Har Ki Dun Trek: A doorway to ancient Himalayan villages
Har Ki Dun is one of the most beautiful valleys in the Western Himalayas. It is nestled in the middle of a cradle-shaped vale below the Har Ki Dun peak. A delight for trekkers, both in summer and winter, this valley is accessible through Govind National Park – known for its rich variety of flora and fauna. The trail through alpine meadows, moraine ridges, glacier basins, pine forests and ancient villages, gives you spectacular valley views and a chance to experience the wonderful slow-paced local lifestyle.
This is a valley trek where you trek along the Thamsa River to Har Ki Dun valley. Since the trekking trail isn’t treaded upon too often, birds and animals thrive in this region. One can spot langoor families near Puani Garaat. Black bears, wild boars and Barasingha are few of the other animals you can spot if you’re lucky. Golden eagles and massive Himalayan griffins also live here. The colourful Himalayan monal, the state bird of Uttarakhand, thrives in the forests here.
In A Shroud Of Mythology
No other trek is so steeped in mythology to justify the title of “Valley of Gods”. Follow the trail of Pandavas who took the very same route to ascend to heaven via Swargarohini, the mountain that dominates the Har Ki Dun valley. The mountain views you get on this trek are unique. This is the only valley from where you can see Swargarohini – I, II, III, Bandarpoonch and Blackpeak, all together. You can also see the Ruinsara peaks from here.
The Har ki Dun trail takes you back in time. The cradle shaped valley is populated with ancient villages that are over 3,000 years old. This is also one of the few treks where one can come across the local lifestyle in close proximity. Most of the residents here grow rajma, potato and rice for living. They also weave their own wool and make jackets and coats.
The main deity worshipped here in this region is Duryodhana. It is believed that the valley was home to a warrior named Bhog Dat, a Kaurava supporter from the Mahabharata. Because of this, the Har Ki Dun valley is one of the few places in India where Duryodhana is worshipped. But with passing time, this tradition is slowing being forgotten. On this trek you will get an intimate look into lives of villagers as they pass you by.
Day 1: Reach Sankri; 8-10 hours drive from Dehradun. Transport will be organised from Dehradun Railway station at 6.30 am. Cost of cab – Rs.5,500 per vehicle.
Day 2: Drive from Sankri (6,397 ft) to Taluka (7,953 ft). Trek from Taluka to Bhida ka Thach ; 2 hours, 3 km.
Day 3: Bhida ka Thach to Chilurgad; 6 hours, 7 km
Day 4: Chilurgad to Simatra / Bhashl Thach; 5 hours, 4 km
Day 5: Simatra / Bhashl Thach to Har Ki Dun. Excursion to Maninda Taal and back to Simatra / Bhashl Thach.
Day 6: Simatra / Bhashl Thach to Chilurgaad; 7 hours, 11 km
Day 7: Chilurgaad to Taluka, 8 hours, 13 km. Drive to Sankri
Day 8: Depart from Sankri by 7 am. You are expected back in Dehradun by 6 pm.
Please note that you will be staying at a lodge in Sankri. The stay on all other days is in tents (3 per tent).
It is mandatory for trekkers to carry a copy of their photo id for entry at forest check posts on the trek. Since Sankri will have limited facilities to photo copy, do not leave this till the end.
Sankri, base camp for this trek, is a small but pretty village with 250 houses. A few dhabas and shops make up the commerce scene in Sankri. In peak season, it is usually bustling with trekking activity as it is the basecamp for many treks – Kedarkantha, Bali Pass and Borasu Pass. The village offers a beautiful view of the sun setting behind the greater Himalayas. The peaks of Swargarohini shimmer in the evening sun, standing tall over the ridges beyond Sankri.
The drive to Sankri will take you through Nainbagh, Naugaon, Purola, Jarmola, Mori Naitwar (a left turn from Naitwar will lead you to Dhaula, which is the base camp for Rupin Pass and Bharadsar lake trek), and finally Sankri.
- Altitude: 6,397 ft (1,950 m)
- Time taken: Sankri, the base camp, can be reached in 8-10 hours from Dehradun. Transport will be arranged from Dehradun Railway station at 6.30 am.
- Time taken: 3 hours. 12 km drive to Taluka + 3 km trek to Bida ka Thach
- Trek gradient: Easy. Easy walk for about 2 hours.
- Water sources: You can refill your water bottles in the river along the trail.
There is a four-wheel-drive road that connects Sankri with Taluka.
If you’re trekking on your own, you can either hire a jeep (locally) for this, subject to the condition of the road, or walk toTaluka. This is a landslide prone route, and is often closed during the monsoons. The trail to Taluka is almost level, going through 10-11 mountain bends. On the way, there are three big streams, almost submerging sections of the road in water. The hike is scenic, going past a series of wild roses and irises and bamboo, chestnut and cedar (deodar) trees. Just 2 km before Taluka, there is a campsite beside a stream. You can camp here if there isn’t enough time to go to Puani Garaat i.e if you’re hiking from Sankri. There is also a GMVN Guest house at Taluka for accommodation. The dhaba food is very basic.
Trekkers with Indiahikes drive from Sankri to Taluka (12 km, 1 hour). Taluka is a small village with concrete houses. This is quite a contrast from the architecture in neighbouring villages like Sankri, Osla and Gangad, which are close to 300 years old. We start the trek towards Bhida Ka Thach from Taluka.
