Gidara Bugyal: The Remotest but Prettiest of all our Meadow Treks
Gidara Bugyal is an ancient, pristine meadow that is known in the trekking circles. It is one of the largest high altitude meadows you will set foot on. It is larger than its twin Dayara Bugyal. Possibly larger than the twin meadows of Ali and Bedni Bugyal as well. It takes at least two days to traverse!
Even though it is known in the trekking circles, Gidara is extremely secluded. There are very few people that actually trek in these meadows. The only signs of civilisation you are likely to spot are the shepherds and their settlements around your first campsite, Rikoda. You may see a mountain dog or two. But you are likely to be the only group trekking and camping in these meadows!
Geographically, Gidara is about 15 km away from Dayara. It is also at a slightly higher elevation. Which means that the mountains you see from Dayara – Bandarpoonch, Gangotri I & III, Draupadi Ka Danda, Jaonli, Srikanth – look much closer and much grander from here. It is especially fascinating to see these mountain faces from a slightly different perspective.
Having said that, the Gidara Bugyal trek is a moderate one. It has treacherous paths, steep ascents and descents. You need to prepare well for this trek.
What to watch out for
The Ridge walk to Gidara Top
The ridge walk to the Gidara Top is easily one of the best highlights of this trek. If you are lucky and there are no clouds, the view from here is a spellbinding panorama. Right in front of you are the Gangotri ranges – Gangotri I, II, Jaonli, Draupadi Ka Danda. Srikanth stands prominently among them. On your left, you see the indomitable Bandarpoonch etched in the sky. The entire Gidara meadows, right to the very end, can be seen from this ridge!
The climb to Rikoda
While a lot can be said about the Gidara meadows themselves, the climb to Rikoda under the shade of the forest is quite pleasant. The flora on the trail is quite dense. And even though the trail is quite steep and hard on your legs, you can’t help but be awed by the dense foliage. You pass by a lovely waterfall as well as Gujjar settlements on this climb. It’s quite fascinating to get a peek into their lifestyle as you trek along.
The campsites of Dokrani and Thalotya
Gidara Bugyal is a trek blessed with unusual but striking campsites. Thalotya is a vision. It is set in a narrow valley, with a stream gently flowing through. The entire slope of Thalotya is lush, filled with lavender pink rhododendrons! Then there is Dokrani, a clearing sitting on the slope of a mountain with a view of the Gangotri massif right opposite. The sunset from Dokrani campsite is magical. The light plays with Gangotri massif and the valley the camp overlooks.
Gangnani Hot Springs
The Gangnani hot water springs are something you will pass by on the way to Bangeli. Devotees on the way to Gangotri usually make a stop here to refresh themselves. These hot springs are very clean and well maintained. It makes for a wonderful rejuvenation after your trek.
To read detailed trail information, head over to the long itinerary section.
Banner image by Akshay Aralikatti
Trekkers often ask us these questions about the Gidara Bugyal trek
These questions were answered by Latika Payak, Digital Content Manager at Indiahikes.
❖ Why don’t many people know about Gidara Bugyal?
While Gidara Bugyal is known in the trekking circuit, not many people know about the Gidara Bugyal trek outside trekking circles because this trek hasn’t been easily accessible. It’s tucked away in Uttarakhand and the basecamp, Bhangeli, is 1.5 kms away from the road.
If you are driving from Dehradun, drive towards Uttarkashi, this will take you about 4 hours. You can stop here for lunch. From here, drive towards Bhatwari, take the right towards Gangotri, and continue on the same route. Before you reach Gangnani bridge, there is a small inconsequential road that leads to the left. Take this turn towards the Gangnani hot springs. Continue on the road and you will reach a roadhead. This is the last point for vehicles.
Lack of information about from where this trek can be accessed made it one of the best kept secrets of the trekking world.
❖ Where is the Gidara Bugyal trek?
This trek is situated in the north of Uttarakhand, in the region of Uttarkashi. In fact, Gidara is the twin meadow of the famous Dayara Bugyal trek. But this trek has a much more expansive landscape. In fact, it is the largest high altitude meadow you will set foot on. Possibly larger than the twin meadows of Ali and Bedni Bugyal as well. It takes at least two days to traverse!
This is a secluded trek and you will find some signs of civilisation only near the first campsite Rikoda.
❖ What is the best time to trek to Gidara Bugyal?
June and September are great months to trek in Gidara Bugyal. In June, you will find patches of meadows buried under snow. And in September, when the snow has melted, autumn is setting in, the trek flaunts a vibrant golden-brown colour.
Temperature in June will be warmer than that in autumn. But autumn is known for brilliant blue skies that will offer great mountain views, especially of the Bandarpoonch range.
Day 1: Drive from Dehradun to Bhangeli (7,630 ft)
Pick up from Dehradun railway station at 6.30 am. Make sure you arrive in Dehradun at least 1 hour before the pickup time. The cab will drop trekkers at the Bhangeli roadhead. The last stretch of 1.5 kms to Bhangeli will have to be covered on foot.
