Har Ki Dun – Ruinsara Tal

Why Har Ki Dun Without Ruinsara Tal Is A Totally Incomplete Trek
Trek Fee : 10,950 + 5% GST
Difficulty
Difficulty
? Moderate treks may have steep ascents and descents. These can go upto 14,000 ft or higher and trekking hours can go upto 6 hours everyday. Easy exits are possible from a few campsites.
Moderate
Duration
Duration
9 Days
Altitude
Maximum Altitude
11,811 ft
Pickup point
Pickup point
Dehradun/Mussoorie
Required Fitness
Base Camp
Sankri
Age
Minimum Age
8
Best time to visit
Best time to visit
Mar-June, Sept-Dec

Why Har Ki Dun without Ruinsara is a totally incomplete trek

Trekkers think when it comes to great treks in summer 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. It’s not true at all. Har Ki Dun-Ruinsara Tal has to be one of the most underrated treks in our country.

Har Ki Dun is a trek that needs no introduction. It’s been around for many many years, and trekkers have always loved it. Without Ruinsara, Har-Ki-Dun is a very good trek. But with Ruinsara added on Har-Ki-Dun, it is a great trek, one of the most complete trek that you will possibly do. 

It has terrific ancient culture, mountain views, forests, grasslands, meadows, rivers, streams and even an alpine lake. The trek is not difficult on the legs which makes it just the right adventure.

“It’s like doing a whole new trek by just adding two days,” says Arjun Majumdar, our founder.

“Earlier we would enter only the Har-Ki-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 - Route Map
The traditional Har Ki Dun trail in blue. The extension to Ruinsara Tal is marked in green.

What we love about the Har Ki Dun-Ruinsara Tal Trek

Ruinsara Valley

The Ruinsara 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.

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.

Devsu Thach

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

Our founders brazenly admit that the meadow of Devsu Thatch 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.”

The Most Beautiful Campsites You’ll Come Across

“The campsites 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!” says Sandhya.

The Kalkatiyadhar campsite on this trek is one of the prettiest campsites. Picture by Sandhya UC

The Ancient Villages

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. 

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

Mountain views from Har Ki Dun

The mountain views you get on this trek are unique. Har Ki Dun is the only valley from where you can see Swargarohini – I, II, III, Bandarpoonch and Black Peak, all together.  The setting of the valley is such that you don’t find it difficult to believe the myth of Pandavas. It is said that Pandavas came to the meadows of Har Ki Dun to climb the Swargarohini peak, believing this would offer them a pathway to heaven.

The Swargarohini Peak as seen from Har Ki Dun. Picture by Anirban Banerjee

Banner image by Anirban Banerjee

Short itinerary

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 (shared among 5-6 trekkers)
Day 2: Drive from Sankri to Taluka. Trek from Taluka to Chilurgad ;1.5 hour drive and  5-6 hours trek , 11 km.
Day 3: Chilurgad to Kalkatiyadhar; 4 hours, 6-7 km
Day 4: Kalkatiyadhar to Boslo via Har Ki Dun; 5-6 hrs, 10km
Day 5: Boslo to Untigad; 6-7 hrs, 9-10km
Day 6: Untigad to Devesu Thatch via Ruinsara Tal; 7 hours, 13 km
Day 7: Devsu Thatch to Gangaad, 5-6 hours, 10 km.
Day 8: Gangaad to Taluka by trek than drive to Sankri; 3-4 hours trek and 1.5 hour drive.

Day 9: Depart from Sankri by 7 am. You are expected back in Dehradun by 7-8 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. 

The Trek

Day 1: Reach Sankri

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.

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

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: 6,455 ft (1,967 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.

Day 2: Sankri to Chillurgad via Taluka

  • Altitude: 6,455 ft (1,967 m) to 8,160 ft (2,487 m) via 6,916 ft (2,108 m)
  • Time taken: 5-6 hours. 12 km drive to Taluka + 10 km trek to Chillurgad
  • Trek gradient: Flat gradient for first 3 kms. After Beeda ka Thatch is a gradual ascent and Descent all through the trail.
  • 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.

Har Ki Dun
The trek starts under the shade of coniferous trees . The undulating trail gradually climbs to Gangad – the first village on the trail. Pic: Anirban Banerjee

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.

Osla-har-ki-doon
The ancient village of Osla hangs up on the left side of the valley. It is also the last settlement on the trail

Continue on the trail 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 9,000 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.

Day 3: Chillurgad to Kalkatiyadhar

  • Altitude: 8,160 ft (2,487 m) to 9,922 ft (3,024 m)
  • Time taken: 3-4 hours, 6-7 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

The 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.

Har Ki Dun
The Kalkathiyadhar campsite comes in as a surprise. It is an open meadow set high up the valley. To your right you see the pine forests of Devsu Thatch and the route to Ruinsara Tal Pic: Sandhya UC

Day 4: Kalkatiyadhar to Boslo via  Har-ki-Dun

  • Altitude: 9,922 ft (3,024 m) to 10,469 ft (3,191 m) via 11,700 ft (3,566 m)
  • Time taken: 5-6 hours, 10
  • 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
  • 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.

Har Ki Dun Ruinsara
You climb out of the Kalkathiyadhar campsite and see this view behind Pic: Anirban Banerjee

The logical route to Sangla valley (Chitkul, Himachal) via Borasu Pass is also visible from this vantage point.

Day 5: Boslo to Untigad

  • Altitude: 10,469 ft (3,191 m) to 11,292 ft (3,442 m)
  • Time Taken, Distance: 6-7 Hrs, 9-10 km
  • Trek Gradient: Immediate climb after the Boslo campsite later it’s a gradual ascent till the Har Ki Dun.
  • Water sources: No water source for the initial 4 km later water sources at regular intervals. Day pack with one litre water is sufficient for the day.

This is going to a long day. Your trail will start from and you have to go for a sharp descend immediately when you leave the campsite. The descend path needs to be taken carefully and you will happen to see the conjunction of two roaring glacial rivers one is Har Ki Dun and the other is Kyarakoti. They both join to become Tamsa river.

