Friday, November 27, 2015

Exploring the Himalayas with Nautica Travel Gear

Last winter, I had successfully tried Nautica’s fashionable travel clothing for my one month backpacking trip across Turkey and earlier this summer, I tried their summer collection during my holiday across Europe and USA. While the Turkey trip was more backpacking style, the Europe and USA trip was comfortable with slightly more luxury. In both instances, I was very happy with the performance of this young lifestyle fashion brand. I felt both comfortable and fashionable in them.

That way is the riverside trekking trail from Chitkul to Sangla

Photo Title: Trekking along the Baspa river from Chitkul to Sangla

This autumn/fall when I went to the Lahaul, Spiti and Kinnaur regions of Himachal Pradesh, I decided to test my Nautica gear in a slightly tougher and more demanding environment. This trip was more rugged with lots of trekking, hiking and had consistent exposure to sub zero temperatures.

Backpacking to Chitkul - a heavenly village in the high Himalayas of Himachal Pradesh

Photo Title: Backpacking to Chitkul, the last village on the Hindustan-Tibet Highway
In addition to my existing summer clothing from Nautica’s spring-summer collection, I picked up a collared pullover and a rugged waterproof watch. So basically, I had a pair of sweat pants, polo shirts, collared pullover and a watch from Nautica.

Basking in the early morning sun of Chitkul, Himachal Pradesh

Photo Title: Soaking in the morning sun at Chitkul
I also carried my usual winter gear that included a pair of hiking boots, a waterproof fleece jacket, raw silk scarves, a woollen hat, active inner wear and a pair of sunglasses. These are from assorted brands. The idea behind my clothing choice was to combat the warm weather during the day, cold winds and sub zero temperatures post sundown, lots of sweating while trekking, lots of walking with a backpack and no access to washing or laundry facilities.

Enjoying my holiday at Dhankar, Spiti Valley

Photo Title: Enjoying Dhankar, my favorite village in the Spiti Valley
Like always, my clothing style was to marry utility with fashion. And boy was I happy or not with my clothing choice! My backpack was light, which my shoulders really appreciated. My Nautica polo shirts did not stink in spite of me wearing them without wash for 3 weeks. The Nautica pullover was just perfect for a moderately nippy day and would breathe even during my strenuous hikes. And the ruggedly stylish Nautica watch helped me keep track of my time even in areas where I could not charge my phone for days together.

Excitement at the high village of Komic

Photo Title: Ecstatic at Komic, the highest village in India at more than 4,500 meters
My other clothes and accessories all solved their purpose and I had a great time trotting the Shimla to Manali loop via Kinnaur, Spiti Valley and Lahaul regions of Himachal Pradesh. Whether I was climbing over rocks or crossing streams from Chitkul to Sangla, playing cricket at 10,000 feet, hiking to high altitude lakes like Dhankar and Chandra Taal, trotting to the highest polling station, highest village or the highest post office in India, I had a blast while staying warm, fresh, comfortable and fashionable.

Having a good time at Dhankar, Spiti Valley

Photo Title: Checking the time in Spiti Valley
This 3 week holiday in the Himalayas was an absolute treat to the eyes with spectacular panoramas almost everywhere (I am sure you will agree with me on that when you look at the photographs in this post). Tourist numbers were on the lower side as it was low season. Apples were in season and the Golden and Royal apples that I tasted during this trip were possibly some of the freshest and most juicy ones that I had ever tasted in my life. The mountain people as always are very cheerful and friendly. And like all mountain treks, I got high on pure mountain air.

Hiking to the beautiful village of Dhankar in Spiti Valley

Photo Title: Trotting the scenic route to Dhankar Monastery and village
My favorite camping site for this trip was Chandra Taal Lake. My favorite village was Dhankar. My favorite monastery was Shashur Gompa at Keylong. My favorite trek was the Baspa river trek from Chitkul to Sangla. The best apples that I tasted were from Tabo. My best accommodation was the homestay at Dhankar.  My favorite tea moment was with the monk at Komic Monastery, Komic village – the highest village in India. My favorite dish was Phemar, the traditional Tsampa cake at Tabo.

Photo pit stop with the surreal Spiti valley in the background

Photo Title: Posing at a view point near Dhemul, another high village in the mountains of Himachal Pradesh

Be it taking selfies at almost every pit stop or at view points, lighting butter lamps at every monastery that I stepped into, digging into local delicacies at every stop or having a laugh with the locals, this trip was about me and connecting with the places even if it meant roughing it out in tough conditions. And I got to do that and more to my heart’s content.

Photo pitstop by the Baspa river while trekking from Chitkul to Sangla

Photo Title: The Baspa river trek is insanely beautiful and a must-do on your next holiday to Kinnaur

Have you explored these stunning high villages of Himachal Pradesh? If not, you should ensure that you plan a holiday there soon. Summer is the best time with better roads. Autumn is great for fall colors, falling tourist numbers and for the famous apples of Himachal. And winter is best if you want the mountains to yourself.

Praying next to a giant prayer wheel at Nako

Photo Title: Offering my prayers at Nako, a picturesque village situated at 12,000 feet

At the end of the trip, I said to myself, “Nautica is not only a upmarket lifestyle brand, it is also a rugged brand that comes in handy even in tough conditions”. All in all, I had an absolutely gorgeous Himalayan holiday! The Himalayas always lives to its mighty status!!

Welcome to BE ON THE ROAD Travel Blog! I am Sankara, its founder, a 30 something male from Bangalore who is living his dream of exploring the world and simultaneously trying to inspire others to live their dream.
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