Har Ki Dun

A 500 Year Old Culture Trek

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TREK DURATION

7 days

HIGHEST ALTITUDE

11,600 ft

A 500 Year Old Culture Trek

Har Ki Dun is a trek that needs no introduction. Trekkers have always trod upon these trails to witness the beautiful Swargarohini massif from Har Ki Dun. 

Yet we wanted to veer slightly off the beaten path. We wanted to show trekkers a side of the Har-Ki-Dun trek they rarely see. So we chose a route different from the regular trail, which includes terrific scenic beauty on the new route while retaining the ancient charm of the old route, at the heart of which still lies a journey towards the beautiful Swargarohini peaks. 

Allow us to take you through the new route, where some sections are among the best-kept secrets of this region.  

Take, for example, the enchanting woods of Boslow. The new route through Boslo winds through dense conifers and oaks in the shadow of the mountains before emerging into daylight. Snow patches glide into the forest from high above, sometimes cutting through the forest floor (though you must be early in the season to see this). It is a sight to behold.

Another hidden area is just after the Boslow Forest; we cross the Ruinsara Gad and climb to the Devsu Thatch. Little is written about Devsu Thatch in the trekking world, yet it is among the most beautiful trek scenes. We’d go as far as to say that if you trek to Har Ki Dun but miss Devsu Thatch, the trek is incomplete. 

Devsu Thatch is a large clearing high above the Thamsa River. It is so large that it is technically a meadow in the middle of the forest. Beautifully landscaped grassy mounds, like islands within dense forests, create a mesmerising multi-tiered effect. You can walk barefoot, feeling the soft, moist grass under your feet as you explore Devsu Thatch. It is so beautifully landscaped that we had to include a day’s camping here just to take it all in.

As you trek on this new route, you still weave in and out of the old Har Ki Dun route, trekking through ancient villages. 

These villages never fail to charm trekkers. The houses, all wooden, have unique designs. The temples' culture, deities, and rituals are from a civilisation we do not know. The temples are the heart of the villages, the focal point around which daily life revolves. Villagers wear traditional attire and headgear. It’s as if time has stood still. 

Peering into their homes, we see a lifestyle worth learning from. A sense of harmony exudes from their lives, where humans, animals, and the natural world coexist in beautiful harmony. 

The fact that we witness this firsthand is a big reason to do the trek. But because this is among the biggest takeaways for trekkers, we have included two days of village stays—at Gangaad and Datmir. In between, we also pass through the last village, Osla, where traditions are the richest. 

We could go on talking about the Har Ki Dun trek -- the delight of constantly trekking beside the Thamsa river, the allure of the Swargarohini peaks in the distance, and the amphitheatre-like views of the valley. But we could write several scrolls about this and not be done. It's best experienced firsthand. 

Har Ki Dun is a trek that needs no introduction. Trekkers have always trod upon these trails to witness the beautiful Swargarohini massif from Har Ki Dun. 

Yet we wanted to veer slightly off the beaten path. We wanted to show trekkers a side of the Har-Ki-Dun trek they rarely see. So we chose a route different from the regular trail, which includes terrific scenic beauty on the new route while retaining the ancient charm of the old route, at the heart of which still lies a journey towards the beautiful Swargarohini peaks. 

Har ki Dun Trek Videos

Har Ki Dun - Complete Trek Information

We have always wanted trekkers to be well-informed before they go on a Himalayan trek. Knowledge is the difference between a safe trek and a dangerous one. It’s also the difference between a wholesome experience and a superficial experience.

Use this section to learn about the Har Ki Dun trek. It has in-depth information about each day of the trek, what to expect, and how you need to prepare for it. Many years of expertise have gone into this content. Trekkers find that extremely useful.

The day-wise section of Har Ki Dun has been documented in detail by our trekker Shakti Nirmal.

5 Reasons Why Indiahikes

We are India’s safest trekking organisation

When we brought out new trails in Indian trekking, safety came with us. Back in 2012, we were the first to introduce microspikes, and two years later, pulse oximeters became standard thanks to us. Nobody does safe treks like Indiahikes. In the mountains, emergencies don't care who you're with – everyone knows that when trouble hits, you look for the yellow tents of Indiahikes.