You need be a little careful with the trail as during the spring there is bloom of various flowers so don’t damage the flora. Later you will have to cross the Har Ki Dun river. The river which you saw yesterday in its ultimate beauty has became ferocious with its ultimate volume. You will have to cross this river by walking on the makeshift bridge made by log of woods.

Be a little careful and you will easily cross by. Now the trail will be taken over with the eye atching Silver Birch, Blue pine and all sorts of vegetation. The Kyarakoti river will be following next to you with its full power with a continuity of a music. 3 km past the river crossing you will come across two gigantic rocks laying one above the other making a natural shelter below. You may get some survival lessons/tips from your trek leader at this location. You will get your first water source after walking 4 kms.

Har Ki Dun Ruinsara Tal
The trail from Boslo to Untigad is a fascinating one. After an initial forest walk the trail goes upstream the Ruinsara Gad with snow clad mountains beckoning you towards them. Picture by Rohit

This place’s name is Chhatri where there is a concrete shade made by Forest deptt. The trail will have snow bridges after winters which may be dangerous at times. Look at the horizon in front and you will see the Black peak. After completing 9 kms you will reach Untigaad. This is a lovely campsite surrounded by water streas all around and snow laden peaks. Take rest for the day.

Har Ki Dun Ruinsara Tal
Untigad is marked by the appearance of Bhojpatra Trees. Picture by Rohit

Day 6: Untigad (11,292 ft) -Ruinsara Tal- Devsu (9,941 ft)

  • Max Altitude: Ruinsara Tal 11,811 ft (3,600 m)
  • Time Taken, Distance: 6-7 hours, 12-13 kms
  • Trek Gradient: Gradual ascent to the lake. Continuous gradual descend till the river crossing of Devsu.  Finally a steep ascent to reach Devsu.
  • Water sources: Water sources regularly along the way. One litre of water is sufficient.

It is an eventful day as you will see the majestic Ruinsara Tal. The lake is around 1.5 kms from Untigaad. It will hardly take an hour to two to reach this lake. The trail is completely filled with silver birch or Bhoj Patra trees and is mostly rocky. Post monsoon this lake is surrounded with greenery while after witer it looks like a high glacial lake with big chunks of ice in between.

 

Har Ki Dun Ruinsara Tal
There is a small ridge to the side of Ruinsara Tal. Climb up to see the river valley below. Picture by Shishir Jain

The lake is brown/blackish in colour due to huge vegetation inside. The best view of this lake can be had from the top of a rock right in front where you can get the reflection of the mountains right in front of it. The lake is surrounded with unmanned peaks but the trail ahead goes to the famous Bali Pass trek. Further walking into the trail will lead you to the Kyarakoti Glacier which is the base camp of the challenging Back Peak aka Kalanag. You can also see the hanging glaciers of Swargarohini from this lake.

har ki dun ruinsara tal
Ruinsara Tal is surrounded by a lush green setting June to September. Picture by Shishir Jain

A shepherd’s hut on a rocky patch of a mountain might surprise you. But it is said that it  almost 100 sheep can be held inside that cave. However, there are too many pests and it is better for trekkers to avoid it t The return journey to Untigaad will put you back on the same trail as before.

And after 8 Kms from Untigaad you reach the broken bridge of the confluence point of Kyarakoti and Har Ki Dun rivers. Though this time take the trail towards Devsu. After crossing the Kyarakoti river it will be a steep ascent to Devsu. You will be welcomed with beautiful alpine bushes full of all kinds of flowers and greenery.

Har ki dun
The Devsu campsite is set between a boundary of pines. The lovely meadows in between are at an elevation enough to see the valley on either sides. Picture by Shishir Jain

This is one of the best campsites of this journey as you will be surrounded with a carpet of grass on the ground. Surrounded by a blanket of trees, with  snow laden mountains ahead and the deep blue sky above. If you’re lucky you can spot some Himalayan birds like Monal and Pheasant,  and animals like black panther and Himalayan bear. You can even view the Kalkatiyadhar campsite from here.

Day 7: Devsu to Gangaad

  • Altitude: 9,941 ft to 7,749 ft
  • Time Taken, Distance: 5-6 hrs, 9-10 kms
  • Trek Gradient: Continuous gradual descend till Gangaad.
  • Water sources (important): Regular water sources along the trail. Carry sufficient water.

Trail description: Today the trail will take you back in time as we trek to the ancient village of Gangaad. The trail will continue between the forests full of Chir Pine, Needle pine, various ferns and flowering trees. While you will walk on this trail you will see the trekkers going for the Har Ki Dun trek on the parallel side of the trail.

Soon as you exit the forest section, on your way to Gangaad. Picture by Shishir Jain

Both these trails join at the Seema bridge after which it will be the same route back to base. Two kms after the bridge you will reach the Chilurgaad campsite and we will further descend to reach the ancient Gangaad village.

Talk to the locals, about their village, their history, their food and culture. But don’t be intrusive. Be polite and respectful.

Day 8: Gangaad to Taluka to Sankri

Altitude: 7,749 ft to 6,916 ft to 6,455 ft

Time Taken, Distnace: 3-4 hrs. 7-8 kms and 1-1.5 hrs on vehicle.

Trek Gradient: Continuous gradual descend till Taluka. Vehicle transfer to Sankri

Terrain type: Forest Trail with steps. Carry two litres of water as

Trail description: It’s the last day of your trek. Time to say good bye to the villagers of Gangaad. The route will continue to Taluka  the same way as the day you began.  It will roughly take 3-4 hrs on an average pace. The vehicles will take you from Taluka to Sakri and you reach in the late afternoon. You can buy some local made products in Gangaad such as Wool, Honey, Herbs, Organic Rajma, Red rice etc.

Banner image by Vishal Sinha

Plan Your Travel for the Har Ki Dun-Ruinsara Tal Trek

It is great to see you going on the Har Ki Dun-Ruinsara Trek. While it is a doorway to the ancient Himalayan culture 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.

1. Here’s a quick view on how to plan your travel

Day 0: Book your air ticket to Delhi or Dehradun. If it is to Delhi take a train or bus to Dehradun. Click here for more explanation. 

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 (shared among 5-6 trekkers)

Day 2: Drive from Sankri to Taluka. Trek from Taluka to Chilurgad; 1.5 hour drive and  5-6 hours trek, 11 km.

