During the month of November 2012, while discussing on Winter trek in Himalayas, we came across a place which is itself a paradise which could provide isolation and also provide most awesome views of mountains especially Swargarohini ranges. After looking at various locations like Runisara, Bendi Bugiyal, Kedarkantha we decided to do a winter trek in Har ki Dun. Har Ki Dun valley, situated at the western flank of Garhwal in the Uttarkashi district is very popular to the trekkers as well as the climbers during summer . It is a lovely walk to the Har Ki Dun valley with fascinating views of Jaundar Glacier and surrounding Swargarohini group of peaks. As the myth this is the route chosen by the Pandavas for heaven. Duryodhan the villain in the epic Mahabharata is worshiped in the villages of this area. As a winter trek it offers a lot of snow on the trail coupled with ease of accessibility makes it’s a compelling proposition for those who want to experience a memorable winter vacation. Playing with snow on the virgin winter slopes plus a not so easy hike attracted us to explore this valley within the Govind national park area.
Highest Point: Har Ki Dun Valley (Average height ~ 3500m/11500 ft).
Grade: Easy in Summer to medium with fresh snow in winter.
Seasons for Winter trek: December to February.
Day 1 & 2
We started from Bangalore and reached Delhi. We took overnight train to Dehradun. The train was supposed to reach by 5:00 AM, but due to fog, got delayed and landed at 7:00 AM next day. Other team members had already reached and were waiting on we to arrive. After freshening up in the hotel, we were ready to start our journey via Mussoorie. We passed through Yaumna river and entered Tons river which flows at Sankri. We stayed at GMVN guest house for the night which was already booked for us.
Day 3 :This day, after breakfast we were to start our journey to Taluka where our trek was to begin. 14kms to Taluka from Sankri can be trekked or cover by jeep. As the jeeps were already booked for us, we reached Taluka in an hour time. The road is not paved one but with lot of stones. An interesting experience for sure. Taluka is at (~1980m, 6500 ft) which is 14 Km from Sankhri. We started our while river Tons towards our left and we proceed towards east for 10 Km to reach the beautiful village of Seema (~2500m, 8200ft). Another village named Osla is nestled on the other bank of the river. People of these valleys worship Duryodhan (Suriodhana) of Mahabharata and one can see several temples dedicated to Mahasu who is the main deity. During Christmas. By the time we reached, we got plenty of snow to walk with and air chill and warmed ourselves at the fireplace and spent most of the time in chatting and getting to know each other. A real team building activity for sure.
Day 4: Morning we started the beautiful walk for Har Ki Dun valley which is at ~3500m/11500 ft, After passing through Olsa valley, we started steep climb in snow for another 6 Km out of total 10 kms which took us around 6 hr due to heavy snow. The trail goes through Kalkatti
Dhar and the view from here towards Ruinsara Valley and Kalanag peak is splendid. The whole trail has snow, ice, waterfalls and deodar trees which gives makes it an awesome sight. As we reached Har ki Dun valley, the sunset was amazing with orange tinge falling on Swargarohini peaks and the valley gave a thrilling look. With sub-zero temperature and lot of winds, it brought chill throughout our body. Night dinner in moonlight was a memorable experience.
Day 5: Today we started exploring around Har ki Dun valley. Idea was to go to GMVN hut at the valley facing Dun mountain. While walking we encountered lot of fresh snow and our legs were going upto the knee. What an experience. To add to that Swargarohini peaks 1,2,3 glittering due to fresh snow. A visual treat indeed and we spent almost 3 hours taking photographs. While we planned to visit Jaundar Glacier, due to plenty of snow, we could not go further.
However, the place where we made ourselves home was good enough to see the mountains and streams across while we lazed around discussing the experience and clicking photos. Never imagined that winter trek at Har Ki Dun would be so splendid. None of us were in any condition to go back to the room, but wanted to be just here and look at the mountains.
Lunch was planned at GMVN guest house and that was the only reason to walk back. Towards evening, crimson orange sun rays glittered the horizon giving a postcard picture visual treat to all of us. To add to this, we had moon shining and making the whole valley shining with snow. What more to expect than such a treat for having come here. Nature’s way of visual treat is no match for man made objects and that we all discussed before retiring to sleep.
Day 6: After breakfast we gradually descended towards the village of Osla and further down to Seema. This was an easy walk but was fun while on snow. After reaching Seema, we visited Suriyodhana (Duriyodhana) and spent time in meeting people and and observing their culture. Evening back in GMVN guest house and had singing and dancing while the trek came to end.
Day 7: Today, we started off to Sankri tracing the path back to the guest house which was already booked. Evening, we setup party to celebrate the achievements and discuss on the experiences we had and congratulating the staff for their job well done and ensuring that all of us reach back safe and taking care of us in ice and snow, getting us the food and water.
Day 8: We started back to Mussoorie and then reaching Dehradun in evening. We took the night train back to Delhi.
Day 9: Flew back to Bangalore and the journey came to an end..until next trek to Uttarkhand…the Valley of Gods.