Next to the forest guest house, the trail descends to the river valley of Thamsa and continues through a series of forests, while the river remains on your right. This shepherds’ trail goes along the river on a level walk. Around 10 minutes into the hike, spot the first cemented bridge over a small stream. Another 15 minutes of level walk will have you reach another bridge, this time, a wooden one. These two spots are conducive to fill up drinking water.
From here, walk uphill for 15 minutes till you see a small clearing next to the river. You can set up an emergency camp here if need be.
Another 10-15 minutes later, you’ll come across a spot where you can climb down to a tributary of River Thamsa. Look for a wooden bridge to cross this river, which is just below Datmir village. After crossing the tributary, you’ll reach a camping ground in a couple of minutes. From here, facing the inner part of the valley, locate two trails, one moving upwards and another going straight ahead. Take the second route straight ahead.
The trail from here is in bad condition as it is prone to landslides. After 10-15 minutes of level walk, you will find land cleared by shepherds to set up temporary night shelters. From here, the trail climbs up, alternating between upward and level walks. Around 10 minutes into the hike, look out for your first landslide-prone section. You may have to come down the river and cross the section that has caved in due to landslide. Around 20 minutes on this trail will lead you to a spot where there is a wooden bridge to cross over River Thamsa.
Ignore the bridge and proceed ahead. After 5 minutes, the trail turns steep and criss-crosses upwards. This section will take about 15-20 minutes to cover. During monsoon, expect this trail to be completely covered in mud. The trail will now relax with a series of level walks. Soon you’ll approach a stream coming down the hill on your right, with a wooden bridge over it.
For trekkers trekking by themselves, they can camp at the further camp site of Puani Garaat. The trail picks up a little altitude as you enter the forest again. After 30-40 minutes, look for an old village across the river on your left. This is Gangaad. From here, 20 minutes later, take a diversion towards your right until you reach a dhaba next to a wooden bridge. Behind the dhaba is a small hut, where locals use the momentum of water to run a mechanical turbine that grinds cereal into flour.
Just 25 metres before the wooden bridge, on the right is Puani Garaat. There is also a cemented structure here. Since it’s incomplete, it is not possible to stay in it comfortably. However, if the weather is getting bad and you can’t proceed, you may stay there. This is the campsite and you can pitch your tent here for the night.
An alternative for Puani Garaat campsite: Those who want to camp at Osla have to cross the wooden bridge.You will then get onto the left side of River Thamsa and trek along the river to reach Osla.
An alternative route from Puani Garaat: To reach Seema, one has to trek straight up on the true right of the river all the way to Seema. There are a few steep ascents, but the trail relaxes into a gradual walk often. The landscape and terrain will remain like this for around 90 minutes.
From Seema, walk straight towards a bridge over Thamsa and get onto the left side of the valley. From here, look for a small cemented bridge some 60 metres above you. There is a small broken trail that connects to this bridge. Soon, you will connect with the level trail coming from Osla on the left. It goes straight ahead and will lead to Har-ki-dun.
- Time taken: 6 hours, 7 km
- Trek gradient: Easy. Initial 90 minutes of level walks and small, steep sections followed by continuous ascent on a gradually increasing incline.
- Water sources: You can refill your water bottles from the river along the trail.
Start the day’s trek by heading to Osla village, which involves crossing the bridge and walking alongside the river till you reach Osla.
Osla is a small village, about 8,500 ft above sea level. It is famous for a Someshwar Temple. Some people say it is the temple of Someshwar Devta (an avatar of Lord Shiva). The architecture of this temple is a wonder in itself. The villagers of Osla are proud of two things – one, living in the Himalayas and two, their satellite phone. Spend some time here and explore the village before moving on.
From Osla, the trail comprises a few steep sections but generally leisurely level-walks. Within half an hour, you’d have crossed two streams, out of which the second one has a wooden bridge running over it. There is also a local temple to the right. Cross the bridge and traverse around the mountain bend. You can now see a series of meadows in front of you.
After hiking for 15 minutes, you will enter the first of a series of cleared lands. Note that some of the land has been used for cultivation. From here, there are two more mountain bends that you need to traverse. The upward incline will gradually increase as you walk alongside a huge field of boulders and grass. This whole section to reach the top of the mountain bend may take around 90 minutes.
You will see a makeshift wooden bridge below the valley over Thamsa. If you want to trek to the meadows of Dev Thach, Ruinsara Taal and Bali Pass, cross this bridge.
To go to Har ki Dun, ignore the bridge and walk ahead . As you walk past a series of wheat fields, look out for two of the highest residential buildings in this region. The trail ascends over the confluence of Thamsa and Ruinsara rivers to a vantage point with views of the snowcapped mountains of Dhauladhar.
The climb is steep but the beautiful landscape compensates for the struggle. As you reach this vantage point, look for Kalanag (Black Peak) and Bandarpooch ranges looming in the distance.
- Time taken: 5 hours, 4 km
- Trek gradient: Easy. Initial descent of 15 minutes followed by mostly level walk for about 90 minutes. Steep climb for 15 minutes followed by a level walk and boulder section finishing off with a gradually ascending trail.