Drive distance: 188 km
Drive duration: 7 hours
Trek distance: 1 km
Trek duration: 1 hour
Day 2: Trek from Bhangeli (7,630 ft) to Rikoda (10,958 ft)
Trek distance: 5.85 km
Trek duration: 6 hours
Day 3: Trek from Rikoda (10,958 ft) to Dokrani (12,310 ft)
Trek distance: 3.05 km
Trek duration: 4 hours
Day 4: Trek from Dokrani (12,310 ft) to Thalotya (12,238 ft) via Dokrani Bugyal (12,933 ft)
Trek distance: 2.10 km
Trek duration: 3 hours
Day 5: Trek from Thalotya (12,238 ft) to Thirya (10,755 ft) via Gidara Top (13,973 ft)
Trek distance: 9.8 km
Trek duration: 10-11 hours
Day 6: Trek from Thirya (10,755 ft) to Bhangeli (7,630 ft)
Trek distance: 6.8 km
Trek duration: 5 hours
Day 7: Trek from Bhangeli (7,630 ft) to Bhangeli road head, and drive to Dehradun
Trek distance: 1 km
Trek duration: 40 minutes
Drive distance: 188 km
Drive duration: 7 hours
You will reach Dehradun by 6.00 pm.
If you are travelling further from Dehradun, keep a couple of hours as buffer time in case of delay. Book your further travel from Dehradun post 8.00 pm.
It is mandatory for trekkers to carry a copy of their photo id for entry at forest check posts on the trek.
Here is a detailed itinerary for the Gidara Bugyal trek
Day 1: Dehradun to Bhangeli
- Drive distance: 188 km
- Duration: 7 hours drive
- Route: Google map link
- Trek distance: 1.1 km; 800 ft ↑ & 100 ft ↓
- Trek duration: 40 minutes
- GPS coordinates of Bhangeli: 30°55’2.07″N, 78°40’10.43″E
- Final altitude: 7,520 ft
The base camp for the Gidara Bugyal trek is Bhangeli, located 188 km from Dehradun.
From Dehradun, drive towards Uttarkashi, this will take you about 4 hours. You can stop here for lunch. From here, drive towards Bhatwari, take the right towards Gangotri, and continue on the same route. Before you reach Gangnani bridge, there is a small inconsequential road that leads to the left. Take this turn towards the Gangnani hot springs. Continue on the road and you will reach a roadhead. This is the last point for vehicles.
From here, you will have to cover the last 1.5 km stretch by foot, trekking through a mixed forest of deodar, oak and pine trees to reach Bhangeli village.
The trail is well laid out with stone steps. After trekking for 20 minutes, the trail will veer gradually towards the left, and you will soon spot two tall pine trees overlooking a valley on the right. You can spot the Bhagirathi river meandering through the valley.
From this point, on your left, you would be able to see the Bhangeli village- the destination for the day. It is a gradual 10 minute ascent to the village. You will reach by 4 pm.
Bhangeli is a small ancient Himalayan village with about 46 stone and wooden houses. Stay the night here.
Day 2: Bhangeli to Rikoda
- Altitude: 7,520 ft to 10,857 ft
- Trek distance: 5.2 km; 3375 ft ↑ & 588 ft ↓
- Trek duration: 6 hours
- GPS coordinates of Rikoda: 30°55’52.07″N, 78°38’8.87″E
From Bhangeli, ask for directions towards the village temple. The trail to the temple takes a left away from the village. Curious villagers would be peeping out from their homes, do smile and greet!Climb the inclined stone path until you reach the temple. Proceed to cross the temple,and take the path that goes towards the left.
You will pass by farming lands with crops like ‘Cholai’ – used during winter time. Right after your cross the farming lands, you enter the forest. The forest path is wide and a well defined dirt trail. You will find occasional rocks and stones defining the trail on turnings. Large oaks and maple trees form a canopy over you.
After a gradual ascending walk for about 1 and a half hour, you will come across a beautiful waterfall on your left. This is an ideal place to take a break. You can fill your water bottles up here. There are multiple places on this trail where you can fill water. Cross the bridge made of wooden logs to get to the trail on the other side.
The trail then climbs up steeply through a forest so dense that sun rays would hardly hit any surface. Observe the variety of trees around you: Oak, Bhojpatra, pine trees like Blue, Abies Pindrow and Bamboos as well.
Don’t forget to spot lichens on rock surface. They are forms of algae that grows when there is no sort of pollution.
After about 3 hours on this forested trail, the forest opens to a small Gujjar hamlet with about four stone and mud homes. Make a stop here and talk to them! It’s quite fascinating to get a peek into their lives: you see grazing animals that their livelihood depends on, the unusual architecture of their houses.
Before winter settles in, they dismantle the roof of the house and head to warmer regions for the season. They do this because the snowfall during winters is several feet high, which will in turn damage the roof.
The trail climbs out of these settlements gradually till you reach Munda Ka Thatch. There is a pond here from where you can see the forest’s reflection. From here, it’s a flat one hour walk to campsite in an open forest. The treeline clear up quite suddenly up to form Rikoda.
Rikoda is a beautiful meadow with the greater Himalayas as it’s backdrop. You will see the majestic Srikanth, Gangotri I, III as you camp for the night.
Day 3: Rikoda to Dokrani
- Altitude: 10,857 ft to 12,192 ft
- Trek distance: 3.2 km; 2040 ft ↑ & 550 ft ↓
- Trek duration: 4 hours
- GPS coordinates of Dokrani: 30°55’22.57″N, 78°36’38.62″E
The day begins with a gradual ascent through the forest for 15 minutes until you reach a point where the trail veers left. From here, you will be able to see the Thirya river in cutting through the mountain valley.
