Buran Ghati trek – A grand buffet of the greatest Himalayan treks
Buran Ghati is a hidden gem. If you pack in the great parts of all our best treks in one superb trek you get Buran Ghati. Arguably, Buran Ghati also has the most thrilling pass crossing amongst all our treks. Trekkers need to rappel down a snow wall at 15,000 ft! If that thrill is not enough, there are five big snow slides to do. Even the most sober trekker rediscovers an inner child in him on the Buran Ghati trek!
The trek has forests, grasslands, mountain views, even village settings. At the fag end of the trek, descending through Barua village is a never ending passage through time.
Why we love Buran Ghati
“If you want a trek high on adventure, this is the trek to do. Whenever I close my eyes to picture my favourite trek, images of the Buran Ghati trek flash through my mind. Poised gracefully at 9,000 ft, Janglik is where it all begins. The first day takes you to the lush greenery of the Dayara meadows. With its up-close and personal views of the mighty snow capped mountains, Dayara is considered one of the most perfect campsites in the country. Throughout the trek you’re drawn deeper and deeper into untapped territory. Like a thriller, it keeps you hooked. Everyday is different. Alpine lakes that are a turquoise hue, forests that seem like they defy gravity and sections that make you stop short and think how blessed you are to be here.
The most exciting and nerve-wracking bit is the 400 meter ice wall decent. This is followed by six long snow slides that are sure to bring out the child in you. If that wasn’t enough, the trek ends at one of the most enchanting villages you’ll ever see. Buran Ghati is definitely one of those special treks that will remain etched in your memory for eternity.”
The base camp of the Buran Ghati trek is Janglik. The drive from Shimla takes you past Rohru, from where the road follows the blue waters of the Pabbar river. In an exquisite journey, the road climbs gracefully along the Pabbar, the scenery changing rapidly. From square wheat fields along the river and beautiful Himachali homes, you drive past pretty villages and mixed forests until till you get to the pine forests around Tonglu.
The motorable road at Tikri, just after Chirgaon, turns left and becomes an absolute dirt track for the rest of the way. It takes two hours along the dirt track to get to Tonglu. At Tonglu, the dirt track drops down to the river, crosses the Pabbar and climbs to Diude in swift switchbacks. Janglik is a short walk from Diude.
- Altitude: 9,200 ft
- Time taken: 9-10 hours from Shimla. Pick up vehicles will be arranged to leave from Shimla at 6.30 am.
Day 2: Diude/Janglik to Dayara
- Altitude: 9,200 ft to 11,075 ft
- Time taken: 5 hrs
- Trek gradient: Moderate. Around 75 minutes of ascent followed by a 15 minute flat walk. Gradual ascent into a forest for about 30 minutes followed by a gradual descent for about an hour in the meadows ending with a gradual ascent through a forest.
- Water sources: Carry 1 litre of water from Janglik. There are sources along the trail to refill your water bottles.
Today’s trek is perhaps the most beautiful first day of any trek that you will walk on. Climb out of Diude past the superbly crafted wheat fields – lined by beautiful wooden farm houses on their edges — some of them with attractive roofs in red and green. In fifteen minutes the last huts of Diude are behind you. The climb, though beautiful, gains altitude rapidly. In an hour, step on a ledge and look behind you for a commanding view of Diude, Tonglu and other villages.
The ledge under a pine tree is a wonderful place to take a break. Fifteen minutes later, past a clearing on your right, the trail climbs into a oak and pine forest. Getting deeper into the forest, the steep trail levels off to remain a gradual pleasant climb. The trail through the forest is just the treat that you needed after the long climb. Under the shady trees of the forest, streams running across the trail, brings a bounce to your step.
Half hour later, the trail pops out of the tree line into a vast expanse of meadows climbing into the hills to your left. The sudden change in scenery is startling. It takes time to soak in the view of the climbing meadows to your left and the dark shadowy tree line of the pines to your right. Ahead, the white snow patches that still remain in the folds of the cliffs opposite the Pabbar compliment the view to an extent that is hard to believe.
The trail out of the tree line descends gradually, skirting the top of the pines. The trail is well defined and broad. Almost an hour later, the trail enters another magnificent forest of pine and oak — this time thicker and denser. The walk on the dark moist earth and the brown carpet of leaves strewn over them is a moment to be cherished. Through the forest, the trail climbs gradually before popping out of it again in another half hour.
Day 3: Dayara to Litham
- Altitude: 11,000 ft to 11,737 ft
- Time taken: 3 hours
- Trek gradient: Easy. Starts with a gentle ascent for about 15 minutes followed by a stream crossing. Gradual ascent through a pine forest and meadows for about an hour followed by a gentle descent through a Silver birch forest and finally across meadows.
- Water sources: Carry 1 litre of water from Dayara. There are sources along the trail to refill your water bottles.
Start your day exploring the Dayara meadows. It looks most glamorous as it soaks up the golden glow of the morning sun. A walk on the meadows early in the morning needs to be savoured by every trekker.
The trail from Dayara to Litham will take you through dense forests, wide green meadows, gushing streams, and little brooks as you gain an altitude of 737 feet in 3 hours. The trail traverses across the meadows towards the Gunas Pass. A gently ascending trail enters another clump of pine forest fifteen minutes out of the Dayara camp site. Then you get to a stream that needs to be leaped over.
Across the stream, the trail climbs out of the forest and rounds a wide curve to regain the views of the snow capped mountains of the Dhauladhar range and Gunas Pass. Just as the trail takes the curve is a superb scenery of the grasslands leading down from the trail and into the dark depths of pine forests about 300 feet below. Behind the pine forests are snow lined towering cliffs completing a scenery that is perfect in its harmony.
Half hour later the trail dives into another beautiful forest — this time of Silver Birch (Bhoj). The forest is old and the silver birches gnarled with age. Descending gently through the forest leads to another perennial stream in the fold of the mountain. Refresh here and climb out of the fold to your first clear view of Litham.
