A Grand Buffet Of The Greatest Himalayan treks
Every trek has sections that are extremely beautiful. Every trek also has sections that are, we grudgingly admit, a little imperfect. However, when you are on the Buran Ghati trek, even with your best critical eye, these imperfections are hard to spot. There is not a moment on this trek where you are disappointed. It is as though someone has taken out all the best parts of our Himalayan treks and stitched them together to make one perfect trek.
The trek starts at the ancient village of Janglik, reminiscent of the kind of old, untouched by civilisation villages you would find on the Har Ki Dun trek. The trail climbs out of Janglik and goes into a delightfully deep forest and then bursts into Dayara meadows. Most trekkers stop in their tracks here, with their jaws agape at the wonderment that is Dayara meadows.
You walk out of Dayara with an expectation that the meadows are over – and you wouldn’t be more wrong. The trail to Litham is filled with forests and meadows. And there is the Dunda. If any campsite can give you the beauty of an alpine mountain zone and the thrill of a splendid climb to come, then Dunda will be among the best. Barua, on the other side of the pass, is a charming old village that would distinctly remind you of Hobbiton from Lord of the Rings. Old houses, fruit bearing trees, alleyways – it is a world of its own.
As we see it, the Buran Ghati trek has all the highlights of a tough trek, with an extremely thrilling pass crossing, put together in a moderate trek. There are rapid scenery changes, and save for the pass day, most days are easy-moderate. If you are looking for a summer or autumn trek, don’t think twice, go for Buran Ghati.
What to Watch out for
Meadows like Ali and Bedni Bugyal
Most trekkers know of the glorious meadows of Ali and Bedni Bugyal on the Roopkund trek. But they haven’t yet seen Buran Ghati’s meadows. The moment you walk out of the treeline and see the expanse of Dayara meadows, your jaw drops. You see a vast meadow, laden with yellow flowers glinting in the sun. Ahead, you see cliffs, whose folds are highlighted by white snow patches. These prettily landscaped meadows will remind you of postcards from childhood. It is a view that is at par with the twin meadows of Ali and Bedni Bugyal.
Vast sweeps of landscape like Kashmir
Many sections of the Buran Ghati trek transport you to Kashmir. The Litham campsite is one of them. Nestled between the snout of Chandranahan waterfall, with towering mountains and brooks running across, it gives you a taste of what trekking in Kashmir is like. Chandranahan lake, which is an hour away from the snout of the waterfall, is in a glacial amphitheatre.The lake is fed by snowmelt from surrounding mountains. The scale of this alpine valley is very reminiscent of Kashmir.
A Cultural experience like Har Ki dun
Trekkers from all over the world flock to Har Ki Dun to experience Himalayan culture. Buran Ghati ups that experience because it is less trodden upon. The villages of Janglik and Barua are ancient, with wooden Himachali houses that give you a taste of the Kinnaur architecture. In fact, the houses in Barua Khud are so ornate, it reminds you of Hobbiton. Surrounding Barua are wheat farms, apple orchards, peach and apricot trees. The people of these villages too are known to be beautiful. And they won’t hesitate to welcome you to their homes with a cup of chai.
Thrilling Pass Crossing like Rupin Pass and Pin Bhaba Pass
At 15,000 ft, Buran Ghati is a thrilling climb that matches the likes of Rupin Pass and Pin Bhaba. At the same time, it is also unique. The pass is a narrow ledge with a sharp 100 metre drop on the other side. When you look down from the pass, you are staring at near vertical face of a wall. It brings your heart to your mouth. In June, when the pass is an ice wall, you rappel down. Right after rappelling the next round of fun starts. There are five big snow slides to do, each of them more fun than the other. Even the most sober trekker rediscovers an inner child on the Buran Ghati trek! In September and October, you navigate through the sharp descent through a trail from the pass.
