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The western Himalayas are perhaps one of the most interesting mountain regions in the world. This is because the region boasts of some of the most spectacular views, great gorges, adventures and some of the best trekking experiences to be had in the world. The state of Himachal Pradesh in India is situated in literally the lap of the Himalayas and cradles a lot of such spectacular destinations to trek to . The Garhwal region of the state is an absolutely remarkable ecosystem, thanks to it’s alpine flora spread, which supports some of the most extraordinary species of wildlife in the region. The Kuari mountain pass overlooks the Rishi gorge in its backdrop, and is a beautiful trekking destination.
The Rishi gorge was believed to be impenetrable till the 1940s, and post this time, the gorge itself and the Kuari mountain pass have become considerably famous amongst adventure seekers and trekkers. The entire trek climbs to a moderate 12,200 feet above sea level, and boasts of the beautiful landscapes and rich flora and fauna, which is characteristic of the Garhwal region. The trek has two beautiful places where one can camp – Gulling and Chandrakhani. Both these places are virtually located on hill top, and are easy to camp; and offer exquisite views of the surrounding valley.
The trek to Kuari pass can be done in both summers and winters, but it is the latter which is a preferred season to head for it amongst the avid trekkers. This is because the winter months bring in loads of snow to the region and the entire route which is thronged with alpine trees turns into one beautiful landscape amongst gleaming snow. The terrain is not that rugged and neither the ascend to the pass is that high, which makes it an absolute delight.
Day 01: Haridwar to JoshimathAltitude: 6724 ft
Day 02: Joshimath – Gulling TopAltitude: 9600 ft
Day 03: Gulling Top to Tali Forest CampAltitude 11070 ft
Day 04: Tali forest camp to Kuari pass and back via Khullara topAltitude 12,763 ft
Day 05: Tali forest camp - Joshimath via Gurson bugyal (11150 ft) and Auli (9680 ft)8 km trek, approx 7 hrs, 13 km drive
Day 06: Joshimath to Haridwar256 km drive, approx 10 hrs
Day 01 : Haridwar to Joshimath
You will begin your journey with us from Haridwar. Starting the drive from Haridwar from the appointed pickup point (Haridwar railway station), we will take the fabled Badrinath Road.
If you are enthusiastic about cultural sightseeing and adventure water sports, you may like to arrange a brief stay at Rishikesh, an hour’s drive away from Haridwar where the Ganges is wild and strong availing golden opportunities to raft and adventure. We will be crossing Rishikesh and conveniently arrange pickup from there too. Alternatively, you can arrange your stay at these awesome places on your way back after the trek as well.
The nine hour drive to Joshimath will surely be long and arduous, but you are never going to run out of mesmerizing views. The great river running with us on parallel will get wilder and more fascinating as we trudge uphill. We will be passing by the panchprayag or the five holy confluences of Ganga—Devaprayag, Rudraprayag, Karnaprayag, Nandaprayag, and Vishnuprayag.
So, keep your cameras on the ready and remain awake for most of the journey!
Day 02 : Joshimath – Gulling Top
A host of ice peaks will greet us at Joshimath which will be more inviting this morning than in the dusk of our arrival to the base camp on day one. After an early breakfast on this day, we will head off to Dhak village in the Joshimath tehsil, a rocky drive of 45 minutes. From here our trek will commence. Look out for the gentle slopes of the Sleeping Lady Mountain of Joshimath on this drive. The gentle ups and downs of this mountain seem to form an outline of a lying lady.
The trek flags off from Dhak along a steady ascent. The dirt trail steers away from the main road and rises towards Tugasi village. There are a couple of sharp T-turns on this trail after which the walk takes place on a level ground followed by gradually ascending soft slopes. The terrain is mostly rough here. Leaving out the terrace farming lands, there is no affluence of greenery, but offers a sweeping view of the Garhwal frontier all around. Look out especially for the bright silvery sun-dazed stream of Dhauli-Ganga snaking it way in the abyss, and the Vishnugad-Tapovan Hydroelectric Power Station. You are not likely to find any snow in this zone.
Twenty to twenty-five minutes into the trek, you will be reaching village Kharchi, where you can fill your bottles and take some rest. The trail continues from the village on the same rocky path, keeping the valley to the left. The ascent id steep and encounters a couple of switchback turns, finally reaching the Lower Tugasi area. You can find the trail forking into two here and must take the one curving along a hydro run flour mill. Approximately 10 minutes from here you will reach the Upper Tugasi region, marked with a handful of wheat fields, flower beds, and thatched roofed huts. You can also find little streams coming down in this area.
Continue on this path, maintaining a steep climb, leaving the farmland behind and you will find the awe-inspiring sight of Dronagiri peak hauntingly rising at a distance. We will be pitching tents in the open meadows overlooking Dronagiri and fringed around with oak forests.
