Time Required : 7 days
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Nestled in the lap of Hathi Parvat (6730 m) of Gharwal Himalayas in Chamoli District, the Kagbhusandi Tal is a beautiful oblong lake adorned with emerald green waters. Perched at an altitude of 5,230 m near Kankul Pass, the lake is about one kilometer long decorated by plethora of wildflowers in their full bloom during the season.
The trail of this amazing trek initiates along the famous Valley of Flowers, veering off to east of Bhyunder Village. It veers through several terrains from dense and colourful forest of pine and maple to pristine glaciers and gushing streams making this trek a fascinating experience. Apart from the splendid lake, the other attraction of the trek are two huge rocks on a projection of Hathi Parvat often described as crow (Kaga) and an Eagle (Garuda). Several folk tales are attached to the rocks, one of them believed by the locals is an animated conversation is carried between crow and Garuda on the affairs of the universe. There are few more myths, according to one of it a learned Brahmin of Ayodhya after incurring the wrath of the sage Lomas was transformed into a crow by the sage. Several such mystic stories make this trek all the more fascinating. Blessed with beauty in full bounty, these yet to explored trails are perfect for those seeking peace and isolation from the city's hustle bustle.
Rail: Haridwar serves as the nearest railway station to the base camp of the trek, Joshimath. It is situated at a distance of about 250 kms from the place which can be reached in about 8-9 hours. A cab or a bus can be arranged to further reach your final destination.
Road: There are frequent bus services from Delhi to Rishikesh, Haridwar and Dehradun both under private as well as state department. From here on one can easily get a bus or cab to transfer to Gangotri. You can also hire jeeps and tempos from Rishikesh till the base camp. Gangotri is about 466 kms from Delhi by road.
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Base Camp : Joshimath
Difficulty : Moderate Gradient
Highest point of trek : 5230 m
Nearest Airport : Jolly Grant Airport
Nearest Railhead : 250 km
Region : Chamoli District, Garhwal Himalayas
Snow : Expect heavy snowfall between thre months of January and March, when the trail is completely covered with snow. It may get diffcult to trek during winters when the snow is soft. It is usually April onwards that the routes get cleared of any traces of snow.
Starting point of trek : Joshimath
Day 1 : Joshimath to Bhyunder Village
Distance: 25 kms drive, 9 kms trek , Duration: 11 hours
First day of trek begins from Joshimath with a steep ascent but becomes easy as you proceed ahead. The beautiful sound of gurgling stream nearby ease off the initial trek. Soon you will enter a dense forest following the trail along the river flanked by greenery all around. Make sure to admire the nature's beauty and capture few amazing moments. After a trek of around 9 kms, you will finally arrive at the Village of Bhyunder, where your permits will be checked by the forest officials. This is your campsite as well, so rest here for the night.
Day 2 : Bhyunder Village to Samartoli Bugyal to Dang Kharak Glacier Camp
Distance: 8 kms , Duration: 6 hours
Today, you will be trekking towards Samartoly Bugyal and finally to the Dang Kharak Glacier Camp. The trail goes through a thick cover of forest blessed with verdant greenery and serenity. However, the terrain keeps springing with surprises almost every half an hour and thus increasing the challenge at every turn. An hour of negotiating with slippery rocks of waterfall, you will finally arrive at Samartoli. Enjoy the beautiful scenery at the village and continue with your trek as the panoramic vistas keep getting glorified at every step ahead. Next 2 km of trek account for a exhausting climb with loose rocks coming down the slope at speed. As you trudge along the trail, you will finally arrive at your mesmerizing campsite of Dang Kharak Glacier Camp. Pitch your tents for the night.
Day 3 : Dang Kharak to Kankul Pass Base Camp
Distance: 5 kms , Duration: 6 hours
It is finally time to depart from Dang Kharak and trek towards Kankul Pass. For first five hours, you will be climbing Kankul Khal, covered with snow depending upon the season. Be careful while climbing as the ascent is quite strenuous and slippery. However, it is equally rewarding with the beauty and serenity of blanket of white snow all around. Another half an hour into the trek negotiating with hard snow and you reach the top of the Kankul Pass, awe inspired with the surrounding beauty. Make sure to descend on time before weather takes any turn. After trekking for a while you will arrive at Kankul Pass Base Camp.
Day 4 : Over Kankul Pass to Kagbhusandi Taal
Distance: 8 kms , Duration: 8 hours
On the fourth day of the trek, descend along the trail from the ridge towards the lake. After almost an hour of trek, you will get the first glimpse of the frozen lake. The banks will be covered with crow feathers while the lake glistening in white is fun to walk upon. As the sun sets, the sight of majestic mountains under the influence of moonlight offers a sight to behold. Enjoy and admire the blessings of Mother Nature on the region. Make sure to find a perfect spot to pitch your tents as this also the campsite for the day.
Day 5 : Kagbhusandi Tal to Barmai Pass to Upper Barmai Camping Ground
Distance: 6 kms , Duration: 9 hours
Begin an early trek on the fifth day to trek to the Barmai Pass. The trek can be quite tiring, however, the views all around are magnificent. Enjoy the cover of snow before trudging forward towards the Barmai Camping Ground.
Day 6 : Upper Barmai Camping Ground to Pharsawan Bank to Jabar Kharak to Painka Village
Your final destination of the sixth day is to reach Painka Village. The trail for that passes through Pharsawan Bank and then finally through Jabar Kharak. First task of the day will be to cross the Bhainsatal Glacier followed by 2 hours of climbing. Keep trudging along the trail to finally arrive at the trail to arrive at the village.
Day 7 : Painka Village to Vishnu Prayag, drive to Joshimath
Finally it is the last day of the trek when you will be driving back to Joshimath enroute Vishnu Prayag and thus marking the end of this enticing excursion.
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