The moment an ex-colleague told me that he would be going on Har Ki Dun trek, I immediately decided to go along with him as I wanted to walk at least once in the great Himalayan mountains that I only studied about them in school text books many decades ago! As I did not want to miss the opportunity of seeing the Himalayas and walking on them at least once in my life time, booked the trek with Himalaya Shelters, Dehradun, without a second thought. Though I was a bit worried about fitness, but I was confident of trekking because I have been walking and doing exercises for more than a decade more or less regularly.
The trek lasted for 7 days where 2 days were for travelling by vehicle to a trekking starting point at a village called Taluka and hence real trekking was for 5 days. Walked a total distance of 54 KM from Taluka to Har Ki Dun and back during the trek.
Trekking to Har Ki Dun
Reaching the camp on Day 1.
The day 1 of the trek started on Sunday May 5, 2019 at 6:45 AM at Dehradun with a Tempo Traveller that took us to Sankri. After seeing Mr Bachan Rana himself in the tempo, my confidence of making it to Har Ki Dun doubled! Initially we were only four members that included my friend and his family. Later we were joined by a brother and his sister at Mussorie. We had breakfast at Kempty falls and lunch at Hotel Classic Hill View at Purola. Though delayed by more than an hour, food served at its restaurant was really tasty. Snow mountains we could spot far away as we passed through village Naugav, ignited enthusiasm for reaching the mountains as quickly as possible. We reached hotel NatureView Himalayan Resorts at Sankri by 4 PM. The view of snow clad mountains from the hotel was like a picture post card. We enjoyed the beautiful view by sipping hot tea in cold weather!
On the way to Taluka on Day 2.
We left Sankri for Taluka at 8 AM in the morning of the next day, i.e., Monday May 6, 2019, in a pickup truck.
We went through narrow, winding and a bit scary roads on cliffs of mountains. Met couple of flocks of sheep and goats on the way. Sometimes we waited for road to be cleared due to maintenance being done on some patches of the roads. Reached Taluka at 9:20 AM and I was surprised to find that there were already many trucks that brought other trekkers to the place. My initial fear that we would be the lone trekkers died down quickly. As per a board beside a government building, Har Ki Dun is 27 km from this place. Beginning of the trek was a bit unpleasant as the starting point is along an open overflowed drain with trash strewn here and there along path of the trek. It seemed as if Swatchch Bharath slogan did not reach some villages in Himalayas! However, within a few minutes of descent along the path, we were welcomed by Himalayan mountains.
On the way, we had lunch, packed at Sankri itself, at a tea stall at 2:30 PM. Reached Gangad at 3:45 PM for refreshments and first camp site at Osla village before 5:30 PM.
By the time we reached the camp, tents were already set up. By 6:30 PM hot pakoras and tea were served. Dinner was served at around 8:15 PM. Had rotis, rice, curries and dal for the dinner. Even sweets were also served at the end; found it a bit luxury I did not expect on a trek trip! This was the first time I was at any camp in my life. The tents and sleeping bags provided were quite comfortable. No insects or rain water could enter the tents.
Next day, day 3, Tuesday May 7, we trekked to final camp site called Kalkati Dhar.
Started day at 8:20 AM from the Osla camp. At the end of the Osla village, we crossed river Supin by a scenic bridge (I think it suits well in cowboy kind of movies! And guide Rishabh definitely suits quite well for the cowboy role!!) and climbed a mountain. The climb was a bit steep. Reached a tea stall at 12:15 PM where we had lunch and tea. One can get cool drinks, Maggi noodles, biscuits and many other eatables at the stall. Continued trekking from 12:30 PM. Trekked slowly and went past another tea stall at 13:30 PM. This is next to a bridge. Trekked further and finally reached next camp site called Kalkatti Chadar at about 15:00 PM. Some reached much before the time and some reached later. The camp site is surrounded by snow clad mountains. On one side of the camp site there is a river but it is quite down and is not easily reachable. On the opposite side there is a nice plateau that we found some early trekkers already started climbing the plateau. There is space even for playing cricket at the campsite! Had pasta and nice tea at 6 PM. Curry made from potatoes and Simla mirchi, rotis and dal were served for dinner. Ended the dinner with a sweet made of bread.
On day 4, May 8 Wednesday, we trekked from Kalkatti Dhar camp to Har Ki Dun and back to the camp.
Early morning weather at this camp was very cold. Fingers froze while using cold water for brushing! We had to ask our cooks for hot water. We started trekking at about 9 AM after breakfast. I was very curious to see and touch snow for the first time in India though I experienced snow a few years ago in France and Switzerland. And my wish was fulfilled when we walked over snow for a few meters for the first time at 10:45 AM. We reached Har Ki Dun, around 12:30 PM. We could get an awesome view of many mountain peeks that include Har Ki Dun, Swargarohini and some other peaks. Had lunch and took many photographs. As suggested by our guide we wore UV eye glasses since we started trekking that day but the scenes there were real and wonderful without them! This does not mean I am suggesting not to use UV glasses and be cautioned that not wearing them may result in harm to your eyes. Using sunscreen that too a good one is also important as I saw sunburns and tanning experienced by some trekkers. The location has government forest guest houses. Fortunately, weather was pleasant with a few patches of snow where some played with snow balls and some glided in the snow. After an hour and half at the place, we started back to our last camp at 2 PM and reached it before 6 PM. I wanted to spend more time there but, alas, we had to return soon to avoid trekking in the dark! If you start early, say, around 6 or 7 AM, you can get more time to spend at Har Ki Dun.
Started trekking back to Osla on day 5, Thursday May 9, from the last camp at 8:45 AM and reached the Osla at 11:45 AM. This time we took a different route that went through main part of Osla village on a hill where we saw a Someshwar temple and climbed down from the village, crossed river Supin and reached earlier camp site at about 2 PM. Took rest for the remaining day. Weather was really so hot at the camp that I could not take rest inside my single person tent as it did not have opening at the back for air flow.
Next day, day 6, Friday May 10, was to reach Taluka from Osla camp. Had breakfast at 8 AM and started trekking back at 8:45 AM. Reached Taluka at 3:45 PM and Sankri at 4:50 PM by pickup truck. Took rest on this day at the same hotel we stayed at the beginning of the trek and started back to Dehradun the very next day, day 7, Saturday May 11 at 7:45 AM and reached Dehradun by 4 PM by Tempo Traveller. Ended thus was our Har Ki Dun trek but we retained its memories with a satisfaction of seeing and walking in the majestic Himalayas that were imaginary before the trek, real during the trek and became imaginary once again at the end of the trek!