Maldaru Trek

Difficulty
Difficulty
Moderate- Difficult
Duration
Duration
8 Days
Trek type
Trek type
Altitude
Max Altitude
14,338 ft
Required Fitness
Base
Sankri
Best time to visit
Best time to visit
May- Jun, Sep -mid Nov

The Maldaru lake is a lake that is seen as a goddess among the locals. It is not hard to see why.  Surrounded by unnamed peaks, this lake sits with it’s crystal clear waters, taking on shades of the sky above. Sometimes it’s blue, sometimes it’s grey.  There are several rocks erected around the lakes, acting as religious symbols. There is a deafening silence in this location. The feeling of standing here, in it’s silences and it’s chilling cold, is surely a setting gifted from gods. 

Maldaru Lake 1 - Ravi Ranjan - Indiahikes
The locals consider the waters of this lake divine. Picture by Ravi Ranjan

The approach to the lake, with the forests, ancient villages and alpine settings, is no less so. The Maldaru lake trek runs very close to the Har Ki Dun- Ruinsara Valley trek.  So much so, you see the valley and it’s surrounding ranges on multiple occasions – from Rashi Top, from Maldaru base camp and from the shoulder of the unnamed peaks surrounding the lake.  The other thing these two treks share is how it offers an intimate look into ancient villages on their trails.

Maldaru Trek - View od Dhatmir - Indiahikes -Ravi Ranjan
The Dhatmir village. Picture by Ravi Ranjan

Villages like Dhatmir, Dharkot, Osla, Gangaad and Seema  are protected from the outside world. They retain their culture: the clothes that they make out of the wool they weave, the food that they grow on their field, their wooden houses and their places of worship.  Villagers pass you by on the lower, busier parts of the trail as they go to and fro between villages, with a friendly greeting. It is a unique cultural experience that only few trails can offer.

Documented by Ravi Ranjan

Author – Aswati  Anand

Day 1: Arrival in Dehradun. Drive to Sankri.

Distance: 177 km

Duration: 10 hour drive

Day 2: Drive from Sankri to Taluka to Dharkot 

Altitude: 6955 ft  to 8380 ft

Distance: 12 km drive. 9 km trek

Duration:  6-7 hrs. 

Day 3: Dharkot to Batgoera 

Altitude: 8380 ft  to 10722 ft

Distance:  5.5 km

Duration: 4-5 hours

Day 4: Batgoera to Rashi 

Altitude: 10,722 ft  to 12,250 ft

Distance: 6 km

Duration:  5-6 hrs. 

Day 5: Rashi to Maldaru Base Camp

Altitude: 12250 ft  to 13188 ft

Distance: 6 km

Duration:  5-6 hrs. 

Day 6: Maldaru Base camp  to Maldaru Lake and back to Chilurgaad 

Altitude: 13188 ft  to 14,338 ft to 7770 ft

Distance:  4 km to the lake + 9 km to Chilurgaad

Duration:  4-5 hrs for the lake + descent to Chilurgaad is another 4-5 hours. 

Day 7: Chilurgaad to Taluka to Sankri 

Altitude: 7770 ft  to 6955 ft to 6397ft

Distance: 11 km trek + 12 km drive

Duration:  5- 7 hrs. 

Day 8: Sankri to Dehradun

Distance:  177 km drive

Duration:  10 hours

Day 1: Arrival in Dehradun. Drive to Sankri.

Distance: 177 km

Duration: 10 hour drive

Arrive at Dehradun railway station. Dehradun is the last point where you can make last minute purchases before you head out for your trek. Ideally, make all the purchases from your city.

From Dehradun Railway station, one can get a bus directly to Sankri. The first bus for Sankri leaves at 5.30 am in the morning and then another bus leaves at 7. 30 am. It takes about 10 hrs to reach Sankri on a public transport. Fare ranges from Rs 330-400. Alternatively, one can take a bus till Purola that runs till 1 pm.  Reach Purola before 2 pm to catch the last bus out to Sankri. Otherwise, you may have to stay at Purola for the night.

pine forests sankri
The drive from Dehradun to Sankri passes through some great stretches of pine forests

Do note that the last working ATM is available in Purola. It is also the last place with a proper internet connection of all service providers.

