Trekking in India
Although armies, pilgrims, and traders had been exploring the Himalayas for many centuries, organized trekking was associated closely with a complete quest for hunting in the early days. This recreational activity gained popularity in India in the later part of the 19th century.
The Maharajas used to go on long expeditions to hunt bears, tigers, leopards, and deers with their hunting parties. This became the main reason for the decline in the number of many wildlife at the turn of the 20th century. It was not unusual for the British to go on a trek from Srinagar in Kashmir all the way to Leh, Ladakh as part of their annual vacation during their reign in India. Multiple departments were established in Shimla - the summer capital of the British Raj along with Srinagar to pursue their sports-related activities such as trekking, fishing, and hunting.
Ernest Neve revised the 15th edition of The Tourist's Guide to Kashmir, Ladakh, and Skardu in 1933. It was done to reflect the increasing interest to travel to the higher and more remote valleys. Covering long distances was no longer seen to be extraordinary.
One exceptional case was of Robert Fleming, he trekking for seven months all the way from Beijing to Kashmir. He did not even receive a nod as an acknowledgment of his feat by the reservation clerk when he finally checked into the Nedou's Hotel in September 1935.
Eric Shipton, Harold William (Bill) Tilman, and Frank Smythe evolved the travel style to a more modest form of exploration and climbing in the 1930s. They led expeditions into the Garwhal Himalaya by traveling light, with less complicated logistics and often with the presence of one or two climbing Sherpas. The well renowned Valley of the Flowers was discovered by Frank Smythe while returning after climbing Mount Kamet 7756 m.
History of trekking in India post-independence.
The partition of India and Pakistan meant that it was no longer possible to trek from Kashmir or Baltistan (now a region of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir) or vice versa. The border of India with China in the north were restricted. Travel confined after the 1962 war with China along with India's sensitive border areas of China and Pakistan.
Trekkers were allowed to visit Ladakh, Zanskar, and Lahaul in 1974 after the gradual lifting of restrictions while permits were no longer required to trek in the many Northern regions of Uttarakhand.