Start descending towards river. It’s a steep descent along the side of the mountain. This particular trail gets tough and slippery if there’s any snow during spring season. While descending towards the Thirya river, notice a wide open field on the opposite side – that’s Thirya campsite. It will be your campsite on the 5th day of your trek.
It will take about 45 minutes to an hour to reach the river. Once you are at the river, look slightly to your right, you will spot a man-made bridge made of logs. Use this to cross to the other side. Don’t forget to refill the water bottles here as this is the only water source on today’s trail.
After crossing the river, you will enter the Thirya campsite. Right in front of you is a trail that goes through the forest. Instead of this, take the path that goes left and start your climb towards the campsite of the day, Dokrani.
The climb begins as a steep ascent through bushes. Do turn around to enjoy the open view to Mt. Srikanth with Thirya field. The trail then goes through the forest of Oak, Bhojpatra. After 2 hours of ascent, you will cross the tree line and enter the exposed side of the mountains with high growing grass and seasonal flowers. It’s a gradual descent, followed by gradual ascent on this trail for 45 minutes till the Dokrani campsite.
Dokrani is a clearing sitting on the slope of the mountain. The Gangotri massif is right opposite to this campsite. Get some rest and enjoy one of the most beautiful sunsets you will ever see.
Day 4: Dokrani to Thalotya via Dokrani Bugyal
- Altitude: 12,192 ft to 12,116 ft via 12,870 ft
- Trek distance: 2.2 km; 2250 ft ↑ & 1820 ft ↓
- Trek duration: 3 hours
- GPS coordinates of Thalotya: 30°56’29.19″N, 78°36’29.01″E
This is the easiest day of the trek and serves as a nice acclimatisation day as well. Start ascending from Dokrani campsite to Dokrani Bugyal top. It is an hour long steep climb but well worth the slog. The feeling of accomplishment you get when you reach the top is unparalleled as you get a 360 degree view of your surroundings.
You see the Gangotri massif peaks – Srikant, Gangotri I, III, Jaonli and Draupadi Ka Danda on one side, the lush Dokrani meadows from where you climbed and then the patterned mountains on the other side of the valley. Since it is a short day, soak up the views by spending some time here.
From here, the trail continues on an undulated meadow for 40 minutes, passing through small pools and dandelion flowers. And then it’s a gradual descent for an hour until Thalotya. You get a glimpse of yore next day, the meadows of Gidara on this final 15 minute stretch of descent to Thalotya.
Thalotya is a vision in lavender pink – filled with rhododendrons! The campsite is right between a narrow valley along a river stream. To witness a magical sunset, go towards east of the river to see Neelkanth pop into view. Watch the sun light it on fire as it sinks in the sky.
Rest well, tomorrow is a long, strenuous day!
Day 5: Thalotya to Thirya via Gidara Top
- Altitude: 12,116 ft to 10, 672 ft via 13,900 ft
- Trek distance: 9.7 km; 1700 ft ↑ & 2600 ft ↓
- Trek duration: 10-11 hours
- GPS coordinates of Thirya: 30°55’51.43″N, 78°37’45.76″E
Today is going to be long day so start early – preferably before dawn. Cross the stream right near Thalotya by hopping over stone. After the stream, ascend for 30 minutes to come out of the narrow valley and into the vast meadows of Gidara. The dawn will light up the meadow and the peaks around, a moment for you to remember.
There is a gradual ascent on the meadows for next 30-40 minutes until you come across a small ridge. From here, you can see the scale of mighty Gidara Bugyal. It’s looks never-ending!
From here, the trail gradually descends towards western side. After 45 minutes, you would reach a stream. refill your water bottles here and cross it. Trek for an another hour over flat meadow towards the west side of Gidara end.
Start ascending from the opposite side of the Gidara end for 40 minutes to reach the mountain ridge. It’s a steep climb, but the ridge walk after may be one of the most unique experiences you would have on a trek. It is easily one of the highlights of this trek.
If you are lucky and there are no clouds, the view from here is a spellbinding panorama. Right in front of you are the Gangotri ranges – Gangotri I, II, Jaonli, and Draupadi Ka Danda. Srikanth also stands prominently among them. On your left, you see the indomitable Bandarpoonch etched in the sky. At the mountain’s foot, you will see Bhimtal. The entire Gidara meadow, right to the very end, can be seen from this ridge!
During the post monsoon season, you may even spot Brahmakamal growing on this ridge or around the summit.
On your right, in the distance, you can estimate where Bakaria Top of Dayara Bugyal is. Behind you is Sangam Chatti, Uttarkashi. Sangam Chatti is where our Bali Pass trekkers end their trek.
Once you are at Gidara Top, spend some time soaking in the views. The ridge walk experience just doesn’t end here – you descend down for 1-1.5 hours from the other side of the Gidara top and enter the Dokrani Bugyal. You walk on this undulating meadow for 45-60 minutes till you enter the treeline.
From here, bypass the day 4 trail and take the short trail used by shepherds. Set your expectation low for this narrow trail. It is a steep descent through the dense forest and bushes for next two hours till the Thirya campsite. After a roller coaster ride in the forest, the view opens up completely when you reach Thirya.
Thirya is a place that is tailor-made for camping. It is a clearing nestled between a forest, with wildflowers sprouting across it. It is fed by two water streams, that fill the silence with a persistent sound of rushing water. What a dream it is to camp here!
And after a steep climb and descent devoid of water points, it is a relief to get to a point where you can refill water again.
