Why Trekking With Indiahikes is About to Take a New Turn

Today, I’m writing to you from a different setting. I’m sitting amidst a large group of trek experts, innovators, sustainability champions and trek documentors. I’m with the entire Indiahikes team. 🙂

For the first time, all our Trek Leaders have descended to Bangalore from the mountains. One by one, they marched in over the past two days, all of them pink, sunburnt, wearing big smiles after a successful month of trekking. 

This is all of us at our office in Bangalore. Recognise anyone? 🙂

We’re all gathered here to reflect on how the October season went — the challenges, the successes, the learnings.

Despite working here for almost 6 years, I’m still surprised at how deep our conversations about trekking are. All our conversations revolve around 4 of our core beliefs that often define the future of trekking — Safety, Green Trails, The Indiahikes Experience and our Trek Information. 

But this time, I sense a tremendous change in the Indiahikes team. 

During the lockdown, we got the luxurious time to reflect on our beliefs and processes of the past 12 years. (Funnily, in the midst of running treks for 12 years, we haven’t gotten time to do this.) 

Now, when I take a step back and observe, I see that we’re headed in a new direction. I can go as far to say that we’re about to change how you will look at trekking forever. 

I know that the trekkers who trekked with us in October vouch for this. No matter what mindset they came with, every single one of them ended their trek saying they had never imagined trekking in this way. 

Today, in my own small way, I’m bringing to you thoughts from Indiahikes 2.0. 

And I’ll do this by sharing some insights on how trekking was different in the month of October.

Here’s a picture of all of us right now. It might surprise you that in a formal meeting we’re all sitting here on the floor, but this is how we are. This is how our meetings are in the mountains and in office.

How Trekking Restarted in October 

It’s no secret that the Coronavirus pandemic completely wiped out the travel industry for nearly 8 months. Trekking was hit much worse — it was considered completely “inessential.” 

So when the government eased the lockdown restrictions in August, it was with a lot of anxiety that we announced dates for the month of October. We wanted to start trekking again, but we had a big question mark about whether trekkers would step out at all.

“We were also apprehensive about organising treks during a pandemic. How would we keep trekkers safe? Could we deliver the new Indiahikes Trek Experience? Could we ensure trekkers followed Green Trails practices despite the fear of catching an infection?” shares Sandhya UC, the co-founder of Indiahikes.  

It was with all these worries that we announced trek dates. But it was not just the dates we announced. Our core team sat together and put down an exhaustive list of 31 safety protocols. This was not just reassuring to trekkers, but it immediately brought about a leap of interest in trekking. 

The numbers speak for themselves.

*This graph shows how traffic on our website dramatically increased as soon as we announced trek dates and our safety protocols.

 

*The second graph shows a sudden boom in trek registrations. Of course, it did not catch up with our earlier numbers (and still hasn’t), but it was a considerable increase.

“Seeing these numbers, we got a lot of reassurance that trekkers wanted to head out and trek. And that’s when we started our preparations in full swing”, shares Suhas Saya, the head of our Trek Coordinators team.  

How we prepped for the October season

I want to give you a bit of a background here. We did not enter the October season like we did during any other time. 

For 8 months, the trekking world had gone cold. Our Trek Leaders were locked in at home. Our mountain staff had moved back into agricultural work. Many of our transport and lodging partners had shut their businesses. 

Not just that, much like anyone in the travel industry, Indiahikes had taken a big financial hit during the lockdown. Whoever was coming back to work did so with a pay cut. 

But it did not take long to bring our mountain folk back to work, and to get back in touch with our other partners. Our Trek Leaders, too, were waiting to head back to the outdoors.

By late August, our preparations for October had begun. We booked tickets for all our Trek Leaders to visit Bangalore for a 14 day training.

Just when all Trek Leaders were set to visit Bangalore for a training, tragedy hit.

Our founder was tested COVID Positive. 

“It was like a big storm hit us. Arjun is usually the heart of such training programmes,” shares Lakshmi Selvakumaran, the head of the Indiahikes Experience. “But when we work in the outdoor world, we learn to tackle these storms. We postponed tickets, digitised our entire training programme and carried it out online and were just as successful,” she adds. 

