Mukta Top

A New Winter Trek In The League Of Kedarkantha, Dayara Bugyal and Chandrashila
Trek Fee : 8,950 + 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
6 Days
Altitude
Maximum Altitude
11,838 ft
Pickup point
Pickup point
Dehradun railway station
Required Fitness
Base Camp
Kaflon
Age
Minimum Age
8
Best time to visit
Best time to visit
Jan-June

A New Winter Trek In The League Of Kedarkantha, Dayara Bugyal and Chandrashila

Every once in a while, we come across a spectacular trek that has enchanting forests, meadows, superb mountain views and a very satisfying summit climb. Sometimes, they have the bonus of being completely isolated too. Mukta Top is one of them.

Mukta Top is a gem of a trek that we explored in November 2018. It has seen hardly any footfall despite starting at Uttarkashi, a hub of trekking activities.

We believe this trek is at par with the popular Kedarkantha, Kuari Pass and Chandrashila winter treks. We have our reasons for this.

It’s rare to come across a trek that’s at par with popular winter treks like Kedarkantha and Chandrashila. Picture by Leo Saldanha

What to watch out for

Variety in the forests like Chandrashila

Unlike any other trek, Mukta Top starts at a relatively low altitude. This gives you a chance to witness a completely different variety of forests in the Himalayas, that no other Uttarakhandi trek gives you. For instance, you see plenty of bamboo forests, you seldom see such forests on other treks.

And as you go further up, you see rhododendrons, maples, ancient oak trees and pines. The forests are dense and as mysterious as forest-lovers wish them to be.

Added to that, Mukta Top is a rare trek with two entire days of forest trails. Most treks have 3-4 hours of forests, leaving you craving for more of those shaded, canopied trails you left behind. Deoriatal-Chandrashila is a rare trail that has as many forests. So Mukta Top matches up to the forest trails of Deoriatal.

The forests on the Mukta Top trail give you brilliant variety, much like the Deoriatal-Chandrashila trek. Picture by Assad Dadan

Clearings and meadows like Kedarkantha

If there’s one reason we love the Kedarkantha trek, it is because of the fairytale clearings in the forests and the openness of the meadows on the trek. The Mukta top has very similar clearings (you camp in one of them).

In winter, the meadows above the forests are covered in snow. It’s a grand experience for any trekker. More so because there are big mountains popping out in the distance, very clearly visible from these clearings. You see Mt Bandarpoonch almost throughout the trek.

A snowy clearing in the forests of Mukta Top. Picture by Anshul Gangwal

Splendid Mountain Views like Dayara Bugyal

After the forest trails end, when you’re still reeling in delight, the trail suddenly opens up to meadows, revealing few of Uttarakhand’s high mountain peaks. And from the summit, you get a 360 degree view of all of these mountains!

On a clear day, you spot the Mt Jaonli (6632 m), the Gangotri Peak (6577 m), Mt Kalanag (6387 m), Bandarpoonch 1 (6316 m) and 2 (6102 m), Draupadi Ka Danda 1 (5716 m) and Draupadi Ka Danda 2 (5670 m). You also spot the trekkable Nag Tibba top (3022 m).

Mt. Bandarpoonch seen from the Mukta Top trail. Picture by Leo Saldanha.

Terrific wildlife  

Thanks to the abundance of foliage, you’re likely to spot many species of birds in these forests. On our exploration alone we spotted 20 different birds — including Uttarakhand’s state bird, the majestic Himalayan Monal. We also spotted russet sparrows, blue whistling thrushes, Himalayan bulbuls, lemon rumped warblers and more. So if you’re a bird watcher, then this trek is for you.

Thanks to the wild undergrowth, these forests are also home to several animals. Our explorers spotted barking deer twice. There are also black bears and barasingha (swamp deer) in the forests.

The lovely foliage makes this trail home to several birds and animals. Picture by Anshul Gangwal

And a BIG bonus, Mukta Top is a completely isolated trail!

At times when popular winter treks like Kedarkantha and Brahmatal see thousands of trekkers in a single day in winter, Mukta Top is a breath of fresh air. Mukta Top is a trail we discovered only last year. It has hardly been trekked on and you will be one of the only trekkers on this trail.

If you enjoy secluded, peaceful trails, then do the Mukta Top Trek. You will love it.

