Nestled close to the border between Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, Har Ki Doon natural beauty is like a pleasure to the mind as well as to the eyes. Well-known as a trekker’s paradise, Har Ki Doon trail brags of charismatic scenes and villages, exhilarating ascents and descents, majestic spectacle of Mt. Swarogihini, pilgrim spots, gushing brooks and splashing river alongside the heavenly camping sites and abundance of lush-greenery throughout the journey. If there’s any trek in Uttarakhand; unspoiled, unadulterated and also sparsely crowded, look no further than Har Ki Doon. So to sway you completely, we have encompassed reasons why one should go to Har Ki Doon at least once.
Experience rural life at Osla Village
With traditions dating back to Mahabharata era, Osla village can be reached by a trek to Har Ki Doon valley. People of this village worship the defamed character of Mahabharata, named Duryodhan. As per the theories, it is believed Duryodhan might have been a boon for these people during that era, hence the temple was built for him. Till date the villagers only preach to Duryodhan and no other god.
The village follows a king rule, who visit it once in a month. When the king comes, a big Pooja is done for the entire village. The village follows its own set of rules and regulation, abide by them when you visit it. Do not touch any of their temples or other religious things. They consider themselves superior than any outsider, but they are also equally warm in their hospitality if you are thinking to stay back in the village.
The attire of these villagers clearly depicts their attachment to their roots; traditions and customs. Most of the villagers earn their bread and butter through agriculture. They grow rajma, potato and rice for living while the others weave their own wool to make jackets and coats. You can buy from them directly as it will help them to earn more.
Staying within the nature is a fantasy of many nature enthusiasts and when we talk about Har Ki Doon, it has numerous pretty campsites that will make your stay memorable. Pitching the tents near the river, or midst the valley, under billions of stars is what every trekker desires. And if lady luck is with you, you might see one of the most beautiful sunrise of this earth. The hues of orange and red in the backdrop of Himalayas steals the show and will be the best experience of this trek.
Discover wide-variety of Flora and Fauna
When you trek from Osla to Sankri, you see varieties of trees, plants, animals and birds, this is due to its location in Govind Wildlife Sanctuary. Varied range of fauna like, Brown Bear, Musk Deer, Snow Cock, Golden Eagle, Koklas Pheasant, Bearded Vulture, Parakeets, and range of flora like Blue Poppy, Orchids, Lilies, Primulas, Potentillas and Anemonies can be found here which will definitely be a thrill for trekkers.
Spectacle Majestic Mountain Views
Did you know Pandavas from Mahabharata took the very same route to ascend to heaven via Mt Swargarohini, which also dominates the sky of Har Ki Doon valley! The mountain views on this trek is just stupendous, with Swargarohini – I, II, III, Bandarpoonch and Blackpeak. You can also see the Ruinsara peaks from here. To summarize it beautifully, no other trek steeped in mythology justifies the title of “Valley of Gods”.
Isolation from the bustling world
Nestled deep in the mountains, this unexplored trek allows one to admire the beauty of this Himalayan region all alone. The trail takes you back in time, where the unspoiled environment makes the trek divine for anyone who visits it. Walking through alpine meadows, moraine ridges, glacier basins and pine forests takes one in trance state. Populated with over 3000 years old villages, trekkers can also taste lifestyle of rural people.
With snow-capped mountains, rustic hamlets, striking temples, waterfalls, sacred rivers and exotic flora and fauna, the eternal charm of Uttarakhand remains unmatched and ever-lasting. The glaciers of Uttarakhand are home to several sacred rivers including the Ganges. The second tallest peak of India, Nanda Devi also lies here, and its aura works as an added charm to the scenery of the state.
Trekking in the ‘Land of Gods’ For travel enthusiasts, nothing could be better than exploring the Himalayas in Uttarakhand. This paradise, surrounded by the raw beauty of nature, is considered as an idyllic destination for both amateur and ardent trekkers from around the world.
Round the year, several people come to explore the jewels of the Himalayas. Most of the trekking destinations in the picturesque region of Garhwal do not demand immense strength, but simply a willingness to accept the Himalayas, and courage to chase the rough and smooth trails of the mountains.