Banner image by Raghavendra Galagali
Day 1: Reach Diude/Janglik; 9-10 hours drive from Shimla. Transport will be organised from Hotel Crystal Palace in Shimla at 7.00 AM. It is a 10 minute walk from the Old Shimla Bus Stand. Cost of cab will be Rs 6,500 per vehicle
Day 2: Diude/Janglik (9,200 ft) to Dayara (11,075 ft), 5 hours
Day 3: Dayara (11,075 ft) to Litham (11,737 ft), 3 hours
Day 4: Excursion to Chandranahan Lake (13,900 ft), 4-5 hours
Day 5: Litham (11,737 ft) to Dhunda (13,365 ft), 4-5 hours
Day 6: Dhunda (13,365 ft) to River campsite (11,800 ft) via Buran Ghati (15,000 ft), 9-10 hours
Day 7: River campsite (11,800 ft) to Barua (6,700 ft), 5 hours
Day 8: Buffer Day
If the buffer day is used, you have to pay us Rs. 2,500 per day (INR) +5% GST. The money will be collected by the Trek Leader only if we use the buffer day. This depends completely on the weather conditions on the trek and the call will be taken by the trek leader.
Transport from Barua to Shimla will be arranged to start at 1.00 PM. You will reach Shimla around 10.30 pm.
The cost for the return travel is Rs 9,000 per vehicle. Please factor in the buffer day in your travel plans – book your onward journey from Shimla only after Day 8.
The stay at Janglik will be in a lodge and the rest of the days during the trek is in tents (3 per tent).
It is mandatory for trekkers to carry a copy of their photo id for entry at forest check posts on the trek.
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 (2,804 m)
- Time taken: 9-10 hours from Shimla.Vehicles will be arranged from the pick up point Hotel Crystal Palace in Shimla at 7:00 am. It is a 10 minute walk from the Old Shimla Bus Stand.
Day 2: Diude/Janglik to Dayara
- Altitude: 9,200 ft (2,804 m) to 11,075 ft (3,376 m)
- 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: 11,075 (3,376 m) ft to 11,737 ft (3,577 m)
- 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 (3,577 m) to 13,900 ft (4,237 m) 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 (4,237 m) to 13,365 ft (4,074 m)
- 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 (4,074 m) to 11,800 ft (3,597 m) via Buran Ghati (15,000 ft/4,572 m)
- 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 (3,597 m) to 6,700 ft (2,042 m)
- 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 10.30 pm.
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 to the base-camp – Janglik
Delhi/Chandigarh → Shimla →Janglik
The Buran Ghati trek starts from Janglik. It is a village of few houses. You will either stay in Janglik 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 Hotel Crystal Palace, Shimla. It is a 10 minute walk from the Old Shimla Bus Stand. The drive to Janglik takes 9-10 hours.
The fare of this transport is not included in the fee. It costs Rs.6,500 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 6.30 am the next morning for the pick up to Janglik. 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. 9,000 to be shared among fellow trekkers. You are expected to reach Shimla by 10.30 pm. 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.
Airtel, BSNL, Jio, and Vodafone network connectivity available.
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.
Here’s a fitness routine that works:
In case you’re just starting with a regular fitness routine, phase out your distance targets in the following manner –
If you are somebody you prefers cycling over running, then try to cover 25 km in 60 minutes.
How to send us a proof of your fitness routine?
Record your run on an app like Nike Run. Start recording your run when you start running. At the end of your run, hit the stop button.
Take a screenshot of the summary of your run. We will need a detailed split of each kilometre of your run. This is usually integrated in all running apps.
Note: Make sure your GPS is on when you record your run. If the GPS is off, we will not accept the screenshot.
Upload two screenshots 10 days prior to the start of the trek — one of you covering 5km in less than 35 mins along with your picture and the other with splits of your run.
Strength – Target 4 sets of squats with 20 in each
This is another area you should work on. There is a lot of trekking distance that you will cover in high altitude carrying your backpacks. You have to walk on uneven terrain during the trek. It could be taxing for your legs. For this, strengthening your legs will help. You can do some squats to strengthen them. Start with 3 sets of squats, with 8 squats in each set and work towards reaching your target 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.
On a trek, carry fewer clothes than you would normally need. Do not pack for ‘what if situations’. That will only add to the weight of your backpack and not be used on the trek. Once your clothes get warmed up on a trek, you will not feel like changing. Just maintain personal hygiene.
- Four warm layers: On the pass crossing day, you will need at least four warm layers (two lights layers such as fleece, one light sweater and one padded jacket) for this trek.
- Three trek pants: Wear one pair and carry two pairs. Denim/jeans and shorts are not suitable for trekking.