The Mukta Top trail gives you isolation like no other winter trek. HEre’s a trekker taking in the view of Mukta Tal at the higher reaches of the trek. Picture by Anshul Gangwal

Banner image by Assad Dadan

Short Itinerary

Day 1: Reach Kuflon (4,600 ft) from Dehradun. Pick-up time is provided at Dehradun Railway Station at 6:30 AM. Travel Time: 7-8 hours, 150 km. Stay will be in tents.

Note: Transport will be arranged at Dehradun for trekkers to and from Kaflon. Cab fare is Rs. 5,500/- for a 6-seater one way which is to be split equally amongst all trekkers and paid directly to the driver.

Day 2: Kuflon (4,600 ft) to Shiladuni (6782 ft) . Time taken: 4 hours, 4 km. Steep ascent followed by gradual ascent through forest.

Day 3: Shiladuni to Chaithathar (9600 ft) Time taken: 5-6 hours, 5km. Steep ascent on a forest trail as you gain around 3000 ft.

Day 4: Chaithathar to Mukta Tal (10,800ft) Time taken: 4 hours, 4 km. Gradual ascent throughout the trail

Day 5: Mukta Tal to Mukta Top (11,838ft) to Kuari (7,781 ft). Time taken: 6-7 hours, 9 km. Steep ascent for the first 3 hours followed by gradual descent.

Day 6: Kuari to Kaflon (4,600 ft) Time taken: 4 hours 6 km. Gradual descent. Drive back to Dehradun. Time taken: 6-7 hours 155 km. Reach Dehradun by 6 PM.

You can leave behind luggage (no valuables) that you do not require for the trek at Kaflon. This is free of cost.

It is mandatory for trekkers to carry a copy of their photo id for entry at forest check posts on the trek.

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Reach Kuflon from Dehradun.

  • Altitude: 4,600 ft.
  • Time taken: 7-8 hours

Kuflon, the base camp for Muktha top trek, is around 7 hours from Dehradun. Taxis and Tempo travellers are arranged in Dehradun for all trekkers. All vehicles leave at 6.30 am.

The drive takes you through lovely forest stretches and along the banks of the Bhagirathi river which later becomes the Ganga. The largest town on the route is Uttarkashi. The base camp is near Asi Ganga river, a tributary of Bhagirathi river.

20181117064312_IMG_1395,MuktaTop-Indiahikes-LeoSaldanha
View of the Asi Ganga river from the trail. Picture by Leo Saldanha

Day 2: Kuflon to Shiladuni

  • Altitude: 4600 ft to 6782 ft.
  • Time taken: 4 hours, 4 km
  • Trek gradient: Moderate. Steep ascent followed by gradual ascent through forest.
  • Water source: A stream 500 meters before the campsite. Carry 2 litres at least.

We start the trek from Kuflon (4600 ft) which is a gradual hike through the village on a marked trail. After a point the trail gets steep for about 1.5 km. It is a zigzag ascent with pine trees around. After that, it’s a gradual ascent for another 2.5 km.

The deep, dark forest trails on the Mukta Top Trail. Picture by Leo Saldanha.

This is the point where the forest begins, with rhododendrons, green oak, brown oak and a few maple trees. We also get to see different variety of birds, especially the white throated laughing thrush. They are in abundance and can be spotted easily. 500 meters before the campsite is where we get our first water source.

After crossing the stream and 20 minutes of hike, the view opens up through the forest for the very first time. You camp at a small clearing, here. To your right you will spot a few shepherds hut. On the opposite side, you see mountains which would be covered in snow (during peak winters). We also have a couple of streams near the campsite.

A grand clearing in the middle of the forest. This is close to the Shildauni campsite. Picture by Leo Saldanha.

Day 3: Shiladuni to Chaithathar

  • Altitude: 6782 ft to 9600 ft
  • Time taken: 5-6 hours, 5km
  • Trek gradient: Difficult. Steep ascent on a forest trail. We gain around 3000 ft.
  • Water sources: Available

You start the trek towards Chaithathar with packed lunch as today’s trail is steep and slightly difficult. Trek through a forest patch for an hour, where Green Oak trees are dominant. This is where the maple trees start competing with the oak trees in vegetation. Soon after that you cross a small stream using wooden logs and stones placed on it.

After refilling your bottles here, start hiking for 45 minutes and reach Kuari (also our campsite while descending). Kuari (7,781 ft) to Chaithathar is 3 km and takes 3 hours. A steep ascent through a rocky patch for an hour will take you to a view point from where you see the whole valley.  You will also spot your previous campsites from here. From here the ascent is gradual as you hike through oak and bamboo forests.