Day 6: Thirya to Bhangeli
- Altitude: 10,672 ft to 7,520 ft
- Trek distance: 6.6 km; 935 ft ↑ & 3508 ft ↓
- Trek duration: 5 hours
- GPS coordinates of Bhangeli: 30°55’2.07″N, 78°40’10.43″E
From Thirya, you cross over the river and start ascending on a forested trail towards Rikoda. After about an hour of ascent, the trail levels out. In about 15 to 20 minutes more, you gradually descend to your very first campsite, Rikoda. Pass through the clearing of Rikoda and enter the forest again. You are retracing the same route you trekked on your first day with all of it’s drama: the beautiful waterfalls and Gujjar hamlets.
Day 7: Bhangeli to Dehradun
- Trek distance: 1.1 km
- Trek duration: 40 minutes
- Drive distance: 188 km
- Drive duration: 7 hours
- Route: Google maps link
On the last day, you will head back to the Bhangeli roadhead via the forest trail you ascended on day 1. The descent is easy, so take your time and enjoy this untouched forest trail for the last time. From the roadhead, you will drive back to Dehradun. On the way, you can stop at the Gangnani hot springs for a much deserved rejuvenating dip.
You will reach Dehradun by 6.00 pm.
If you are travelling further from Dehradun, keep a couple of hours as buffer time in case of delay. Book your further travel from Dehradun post 8.00 pm.
Plan Your Travel for the Gidara Bugyal trek
It is great to see you going on the Gidara Bugyal Trek, a grand buffet of our greatest treks. While it is a great trek to do, you need to get your travel plan worked out perfectly.
Here is a step-by-step guide on what to do next. Use this guide and nothing else to plan your travel.
- A quick view of your travel plan (Skip to section)
- Planning your onward air/train booking (Skip to section)
- Planning your return air/train booking (Skip to section)
- Planning your hotel booking (Skip to section)
- How to reach Bhangeli on your own (Skip to section)
1. Here’s a quick view on how to plan your travel
Day 0: Book your air ticket to Delhi or Dehradun. If Dehradun, stay overnight nearby the pickup point. If Delhi, book night train/bus to Dehradun. Click here for more explanation.
Day 1: Dehradun to Bhangeli drive. It is an 7-8 hour drive from Dehradun. Bhangeli is the basecamp for your trek. The cab will drop you at the Bhangeli roadhead. The last stretch of 1.5 kms (1 hour) to Bhangeli will have to be covered on foot.
We organise transport to Bhangeli from Hotel Grand Legacy. Our vehicles leave at 6:30 am sharp. It costs Rs 5,500 per vehicle (shared between 5-6 trekkers).
Day 2: Trek Bhangeli (7,647 ft) to Rikoda (10,510 ft); 5 hours
Day 3: Trek Rikoda (10,510 ft) to Dokrani (12,052 ft); 4-5 hours
Day 4: Trek Dokrani (12,052 ft) to Thalotya (12,406 ft) via Gidara Bugyal (12,608 ft); 7-8 hours
Day 5: Trek Thalotya (12,406 ft) to Tirya (11,103 ft) via Gidara Top (13,802 ft); 7-8 hours
Day 6: Trek Tirya (11,103 ft) to Bhangeli (7,647 ft); 6 hours
Day 7: Bhangeli (7,647 ft) to Bhangeli Road Head and Drive to Dehradun (2,132 ft); 1 hour trek & 7 hour drive.
Day 8: Book return train ticket to Delhi from Dehradun (Nanda Devi or Mussoorie express). Or book direct air ticket from Dehradun. Do not book plane tickets to your hometown from Delhi on Day 7. Click here for more explanation.
Tip: You can take a night train/bus from Dehradun to Delhi on Day 7 and reach Delhi early morning.
Note: On your return from the trek the final stop of the vehicle is at the Hotel Grand Legacy. You reach Dehradun between 6.00 and 7.00 pm. It costs Rs 5,500 per vehicle on the way back.
2. Planning your onward flight/train booking
If you are travelling from Bengaluru, Chennai, Pune, Mumbai or any other city, book your air tickets either for Day Minus One, which is the day before Day 1 on the itinerary or book a flight/train as such where you will reach half an hour before the pick up time.
There are two options for your flight booking.
Fly directly to Dehradun.
We recommend this. Most metros are directly connected to Dehradun. You should ideally reach by evening around 5-6 pm so that you get an added rest day at Dehradun. However, if the cost of the flight ticket to Dehradun is too high, book to Delhi and connect to Dehradun by train/bus.
The Dehradun airport is somewhat inconvenient when it comes to city connectivity (either to Rishikesh or Dehradun). Airport buses that ply between Rishikesh to Dehradun via airport run every hour. In our experience, the hour can stretch to even 1½ hours.
Taxis are available from the airport (plenty). Prepaid taxis are available (look for the pre-paid taxi counter just out of the conveyor belt at the arrivals). You can also flag down a taxi (bargain a bit) with taxis outside the airport. Airport taxis are exorbitant. They usually charge between Rs 800 to Rs 1,000 to Dehradun.
Usually most passengers take taxis from the airport. Try to hook up with co-passengers on the flight for your taxi ride to Dehradun.
| Pro Tip: If you want to save real money walk 1.5 km to get to the Dehradun-Rishikesh national highway just outside the airport terminal complex. Take a private/Uttrakhand Vikas Mandal Nigam bus till ISBT Dehradun which will charge you 40 rs. From ISBT Dehradun take a shared auto (shared autos are called Vikrams) till Dehradun Railway Station. Shared autos charge about 10 rs.