- Water sources: You can refill your water bottles from the river along the trail
Kedarkantha is visible just right of centre from this point where trekkers are taking a break. PC: Ujwal BalanThe meadows of Dev Thach are clearly visible on your right, across the confluence of the two rivers. At this point, you have crossed 3,000 m altitude for the first time. The valley now separates into two, with Har-ki-dun on the left and Ruinsara Taal, Bali Pass on the right.
As you cross the mountain bend, you are greeted with the sight of the Har Ki Dun peak and Hata Peak, below which is Har-ki-Dun valley. The campsite is now only 4 km away through pine forests and meadows. The trail initially descends as you trek and then becomes level for about 15-20 minutes.
After this, the trail crosses multiple streams. The pine forest has a sizable number of rhododendron trees. There is also a lovely stream gushing down on the way, with a variety of Himalayan alpine flowers along its sides, especially blue poppy. About an hour later, pass through another section of meadows with a delightful growth of chestnut. The smell of cedar and pine wood trees is intoxicating to any nature lover. After another 20 minutes, you reach a small waterfall and leave the meadows behind.
From this spot, you have to negotiate a steep climb of about 15 minutes. Slowly, patches of snow start appearing on your trail and become prominent after a while (snow is seen only till the end of May). After 15 minutes of level walk, spot another wooden bridge.
From this junction there is a short climb of 10 minutes, over boulders, till you reach another camping ground. The final forest stretch lies in front of you. After half an hour over a gradual incline, you traverse the forest ridge from the left side of the valley.
As you cross over, look for Forest Guest House huts just in front of you above a small ridge. Walk for the final 10 minutes along the camping ground next to Thamsa and cross the last wooden bridge to reach Har-ki-dun. Look at the two valleys opening up in front, divided by a stream called Karmanasha. The valley towards your left is going to Maninda Taal and Borasu Pass and the other, to Jaundar Glacier.
- Distance: 3km (Maninda Taal)
- Time taken: 4 hours
When you reach Har-ki-Dun, the sheer beauty of the valley will make you never want to leave the place. So, a rest day at the campsite is highly recommended. At Har-ki-Dun, one can see the vast grounds below Swaragrohini-1 peak. The meadows here are full of alpine flowers. You can explore the entire ground in about an hour or two.
- Explore Maninda Taal from Har-ki-Dun campsite (3 km, 3-4 hours)
To reach Maninda Taal, turn left from the campsite. Trek north towards Hata Peak, which goes across a beautiful alpine flower meadow. From here, the route curves left as you reach a glacial lake. This is Maninda Taal. You will see the rare Brahma Kamal in abundance here. This is a rare cactus that blooms only at night.
The logical route to Sangla valley (Chitkul, Himachal) via Borasu Pass is also visible from this vantage point.
- Time taken: 6-7 hours, 11 km
- Trek gradient: Easy. Trek back on the same route that you came by.
- Water sources: You can refill your water bottles from the river along the trail
Start trekking early as you have a long distance to cover today. Head back towards Chilurgad and then to Osla. Camp at Chilurgad.
- Time taken: 8 hours, 13 km trek + 12 km drive
- Trek gradient: Easy. Trek back on the same route that you came by.
- Water sources: You can refill your water bottles from the river along the trail.
Trek to Taluka, followed by a 12 km drive from Taluka to Sankri. The way back to Sankri is an easy one with consistent descents and level walks all the way from Taluka. However, if you plan to trek all the way to Sankri in a single day, it is an exhausting trek, but a doable one.
- Time taken: 10-11 hours
To read blogs about Har Ki Dun, click here.
Banner image by Samar Rahman
What you need to know about the trek fee
The trek fee of Rs. 9,750 + 5% GST covers all costs of the trek from Sankri to Sankri.
Here is what the trek fee includes:
- Accommodation – Stay is included from Day 1 to Day 7 (Sankri to Sankri). You will be staying at a lodge in Sankri and camping on remaining days of the trek (3 per tent).
- Meals – All meals from dinner at Sankri on Day 1 to breakfast at Sankri on Day 8 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 – You will stay in high quality tents and sleeping bags in all the camps. Our high altitude sleeping bags can withstand temperatures as low as -10 ºC. We provide ice axes, ropes, 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.
- Services of an expert Trek Leader – All our trek leaders are qualified in basic / advanced mountaineering courses.
- Services of an expert Trek Team – The mountain staff on this trek consists of well trained guides, cooks, helpers and porters.
Here is what the trek fee excludes:
- Transport to and from the base camp – We will arrange shared taxis for trekkers to pick you up from Dehradun and drop you back from Sankri. This will cost approx. Rs. 5,500 per 5-6 seater vehicle one way. You will have to share this cost with the other trekkers
- Food during transit to and from the base camp – The trek fee does not include meals purchased during the journey to Sankri and back.
- Backpack offloading charges – If you wish to offload your backpack, there will be an additional charge of Rs. 1,500 + 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 Sankri (Rs.350 per day inclusive of taxes). Online offloading in advance is possible up to two days prior to the trek start date.
- Stay at Dehradun on the last day
- Personal expenses of any kind
- Anything apart from inclusions
Get Yourself Fit
How to get fit for the Har ki Dun trek
The Har ki Dun trek is classified as a trek of moderate difficulty. You trek up to an altitude of 11,768 ft. You start from an altitude of 6,398 ft at Sankri and reach the highest point of 11,768 ft at Har ki Dun. This means there is a long train that you will have to climb. Hence, you need to make sure you are fit for the trek.