Trail through the bamboo forests. Picture by Leo Saldanha.

In due time you reach Chaithathar which is a beautiful campsite right in the middle of the forest. As soon as you get there, you notice a shepherd’s hut right next to a flowing stream. These huts are seasonally occupied only in the summers. This campsite is also well known for the Himalayan Monal, which is the national bird of Nepal. Rest and camp here for the night.

Shepherds hut near the Chaithathar campsite. This is another natural clearing in the forest, perfect to camp in. Picture by Leo Saldanha

Day 4: Chaithathar to Mukta Tal

  • Altitude: 9600 ft to 10,800ft
  • Time taken: 4 hours, 4 km
  • Trek gradient: Moderate. Gradual ascent
  • Water source: Not available. Carry enough water

The forest trail from Chaithathar to Mukta Tal is a gradually ascending one. Follow the well-made out trail and in a couple of hours you will reach a small clearing covered in snow (during peak winters). Towards your right you’re welcomed by the first glimpse of Mt. Bandarpoonch, Kalanag and on the left side by Nag Tibba.

Snow-laden trails with Mt Bandarpoonch in the background. Picture by Anshul Gangwal

Continue walking 15 minutes on an upward trail to see a small hill with patches of birch and brown oak trees.You pass through the base of the hill and walk on undulating meadows for an hour to reach Mukta Tal. The tal is small and the only water source available. Locals suggest that the water is drinkable but it’s advisable to carry your own water.

A close-up view of Mt. Bandarpoonch from the Mukta Top trail. Picture by Leo Saldanha.

Day 5: Mukta Tal to Mukta Top to Kuari.

  • Altitude: 10,800ft to 11,838ft and then descend to 7,781 ft
  • Time taken: 6-7 hours, 9 km
  • Trek gradient: Moderate. Steep ascent followed by gradual descent.
  • Water source: Available at Mukta Tal and Chaithathra.

The trail for Mukta top climbs up from Mukta Tal and crosses the upper meadows. You follow the well paved ascending trail which moves up all the way to Mukta top. While hiking up the meadows you get to see the whole range of Mt. Bandarpunch and Kalanag, on your left.

The small pond of Mukta tal. You can also see Mt. Bandarpoonch in the background. Picture by Leo Saldanha

At the summit there is yet another lake locally called the Siyari Tal. From the top, you get a 360 degree view of peaks like DKD I/II, Gangotri III, Jaonli, Bandarpoonch I/II, Kalanag and Nag Tibba. You descend through the same route to Kuari campsite. Kuari has a couple of streams nearby for your water needs.

Siyari Tal. Picture by Leo Saldanha

Day 6: Kuari to Kuflon. Drive back to Dehradun

  • Altitude: 7,781 ft to 4,600 ft
  • Time taken: Trekking: 4 hours 6 km; Driving: 6 hours 155 km
  • Trek gradient: Easy. Gradual descent.
  • Water source: Available near the crossover bridge and Shiladuni campsite.

It would take about 4 hours to reach Kuflon on the same well-defined route through forests. Bird watchers can have a fun time spotting plenty of Himalayan birds near Shiladuni. This campsite is also known to have mammals like Black Bear, Leopards, Barking Deer and Swamp Deer (Barasingha). Near Kuflon, you see the Asi Ganga river which was a host to the Asi Ganga powerhouse that got shut due to massive floods in 2012.

Once you reach Kaflon, you take the road transport to Dehradun. You will reach Dehradun around 6 pm in the evening.

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Plan Your Travel for the Mukta Top Trek

It is great to see you going on the Mukta Top Trek, a grand buffet of our greatest treks. While it is a great trek to do, you need to get your travel plan worked out perfectly.

Here is a step-by-step guide on what to do next. Use this guide and nothing else to plan your travel.  

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

Day -0: Book your air ticket to Delhi or Dehradun. If Dehradun, stay near the Dehradun Railway Station. If Delhi, book night train/bus to Dehradun. Click here for more explanation. 

Day 1: Dehradun to Kaflon drive. It is an 7-8 hour drive from Dehradun. Kaflon is the basecamp for your trek. 