Day 3: Trek from Chilurgad to Kalkaltidhar; 4 hours, 7 km

Day 4: Trek from Kalkatidhar to Boslo via Har Ki Dun;

Day 5: Trek from Boslo to Untigad;

Day 6: Trek from Untigad to Devesu Thatch via Ruinsara Tal; 7 hours, 12 km

Day 7: Trek from Devsu Thatch to Gangaad, 5-6 hours, 10 km.

Day 8: Trek from Gangaad to Taluka. Drive to Thaluka to Sankri; 3-4 hours trek and 1.5 hour drive.

Day 9: Depart from Sankri for Dehradun by 7 am . You are expected back in Dehradun by 7-8 pm.

Day 10: Book your flight from Dehradun/Delhi

Book your return by train from Dehradun to Delhi on Day 9 after 8pm.
If your taking a flight from Dehrdaun, book it for Day 10

Note:

  1. While getting to Sankri, we recommend you arrive a day earlier and stay at Dehradun (Day zero). Get a good night’s rest for the journey the next day.
  2. We can also pick you from Mussoorie which is about an hour and a half from Dehradun, the distance is 33 kms. The pickup from Mussoorie is at the Library chowk (Library end junction)

Your travel route to the Sankri basecamp passes through Mussoorie and Purola.

2. Planning your onward flight/train booking

If you are travelling from Bengaluru, Chennai, Pune, Mumbai or any other city, book your air tickets for Day Zero, which is the day before Day 1 on the itinerary. If your trek start day is 25th November, book your air tickets for 24th November to either Delhi/Dehradun. 

There are two options.

Option 1: Fly directly to Dehradun. 

We recommend this. It gives you an added rest day at Dehradun. Most metros are directly connected to Dehradun. However, if the cost of the flight ticket to Dehradun is too high, book to Delhi and connect to Dehradun by train/bus.  Dehradun Airport in Jolly Grant and 35 km from Dehradun.  

Tip: Train is the best option to get to Dehradun. Bus journeys are often delayed by a few hours.  

The Dehradun airport is somewhat inconvenient when it comes to city connectivity ( to Dehradun). Airport buses that ply 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. Cost?

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 try to catch an auto just outside the airport terminal complex. They usually come there to drop passengers off. Autos are not allowed to enter the airport complex. They charge approximately Rs 300 to Dehradun. 

If autos are not available, walk for further 1.5 km to get to the Rishikesh Dehradun highway. From the highway you can flag down regular town buses or shared autos (shared autos are called Vikrams). Bus fare is about Rs 30 to Dehradun. Shared autos charge about Rs 20. 

Option 2: 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.  

Delhi to Dehradun by train

Next, book yourself in the Nanda Devi Express to Haridwar (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.

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( Train No 12055) from New Delhi railway station (leaves at 15.20 pm) to arrive at Dehradun by 21:10 pm. Stay overnight at Dehradun Take the Indiahikes pickup the next morning directly from Dehradun station.  

Delhi to Dehradun by Bus

If in case you do not get a train ticket, there are ordinary, A/C and Volvo AC buses from  Delhi’s ISBT Kashmiri Gate to Dehradun ISBT. Buses are frequent and not usually crowded, there are buses till 12 pm. You can get a bus almost every hour. Buses take 7-8 hours to get to Delhi. Ordinary buses cost Rs 400, A/C Rs  525 and Volvo Rs 700.

            From Dehradun ISBT take a shared auto to the Dehradun railway station Rs 10/.

3. Planning your return flight/train booking

Booking your return tickets require some thought. First, keep some buffer time in mind before booking tickets. If you are scheduled to reach Dehradun around 6.30pm, book your onward bus or train tickets only after 9 pm. In case you are stuck in traffic or get delayed at your lunch spot, you will have some buffer time to catch your bus/train.

Next, if your onward flight departs from Delhi/Dehradun, then book flight tickets for Day 7. 

Sometimes trekkers worry if they can book an early morning flight out of Delhi on Day 7. 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 station (12402) that leaves at 22:50 to get to Hazrat Nizamuddin Railway Station at 4.50 in the morning. From Hazrat Nizamuddin you get airport buses from outside the station as well as taxis. Metro train is somewhat inconvenient from Hazrat Nizamuddin. 

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 6½ – 7 hrs journey to Delhi. So if you take a bus that leaves around 9.00 pm, then expect to reach Delhi at around 04.00 am (ISBT Kashmiri Gate). A bus that leaves at 22:00 pm will reach Delhi around 05.00 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 stay over night and book yourself on Day 11. Most metros are now well connected by Dehradun by flight.

4. Planning your hotel/stay

In Dehradun, look for hotels around the railway station. There are quite a few options available online and it is not difficult to find last minute hotel booking.

Hotel options at Dehradun

Hotel Drona, which is a government property owned by the GMVN is decent. It is an old, but a large and spacious property. It is about 1.5 kms from Dehradun railway station. Rooms start at Rs 750.
Phone: +91-135-2746847.
Book online http://gmvnl.in/newgmvn/online_reservation/ Location: https://goo.gl/maps/sjWSkGhe5LfAN8wDA

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

What if you miss the Indiahikes pickup? Getting to Sankri on your own.

If you miss the Indiahikes pick up from Dehradun, here is how you can get to Sankri base camp on your own.

Bus from Dehradun to Sankri

There are 2 direct buses from Dehradun railway station to Sankri. They leave at 7 am and 8 am respectively from Dehradun ISBT. The cost per ticket is Rs 350 –  400/-

If you are reaching Dehradun late, you can take a bus to Purola/Naugaon and then a shared cab to Sankri. It costs Rs 150, make sure you reach Purola by 3pm to take the last shared cab to Sankri. 

Tip: While this bus hopping may sound cumbersome, we do it regularly at Indiahikes. They are a 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!      

Network Connectivity:

There is no network connectivity on this trek. Be sure to make all your phone calls before reaching the base camp. If you are lucky, you might get BSNL network.

How to get fit for the Har ki Dun trek

The Har ki Dun trek is classified as a moderate trek in terms of difficulty level. 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 you gain over 5,000ft. Hence, you need to make sure you are fit for the trek.