Across the meadows the trail dips to the Chandranahan stream that you need to cross before throwing down your backpacks at the Litham campsite. There are plenty of brooks running across Litham, choose a flat spot and good views to settle down for the day.
Litham has gorgeous views on three sides. On your left is is the snout of the Chandranahan waterfall, beyond which is the Chandranahan lake. In front are the towering snow clad mountains that hide Buran Ghati but set the heart fluttering in anticipation of a great adventure ahead. On the right are the snow patched cliffs that hide the Rupin valley. The Litham campsite is a dramatic nest, the last of the great meadows of the trek.
Day 4: Excursion to Chandranahan lake
- Altitude: 11,737 ft to 13,900 ft and back
- Time taken: 6-7 hours
- Trek gradient: Difficult. 90 minutes of gradual ascent to the snout of the waterfall followed by a steep climb for about an hour. Steep descent on the way back to Litham.
- Water sources: Carry 1-1.5 of water from the campsite. There are water sources along the trail.
The Chandranahan lake is a glacial tarn that is perennially fed by snow flanks of mountains that surround it. It is not a very big lake, but getting to it is an exciting journey and extremely rewarding. Cross the stream that you get just before the Litham campsite. Continue upstream on the shepherd’s trail to a ridge top. Walk towards the snout of the waterfall from where the stream emerges. It takes about an hour and a half to get to the snout of the waterfall, marked by beautifully placed stone cairns.
Trekkers usually assume that Chandranahan lake is close to the snout of the waterfall but it is another hour of trek into the glacial valley. The journey to the lake takes a difficult turn the moment you get to the flat at the snout of the waterfall. The closed alpine valley with snow patches all round is a treat. In later June, the valley floor has good amounts of snow but nothing that is difficult to walk on.
The lake is not very big but what it lacks in size, it makes up for it by its setting. Nestled in a bowl like glacial amphitheater, the lake is fed by the snow fields all around. In between are grassy patches that jut out of the snow. Tiny waterfalls that turn into brooks trickle down to the lake from all sides. Lovely arrangements of stone cairns mark the lake. Spend time taking in the sights of the setting before heading back to Litham the way you came. It is a steep descent from the lake to Litham. You must start early in the morning to be back at Litham at lunch.
Day 5: Litham to Dhunda
- Altitude: 11,737 ft to 13,365 ft
- Time taken: 4-5 hours
- Trek gradient: Moderate. Gradual ascent for about 1.5 hours followed by a steep ascent all the way to Dhunda.
- Water sources: Streams along the trail
Buran Ghati is a trek that can be easy or difficult depending on where you camp for the pass assault. Dhunda at 13,300 ft is perfect. It is a short two hour climb to the pass. The pass is always visible and inspirational. The setting is extraordinary. The Dhauladhar range looms over the trail with the Gunas pass sitting pretty on top of the snowy flanks of the grey mountains. It is a monochrome setting of grey and white in front with the green grasslands of Litham to the left and cliffs of the bordering Rupin valley to the right. The Pabbar is no longer a gently descending stream. It is now a virulent stream descending rapidly. The trail takes a sharper ascent. Continue up the left bank until the trail gets into a U shaped gorge like valley and you get the first view of the Buran Ghati on your left. Take a moment to take in the splendor of the pass and the upcoming thrill of the next day.
Start the climb to Dhunda by following the well marked shepherds’ trail that leads in the general direction of the pass. An hour of climb, perhaps a bit more, will bring you to the ridge top of Dhunda. At Dhunda you get absolutely clear views of Buran Ghati and the trail that leads to it. The camp is in an alpine zone. Snow capped mountains flank the campsite on all sides. Even in late June snow patches are everywhere. If any campsite can give you the beauty of an alpine mountain zone and the thrill of a splendid climb to come, then Dhunda would be voted among the best.
Day 6: Dhunda to River camp via Buran Ghati (15,000 ft)
- Altitude: 13,365 ft to 11,800 ft via Buran Ghati (15,000 ft)
- Time taken: 9-10 hours
- Trek gradient: Difficult. Gentle ascent over boulders for about an hour till the base of the pass followed by a hour’s steep climb on snow. Sharp, steep descent on the other side for 100 meters followed by a series of short descents for about 2 hours till the end of the snow line, easing off into a gradual descent.
- Water sources: None on the trail till the last 2 hours. Ensure you are well hydrated and carry at least 2 litres of water before starting from Dhunda
In September, the snow melts and it is not difficult to climb the pass. Out of the Dhunda campsite follow the ridge and hop over boulders towards the base of the pass. From the base it is an hour long climb to the top, mostly on snow. Buran Ghati at exactly 15,000 ft is a thrilling climb. It is a narrow ledge on the top. The drop on the other side is sharp and steep.Without the rope, the descent can be risky even with an ice axe. Getting down to the first snow field about 100 metres below the pass is your first objective. Thereafter it is a series of descents over smaller ledges that you can slide down!
Descending on the Buran Ghati trek is quick and very soon you lose all the altitude that you have gained. It takes about 2 hours to get to the end of the snow line. You also lose about 3,000 ft in altitude. Out of the snow line, the descent takes you down a ridge with junipers and lovely flower crested shrubs. The view of the valley in front is lush green as far as the eye can see. Beyond, a long range of mountains tower over the setting. Descend for another hour to get to a stream that needs to be hopped over. Across the stream the first farmers’ huts appear. This is where you camp for the night.
Day 7: River camp to Barua village
- Altitude: 11,800 ft to 6,700 ft
- Time taken: 6 hours
- Trek gradient: Easy-moderate; gradual descent for around 4 hours followed by a steep descent.
- Water sources: Carry 2 litres of water. There are 3 water sources along the trail
The descent to the Barua village is remarkable for the variety in vegetation and diversity. The trail is full of surprising changes in scenery that makes it an absolute delight. It is difficult to find another trek that has so much diversity while descending. Take the path that logically follows the Barua Khud. Stick to the trail that is broadest and most used. The trail descends rapidly through the high altitude pines, giving way to a mixed forests of other trees.