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:
Here’s a guide to help you get fit for the trek.
One month trek fitness routine for easy 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.
Things To Take
What to take on the Har ki Dun trek
- Trekking shoes: The trek distance is long and you will have to walk for long distances which need you to have comfortable trekking shoes. The Kalkatiyadhaar section is especially steep- sport shoes won’t be comfortable enough. You can watch this video to learn to choose the right trekking shoes.
- Backpack (40-60 litres): A backpack with sturdy straps and a supporting frame. Rain cover for backpack is essential.
The Har ki Dun trek happens round the year except for monsoons so make sure your have the proper clothing as per the season demands so you can keep yourself protected during the trek.
On a trek, carry fewer clothes than you would normally need. Do not pack for ‘what if situations’. That will only add to the weight of your backpack and not be used on the trek. Once your clothes get warmed up on a trek, you will not feel like changing. Just maintain personal hygiene.
- Three (Five in Winter) Warm Layers: You will be trekking and camping at high altitudes. So make sure you have the apt clothes for the climatic conditions. It will be cold at the higher altitudes so make sure you have at least three layers of warm clothes to protect yourself.
- Three trek pants: two pairs of pants should suffice for this trek. But you can carry one spare pair in case one of the others gets wet. Wear one pair and carry one pair. Denim/jeans and shorts are not suitable for trekking.
- Three collared t-shirts: Carry light, full sleeved t-shirts that prevent sun burns on the neck and arms. Again, wear one and carry one. Let one of these be a dri-fit t-shirt. It will dry quickly in case you are trekking on a rainy day. A common mistake that trekkers make is not changing their tshirts often enough. Regardless of how cold it is, the body tends to sweat a lot. Trekkers who don’t change to fresh clothes after reaching the campsite fall ill due to wet clothes and are often unable to complete their trek.
- Thermals (Optional): Those who are more susceptible to cold can carry thermals to wear at night.
- Sunglasses: Sunglasses are to prevent snow blindness. There might be snow in Har Ki Dun Valley or from Kalkatiyadhaar (depending on the season you are going in), so carry a pair of sunglasses.
- Suncap: The sun is more harsh at high altitudes so wear a suncap to protect your face and neck.
- Synthetic hand gloves: One pair of fleece or woolen hand gloves. One pair of water proof/resistant, wind proof gloves.
- Balaclava: You may use woollen scarves instead as well.
- Socks (2 pairs): Apart from two sports socks, you can take a pair of woollen socks for the night.
- Headlamp/LED torch: Mandatory
- Trekking pole: Watch this video to understand why you need a trekking pole.
- Ponchos: At high altitudes, snowfall and rain are quite common and hence it’s mandatory to carry a poncho so that you don’t get wet.
Indiahikes offers rentals on this trek. You can now rent trekking shoes, trekking pole, padded jacket and poncho instead of buying them. You can collect these directly at the base camp and return them there after the trek. Get the details here.
- Daypack (20 litres): If you are offloading your backpack, you will need a smaller backpack to carry water, medical kit and some light snacks.
- Toiletries: Sunscreen, moisturiser, light towel, lip balm, toilet paper, toothbrush, toothpaste, hand sanitiser. Do not carry wet wipes since these are not biodegradable. If you do happen to use wet wipes to clean up after a trek, make sure you bring them back with you. The same holds for used sanitary napkins. Carry a zip lock bag to put used wet tissues and napkins. Bring this ziplock bag back with you to the city and do not dispose wet tissues and sanitary napkins in the mountains.
- Cutlery: Carry a spoon, coffee mug and a lunch box. We insist on trekkers getting their own cutlery for hygiene reasons.
- Two water bottles: 1 litre each. We recommend the Lifestraw Go. Indiahikes trekkers can get it at a discount here.
- Plastic covers: While packing, use plastic bags to compartmentalise things and carry few extra plastic bags for wet clothes.
Mandatory Personal Medical Kit
- Diamox – 10 tablets (to prevent AMS)
- Dexamethasone – one strip
- Nifedipine – 5 tablets
- Crocin – 6 tablets (fever)
- Avomine – 4 tablets (motion sickness)
- Avil 25mg – 4 tablets (allergies)
- Combiflam – 4 tablets (Pain killer)
- Norflox TZ & Lomofen– 6 tablets each (diarrhea)
- Digene – 10 tablets (acidity)
- Omez/ Rantadine – 10 tablets (antacids)
- Crepe bandage – 3 to 5 meters
- Gauze – 1 small roll
- Band aid – 10 strips
- Cotton – 1 small roll
- ORS – 10 packets
- Betadine or any antiseptic cream
- Moov spray (aches, & sprains)
- Knee cap, if you are prone to knee injury
- Anti fungal powder
- Original and photocopy of government photo identity card- (driving license, voters ID, etc.)
- Medical Certificate (first part to be filled by a doctor and second part by the trekker) – Download PDF
- Disclaimer form (to be filled by the trekker) – Download PDF
Here’s a guide to help you pack for the trek –
MAP & Getting There
How to get to the basecamp – Sankri
Delhi → Dehradun → Sankri
The Har Ki Dun trek starts from Sankri, 196 km from Dehradun. Sankri is a small village bustling with trekkers. There are around 250 houses in this village, and the views from here are beautiful!