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

Here’s a fitness routine that works:

  • –>Target completing 5 km in 45 minutes when you begin.
  • –>Gradually increase your pace by running 4 times a week and bring it down to 5 km in less than 37 mins.
  • –>If you are 45 years old and above and are comfortable with long distance walking than jogging, then before you go on the trek, you should be able to walk at least 10 km at a stretch. Target completing this in 90 minutes.
    If jogging is fine for you, your target should be completing 5 km in 50 minutes initially, and 5 km in less than  45 minutes before you go on the trek.
  • –>If you are somebody who prefers cycling over running, your target must be to cover 22 km in 60 minutes.

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

trek-fitness-indiahikes-easy-treks

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 get for the Har Ki Dun Trek

Har Ki Dun is a high altitude trek with snow. In winter, the temperatures drop to negative temperatures. And winter lasts till the end of April. 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. 

First, The Most Essentials. You cannot do the trek without these.

1. Trekking Shoes

Har Ki Dun 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.

2. Backpack

For a trek like Har Ki Dun, 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.

3. Clothes

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

Base layer: 3 T-shirts

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

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

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

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

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

5 insulation layers in winter

The Har Ki Dun trek is primarily a winter trek. If you’re going any time between December and April, you will need at least 5 warm layers.

You will need 1 pair of inner thermals, 2 light fleece layers, 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/feather jacket? Not really. A regular padded/shell jacket will do. This video here will help you to learn more about the difference.

| Note: Down/feather 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 HAr Ki Dun without them. Trekkers generally put off purchasing / borrowing the accessories for the last minute. We suggest the opposite. Start gathering these accessories first. 

1. Sunglasses

Sunglasses are to prevent snow blindness. On a winter trek like Har Ki Dun, expect to walk on long 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.

 2. Suncap

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

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

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

3. Synthetic hand gloves

On a trek like Har Ki Dun, you are going to 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. 

6. Headlamp

Trekkers are often confused about whether they need to get a headlamp or a handheld torch. You need to get a headlamp because it leaves your hands free to do other activities. On the Har Ki Dun 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 Har Ki Dun trek there are steep ascents and descents. A pair of trekking poles will make the difference between a comfortable and a strenuous trek. In India we tend to use a single trekking pole. However, two trekking poles give you greater stability and balance. They also increase your walking pace.

| Rental: Imported side-locking trekking poles are available on rent on the Indiahikes store. Rent here.

8. Rainwear

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

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

| 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 Har Ki Dun 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 Har Ki Dun. 

| 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.

2. Cutlery

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: Har Ki Dun 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:

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

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

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.

  1. 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.  
  2. 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
  3. 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. 

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.

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. 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:

ams-symptoms-indiahikes

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 this video 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.

It is very important to be on a preventive course of Diamox on the Har Ki Dun trek. Diamox helps prevent AMS by around 80%. Click here to know how it works.

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.

Do NOT attribute your symptoms to anything other than AMS. If you have a bad stomach, suspect AMS. At high altitude, AMS is the first thing that should be suspected and treated.

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:

har-ki-dun-danger-campsites

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.

Closest hospital:

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. 

There are three life-saving medicines that you should always carry on you – Diamox, Dexamethasone and Nifedipine.

If you are trekking independently then you need to know when exactly to administer these medicines and in what dosage.

This video 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.

ams-manual-indiahikes-2-pages
Click on the AMS Manual to open and download

The Indiahikes Cancellation Policy 

We understand the pain of cancelling a trek. As trekkers, we always look forward to treks, and after months of training and planning, if we have to cancel our trek, there’s no greater disappointment than that. 

Given that, we have one of the most trekker-friendly cancellation policies. 

Take a look at the Indiahikes cancellation policy below. This policy is effective starting January 29th, 2020.

In the event that you cancel your trek, this is the cancellation policy we follow:

– Cancellation 30 days before the starting date of the trek — Get your full trek fee back in an Indiahikes Trek Voucher OR get a monetary refund with 15% cancellation charges.

– Cancellation between 30 days and 20 days before the starting date of the trek — Get 80% of the trek fee in an Indiahikes Trek Voucher OR get a monetary refund with 50% cancellation charges.

– Cancellation less than 20 days before the starting date of the trek — No monetary refund, get 50% of your fees in an Indiahikes Trek Voucher 

 

In the rare event that we cancel your trek, this is the cancellation policy we follow:

We almost never cancel our treks. But in case we cancel a trek because of natural calamities (snowstorms, thunderstorms, floods, landslides, earthquakes) or unexpected political unrest, curfews, local riots, government orders, unexpected global health issues, Indiahikes will issue a voucher for the full amount of your trek fee (minus the trek insurance). You can redeem the Trek Voucher on any of our treks over the next one year.

Important note: The Trek Insurance amount is not refundable once it has been paid for. 

If you cancel any rental gear from our store:

  • Cancellation of rental gear 7 days before the starting date of the trek — Get a monetary refund with 4% cancellation charges.
  • Cancellation of rental gear less than 7 days before the starting date of the trek — Get a voucher of the whole amount you have paid for the rental gear. This voucher is applicable on your future treks.

If you cancel the offloading of your backpack:  

The offloading fee will be refunded to your account with a 4% transaction charge. 

If you choose to cancel your backpack offloading AFTER reaching the base camp, you will get a voucher of the offloading fee. 

Special Cases That Could Occur:

There are some special cases that could occur when you’re on a trek.

1. You may not be able to complete the trek because of bad weather, high snow conditions, or any natural calamity.

2. You may have to leave your trek abruptly (could be due to altitude sickness, abnormal BP, unpreparedness for the trek, any emergencies at home)

In the above two cases, you’re welcome to come back and repeat the same trek any time in future. You do not have to pay us for this. If you’d like to repeat your trek, get in touch with your Trek Coordinator and they’ll help you. 

Important note: Your offloading and rental fee will not be refunded in the above two cases.

3. You may not be able to report at the base camp at all (could be due to blocked roads / cancelled flights/curfews), we will try to accommodate you in the next day’s team (if we have one). 