An hour and half later the trail descends to a large gushing stream thundering to meet the Barua Khud. A makeshift bridge lined with junipers and mud is the only way across. Climbing out of the stream, the trail is greeted with more diverse vegetation.Late in June, lovely purple shrubs line the trail on either side. Further on apricot, peaches tree laden with fruit crowd the trail. An hour later the first apple orchards and signs of civilization await the trekkers. From an overhanging rock on the trail the entire view of the Barua village sitting on the ridge below is breathtaking.
Half an hour later the trail enters Barua village through an arch. It is a long descent through the village as the trail meanders and descends through. Life on the trail comes alive as the simple villagers are happy to see you. They want to hear your stories and invite you to tea. Look out for the grand temple on your right as you continue your descent. From time to time the trail rushes past apple and other fruit orchards.
Once at the heart of the village, the descent is more rapid. In half an hour the trail pops out on to the road bridge over the Barua Khud. Transport will be arranged to leave from Barua to Shimla at 1.00 pm and you will reach Shimla around 2.00 am.
If you wish to set out on your own, you can wait to get a vehicle to Karcham, which is a junction 3 km ahead or you could simply walk it. Karcham is a junction where roads from Rekong Peo and Sangla meet. The big hydel project by the Jaypee group also starts at Karcham. From Karcham either take a vehicle to Sangla, 17 km away, or to Reckong Peo for more connectivity to Shimla.
How to get fit for the Buran Ghati trek
Buran Ghati is a moderate to difficult trek. The pass crossing day is the difficult bit. On this trek, your mental strength is as important as physical fitness. If you trek in the month of June, on the pass crossing day, you need to rappel at least 400 meters down an ice wall. Apart from this portion, the trek is of moderate difficulty and will not exhaust you if you are well prepared.
Cardiovascular endurance – Target 10 km in 60-70 minutes before the start of the trek
On the Buran Ghati trek, you have to cover 9 km on undulating trail on 6 days. This requires a good amount of endurance. You can begin by jogging everyday. Start slow and increase your pace everyday. Swimming, cycling and stair climbing without too many breaks in between can help too.
In order to be prepared for a high altitude trek, you should have a combination of distance and speed targets. In case you’re just starting with a regular fitness routine, you can phase out your targets in the following manner –
- Target completing 5 km in 35 minutes when you begin
- Gradually bring up your speed to do 5 km in 30 minutes
- Start increasing the distance you jog to get to 10 km in 70 minutes
Before the start of the trek, get to 10 km in 60 minutes.
Strength – Target 3 sets of squats with 15 in each set
This is another area you should work on. The descent from River camp to Barua is rapid. You go down from 11,800 feet to 6,700 feet in 4 hours. This could be taxing for your legs. You can do some squats to strengthen them. Start with 3 sets of squats, with 8 squats in each set and work towards meeting your targets in 3 weeks.
Another aspect that will help you trek comfortably is flexibility. For this, you can do some stretching exercises – stretch your hamstrings, quadriceps, hip flexors, lower back muscles and shoulders regularly. On your trek, it is important that you arrive on the slopes with your muscles relaxed. Carrying a backpack, however light, can become a strain after a while. These exercises will help you to be in good shape before the trek.
Here is a guide t0 help you get fit for the trek.
Working out indoors
If you can’t go out and jog because of time and space constraints, here’s a video you can use to work out indoors.
What you need to carry on the Buran Ghati trek
- Trekking shoes: You will need trekking shoes with good grip. Sports shoes will not be comfortable enough. You can watch this video to learn to choose the right trekking shoes.
- Backpack (40-60 litres): A backpack with sturdy straps and a supporting frame. Rain cover for backpack is essential.
- Three warm layers: On the pass crossing day, you will need at least three warm layers (two lights layers such as fleece and woolen and one padded jacket) for this trek.
- Two trek pants: Wear one pair and carry one pair.
- Three collared t-shirts: Carry light, full sleeved t-shirts that prevent sun burns on the neck and arms. Again, wear one and carry two. A common mistake that trekkers make is not changing their tshirts often enough. Regardless of how cold it is, the body tends to sweat a lot. Trekkers who don’t change to fresh clothes fall ill due to wet clothes and are often unable to complete their trek.
- Thermals (Optional): Those who are more susceptible to cold can carry thermals to wear at night.
- Sunglasses: Sunglasses are to prevent snow blindness. These are more important in June. There might be snow at the upper campsites regardless of the season. So carry a pair of sunglasses.
- Suncap: The sun is intense at higher altitudes and a sun cap is absolutely essential to keep your face and neck safe from sun burns.
- Synthetic hand gloves: One pair of fleece or woolen hand gloves. One pair of water proof gloves.
- Balaclava: You may use woolen scarves instead as well.
- Socks (2 pairs): Apart from two sports socks, you can take a pair of woolen socks for the night.
- Headlamp/LED torch: Mandatory
- Trekking pole: Watch this video to understand why you need a trekking pole.
- Daypack (20 litres): If you are offloading your backpack, you will need a smaller backpack to carry water, medical kit and some light snacks.
- Toiletries: Sunscreen, moisturiser, light towel, lip balm, toilet paper, toothbrush, toothpaste, hand sanitiser. If you plan to use wet wipes to clean up after a trek, make sure you do not leave the used wipes/tissues back in the mountains since these are not biodegradable. The same holds for used sanitary napkins. Carry a zip lock bag to put used tissues and napkins. Bring this ziplock bag back with you to the city and do not dispose wet tissues and sanitary napkins in the mountains.
- Cutlery: Carry a spoon, coffee mug and a lunch box. We insist on trekkers getting their own cutlery for hygiene reasons.
- Two water bottles: 1 litre each
- Plastic covers: While packing, use plastic bags to compartmentalise things and carry few extra plastic bags for wet clothes.