Indiahikes organises transport from Dehradun to Sankri. The pick up is at 6.30 am from Dehradun Railway station on Day 1. The cab fare is Rs.5,500 per vehicle. This is not included in the trek fee. It is to be shared by trekkers and paid directly to the driver.
The drive to Sankri is beautiful, beside the River Tons. You pass through Mussoorie, which is a popular hill station. Stop for breakfast at Kempty Waterfalls, which is a popular tourist destination. You will reach Sankri around 6.00 pm.
Note: In case you have excess baggage, you can keep it at the base camp, Sankri, and collect it after you’ve completed the trek. Lockers are not available, so please make sure that you do not leave behind any valuables.
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.
- 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.
Sankri → Dehradun→ Delhi
The Har Ki Dun trek ends at Sankri. From Sankri, you’ll be retracing your route all the way to Dehradun. It takes 10-11 hours to drive back to Dehradun. Indiahikes organises this transport for a fare of Rs.5,500 per cab. This is to be shared amongst trekkers and paid to the driver directly. 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 onward travel from Dehradun post 8.00 pm. If you are travelling to Delhi, you can choose to go back by Mussoorie Express (21.20) or Nanda Devi Express (23.30).
If you want to get to the base camp by yourself
There are direct buses from Dehradun to Sankri. They leave at 6.00 am, 7 am and 8 am respectiveley from Dehradun Railway station.
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 12.00 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 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.
From Mori, follow the Tons to Naitwar, again through some breathtaking mountain scenery. At Naitwar, the road branches off to the right along the Supin, until you get to Sankri an hour later.
What are the risks on the Har Ki Dun Trek?
Har Ki Dun is a trek of moderate difficulty. And with every high altitude trek comes a flurry of risks – altitude sickness being the biggest risk. At Indiahikes, we pay utmost importance to safety of trekkers. While we do our bit to ensure a trekker’s life is safe, we also expect any trekker who is enrolling with us to know what could go wrong, and if it does, how to tackle it.
What Indiahikes does to ensure your safety:
Our philosophy is simple. We ingrain safety aspects in the people we work with, in the processes that we follow and in the equipment we carry. All our trek leaders are trained repeatedly on safety issues and protocols. Most issues are resolved with their intervention.
Right from the time you decide to register for the trek till the last day of the trek, these safety procedures will be running in the background. We have listed a few of them below.
1. Fitness criteria before registration
Over years of organising high altitude treks, we have found that safety issues thrive amongst those who are unfit and unprepared for the trek. So we have introduced an eligibility criteria for the Har Ki Dun trek. Anyone who wants to register for the Har Ki Dun trek has to meet the fitness requirements, with the ideal BMI. The BMI and fitness regime will require proof. A high altitude trek is not to be taken casually.
2. Rest Day at Har Ki Dun Campsite
On the fifth day of the trek, we have allocated a rest day at the Har Ki Dun campsite. Prior to arriving at the Har Ki Dun campsite, you would have gained an altitude of 5,371 feet and trekked a distance of 24 km. So your body needs rest to recover from fatigue.
3. Monitoring health on a trek
On the Har Ki Dun trek, your Trek Leader will be monitoring two aspects thrice a day.
Your Blood Pressure levels will be checked once a day.
This will help us ensure that your body is acclimatising as required. Any abnormal reading will be paid special attention to and action will be taken immediately.
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 he will be entering details about his health everyday. It also contains details of what symptoms he should look out for and what action he should take during emergencies. These Health Cards will be taken back at the end of the trek.
4. High Altitude Medical Kit
Your trek leader will also 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 campsites for any emergency situations.
5. 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, where there might be too much scree or moraine.
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.
6. 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 Har Ki Dun trek
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 altitude.
First thing you should know is that Har Ki Dun is a High Altitude trek. It climbs up to an altitude of 11,700 ft. So it comes with its fair share of risks – altitude sickness, lack of easy exit points, unfriendly terrain and extreme altitude gain.
Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS)
AMS is one of the biggest dangers on a high altitude trek such as Har Ki Dun. AMS occurs when your body isn’t acclimatising to its surroundings. It can accelerate very rapidly, so it is important to identify the symptoms as soon as you see them. Before you read further, watch this video to understand the symptoms of AMS.
Where on the Har Ki Dun trek is AMS likely to affect you:
Over years of conducting the Har Ki Dun trek, we have noticed that there are some campsites where trekkers are most prone to be hit by AMS. Let’s take you through the trek so that you know where it is likely to occur and what precautions you can take.
On the first two days of the trek, between Sankri, Taluka and Puani Garaat, it is safe to say that you will not experience any symptoms. They are at fairly low altitudes, with Puani Garaat just touching the border of high altitude (8,280 ft).
On the third day, at Kalkatiyadhar, a few trekkers begin to feel queasy. Kalkatiyadhar is at an altitude of 8,986 ft.
