Rupin pass, a medley of beautiful trails

by Anirudh

Ascent to Rupin pass
Ascent to Rupin pass; PC: Gaurav Gupta

You will always be allured by the beauty of The Mighty Himalayas. One of the best ways to explore and feel the mountains is to live in them, that’s when you realize the beauty of it.

There are few states in India which allow to experience that. From North-West to North-East - Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh. Rupin pass is one such trek in Himalayas, starting from Uttarakhand and ending at Himachal Pradesh. There are some easier treks in the same region too, such as Kedarkantha and Har ki Dun - Ruinsara.

We were a small group of 7 people, just enough for everyone to stick together and also to have fun. The group was a fine blend of a cheerful family of four, an experienced and humanitarian solo traveler and the two of us. We all met for the first time at Dehradun.

Find out more about Rupin pass trek

Day 0 – Flight departure from Bengaluru at 10:10 pm; Arrived Delhi at 1 am.

With a series of delays and an exhausting wait of 10 hours Delhi airport, we finally boarded our flight to Dehradun at 11:30 am.

Day 1 - Delhi to Dehradun to Dhaula

We had a sigh of relief once we boarded the flight and the 1-hour journey to Dehradun just passed within the blink of an eye. We knew that we couldn't stay in Dehradun, cause now we had a long journey till Dhaula. So, we quickly freshened up at Dehradun airport and met the rest of our troops, gathered up and started our journey to Dhaula. Now, Dhaula is hardly around 200 km from Dehradun, but the journey takes approximately around 7-8 hours. That’s the reason why most people start early from Dehradun. But the journey itself gave us one of most reliving memories. By the time we were close to Dhaula, it was pretty dark and we missed half of the beauty, and that’s another reason to start early. We reached our campsite at around 11:30 pm and had no clue about how our surroundings were. Hence, we quickly hit the bed.

If you have an extra day, check out these places in Dehradun

Day 2 – Trek from Dhaula to Sewa camp

Trail to Sewa
Trail to Sewa; PC: Gaurav Gupta


The very next morning, the sight was just captivating. We were close to the banks of Rupin river. The sight of high rising trees eventually opening up to the sky with beautiful birds wandering among them was just unforgettable. And the best part was starting the day to a hot cup of tea. After a hefty breakfast, it was time to get all geared up for a 6-day adventure. First day of trek was mostly walking through forest areas of Govind Pashu Vihar national park. There were occasional steep climbs but mostly it was a peaceful walk. You will be encountering lots of pit-stops since we are quite to human habitat and there are few stalls en-route. Our campsite was little ahead of Sewa village and close to a river bank. Once we reached the campsite, few of us got excited and decided to take a dip in the river. The water temperature was bone-chilling and we could hardly stay in it for a minute or two at a stretch. That gave us a kick start experience.

We were happily walking for the first 2 hours of third day, but the trail quickly changed from a simple walk through motorable roads to steep ascend through rocky paths leading to a village and a trail through the village. Soon everyone was delighted with the fact that it was our lunch time and the best part of it was the location where we decided to have our lunch. We had a delightful meal for both our hearts and stomach. The mountains around us felt like they have been creatively carved out by a craftsman.

Day 3 – Sewa to Jakha village

A hut in Jakha
A hut in Jakha; PC: Arnab


The start of this day’s trek itself was an ascent. It was a climb through the forests to reach the nearest motorable trail, followed by a very long walk, crossing the nearby villages with the river, always accompanying us. We occasionally encountered waterfalls and stopped by to refill our water sources and get a few a clicks.


We were happily walking for the first 2 hours of third day, but the trail quickly changed from a simple walk through motorable roads to steep ascend through rocky paths leading to a village and a trail through the village. Soon everyone was delighted with the fact that it was our lunch time and the best part of it was the location where we decided to have our lunch. We had a delightful meal for both our hearts and stomach. The mountains around us felt like they have been creatively carved out by a craftsman.

Once we were done with our lunch, it was time again to get on with our journey. But this last stretch of our trail was a steep walk for another hour. We were so caught up in the climb that we even forgot to take a picture of it.

Finally justice was done once we reached our destination, Jakha. None of us could stop admiring the beauty of this particular location. It was like straight out of a dream, one could have just imagined of such a place his whole life. Each one of us just drowned in that moment, trying to sink in what we had just witnessed.