The drive to Sankri is perhaps one of the most beautiful drives in Indian Himalayas. The journey follows the path of the river Yamuna until Naugaon. The road crosses over the river here, and starts following the quietly gushing river of Tons, a tributary of Yamuna. Tons keeps you company all the way till Sankri.

Watch out for the section after Purola until Sankri, where the drive curves through a dense pine forest. The scent of pine engulfs you as you make your way towards your base camp. After you drive through the length of pine forest, you enter Mori. Mori is the last place where you can get phone network to make calls. There is a decent JIO network available here.

Sankri is a small but pretty village with about 250 houses, few shops and dhabas. Picture by Jyotirmoy Paul

The drive ends at Sankri, your base camp for this trek. Sankri is a small but pretty village with about 250 houses, few shops and dhabas. There are plenty of options to stay here –  primarily GMVN (starting Rs 250/- bed for dorms, 750 for room), Hotel Mountain View, Hotel Swargarohini Palace, Hotel Wild Orchid etc. Keep in mind that Sankri has no internet connectivity and 2G network of BSNL/Vodaphone is mostly absent.

Soak in the view of the sun setting behind ridges beyond Sankri. Stay the night here.

Day 2: Drive from Sankri to Taluka to Dharkot 

Altitude: 6955 ft  to 8380 ft

Distance: 12 km drive. 9 km trek

Duration:  6-7 hrs. 

The trek starts from Taluka, a village 12 km away from Sankri.  There are shared vehicles from Sankri to Taluka available at 50-100 bucks, or else book a full vehicle at a price of Rs  800-1000. It takes one hour to reach Taluka from Sankri. Make sure to get your forest permissions done from local forest check post before you leave.

Taluka is a small village with concrete houses. There are a couple of dhabas where the food is very basic You may find intermittent BSNL/Vodaphone network here – if you are lucky.

The trek starts from the wall adjoining the forest office. The trail is properly paved. It is the very same trail used by the villagers of Osla, Gangaad and connects to the trail of the famous Har Ki Dun trek. The trail hugs along the river valley of Thamsa. The river stays on your left while fields are on your right.  A kilometre into this level walk along the river, you enter a mixed forest of Chirgoza Pine, Maple, Horse Chestnut. 

After 3 kms of walking along, you will come across a concrete bridge. Once you cross over this bridge, you enter the clearing known as Bhida Ka Thatch. From here,  take an upward right turn to reach Dhatmeer village. The climb to Dhatmeer is on steep but properly paved trail. The climb will feel unending and is a bit taxing. It is another kilometre on this steep slope to Dhatmeer.

Maldaru Trek - View od Dhatmir - Indiahikes -Ravi Ranjan
The climb to Dhatmeer is on a steep but properly paved trail.. Picture by Ravi Ranjan

At Dhatmeer, you will be surprised to see that all the gates are closed during day time! All the villagers work or have their properties at Taluka and they only return by night. While crossing the village, spot a small temple dedicated to Lord Someshwar.

The trail after the village is flat and is surrounded by farms. During October, you may find a lot of walnuts lying on this trail. Don’t get too excited as their shells are as hard as rock! The vegetation blooms past this village and now you will be surrounded with Blue Pine, Maple, Walnut, Abies Pindrow. This trail is hardly inhabited –  this where you will have your first taste of the wild.

Four kilometres walking along this trail, you will find a small temple with four natural water sources flowing in front. This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. You have entered the village of Dharkot.

Maldarua Trek - Dharkot - Indiahikes - Ravi Ranjan
Dharkot is a tiny pristine village of about 50  households. Picture by Ravi Ranjan

Dharkot is a tiny pristine village of about 50  households. Almost all the families are from neighbouring village Gangaad. They grow their crops here. These villagers usually to Gangaad during winter as the snow deposit is much greater here. Stay the night at Dharkot in one of the homestays.

Day 3: Dharkot to Batgoera 

Altitude: 8380 ft  to 10722 ft

Distance:  5.5 km

Duration: 4-5 hours

From Dharkot, the trail will ascend southeast towards Batgoera. After ascending for about 100 meters, stop to soak in the full panoramic view of Dharkot village. Continue along the trail as it enters into the forest interspersed with multiple clearings while walking into the trail. Some of the clearings are private farms. There are plenty of water sources along the way.