Have a look at some of the best getaways in Uttarakhand right here:
Valley of Flowers and Hemkund Sahib Trek
Base Camp: Govindghat Duration: 6 days Grade: Easy Maximum Altitude: 3,600 m Trekking Distance: 38 km Best Time to Trek: June to September
Famed for a range of vibrant Himalayan flora, Valley of Flowers is a national park, which has received a title of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. This heavenly site is situated in Chamoli District of the Garhwal region. Whether you’re a nature lover, mountaineer or botanist, trekking to this sublime beauty will offer you awe-inspiring vistas of the mountains and breathtaking surroundings. The course which passes through the off-beat trail, isolated hamlets, abandoned areas will take you to the scenic landscape and green meadows, encompassing diverse species of flora and fauna.
Best time: In the Spring season, thousands of species of colorful flowers bloom in the region.
And if you’re lucky enough, you’ll get a wonderful sight of endangered animals, including Asiatic black bear, blue sheep, red foxes, Himalayan tahrs, and snow leopard. The expedition starts from the sacred city of Haridwar and goes through Auli, Govindghat and Ghangaria. You will enjoy the mesmerizing views of Zanskar Range, which is the place for the sages, who would have come here to pursue meditation and Yoga. Another best thing about this excursion is that it gives you a chance to visit one of the most sacred Gurudwara, the Hemkund Sahib. The lake besides the gurudwara is a scenic spot to just sit back and indulge in some nature photography.
Har Ki Doon Trek
Base Camp: Sankri Duration: 7 Days Grade: Easy to Moderate Maximum Altitude: 3566 m Trekking Distance: 54 km Best Time to Trek: Mid April to June
Situated at the high altitude of 3,566 m, Har Ki Doon is among the most scenic treks of Uttarakhand. The cradle-shaped valley is surrounded by the splendid peaks of Fateh Parvat, Swargarohini and Jaundha. The trail is packed with vibrant Himalayan flowers, gushing streams, rare wildlife species and lush green meadows.
On the way to the destination, the trekkers get a chance to explore the mountain ridges, ancient temples, glaciers, rustic hamlets and alluring caves. Locals believe that the religious significance of the valley is connected to the age of the Mahabharata. Not only this, there is an ancient temple dedicated to Duryodhana, who is said to be the eldest brother of Kauravas. At the initial stage, the trek starts from Sankri Village and goes to Taluka. The trail which is filled with moraine ridges, icy pools, alpine meadows and oak forests, motivates you to aim higher and accomplish the trek calmly. Har Ki Doon is also considered as an ideal trek for the photographer enthusiasts as it offers spectacular views of the valley, consisting of Brahma Kamal flower and Mahinda Taal.
Base Camp: Kathdogam Duration: 7 Days Grade: Easy to Moderate Maximum Altitude: 4570 m Trekking Distance: 59 km Best Time to Trek: Mid May to June, September to October
Perched in the snow-white majesty of Mt. Trishul (4,800 m), Roopkund trek offers picturesque terrains which give you an opportunity to explore the hidden gems of nature. Trailing through lush green valleys, alpine meadows, snowy terrains, enthralling ridges will make you feel that you have reached very close to the heaven. Also called as Skeletal Lake, Roopkund Lake is one of the major attractions on the trek. This ‘Mystery Lake’ gives you an adrenaline rush filled with both fear and excitement as you could see hundreds of skeletons either inside or around the lake. So, if you want to unravel the myths related to it then Roopkund trek is a must-try.
Moreover, the trekking starts from Loharjung and takes you through mountains replete with a wide variety of biodiversity and pictorial surroundings. Hiking on a scenic course that goes through forests of deodar and firs to Ali Bugyal, is a unique experience in itself. On your way to the summit, you get a chance to meet locals and explore their lifestyle. And you may also encounter mountain animals that come to graze on pastureland.