Day 4 – Jakha to Lower waterfall

Bridge towards Lower waterfall; PC: Arnab
Bridge towards Lower waterfall; PC: Arnab


After a royal service at the homestay and a soothing morning bath, we continued our journey. We were filled with mixed emotions when we started today. Our minds were in constant conflict between joy of what we had just experienced the previous day and the obstacles that the trail was going to hammer upon us today. By the time we reached our campsite, we could actually feel the difference in altitude, and mind games it plays.

Lower waterfall
Lower waterfall; PC: Gaurav Gupta


Day 5 – Lower waterfall campsite to Upper waterfall campsite

The last two days of summit were very grueling. We could literally see the climb and feel it from our camp site. But the last 2 days were the most adventurous part of the entire trek. Everyone could feel the adrenaline rush within them. We started off with a steep climb, crossing few river streams in the beginning and the trail slightly covered by snow. Today’s plan was to camp just before the summit so that the very next day, we can start early and be done with the summit before the weather deteriorates.

Ascent to Upper waterfall; PC: Arnab
Ascent to Upper waterfall; PC: Arnab


When we almost reached the top of the waterfall, that’s when our guide surprised us with the fact that, we had just covered half of the total distance.

Day 6 – The Judgement day – Rupin pass

On this day, most of us were getting exhausted too easily, but still we managed to carry on, mostly because our zeal to get through the pass was stronger than the obstacles we were facing. The temperature had dropped significantly the previous day itself. These are the two days when your warm clothes help you out to survive, especially during the night and early mornings.

Camp before the pass; PC: Arnab
Camp before the pass; PC: Arnab


Our last day of onward journey, was mostly the climb. We could see the ‘Pass’ from our previous campsite itself. And there it was, sending chills down our spines.

The first hour, we were climbing through snow-covered terrain, and half the team was worried about slipping and rolling off. Well, it’s quite normal during these treks and nothing to be serious about. There were some instances when our feet used to drown into deep snow and that was scaring some of us. It’s not dangerous, but your shoes and socks tend to get wet. You may change them once you start getting down the pass and have crossed the snow terrain.

Final ascent to Rupin pass; PC: Arnab
Final ascent to Rupin pass; PC: Arnab


The climb to the pass was by far the best experience. Pushing ourselves beyond our limits, at 15400ft, was nothing sort of ordinary. The climb was so close, yet so far. For the last 30 min, our minds were blank, expect for one thought, ‘to finish the climb’. Once we reached the pass, our happiness knew no bounds.

On top of Rupin pass
On top of Rupin pass; PC: Anirudh


On completion of any trek, may it be a small one, or big one like a Himalayan trek, you have a sense of fulfillment within your hearts, the feeling which gets flared up at the peak and keeps asking for more.

The descent looked quite steep but now that everyone had crossed the pass, this seemed normal. Once we started descending, we found it to be a long walk, along the edge of the mountains, to reach our next destination camp site, ‘Ronti Gad’.

Meadows on the way to Ronti gad
Meadows on the way to Ronti gad; PC: Gaurav Gupta


Ronti gad campsite was another beautiful location. The winds were strong, our tents barely hanging on. Once we gathered around for a cup of tea in our dinner tent, each one of us had so much to talk about, so much to express. The location added to the depth of the conversation, something you can only experience in places like these and moments like these remain in your memories forever.

Day 7 – Descent from Ronti Gad to Sangla

Today it was mostly descent. We could already feel that as we were getting closer to the civilization. There were sights of farms and houses throughout our journey. Most of us enjoyed this walk. We were a lot more cheerful and playful than the previous day. It was more because of the experience and things we witnessed for the past six days. It took us less than 4 hours to reach Sangla and another 30 minutes to climb through the village. Our ride back to Chandigarh was ready. We had one last photo session with our trek guides and we left Sangla, on a journey of 10 hours to Chandigarh.

Day 8 – Farewell!!

After 12 hours of roller coaster ride and 2 hours of intermittent sleep time, we finally made it to Chandigarh airport. Towards the end of a long journey, strangers that you met six days ago, become your best companions and you make promises of keeping in touch forever. Though you may not know if that’s possible but all that matters is the time you spent together and memories they leave behind.


Some more thrilling crossovers between Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh are Borasu pass and Lamkhaga pass
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