Mandatory Personal Medical Kit
- Diamox – 10 tablets (to prevent AMS)
- Dexamethasone – one strip
- Nifedipine – 5 tablets
- Crocin – 6 tablets (fever)
- Avomine – 4 tablets (motion sickness)
- Avil 25mg – 4 tablets (allergies)
- Combiflam – 4 tablets (Pain killer)
- Disprin – 6 tablets (headache)
- Norflox TZ & Lomofen– 6 tablets each (diarrhea)
- Digene – 10 tablets (acidity)
- Omez/ Rantadine – 10 tablets (antacids)
- Crepe bandage – 3 to 5 meters
- Gauze – 1 small roll
- Band aid – 10 strips
- Cotton – 1 small roll
- ORS – 10 packets
- Betadine or any antiseptic cream
- Moov spray (aches, & sprains)
- Original and photocopy of government photo identity card- (driving license, voters ID, etc.)
- Medical Certificate (first part to be filled by a doctor and second part by the trekker) – Download PDF
- Disclaimer form (to be filled by the trekker) – Download PDF
If you’re shopping or packing for the trek, you can download this quick and simple checklist for offline use.
Here’s a guide to help you pack for the trek –
video by Aditya Kedia
Here are the pictures from the Buran Ghati trek mostly in June. Click on the image to see them full screen
Trek fee: Rs. 13,950/-
GST at 5% is payable on the trek fee
- Accommodation during the trek (camping)
- All meals – vegetarian
- Trekking permits and forest camping charges
- Trekking equipment (tents, sleeping bags, ice axes, ropes, etc.)
- Safety equipment (first aid, medical kit, oxygen cylinders, stretcher, etc.)
- Services of an expert trek leader (qualified in basic/advanced mountaineering courses)
- Services of an expert trek team (guides, cooks, helpers, porters/mules)
- Transport to and from the base camp (Shimla to Diude and return from Barua to Shimla)
- Food en route (to and from the base camp)
- Backpack offloading charges – Rs 1,650 plus GST of 5%. Charges for last minute offloading during the trek will be Rs 375 per day inclusive of tax. The backpack cannot weigh more than 9 kgs. No suitcases/strolleys/duffel bags will be allowed.
- Stay at Karcham/Shimla on the last day is not included
- Personal expenses of any kind
- Buffer day on the trek: We have kept a buffer day on the trek to account for any weather related delay. If this is utilised, you will need to pay Rs.2,500 + 5% GST. This amount is to be handed over to your trek leader.
- Anything apart from the inclusions
Terms & Conditions
1. Cancellation: If a trek is called off at the last moment due to a natural calamity/unforeseen circumstances (like rains, earthquake, landslides, strike, bandh etc), Indiahikes will issue a trek voucher for the full amount. The voucher can be redeemed for the same trek or another trek in the next one year.
In case, you wish to cancel your trek, please e-mail us at email@example.com. Cancellation requests are not taken over phone.
The cancellation charges are as under.
- Cancellations prior to 30 days from the start of the trek — full refund.
- Cancellation between 30 days and 20 days to the start of the trek — 50% refund.
- Cancellation less than 20 days to the start of the trek — no refund.
2. The trek fee includes all cots of the trek from the start at the Diude base camp to the end at Barua.
3. Pick up: Trekkers are picked up from Shimla bus stand at 6:00 am. Usually, trekkers are clubbed together with other participants to make a group. The group travels together to Diude in shared cabs.
4. Transport:Transport from Shimla to Diude and return from Barua to Shimla can be arranged by us at an extra cost. Participants are expected to share the cost of the cab (approximate cost Rs. 8,500 per vehicle, one way). The amount is to be paid directly to our transporter. No service tax is applicable on transport cost. Indiahikes only arranges the vehicle pick up and is not responsible for any issues during transport.
5. Backpack offloading: Indiahikes expects all trekkers to carry their own backpacks. All common gear will be carried by the support team. If for some reason a trekker is unable to carry his or her backpack, he/she can offload the same by paying an additional charge.
Backpack offloading charges – Rs 1,650 plus GST of 5%. Charges for last minute offloading during the trek will be Rs 375 per day inclusive of tax. Partial offloading is not allowed. The backpack cannot weigh more than 9 kg. No suitcases/strolleys/duffel bags will be allowed.
6. Emergency during trek: In a trek a medical emergency or any other emergency may arise. If for any reason you are sent down from the trek then Indiahikes will make arrangements for your return to the base camp or nearest road head. A staff will accompany you. He may not be a trained personnel.
Evacuation or dealing with emergencies is extremely difficult in the mountains. It is time consuming as well. A normal trek of 2 hours may take 6 hours in an emergency (a sick person is not easy to evacuate). Doctors do not go along with a team. Doctors are not available at the base camp or nearest road head either. Indiahikes trek leaders are trained to administer first aid and know how to deal with issues related to the mountains. However, they are not doctors.
Registering for this trek is an understanding that you have read up on the difficulties of high altitude trekking and understand the risks. You have also understood what AMS, HAPE and HACE are. You have taken efforts to educate yourself and you are in a position to manage your own altitude related emergency.
7. Fitness: A high altitude trek in the Himalayas requires considerable fitness. Your body needs to train itself to process more work with lower levels of oxygen. Cardiovascular training before a trek is critically important. Training must include strength and flexibility workout. We have laid out the eligibility criteria here. Registering for the trek is an understanding that you will undertake the mandated fitness training. Indiahikes has the right to reject candidates who do not meet our eligibility requirement at the base camp.
8. Non-liability: Indiahikes is not responsible for any loss/damage of your gears/equipment or other belongings on the trek.
9. Payment: Payment for the trek can be done online through credit/debit card or net banking. Cheque/draft or cash is not accepted.
10. Drinking and smoking during the trek is strictly prohibited. If found flouting the rules, your participation on the trek will be cancelled with immediate effect.
