Lose Yourself in the Breathtaking Valley of Shiva in the Har Ki Doon Trek

13 June, 2021 | Reccy Guide

There are two main things you should know about the Har Ki Doon trek. First of all, it's graded easy, so beginners with a basic level of fitness should have no problem completing it in between five to seven days. Secondly, it is generally considered one of the most beautiful treks in the Garhwal region of the Himalayas. 

Explore trip itineraries, accommodation, transport, required gear, fitness plan, insurance and more

The route is around 47km, with a maximum altitude of 11,675 meters. Most people opt to hike around 12km per day, which is a comfortable distance for anyone with a good level of fitness. There are some steep sections, but most of the trail is either flat or through rolling hills. Over the five days, you will make your way from the trekking hub of Dehradun to the final stop in Sankri. Along the way, you will have the opportunity to explore lush Alpine forests, dramatic plunging valleys, and breathtaking mountain glaciers. The route will also take you through some of the most remote villages in the region, where you will be greeted with warm smiles and hospitality, and given the chance to explore local temples. 

Your trek begins from the popular hiking hub of Dehradun. This beautiful city is one of the oldest in India and is famous for its incredible architecture and views of the lower Himalayas. From here, you will hike 12km across flat terrain, snaking through dense conifer forests and past burbling spring-fed waterfalls. For most of the route, you will follow the Karmnasha stream, which offers opportunities to glimpse colorful local wildlife and plants. After around four hours of walking, you will reach Dhaatmeer Village, where you’ll be able to pause for lunch and tea. In the afternoon you will also have the chance to climb the steep path up to Gangaar, which offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape. Your campsite at Seema is just a short hike from here. 

Day two will take you through scenic fields owned by local farmers. You can explore the fields by foot at any time of year, and depending on the season, the fields will be filled with crops such as maize or potatoes. Cross the bridge over the River Supin, which takes you to a stunning region of terraced farmland. The lush steps are particularly impressive during the wet season when they are covered in greenery. Throughout the trail, you'll see herds of grazing cattle, farmers, and local huts, with coniferous forests rising up in the distance. After a short stretch of gentle hill hiking, you will reach the campsite at Kalkatiyadhar. Take the time to rest here in preparation for a more challenging hike on day three.

The third day of the Har Ki Doon Trek offers the most incredible scenery of the entire journey. Even though this is one of the toughest days of hiking, the payoff is well worth it. You will start by climbing through meadows and dense Cedar forests, during which the trail gets steadily steeper. Numerous bridges take you over valley streams, and you will pass by several little waterfalls. Eventually, you will reach the perimeter of the valley, and begin a tricky climb up to the campsite at Har Ki Dun. This stretch is stunning, offering panoramic views of the surrounding peaks and glaciers. From here, you will be able to see the Black Peak, Bandarpoonch, and Swargarohini, plus the magnificent Jaundar and Swargarohini Glaciers. This is also a great place to catch the sunset. If you need a break from camping then you will find several cozy guest houses nearby. 

Day four is a pleasant downhill hike to Osla, which offers yet more stunning views of the surrounding landscape. Depending on the route you take, you will also come across a magnificent waterfall on the way. Many people make their overnight stop in Osla, a village not only full of friendly locals but also beautiful in and of itself. Here you will have the chance to stroll the ancient streets and alleys and sip on fresh local tea.  On your final day, you will continue your journey down to Sankri, and be treated to more gorgeous mountain views and lush meadowland. Once you reach the hub you will most likely travel by car back to Dehradun. 

There is a large selection of tour companies offering guided packages for the Har Ki Dun trek, many of which include accommodation and at least one meal per day. Probably the main thing to take into account when selecting a tour is the level of comfort you would like during the trek. Are you happy to camp every night, or would you be happier with a proper bed?

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