Maldaru Trek - Dharkot - Indiahikes -Ravi Ranjan
After ascending for about 100 meters, stop to soak in the full panoramic view of Dharkot village. Picture by Ravi Ranjan

Though the trail is mostly clear, it may pose a challenge after monsoon because of huge vegetation. There are high chances of getting lost in the jungle as it is extremely dense.

During autumn, the vivid colours of leaves will fill your eyes with astonishment. Ensure that you follow the trail keeping the view of snow-capped peaks in the front. There may be some Shepherd huts on the way which make you wonder how these people survive in these locations. There are multiple stream crossings on the trail. On one of the streams, there is a wooden bridge to cross over.

Maldaru Trek- Walk to Batgoera - Indiahikes - Ravi Ranjan
The walk towards Batgoera. Picture by Ravi Ranjan

Finally you will arrive at Batgoera – a huge clearing in the middle of the forest. This is the grazing ground of cattles and also the camping ground of Shepherds aka Gurjars. It is almost 200 metre wide and around 400 metres in length with an exquisite view of snow laden mountains all round. The top of HKD and Hata peak are visible on the north eastern end of this clearing. Proper water source is available.

Day 4: Batgoera to Rashi 

Altitude: 10,722 ft  to 12,250 ft

Distance: 6 km

Duration:  5-6 hrs. 

Wake up to the view of snow clad peaks that surround the campsite. You can see the sun rise from behind the Hata peak. The trek today will take you above the treeline with stunning alpine settings all the way to Rashi. 

Right after  you leave the campsite, you enter into a forest composed mostly of Abies Pindrow. The trail remains flat for most part as it weaves through the jungle.

Maldaru Trek - Ravi ranjan - Indiahikes (2)
The trek today will take you above the treeline with stunning alpine settings all the way to Rashi. Picture by Ravi Ranjan

After walking a kilometer in the jungle, you will come across a clearing with a single tree at it’s center. The tree is a wild Jambul (Indian Blackberry), most loved by Himalayan bears. This is an ideal place to rest.

From this clearing, the forest walk continues till the trail meets it’s end at a river crossing. This river is about 10-15 metres wide and doesn’t pose any challenge for crossing.  Climb out from the river to reach the treeline, mostly comprising of  White Rhododendrons. There are high chances of getting lost as the way is east uphill but it is not possible to climb the wall at this point. Follow a trail towards Bhitri Gadi where there are a couple of big rocks. These rocks are seen from the river.

After reaching the big rock, climb uphill towards north, following the only available water stream. It’s a steep climb of 100 meters but also rewarding. The new landscape greets you at the top. 

The top most point is called Rashi.  The campsite is about 500 metres downhill from this point. From the campsite, on your west, witness the sun setting on the ranges of Himachal Pradesh. On your left will be the valley of Bhitri Gadi and behind you, will be the mighty mountains. Batgoera campsite is below you, shaped like an arrow on the hill.

Maldaru Trek - Ravi Ranjan - Indiahikes
On your left will be the valley of Bhitri Gadi and behind you, will be the mighty mountains. Picture by Ravi Ranjan

Brace yourself. This will be the coldest campsite of all. The night temperature might dip well below zero at night. It is imperative to layer up immediately after reaching the campsite. The water source can be found in stone structure made by shepherds.

Day 5: Rashi to Maldaru Base Camp

Altitude: 12250 ft  to 13188 ft

Distance: 6 km

Duration:  5-6 hrs. 

Today will be the toughest day of the trek. The campsite doesn’t get sunlight in the morning, making it cold. 

The trek begins with an upward climb towards north east. It continues on a grassy slope and reaches a boulder section.  After you cross the boulder section, the walk begins along the ridge. The ridge walk continues for a kilometre after which you reach a high point called Rashi Top.  From here, you will get a panoramic view of the Har ki Dun Valley with the Osla village underneath. Spot the ranges of Himachal behind the valley. On the other side, you get a downward view of steep valley.

