The Highlights of Har Ki Dun Trek
Har Ki Dun trek packs a typical Garhwali Himalayan experience full of divine peaks, forests, flora & fauna, water bodies, ancient temples & villages, and local culture. The civilization keeps intermittently welcoming you through the journey. From snow in winters to beautiful natural floral carpet in spring, the landscape of the region translates to its optimal best through the year. Beginners too can attempt this trek.
Things to know about Har Ki Dun trek
Himalayas: Garhwal range
About Har Ki Dun: Har Ki Dun actually is a valley of Fateh Parvat (11,660 ft.), offering the view of peaks, including Swargarohini mentioned in Hindu mythology Mahabharata as the route the Pandavas took with Draupadi to reach heaven physically. The name Swargarohini is a conjunction of two Hindi words Swarg=heaven and rohini=travel. Since, the trail belongs to the Mahabharata times, Har Ki Dun trek is considered the oldest hike in India. Swargarohini Peak is a key motivator for many trekkers to opt for this expedition. En route, you will also see the flowers like Brahma Kamal, Bhojpatra, Orchids, and Rhododendrons. Surrounded by Pine forests, animals like black bear, langurs, wild boars, and golden eagles have found home in the region.
Gradient: Moderately difficult
Trek Distance: 44 Kms Approx.
Maximum Altitude: 11,483 ft.
Trek Initiation: Taluka (7000 ft.)
Trek Days: Sankri round trip is a 7 days’ trek. Including the round travel to Dehradun, makes it 2 days extra. So, a total of 9 days. Add to it your travel time to and from your city.
Months: May, September, & October. Monsoon is avoided since the terrain can turn slippery, besides the risk of landslide.
Temperature During Trek Months: Day: 8-15°C and Night: -5-3°C
Fitness: Any fully fit trekker, including beginners, aging over 10 years can take Har Ki Dun trek. Stamina building is extremely critical for this hike. You should be prepared to cover 10 km in 1 hour with a 12-15 kg backpack, on an incline. Start with jogging daily. Swimming, cycling, and taking stairs with a 12-15 kg backpack and without too many breaks can help too. You need to build legs & back strength, flexibility and balance over minimum 6-8 weeks. Therefore, take up stretching exercises for shoulders, lower back, hips, quadriceps and hamstrings.
Things to Pack: A 40-60 liters sturdy and supportive backpack with rain cover, torch, trekking pole and durable, flexible, & comfortable trekking shoes, preferably waterproof, are a must. 2 warm layers of wool & fleece, 3 trek pants, 3 full sleeves collared T-shirts, 1 dry fit full sleeves T-Shirt, and waterproof jacket should suffice. Sun caps, gloves, sun glasses, woolen scarves, 2 pair of sports & 1 pair of woolen socks, and toiletries are other essentials. A couple of cutlery, water bottles, whistle, and plastic covers are other desirables. Comprehensive First Aid Kit is a must.
Trek Itinerary: Day-1: Arrive at Sankri (6,455 ft.) from Dehradun (1476.28 ft.)-rest for the evening. Sankri is 196 Kms far from Dehradun and a road journey takes 8-9 hours; Day-2: Take a 12 Kms drive to Taluka (7000 ft.) and trek for 12 Kms to Seema (7415 ft.); Day-3: 7 Kms trek from Seema to Kalkatiyadhar (9800 ft.); Day-4: 7Kms trek from Kalkatiyadhar to Har Ki Dun (11,483 ft.); Day-5: 14 Kms trek from Har Ki Dun to Seema; Day-6: 12 Kms trek from Seema to Taluka and 15 Kms drive from Taluka to Sankri. Rest for the night. Day-7: Disperse in the morning.
Places to See
En route Taluka to Seema
Your first day of this trek in India is a 12 Kms flat walk. The nature keeps you engaged with dense forests of chestnuts, walnuts, willows, chinars & a variety of conifers and some waterfalls. Walk along the Karmnasha stream to reach Gangaar village. Alternatively, if you want some feel of hiking, you can take up the steep but scenic climb to Dhaatmeer Village and reach Gangaar. From Gangaar you arrive at your first campsite at Seema.
Enroute Seema to Kalkatiyadhar
The second day too is more of around 6 Kms village walk through fields of maize, millet, and potato. You cross an old bridge over River Supin, reaching the terrace farms with huts, granaries, grazing cattle, farmers working in the fields, etc. Coniferous trees on the other side look incredible. Ascend and descend for around a kilometer or so to the second campsite, a green stretch, Kalkatiyadhar.
Har Ki Dun Trek Campsite
This is one of the most scenic trekking camps. You are here on the third day of trek. The route from Kalkatiyadhar now involves climb through meadows and thick coniferous forests of Chestnut, Papyrus, Pines, and Cedar (Deodar), which keeps getting steeper. You cross several wooden bridges with a waterfall marking the end of valley. Now begins around 40-50 minutes of harsh climb to Har Ki Dun. But the toil is so worth it. From Har Ki Dun valley, stand tall right in front of you, Swargarohini (20,511.81 ft.), Bandarpoonch (20721.78 ft.), and Black Peak (20,954.72 ft.). Jaundar (11,667 ft.) and Swargarohini Glaciers are situated to the south of the Valley. Do fully use the opportunity to see the divine sight of sunset & sunrise on the peaks. River Supin accompanies you here too. An old Shiva Temple with a Trident adds to the sanctity of site. It can be very cold at Har Ki Dun, so keep yourself warm. You can stay overnight in camps or guest house.
Osla Village (8400 feet)
On your way back on the fourth ‘trek’ day from Har Ki Dun to Seema, you pass through Osla village. To flank your 14 Kms long trek you can spend some time exploring the warm, hospitable, & ancient local culture at the Garhwali village life here. It houses the only Duryodhan Temple in the world too.
Puani Garaat (6397 feet)
On the fifth and the final day of trek you cover 12 Kms from Seema to Taluka. During this another long walk, you can either follow the earlier route of bridge crossing or can spice up the last lap of expedition by taking a shorter but steeper trail through Puani Garaat. Garaats are crop chafing units running on hydroelectricity. Puani Garaat is located on the green banks of Supin River.
You reach the common connecting point for both the routes, river bridge or Puani Garaat, at the watermill. You can explore the functioning of watermill here before entering the forest and taking the cemented trail to your vehicle back to Sankri.