On the fourth day, you climb from Kalkatiyadhar to Har Ki Dun, that is 8,986 ft to 11,768 ft. That is a 2,700 feet altitude gain on a single day. The Har Ki Dun campsite has had several cases of AMS being reported. At 11,768 ft, it is at an unfriendly altitude. Trekkers usually complain of headache and fatigue upon reaching Har Ki Dun.
What to do if you feel symptoms of AMS at Kalkatiyadhar or Har Ki Dun
If you feel any symptoms of AMS on the trek, you must report to the Trek Leader immediately. Do not wait till the end of the day’s trek. Do not try to handle it yourself either. Our Trek Leaders are well-trained and experienced to handle any cases and they will be the decision makers in any such cases.
Watch the video below to understand how to treat and prevent AMS. The information in this video is rare to find. With this knowledge, you can probably save your own life or another’s trekkers life.
As a first step, your trek leader will run you through the Triple One Test – One Disprin, One litre of water and One hour of rest. If you’re suffering from dehydration, this will solve the problem and you will be fine in one hour. If the symptoms don’t go away, then he’ll begin to treat you for AMS, perhaps with a course of Diamox. If you’re already on a course of Diamox, your trek leader is likely to increase the dosage.
The increased dosage of Diamox usually takes care of the Acute Mountain Sickness. In addition to that, the rest day at Har Ki Dun on Day 5 helps trekkers get enough rest while also getting acclimatised to the altitude.
If you’re not at your 100% at the end of Day 5, then again, report to your Trek Leader. AMS can escalate and turn into HAPE or HACE. He will make you descend to Puani Garaat, where you will be fine. This is the only campsite where exit is possible quickly because it is the closest campsite to the base village, Sankri.
If you face any of the symptoms of Acute Mountain Sickness, don’t take them lightly. Report them to your trek leader immediately.
If Diamox alone doesn’t work, he might administer Dex or Nifedipine, or perhaps oxygen, depending on the circumstances.
On the Har Ki Dun trek, there have been cases of AMS being reported. While AMS can be treated with 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.
Exit points on the Har Ki Dun trek:
The safest point on a trek where a trekker can descend to and rest is considered an Exit Point. On the Har Ki Dun trek, exit is extremely difficult. If you’re hit by AMS at any point on the trek, Puani Garaat would be the ideal campsite to descend to. Puani Garaat has mules. From Puani Garaat, Taluka is a 12 km drive, which takes about an hour to reach. Taluka village has a basic medical dispensary and it can be used only to get first-aid treatments.
For any advanced treatment, Purola has the closest well-equipped hospital in the area. It is 55 km from Sankri (base village of the Har Ki Dun trek). Usually, it takes 4 hours to reach Purola. During winters, there will be a lot of snow on the road. It could take longer.
This means that in case there are any medical emergencies, you have to descend all the way to Sankri and hire a jeep to Purola. Evacuation will take 24 hours or less since you are deep in the valley and the roads connecting Sankri and Purola are notoriously bad.
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.
If you are trekking independently then you need to know when exactly to administer these medicines and in what dosage.
The video below will help you understand what medicines to administer when and how much. Sandhya UC, partner at Indiahikes, explains in detail about HAPE and HACE. Here, you can learn about the advanced symptoms are and how to tackle them.
It is a myth that fit and experienced people are not affected by Acute Mountain Sickness
If you’re of the opinion that fit people don’t get AMS, please get rid of that notion right away. AMS can affect anyone without paying heed to their fitness and prior experience at high altitude! Altitude sickness does not distinguish between a first timer and an experienced trekker.
For more detailed information about Acute Mountain Sickness, you can download and study the manual below.
Here is what trekkers have to say about their experience at Har Ki Dun Trek
1. What is the style of accommodation in this trek?
Stay in Sankri on Day 1 and Day 7 will be in a guest house, where you will share room with fellow trekkers. The stay on all other days will be in tents. Each tent will accommodate three trekkers.
2. Will you provide us with tents and sleeping bags?
Yes, Indiahikes trekkers will be provided with tents and high altitude sleeping bags that can withstand temperatures as low as -10 ºC.
3. What will the temperatures be like during this trek?
In summer, day time temperature will range from 13-18°C and night time from 0-6°C. Winter day time temperature will range from 8-15°C it can drop to -7°C at night.
4. Will there be snow on this trek?
You will find snow on this trek from December end, all the way till April. You are unlikely to find snow at any other time.
5. What will we do if it rains?
If it starts raining while you’re trekking, we will continue on the trail as planned. Your poncho should protect you from the rain. Carry a backpack cover for extra protection from rain for your belongings. When it rains at the campsite, we usually get together in the dining tent and play games. The tents that you will be staying in, the dining tent, kitchen and toilet tents are all water proof, so you will stay dry inside.
6. How do we reach Sankri?
Indiahikes will arrange pick – up vehicles/shared cabs from Dehradun and to Sankri, the base camp. This transport cost is to be borne by the trekkers and will amount to approximately Rs. 5,500 per vehicle. You will have to pay the driver directly. The drive to Sankri will take 8-10 hours.
7. How do we get back after the trek?
Indiahikes will arrange for shared cabs from Sankri to Dehradun. This cost is to be borne by the trekkers and is not included in the trek fee.
8. Which are the best seasons for the Har ki Dun trek?
This is a great trek to do both in summer and winter. Variety in flora and fauna, rivers, valleys, ancient villages, great views of mountains – this trek has it all. If you’re trekking in winter, you will also get snow.