Flying to Delhi. Flying to Delhi may be a lot cheaper than getting to Dehradun. Make sure to book a flight that reaches Delhi by 8.00 pm. You must arrive in Delhi on Day Zero and not on Day 1.
| Note: If you notice the difference in air ticket prices between Delhi and Dehradun less than Rs 1000 then book directly to Dehradun. The rest and shorter travel time is worth the difference.
Next, book yourself in the Nanda Devi Express to Dehradun (Train No: 12401). It is a fully AC train that leaves at 23.45 hrs from Hazrat Nizamuddin and gets to Dehradun at 5.40 am in the morning.
| Note: Earlier the Nanda Devi express would depart from New Delhi railway station. From 26 Aug 2019, it leaves from Hazrat Nizamuddin railway station. The train now comes from Kota. So expect about 15 to 30 mins delay in arrival. The train number has changed too from 12206 to 12401.
For Metro train connectivity from Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi, take a metro to Dhaula Kuan metro station. Get off and walk down to Durgabai Deshmukh South Campus metro station (there are convenient travelater belts over a skywalk). Take a metro to Hazrat Nizamuddin metro station over the pink line. It takes about 45 mins to an hour to get to Hazrat Nizamuddin over metro.
At Dehradun, wait for Indiahikes pickup at 6.30 am. Contact your driver by 6.00 am. The number of your transport coordinator will be shared with you a week prior to your departure.
| Caution: Do not book on any other train except the Nanda Devi Express. The other option, Mussoorie express, is notorious for its delay. Your pickup vehicle may leave without you. If you do not get tickets on the Nanda Devi Express, take a bus from Delhi to Dehradun, but do not book on the Mussoorie express.
| Pro Tip: Take the afternoon Jan Shatabdi express from New Delhi railway station (leaves at 15.20 pm) to arrive at Haridwar by 9.10 pm. Stay overnight at Dehradun. Take the Indiahikes pickup the next morning directly from Dehradun Railway Station.
If in case you do not get a train ticket, there are regular Volvo AC buses from Delhi’s ISBT Kashmiri Gate to Dehradun. You also get Non-AC buses. Buses are frequent and not usually crowded. You can get a bus almost every half hour. Buses take 7-8 hours to get to Dehradun from Delhi. AC bus tickets cost about Rs 700.
3. Planning your return flight/train booking
Booking your return tickets require some thought. If your trek ends on day 7, you can book your flight/train tickets for day 7 from Dehradun. Make sure to make bookings post 8:00 – 9:00 pm.
To reach Dehradun airport, you can either take a shared taxi or bus from Rispana Pul till 7:30 PM. Take a Vikram (shared auto) from your drop location till Rispana Pul for 10rs. Reach Rispana Pul and catch a bus/shared taxi from there. The airport is 25kms from there so it will take around 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Next, if your onward flight departs from Delhi, then book flight tickets on Day 8.
Sometimes trekkers worry if they can book an early morning flight out of Delhi on Day 8. Yes, you can. But book flights that depart only after 8 am. Do not book any flight between 6.00 and 8 am. You may not reach Delhi in time.
How to get to Delhi on time for an early morning flight.
If your flight is early, say between 8.00 and 9.00 am, then there are two options.
Train: Take the Nanda Devi Express from Dehradun (12402) that leaves Dehradun at 10:50 pm to get to Hazrat Nizamuddin Railway Station at 4.35 in the morning. From Hazrat Nizamuddin you get airport buses from outside the station as well as taxis. For Metro train walk down to the Hazrat Nizamuddin metro station, take a metro to Durgabai Deshmukh South Campus, get off and connect to Dhaula Kuan Airport line metro station (there are convenient travelater belts over a skywalk). From Dhaula Kuan you get metro train to the airport.
| Note: Earlier Nanda Devi express would arrive at New Delhi railway station. From 26 August 2019, it has been extended up to Kota. It no longer goes to New Delhi railway station. Instead it goes to Hazrat Nizamuddin railway station. The train number has changed from 12206 to 12402.
Bus: The other option is to take a bus from Dehradun. It is about 5½ – 6 hrs journey to Delhi. So if you take a bus that leaves around 9.00 pm, then expect to reach Delhi at around 3.00 am (ISBT Kashmiri Gate). A bus that leaves at 10 pm will reach Delhi around 4.00 am. AC Volvo buses are the fastest, so opt for them. Non AC buses can take up to 7-8 hrs for the journey.
From Kashmiri Gate ISBT you get Airport buses or taxis.
| Note: Metro trains in Delhi do not start before 5.00 am.
If you are taking a flight out of Dehradun
If you are taking a flight out of Dehradun then book yourself on Day 8. Most metros are now well connected by Dehradun by flight.
