India is literally a trekkers’ paradise. No matter which direction you go in, the magnificent landscapes, flora and fauna of our country entice you to explore further.
Central and Western India are full of dense forests, streams, ancient sites and tribal villages while to the north are snow-clad mountains and the surreal deserts of Ladakh.
Trekking With Children
The ideal age to start trekking is seven years, especially if children have a basic level of fitness and leg strength. With children, safety is of utmost importance. It is also important to keep children entertained as they tend to get bored easily. Destinations for children’s treks thus need to be chosen carefully. Local guides come in handy with their in-depth information and knowledge of the destination.
How Does Trekking Help Children?
Trekking helps children bond with nature and provides an alternative avenue for travel and entertainment. It also teaches them the importance of teamwork and builds their confidence. It creates a life-long love for nature and the outdoors and encourages children to get fit.
From the lush green Western Ghats to the longest mountain range in Asia, the Himalayas, India is home to amazing sites for trekking. RobinAge spoke to a few trekkers to learn more about the hobby.
Anusha Subramanian is a trekker of more than 20 years and started a trekking company called Bohemian Adventures. She says, “Every trek is unique in its own way. I started trekking as a passion, and now I often go off on weekend treks. I was only seven years old when I was first introduced to the world of trekking. My trekking knowledge has also come in use as I often volunteer with companies and work with disaster relief management groups during floods and other natural calamities.”
Misha Gudibanda recently went on a trek to Trikon near Pune with her husband and their seven-year old daughter, Ashi. She says, “I grew up trekking and climbing various mountains and wanted to establish the habit in my child. My father inculcated this habit in me and I wanted my daughter to learn the same and thus took her on a trek at the same age as I was initiated. Trekking has helped me become a lot more flexible and adaptable as a person. My entire family often goes outdoors to explore new places and countrysides. These kinds of exploratory events help children develop a personality and discover their likes and dislikes. It is amazing to see how children who are so young and full of energy manage to do everything on their own, if left to their own resources.”
Reiterating her mother’s love for the outdoors, Ashi, a class 2 student of Arya Vidya Mandir, Mumbai says, “I love observing greenery, the flowers, various mushrooms and pretty rocks of different kinds. I went to the Tikona trek and it was a good challenge. It was very windy at the top and I loved every bit of it.”
Nisha Dewaram, an avid nature-lover, went trekking with her seven-year-old daughter, Veena. She says, “I always wanted my kid to be able to love, enjoy and appreciate nature and its beauty. It is an amazing experience to take off from city life and enjoy the beautiful scenery, especially in the monsoons. While trekking to various places, there are a lot of surprises one encounters, including different kinds of plants and flowers. It is important to be able to experience nature rather than just read about it.”
Ruhi Kaur, a mother, an avid nature-lover and a trekker, went on a trek with her daughter, Ishkeerat. She says, “Physical and mental strength are very important for trekking. Each trek is a wonderful and challenging experience. For nature-based activities, it is important for kids to be mentally as well as physically strong. As a mother, I make sure that my kids regularly participate in such activities and prepare themselves prior to the event. Simple things like regular exercise and walking everyday go a long way in making the child trek-ready. It is very important for parents to inculcate this behaviour in children from a very young age.”
Her daughter Ishkeerat, a class 8 student of St Gregorios High School, Mumbai says, “Trekking was fun and I completely enjoyed it. Once you reach the top of the mountain, the view is surreal. The fresh air, beautiful plants and flowers, breath-taking views and challenging routes make the trek a complete package and success. I also enjoy photography, which makes trekking ideal as I get to shoot and click amazing pictures. Different places have a different culture, structure, tradition and cuisine and one gets to try lots of new things all the time when on these treks.”
If You Are Going on a Trek, Keep These Things in Mind
- Collect enough information on your trekking destination. Read about the place and talk to people who have gone on the same trek before for a better insight. Exercise, jog, run or walk on a daily basis to build your stamina.
- Do regular breathing exercises.
- While trekking, stop when you feel tired or if you experience any kind of acute pain.
- Wear proper trekking shoes, light track pants and a full sleeve t-shirt.
- Carry an extra pair of clothes and shoes/ slippers in your backpack.
- Carry sunglasses and sunscreen too.
- Drink enough fluids and keep yourself hydrated.
- Be aware of your surroundings.
- Don’t get distracted on your way.
- Carry no or minimal gadgets.
- Do not litter or dirty the places you visit.
Anusha Subramanian, Shashi Bahuguna and Guneet Puri established Bohemian Adventures, a company that organises various treks for children and parents. The children and parents interviewed in this piece have travelled with Bohemian Adventures. To know more about their trips, visit www.bohemianadvn.wordpress.com. For bookings, you can call Subramanian on 09820403174 or e-mail email@example.com. For treks to Uttarakhand, you can speak to Puri on 09958348336.
Some Other Companies You Can Trek With
Based in Mumbai, this club has been associated with around 7,000 children across India. It organises various workshops, camps and treks for kids all over the country.
To know more, visit www.kshitijworld.com
Call 09322181849/ 07666313108
Plus Valley Adventure
Based in Pune, this outdoor travel company offers various adventure, wildlife, river rafting, rock climbing and other outdoor experiences to people of all age groups.
To know more, visit www.plusvalleyadventure.com
Call 08380054988/ 08380054989
Based in Pune as well as Mumbai, Pugmarks Holidays offers a variety of trips, from the snow-clad Himalayas and the coral islands of Lakshadweep to the Sunderbans and the Rann of Kutch.
To know more, visit www.pugmarks123.com
Call 08879366191/ 020-66499999
Based in Delhi, Bikat Adventures offers experiences in trekking, rock climbing and mountain biking in the Himalayas (Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Kashmir, Ladakh and Sikkim) and Delhi/NCR.
To know more, visit www.bikatadventures.com
Call 07838148127/ 09718479055
(Image courtesy Thinkstock)