9. Are trek poles, jackets and other equipment available for rent from Indiahikes?
Yes, we offer shoes, jackets and trek poles on rent. We also have some equipment on sale. You can order both rentals and purchase online. Check out our store here.
10. Is this a good trek for a first timer?
Har ki Dun is a moderate trek and is good for beginners. You will trek long hours every day so it is important that you are fit and prepare before setting off.
11. If not the Har ki Dun trek, what is a good alternative trek to do?
The Kedarkantha and Kuari Pass trek is a good alternative to this trek. These are both easy-moderate treks and take the trekker through lovely forest trails. The summit climb adds to the thrill of the trek.
12. Is there an option to offload my backpack on this trek?
Yes, there is an option to offload your backpack. This will cost Rs.1,500 + 5% GST if you inform us in advance. If you decide to offload once you reach Sankri, 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. We suggest you read “5 Tips to make Carrying your Trekking Backpack Easy” before making a decision. Online offloading in advance is possible up to two days prior to the trek start date.
13. Can I take my child along on this trek? What is the age limit?
The minimum age requirement for the Har ki Dun trek is 8 years. If you child meets the age criterion and is physically fit, you can bring her/him along.
14. Who will be with us on the trek from Indiahikes?
An Indiahikes team consisting of a qualified Trek leader, trek guides, porters and cooks will be with you throughout the trek.
15. What are washroom/toilet facilities like on the trek?
The guest house at Sankri will have concrete toilets. On the other days, toilet tents will be set up along each campsite. There will be 2 to 4 of these toilet tents depending on the size of the group. 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. This is the most hygienic and convenient way to answer nature’s call in the wild. Please use plain toilet paper and refrain from using wet wipes since these are not biodegradable.
16. What kind of food is served on the trek? Should we carry any food?
Indiahikes uses a well planned menu suitable for high altitude treks. Breakfast varies from bread and butter, semia, poha to sandwiches and cornflakes. Lunch mainly comprises of roti or puri with sabzi. Dinner is complete with Dal, rice, roti and dessert. Dry ration of biscuits and chikki will be provided as well. You may carry nuts and dry fruits if necessary.
17. Will there be water sources on the way? Will two litres of water be enough?
Our campsites are pitched near water sources. For your day’s trek, two litres of water should be enough. You will also find water sources along the trail on all days of the trek.
18. Is there mobile network on this trek? Are there any electricity charging points on this trek?
Purola and Sankri have intermittent BSNL connection. So make sure you inform anxious family members about poor connectivity during the trek. There will be electricity charging points at the guest house in Sankri.
19. Do I need special snow shoes on this trek?
You don’t need special snow shoes. A good trekking shoe is sufficient for the trek. We recommend a pair that is water resistant. When there is snow, we provide micro spikes and gaiters. In case you plan to buy new trekking shoes, this video will help you choose the right pair.
20. Why is the trekking pole necessary?
A trekking pole provides stability and balance, and also helps to reduce fatigue. We suggest you watch this video to for a better understanding of why a trekking pole is necessary: https://www.youtube.com/watchtime_continue=5&v=LXezaCVjEao
21. When it gets really cold can I consume alcohol?
Alcohol is dangerous in extreme cold, especially at high altitudes. Contrary to what people believe, alcohol does not make you warmer. Instead it opens your pores making your body colder. Moreover, it dehydrates you very quickly. Hence consumption of alcohol is absolutely prohibited on all Indiahikes treks. Anyone found with alcohol is quickly removed from the trek. Smoking, similarly, is not allowed on Indiahikes treks.
22. How long do we trek every day? What is the distance covered?
Day 1 – You will picked up from Dehradun to drive to Sankri, which will take you 8-10 hours.
Day 2 – Taluka to Puani Garaat is a 13 km trek and will take you around 8 hours to complete. You will first drive from Sankri to Taluka.
Day 3 – Puani Garaat to Kalkatiyadhar is a 6 hours trek during which you will cover 7 km.
Day 4 – Kalkatiyadhar to Har ki Dhun is a 5 hours trek during which you will cover 4 km.
Day 5 – Exploration day at Har ki Dun.
Day 6 – Har ki Dun to Puani Garaat is a 11 km trek, which will take you around 7 hours.
Day 7 – Puani Garaat to Taluka is a 13 km trek and will take you around 8 hours to complete.
You can take a look at the trek itinerary for more details.
23. How do I manage the negative temperatures on the trek? Do I need special jackets?
At high altitudes, temperatures are sure to dip into negative at nights.. For these extreme cold temperatures, you need to keep the rule of 3 in mind. The rule of 3 usually takes care of cold that dip to -10°C. It is a simple formula of wearing 3 layers of woolen, inners and lower wear.
Follow this guide:
Wear one thermal and two T-shirts, three layers of woolens (two sweaters and a jacket). For your lowers wear a thermal inner with two layers of track suit. If you are prone to more cold, just add a layer.
The temperatures dip only late in the evening and early mornings. During the day if the sun is out, then you may even be trekking in your T-shirts. Make sure you use your thermal wear only at night and not while trekking.
A woolen cap/balaclava and gloves are a must.
You can watch this for tips on how to stay warm on a high altitude trek.