4. Planning your hotel/stay
Hotel options at Dehradun
Hotel Drona, which is a government property owned by the GMVN is decent. It is old, but a large and spacious property. It is about 1.5 kms from Dehradun railway station. Rooms start at Rs 750.
| Latest Update: Hotel Drona has been converted into a Covid Centre
MyRoom252 is a new backpackers facility in Dehradun. Modern, colourful and clean. Bunk beds start at Rs 300. Rooms are available too. It is not too far from the Dehradun Railway station. Shared autos (which are called Vikrams) can get you there. For online booking: http://www.myroom252.com/. Phone: 086308 81083. Location: https://goo.gl/maps/p5xkbMyUF4X5VHwx9
Nomads House is another new backpackers hostel in Dehradun. The atmosphere is good. The place neat and clean. Indiahikes trek leaders love Nomads House. It is about 10 mins from the Dehradun railway station. Bunk beds start at Rs 400, rooms start at Rs 800. Shared autos are easily available to get to Nomads House. Phone: 9760596464 Location: https://g.page/NomadsHouse?share
5. What if you miss the Indiahikes pickup? How to get to Janglik on your own.
If you miss the Indiahikes pick up from Dehradun. Here is how you can get to Bhangeli base camp on your own.
If you are at Dehradun, take a bus to Uttarkashi as quickly as you can. A bus generally leaves from Dehradun Railway Station to Uttarkashi at 8:00 am. It charges about 250 rs.
There are shared taxis available near Indiranagar Market (Till 10:00 am) or Rispana Pool (From 11:00 am – 12:00 pm) till Uttarkashi . They charge 350 rs. You can reach Indiranagar Market/Rispana Pool using a shared auto (Vikram).
From Uttarkashi you will find shared taxis for Bhatwadi from the taxi stand which is at a walkable distance if you get down at the bus stand. Bhatwadi is 31.7 km from here. It takes 1 to 1.5 hours to reach there. The taxi will charge 70 rs. These shared taxis are available only till 4:00 pm.
From Bhatwadi take any shared taxi which is going to Gangotri. Get down at Gangnani. From Bhatwadi Gangnani is 15-16kms away. It takes about 30-40 Rs.
Once you reach Gangnani, Bhangeli is at a walking distance of 3-4 km. You can either walk till the Bhangeli Road or you can take a lift in any of the villagers’ taxi going till Bhangeli.
| Tip: While this bus hopping may sound cumbersome, we do it regularly at Indiahikes. They are fun and a good way to know the real Uttarakhand. You also get to meet very interesting local people. So while no one wants to miss a pick-up, don’t be too disheartened if it happens. You may just experience one of your best travel moments!
How to train for the Gidara Bugyal trek
Cardiovascular endurance – Target 10 km in 70 minutes
On the Gidara Bugyal trek, you are trekking an average of 8 km each day. To prepare your body, begin by jogging everyday. Ideally, you should be able to jog 10 km in 70 minutes. It takes time to cover this distance in a given time- so start slow, and increase your pace everyday. Swimming, cycling and stair climbing without too many breaks in between can help too.
Strength – Target 4 sets of squats with 20 in each set
This is an important area you need to work on. At the end of this trek, you would have completed a 40 km in 5 trekking days. For a trek like this, you must strengthen your core muscles. For strengthening your core muscles, holding a plank and it’s variations (elbow, side planks) are the best exercises to go about doing it.
Flexibility determines the amount of movement your bones can make in any direction around joints such as shoulders, elbows, hips and knees. It is an aspect that will help you trek comfortably. Stretching your hamstrings, quadriceps, hip flexors and lower back muscles regularly, promotes relaxation in the tissues reducing the strain on your back. On your trek, it is important that you arrive on the slopes with your muscles relaxed. Carrying a backpack, however light, for a 40 km trek, can become a strain. These exercises will help you to be in good shape before the trek.
Here’s a guide to help you get fit for the trek in 4 weeks.
Things to get for the Gidara Bugyal Trek
Gidara Bugyal is a high altitude trek in the Himalayas. No matter the season, the temperatures drop to very low numbers. You’ll need enough warm layers and accessories to keep you warm and help you trek comfortably. So pay careful attention to this entire section.
- A list of everything you need for the trek (Skip to section)
- Useful videos to help you with your gear (Skip to section)
- A list of medicines for your trek (Skip to section)
- A list of mandatory documents (Skip to section)
First, The Most Essentials. You cannot do the trek without these.
1. Trekking Shoes
Gidara bugyal 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.
| Rental: We have the Trek series and the MH series by Decathlon available on rent from the Indiahikes store. They are already broken into and in good condition. Rental shoes are not dirty or unhygienic. This is how they are kept clean. Rent here.
For a trek like Gidara Bugyal, 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.
| Rental: The 48 litre backpack by Adventure Worx is available on rent from the Indiahikes store. They are custom-made for our Himalayan treks. Rent them if you don’t have a backpack. Rent here.
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.
3 insulation layers
The Gidara Bugyal trek is usually done in summer and post-monsoon. If you’re going in these seasons, you will need at least 3 warm layers.
You will need 1 light fleece layer, 1 light sweater and 1 padded jacket. Do not get your grandma stitched sweaters, which can be very heavy. You need sweaters and fleece jackets that can fold into compact rolls.
For your outer later, a padded jacket serves the purpose here. You don’t really need a water resistant material. But you need an outer padded jacket that keeps the wind and cold out. Ensure your padded jacket has a hood as well.
| Do you need a down jacket? Not really. A regular padded/shell jacket will do. This video here will help you to learn more about the difference.
| Note: Down jackets are really not available these days. Many jackets masquerade as down/feather jackets. They are essentially fine polyester-filled jackets. They mimic the function of a down jacket but are usually expensive.
| Rental: Padded jackets made by Fort Collins are available on rent at the Indiahikes store. They are custom made for Indiahikes and trekkers find them terrific, even in winter. Rent here.