11. Safety Protocols:
a. While our itineraries are designed to allow for adequate acclimatisation, most treks in Indian Himalayas climb quickly, which is called forced accents. Unavailability of camp sites and the Indian Himalayan terrain are the reason for this. There are chances that you will feel the effects of altitude sickness and oxygen deprivation while on this trek. Please be aware that your trek leader may deem it unsafe for you to continue trekking at any time, and arrange for you to descend to a lower attitude.
b. Our trek leaders will conduct routine health checks at all camps to measure oxygen saturation, pulse and blood pressure. Indiahikes reserves the right to exclude any trekker from climbing higher on the trek without refund if the trekker’s vital readings are below accepted norms for that altitude. These norms are available with Indiahikes trek leaders.
c. This is a high altitude trek with rough, rocky and snowy terrain. It is important that you are a fit and confident walker in mountain terrain, able to manage ascents and descents by yourself within a reasonable time. Indiahikes reserves the right to turn around a trekker if in the opinion of our trek leader they are unable to complete the itinerary without requiring exclusive assistance. Please realistically self-assess your fitness and suitability for this trek before registering.
How safe is the Buran Ghati trek?
The pass crossing is the only difficult bit in this trek. At the pass you come across a vertical ice wall which you need to rappel down from with a rope. After the steep section, you slide down the snowy slope. This is why Buran Ghati is not a trek that you can go on your own. You need the assistance of a trekking organisation or professionals who can help you descend the wall.
In June, post the pass crossing comes 4 to 5 slides down the snow. Approaching River campsite, the last camp, is a small exposed section that overlooks a river which you need to be careful while traversing. In the months of September and October when there is no snow, there is a trail that opens up which is tread by shepherds. It does not have any tricky sections like overhangs or landslides. It is a pretty straightforward meadow trek.
Since the trek begins at 9,000 ft at Diude, altitude sickness can get to you in the first 2 days. In order to have a safe trek, here is some information that you must know if you have registered for this trek. At Indiahikes, we believe that as long as you are well-informed and well-prepared, you can survive easily at high altitudes.
What Indiahikes does to ensure your safety
Our philosophy is simple. We ingrain safety aspects in the people we work with, in the processes that we follow, and in the equipment we carry. All our trek leaders are trained repeatedly on safety issues and protocols. Most issues are resolved with their intervention.
Right from the time you decide to register for the trek till the last day of the trek, these safety procedures will be running in the background. We have listed a few of them below:
1. Fitness criteria before registration
Over years of organising high altitude treks, we have found that safety issues thrive amongst those who are unfit and unprepared for the trek. So we have introduced an eligibility criteria for the Buran Ghati trek. Anyone who wants to register for this trek has to meet the fitness requirements, with the ideal BMI. The BMI and fitness regime will require proof. A high altitude trek is not to be taken casually.
2. Monitoring health on a trek
On the Buran Ghati trek, your Trek Leader will be monitoring two aspects thrice a day.
- Oxygen Level
- Pulse Rate
Your Blood Pressure levels will be checked once a day.
This will help us ensure that your body is acclimatising as required.
Every trekker will be given a Health Card at the beginning of the trek. The Health Card is issued to monitor the trekker’s daily health, wherein they will be entering details about their health everyday. It also contains details of what symptoms one should look out for and what action should be taken during emergencies. These Health Cards will be collected back at the end of the trek.
3. High Altitude Medical Kit
Your trek leader will be carrying a full-fledged high altitude medical kit. This will include basic medicines and specific medicines catering to altitude sickness – Diamox, Dexamethasone (tablets and injections) and Nifedipine. Your Trek Leader will also be carrying a portable oxygen cylinder throughout the trek. In addition to that, there are oxygen cylinders installed at all high altitude campsites for any emergency situations.
4. High Altitude Trek Equipment
To ensure safe trekking on snowy terrain, Indiahikes will provide you with micro-spikes to attach to your shoes. This will give you good traction on hard snow. To avoid snow from entering your shoes, Indiahikes will provide you with gaiters that you can put on over your shoes. You will have qualified technical guides with you, who will lead the way on difficult terrain.
All our sleeping bags and tents are custom-made for high altitude. If it is cold outside, it will be around 10 degrees warmer inside the tent. The sleeping bags can withstand temperatures up to -10 degree Celsius.
5. Being hydrated and well nourished on the trek
You need to drink a minimum of 4 litres of water every day during the trek to ensure that you’re well hydrated. De-hydration on a trek can make you lose energy very quickly and intensify the effects of AMS. Your trek leader will brief you about the amount of water that you need to carry with you at the start of each day as well as water sources on the trail.
We provide trekkers with nutritious meals to ensure that they are energized to complete the trail each day. Apart from this, snacks or packed lunch is provided wherever the trail before a meal break is likely to be long. Make sure that you do not skip any meal as this can lead to serious health emergencies on high altitudes.
With all these processes and equipment in place, you can be rest assured that you will have a safe trek with Indiahikes.
Nevertheless, you will need to be cautious and report the slightest of symptoms to your trek leader as soon as you feel them.
What you compulsorily need to know if you’re going on the Buran Ghati trek
Acute Mountain Sickness:
At altitudes above 10,000 ft the chances of being hit by Acute Mountain Sickness cannot be ruled out. This risk can be avoided by going on a course of Diamox. Even while on Diamox, the risk of AMS still prevails. While AMS can be treated with rest and medicines for the most part, the symptoms must be recognised before it can go to advanced stages – High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE) and High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE).
HAPE and HACE are critical conditions that can be fatal within hours. And they can occur without AMS preceding them. So it’s doubly important to recognise any symptoms and nip them in the bud.
Diamox is a tablet that is available off the counter. You can start your course one day before the trek. Take half a tablet once in the morning and once at night (after your meal). It reduces chances of AMS by 80%. There are almost no side effects of Diamox, except a tingly feeling at your finger tips. You might also feel the need to urinate more often, which is normal as Diamox makes you drink more water. You can learn more about AMS, its symptoms and treatment here.