Maldaru Trek - view vi from Rashi top ii - Indiahikes - Ravi Ranjan
The descent from Rashi Top is the scariest part of the trek. It’s a vertical descent with bounders and occasional grassy patches. Picture by Ravi Ranjan

The descent from Rashi Top is the scariest part of the trek. It’s a vertical descent with bounders and occasional grassy patches. The gradient is almost 60-70 degrees! Snow will pose a great difficulty on this stretch. Proper steps will have to be made before keeping the feet down.

After a vertical descent of 200 meters, there will be a tiny trail which will take you through a series of gullies. In this section, you will be descending and then ascending on several occasions.   However, the depression the trail is extremely thin and there are place where you might have to walk on slope without a trail on grass. This is the actual adventure on this trek.

After reaching the 4th gully, there will be the final ascent to reach another high point name Swargaronini View Point. From here, peaks like Swargarohini, Har Ki Dun, Hata, Kedarkantha and the ranges on Chanshal, Bharadsar, Rupin are visible. Towards the south east lies the Maldaru base camp. The trail will descend down across boulders and plenty of river streams. It takes an hour to reach the base camp from here.

Maldaru Trek - Hata and Har ki Dun peak - Indiahikes -Ravi Ranjan
The Hata Peak and Har Ki Dun peaks from Rashi Top. Picture by Ravi Ranjan

The day finally ends with an ascent to the Maldaru base camp which is placed at the feet of the valley just below this lake. In front of you  is the mountain housing the Maldaru lake and behind you,  is the view of the Har Ki Dun valley and on. The rocky mountain peaks stand guard on either side.

Day 6: Maldaru Base camp to Maldaru Lake and back to Chilurgaad 

Altitude: 13188 ft  to 14,338 ft to 7770 ft

Distance:  4 km to the lake + 9 km to Chilurgaad

Duration:  4-5 hrs for the lake + descent to Chilurgaad is another 4-5 hours. 

It’s roughly 2 km walk to Maldaru lake from Maldaru base camp. The trek walks through a flat path meandering through a water stream initially. The last one kilometre goes through rocks and boulders. Even between the rocks, the trail is properly paved and quite easy to undertake. One can feel the thinning of air. At the neck of the mountain, you will be surprised to find bed of Brahmakamals during autumn. They are in such huge number that for a moment you will not believe your eyes.

Maldaru Lake - Ravi Ranjan - Indiahikes (2)
The locals treat the lake as a form of a goddess. Picture by Jairam Panwar

After completing last hundred meters, you will finally witness the divine beauty – the Maldaru lake. The locals treat the lake as a form of a goddess.  So much so, it is said that women during their menstruation aren’t allowed near the lake. There are several rocks erected around the lakes, acting as religious symbols.   There is a deafening silence in this location.  The water is crystal clear and takes on a shade of blue under clear sky.

Just above this lake are unnamed peaks. If you happen to climb to the shoulders of one of these, you will see the Swargarohini and other Gangotri ranges. It is very cold at this place,  so jackets are a must. After spending a few hours here,  descend through the same trail to your campsite.  Wind up your campsite to leave for a long descent.

The  journey from here is a long, continuous descent but highly rewarding. The jungle is on full bloom during spring with the rhododendrons. In autumn, you will observe the vivid colors of dry leaves.  The forest is full of Silver Birches, Abies Pindrow, Maple, Oak. We spotted a lot of Monals, Woodpeckers on the way. After descending half way through, the Osla village will be at your eye level.

Maldaru Lake - Ravi Ranjan - Indiahikes
The descent from Maldaru Lake. Picture by Ravi Ranjan

Once you  reach base of this trail, it joins with existing Har Ki Dun trail at Seema. It is a relief to your knee after such a long descent. At Seema, there is  a big suspension iron bridge from where you can see the ancient Osla village. Make sure you take pictures! It is about 2 kms from Seema bridge to Chilurgaad. 

Day 7: Chilurgaad to Taluka to Sankri 

Altitude: 7770 ft  to 6955 ft to 6397ft

Distance: 11 km trek + 12 km drive

Duration:  5- 7 hrs. 