We organise transport to Kaflon from Dehradun Railway station. Our vehicles leave at 6:30 am sharp. It costs Rs 5,500 per vehicle (shared between 5-6 trekkers).

Day 2: Trek Kaflon (4,600 ft) to Shiladuni (6,782 ft);  4 hours 

Day 3: Trek Shiladuni (6,782 ft) to Chaithathar (9,600 ft); 5-6 hours

Day 4: Trek Chaithathar (9,600 ft) to Mukta Tal (10,800 ft); 4 hours

Day 5: Trek Mukta Tal (10,800 ft) to Mukta Top (11,838 ft) to Kuari (7,781 ft); 6-7 hours

Day 6: Trek Kuari (7,781 ft) to Kaflon (4,600 ft); 4 hours. From there drive back to Dehradun; 6-7 hours. Reach Dehradun by 6 PM.

Book return train ticket to Delhi from Dehradun (Nanda Devi or Mussoorie express). Or book direct air ticket from Dehradun (Post 7-8 pm). Do not book plane tickets to your hometown from Delhi on Day 6.   

| Tip: You can take a night train/bus from Dehradun to Delhi and reach Delhi early morning.

Note: On your return from the trek you start from Kaflon. Our vehicles will be arranged for you. The final stop of the vehicle is at the Dehradun railway station. You reach Dehradun between 6.00 and 7.00 pm. 

It costs Rs 5,500 per vehicle on the way back.

Mukta Top Indiahikes

 

 

2. Planning your onward flight/train booking  

 

If you are travelling from Bengaluru, Chennai, Pune, Mumbai or any other city, book your air tickets either for Day Minus One, which is the day before Day 1 on the itinerary or book a flight/train as such where you will reach half an hour before the pick up time.

There are two options for your flight booking.

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. 

The Dehradun airport is inconvenient when it comes to city connectivity (either to Rishikesh or Dehradun). Airport buses that ply between Rishikesh to Dehradun via airport run every hour. In our experience, the hour can stretch to even 1½ hours. 

Taxis are available from the airport (plenty). Prepaid taxis are available (look for the pre-paid taxi counter just out of the conveyor belt at the arrivals). You can also flag down a taxi (bargain a bit) with taxis outside the airport. Airport taxis are exorbitant. They usually charge Rs 1500. 

Usually, most passengers take taxis from the airport. Try to hook up with co-passengers on the flight for your taxi ride to Dehradun. 

| Pro Tip: If you want to save real money walk 1.5 km to get to the Dehradun-Rishikesh national highway just outside the airport terminal complex. Take a private/Uttrakhand Vikas Mandal Nigam bus till ISBT Dehradun which will charge you 40 rs. From ISBT Dehradun take a shared auto (shared autos are called Vikrams) till Dehradun Railway Station. Shared autos charge about 10 rs. 

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.  

Next, book yourself in the Nanda Devi Express to Dehradun (Train No: 12401). It is a fully AC train that leaves at 23.45 hrs from Hazrat Nizamuddin and gets to Dehradun at 5.40 am in the morning. 

| Note: Earlier the Nanda Devi express would depart from New Delhi railway station. From 26 Aug 2019, it leaves from Hazrat Nizamuddin railway station. The train now comes from Kota. So expect about 15 to 30 mins delay in arrival. The train number has changed too from 12206 to 12401.

For Metro train connectivity from Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi, take a metro to Dhaula Kuan metro station. Get off and walk down to Durgabai Deshmukh South Campus metro station (there are convenient travelater belts over a skywalk). Take a metro to Hazrat Nizamuddin metro station over the pink line. It takes about 45 mins to an hour to get to Hazrat Nizamuddin over metro.

At Dehradun, wait for Indiahikes pickup at 6.30 am. Contact your driver by 6.00 am. The number of your transport coordinator will be shared with you a week prior to your departure. 

| Caution: Do not book on any other train except the Nanda Devi Express. The other option, Mussoorie express, is notorious for its delay. Your pickup vehicle may leave without you. If you do not get tickets on the Nanda Devi Express, take a bus from Delhi to Dehradun, but do not book on the Mussoorie express.

| Pro Tip: Take the afternoon Jan Shatabdi express from New Delhi railway station (leaves at 15.20 pm) to arrive at Haridwar by 9.10 pm. Stay overnight at Dehradun. Take the Indiahikes pickup the next morning directly from Dehradun Railway Station.   

