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How safe is it to travel to Himachal in winter

Himachal Pradesh is a northern Indian state in the Himalayas. The region is also well known for trekking, mountain climbing and skiing. It sounds adventurous to visit the Himalayan range in winters but how and what are the conditions in the mountains that demand attention.

We see daily news coming from the mountains about what all is happening, somewhere somebody was rescued from a particular area or some blizzard is happening in a certain part.

Here are some basics to take care of when in Himachal during winter:

1. Preparation

While preparing for winter, you should be aware that you will be in the mountain region where the weather changes in a fraction of seconds.  Be ready to see nature at it’s best as well as worst things that are possible. It includes your equipment, gear, winter wear and shoes. These things should be waterproof enough to sustain in this environment. It is advisable to carry rainwear in case of any rainfall. Most of the area will be wet and slippery if it rains, study the place so that you have knowledge that helps you in different situations.

2. Local help

If you are planning to visit Himachal Pradesh, you should opt for a group who has connections with locals. Local help is really important if you are around the mountains. Locals know the terrain and what to do in any situation if it arises. Those are your true connection with the place. People also make the mountain experience special to you. For example, if you go to the forest or near the river, a local will direct you where to go and how to go there. It will help you to understand the place better, too.

3. Don’t panic when snow falls

Snowfall is a common scenario while in the mountains. It’s just that you don’t need to panic. Stay calm and cover yourself with proper winter wear so that you are capable enough to move from that place to another. Find a shelter and try if you can get a fireplace to warm yourself. Snow on the road is very frequent in the higher region. Keep enough water with you, so that you hydrate yourself in the situation. Avoid playing in the snow to fulfill excitement and fantasy. If your body gets cold especially during the intense snowfall or absence of sunlight, then it will be a lot of trouble for you to make it warm again. Avoid going to an area which is totally secluded.

4. Don’t believe in rumours

False information passes through the media, it tends to blind the public about the place and its situation. The news covers a portion of a particular area but how they portray the situation that has happened in Himachal is not the scenario in all parts. These kinds of news are making people scared to travel to the places which they want to see in the cold months. Winters can be extreme as well, but travel in a prepared manner so that you enjoy as well as experience the place first hand.

5. Choose an experienced driver

Snow in Khardungla

  The terrain is quite accessible in all aspects. Government buses and public transport are reliable modes to travel in the mountains. Local help is available all around to take you to places. They will also suggest better places to go to. Experienced drivers know where and in what condition to go. If you think of visiting these places in your vehicle, please first get proper knowledge about the curves and slopes on the terrain. HRTC is the best available transport in most of the places.

6. Accidents because of lack of experience

A wise and sound-minded person will understand how risky it is to drive around the mountains where the road is narrow and has two-way traffic. Rocks and snow can be a problem anytime. The safe option is to get local help to go to your desired destination. Locals know the place and they will take you to amazing places like forests and rivers where you can chill out.  Accidents happen due to inexperienced drivers driving around the valley. They don’t know where the route is tricky and where is it lethal to go, but a person who belongs to these mountains knows that.

7. Staying options do test you sometimes

Arranging a place to stay is a bigger task but an important one. Find a place which is affordable and warm and should be near your destination. Most of the places in Himachal are commercial and charge you a bomb in the cold season. You might pay and won’t get what you wanted. People expect things to keep them warm in the mountains. If you are planning to visit Parvati Valley in winters, the best option is to visit our Yolo camp there.

8. Electricity and water depends on the weather

Basic amenities are available but can’t say much about the weather which can change your entire day plan into something else. In the higher regions, the water in the pipes gets frozen and even electricity goes and comes back sometime. There is no guarantee of how the area gets affected by the weather. Please carry a torch and other power sources with you.

9. Equipment is your saviour

While packing, keep in mind that it will be as cold as -15° to 5° so pack your warm gear in such a way that it is suitable enough for you to carry it around. The cold can literally make you worried about your health. Carry sufficient medicines and warm clothes with you so that you don’t have to worry. Take a backpack which is light in weight and waterproof. Synthetic material pouches can be helpful for keeping your accessories dry. Get something that can cover your ears, hands and feet because these are your body insulators which can get cold very soon. Cameras and phones should be kept safe in the bag and not used while walking on snow. You might slip and hurt yourself.

10. Be ready to walk

Weather can create trouble for you and your plan to visit someplace. Get a cab and visit or else if nothing is in your favour, be ready to walk. The hack is to keep moving. To walk, please get good grip shoes with water-resistant material so that you keep your feet safe and in working condition. Many times the buses get stuck, the local transport is not available and you have to reach somewhere. Therefore, leave early for and from the place during sunlight so that you smoothly reach to your next destination. Whenever you get stuck somewhere in the mountains, it’s a smart option to ask for help.

In the end, I just want to tell everyone who is reading this article that it’s totally safe to come to the mountains in winters. There’s never been a time where the place hasn’t seen tourists in the cold season. People come, live and feel the nature of the Himalayas. The beauty is surreal in its own term. Not everybody gets the chance to visit the Himalayan range in their life because they think too much about the consequences but they don’t understand what it is to be in a place where you feel like heaven throughout the day. Rest it’s all up to you to believe the rumours and stay away or open up to the places that you wanna see during winters because cover the earth before it covers you.

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