India walking holiday activities
Mountains, in particular the Himalayas, are sacred for many, so the cultural heritage around places like Ladakh and Sikkim is at the heart of any hiking holiday. Although half the population of Ladakh identifies as Muslim, many hikers follow in the footsteps of Buddhist pilgrims, taking in the Tibetan style gompas or monasteries, stupas or shrines dotted along many a trail, such as the Tache Gompa and Hemis monasteries on the Markha Valley trek. A lot of walking holidays here start in Ladakh’s capital Leh, where the ancient Namgyal Tsemo Gompa and nearby Thikse Monastery are always worth the trip.
The Western Ghat Mountains of South India are a whole other world, one that has been influenced by colonialism, plantations and so on, and walking holidays here often start in Munnar, the mother of all hill stations. These mountain towns were the summer retreats of British colonists when the lowlands became too hot, with walking holidays often taking in tea or coffee plantations, or certainly a cuppa or two. The world’s highest tea estate is in the Ghats, at Kolukkumalai.
Our India walking Holidays
Many walking holidays in India will take you into the wonderful realms of national parks, such as Kanha National Park in Madhya Pradesh, which is often incorporated into a walking holiday in neighbouring forests and jungles of Chhattisgarh. Its grassy plateaus and forests are home to tigers and leopards, as well as many other creatures, including sambar, chital and swamp deer that all congregate in its meadows.
In Ladakh, the most famous and elusive resident is the snow leopard, with tracking and trekking going hand in hand in these parts. Hemis National Park, for example, hides snow leopard secrets as well as ibex, wolf, blue sheep and lynx. The wildlife hub in South India’s Western Ghat mountains is Periyar National Park, one of the country’s most famous tiger reserves but also home to monkeys, elephants, leopards and a tizzy of tropical birds. There are 24 endemic birds in Kerala alone, with top spots including Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary, Eravikulam National Park and of course Periyar. See our Wildlife Watching in India guide for more details.
If you'd like to chat about India walking or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.
The whole camping half of the trip allowed for complete de-stress, with great staff, food and equipment to support long hours of hiking during the day in beautiful and extremely varied scenery.
– Leila Suwwan, in a review of her walking holiday in Kerala.
You want wild, you got wild, with serviced camping a feature of many walking holidays in India. Wake up to panoramic views of the Western Ghats at Top Station (1,900m), in the eponymous village at the heart of the Markha Valley or in a rainforest on the Nepalese border.
Capture your walk forever
Tigers, temples, peaks and people. The subject matter for photography on a walking holiday in India is infinite.
Learning to frame the swathes of tea plantations in the Western Ghats, or capturing the colour and joy of the Hemis Festival in Ladakh are just a couple of the challenges you may have as a keen photographer while walking in India. And then there are the Himalayas themselves, of course. Where to start with such a magnificent spectacle? Try a walking holiday that specialises in photography, to guide you in all your areas of interest.
More about India walking
The best time to go walking in India is when you are ready, with something for everyone, no matter what the season. Read on for more details...
This walking holidays in India guide is all about where to go, holiday types, walking levels, beauty levels and what to do along the way...
See the maps and highlights of our top walking destinations in India. North, Central or South, tailor made or small group, with wildlife or beach life...
Our top walking holidays in India cover a gorgeous gamut. From the Western Ghats to the stunning mountains of Sikkim or an ancient trail in Ladakh...
The challenging Markha Valley trek in Ladakh takes you through some of northern India’s most spectacular and remote Himalayan scenery, into tiny mud-brick villages dotted with so many monasteries this region has earned the name ‘Little Tibet’.
Our tips about walking holidays in India include what to pack, what to eat and ability levels. Do take time to read the experts’ wise words...
You’ll know some of India’s responsible tourism issues already, but please take time to read on as there is always something new to learn or be reminded of...