24. What all do I need to carry on the trek?
Click here to get the list of all the things you need to carry on the trek.
25. Why is there a day in the itinerary for Har ki Dun? Can I skip this?
Har ki Dun is a vast valley and it is very beautiful. The additional day at the valley is to give you time to go on short excursions to places such as Manindataal, which is a glacial lake, or the Jaundar glacier, or just explore the valley by yourself. Do not skip this opportunity.
26. Is it safe to trek with Indiahikes?
All high altitude treks come with their share of risks. At Indiahikes, we pay utmost importance to safety of trekkers. While we do our bit to ensure a trekker’s life is safe, we also expect any trekker who is enrolling with us to know what could go wrong, and if it does, how to tackle it. Before you go on the trek, make sure you’re thoroughly acquainted with the safety procedures followed on a trek.
Terms & Conditions
1. Cancellation: If a trek is called off at the last moment due to a natural calamity/unforeseen circumstances (like rains, earthquake, landslides, strike, bandh etc), Indiahikes will issue a trek voucher for the full amount. The voucher can be redeemed for the same trek or another trek in the next one year.
In case, you wish to cancel your trek, please login to your account and cancel. Cancellation requests will not be taken over phone or email.
The cancellation charges are as under.
- Cancellations prior to 30 days from the start of the trek — full refund.
- Cancellation between 30 days and 20 days to the start of the trek — 50% refund.
- Cancellation less than 20 days to the start of the trek — no refund.
2. The trek fee includes all costs of the trek from the start at the Sankri base camp to the end at Sankri.
3. Pick up: Trekkers are picked up from Dehradun railway station at 6:30 am. Usually, trekkers are clubbed together with other participants to make a group. The group travels together to Sankri in shared cabs.
4. Transport: Transport from Dehradun to Sankri and return from Sankri to Dehradun can be arranged by us at an extra cost. Participants will have to share the cost of the cab (approximate cost Rs. 5,500 per vehicle, one way). The amount is to be paid directly to our transporter. No service tax is applicable on transport cost. Indiahikes only arranges the vehicle pick up and is not responsible for any issues during transport.
5. Backpack offloading: Indiahikes expects all trekkers to carry their own backpacks. All common gear will be carried by the support team. If for some reason a trekker is unable to carry his or her backpack, he/she can offload the same by paying an additional charge.
Backpack offloading charges – Rs. 1,500/- plus GST of 5%. Charges for last minute offloading during the trek will be Rs. 350 per day inclusive of tax. Partial offloading is not allowed. Charges will vary for last minute on slope offloading. The backpack cannot weigh more than 9 kg. No suitcases/strolleys/duffel bags will be allowed. Online offloading in advance is possible up to two days prior to the trek start date.
4. Emergency during trek: In a trek a medical emergency or any other emergency may arise. If for any reason you are sent down from the trek then Indiahikes will make arrangements for your return to the base camp or nearest road head. A staff will accompany you. He may not be a trained personnel.
Evacuation or dealing with emergencies is extremely difficult in the mountains. It is time consuming as well. A normal trek of 2 hours may take 6 hours in an emergency (a sick person is not easy to evacuate). Doctors do not go along with a team. Doctors are not available at the base camp or nearest road head either. Indiahikes trek leaders are trained to administer first aid and know how to deal with issues related to the mountains. However, they are not doctors.
Registering for this trek is an understanding that you have read up on the difficulties of high altitude trekking and understand the risks. You have also understood what AMS, HAPE and HACE are. You have taken efforts to educate yourself and you are in a position to manage your own altitude related emergency.
7. Fitness: 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. You need to be able to jog a distance of 4.5 km in 30 mins before start of the trek. 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. Trekkers who have not adequately prepared may be asked to discontinue the trek at any point. Indiahikes has the right to reject candidates who do not meet our eligibility requirement at the base camp.
8. Non-liability: Indiahikes is not responsible for any loss/damage of your gears/equipment or other belongings on the trek.
9. Payment: Payment for the trek can be done online through credit/debit card or net banking. Cheque/draft or cash is not accepted.
10. Drinking and smoking during the trek is strictly prohibited. If found flouting the rules, your participation on the trek will be cancelled with immediate effect.
11. Safety Protocol:
a. While our itineraries are designed to allow for adequate acclimatisation, most treks in Indian Himalayas climb quickly, which is called forced accents. Unavailability of camp sites and the Indian Himalayan terrain are the reason for this. There are chances that you will feel the effects of altitude sickness and oxygen deprivation while on this trek. Please be aware that your trek leader may deem it unsafe for you to continue trekking at any time, and arrange for you to descend to a lower attitude.
b. Our trek leaders will conduct routine health checks at all camps to measure oxygen saturation, pulse and blood pressure. Indiahikes reserves the right to exclude any trekker from climbing higher on the trek without refund if the trekker’s vital readings are below accepted norms for that altitude. These norms are available with Indiahikestrek leaders.
c. This is a high altitude trek with rough, rocky and snowy terrain. It is important that you are a fit and confident walker in mountain terrain, able to manage ascents and descents by yourself within a reasonable time. Indiahikes reserves the right to turn around a trekker if in the opinion of our trek leader they are unable to complete the itinerary without requiring exclusive assistance. Please realistically self-assess your fitness and suitability for this trek before registering.