“The training changed how we looked at trekking,” says Ravi Ranjan, our Slope Manager. “Until February, we would take trekkers safely on the trek, enrich their trail experience, and bring them back with a great experience. Trekkers would come back happy and gratified with their experience. 

“But this time, we had a higher calling. We wanted to bring about an internal transformation in trekkers,” shares Ravi.

This is where the Indiahikes difference lies

At Indiahikes, we don’t look at trekking as a sport. We look at trekking as a journey that impacts the mind, body and spirit. 

Trekking touches the core of who you are. You shed the mask you wear in the city. You’re not a “team lead” or a “student” or a “colleague” anymore. You’re just you. I’m just me. 

We see extremely intimate moments when trekkers drop to their knees, in tears at what they’re experiencing. Many weep their hearts out. 

For many trekkers, this is a side of themselves they have never met. It makes them extremely vulnerable and humble. I’m sure you’ve felt it too. 

At Indiahikes, we’ve always tried to enhance this impact. And we’re going deeper into that journey. 

Sitting here today, our Trek Leaders shared lovely stories of trekkers. No matter what background they came from, they went back home transformed — more confident, more zealous about life, more real, more conscious of the world around them. This is an impact that’s going to remain imprinted for years to come.

This trekker herself shares her experience. She was someone who was extremely apprehensive about continuing her trek after the second day. She almost gave up. But then, her whole experience transformed her from within. 

Here’s another trekker who was so inspired  by our Green Trails initiative that she came back and organised a clean up drive in a park in Mumbai. Several of them have made sustainability a part of their lifestyle now. 

Listening to these stories of inspiration has filled me with a renewed sense of excitement.

I know it has been just a month since we restarted trekking, but my instinct tells me that something is about to fundamentally change in the way you experience trekking. 

It is going to be more powerful, deeper and transformative. It’s not going to be the same as before.

I hope you get to be a part of it soon.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Drop in a comment below with your thoughts.

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32 thoughts on “Why Trekking With Indiahikes is About to Take a New Turn

    1. Till date I havent gone to any trekking with Indiahikes but after reading your emails every Thursday I’m curious to experience the upcoming trek.i hope I’ll be a part of the next trekking with you all.

  1. Very nice to read this, and learn about the professionalism and enthusiasm at Indiahikes. I keep following all about these blogs and have shortlisted a few treks already which I would love to do with Indiahikes next year.

    1. A big thumbs up to the team of India Hikes for organizing treks in such systematic and deciplined manner.
      I feel any information which trekers require , is available at India Hikes in my words in India
      Organised treking starts with the name India Hikes.
      I 100 percent agree that already India Hikes have taken treks to new level and in future more to add on

    2. Waiting to go to the mountains. Trying to shed weight n get fit. Would not have focused on it but for the trek with indiahikes!
      Indiahikes inspires me to become healthier to enjoy the beauty of the mountains at the summit!

    1. I trekked with Akshay, 17th Oct Gaumukh batch. Totally different experience and appreciate the efforts taken to make our trek a transformational experience. It’s these conversations which stay with us forever. Thank you Indiahikes team for constantly improving and touching people’s lives.

  2. I have only done the EBC Trek with India Hikes and it was a memorable trip beyond words. Post that, have not done much of trekking, since I do Scuba Diving, Running, Cycling also, and now at 56 years, the body is pacing down.
    However, I cannot wait to join one of the treks asap, and smell the Himalayan air and tranquility.
    I am in Ahmedabad, tested positive 3 weeks back, am better now, and hoping to start working on my fitness again soon. But the corona virus leaves some funny scars, in terms of fatigue.
    Hope to be back trekking in the next few months.
    For now, taking solace in reading your emails.

  3. Missing being amongst mountains , residing near the coast. Will make temporary amends to the situation with that golden calendar of yours..hope you guys come out with it soon !

    1. I’ve done Roopkund with Indiahikes and I can’t wait to do another one…
      Trekking is all the experience written above… The feelings, emotional baggage, being you , knowing your strengths and weaknesses .
      It’s simply mesmerizing.
      Good to read the article Swathi…
      Early morning waking upto this mail and reading without doing anything else.
      You’re a genius and kudos to Indiahikes for the measures taken

  4. Indeed a great comeback and I was waiting for the same. I’m all set to hit the mountains once again. Although pandemic has given liberty to work from home but person like me, it’s nothing lesser than torture. Kindly share me your next schedule in December and Jan 2021. Eagerly waiting to remove dust from hanging boots.