This is the final day and the easiest one. The trail will go along the existing Har Ki Dun trail. This is flat trail with Thamsa river flowing along. Be ready to cross paths with friendly villagers. Greet them with a ‘Namaste’ and they will surely ask you to come to their homes for tea.

Maldaru lake - Gangaad village - Indiahikes - Ravi ranjan
Be ready to cross paths with friendly villagers and pass ancient villages. Picture by Ravi Ranjan

The trail will be covered with colourful trees such as Spruce, Pine, Abies Pindrow, Seabuckthorn. You will also come across another ancient village called Gangaad.  The trail ends at Taluka where you will be again taken back to Sankri for your final day.

Day 8: Sankri to Dehradun

Distance:  177 km drive

Duration:  10 hours

How to get to the basecamp – Sankri

Delhi → Dehradun → Sankri

The Maldaru trek starts from Sankri, around 177 km from Dehradun.

To reach Dehradun

The best way to reach Dehradun is to take an overnight train from Delhi. There are two trains available from Delhi to Dehradun. We recommend that you take this one –

  • 12205 Nandadevi Express – 23.50 – 5.40
  • 12055 DDN Jan Shatabdi – 15.20 – 21.10 (reach the previous night)

If you cannot find a train, then take a bus. To stay on the safe side, book buses online in advance. Book such that you have some buffer time to make it to Dehradun on time for the pick-up; buses usually get delayed.

Take a bus headed towardsSankri from Dehradun. It leaves at 6.00 am from Dehradun Railway station. Be there by 5.40 am to get a seat.

If you are reaching Dehradun late, you can take a bus to Purola/Naugaon and then a connecting bus to Sankri. The last bus leaves from Dehradun Railway Station at 12 noon. If you reach Purola late, you can stay there overnight.

If you are taking a hired taxi, the route is pretty straightforward. First, head to Mussoorie, then move down to Yamuna Bridge, via Kempty falls. Then follow the Yamuna on your left until you reach Damta and further on to Naugaon. Cross the Yamuna at Naugaon and head towards Purola. The route immediately turns scenic, with pine trees overlooking the road.

At Purola break for lunch. From Purola, the route gets more mesmerising with the road climbing up and descending through thick pine forests until you get to Mori along the Tons River. 5 km out of Purola try to locate the south face of the Kedarkantha peak on your left. The highest peak, it is not difficult to spot.

Difficult Sections

The Maldaru trek is a moderate-difficult trek with long distances and few tricky sections. There are two sections trekkers must be prepared for.

Maldaru Trek - Ravi Ranjan - Indiahikes
Picture by Ravi Ranjan

The descent from Rashi Top
The descent from Rashi Top is the scariest part of the trek. It’s a vertical descent with bounders and occasional grassy patches. The gradient is almost 60-70 degrees! Snow will pose a great difficulty on this stretch. Proper steps will have to be made before keeping the feet down.

The long descent from Maldaru to Chilurgaad

The ascent to Maldaru lake and then subsequent descent all the way down to Chilurgaad is a taxing day. You go from climbing to over 14,000 ft and come all the way down to 7,000 ft. That’s a huge altitude drop. The descent is likely to be taxing on your knees. If you have knee injuries, it is imperative you take help of knee cap and trekking pole to support you.

How to prepare for the Maldaru trek


Cardiovascular endurance
This trek requires a good amount of cardiovascular endurance. You can begin by jogging everyday. Start jogging at a slow pace and then keep increasing your pace day by day. In order to be prepared for high altitude trek, you should have a combination of distance and speed targets.

Here’s a fitness routine that works:

  • –>Target completing 5 km in 40 minutes when you begin.
  • –>Gradually increase your pace by running 4 times a week and bring it down to 5 km in less than 37 mins.
  • –>If you are 45 years old and above and are comfortable with long distance walking than jogging, then before you go on the trek, you should be able to walk at least 10 km at a stretch. Target completing this in 90 minutes.
    If jogging is fine for you, your target should be completing 5 km in 45 minutes. As you get closer to the trek date you should be able to cover 5 km in under 40 minutes
  • –>If you are somebody who prefers cycling over running, your target must be to cover 22 km in 60 minutes.

