Being on social media these days isn’t a choice, but rather a necessity, and when you’re on platforms like Instagram and others, you’re bound to be tempted by all the amazing photos that people post from their travel diaries. And, yes, I, too, am a victim of that ‘temptation.’
So, after seeing some of my friends’ travel photos from treks they’d taken, I decided to go on one of my own, but with a twist. I considered taking a moderate trek because I was a beginner, but to make myself feel a little braver, a winter trek was a good option, and yes, I was excited to see the snow.
So my search for a trek and a company I could trust began, and I eventually settled on the Har Ki Dun trek, which came highly recommended by many. To give you some context, the Har Ki Dun, also known as the Valley of Gods, is located in the Garhwal Himalayan range of Uttrakhand and is said to be the path the Pandavas took to reach Heaven.
I set out for Dehradun with fellow trekkers, eager to see nature in all its glory for the next week. Our base camp was in Sankri, about 200 kilometres from the main city of Dehradun, a 9-hour drive from which we arrived just in time for sunset to see the snow-covered peaks in orange and red hues.
Being a winter trek, we were given extensive information about the climate and the winter gear that Loki would be carrying, but getting acclimatised to the freezing weather in practical conditions was a new experience. But all of this fades away when you’re surrounded by breathtaking scenery and the peacefulness of the hills.
Mornings in the Himalayas are beautiful and peaceful, and our journey began in a small village called Taluka, about an hour’s drive from Sankri. We began walking towards our destination, the Gangaad, after receiving instructions and our packed lunches, a distance of approximately 9 kilometres. The trek was easy, well-guided trek leaders through the forest, the calm river with sparkling water, and the distant snow peaks of the Har Ki Dun valley. We arrived at camp, hydrated and energised by water, tea, and energy bars, and were eager to sleep under the stars in our tents and sleeping bags.
The worst part of a winter trek, if there is one, is getting out of your warm sleeping bag in the morning, but today was the real day of the trek, and we were supposed to walk 8 kilometres to Kalkatiyadhar, our next camp site, after a full breakfast. The hike was steep, in fact, it was quite steep for me. This is also where the trek diverges for the Bali Pass trek. After passing through Seema village, we crossed a bridge to the left and entered the Har Ki Dun Valley. It was a cold day, and I was exhausted in some ways. Because our destination, Kalkatiyaa Dhar, lacked a water source, our trek leader, informed us that we would have to climb for another 30 minutes.
It took us nearly an hour to get to Seematra campsite. But the beautifully lit twinkling sky with the mountain peaks gleaming in the bright light of the white moon made up for it.
Today was D – day, and our destination was Har Ki Dun. The guide informed us that today would be a ‘white day.’ We were perplexed when we discovered that the path of our journey would be littered with frozen snow patches. So we put on our shoes, grabbed our trekking poles, and set out for Har Ki Dun. Words can’t describe how we felt when we arrived. It was truly like being in another world, surrounded by flora and fauna, the colours, the pure smell of the air, and the backdrop of snow-capped mountains; it was like being on a Bollywood set. I couldn’t understand why we were all fleeing to foreign lands when we had so much beauty right in our own backyard.
We were about to embark on a trek to Jaundhar Glacier from the base of Mt. Swargarohini, which would take us through snow and allow us to see the high peaks of the Fateh Parvat and Bandarpoonch Ranges. We were exhausted and tired after arriving at the campsite and were left to explore on our own, soaking in the calm, purity, and tranquillity of the moment under the magical sunset. Everything appeared to be meaningless in that moment when you were soaking in nature and its essence near the warmth of the fireplace in the bitterly cold weather.
It was time to say good-by to these beautiful snow mountains, which meant we began our descent. Our journey back was soaking in the warmth of the sun under the crystal clear blue sky, from freezing snow to a pleasant temperature. Oslo village is the most populous settlement in Har Ki Dun Valley. The Saumeshwar Temple, built in the 13th century, is also located in the village. It was built by the Pandavas, according to legend.
Although the trek was completed, all I can say is that the week spent in the mountains taught me to appreciate Mother Nature, and while words cannot describe it, the memories and bonds formed will last a lifetime. The journey would not have been easy without the assistance of guide, who guided us, took care of us, looked after all of our needs, instructed us, and even had fun with us at every step of the way.
Also See: Hampta Pass and Chandratal Lake
Distance between Dehradun to Har ki Doon:
The distance between Dehradun and Har ki Dun is approximately 98.7 kilometres. After arriving in Dehradun, drive to Sankri, the starting point of the Har ki Dun trek. When you arrive in Dehradun, you will be picked up and driven to Sankri, then to Taluka, where your trek will begin. Har Ki Dun, also known as the Valley of Gods, is located in Uttarakhand’s Uttarkashi district in the Garhwal Himalayas.