If you love spending your nights outdoor under a starry sky, singing around a bonfire and exploring natural beauty, then camping is the ideal way to spend your vacations. Surrounded by immense nature including dense forests, snow-capped mountains, picturesque valleys and rocky terrains, India has no shortage on sites where you can go camping. There is no better way to explore the beautiful nature, whether it is trekking, hiking, bird watching, rafting or just enjoying the surroundings, than by staying in a tent.
Here are some popular camping destinations in India:
1. Spiti Valley: Himachal Pradesh
Situated in the quaint Keylong District of Himachal Pradesh, along the banks of Spiti River, Spiti Valley is one of the most popular camping sites for both adventurists and visitors in Northern India. Unlike other spots, Spiti Valley
is away from the chaos and crowd. Since, it is situated close to Ladakh and Tibet, Buddhist culture is very prominent over here. Also, one should definitely try the delicious Tibetan cuisine found over here.
Surrounded with immense beauty and snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas, it is a beautiful place to spend your summers. The best time to set up camp over here is between the months of May and June. Other popular camping sites in Himachal Padesh include Sarchu in Lahaul, Kalpa and Sangla in Kinnaur, Chandertal Lake and Kareri Lake.
2. Rishikesh: Uttarakhand
Located at the foothills of the great Himalayas, Rishikesh has been regularly attracting amateur and experienced rafters from all over the country. One can go rafting on the rapids of Ganga and then camp on the riverside.
With a myriad of camping options in Rishikesh, it has become one of the most popular summer campsites in Uttarakhand. Besides rafting, one can also try other exciting adventure sports offered here.
3. Jaisalmer: Rajasthan
If you love spending a night under a bright starry sky with nothing but sand all around, then Jaisalmer in Rajasthan is the campsite for you. The golden sand dunes in Jaisalmer are the best way to experience the dessert life in the state. Moreover, since this place is still untouched by civilization, it is one of the perfect places to get away from the hustle bustle of city life. Enjoy camel rides or jeep safaris during the day and relax under a starry sky with light wind, bonfires and folk music during the night.
Besides Jaisalmer, other popular places for camping in Rajasthan include Osian, Kanoi, Khuri, Lodurva and Kuldhara villages. Another famous place for camping in Rajasthan is Pushkar. Known for its Pushkar Fair
(or Camel Fair), Pushkar attracts a large number of campers during the festival. Ranthambore Reserve
is another popular camping site in the state, where one can enjoy the vibrant wildlife along with dessert camping.
4. Sonamarg: Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir
Literally meaning ‘Meadow of Gold’, Sonamarg is an enchanting little place in Srinagar, perfect for camping. Surrounded by beautiful snowy meadows with an awe-inspiring view of the Himalayas, Sonamarg is one of the most popular camping sites in Jammu and Kashmir. The feel of fresh air combined with a breathtaking environment will the leave campers wanting for more. Make sure to take a lot of pony rides over here and visit the Sindh Sagar, which flows freely throughout the year.
Summers are the best time to go camping in Sonamarg. It is about a two hour drive from Srinagar Airport. Sonamarg is also the base camp for the illustrious Alpine Lakes Trek, which covers Gadsar Lake, Krishansar Lake, Gangabal Lake and Vishansar Lake.
5. Solang Valley: Manali, Himachal PradeshSolang Valley
is one of the best places to camp in the country. It is very popular among hikers and trekkers due to its rocky terrain and thus, adventurists find it very thrilling to explore this picturesque valley. Besides trekking, other adventure sports such as paragliding and skiing (only during winters) are also very popular over here.
Campers can either set up camp at an altitude of 7874 feet or at a level of 11,800 feet, depending on their preferences. While some camps offer luxurious accommodation and facilities, there are others that focus more on the exploratory side of camping. The luminous sun, beautiful hills, gorgeous blue sky, fresh environment and the scenic slopes will definitely refresh and revitalize you. Winter months (January to February) are the best time to set up camp over here; however, one can also visit during the summer months (April to June). Make sure to pack a lot of warm clothes, as it can get very chilly over here, even during summers.
6. Anjuna: Goa
While Goa is more famous for its spectacular beaches and exciting flee markets, it has recently started attracting a number of campers due to its exotic location. If you like sleeping next to the soothing sound of beach waves and a lovely ocean breeze, Goa is an excellent camping destination for you.
Moreover, with a vibrant nightlife and delicious food, there can never be a boring moment in Goa. You can also visit Mapusa from Anjuna
, which is known for its various spices. Best time to go camping in Goa is during winters, when the weather is quite pleasant.
The breathtaking view of the entire Himalayan range, peaceful rivers, lush vegetation and deep ravines makes Ladakh one of the best place for camping, especially among tourists who are very adventurous. Also known as the ‘Moon Land’, Ladakh is home to numerous beautiful camping sites that vary from 9000 feet to 25,000 feet in elevation. Some popular ones include Zanskar Valley, Sham Valley, Leh-Hemis and Leh-Karzok (via Nubra Valley), Markha Valley, Mystic Sangla Valley, West Ladakh Camp, Tsomoriri Lake and Pangong Lake.
Besides trekking and hiking, campers can also indulge in other adventure sports such as fishing, bird watching, apricot picking, rock climbing or just exploring the surrounding natural beauty. Make sure you observe the sky while camping in Ladakh. You will notice that it changes color almost every hour. The best time to go camping in Ladakh is between the months of June and October.
8. Kaudiyala: Uttarakhand
Kaudiyala is a small quaint place located in the dense forests of Uttarakhand. It is more popular among pilgrims and visitors on the Kedarnath trek and is located at an altitude of 1574 feet, near the sacred Ganga River. However, adventurists can also set up camp here and spend a few peaceful days with their friends and families amidst immense natural beauty.
Surrounded by lush greenery, surging mountains, fragrant tea gardens and sweet-smelling coffee, pepper and areca-nut plantations, Kerala is considered as one of the most beautiful camping destinations of South India. Moreover, with exciting activities such as hiking, trekking, rafting and relaxing Ayurvedic spa massages, campers can never get bored over here.
Munnar hill station, known for its tea gardens, is one of the most popular camping destinations in Kerala. Camping in Periyar Tiger Reserve is the best way to explore wilderness in the state. Cliff Hut is the highest camping place in South India and is also another popular camping spot in Kerala. The best time to go camping in Kerala is between the months of October and March.
Camping Guide for Fresh Campers
First time campers can find it very daunting and inconvenient to set up camp at new locations. But don’t fret, here are some tips so as to ensure you have the best time of your life.
Ensure that you always pack light while going camping. Heavy luggage will not only slow you down but also prove to be a major hassle during the journey. While packing, always keep both light cotton clothes as well as warm woolens, as the temperature might vary during the day. Since some of the camping sites are far from towns and cities, always carry your medicines and first aid kits with you.
If you are planning to go camping in a windy area, ensure that your tents are strong enough to resist winds. Also, always keep enough drinking water, sunscreen lotions, snacks and bug repellents with you while camping. Lastly, don’t forget to enjoy and bring back home several souvenirs.
Also see: Best Places for Adventure Sports in India