Nestled away from the hustle bustle of the city, Har Ki dun is a beautiful cradle shaped valley with untouched panoramic beauty. Perched at an elevation of 3,566 mts above the sea level, this place is one of the remotest areas of Uttarakhand offering a plethora of trekking excursions.
Also referred to as “Valley of Gods”, in Har Ki Dun you will find yourself surrounded by thick Pine forests and scintillating mountain peaks. This beautiful trail will take you to some of the most unexplored areas of Garhwal Himalayan region where the simplicity and rustic lifestyle of the residents of hills is still untouched by the time. The beautifully carved houses along the way add to the charm of this trek. Visit this splendid place if peaceful nature and adventure is what you are looking for.
Rail: Jammu serves as the nearest railway station to Srinagar, situated at a distance of about 290 km. The station is well connected to all the major cities of the country through regular trains. There are also direct trains to the place from the cities like Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, and Trivandrum.
Road: National Highway 1A links Srinagar to the rest of the country. Once you reached Jammu, regular bus services applies from there under J & K state government till Srinagar. The journey takes about 10 hours.
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Approx trekking distance (Both sides) : 63 kms
Base Camp : Sankri
Difficulty : Easy-Medium Gradient
Highest point of trek : 11010 ft
Nearest Airport : Dehradun
Nearest Railhead : 190 km
Region : Kashmir
Snow : The place is covered under a thick layer of snow between October and March. You will also find traces of snow at the last trail of trek on the way towards Jaundhar Glacier. Also make sure you begin your trek at the higher altitudes when the snow is hard enough for trek.
Starting point of trek : Sankri
Day 1 : Dehradun to Sankri
Arrive at Dehradun Railway station by 6:30 am. Drive to Sankri which will take around 10 to 11 hours.
Day 2 : Sonamarg Ð Shekdur Ð Nichnai
Distance: 9 km , Duration: 6 hours
Second day in Sonamarg is when the actual adventure begins and will continue for next seven days. Make sure you start the trek early, say by 8 am and continue for 3 km to spot a Dhaba. This eating outlet is the only place until the whole expedition ends. It offers packed drinking water, fresh fruit juice, biscuits, and several other edible items which one can stack up for the entire journey. Next place you will find an eating joint is at the end of the trip, at Naranag. Just to the right of the trail, a path goes down to the Sindh River flowing between the mud track and main road. This is where the trek begins and in no time you will notice an ascend; continue your trek for about 10 minutes where the road bends left and enters a vast lush green meadow. From here you can look at the entire town of Sonamarg. It will take you about half an hour to reach the top of the meadow accompanied by a dense cover of maple and pine trees, the climate is perfect for the health and strength of coniferous trees. The path then descends quickly towards a small rivulet flowing nearby, pristine as a crystal. And once again you are climbing up to a verdant cover of maple forest. The experience of walking on smooth, velvety cover of grass is absolutely bewitching. For next one and half hour, walk along the trail, adjacent to the Maple trees for other trails might take you to some nearby villages. As you get at higher altitude, the view of the Sonamarg valley will be more beautiful and pronounced. Finally the maple forest will come to an end by the top of the ridge; the other side displays a meadow with downwards gentle slope. Rest there for a while and cherish the impeccable beauty of Kashmir. ItÕs time to descend the slope heading towards the almost flat grounds of meadows. You will find silver birch trees lined on the left while the west is lined with shepherd huts. The whole area of about 40 ft is covered by a carpet of lush green grass and serves a picture perfect view. Small mountain peaks clad with snow can be witnessed on the east, this place is Shekdur. Now, if you are tired and decide to call it a day, this place will be your camping site. Otherwise, trek for another 3 hours across the meadows and then half an hour it you plan to pitch your tents at the end of the grassland. Another campsite, Shekdor is perfect with bhoj trees scattered all over. The place exhibits sheer beauty and charm for a nature lover. To camp at this place, you will have to start early in the morning and the next one if Nichnai, almost 2 hours away. Break for lunch as Shekdur and begin your trek towards Nichnai. River valley marks the beginning of Nichnai, located about a trek of an hour on the meadows. The trekking path is now along the right side of the river going upstream. The sun rays playing hide and seek with the clouds is an enchanting sight to behold. At this point, you are right behind the peaks of Sonamarg Valley. The river flowing nearby noisily gains speed as it joins the Sindh River. Another hour of trekking along the river valley, you will find the rocky terrain being replaced by a meadow with gradual slope. Lying ahead is the twin triangular peak of mountain covered by snow, presenting a breath taking sight. ItÕs time to call the day at this camping site.