Note: Diamox is a sulfa-based tablet. If you are allergic to sulfa-based drugs, don’t take the tablet. If you do not know whether you are allergic to sulfa-based drugs, take a Diamox around ten days before your trek and look out for any reactions, If there are none, you can safety take the tablet on the trek.
Take this specific precaution – Go on a preventive course of Diamox
We strongly advise you to go on a preventive course of Diamox. Diamox is a blood thinner and helps you acclimatise much faster and reduces the chance of AMS by around 80%. Take half a tablet twice a day from one day before your trek.
What to do if you have symptoms of AMS?
If you feel any symptoms of AMS on the trek, you must report to the Trek Leader immediately. Do not wait till the end of the day’s trek. Do not try to handle it yourself either. Our Trek Leaders are well-trained and experienced to handle any cases and they will be the decision makers in any such cases.
Watch the below video to understand the symptoms of Acute Mountain Sickness. In this video, Arjun Majumdar, the founder of Indiahikes will also tell you the protocol to follow when you see someone showing symptoms of AMS.
There are no easy exits on the Buran Ghati trek. In case of an emergency at or before Dhunda, you will need to return to Diude, and if this happens after the pass, then descend to Barua. It might take 1-2 days to reach the nearest medical centre. Medical expenses, if required, at the medical centre are to be borne by the participant.
If a medical emergency occurs before the cross passing, then Rohru is where you would need to go to get to a hospital. On the other side of the pass, Sangla and Kalpa have hospitals. Rohru is a couple of hours drive from Diude and Sangla can be reached within an hour if you drive from Barua.
Why you should personally know about the risks and precautions of high altitude treks
If ever you find yourself alone at high altitude, either while trekking independently or with another organisation, there are some life -saving steps you can take. Firstly, you should be able to recognise symptoms of altitude sickness. So acquaint yourself with the symptoms.
Secondly, there might be instances when you have to administer medicines to yourself or to a fellow trekker. There are three life-saving medicines that we suggest you always carry on you – Diamox, Dexamethasone and Nifedipine.
If you are trekking with Indiahikes, do not administer these to anyone without consulting your Trek Leader. If you are trekking independently then you need to know when exactly to administer these medicines and in what dosage.
Also ensure that you are well hydrated throughout the trek and do not skip any meal.
You can watch the video below to learn about HAPE and HACE and how to tackle them. In the video, Sandhya UC, partner at Indiahikes, explains in detail about High Altitude Pulmonary and Cerebral Edema, what the symptoms are and how to tackle them.
Acute Mountain Sickness
If you’re of the opinion that fit people don’t get AMS, please get rid of that notion right away. AMS can affect anyone without paying heed to their fitness and prior experience at high altitude! Altitude sickness does not distinguish between a first timer and an experienced trekker.
For more detailed information about Acute Mountain Sickness, you can download and study the manual below.
1. What is the style of accommodation in this trek?
Trekkers will be staying in tents for entire duration of the trek. Each tent will be shared by three trekkers. We will also put up 3-4 toilet tents, depending on the size of the group.
2. Will you provide us with tents and sleeping bags?
Yes, Indiahikes trekkers will be provided with tents and high altitude sleeping bags that can withstand temperatures as low as -10 ºC.
3. What will the temperature be like during the months of June and September?
Day temperatures in June at Buran Ghati goes up to an average of 15°C -20°C. It may fall to -2°C and -3°C at nightfall. Temperatures in September will be slightly lower.
4. Which are the best seasons for the Buran Ghati trek?
June and mid September to mid October are the best months to go on this trek.
5. When will there be snow on this trek?
There will be snow on this trek in June. On the third day of the trek you will encounter snow patches around Chandraharan Lake. In the days that follow, you will come across snow fields. In June, you can slide down the snow from Buran Ghati while descending on the other side of the pass. This will make for a fun filled yet thrilling descent. You are unlikely to find snow on this trek in September.
6. What will we do if it rains?
If it starts raining while you’re trekking, we will continue on the trail as planned. Your poncho should protect you from the rain. Carry a backpack cover for extra protection from rain for your belongings. When it rains at the campsite, we usually get together in the dining tent and play games. The tents that you will be staying in, the dining tent, kitchen and toilet tents are all water proof, so you will stay dry inside.
7. At what time should we reach Shimla?
It is advisable to reach Shimla the previous day and stay overnight. Pick up vehicles will be organized from Shimla Bus stand at 6.30 AM. The drive to Diude takes 9-10 hours. From here, Janglik, the base camp, is a short walk. The cost of pick up will be Rs.6,000 per vehicle and will have to be paid directly to the driver.
8. How will we get back to Shimla?
From Barua Khud we will arrange for vehicles to drop you to Shimla. Vehicles will start from Barua at 1.00 pm and reach Shimla around 2.00 am. The cost of transportation will amount to approximately Rs.8,000 per vehicle and will have to be paid directly to the driver. This is not included in your trek fee.
9. Will backpacks, raincoats and other equipment be available for rent?
No. There are several websites that rent out trekking equipment. Indiahikes does not rent any equipment. You may purchase trekking poles and other equipment from the Indiahikes store.
10. Is this a good trek for a first timer?
The Buran Ghati trek is moderately difficult. Beginners can attempt this trek provided they stick to the fitness schedule and meet the health requirements.
11. If not the Buran Ghati trek, what is a good alternative trek?
Rupin Pass offers similar picturesque views but unlike Buran Ghati, Rupin pass is an eight day trek.
12. Is there an option to offload my backpack on this trek?
Yes, there is an option to offload your backpack. This will cost Rs.1,650 + 5% GST if you inform us in advance. If you decide to offload once you reach Diude, the amount will be Rs.375 per day inclusive of tax. The offloaded bag should not weigh more than 9 kg. Strolleys, duffel bags, suitcases etc. are not allowed. We suggest you read “5 Tips to make Carrying your Trekking Backpack Easy” before making a decision.