    Best Regards
    Gorakh

  5. Ever since I came across India hikes, I’ve never wanted to go elsewhere for a trekking experience. I’m a homemaker now with two children. The daily rut, the mundane life takes its toll on the mind and the body. I find treks a great way to refresh. I love this me time, to be away amongst strangers on an experience that’s spiritually rejuvenating. Also of course by the end of the treks I’ve made new friends.

    I love the green trails experience of India hikes. It makes me feel that I’ve contribute something worthwhile to mother nature, to the people living close to nature.

    I am eternally bonded with this wholesome experience and am waiting for my next trek, the coming summer. Hope things stabilise and are back to normal soon. Wishing team India Hikes the very best.

  6. Trekking is part of larger ensemble. Like other evebts, this shall change post corona, but at indiahikes, nothing much will change as they are already a responsible, inclusive and eco tourism based operator.

    Lets hope that the experience is taken to a level where it becomes a new normal, like maintaining clean and non pollutants based lifestyle at home also.

  7. Booked for 13th Dec trek and much excited about it. Since have already been on some more treks, it would be interesting to see the change post Covid. All the best to your team.

  8. In future I want that indiahike will start high altitude mountain expeditions like nanda devi, kamet ,gangotri peaks, shivling etc.

  9. Well done IndiaHikes 2.0 – Sustainable Transformation is the mantra.

    “trekking as a journey that impacts the mind, body and spirit.
    Trekking touches the core of who you are. You shed the mask you wear in the city. You’re not a “team lead” or a “student” or a “colleague” anymore. You’re just you. I’m just me. ” – One of the best learning you can experience.

    Waiting to head back to inner peace in the mountains

  10. I am already booked for Brahmatal trek next month. And am so excited to experience nature at its best after a long period of lockdown. My friends keep on asking me how safe it is to trek during these times, to which my reply is when i am trekking with indiahikes i dont have to worry about anything as their safety measures are to vouch for.

  11. If anyone could bring about a fundamental change in the way trekkers experience trekking in India, it had to be IndiaHikes. Trekking is indeed a journey in equal measure body and soul. While the word is clichéd, it is really transformative. I am looking forward to be a part of the renewed, refreshed and reenergised Indiahikes experience later this month on the Kedarkantha trek!

  12. It’s indeed had been an enthralling and a life changer trek with you guys. Being fearful of heights & descents, I got to witness my fears and confront up hand. You guys do a brilliant job and are so good at it to make us experience the wonders of nature! Big thanks!!! to Afreen our Super trek lead of Brahmatal team for being a super motivating and highly caring lead.

  13. Just to read ’bout such moments feels so pure and blissful.
    Definitely looking forward to be a part of this community

  14. Rightly mentioned – trekking touches core of ones self and does transform.

    Please throw some light how indiahikes is helping the porters and village community who lost their source of income in lockdown.. All the best!

  15. Great that trekking has started. I will start too once family matters resolved
    Hope Mr Arjun is better
    Health happiness and safety for everyone

  16. Yes….what has been destroyed by covid cannot be replaced for many.But many heart wrenching lessons learnt too.No amount of money ,contacts were useful .what came to assistance was extreme deligence ,patience and selfcare..The cAir became purer ,streets cleaner and wild life got freedom….it has taught
    fundamental lessons to humans to respect nature,and stop malign it…. Hope we all trekkers and nontrekkers embrace this fundamental changes and inculcate it our lifestyle……waiting for my sandakhphu trek….in early Jan ..hope new year brings new promises .

  17. I am really looking forward to trek with you guys. The first trek got cancelled because of lockdown. I went through your article on safety protocols and mind you, this was so exhaustive. U really give your heart and soul to Indiahikes. No doubt, u r the best. Keep it up. We will all be stronger. This too shall pass.

  18. I have always been impressed with Indiahikes Green Trails initiative ever since I have learned about it and I hope more organizations follow the ethical and eco-friendly way of tourism and it has impacted me as well on personal level and I certainly look forward for carrying out the same activity next time I go for trekking.