Here’s a guide to help you get fit for the trek.

trek-fitness-indiahikes-moderate-treks
One month trek fitness routine for moderate treks

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 For the Maldaru Trek

1. Trekking Shoes

The Maldaru trek requires trekking shoes that are sturdy, have good grip, have ankle support and can handle snow. Here is a quick video on how to choose your trekking shoes.

| Buying Tip: The Trek series and MH series are good options by Decathlon. They are tried and tested. There really isn’t any necessity to buy the higher priced models. Here is a list of other budget shoes that trekkers are using.

2. Backpack

For a trek like Maldaru, you need a 50-60 litre backpack. Make sure your backpack has good hip support, shoulder support and quick access pockets. Here is a guide on how to choose a backpack.

| Buying Tip: Wildcraft, Decathlon and Adventure Worx usually make good backpacks. While Wildcraft has more expensive ones, the other two brands have budget-friendly backpacks to choose from. 

3. Clothes

Wearing layers is the mantra in the mountains. Layers give you maximum protection from all elements. And when the weather changes in the mountains (as it happens every few hours), you take take off or put on layers as required. 

Base layer: 3 T-shirts

Wear one T-shirt and carry two. Carry full sleeve dry-fit T-shirts (preferably collared). These prevent your arms and neck from getting sunburnt. In the rarified air on the trek, especially at high altitudes, UV rays can burn you in no time.

Dry-fit T-shirts quickly dry your sweat, they are easy to wash and in case of a rainy day, they dry quicker. Round neck T-shirts are ok, but collared ones are better.

| Cotton or Synthetic? As Indians, we love cotton. Down in the plains when the heat is a blistering 40°C it makes sense to wear cotton. But it takes a long time to dry when it gets wet. In the mountains, where it is cooler, synthetic is what you wear. They wick sweat rapidly and keep you dry. (But they do tend to smell quickly, so carry a roll-on deodorant with you.)

| Buying tip: You can get dry-fit T-shirts from Decathlon. Also, stores like Reliance Trends, Max have dry-fit T-shirts. They don’t usually cost much.

| Pro Tip: If you are extra susceptible to cold, you could get a set of thermal inners. In our experience, wearing two T-shirts over another works as a better thermal. And they save you weight and space, since you’re already carrying them. 

Two trek pants

Two pairs of trek pants should suffice for this trek. Wear one pair and carry one just in case it rains. Trek pants with zippered cut offs at the thighs are very suitable for treks. Also, choose quick-dry pants over cotton. They dry up soon in case of small stream crossings / rain.

| Buying tip: Go for pants with zippered pockets. They come in handy to keep your phone, handkerchief or pocket snacks.

| Track pants or trek pants? Stretchable track pants make a good backup and can double up as your thermal bottoms. But track pants are not trek pants — so don’t use them as your main outerwear. Keep them only as a backup. 

A Padded Jacket for the excursion to Maldaru lake is essential.

Mandatory Accessories, without these too you won’t be able to do the trek.

1. Sunglasses

Sunglasses are to prevent snow blindness.  There may be stretches of snow near the lake. A small overexposure to direct sunlight on snow can lead to snow blindness (about a half hour’s exposure). That’s because fallen snow is like thousands of mirrors that reflect direct UV rays. So you need sunglasses with UV protection

| Wearing tip: Wear sunglasses if the trekking day is bright and sunny (on open sections, meadows). On a snowy section you must absolutely never take off your sunglasses until the section has been fully crossed.

| Buying Tip: Try getting sunglasses that wrap around instead of those that have openings on the side. Even peripheral UV ray exposure is not a good idea.  

| If you wear spectacles: If you wear spectacles, you can get oversized sunglasses that you wear over your regular glasses (available at Decathlon). If that is cumbersome, photochromic lenses work equally well. Here’s a quick guide on managing sunglasses with spectacles.

| Contact lens users: If you use contact lenses, you can use them on the trek too. The lens solution will not freeze. You will also not face any problems in changing your lens in your tent. Just carry enough cleaning solution with you to clean your fingers well. Wear your sunglasses over your contact lens. Read this article for more guidance on managing contact lenses on treks.

