- By - Srishti Bajaj
- On - 2022-02-12
How Trekking In India Can Give You A Hyper-Local Experience
Some want to lose themselves in an unknown city and others are on a journey of introspection, looking to rediscover who they are.
Regardless of what your reason for traveling is, the importance of an authentic local experience cannot be overlooked. After all, it is usually an experience or a specific attraction that compels us to choose a specific destination for a vacation.
With that said, the recent boost in the popularity of taking journeys has contaminated the authenticity of local experiences. Authentic experiences have had to evolve to fit the preferences of tourists that want things a certain way, their way.
Thankfully, there is a new breed of travelers rising, those who want to only experience, not change. Those who understand the importance of broadening their horizons with more experiences. Those who aren’t just interested in visiting a destination, they’re interested in knowing the city, its people, its customs, its history, and everything in between.
So how does one go about collecting such experiences?
The short answer is, start walking.
Read on for the long answer.
Also Read :- A Beginner's Guide To Hiking
Trekking With The Locals
Triund, India Clicked by Vishnu Prajapati
Many say that walking through a city is one of the easiest ways to really get to know the place and discover experiences that haven’t yet found a place on the mainstream tourist map.
However, how does trekking on the hills, usually away from civilization, grant you access to hyper-local experiences?
Well for starters, you cannot venture out into the wild on your own.
You will need the help of a guide to guide you through the dense forests and high passes that make treks in India exhilarating and breathtaking at the same time.
When you stop looking at a trekking guide as a service provider and start having real conversations with them, you’ll be treated with trivia and knowledge that one simply can’t find on Google.
Don’t worry if you consider yourself an introvert and are worried such a conversation will never happen. Those who struggle together are often able to forge a bond and struggling to conquer a mountain with a complete stranger is the perfect catalyst for conversations that end in friendships.
Witness Cultures That You Only Read About
Spiti, Himachal Pradesh clicked by @varun_singh
We have all read about the tribes of the Amazon but only a few of us have had the chance to actually witness them. We have all watched videos and documentaries about cultures that are so different from ours that it becomes difficult to imagine how they have survived.
What if I told you that you can find such tribes, villages, and cultures less than 600 kilometers away from Delhi?
While most of us would agree that the hilly regions of our country are rich with culture, most don’t know what the culture is about.
The reality is that life in the hills is as diverse as it is peaceful. However, you cannot experience this diversity from the comfort of your luxury hotel room or a hired taxi.
To experience a truly different culture, you will have to walk. This is because different cultures become different when they can’t move at par with the pace of the world. This is because the absence of roads is one of the biggest reasons behind the uniqueness of certain cultures.
Take the example of Waichin village in the Parvati Valley of Himachal Pradesh. There are no roads leading to the village and when you order Maggie at a local Dhaba, you will be served “Maharaja Noodles”. However, that’s not what makes this place peculiar. The curious thing about the village is that despite not having access to roads, nobody in the village is growing any food crops. Instead, everyone is busy growing the infamous Parvati Valley hash.
What’s even more curious is that unlike the rest of the country (and many parts of the world), there is no stigma surrounding the herb. Instead, it is viewed as a staple crop that is responsible for keeping the food on the table for the local families. That’s perhaps why, if you visit around the month of October, you can witness entire families, including small children, engaged in reaping the crops.
With that said, it’s not such a good idea for outsiders to participate in the activity. Remember, the stuff they are growing is extremely illegal in our country, and messing with it can get you in serious trouble.
Also Read :- Himalayan Destinations For Spiritual Trekking
Eat Truly Local Food
Clicked by Lior Shapira
Most tourist destinations boast a varied collection of restaurants that claim to serve the local food of the area. However, as mentioned earlier, the task you find at such places has mostly been modified to suit the taste preferences of tourists.
However, folks living in remote villages in the hills are different and so is their food. If you ever get a chance to stay at a homestay in a far-off village, my advice is don’t miss it for anything. Besides getting to witness and perhaps live a day in the life of a resident of the hills, you will also be treated to authentic local food prepared with love.
In most cases, your hosts will be sharing their own meals with you, so you can rest assured that you’re tasting the localities idea of “maa ke haath ka khana”.
The best part is, if you are a trekking enthusiast, the opportunity to stay in a homestay in a faraway village will not be as exclusive as it may sound. Almost every major trekking trail houses at least one village that can potentially offer you an experience that only a handful of humans will ever experience.
Trekking is an adventure activity that simply keeps on giving. From an adrenaline rush to complete peace of mind, from a physical challenge to a sense of triumph, from being alone in the woods to being surrounded by a completely alien culture, taking a trek in India will leave you with so many stories that you’ll find yourself speechless.
What is your favorite thing about trekking? Share with the community by dropping a comment below!