In the third case, if we cannot accommodate you in the next day’s trek, we will give you a Trek Voucher of the entire trek fee (including your offloading and rental fee), which you can use on any Indiahikes trek within the next one year.

How to cancel your trek: 

In case, you wish to cancel your trek, follow these steps. 

  1. Login to your Indiahikes Trek Dashboard using this link
  2. Find your upcoming trek on your home page. 
  3. Click on “Cancel Trek” 
  4. Mention why you’re cancelling your trek on the form that appears.
  5. Choose either a voucher or a refund (where applicable). 
  6. Click on “Cancel Booking” 

How long does the refund process take?

After you have cancelled your trek, if you have opted for a refund, the refund amount will land in the same account that you have made the payment from. It will take 4-5 working days.

If you have chosen a trek voucher, it will land in your inbox within an hour. You will also be able to see it on your Trek Dashboard.

What is a Trek Voucher?

Trek Vouchers are credit amounts added to your Indiahikes account. You can redeem these on any of your future treks with Indiahikes. Every Trek Voucher has a validity of one year.

Important note: Indiahikes Trek Vouchers are non-refundable, not transferable to others or extendable. 

How to use an Indiahikes Trek Voucher?

If you have received an Indiahikes Trek Voucher, you will automatically see it when you are making a payment for your next trek. 

Once you click on the voucher and apply it, the system will deduct the voucher amount from your payable amount. 

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with your Trek Coordinator. 

The Indiahikes “Repeat My Trek” Policy (trekkers love this!)

At Indiahikes, we can’t help but fall in love with a few trekking trails. And we love revisiting them, perhaps in other seasons, when treks take on a totally different hue. In such cases, we do not like the thought of having to pay for it. Our trekkers shouldn’t have to pay either.

So if you have loved a trek that you did with us and want to repeat it, you’re welcome to sign up for the trek. We will not charge you for this. (Many people think this is a rumour, but it’s true.) 

To repeat your trek for free, just get in touch with your Trek Coordinator. We’ll help you sign up with no charges. 

Note: The Indiahikes “Repeat My Trek” policy does not apply for our international treks.

Your trek fee includes:

  1. 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).
  2. 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.
  3. Camping charges – All trekking permits and forest camping charges are included.
  4. 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.
  5. 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:

  1. 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
  2. Food during transit to and from the base camp – The trek fee does not include meals purchased during the journey to Sankri and back.
  3. 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).
  4. Stay at Dehradun on the last day 
  5. Personal expenses of any kind
  6. Anything apart from inclusions
Cancellation Policy

Cancellation Policy

In the event that you cancel your trek, this is the cancellation policy we follow:
– Cancellation 30 days before the starting date of the trek — Get your full trek fee back in an Indiahikes Trek Voucher OR get a monetary refund with 15% cancellation charges.
– Cancellation between 30 days and 20 days before the starting date of the trek — Get 80% of the trek fee in an Indiahikes Trek Voucher OR get a monetary refund with 50% cancellation charges.
– Cancellation less than 20 days before the starting date of the trek — No monetary refund, get 50% of your fees in an Indiahikes Trek Voucher

Fitness

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. The trek has gradual climbs and steep descents. As a measure of your fitness, we require you to be able to run at least 5 km in 37 minutes by the time your trek starts. If you are 45 years or above, try to cover 5 km in 45 minutes. This is a minimum requirement.

If you prefer cycling over running, then try to cover 22 km 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.

Backpack Offloading

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 are trekker is unable to carry his or her backpack, he/she can offload the same by paying an additional charge.

Backpack offloading charges – Rs 1750 plus GST of 5%. Charges for last minute offloading during the trek will be Rs. 350 per day inclusive of tax. You can opt for offloading directly your dashboard after your payment is done for the trek.

Partial offloading is not allowed. The backpack cannot weigh more than 9 kg. No suitcases/strolleys/duffel bags will be allowed.
Online offloading in advance is possible up to three days prior to the trek start date.

Transport

Transport

 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. A 10-12 seater vehicle costs Rs.9,000 one way. You will have to share this cost with the other trekkers.

Accommodation

Accommodation

 Stay is included from Day 1 to Day 8 (Sankri to Sankri). You will be staying at a lodge in Sankri and  camping on remaining days of the trek (3 per tent). Twin sharing is not possible. Stay is on sharing basis with males and females separately.

Discount policy

Discount policy

If there is a group size of 10 trekkers and above, then we will waive off the trek fee charges for one person.

Note - There is no discount available if the group size is 9 or less than that.

You can register the entire group and send us an email. If the group is registering individually, then the primary participant needs to send an email to the Trek Coordinator with the list of trekkers from the same group.

If you want to make the payment individually, then individual registrations have to be done.

This will be the case for a group of 10 trekkers. So if you have a group of 20 trekkers, then we will waive off the charges for 2 trekkers.

What will the pick up point be? How is travel arranged?

What will the pick up point be? How is travel arranged?

Indiahikes will organise transport to and fro Dehradun railway station and the base camp Sankri, on the first day of the trek. This will be in 5-6 seater vehicles. The cost of each vehicle transport one way, is Rs 5,500. A 10-12 seater vehicle costs Rs.9,000 one way. It will be shared among co trekkers in the same vehicle.

How to reach the pick up point, that is Dehradun? Any hotels you recommend?

How to reach the pick up point, that is Dehradun? Any hotels you recommend?

Dehradun is connected by air to most major cities in India. You can either fly directly to Dehradun and spend the night before the pick up. Another option is to fly to Delhi and take an overnight train the Nanda Devi express to Dehradun. Do not take the Mussoorie express as it always late.
You can look at Hotel Drona and Hotel Grand. They are both close to the railway station as well.

How do I prepare for the trek, it is my first trek. What is the difficulty level?

How do I prepare for the trek, it is my first trek. What is the difficulty level?

Har Ki Dun is considered a moderate trek. This is because the distance covered on most days is long, an average of around 10 km. Also the trek itself is 8 days which makes it very tiring. It is a good trek for fit first timers.
You need to make sure you are physically fit to walk 10 km on an average in the mountains.
You will need at least 4 weeks of good 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.