We are pioneers of treks in India

We are pioneers in trekking. Since 2007, we have brought out treks that have become India's most famous treks: Roopkund, Rupin Pass, Buran Ghati, Kedarkantha, Kashmir Great Lakes, Tarsar Marsar, Brahmatal, Phulara Ridge—the list goes on. In 2023 alone, we brought out five new treks in Indian trekking. We know treks better than anyone. This comes directly from the reason why Indiahikes was born: to bring out trek information and enable trekkers to trek on their own.

We are India’s largest trekking organisation

More than 25,000 people trek with us every year. We are the largest trekking organisation in India. 24% of our trekkers come back to trek with us every year. Over 4,000 students from the top educational institutions trek with us every year. Aside from this, families with children choose to trek with Indiahikes knowing that our treks are the safest. We have taken over 8000 children trekking so far, and the number continues to grow.

Our treks are transformative

We focus on designing transformative experiences. Our trek leaders conduct thought-provoking exercises that help you reflect and contemplate. This impact stays with you for a long time. Trekkers return feeling energised, more confident, or developing abilities to deal with difficulties. Many have changed careers, rethought their core values, become more humble, shown gratitude to others, or started a new fitness journey.

We are India's most sustainable trekking organisation

Since 2012, we have pioneered sustainable practices that have become standard in trekking. Using eco-bags, our trekkers have cleared over 120 tonnes of litter from the mountains. We do not carry packaged foods; instead, we serve freshly made food. We do not light campfires; we carry coal to light angethis to keep you warm. Our bio-toilets not only keep our toilets odour-free but also enrich the soil. When you trek with us, you leave mountains better.

Indiahikes Features

You’re guarded with our trek again philosophy

If you are unable to complete a trek, or if you love a trek, you can repeat it with us anytime. You don’t have to pay us for it. See our thoughts behind this here.

Daily 3-time health checks keep you safe at any altitude

Our thrice-a-day oxi-metre checks keep altitude sickness at bay, never allowing you to reach a point where you need evacuation.

Join any group, they are all women-friendly groups 

With around 30% of our trekkers being women, all women, including those travelling solo are comfortable to join any of our groups.

Request Jain/Vegan-friendly food

Our kitchen teams understand your needs as a vegan (or a Jain). We will take special care of your food, even in the remote Himalayas. 

Be comfortable and sustainable with bio toilets

We have specially designed bio toilets to ensure you have no sight or smell in toilets, at the same time making sure the toilets cause no harm to the fragile ecosystem we trek in.

Fresh, nutritious food at every camp

We’ll admit it. Our love for food surpasses our love for minimalism. Expect freshly cooked, multi-cuisine food at all camps, designed to meet your nutritional requirements and keep your taste buds happy!

Expert Speak

Sandhya UC, Co-Founder, COO

Sandhya UC, Co-Founder, COO

Sandhya is a founding partner at Indiahikes. Over the past ten years, she has explored and put on the map a few of the greatest Himalayan treks in India, including Kashmir Great Lakes and Kedarkantha. She is a TedX Speaker and has been awarded the "Women of Worth" Award by Outlook Business in 2017. She believes in sustainable living just as she believes in sustainable trekking.

Here’s Sandhya talking about one of the top treks in our country.

What I Like About the Har Ki Dun Trek

Sandhya UC, Co-Founder, COO

Sandhya is a founding partner at Indiahikes. Over the past ten years, she has explored and put on the map a few of the greatest Himalayan treks in India, including Kashmir Great Lakes and Kedarkantha. She is a TedX Speaker and has been awarded the "Women of Worth" Award by Outlook Business in 2017. She believes in sustainable living just as she believes in sustainable trekking. Here’s Sandhya talking about one of the top treks in our country.

1. The trek from Taluka to Gangaad

This is one of the most underrated sections of the trek. In less than five minutes of starting your trek, you find yourself on an undulating trail right beside the Thamsa river. You are constantly under a canopy of fresh green.

Quaint old wooden bridges across the river appear out of nowhere giving you great picture opportunities. You cover miles on this trail without breaking a sweat.

You’ll notice that the coniferous forest gets denser as you go further. The narrow trail snakes through this dense dark forest for a good hour before opening up to the traces of civilization — the ancient village of Gangaad.

I am not used to such leafy starts on treks. It was almost like a walk in a picture-perfect pine tree park. I cherished every minute of it.