Day 3 : Nichnai to Vishnusar Lake
Distance: 12 km , Duration: 6 hours
The third day of trek is going to be a long one and tiring one too, so better be prepared. However, the scenic beauty and the pristine nature will definitely make for the long day. Begin your day early inhaling the fresh and crisp air and soak in the warmth of sun. The first thing to do is to cross the Nichnai Pass, which is visible from the campsite. Walk for another half an hour along the river and cross from its left bank. For next one hours, walk along the left bank of the river. As you cross the meadows, you will notice the steep slope of the trail that you will be climbing for another hour. You will see a small lake while on your way at the mountain foot. Its crystal blue water looks quite fascinating from that distance. Now the path turns twice inwards and then you reach the Nichnai Pass. Most of the time you will get the BSNL network here; next time you phone will catch signals is when you will go beyond Gangabal. Perched at an altitude of 13,500 ft, the pass is more like a tunnel located between huge mountains. As you hike along the Nichnai Pass, you will notice a major ascent in the terrain and altitude. One can get headaches there owing to the low levels of oxygen. Once you reach the top of the pass, you will begin the downward trekking. The path becomes a bit rocky and prone to accidents, so be careful. Another hour into the trek and you will get to witness the beauty of nature through grasslands, gushing river and splendid waterfall. Presence of red flowers gives the grassland a vivid look. From here, the trail becomes plain and quite easy to walk over. The Himalayan Mountains standing tall presents a sight of impeccable beauty. The gushing stream of water flowing nearby adds to the scenic exquisiteness of the place. However, the water is freezing and so is the temperature. Walk for half an hour and you will be completely past the Nichnai Valley followed by another water stream. This gurgling stream you see here starts from Vishansar Lake. Being located at the higher level, the lake is not visible from this point. You have an option of pitching your tents near the lake, being an ideal campsite. The place is surrounded by four mountains while the Vishansar Lake is just 100 feet above the site. You can also do fishing at the lake but make sure to obtain permission. You will be moving on to Gadsar, so better get some sleep and rejuvenate your energy.
Day 4 : Explore Vishnusar Lake/ Acclimatization
Day 5 : ÊHarkidun to Jaundhar (Jamdar) Glacier & back to camp
Distance: 15 km , Duration: 7 hrs
A trek along the Supin River next to camping ground and finally the last wooden bridge will lead you to Har Ki Dun. You will find opening s to two valley here, one leading to Maninda Taal and Borasu Pass on the left while other going to Jaundar Glacier. Begin your trek in the early morning depending upon the weather conditions. The chances are if it rains in Har Ki Dun, you will find snow at the glacier. From here, move towards the right side of the valley on the camping round of Harkidun going to Swaragrohini-1 peak. It will take around 10 minutes to descend. Continue your hiking through camping ground with Jaundar at your right side. Further, look out for a series of 6 elevated ridges that you need to cross in order to enter Jaundar Basin. After a trek of almost 20 minutes, you will reach a part completely covered with snow. Another walk and hopping around boulders of 20 minutes and you will reach a huge stretch of snow cover. Cross the third ridge, which will take another 20 minutes, with an incline hike and you will reach the third ridge. From here, you will be able to see the final ridge reached by a walk of mere 15 minutes. From the top of the final ridge the Jaundar basin and the glacier will be visible, which are about 3 km away. You may proceed further to the glacial basin from here depending upon the weather conditions. The spot is situated gracefully just below the Swaragrohini-1 peak and located between the two pillars like peak is Jaundar glacier.
Day 6 : ÊHarkidun to Osla
Day 7 : Satsar to Gangabal twin Lakes
Distance: 9 km , Duration: 6 hours
The seventh day of this expedition can be quite tiring with 9 km of trekking consuming about 6 hours to reach the final destination of the day - Gangabal. The first trail you encounter will go up and down and will finally move along the path leading to the widest element of Satsar Lake. The biggest of the seven lakes marks as one of the last visiting places of the trip. Continue with the trek for another 30 minutes and you will reach the forest belt on to your left and a ridge on the right at a height of 1000 ft from you. At present you are at an altitude of 11,800 km above the ground level and continue to encounter altitude gain from here. Hiking through a zig zag path, you will reach the top of the ridge from where you can witness tow more ridges you will be climbing. The terrain is rocky and difficult to traverse, thus is very time consuming. You may feel leg pain as the edginess of terrain is difficult to match. However, the scene you just left behind, the barren and lush green mountain standing beside each other in contrast dotted with small Gujjar huts, will make up for the time consumed. With stunning view from the top, the trekking along the Kashmir valleys is a treat for any adventure lover. You will also see two lakes in the distance next to each other with the biggest of all lakes, Ganagbal. Now, your next destination for the day is at Gangabal lying about 1400 ft below the point you are currently at. However, you need to brace yourself up for some rough and rocky terrain and challenging descent. Along your way, you will also see a stream where you can stock up some fresh water. You will encounter a steep downward slope for about 40 minutes leading to verdant greenery once again. Another hour of walking and you will soon be glimpsing at the tree lines. However, even after reaching the base, you will still have a long way to cover to reach the destination lake. After trudging for a while, you will reach the Nundkol Lake, which might not be very clean owing to the campers staying there often. The lake lies just below the Harmukh peak covered with Harmukh glaciers. The place is just 30 minutes walk from Nundkol. You the bridge to reach over the beginning of Gangabal Lake where you can set up a camp while cherishing the beauty of nature.
Day 8 : ÊDrive back to Dehradun.
Drive back to Dehradun and one can reach the place easily by 7-8 pm.
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