- 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. Let one of these be a dri-fit t-shirt. It will dry quickly in case you are trekking on a rainy day. 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 after reaching the campsite fall ill due to wet clothes and are often unable to complete their trek.
- Thermals (Mandatory): 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, moisturizer, light towel, lip balm, toilet paper, toothbrush, toothpaste, hand sanitiser. Do not carry wet wipes since these are not biodegradable. We do not like biodegradable wet wipes because they take a long time to decompose in the mountains. Use toilet paper instead.
- Sanitary waste: Make sure you bring your used sanitary napkins back to the city with you. Carry a zip lock bag to put used napkins. Bring this ziplock bag back with you to the city and do not dispose 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. We do not allow biodegradable or disposable cutlery on our treks.
- 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 – 1 Strip
- Crocin – 10 tablets
- Avomine (optional, in case of motion sickness)- 1 Strip
- Combiflam- Half Strip
- Muscle relaxant – Half Strip
- Digene – Half Strip
- Avil – 1 strip
- ORS – 6 packs
- Knee Cap (If you are prone to knee injury)
- 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 –
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.
Trek Cancellation Policy
In case, you wish to cancel your trek, please login to your account and cancel. Cancellation requests will not be taken over phone or email.
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.
Please note: In case of refund, there will be a deduction of 4% (cancellation charges) from the total fee you have paid. Also, if you have opted for a trek insurance, the amount will not be refunded.
In the unlikely case of a trek being called off by us 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.
What your trek includes
- Accommodation – Stay is included from Day 1 to Day 6 (Diude to River Campsite). You will be camping on all days of the trek (3 per tent).
- Meals – All meals from dinner at Diude on Day 1 to lunch on Day 7 . Meals are simple, nutritious and vegetarian.
- Camping charges – All trekking permits and forest camping charges are included.
- Trekking equipment – We provide high quality tents, sleeping bags, ice axes, roped, micro spikes, gaiters etc. as required.
- Safety equipment – First aid, medical kit, oxygen cylinders, stretchers etc.
What your trek does not include
- Transport to and from the base camp – We will arrange shared taxis for trekkers to pick you up from Shimla and drop you back from Barua. This will cost approx. Rs. 1,500 per trekker one way. The total cost will be shared with the other trekkers
- Food during transit to and from the base camp – The trek fee does not include meals purchased during the journey to Diude and return from Barua.
- Backpack offloading charges – Rs. 1,650 + 5% GST for the full trek. The backpack cannot weigh more than 9 kg. Suitcases/strolleys/duffel bags will not be allowed. Please note that charges will vary for last minute offloading in case you decide to offload your bag after reaching Diude (Rs.375 per day inclusive of taxes).
- Anything apart from inclusions
- 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.
In case, you wish to cancel your trek, please login to your account and cancel.
Cancellation requests will not be taken over phone or email.
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.
Please note: In case of refund, there will be a deduction of 4% (cancellation charges) from the total fee you have paid. Also, if you have opted for a trek insurance, the amount will not be refunded.
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.
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. Therefore, on treks, cardiovascular training is critically important. The trek has gradual climbs and steep descents. As a measure of your fitness, we require you to be able to run at least 5 km in 35 minutes by the time your trek starts. If you are 45 years or above, try to cover 10 km in 90 minutes. This is a minimum requirement.
If you prefer cycling over running, then try to cover 25 km in 60 minutes.
Unable to do so can make your trek difficult.
In addition, preparation of trek needs to include strength and flexibility training. Registering for the trek is an understanding that you will undertake the mandated fitness training and upload the fitness screenshots on your dashboard. Trekkers who have not adequately prepared may be asked to discontinue the trek at any point.
Indiahikes has the right to reject trekkers who do not meet our eligibility requirement at the base camp.
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. You can opt for offloading directly your dashboard after your payment is done for the trek.
Partial offloading is not allowed. The backpack cannot weigh more than 9 kg. No suitcases/strolleys/duffel bags will be allowed.
Online offloading in advance is possible up to three days prior to the trek start date.
Transport from Shimla to Janglik and return from Barua to Shimla can be arranged by us at an extra cost. This will cost approx Rs. 6,500 (for a 5-6 seater cab) per vehicle on the drive to the basecamp. The return cost will be Rs 9,000 (for a 5-6 seater cab) per vehicle
Participants are expected to share the cost of the cab. The amount is to be paid directly to our transporter.
