to Dal Lake and the other one goes to Kamal Kund. Here, at this point, it becomes little tough to breathe. One must take frequent rest periods after this point. The trek goes on to be steeper. This point is above 12,000 feet where we find more of wild vegetation and it is advisable not to touch the vegetation here. The good thing is that the medical help is quite frequent and effective during the Yatra.  We, then, proceeded towards Kamal Kund. The way becomes steeper. The water there was quite less. It is believed that one must neither take bath there nor should speak any bad words here. Here, at this point, one feels like one is actually sitting in the feet of Lord Shiva. From here, one can easily see the Ariel view of Dal Lake. Between Dal Lake and Kamal Kund is a river. Two ways to reach Dal Lake from Kamal Kund is to cross the river and the other is to go back the same way back till Gauri Kund and then trek up 2.5 km more to Dal Lake. We came back to Gauri Kund and then walked towards Dal Lake. The sky was clear. We could see it clear. It is believed that blessed are the beings who can see the clear view of Kailash. All through this, we kept clicking lost of pictures. The trek from Gauri Kund to Dal Lake is again steep. Vegetation is very less.  After walking for 2.5km, we reached Dal Lake 14,500 feet at around 2:30pm where we saw lots of shops by local people. We took a water bottle there. We, then, took the sacred bath there. It is the most essential part of the Yatra, from the spiritual point of view. It is important to note that during the time of the Yatra, Police Men and medical help is quite active here. Then we took round of the lake again and then started enveloping the beauty around with my Camera. We, suddenly, saw many people coming from one side from there. When asked, we came to know that they were coming walking all the way from Baijnath, Himachal Pradesh.


07Milkyway as seen from Gauri Kund, Manimahesh
08Glacier, Manimahesh Trek
09Danccho, Manimahesh Trek



Well, then we stopped there. It was quite soothing here because there was sunlight and warmth around and it was a delight to stand in the sun after the cold bath. But, the evening was all rainy and foggy. The visibility was only 400metres. My friend had to leave after this because of a prior commitment. He left for home and I stayed back. I slept a little early and woke up at 2 am. At this point, the weather was clear and the surroundings were beautiful. I woke up and I realized that the weather was very cold and chilly again. But, I had decided to take pictures. So I freshened up and geared myself up myself. I started walking towards Kamal Kund again, but later due to the suspicion of Leopards and other wild animals, I decided to stop and wait. In the morning at around 5 am, I started for Kamal Kund. I took lots of pictures with starts, sky and the beauty around. At around 6:30, the sky was clear. I just turned back and looked at the sky and I was amazed to see a Mani in the sky. I was astonished to see it. I had heard people saying that it is the Mani which shines on the head of the SheshNag of Lord Shiva. I was spell bound and excited at the same time.  This is why it is called MANI MAHESH. By this time, some people came up the same path who asked me the way to Kmala Kund. They belonged to Kashmir. I told them the way and they went. This place gifted me some really beautifu lpictures. Now, in order to save up on the time I went through the river, the shorter way. I put my best to save my shoes and clothes from getting wet but I simply could not. I reached Dal Lake and captured the first Sunrise. It was beautiful beyond words. It is rightly said, “Whatever man keeps making, God will always be the best creator.” When the Sun was finally completely out, I took bath. This spiritual bath is called ‘Chotta Nahaun.’  I took the spiritual dips and trust me, it fell amazing.


11View from Kamal Kund
12View of Dal Lake from Kamal Kund
13Kailash Manimahesh & Dal Lake
14Kamal Kund

As they say,

“Best of the feelings in the world cannot be put in words.”

After the bath, I decided to start my way back. Having no option, I had to wear wet socks and wet clothes. By this time, I was really hungry. I ate some food there and sat at a spot for a while because the warmth of the Sun there was really soothing. It is advisable to take food before one walks down. I even saw a person faint there because of weakness. I started my way back and by the time I reached Gauri Kund, I had taken lots of pictures. Walking from Gauri Kund, I realized that walking back was quite easy. It took less effort and was less tiresome. I took some shortcuts on my back.  Then, I stopped after a while near the water fall, took rest and took some shots.When I reached Hadsar, I took a taxi for Bharmour and then I took a bus for Chamba.

This travel experience was the most pleasing I have ever had.”


Geographic Location

Chamba District, Himachal Pradesh, India


Instant facts

1. Manimahesh Kailash has not been successfully summitted by mountaineers and is a virgin peak.

2. An attempt to climb the peak in 1968 by an Indo-Japanese team led by Nandini Patel was aborted. This failure is attributed to the divine prowess of the peak since it is revered as the holy mountain of Chamba according to the staunch devotees of the Manimahesh Lake and the peak.

3. It is believed that Lord Shiva created Manimahesh after he married Goddess Parvati who is worshipped as Mata Girja.

4. Devotees believe that that they can view the peak only if the Lord wishes so. Bad weather covering the peak with clouds is also explained as displeasure of the Lord.

5. The snow field at the base of the mountain is called by the local people as Shiva’s Chaugan (play field).


Where to Eat?

The trek, if done in the ‘Yatra’ season (from Janamashtmi to Radhashtmi), witnesses a lot of Lord Shiva followers putting up Langars for the people. One can easily eat there. But once the Yatra is over, it is advisable to carry food material with oneself.


How tough it is to trek?

The level of difficulty in the trek is Moderate. If one does it with normal speed, it takes around 7-8 hours to complete the trek. It is advisable to take a carry stick with oneself. And essentially, one must carry nutritional bars, energy drinks and water. Also, private helicopters are available to reach the top whose price goes in thousands.


Local Crowd

The local crowd is hugely supportive and leaves no stone unturned in helping a traveller find the way.


At Manimahesh, for an Art/Photography Lover

Manimahesh is a paradise for Art and Photography lovers. Nature walks with you, step by step. Beautiful River flows from the glacier. An artist who loves live sketching will spend beautiful time there. Nature, here, is at its best and there is a huge scope for Landscape Photography.