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3 Camping Locations Where You Must Pitch Your Tent

Want to hear about my summer? As a kid, I always thought about how cool it would be to get an RV, go on a road trip, set-up tents, roast food, you know, the nomadic life. As I matured as a traveller, it became not only realistic, but as it turns out, extremely feasible. This summer I hit all of them camp sites.

Kasol

3 Camping Locations Where You Must Pitch Your Tent-1

Entering the hills of Himachal


A small village in the depths of Himachal Pradesh. I was in on the trip with a couple of friends, and hence, a strict budget. Thus, it was a bus trip from Delhi to Bhuntar. The prospect of a 12 hour long journey in a metal container rocking back and forth was not inviting, but surprisingly it panned out extremely well. This would be my first advice to anyone reading up on Kasol 101: take the public conveyances. It led me to interact with the natives, all of who were extremely helpful and shared all sorts of crazy and *cough* somewhat illegal *cough* stories. One thing I learnt right there in the bus ride, whether you’re going there for the trek or the marijuana, do attend an Israeli party, if only to have a mere glimpse. They also imbibed me with knowledge of the nearby places to visit and the local specialities. But since my primary aim was the trekking experience, that is what I went for.

Setting Up Camp


The best camping place that I was suggested was by the riverside in the midst of Parvati Valley. I had rented out one of those trusted Quecha tents, and with the help of my friends, fixed two of them right up, sufficient for all of us. It was an exhilarating experience, setting up my first tent, having the experience Americanized in my head, full of Discovery Channel presumptions. Once we were done, we washed the sweat from our brows at the river.

Night Life by the River Side


The first night went past by peacefully around the bonfire that was blazing right infront of our camp chairs. The sound of the running water splashing against the rocks, creaks of the nearby grasshoppers combined with the serenity of the sight made even our tasteless rationed food feel good. Right before we went to sleep, we planned the next couple of days. We were to cover whatever the villages of Kasol and Barsaini had to offer us.

Climbing the reaches of Kheer Ganga to Relax in the Hot Springs


The Kheer Ganga Trek was up first. Come morning we disassembled our tents and shouldered our rucksacks before proceeding towards the 6-7 hour hike. I climbed atop the snow-capped peaks, while exploring the immaculate forests accompanying them. The hot springs everyone referred me to, did NOT disappoint, and possessed every ounce of magical healing as rumoured. We set up camp in a clearing, and little did we know that we were about to find company soon. A big party of tourists clambered in by nightfall. As they say, the more the merrier! In the morning we bade our slightly intoxicated newly made friends good bye and moved on with our bagpacks.

Trekking through the Tirthan Valley


The other major place we hiked to was the famous Great Himalayan National Park Trek. The exploration of Tirthan Valley takes you as deep into mother-nature’s embrace as possible. Another little tip for those who are planning this venture, try to slip into the targeted camping grounds before nightfall, since the temperatures drop and human presence goes scarce. Trust me, your iOS maps won’t help you with the navigation, it’s the natives’ sense of direction that will. Again, as twilight struck, we were safely tucked into our sleeping bags, enjoying the silence. I took fancy to my buddy’s copy of The Alchemist, while he tended to a joint our amiable colleagues had shared with us the night before.

The trek was amazing for a beginner like me, and I would recommend the camping experience to anyone who is a newbie to this world.

Sariska

Reaching the belly of the desert land of the nation


There are various kinds of camps. After the initial hill station taste upon my tail, I persuaded my companions to move towards a completely different scenario: desert camping. And that means Rajasthan. There’s a direct double decker train taking us from Delhi to Alwar, the city nearest to our destination: Sariska. The journey was a mere 3 hours and held us in high spirits by the end of it. As we exited the station, waves of hot noon air hit us, making us hasty in our way towards a pre-hired taxi taking us across the 35 km journey to Sariska.

Setting up Camp


As we neared the area, we directed the driver towards the open area near the Fort Thanaghazi, set in the foothills of the Shivalik Range. The camp site was bustling with people, staying in tents like the 2 man T3 or luxury ones comparable to 5 star hotels. Shrugging yet again at our tight budget, we proceeded to the most with what we had and set up camp. It was evening by the time we were done, and the hot loo was replaced by a cool breeze whipping our faces making us thank the universe for the existence of the biosphere.

Exploring the Campsite


The area had several in-tent restaurants offering food grown on the organic plantations nearby. Thence we made dinner, followed by bed. We had a big day coming and didn’t want to miss the 4am mark. The next day was spent exploring all that Sariska has to offer us.

Experiencing the Fauna Rich National Park


The National Park was the major highlight, with tigers having been reintroduced into not long ago. That excursion offered a wildlife experience that someone who walks in the Delhi crowd can appreciate abundantly. The plethora of animals that we captured on our cameras, both phone and professional, was amazing. Spotted dear, sambhar, open billed stork, wild hogs and ofcourse tiger cubs, are some of the animals you can observe in their natural habitat. With a quick lunch at the Park’s restaurant, we continued with the evening safari. That night, we slept thinking how the world is bigger than what we believed it to be (Ah, Men In Black reference).

Summing up the tour


The rest of the trip was spent visiting the Hanuman temple, Kankawadi fort with its Mughal heritage and Pandupol (with its importance highlighted in the Mahabharata). There were a couple of other palaces, shrines and temples that we weren’t able to cover due to shortage of time, but well, my second camp of the summer was well endowed with experience.

Orccha

Search for heart of Incredible India


My next expedition led me into the heart of the nation, Madhya Pradesh. With a slightly bigger budget this time (my birthday just passed; Indian relatives are generous gods), I chose to go tentless this time, to enjoy the pre-sets that the safari camps of Blue Bell, next to the Betwa river, have to offer. Came here straight from Gwalior, not far off, on a bus. Gwalior houses the nearest airport, while Jhansi, the nearest railway station.

Checking out the camp


The tents were furbished well, with plenty of space. I prefer my own snuggly gear, but that was pretty functional too. Incidentally, this was the third type of terrain I was camping on, after hilly and desert, these were the plains. The camp was spread across a huge complex, and it took the remainder of our first day simply exploring its vastness.

Getting absorbed into the adventure


The camp is known for its adventure sports, since the two rivers, Jamini and the one just mentioned provide the base for all the activities and form the camp’s backbone. There’s hiking, cycling, trekking, kayaking, rafting and sight-seeing. At a little distance are the historic chapters circling around the forts and the temples, some of them glorifying the Mughal times. The wildlife sanctuary that was instituted in the late 20th century is a bird watcher’s paradise, boasting of being home to nearly 200 species. The blue bulls were something we were all looking forward to getting a glimpse of during our stay there. The trip ended on a light note, with us leaving fully laden with the traditional handicrafts as souvenirs.  

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