A pleasing forest walk through tall pine trees. Picture by Jothiranjan

2. The meadows of Kalkatiyadhar

You never hear trekkers talk about any campsite on the Har Ki Dun trek. Like everyone else, I assumed Kalkatiyadhar to either be a small settlement or just beside it.

Quite contrary to my expectations, Kalkatiyadhar turned out to be a vast green meadow. What blew me away was the expanse of the valley. We were in the middle of multi-level cricket-field-sized meadows, set at a vantage height.

To my distant left, the trail climbed towards Swargarohini peaks, which were just peeking on the horizon. To my far right were dense jungles with mountains rising behind them. This was the trail to Ruinsara.

To my right across the river was a meadow set amidst a boundary of pine trees. Behind me, I could trace the trail down to Seema and even see the Kedarkantha summit miles away behind Kotgaon.

Such open settings above 10,000 ft in the mountains with trees, meadows, rivers, and big mountains together in a single frame are not settings you experience in every trek.

Campsite on the meadows of Kalkatiyadhar. Picture by Sandhya UC

3. The stories of the ancient villages

A lot has been said everywhere about the ancient villages of Har Ki Dun. You spot these villages from a distance, spread out on the mountainside, with houses almost hanging in the air. I could not wait to climb up to them and see what the interiors looked like.

Spending a night in the village home takes you back hundreds of years. The stories of the village elders and the smiles of the youngsters are something that you want to capture and take back with you.

The villages complete the famed Har Ki Dun experience. On our trek, you get to stay in at least two different villages – Gangaad and Osla.

The ancient village of Gangaad in the Har Ki Dun valley. Picture by Jothiranjan

4. Devsu Thatch: The best kept secret of the trek

Devsu Thatch turned out to be the best-kept secret of the entire Har Ki Dun trail. You hardly see much of this meadow from anywhere else but when inside it. The secret is indeed well wrapped around by pine trees!

I loved the meadows because they flow down from top to bottom for 600 meters and stretch for almost 2 km in length. Flowering bushes border the meadows throughout while tiny colourful flowers grow from the ground almost everywhere in spring.

Being higher than its counterpart Kalkatiyadhar on the other side of the valley, you get the best views of the triangular valley here.

I remember running from one end of the meadow to another in the evening to capture my sunset shots as every corner seemed to offer a different view.

The flawless grasslands of Devsu Thatch is guaranteed to surprise you on the trek. Picture by the Sandhya UC

5. The entire valley

Har Ki Dun valley is the one this trek celebrates. Very rightfully, the whole valley is very beautiful.

I loved the expanse of the Har Ki Dun valley. The valley has everything going for it. Big snow-clad mountains tower right in front of you. A big river flows right in the middle. Lovely green meadows stretched far and wide. I could sit there and just take in this scene the whole day.

The stunning landscapes of Har ki Dun. Picture by Subhrajyoti Das

Trek Trivia

Things Nobody Tells You About Har Ki Dun

A rare temple dedicated to Someshwar Mahadev

All along the trek route, in the villages as well as on the trail, you will come across many temples dedicated to the local gods and goddesses.

While trekking to Osla, you come across a shrine dedicated entirely to Someshwar Mahadev (a manifestation of Lord Shiva) —The Someshwar Mahadev temple is an amazing example of the rich history, culture and traditions of the place.

Ancient architecture and carvings

The beauty begins right at Kotgaon, Indiahikes’ base camp for the Har Ki Dun trek. Kotgaon has ancient wooden houses, some dating back to even 300 years. The houses are built of wood and stone. You’ll notice smooth carvings of flowers, leaves, and sometimes tigers on the façade and the pillars. Run your hand over them. It’s an ancient art. Smell it and you will inhale the sweet woody fragrance of Deodar. It is a strong-hardy specimen, perfect for building sturdy homes.

Silver Oak

The silver oak, as the name suggests, assumes a subtle hue of silver at the touch of the sunbeams. Several leaves will be strewn on the ground. When observed closely, one face of the leaf will be coloured a lush green while the other a pale white that shines under sun and water.

Gangaad

Gangaad is an ancient hamlet with a primary school and a temple of Someshwar Maharaj. The temple only remains open in a certain season since the residents believe that the Gods move from one temple to another through different seasons. One of the practices they perform has to do with the sacrificial goat. Every time an individual is leaving the village in pursuit of better prospects and opportunities or when a special occasion arises, a goat is sacrificed and cooked, which is then shared among all the villagers.