13. Can I take my child along on this trek? What is the age limit?
Buran Ghati is a moderately difficult trek and requires a certain level of fitness. Minimum age for eligibility is 14 years. You can take your child provided s/he meets these requirements.
14. What kind of food is served on the trek? Should we carry any food?
Indiahikes uses a well planned menu suitable for high altitude treks. Breakfast varies from bread and butter, semia, poha to sandwiches and cornflakes. Lunch mainly comprises of roti or puri with sabzi. Dinner is complete with Dal, rice, roti and dessert. Dry ration of biscuits and chikki will be provided as well. You may carry nuts and dry fruits if necessary.
15. Who will be there with us on the trek from Indiahikes?
An Indiahikes team consisting of a qualified Trek leader, trek guides, porters and cooks will be with you throughout the trek.
16. What are the washroom/toilet facilities like on the trek?
During the trek, toilet tents will be set up along each campsite. There will be 2 to 4 of these toilet tents depending on the size of the group. A toilet tent will have a deep pit, where one can answer nature’s call. There will be a mound of soil and a shovel to cover it up. These are dry toilets, where you’ll have to use toilet paper. This the most hygienic and convenient way to answer nature’s call in the wild. Please use plain toilet paper and refrain from using wet wipes since these are not biodegradable.
17. Will there be water sources on the way? Will two litres of water be enough?
Our campsites are pitched near water sources. For your day’s trek, two litres of water should be enough. On most days, you will find streams on the trail where you can refill your water bottles. Day 6, when you cross the Buran Ghati pass is the only day when you will not find water sources on the way. Since this is also a long day of trekking, ensure that you’re well hydrated before you start.
18. Is there mobile network on this trek? Are there any electricity charging points on this trek?
You will get mobile network for Airtel numbers at Diude. There will be no signal at any of the campsites. Signal will be intermittent in the mountains. Do not depend on it. Finish all your important calls at Diude. Please inform anxious family members about limited phone connectivity. There will be no electricity charging points anywhere on the trek.
19. Do I need special snow shoes on this trek?
You don’t need special snow shoes. A good trekking shoe is sufficient for the trek. We recommend that you wear shoes that are water resistant. When there is snow, we provide micro spikes and gaiters.
20. Why is the trekking pole necessary?
A trekking pole provides stability and balance, and helps to reduce fatigue. We suggest you watch this video to for a better understanding of why a trekking pole is necessary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=5&v=LXezaCVjEao
21. When it gets really cold can I consume alcohol?
Alcohol is dangerous in extreme cold, especially on high altitudes. Contrary to what people believe, alcohol does not make you warmer. Instead it opens your pores making your body colder. Moreover, it dehydrates you very quickly. Hence consumption of alcohol is absolutely prohibited on all Indiahikes treks. Anyone found with alcohol is immediately removed from the trek. Smoking, similarly, is not allowed on Indiahikes treks.
22. How long do we trek every day? What is the distance covered?
Day 1 – You will be picked up from Shimla at 6.30 AM to drive to Diude. This will take you around 6 hours. Janglik, the base camp, is a short walk from Diude.
Day 2 – You will trek for 5 hours to reach Dayara. The trail has a good mix of ascents and descents. You will gain close to 2,000 ft in altitude today.
Day 3 – The trek from Dayara to Litham will take you around 3 hours. This is an easy trail.
Day 4 – There’s an excursion to Chandranahan lake today. The ascent to the lake is steep and will take you around 2.5 hours. Return will require you to descend on the same path and will take a couple of hours.
Day 5 – To reach Dhunda from Litham, you will trek on an ascending trail for 4-5 hours.
Day 6 – Longest day of the trek – you will trek for 9-10 hours to cross the Buran Ghati Pass and reach River Camp. The trail will ascend to the pass and then descend all the way to River Camp.
Day 7 – It will take you 6 hours on a descending trail to reach Barua. From here, you depart to Shimla at 1.00 PM. You are expected to reach Shimla at 2.00 AM the following day.
Please refer to the trek itinerary for more details.
23. How do I manage the negative temperatures on the trek? Do I need special jackets?
At high altitudes, temperatures are sure to dip into negative at nights.. For these extreme cold temperatures, you need to keep the rule of 3 in mind. The rule of 3 usually takes care of cold that dip to -10°C. It is a simple formula of wearing 3 layers of woolen, inners and lower wear.
Follow this guide:
Wear one thermal and two T-shirts, three layers of woolens (two sweaters and a jacket). For your lowers wear a thermal inner with two layers of track suit. If you are prone to more cold, just add a layer.
The temperatures dip only late in the evening and early mornings. During the day if the sun is out, then you may even be trekking in your T-shirts. Make sure you use your thermal wear only at night and not while trekking.
A woolen cap/balaclava and gloves are a must.
This video has some more tips on how to stay warm on a high altitude trek.
24. What all do I need to carry on the trek?
Click here to get the list of all the things you need to carry on the trek.
25. Why is there a buffer day in the itinerary? Can I plan my onward travel from Shimla on Day 8 itself?
The weather in the mountains is highly unpredictable. It might so happen that weather conditions prevent us from passing the cross as planned. We will then have to wait a day to do this. Hence you must factor in the buffer day while planning your travel.
26. Is it safe to trek with Indiahikes?
All high altitude treks come with their share of risks. At Indiahikes, we pay utmost importance to safety of trekkers. While we do our bit to ensure a trekker’s life is safe, we also expect any trekker who is enrolling with us to know what could go wrong, and if it does, how to tackle it. Before you go on the trek, make sure you’re thoroughly acquainted with the safety procedures followed on a trek.
27. What are the places that I can visit before or after the trek?
After the trek you can spend time exploring tourist attractions at Shimla. Please note that this is a suggestion and Indiahikes does not make any arrangements for the same.