Nag Tibba Trek
Base Camp: Pantawari Duration: 2 Days Grade: Easy Maximum Altitude: 3050 m Trekking Distance: 20 km Best Time to Trek: October to April
Beautifully nestled at a high elevation of 3,050 m in the great Himalayan region of Uttarakhand, Nag Tibba trek is an ideal trek for those searching peace for their mind and soul. Situated at isolated place, Nag Tibba is replete with the enchanting beauty of the lush green forest, snow patches and rare species of flora and fauna. Locals believe that Nag Devta dwells in the hills, thus, it was named as Nag Tibba, which means the abode of Lord Serpent. Several Hindu devotees visit the site to pay reverence to the deity.
On accomplishing summit, trekkers can enjoy a sight of great peals like Gangotri, Changabang, Kedarnath, Bandarpoonch and the Doon Valley. It is a circular trek, which begins from the rustic hamlet of Pantwari. Trekkers visit the temple of Nag Devta on the first day of the trek. Later, the trail goes through stunning waterfalls, gushing streams, dense forests, villages and alpine meadows. The camping experience is truly inexplicable as nothing could be better than spending a night under the glittery sky while being surrounded by the lush green forest.
Base Camp: Sankri Duration: 6 Days Grade: Easy to Moderate Maximum Altitude: 3,810 m Trekking Distance: 22 km Best Time to Trek: April to June, September to December
Kedarkantha peak is situated in Uttarkashi district at an altitude of 3,150 m. It is located inside the Govind National Park, and is home to rare species of flora and fauna. The ever-modifying scenery of the place will motivate you to hike on the challenging and rough course. On your way to the summit, you will come across an old temple of Lord Shiva and his wife Goddess Parvati. Just beside the temple, there is a small shrine of their son, Lord Ganesha too. There is a Trishul erected in the valley at a certain place, which is said to be a weapon of Lord Shiva. And villagers believe that it is a reason behind their survival on such a height and extreme cold weather as it protects them from any kind of disaster.
Moreover, the trek begins from a peaceful village called Sankri and gradually leads you to the River Tons. From the summit, a stunning view of 13 different Himalayan peaks like Bandarpoonch and Swargarohini, is a delight for trekkers’ eyes and soul.
Kuari Pass Trek
Base Camp: Dhak Village Duration: 6 Days Grade: Easy to Moderate Maximum Altitude: 3877 m Trekking Distance: 33 km Best Time to Trek: April, November and December
Fact check: You know who reached Kuari Pass first? It was Lord Curzon who explored the place in 1905.
Locals named this place as Kuari Pass, which means ‘doorway’. The main highlight of the trek is the magnificent view of the twin peaks of Nanda Devi and several others like Kamet, Hathi Ghodi Parvat, Dronagiri, Trishul, Bertholi, Mana, and Neelkanth. Moreover, the course takes you through pristine forests of oak and deodar. On this venture, you can enjoy a common yet the breathtaking sight of Himalayan snow leopards and black bear. Spending a night at the dazzling campsite is one of the most amazing experiences!
This expedition also gives you a chance to explore the two most-charming sites of Uttarakhand i.e. Joshimath and Auli. Sri Shankaracharya has attained enlightenment in Joshimath and Auli is famous for skiing and astronomers. The journey basically begins from Haridwar but the trekking expedition starts from the beautiful village of Dhak. On your way to the summit, you will come across to the enthralling view of Devprayag, Bhagirathi and Alakananda confluence. The course that goes to Chitrakantha, Chaukhamba and Tali Top has many hidden surprises for you! ory.
Base Camp: Barsu Duration: 5 Days Grade: Easy to Moderate Maximum Altitude: 3688 m Trekking Distance: 25 km Best Time to Trek: April to June, September to December
Standing tall at a high altitude of 3,688 m in the district of Uttarkashi, Dayara Bugyal is said to be the most amazing and breathtaking trek in “Land of the Gods”. In the lush green landscape of meadows, one can catch a beautiful sight of the Barnala Tal Lake. Moreover, you can enjoy a majestic sight of stunning peaks like Srikanth, Jaonli, Draupadi ka Danda I & II, Rudregaira, Gangotri I, II & III, Black peak, Bandarpunch, etc.
The trek begins from the little hamlet of Barsu and takes you to the summit through the dense forest of oak, clear-crystal water bodies and sprawling meadows.