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.
Mandatory Accessories, without these too you won’t be able to do the trek.
These accessories are mandatory. Don’t go to Gidara Bugyal without them. Trekkers generally put off purchasing / borrowing the accessories for the last minute. We suggest the opposite. Start gathering these accessories first.
Sunglasses are to prevent snow blindness. On a high altitude trek Gidara Bugyal, expect to walk on a few stretches of snow. 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.
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 Gidara Bugyal you may be handling snow quite a bit. 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. Hand gloves are mandatory on this trek.
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.
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. On the Gidara Bugyal trek you’ll need your hands free to wash dishes, pitch tents and hold your trek poles.
| 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 Gidara Bugyal trek there are steep ascents, descents and ridge walks. 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.
| Rental: Imported side-locking trekking poles are available on rent on the Indiahikes store. Rent here.
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.
| Rental: High grade ponchos are available on rent on the Indiahikes store. Rent here.
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)
Some trekkers opt to offload their bags to a mule on the Gidara Bugyal trek. While we do not encourage this practice, in case you opt for offloading, then carrying a daypack is mandatory. In your daypack you carry essentials like water bottles, rainwear, emergency medicines, headlamp, some snacks and a warm layer. 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 a trek like Gidara Bugyal.
| 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. There will be toilet tents where you can get changed. 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.
Carry a lunch box, a mug and a spoon. Your lunch box must be leak proof. You are expected to wash your own cutlery. Trekkers often expect Indiahikes to wash their cutlery. When you allow Indiahikes to wash your cutlery, your cutlery becomes part of a mass washing system. You immediately invite germs, bacteria to settle on your cutlery. Incidence of stomach disorders rises exponentially.
| 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: Gidara Bugyal 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.
| Rental: You could rent lightweight thermos flasks from the Indiahikes store. Rent here.
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:
- What to take on your trek
- How to pack your backpack
- How to choose your trekking shoes
- Trekking shoes vs sports shoes. How are they different?
- How to layer up on a Himalayan trek
- Why you need a trekking pole
- How to manage sanitary waste on a trek
Personal medical kit
Carry these medicines with you, easily accessible at all times. Do not take any medicine unless you have consulted your trek leader.
- Diamox (1 Strip): Be on a course of a half tablet Diamox starting from Delhi every 12 hours (125 mg). Carry on the medication until you descend down to Yamunotri. Being on a preventive course of Diamox greatly reduces the chances of Acute Mountain Sickness on the Gidara Bugyal trek.
- Dolo 650 (5 tablets): This is a paracetamol. It helps to tackle fever, mild pain
- Avomine (4 tablets): Carry this especially if you are prone to motion sickness. Pop one half hour before the start of your road journey.
- 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.
- Digene (4 tablets): Take it if you feel the food that you’ve taken is undigested. Alert your trek leader immediately. It could be a sign of AMS.
- 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.
- Knee Brace (optional): Carry this if you are prone to knee injury or have known issues of knee pain.
Our trek leaders carry a high altitude medical kit with them which also consist of Life Saving Drugs. If there is an emergency our trek leaders know how to tackle it. Meanwhile, contact your trek leader before consuming any of these medicines listed here.
| Pro tip: We find that these medicines by trekkers are rarely used. But you cannot do away with them. At the end of the trek please donate unused medicines to your trek leader. Some of these medicines get distributed to villages on the trek and some are added to the Indiahikes medical kit.
Mandatory Documents to carry
These are documents required for legal purposes by Indiahikes and the forest department. Without any of these, you will not be allowed to trek.
- Original and photocopy of government photo identity card. Anything such as a driver’s license, Aadhar card, passport will do. This is required by the forest department for your identification.
- Disclaimer certificate. This is a legal requirement. Download the PDF, read carefully and sign it. This must be handed over to your Trek Leader during registration at the base camp – Download PDF
- Medical certificate. There are two sections in this. The first part must be filled by a practising doctor. The second part must be filled by you. Without the medical certificate the forest department will not issue permissions for your trek. It is also a requirement by Indiahikes – Download PDF
| Pro tip: Keep important documents in a clear plastic cover and slide them into the inner pocket at the back of your backpack. This keeps them from getting wet.
How safe is the Gidara Bugyal trek?
The Gidara Bugyal trek is a moderate one. Almost all days involve steep ascents or descents. There’s usually excessive snow pre-monsoon, and the ridge is narrow. There are slim chances of being hit by Acute Mountain Sickness though the trail is designed such that your body has enough time to acclimatise to the surroundings.
If you have registered for this trek, then here is some information that you must know in order to have a safe 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 an eligibility criteria for the Gidara Bugyal trek. Anyone who wants to register for the Gidara Bugyal trek has to meet the fitness requirements. We ask you for proof of your fitness and guide you to get fit enough for the trek.
2. Monitoring health on a trek
On the Gidara Bugyal 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 Gidara Bugyal trek
Acute Mountain Sickness:
On the Gidara Bugyal trek, the trail is designed such that your body has enough time to acclimatise to the surroundings. So probabilities of Acute Mountain Sickness are low, however, it is imperative that you take necessary precautions.
At any campsite, inform your trek leader about your condition immediately if you identify any symptom of AMS. If the symptoms don’t alleviate it is best to head down to a lower campsite.
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.
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 this video to understand the symptoms of Acute Mountain Sickness. In the video, Arjun Majumdar, the founder of Indiahikes will also tell you the protocol to follow when you see someone showing symptoms of AMS.