Is there an option to not carry my backpack and do the trek?

Is there an option to not carry my backpack and do the trek?

Yes, this is called offloading your backpack. It means a porter or a mule will carry it for you. You will receive it at the end of the day at each campsite. It is at an extra charge of Rs 1575 and is for the entire duration of the trek. You need to book and pay for this beforehand online.

Can I bring luggage I do not require on the trek and leave them somewhere before the trek begins?

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 our base camp, Sankri. Ensure you leave no valuables (laptops, cash, electronics) in this luggage. There is no extra charge to leaving this luggage at the base camp, and you do not have to pre-book it anywhere.

What do I need to bring on the trek, and what can I rent with Indiahikes?

What do I need to bring on the trek, and what can I rent with Indiahikes?

You will need to bring everything mentioned on the things to take tab.
We have trek poles, shoes, backpacks and padded jackets on rent.
All rental gear needs to be booked and paid for online on your dashboard. It will be provided to you at the base camp before you begin the trek.

Here is what trekkers have to say about their experience at Har Ki Dun – Ruinsara Tal

Prakhar Srivastava

Batch of
November 2019

Yes, I loved the trail, there wasn't a thing to dislike there, the itinerary was good, the plan and execution were perfect, food was damn good, even preparations before the trek was very helpful and in detailed. The only regret was not reaching the Ruinsara Tal because of the heavy snowfall. But will try to complete it at some other time. As I said earlier, I am coming back to Indiahikes for more treks.
I would like to present a special token of appreciation for the Trek Guides, they were humble and very cordial, genuine persons.
And our team leader was very sincere and up to the task. Job well done.

The safety standards were all in a good place and very much need of the hour. I am satisfied with all the protocols and standards Indiahikes designed for our security and safety. Green Trails is a very good initiative. As said by Rabindranath Tagore, "Let me light my lamp and please don't debate whether it will remove the darkness or not."
This initiative is the need of the hour, humans are destroying everything they set their feet on. It is also the responsibility of humans to restore nature back to its original condition. We can't only be leeches sucking the marrow out of our mother nature. I thoroughly enjoyed this initiative and felt very proud of being a part of it. Miles to go before I sleep, but still, these small steps are the only way forward.

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GAYATHRI NAIR

Batch of
November 2019

The trek was Amazing!!! I just wish that the trek never ended....if I had to do I all over again, I wouldn't change a thing. I rented shoes and they were off the best quality ever! No hassle and easy to handle.

The safety protocols are extremely good and I liked how very well organized they all are ie. starting from the readings taken and maintaining a health card, I didn't face any issues with any of my treks with Indiahikes, so kudos to you guys for your wonderful effort.

Green trails is a BRILLIANT initiate started by IH...I'm extremely grateful to have been part of this for all my treks....coming to the fitness part, through this trek I realized the importance and benefits of keeping one in a fit and healthy condition.

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Rushin Shah

Batch of
November 2019

This was my third trek and first with indiahikes. This trek was very beautiful and memorable for me because of many reasons, ill start with TL( Pranav Dharamsey )  followed by guides ( Prahlad Panwar and Vidhvaanji )  and all the kitchen staff which provided us a very delicious food, guides were very helpful, supportive and kind and constantly motivating us to get the best out of us. This was my best trek till now and thanks to the entire team. 

Everybody should rent a gear rather than buying such expensive stuffs, which is very nice, clean and pocket friendly.
I rented four things i.e. trek pole, jacket, poncho and shoes which all was in a good condition and i would prefer renting rather than buying.

As soon as i applied for har-ki-dun i was getting each and every small details about the trek that  i am going  on which includes how to get fit for the trek what to carry and  what not to carry how much to carry and they also provide rentals which is also very easy and convenient . They inspire you daily to get fit for the trek which is easy for the trekker to get before the trek. As a individual i believe in cleanliness and green trail, in this part IndiaHikes is playing a excellent role to keep the trails clean which is the primary reason why i love indiahikes .

 

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Manish Arya

Batch of
November 2019

I loved every bit of it. We got perfectly clear views for the first 3-4 days , weather was superb. We had unexpected snowfall on the 4th day which also gave us a feel of a winter trek. This was my first snowfall experience of my life. In all we got experience of an autumn and a winter trek in one go which was simply superb. The views were mind blowing. I had an awesome experience!!

This was my third trek and first with indiahikes and I must say I have not seen such safety measures and protocols being followed by other trekking companies. Being a doctor myself I know the importance of regular monitoring at higher altitudes. This is a very important initiative which helps in preventing medical situations which may get difficult to handle. 

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Abhishek Gupta

Batch of
November 2019

The trek was awesome in many respects.
- Trek leader was great and managed such a large group at harsh conditions brilliantly.
- Guides with us were very supportive an took care of us throught the trail
- Cooks were also awesome, they just brought us to life every meal time with healthy, simple and tasty foods
- Learnings were also great. They taught us how to pitch and unpitch the tent, properly backpack, keep our breathing steady and other stuffs which made this trek smmoth
- Weather God favoured us a bit with sun throughout the trail and snow when we campled to Ruinsara. So we saw every part of nature from dirt to snow to mud.

The only thing that I was lokking forward to but couldn't get was a technical knowledge on how to trek. Like fro example how to put forward your steps when you ascend or when you descend, how to avoid knee injury, ankle injury during trek, type of gears required during journey and to use them properly. Though I remember our guides pointing to us when we made mistakes or more safe approaches but it would have been great if it was a part of formal instructions like pitching and unpitiching tent.

I think fitness is utmost important if you want to enjoy the trail or even complete it. So this will motivate me to get more fitter for future treks. 
Green trails is very good initiative. It reminds us that we mustn't destroy the beauty of the mountains that we are appreciating now. I remember we stopped for a lunch with some another trek group of another company. Not one of us ordered Maggie or other packaged product from the stall, despite seeing the other group ordering it. We just ordered tea and had our packed lunch. This showed how we adopted green trail. So its a very good intiative and I would suggest you to continue this more aggressively. 

