India is vast, extending over 3000 kilometres from the rugged Himalayan lands in the north to the more sultry states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu in the south. With a bewildering array of ethnic groups and a multitude of religions, as well as every imaginable type of landscape, India is a simply magical destination for adventure travel. From the perspective of the trekker, climber and mountain biker, it is the mountainous northern provinces of Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh, Garhwal and Sikkim that have the most to offer. Here, there are classic treks such as Zanskar's Wild West, Beyond Kulu, Curzon's Trail and the Kuari Pass and Singalila Ridge, as well as great climbing holidays that include 6000 metre peaks like Stok Kangri. Whilst Ladakh is at its best during the summer, some of the other regions of the Indian Himalaya are adversely affected by the monsoon at this season. Elsewhere in India there is no shortage of natural and man-made wonders. The Taj Mahal, easily accessible from Delhi, is perhaps India's most well-known attraction, with many other outstanding architectural highlights in the neighbouring desert state of Rajasthan.


The Indian Himalaya do not present themselves as one unbroken chain, but rather as a gigantic layer cake made up of several different ranges. The principal Himalayan mountain ranges divide the Indian Sub-continent from the Tibetan Plateau. From Nanga Parbat in the west, these mountains stretch for over 2000 kilometres to the borders of Sikkim and Bhutan in the east. In Kashmir, the mountain ranges give way to the subsidiary ranges that make up the heart of Kashmir's lakes and valleys, whilst to the north and east lie Zanskar and Ladakh, commonly referred to as the Trans-Himalaya zone, marking the geological transition between the Indian Sub-continent and the Tibetan Plateau. To the south-east stretch the lower ranges of the Pir Panjal and the Dhaula Dhar which eventually tie in to the high, snow-capped mountains of the Garhwal Himal and beyond to the most easterly extension of the Indian Himalaya, Nanda Devi, the Kumaon Himalaya and the Panch Chuli Group. Sikkim is one of the newest of India's states, and lies to the east of Nepal, a projection northwards from the Indian plains, and isolated from the surrounding countries (Nepal, Bhutan and Tibet) by high ridges.