Exit points on the Gidar Bugyal trek
The closest exit on this trek is at the base camp, Bhangeli, where there is a road head. Evacuation can take time, even 1-2 days, especially from high camps. Medical expenses, if required, at the medical centre are to be borne by the participant.
The closest hospital from Bhangeli is in Uttarkashi, that is, District hospital.
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 this video 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.
[youtube_video id=”hhlathGVtxg” thumb=”https://indiahikes.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/What-are-HAPE-and-HACE-trek.jpg”
We cannot stress enough on how important it is for you to communicate any symptom to your Trek Leader. Only then your trek leader will be able to take steps at the right time.
Acute Mountain Sickness — Good reads
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.
Your trek fee includes:
- Accommodation – Stay from Day 1 to Day 6 (Bhangeli to Bhangeli). Bhangeli is a campsite. You will camp on the trek as well.
- Meals – All meals from dinner at Bhangeli on Day 1 to breakfast on Day 7 are included. We provide simple, nutritious vegetarian food on all days of the trek.
- Camping charges – All trekking permits and forest camping charges are included.
- Trekking equipment – High quality tents, sleeping bags, ice axes, roped, micro spikes, gaiters etc. as required.
- Safety equipment – First aid, medical kit, oxygen cylinders, stretchers etc. will be available at all campsites to deal with emergencies.
Your trek fee does not include:
- Transport to and from the base camp – We arrange shared taxis for trekkers from Hotel Grand Legacy, Dehradun to Bhangeli and drop you back to Dehradun. This will cost approx. Rs. 5,500 one way per 5-6 seater vehicle. You will have to share this cost with the other trekkers
- Food during transit to and from the base camp
- Backpack offloading charges – Rs 1,250 for the full trek + 5% GST. The backpack cannot weigh more than 9 kgs. 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 Raithal.
- Anything apart from inclusions
The Gidara Bugyal trek is a moderate grade trek. You start at an altitude of 7,647 feet and reach an altitude of 13,802 feet in 4 days. Ideally, you should be only gaining 1,000 ft a day. However, the Indian Himalayas climb very quickly. This is called a forced ascent.
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. 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 5 km in 40 minutes. This is a minimum requirement.
If you prefer cycling over running, then try to cover 22kms 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.
In order to be prepared for a high altitude trek, you should have a combination of distance and speed targets.
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 the trek fee for repeating a trek.
Note – The Repeat Trekker Policy holds good only for Indian Treks.
We have a strong Green Trails policy at Indiahikes. We do not allow any disposables on the trek, except for toilet rolls (No wet wipes.) Every trekker will be issued an Eco Bag to bring back his / her own litter and dispose of it safely at the end of the trek. All trekkers will follow trail and camp etiquette as instructed by the Trek Leader.
Indiahikes reserves the right to terminate your trek if you're found flouting the rules set by the organisation.
Indiahikes will arrange transport from the pick-up point, that is Hotel Grand Legacy, dehradun on Day 1 of the trek. All trekkers must are at Hotel Grand Legacy before 6:30 AM. Transport charge to the base camp is Rs.5,500 per SUV. This will be split among all the trekkers. The total distance covered is 188 km and will take 6-7 hours.
No Smoking and Drinking
Smoking and drinking are strictly prohibited on any Indiahikes trek. These are deterrent to your health at high altitude. Anyone found smoking or drinking while on the trek (right from Dehradun) will be asked to end their trek and turn around to the base camp.
I am a first time trekker. Will I be able to do the Gidara Bugyal trek?
The Gidara Bugyal is considered a moderate trek. You start from the basecamp Bhangeli which is at an altitude of 7,520 ft feet and reach an altitude of 13,900 ft feet in a matter of 3 days. On the fourth day, you will be trekking for almost 7 hours. This makes the trek a moderate one. It is a good trek for fit first-timers.
You will need at least 4 weeks of solid preparation for this trek. You can begin preparation by going for brisk walks and then do brisk jogs to improve your cardio. Your target should be to cover 5 km in 35 minutes comfortably by the start the trek.
Will I be able to get mobile connectivity on the trek? Are there any electricity charging points on this trek?
You'll get very sketchy network on the trek, if at all. There are no charging points as well on the trek.
Bhangeli is the last point where you'll get mobile network coverage for most operators, that is, BSNL, Jio, Vodafone & Airtel.
Can I bring luggage I do not require on the trek and leave them somewhere before the trek begins?
Yes, we have an option of leaving behind extra luggage you do not need on the trek, at Bhangeli. Ensure you leave no valuables (laptops, cash, electronics) in this luggage. There is no extra charge for leaving this luggage at the base camp, and you do not have to pre-book it anywhere.
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 1250 + 5% GST if you inform us in advance. If you decide to offload once you reach Bhangeli, the amount will be Rs 350 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.
What are the toilets/washroom facilities like on the trek?
Toilet tents will be set up along each campsite. 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. There will be a room freshener as well. It’s the most hygienic and convenient way to answer nature’s call in the wild. Please use plain toilet paper and do not use wet wipes since these are not bio-degradable.
What equipment can I rent from you?
We provide the following gear for rent - backpack, trekking shoes, trekking poles and padded jackets. You can book your gear through your profile on the Indiahikes dashboard.
Here is what trekkers have to say about their experience at Gidara Bugyal
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