Packing a camera bag for a long trek can be difficult. Should you carry less weight and leave behind crucial equipment or should you pack them in anyway? Neelima Vallangi, a travel photographer and writer, jots down a list of all the things her camera bag must have.Read More
How to get to the base-camp –Diude
Delhi/Chandigarh → Shimla →Diude
The Buran Ghati trek starts from Diude. It is a village of few houses. You will either stay in Diude for the night or go to Janglik, which is a short walk away. The trek leader will meet you at the base camp and brief you about the trek.
Indiahikes will organise pick-up vehicles from Shimla old bus stand at 6.30 am. The drive to Diude takes 9-10 hours.
The fare of this transport is not included in the fee. It costs Rs.6,000 per cab one way. You will have to pay the driver directly. The total cost of vehicles is is to be divided by total number of trekkers, irrespective of number of trekkers traveling in each vehicle to arrive at the cost per person.
To reach Shimla
It is advisable to reach Shimla a day earlier, stay overnight and report to Shimla old bus stand by 6.00 am the next morning for the pick up to Diude. From Delhi you can take an overnight bus to Shimla. Book buses online in advance as tickets usually get sold out. You can try www.redbus.in
Barua → Shimla → Delhi
Indiahikes organises pickup vehicles from Barua to Shimla at 1.00 pm. The cost of transit from Barua to Shimla will have to be borne by the trekkers. The total cost of transportation one way is Rs. 8,000 to be shared among fellow trekkers. You are expected to reach Shimla by 2.00 am. Buses from Shimla to Chandigarh are available from 5.00 am. Many of our trekkers wait at the bus stand itself to board one of these instead of booking a hotel in Shimla for a few hours. It is safe to wait in the bus stand.
In case you wish to go directly to Kalka or Chandigarh from Barua, you will need to arrange for transportation on your own. Please note, transport providers who drive to Chandigarh require a special permit since that is in a different state. Most have valid permits to operate vehicles only within Himachal Pradesh. If you opt to hire a cab directly to Chandigarh or Kalka, ensure that you confirm in advance with your transport provider about the validity of their permit in Chandigarh.
“Initially I was in doubt if we made the right decision to choose Buranghati trek for our vacation! But on return we were contented with our decision, we could not come out from the mountain hangover. The path takes you through the charming picturesque villages. I was overjoyed when I got the chance to meet lively country dwellers, play with village kids, visit mystic wooden temple, apple orchards. The forest and meadow mishmash we found in this trek might be one of the best in India. Breathtaking view of the velvety grassland, Pine and Paper-Birch forest, chirping birds, pure blue sky and coltish brooks almost tempted us to settle down and lead a rustic life there. Camp sites were beautiful and we crossed numerous streams, waterfalls on the trail, river Pabbar played hide and seek with us all the way long.” – Mallika Roy, batch of September 2016
“The trek was beautiful. Perfect planning by Indiahikes and well trained technical staff. This is why I would recommend Indiahikes to my friends and family.” – Mahesh Muddapati, batch of June 2016
“It was a wonderful experience with a little bit of everything thrown in. There were the meadows, the pass, the boulder country down the pass, snow, wind and waterfall.” – Mohot Bhatta, batch of June 2016
“Extremely beautiful trial. Short of words to describe the amazing scenery.” – Deepa Krishna, batch of June 2016
“The trek was indeed a buffet of all beautiful scenery. the trail was mesmerizing and a challenging one too” – Neha Bhatt, batch of June 2016
“The trek route & experience was excellent. The climb to the pass and the rappel down the snow wall was awesome. Our trek lead, guide & other staff did a stellar job to get everyone down that snow wall. Respect!” – Vinod Krishna, batch of June 2016
“I really enjoyed the trek. it was wonderful.. From the 1st day itself i had an amazing time.” – Devesh Bhatt, batch of June 2016
“In simple terms, I loved the trek! It was my first experience with Indiahikes, & am I glad I did it or what?! The food, organization, hardworking & entertaining team of trek leaders, porters & everyone–not to mention the beautiful place–made this an amazing experience of a lifetime! I am sure I’ll trek again with Indiahikes in the future! Great job & keep it up!” – Neha Kirpal, batch of June 2016
“Well this was my first trek in real sense. We chose Buran Ghati just to make it more interesting even though it was looking tough. It was challenging but at the same time it gave immense excitement too, as I’ve accomplished it without any casualty. I would definitely recommend this trek for its vast beauty and scenery. I enjoyed it the most, while going back to home cherishing the accomplishments. The staff were excellent and at par. Food was good too. But above it all, watching the stars in the night shining brighter and thicker are the best moments of the trek. I will never forget that. Thank you Indiahikes for everything, starting from liners on the ground to the stars in the sky. Cheers!” – Karan Patel, batch of June 2016
“Picturesque meadows, tough climbs and very exciting summit. Rappelling down the 70 deg steep ice wall and covering almost half the descent while tobogganing can’t be done in any other trek. It is definitely one of the most satisfying experiences and as described in the Indiahikes website it feels like a mash-up of the best Himalayan treks The trek is fairly easy for most part, but the summit day pushes you to the extreme.” – Sameer Singh, batch of June 2015
“Buran Ghati is a perfect combination of meadows, valleys, glaciers and snow! I would recommend Indiahikes because their overall management of the treks is very good.” – Anurag Sharma, batch of June 2015
“Buran Ghati is a virgin trail where the awesome beauty of raw nature meets all needs of a hardcore trekker looking for challenging situations with unforgettable memories.” – Paras Sharma, batch of June 2015
“Buran Ghati is a very scenic and untouched route. I would recommend Indiahikes because they are very professional and keeps their promises.” – Anubhav Saxena, batch of June 2015
“Buran Ghati offers tough terrains, scenic journey and beautiful pass at 15000 Feet. The whole trek was very nicely managed by Indiahikes team.” – Harpreet Singh Wadhwa, batch of June 2015