 2. Suncap

A sun cap is mandatory. Trekking without a sun cap can lead to headaches, sun strokes, quick dehydration and a sharp drop in trekking performance. 

| Tip: In the mountains, the general rule is to keep your head covered at all times. During the day a sun cap protects you from the harsh rays of the sun (it is doubly stronger with naked UV rays). A sun cap keeps your body temperature in balance. In the evening/early morning, the reverse is true. Your head loses your body heat quickly. A woolen cap prevents heat from dissipating from your head.

| Pro Tip: Sun caps with flaps are a blessing for trekkers. They cut out almost all UV leaks. They prevent sun burns in every possible way. They are a lot more effective than sunscreen lotion. A wide brimmed sports hat also helps to prevent sunburn in a big way. 

3. Synthetic hand gloves

On a trek like Maldaru, you are going to be handling snow quite a bit in the earlier seasons. You’ll need gloves to grip something or to steady yourself in snow. You also want the gloves to keep you warm. Get synthetic hand gloves that have waterproofing on the outside and a padded lining on the inside. If you find the combination difficult to get (not likely), wear a tight fitting fleece hand glove inside a synthetic hand glove. 

4. Woollen cap or Balaclava

Ensure these cover your ears. In the cold mountains, you lose maximum heat from your head, not from your hands, feet or the rest of your body. Which is why you need to keep your head protected, especially when the sun is down. Early mornings, late evenings, a cold trekking day are when you must use your woollen cap.

Your ears are sensitive too, so a woollen head cap that covers your ears is absolutely essential. A balaclava is a modern version of the woolen cap. It covers your ears, neck and parts of your face as well. Do not get a woollen cap that only covers your head. 

5. Socks (3 pairs)

Apart from two sports socks, take a pair of woollen socks. Sports socks give you cushioning plus warmth. Again the mantra is to wear synthetic socks or at least a synthetic blend. Cotton socks soak in water and sweat. They are very hard to dry.

As for woollen socks, they help you to keep warm and snug in the night. If you cannot get woolen socks, wearing two sports socks serves the purpose as well. 

6. Headlamp

Trekkers are often confused about whether they need to get a headlamp or a handheld torch. You need to get a headlamp because it leaves your hands free to do other activities. 

| Buying tip: Ensure your headlamp covers a wider area and is not too focused as a single beam. On a trek, your headlamp must help you see around you as much as ahead of you.

7. Trekking pole (a pair)

Trekking poles give you stability and balance. They reduce your energy consumption by almost 40%. On the Maldaru trek there are steep ascents and descents. A pair of trekking poles will make the difference between a comfortable and a strenuous trek. In India we tend to use a single trekking pole. However, two trekking poles give you greater stability and balance. They also increase your walking pace.

8. Rainwear

On a trek, the weather can change quickly. A bright sunny day can turn into a downpour in a matter of minutes. Carry a poncho or a rain jacket to tackle this. A poncho is a big rain cover with openings for your arms and your head. It is extremely effective because it covers both you and your backpack. It is extremely light and weighs next to nothing. 

| Pro tip: Rain jackets are more streamlined and less cumbersome but weigh more. Rain pants are really not required. Dry fit trek pants dry quickly even if soaking wet.  

9. Rain cover for your backpack

Backpacks are your life. You carry all your dry clothes, your warm gear in your backpack. It is important that your backpack stays dry at all times. Modern backpacks usually come with built in rain-covers. If your back pack does not have a rain-cover, ensure you get a rain cover by either (a) buying a rain cover (b) or cutting a large plastic sheet to the size of your backpack. You can roll the plastic sheet around your backpack and keep it in place with a string or elastic.  

| Pro tip: It’s good practice to compartmentalise your clothes, accessories and other things in plastic covers inside your backpack. That way, even if it rains and your backpack gets wet, your things are water-proof inside the backpack.

10. Daypack (20-30 ltrs, optional)

 In your daypack you carry essentials like water bottles, rainwear, emergency medicines, headlamp, some snacks and a warm layer. You will need a day camp for the excursion to the Maldaru lake from Maldaru base camp. Your main backpack that carries most of your equipment is accessible only at the campsites. 

A daypack is a smaller backpack that is usually of 20-30 ltr capacity. Laptop bags are not daypacks. Do not get them. 