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Mrigank Mohan

Batch of
October 2019

The trek was just awesome. Our trek leader Mr. Gautham Sreekumar was brilliant & inspiring. His evening sessions were very informative learned about the Himalayas, the 14 highest peaks, whats going in mountaineering world, how to stay safe in mountains. Do's & Don'ts in case of a bear attack. He was very patient & made sure the slowest guy is also along & up with the time. His time management was on point. Out trek guide Mr. Trayappan Ji, Vidhwan Ji were very cooperative. There stories were inspiring. Food was way better than my expectations. Naina Da and all kitchen staff were just amazing. 
Overall management by IndiaHikes was just phenomenal. 

Great initiative of Green Trails. Loved to contribute in keeping the mountains clean & green. Will definitely follow & spread my learning from Green trails initiative in the cities as well. 

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Saurav Kumar

Batch of
October 2019

I loved every bit of the trek. Right from the warm up session in the morning, the day long trek through the beautiful trails. The evening sessions by our trek leader Gautam Sree kumar on life hacks to survive bear attacks, avalanche and other interesting facts on mountaineering. 

Fitness is the base of anything that you can imagine. Be it a healthy life in the city or the stamina you need to trek in extreme weather or trails. A regular workout is very important.
Also,  the Green trail initiative is an awesome way to reduce waste in the mountains and spread awareness about the hazards of spreading your personal wastes. It felt great in contributing to waste collection and segregation. 

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Shubham Pandey

Batch of
October 2019

Trek was amazing, my first trek ever, it tested me at every level starting from fitness till acclimatisation, I don't think so I would want anything to change as the trek leaders treated us like family , took care of us as if we are one huge family. Safety standards were top notch. Felt safe which lead to good trekking experience. Loved it.

I rented a trekking pole, which makes it easy for me as this was my first trek so I was confused if u needed to buy one but renting made it easy for me

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HAR KI DUN WINTER TREK – 2015

Read about Gautham Baliga's first Himalayan Winter Trek. Each day's journey is sketched out in great detail.

Read full blog

Available dates

May June 2020 Jul

Click on available dates to Register

  • What the colours mean
  • Available
    Registration is on.
  • Waitlist
    The group is full, but cancellations are likely to happen. We have 5 waitlist slots for every group. You may register for the group. Waitlist slots confirmation chances are high if booked more than 30 days in advance.
  • Last 'x' slots
    Indicates the number of slots available in a batch.
  • Full
    Indicates the group is full. No further slots are likely. A full group has 18 members.

Dates not suiting you? Click here to see other similar treks.

50 thoughts on “Har Ki Dun – Ruinsara Tal

  1. Hi Team, if I book the slot for end of March 2020, will there be a chance of getting snow during the trek, I am asking this, such that I can get some good snow gaitors and spikes for myself.

    1. Yes, you are very likely to trek in snow in March. If you’re signing up with us, you don’t need to buy microspikes or gaiters. We’ll be giving you snow gear if there is snow to walk on. 🙂

  2. Hello Team,

    I am planning this trek for January 2020 but do not see any slots. Please let me know if slots will open up for this trek.

    Thanks

    1. Hi Ashwani, this trail will be closed in January and February. It’s in a national park with wildlife and they will be hibernating in these winter months. So the forest department closes the trail. It reopens only in March.

  3. Hi Team! Can we expect snowy trail in December? If not, can you please suggest other treks where we can expect snow. Thanks!!

    1. Hi Ayush, you’ll see snow from mid-December onwards. That’s when the winter snows come in at this altitude in Uttarakhand. If you can push your trek to the last week of December or January, you’ll surely see snow at Mukta Top, Dayara Bugyal, Deoriatal… All these treks will have snow from mid-December onwards.

  4. Hi. Why there are no dates for January or February for this trek? Also, how is the weather expected in your last batches of December, will there be snow?

    1. Hi Bhavik, the trek is closed in January and February because it’s a national park and animals are usually hibernating at that time of the year. We will be opening the trek only in March 2020 after December 2019. In December, you can expect snow from the second week onwards. Choose the last few available dates to see snow. 🙂

  5. Hello, I see the minimum age as 8. Can I bring my 11 ys old daughter. If yes, how do I get her fit for the trek? Will anything on ams or distance would be a problem?
    In april end date, do we see snow?

    1. Hi Mamta, you’ve made all the right choices. Har Ki Dun is a good trek to do with your daughter. And end of April is a great time. You’ll get to see some snow and you’ll see greenery — it’s the right mix of both. We haven’t seen any correlation between AMS and children, so you don’t have to worry. But just make sure your daughter gets fit before the trek. Take her running everyday for at least 2 months before the trek. Have her run at least 4-5 km everyday, covering it in around 40 minutes. That will help her get fit. Also, mentally prepare her for the cold weather and the long distances to be covered everyday.

      There’s this post on our website where parents share tips from their experience. Read it here, it will help – https://www.indiahikes.com/tips-to-prepare-children-for-trek/

    1. Hi Sonam, two of the toughest treks you can do in November are Har Ki Dun and Sandakphu. Of course, we also have the Annapurna Base Camp trek in Nepal. Most treks that climb higher are closed in November because of the presence of too much snow. But you could choose out of these three. 🙂

  6. Hi, I’m coming from Delhi to Dehradun and I find Nanda Devi Express train to be very appropriate since it’ll drop us by 5:55am. However, I wanted to know your opinion about this train. Is it mostly on time? Since I’ve to board the cab arranged by you at 630am. Is there any flexibility of time in case my train get delayed? I’m not able to apply more leaves since my employee doesn’t allow, this is why I want to start the journey on the very same day. Any suggestion is welcome. Thank you.

    1. Hi Vikrant, from our experience, Nanda Devi is one of the more dependable trains. It is almost always on time, and we always suggest to trekkers to take this train. So you’ve made the right choice. Mussoorie Express is notorious for being late. Nanda Devi is usually on time. 🙂

  7. Hi, planning for har ki dun, any chances dates would be available during last week of December or early January.

    1. Hi Adithya, Har Ki Dun is closed by the forest department in winter. So it remains closed from the last week of December, through January and February. It reopens in March.

  8. Would it be too snowy in march or the snow would’ve started melting and we’d be able to see the green lushes ?

    1. Hi Digant, early March will still be too snowy. But if you time it towards the end of March, you’ll see a good mix of greenery and snow. Early April is even better in terms of greenery.