Take a break from the nine-to-five grind and explore the hidden beauty of the Himalayas to gain a lifetime of experience.
Nestled at the splendid peak of Fateh Parvat and surmounting a height of 3,566 m from the sea level, Har ki Doon is one of the remotest places in the Devbhoomi of Uttarakhand. Its desolation, alpine vegetation and snow-capped peaks make this cradle-shaped valley, a perfect spot for trekking excursion. In addition, it offers several delightful views that leave the trekkers awe-struck, starting from the raw beauty of nature to ice-covered peaks of Swargarohini and Jaundha. The valley which is packed with the alpine meadows, stunning streams, vibrant Himalayan flowers and exotic wildlife species has many hidden gems that add an extra charm to the trekking expedition.
A Dream-like Trek to Har Ki Doon Believe it or not – walking through the eternal meadow of Har Ki Doon is one of those experiences that remain entrenched in the heart and mind for life. The trail rewards you with fascinating views of mountain ridges, glaciers, ancient temples, alluring caves and rustic hamlets.
It is believed that this valley holds a religious significance for Hindus and shares its past with the age of the Mahabharata. According to the locals, the eldest brother of the Pandavas, Yudhishthira, scaled the Himalayan peak ‘Swargarohini’ on his way to heaven. Also, there is a temple dedicated to eldest brother of the Kauravas, Duryodhana.
The initial phase of trek begins from Sankri Village to Taluka, which is located at a distance of 12 km from Sankri. Further, the course goes through icy pools, alpine meadows, moraine ridges, and pine and oak forests. On way to the summit, trekkers get an opportunity to capture spectacular views of the valley in camera and learn about the simple yet amazing lifestyle of locals. Also, eyes will be fascinated with a sight of Brahma Kamal flower that blooms in a beautiful alpine lake called Mahinda Taal.
Location: Uttarkashi, Uttarakhand Duration: 7 Days Trekking Distance: 54 km Maximum Altitude: 3566 m Grade: Easy to moderate Start Point: Sankri End Point: Sankri
Best Season to Visit: With pleasant weather conditions, the Har Ki Doon Trek can be undertaken round the year, except the monsoons. From December to March, the region experiences incessant snowfall, thus, adventure enthusiasts need proper physical training and experience to head for the trek during this time. Notably, the average temperature ranges from 11°C to 2°C, although at night temperature dips below freezing point.
Moreover, spring season i.e. from mid-April to June is considered as the best time to engage in this expedition. At this time, the average temperature ranges between 22°C to 10°C.
Several trekkers undertake this trek from September to November due to safe weather condition. The average temperature ranges between 18°C to 9°C.
Warm-hearted locals Uttarakhand is not only known for its majestic hills and religious significance, but also for its warm-heartedinhabitants. They are the one who makes this place a travel-friendly state. Visit the religious memorials in towns and villages and explore the lifestyle of people and traditional practices followed by them.You will be surprised to see that people of Uttarakhand keep culture and religion very close to their hearts. Their generosity and admiration for the travelers make the expedition one of the most cherished memories.
Quick Overview of Elevation Points:Basically, the Har Ki Doon trekking expedition starts from the capital of Uttarakhand, Dehradun. The drive from Dehradun to Sankri goes through charming villages of Purola, Nainbagh and Naitwar, taking around 7 hours. Situated at an elevation of 1950 meters, Sankri is the base camp of the trek that offers astounding vistas of the quaint Himalayas. Next day, move towards a small village called Taluka at 2560 meters. A major perennial Himalayan river, Tons flows from here. The trek heads to the final destination Har Ki Doon that stands at an altitude of 3566 meters. Leaving the mountains behind, descend to Taluka and then to Sankri.
Itinerary Day 01: Dehradun – Sankri >Day 02: Sankri – Taluka – Seema >Day 03: Seema – Har Ki Doon >Day 04: Camp near Kalkatti Dhar – Har Ki Doon >Day 05: Har Ki Doon – Seema >Day 06: Seema – Taluka – Sankri > Day 07: Sankri – Dehradun
My Footprints in the Paradise Called Har Ki Doon
Unlike other Himalayan treks, Har Ki Doon trek deserves a special mention because of the splendid views it offers. Without any doubt, this trek is a delight for those who want to witness exotic Himalayan flora and fauna. For city dwellers, this is a perfect escape from the mundane life. A walk on lush green landscape along with snow patches is surely a delightful experience to one’s eyes and soul.