Other mandatory requirements

1. A toilet kit

Keep your toilet kit light. Carry just the basics — toothbrush, toothpaste, small soap, toilet tissue roll, a small moisturiser, lip balm, and a roll-on deodorant. You will not be able to have a bath on the trek, so don’t overload on soaps and shampoos.

| Pro tip: Carry miniature-sized items. You will not need more than that. If you’re travelling in a group, share one toothpaste for all.

| Pro tip: Avoid getting large toilet rolls. The smallest size roll is more than enough. 

| For women: If you are likely to have your periods on your trek date, don’t worry about it. You can use your pads, tampons or menstrual cups on the trek. Make sure you carry ziplock bags to bring back your menstrual waste. Don’t leave behind any waste in the mountains. Watch this video to learn how to dispose your sanitary waste.

2. Cutlery

Carry a lunch box, a mug and a spoon. Your lunch box must be leak proof. 

| Pro tip: Carry stainless steel cutlery. Avoid fancy high grade plastic cutlery. Stainless steel cutlery is infinitely easier to wash in cold water. Grease is easier to remove and hygiene is at the highest. 

| Two 1 litre bottles or a 2 litre hydration pack: The Maldaru trek has many hours of trekking everyday (approximately 6 hours). You need to carry two one litre water bottles to keep yourself hydrated over the distance. If you are used to a hydration pack, then that is ok too. If one among the two bottles is a lightweight thermos, then that helps you to store warm water on a really cold day or for late evenings and early mornings.   

3. Plastic covers

Carry 3-4 old plastic covers to keep your used clothes. You could use them even for wet clothes. Re-use old plastic bags for this and do not buy new ones.

Useful videos to help you with your gear:

Personal medical kit

Carry these medicines with you, easily accessible at all times. 

  1. Diamox (1 Strip): Being on a preventive course of Diamox greatly reduces the chances of Acute Mountain Sickness.    
  2. Dolo 650 (5 tablets): This is a paracetamol. It helps to tackle fever, mild pain
  3. Avomine (4 tablets): Carry this especially if you are prone to motion sickness. Pop one half hour before the start of your road journey.
  4. Combiflam (5 tablets): Take a combiflam if you get a sudden twist of the leg or a muscle strain. It is a pain reliever. It also contains paracetamol. 
  5. Digene (4 tablets): Take it if you feel the food that you’ve taken is undigested. 
  6. ORS (6 packs): Consume a pack of ORS water at least once a day, usually mid day when you are in the middle of your trek. It replenishes essential salts lost while trekking.  Tip: It also makes cold water easier to drink.
  7. Knee Brace (optional): Carry this if you are prone to knee injury or have known issues of knee pain.

Network Connectivity

There is no network on this trek – you lose phone network after Mori while travelling to Sankri. If you are lucky, your  sim might receive signal in patches in Taluka on the trek.

Nearest ATM

The last point where you can withdraw cash is Purola.

Looking for places to visit after your Maldaru trek?

There aren’t many options for sightseeing around Sankri. The options for sightseeing opens up when you come on the road back to Dehradun/ Rishikesh.

Kempty Waterfalls

Kempty waterfalls is a popular tourist destination that falls on the road from Dehradun-Sankri.

Mussoorie

Popularly known as “Queen of the Hills”, this is a hill station you can consider staying in after the trek. There are multiple short hikes you can consider doing from here!

Places to see in Rishikesh

Lakshman Jhula
The Lakshman Jhula is a suspension bridge over the river Ganga.  It is a bridge that is immediately associated with Rishikesh.  Around Lakshman Jhula, there are temples and cafes you can explore.

Ganga Aarti
Every evening,  Rishikesh, Varanasi and Haridwar observe the Ganga aarti.  It is a ritual to pay respect to the river that is considered to be a lifeline in India – Ganga. The aarti at Rishikesh is a more quieter affair than the ones you would see in Varanasi and Haridwar.

The Ghat on Muni ki Reti side
You can walk on the ghats on the Muni Ki Reti side of Rishikesh. It’s quite a lovely walk!

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Complete trek guide

Last updated: January - 2020

 Complete trek guide