Indiahikes only arranges the vehicle pick up and is not responsible for any issues during transport.
Repeat Trekker Policy
At Indiahikes, we believe that the mountains hold all the aces. The weather could play spoilsport, the altitude could mess with a trekker, the unpredictability of nature itself could turn against him. Whatever the reason might be, it is never nice to turn away from a trek midway.
In the event that a trekker has to come down without completing your trek, they can always head back to the mountain and do the same trek again. If this happens, trekkers don’t have to pay the trek fee. They have to just make the optional payment for the insurance amount.
On another note, it could also happen that you love a trek so much that you want to go back time and again. Trekkers don’t have to pay Indiahikes for repeating a trek.
Note – The Repeat Trekker Policy holds good only for Indian Treks.
It is not valid for treks we run in Nepal.
Discount for a group of 10 and above
If there is a group size of 10 trekkers and above, then we will waive off the trek fee charges for one person.
Note - There is no discount available if the group size is 9 or less than that.
You can register the entire group and send us an email. If the group is registering individually, then the primary participant needs to send an email to the Trek Coordinator with the list of trekkers from the same group.
If you want to make the payment individually, then individual registrations have to be done.
If you have a group of 15 trekkers and above, then we waive of 10% for every trekker.
This will be the case for a group of 10 trekkers. So if you have a group of 20 trekkers, then we will waive off the charges for 2 trekkers.
Can I keep extra luggage at the base camp of Janglik?
The option to leave extra luggage is not available for this trek.
Buran Ghati is a crossover trek. This means you will be starting the trek at a point, crossing a mountain pass, and ending the trek at a different point. You will not come back to the same base camp of Janglik.
Tip: Most trekkers keep their extra luggage at their hotel in Shimla and collect it later. The other option is to carry only what is necessary on the trek
What is buffer day on this trek?
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. Book your return journey on the next day after you reach Shimla.
Note - If the buffer day is used, you have to pay us Rs. 2,500 per day (INR) +5% GST. The money will be collected by the Trek Leader only if we use the buffer day. This depends completely on the weather conditions on the trek and the call will be taken by the trek leader.
How do I book for my stay on the last day after the trek at Shimla?
Booking stay at Shimla can be a bit tricky. There are two options we would suggest.
A. Book for two nights in advance at Shimla. This means a confirmation of your stay. Even if the buffer day is used or not, your stay is confirmed at Shimla.
B. Book for your stay on the last day of the trek. Take this call based on the buffer day being used. When the trek is about to end at Barua, you get network connectivity. You can either book directly or ask your friends or family members to book while you are traveling to Shimla.
Will there be rappelling from the Buran Pass during my trek?
If you are going during the summer months of May and June, then you will rappel down on an ice wall at Buran Pass, which is at 15,000 feet.
However, do not expect the same after the monsoon. The snow would have melted away and you don’t rappel down in the months of September, October. Instead, you descend down the trails from the pass, on a series of switchbacks.
Is there mobile network on this trek? Are there any electricity charging points on this trek?
You’ll find Vodafone/ Airtel network at Janglik. 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 Shimla itself. Please inform anxious family members about limited phone connectivity. There will be no electricity charging points anywhere on the trek.
Is there an option to offload my backpack on this trek?
Yes, there is an option to offload your backpack (have a porter carry it for you). This will cost Rs.1,650 + 5% GST if you inform us in advance. If you decide to offload once you reach Janglik, 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. Online offloading in advance is possible up to five days prior to the trek start date. You can opt for this from your dashboard directly.
Here is what trekkers have to say about their experience at Buran Ghati Trek
In her own words, Vidhya K Pai had "the time of her life" on the Buran Ghati Trek. From rappelling down the ice-wall to the never-ending Dayara Meadows.Read full blog
Video by Anurag Singh
Video by Himanshu Jain
Click on available dates to Register
- What the colours mean
- Available:Registration is on.
- Waitlist:The group is full, but cancellations are likely to happen. We have 5 waitlist slots for every group. You may register for the group. Waitlist slots confirmation chances are high if booked more than 30 days in advance.
- Last 'x' slots:Indicates the number of slots available in a batch.
- Full:Indicates the group is full. No further slots are likely. A full group has 18 members.
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