After planning an excursion with my two best friends, I landed at Jolly Grant Airport from Delhi. At the airport, we met our tour representative who welcomed us with a beautiful flower bouquet and a charming smile on his face. He briefed us about Sankri and asked us to wait for sometime as we had to wait there for our other fellow trekkers. Later, we became a group of 10 people with their arrival. We all boarded the taxis arranged by the tour representative and moved toward Sankri.
The views of snow-covered hills, monasteries and temples were so stunning that they cannot be described in mere words. We had lunch at a roadside Dhaba near Nagthat. After 7 hours, we reached Sankri – a stunning village at Uttarkashi, which is located 13 km inside an exotic Govind Wildlife Sanctuary, where I captured splendid views of mountains animals like black peak, swarg rohini and bandarpunch. Further, the trail passed through River Supin and the dense forests of pine, maple and chestnut trees. The sound of gushing water and birds’ chirping poured into my ears like a melodious song. After reaching Sankri, we had a dinner at GIO camp Sankari.
Next morning, we woke up to a spectacular view of sunrise. After breakfast, our trek began from Sankari to Taluka via Osla and Seema. In the initial phase, the trail was quite easy as it was filled with pastureland and vibrant flowers. Suddenly, it started raining and our guide instructed us to not move further. So, we took out our raincoats and after wearing them we sat in a place covered with trees. Showers made the trekking difficult and the trail turned foggy, however, the vistas became more alluring and mysterious. We crossed Seema Market and reached Taluka gradually. We spent a night in the tents under the glittery sky.
Today, it was the day to make it to the final destination, for which we had been waiting so long! After breakfast, we moved towards Har ki Doon. The trail was pleasingly undulating with a steady gradient, which helped us in maintaining good speed.
The aroma of orchards, Himalayan primroses and the forest kept seeping inside us, just like a magic these flowers create to attract a swarm of bees. The clear-crystal views of Swargarohini and Bandarpoonch peaks were a feast to our naked eyes.
Further, we crossed a cantilever bridge and just after that the path became extremely high and slopes turned rough and perpendicular. Climbing on that giant and the demanding trail took a lot of concentration and efforts. Despite that, it was a remarkable experience as success gave us an immense pleasure. En route, we luckily met local school-going kids aged between 5 and 8, along with their parents. We clicked several pictures with them and it was quite an overwhelming experience. Thankfully, I had a few chocolates in my bag which were distributed among the children.
Our next resting point was Charota waterfalls where we spent around 20 minutes and it gave us immense relief after a long exhausting day. Later, we reached Har Ki dun after a total of 6 hours walk. Sun had already set down in the valley but the enclosing peaks were reflecting the blonde shades of the sun. We captured several group selfies there and spent a wonderful night under the tents.
Way Back to Sankri On Day 4, we moved to Hata Valley after breakfast. Trekking to Hata Valley was an experience in itself. We encountered with Shepherds came there from far away villages with their herds. In the afternoon, we came to Har Ki Doon.
Next day, we woke up to a beautiful morning in the valley surrounded by lofty trees and mountains. After breakfast, we descended towards Seema Market. We first reached to a temple in the Osla Village, where we interacted with the locals and collected more information about the place. Later, we reached Taluka from Seema and spent a night in the tents. Next morning, on our way back to Sankri, we captured amazing views of flora and fauna in our cameras. We reached Sankri after 5 hours of tiring yet fascinating journey. On last day, I headed to the airport with my two friends, after bidding adieu to our fellow trekkers and tour representative.
Do Not Forget!