You can ask your trek leader to take you on an acclimatization walk to Gulling Top point this afternoon to enjoy the snow laden forests in your own way. Also, brace up for a mesmerizing vista of the Dronagiri peak caught in the shimmer of morning light from this camp site the next dawn.
Day 03 : Gulling Top to Tali Forest Camp
Wake up in time next morning to start on a 5 hour journey deeper into the forest of Talli. After the exacting climb of last day, the trek today will be less arduous. The gradients of ascent is relatively smooth and will allow you an enjoyable hike.
Twenty minutes into the trek, you will come to a green clearing overlooking the magnificent snow peaks. After a few moments of rest, the climb must continue crossing a little stream to enter a mixed forest slowly thickening with oaks and rhododendrons. If you are coming in late March you might still find some white and pink blossoms. Except rhododendrons, you can find walnut and some other varieties of conifers in here.
At the height of winter’s splendour, you can find everything in the forest coated with a cover of snow. In the thickening snow, light, and shade of the conifer forests of Gulling, your second camp on the trek will be pitched.
Along this path, the Hathi-Ghori peaks will be manifesting gloriously along with Dronagiri now somewhat flipped to the side.
Day 04 : Tali forest camp to Kuari pass and back via Khullara top
Fourth day is the summit day, likely to span 10-11 hours depending on the group’s pace. You need to gear up appropriately for high snow and squalling wind on the ridges today. There is going to be no water source found on the way today,so carry enough to sustain you through.
In the first phase, the trek will move up to the Khullara top—a moderate ascent of 3.5 km. You will need to traverse a broken bridge and a stream frozen at the heights of winter, followed by a ridge climb to the high pass, severely strenuous and made more challenging with the snow. Every 15 minutes, you are welcome to take a break and catch your breath. At Jhandi Dhar, a suitable rest point 2 hours into the trek, you can afford a long break. Lunch will be had on the way or after reaching the templeat the base of the Kuari high pass.
Make sure to crampon your shoes properly. Trek the Himalayas will provide you good quality crampons, but you are requested to bring your own gaiters. You can also buy gaiters from the market of Joshimat at reasonable prices.
The climax of this trek comes with a visual bang exposing a host of Garhwal behemoth peaks, unveiling—Kedarnath Peak, Kedardome, Chaukhambha, Balakun, Neel Kantha, Mukut Parvat, Kamet, Abhi Gamin, Mana I, Ghori Parvat, Hathi Parvat, Dronagiri, Kalanka, Changabang, Nanda Devi, Nanda Ghunti. The magnificence of this vision is incomparable.
Day 05 : Tali forest camp - Joshimath via Gurson bugyal (11150 ft) and Auli (9680 ft)
Today we will advance towards Auli—the skiing capital of India, and one of the most famous in south Asia. Exploring the beautifully snow patched rolling valleys of Gorson Bugyal, we will come down to Auli through a sweetly enjoyable journey.
Traversing the Bugyals of Gorson is completely free of any arduous and hassling climb, mainly on a smoothly rolling terrain, though the snow of high winter might leave the place a tad desolate. In the thaw season of March, skiing is a big activity here.
Upon reaching Auli, a eady cable-car ride will take you to Joshimath, floating over the magnificent ski resort, the softly undulating snow covered slopes and browning pine forest fringes.
Day 06 : Joshimath to Haridwar : You will start off on an early morning ride down hill, homeward-bound. Rishikesh-Haridwar will be reached at sundown, around 6 in the evening.
How to Reach
By Air :-
Jolly Grant Airport is the airport serving Dehradun, located about 48 km from the Haridwar. There is a daily flight from Delhi for Dehradun, reach Haridwar one day early if coming by flight.
By Train :-
An excellent rail network connects Haridwar to other important cities like Delhi, Mussoorie, Mumbai, Varanasi, Lucknow, and Kolkata.
From Delhi -DDN NZM AC EXPRESS (2205)
From Kolkata- Doon Express (13009)
From Mumbai- Dehradun Express (19019)
From Chennai- Dehradun express (12687)
There is regular bus service from Delhi to Haridwar, from Delhi ISBT Kashmere Gate.
We would suggest you to take only government buses from ISBT Kashmere Gate. Private buses ply from outside ISBT and they are not trust worthiness.
Usually buses drop you at Haridwar bus station. From there you have to come to Haridwar Railway Station
TTH’s Tata Sumo or similar vehicles will pick-up you from Haridwar Railway Station at 6:30am.
Pick-up is included in the cost of the trek
You will reach Joshimath by 5:00 pm
Food from dehradun to Joshimath is not included in the trek cost