How Har Ki Dun Matches Up To Summer Treks Like Buran Ghati & Rupin Pass

Trekkers are missing out on a fabulous trek. It has bothered me enough that I want to dedicate an entire article for this.  I want to talk to you about the Har Ki Dun with Ruinsara Tal and not without. It has to be one of the most underrated treks in our country.  You know trekkers in our country think when it comes to great summer treks, you can’t beat treks like Rupin Pass or Buran Ghati. And when we talk about Har-Ki-Dun with Ruinsara, they think it is a poor cousin. 

I want to remove that thought from everyone’s mind. 

The Har-Ki-Dun trek with Ruinsara is one of the best complete treks that I’ve seen. It has terrific ancient culture, mountain views, forests, grasslands, meadows, rivers, streams and even an alpine lake. This trail is not difficult on the legs which makes it just the right adventure especially when compared to other summer treks.

If you notice I am constantly tagging Ruinsara along with Har-Ki-Dun. There is a reason for it. 

Without Ruinsara, Har-Ki-Dun is a very good trek. But with Ruinsara added on Har-Ki-Dun is a great trek, one of the best that you will do. 

Now, Har Ki Dun is a trek that needs no introduction. It’s been around for many many years, and trekkers have always loved it. 

Last year, we extended the Har Ki Dun trek to Ruinsara Tal. It has almost become unimaginable that we weren’t taking this route earlier. 

“It’s like doing a whole new trek by just adding two days,” says Arjun Majumdar, our founder, who was deeply taken in by the trek.

“Earlier we would enter only the Har-Kearlii-Dun valley and return. With the added extension we not only do the HKD valley but we also take in the new Ruinsara valley,” he says.

Har Ki Dun - Indiahikes - Route Map - Best Summer Treks

Why the Har Ki Dun Ruinsara Tal Trek is one of the best summer treks

This new valley has stunned trekkers. For one, the Ruinsara lake in itself is stunning. An alpine lake surrounded by snow-covered mountains is not something that you see everyday. It is not a small lake either.

Har Ki Dun - Indiahikes - Arjun Majumdar - Ruinsara Tal
Ruinsara Tal in the month of May. Picture by Arjun Majumdar

Then the trail to Ruinsara is splendid. Carving its way up a gradually ascending valley, the trail has a riot of colours and textures that has enthralled trekkers — especially early in the morning when the sun slants into the valley in an intriguing angle, the whole valley has a charm very few treks can give. 

Har Ki Dun - Indiahikes - Sandhya UC - Devsu Thatch
Devsu Thatch is one of our favourite spots on the trek. It takes you back to the meadows of Kashmir. Picture by Sandhya UC

Then the mind blowing Devsu thatch. Our founders brazenly admit that this meadow is their favourite section on the trek. “Devsu Thatch is the closest I’ve come to feeling like I’m in Kashmir, when I’m not in Kashmir. I almost felt like I was at Lidderwat (from the Tarsar Marsar trek). If you are going to Har Ki Dun, and if you haven’t seen Devsu Thatch, you might as well not go on the trek,” says Arjun.

To this, Sandhya adds, “Devsu Thatch is surrounded by thick pine trees, it is almost impossible to even guess that such a meadow exists here. But when you are returning from Ruinsara Tal, you suddenly get ushered into this wonderland. The meadow flows on multiple levels. Each level exposes different scenery on the horizon. Some show the Ruinsara mountains, some show HKD valley, Kalkathiadhar, and the Osla side. The possibility of camping here (if the forest dept. permits) will definitely bring a big smile on your face.”

Speaking of camping, the camps of Kalkatiyadhar and Boslo are definitely something to watch out for. I’ll safely say if there are better campsites on our trekking trails, I am yet to see them!”

Har Ki Dun - Indiahikes - Sandhya UC - Kalkatiyadhar Campsite - Summer Treks
The Kalkatiyadhar campsite on this trek is one of the prettiest campsites. Picture by Sandhya UC

Finally, the Har-Ki-Dun valley with its villages hanging out of the sky — each one of them over three centuries old. The fact that we get to stay and experience these villages makes this a high cultural experience. I am not sure how many years longer the villages will stay this way. Civilisation and modernity is bound to touch them soon. 

Har Ki Dun - Indiahikes - Reni - Osla Village
The ancient village of Osla in the Har Ki Dun valley. Picture by Reni

I think you should watch this video of Arjun taking us through the trek. He has a gift of speaking beautifully about trekking trails, and we made this just after he returned from Har Ki Dun-Ruinsara Tal. 

Additionally, you must read this article that Sandhya wrote after coming back from the trek. She has a very honest straightforward take on the trek

Since this is one of the best summer treks on offer and the months of March-April are almost on us, I thought I’d share this timely reminder for you to plan your trek now.

The only thing to keep in mind is that this trek requires good fitness levels. It’s good for a fit first-timer. It might actually spoil you on your first trek, making you think every Himalayan trek has this much variety. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. 🙂

If you have been thinking of summer treks and are considering the Rupin Pass or the Buran Ghati, I would suggest giving them a miss. Plan for the Har-Ki-Dun with Ruinsara instead. But do plan soon. Many dates are already full / waitlisted. 

We have dates throughout March, April, May and June. And it’s a 9 day trek.

Click on this link to find all the trek details, trek itinerary, and trek dates available.

By the way, if you have already done the Har Ki Dun trek with the older itinerary, you’re welcome to repeat this new route. We won’t charge you if you’re repeating it.

Drop in a comment on below if you have any questions. We have many experts on this trek who can answer questions for you. 🙂 

Swathi Chatrapathy

Swathi Chatrapathy

Swathi Chatrapathy heads the digital content team at Indiahikes. She is also the face behind India's popular trekking video channel, Trek With Swathi. Unknown to many, Swathi also writes a weekly column at Indiahikes which has more than 100,000 followers. A TEDx speaker and a frequent guest at other events, Swathi is a much sought after resource for her expertise in digital content. Before joining Indiahikes, Swathi worked as a reporter and sub-editor at a daily newspaper. She holds a Masters in Digital Journalism and continues to contribute to publications. Trekking, to her, is a sport that liberates the mind more than anything else. Through trekking, Swathi hopes to bring about a profound impact in a person's mind, body and spirit. Read Swathi's columns. Watch Swathi's videos.