Respect nature, wildlife and local traditions
Travel in a group of 3 to 4 people
Respect local culture and be sensitive towards wildlife
People with heart disease, diabetes, asthma or high altitude sickness should avoid the trek
Work on the fitness levels for the trek
Prior research is a must
Don’t try to compete with fellow trekkers, just set your own pace
A Handy List of Trekking Essentials
Trekking shoes/Trekking pole
Warm clothes/Mosquito repellent
LED flashlight/Headlamp with extra batteries
Extra pair of woollen socks/ Raincoat/Gloves
Sunscreen Lotion/ Sunglasses/Lip balm
Water Bottles/Energy drink and bars/Emergency Medical Kit
This trekking expedition to Har Ki Doon not only gave me a plethora of wonderful memories to cherish but also help me in conquering my fears. A closer sight at the jewels hidden in the snow capsule mountains is something that one should definitely experience at least once in a lifetime.
Trekking in Uttarakhand has lately become so much more than an adventure sport. Now a popular destination for weekend getaways, long treks, river rafting, camping, mountaineering, ziplining and other adrenaline-inducing adventures, it has also long been a important location for pilgrims for decades for it harbours the origin of Ganges, Gangotri. The Garhwal and Kumaon ranges offer the most promising treks, courtesy its position in the foothills of famous Himalayan peaks.
The second highest mountain in India and the highest mountain located entirely within the country, Nanda Devi(7,816 m) lies right here in the Garhwal Himalayas; it is the holy site for a lot of cultural festivals that take place annually. Lots of other 7000 m+ peaks loom over this region in North India. Therefore, so far as cultural, geographical and historical importance is considered, Uttarakhand is naturally a winner.
Keeping in mind a lot of factors that make a trek worthwhile, the best treks located in Uttarakhand are Roopkund Trek and Har Ki Doon Trek. These treks offer great views of the Himalayan peaks, challenge one’s trekking skills and endurance in controlled limits and are spread over a comfortable number of days to accommodate the best experiences without exhausting oneself completely.
But the major catches remain: Expansive alpine meadows; lush valleys; dense oak, deodar and pine forests; high altitude lakes, moraines, ridges, hanging glaciers; towering Himalayan peaks looming over. These trek features are entirely unique to Uttarakhand’s picturesque locales and that is what makes it such an invigorating experience for trekkers of all backgrounds.
The best time to visit any of these treks are the sunny summer months: April to June. Avoid monsoon season for there’s possibility of flash floods, landslides, slippery trail and other dangers.
Everything a Himalayan trek can offer! Alpine meadows that stretch as far the eye goes, oak and pine forests, frozen waterfalls, scenic peaks that make this trek incomparable. So picture perfect!
The mystique and the memory of a past forgotten The Skeletal Lake is said to have buried in it skeletons of travelers that were caught in a hailstorm. So far, no conclusive research has shown where exactly the group of travelers was headed. Spooky, right? Visit in the summers so that the lake is not completely covered by sheets of snow.
The adventure, the thrill, the views Roopkund trek, over the years, has remained one of the most popular trekking destinations in North India. Each year, thousands of people set out to make it on this trek. Perhaps, the biggest selling point of this trek are the adrenaline-inducing climb up to the lake and the chilling views of Mt Trishul, Nanda Ghunti, Badrinath. The trek is not meant for beginners.
Har Ki Doon, a paradise in the lap of Himalayas on the border between Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh: The valley is reached through Govind Wildlife Sanctuary which is a repository of the most exotic variety of flora and fauna.
Follow Pandavas’ steps to the Swargarohini This trek offers mesmerizing views of Swargarohini – I, II, III, Bandarpoonch and Blackpeak, Ruinsara, etc. In the Hindu mythology, Pandavas ascended to heaven following the very route trekkers take. How is that for some rich history?
In the foothills of Fateh Parvat, Har ki Dun is one of the most scenic valleys and, therefore, perfect spot for your photography passions! So is the nearby Hata valley.
Enjoy camping next to Kalkatti Dhar
Trek to Jaundhar Glacier and spot lush greens and snow-capped peaks. An exhilarating view that will leave you wanting for more, definitely!
Quit being afraid. The world awaits.
Trekking in Uttarakhand is more than an adventure, it is an experience worth a thousand memories that will last a lifetime. Underneath the picture perfect hillocks touching clear skies, in the lush valleys and amid flowing rivulets, through pine and oak lands, find your own nature calling!