  9. Hi Team,
    Is it a good option to opt for Har Ki Doon Trek during the month of June (13th June 2020 Batch)?
    I am sceptical about the amount of rain that this trail will get during that month and eventually play a spoilsport.

    1. Hi Rishabh, Har Ki Dun is actually a great trek to do in June. It’s sad that very few people choose this time to do it. You’ll see a lush side of the valley in June, with wild flowers and vibrant meadows. Ruinsara Tal will also be surrounded by greenery and snow-capped mountains. It’s postcard perfect.It isn’t yet monsoon in June, but it might rain on a day or two, nothing to hamper your trek. These are normal post-noon rains in the mountains. So you can absolutely go ahead with your plan. 🙂

  10. Hey indiahikes ,
    I’m looking for this trek during march can I get the dates as I need to come from Bangalore and do the flight booking

  11. Hi Swathi,

    I did Kedarkantha trek last Feb with IH. I wish to do a slightly more difficult trek and something that offers a good view of mountains.
    Preferred month is Feb/March, latest being April. Could you suggest one.

    Thanks!

    1. Hi Ganesh, you may try Brahmatal trek in January/February. You will find lots of snow and hiking to Brahmatal Top from Brahmatal lake is real heart pumping session. Sandakphu can also be a great option during that time.

  12. Hi Swathi, I am planning Har Ki Dun trek in between 15 March – 25 April 2020. I have some questions and concerns regarding this trek.

    1) Is there any chance to experience snowfall during this period.

    2) From which day of trek can we see snow

    3) Is there too much snow in this region during March that can make this trek very difficult.

    1. Hi Puneet, Har Ki Dun in March-April is a fantastic option. I’ll answer your questions one by one.
      1. Snowfall is something completely unpredictable. It depends on your luck. There may be 2-3 snowfalls in March, not so much in April.
      2. You’ll see snow from the second or third day of your trek.
      3. There will be a lot of snow on the trail, but not so much to hamper your trek. We have organised this trek in peak winter months of Jan and Feb without issues. So don’t worry about it. Unless there’s a snowstorm and extreme accumulation of snow (which is rare), you will be able to do the trek.

    1. Hi Mukund, yes it is safe. We have been organising this trek in winter for over 5 years. And it’s never given us trouble. We have even gone there in peak winter months of Jan and Feb and come back safely. Early December is still the onset of winter, so you’ll definitely be safe with us. 🙂

    1. Hi Rekha, Har Ki Dun is indeed very cold in November because it’s the onset of winter. But you’re not likely to see snow on the trek. If there’s an early snowfall, then consider yourself lucky. But traditionally, there’s no snow in November at Har Ki Dun.

  13. Do we have dates for last week of Dec.?
    Is this route with ruinsara valley done before this yr at this time of the yr.?

    1. Hi Abhik, the HKD route remains closed in the end of December, through January and February. It is closed off by the forest department. Also, we have opened up our trek to Ruinsara Tal only in September this year. So we will be doing it in winter for the first time. We have done the route without Ruinsara Tal for over five years though. 🙂

  14. Hi Swathi,

    We are planning for November last week, could you please help us to answer below few queries.

    Can we get pic up from Dehradun airport instead of railway station ?

    Any other suggestion how we can reach Dehradun from Delhi because it looks like all trains are cancelled during november last week from Delhi to Dehradun.

    Can we expect snow fall during this time.

    Thanks,
    Kaushik

    1. Hi Kaushik, your best option is to take a bus to Dehradun from Delhi. It’s an overnight journey (about 6-7 hours) and is comfortable, and will drop you at Dehradun ISBT. This is where we organise the transport from as well. Also, if you’re flying, you will have to fly in the previous day and stay over in Dehradun. Flights almost never fly in early in the morning. We only organise transport at 7 am from Dehradun ISBT. So please plan your travel around that.

  15. Is it fine to go on trek to har ki dhun for the first time trekkers in November.also I would like to know is there any rain during mid November.

  16. Could you suggest the best month to trek here to see the greenery, meadows as well as the snow capped mountains?

    1. Hi Anjana, March and April would be the best time to see greenery and snow. Choose any time in these two months and you’ll have a nice well-rounded experience. 🙂

  17. Hi,
    I will be coming from Mumbai to Dehradun.
    Can u suggest me which train I should prefer to reach dehradun before 6.30am to join the cab.

  18. HELO
    I WANTED TO ASK THAT THERE ARE SLOTS IN DECEMBER END
    SO WILL IT BE OPEN FOR AROUND 15 PEOPLE?
    COZ ABOVE SAID BY YOUR TEAM THAT IT CLOSED BY FOREST DEPARTMENT.

  19. Hi i wanted to book trek for 15 dec 2019 har ki dun but i heard that the national park will be closed after 10th dec. No other trekkers are offering after 10 th dec slot, how come your slots are available till end of december 2019. Let me know if I can proceed for booking and you will refund the trip charges if the trek is cancelled post 10th dec.

    1. Hi Shreyas, we already have permissions from the forest department to run the Har Ki Dun trek till the end of December. So you can confidently sign up for the trek. Just for your assurance, if we do cancel it for permission reasons, we will give you a full refund. So don’t worry about it.

  20. Hello,
    I am planning to trek Har ki Dun on 22nd of December 2019. Will snow be there? Actually we are shifting from Brahmatal trek. Is it worth it?

    1. Hi Srijan, there was already a snowfall a couple of weeks ago on the Har Ki Dun trek. You’ll definitely see snow in December. You can go for it. 🙂 The shift is completely worth it. Just keep in mind that it’s a slightly longer trek (on a daily basis) and requires good fitness levels.

  21. Hi I am planning to bring along my 8 year daughter with me for the trek and it would be the first trek for both of which trek would you recommend for us. We are planning in last week of March

    1. Hi Jay,
      I would recommend the Dayara Bugyal trek in the month of March as the first high altitude trek for you and your daughter. We regularly organise family treks on the trail.
      I am sure that with proper layering (5 in winters) and adequate physical preparation, it would be a pleasurable experience for you both 🙂

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