Bus

If in case you do not get a train ticket, there are regular Volvo AC buses from Delhi’s ISBT Kashmiri Gate to Dehradun. You also get Non-AC buses. Buses are frequent and not usually crowded. You can get a bus almost every half hour. Buses take 7-8 hours to get to Dehradun from Delhi. AC bus tickets cost about Rs 700.  

3. Planning your return flight/train booking

 

Booking your return tickets require some thought. If your trek ends on day 6, you can book your flight/train tickets for day 6. Make sure to make bookings post 8:00 – 9:00 pm.

Next, if your onward flight departs from Delhi, then book flight tickets on 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 (12402) that leaves Dehradun at 10:50 pm to get to Hazrat Nizamuddin Railway Station at 4.35 in the morning. From Hazrat Nizamuddin you get airport buses from outside the station as well as taxis. For Metro train walk down to the Hazrat Nizamuddin metro station, take a metro to Durgabai Deshmukh South Campus, get off and connect to Dhaula Kuan Airport line metro station (there are convenient travelater belts over a skywalk). From Dhaula Kuan you get metro train to the airport. 

| Note: Earlier Nanda Devi express would arrive at New Delhi railway station. From 26 August 2019, it has been extended up to Kota. It no longer goes to New Delhi railway station. Instead, it goes to Hazrat Nizamuddin railway station. The train number has changed from 12206 to 12402.    

Bus: The other option is to take a bus from Dehradun. It is about 5½ – 6 hrs journey to Delhi. So if you take a bus that leaves around 9.00 pm, then expect to reach Delhi at around 3.00 am (ISBT Kashmiri Gate). A bus that leaves at 10 pm will reach Delhi around 4.00 am. AC Volvo buses are the fastest, so opt for them. Non AC buses can take up to 7-8 hrs for the journey. 

From Kashmiri Gate ISBT you get Airport buses or taxis.

| Note: Metro trains in Delhi do not start before 5.00 am.  

If you are taking a flight out of Dehradun

If you are taking a flight out of Dehradun then book yourself on either Day 6 (Post 8-9 PM) or Day 7. Most metros are now well connected by Dehradun by flight. 

4. Planning your hotel/stay

 

While booking hotels on your return, always assume book your rooms assuming the buffer day is not being used. Assume the trek is going to run without any hiccups. So what happens if you use your buffer day on the trek? Unfortunately, then you’ll probably lose your hotel booking. So book hotels where you may not have to transfer money in advance. Even if you do, consider it better than missing out on the trek. In Dehradun it is not difficult to find last minute hotel booking if in case the buffer day is used.   

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

5. What if you miss the Indiahikes pickup? How to get to Kaflon on your own.

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

If you are at Dehradun, take a bus to Uttarkashi as quickly as you can. A bus generally leaves from Dehradun Railway Station to Uttarkashi at 8:00 am. It charges about 250 rs. 

There are shared taxis available near Indiranagar Market (Till 10:00 am) or Rispana Pool (From 11:00 am – 12:00 pm) till Uttarkashi . They charge 350 rs. You can reach Indiranagar Market/Rispana Pool using a shared auto (Vikram). 

From Uttarkashi you will find shared taxis for Sangamchatti from the taxi stand which is at a walkable distance if you get down at the bus stand. Get down at Kaflon Base Camp which is on the way. Kaflon is 13 km from Uttarkashi. It takes 30-40 minutes to reach there. The taxi will charge 50 rs. These shared taxis are available only till 4:00 pm.

In case you do not find a direct taxi till Sangamchatti take a shared taxi till Gangori. It will charge you 30-40 rs. From Gangori, Kaflon is 5-6 km away. You will have to look for local villager taxis going to Sangamchatti or passing Kaflon. These taxis will charge 10-20rs to drop you.

There are no direct shared taxi services till Kaflon from Gangori. 

| 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!


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:

In case you’re just starting with a regular fitness routine, phase out your distance targets in the following manner –

–>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 40 mins.

–>If you are 45 years or above, try to cover 5km in less than 45 minutes.

If you are somebody you prefers cycling over running, then try to cover 18 km in 60 minutes.

How to send us a proof of your fitness routine?

Record your run on an app like Nike Run. Start recording your run when you start running. At the end of your run, hit the stop button.

Take a screenshot of the summary of your run. We will need a detailed split of each kilometre of your run. This is usually integrated in all running apps.

Note: Make sure your GPS is on when you record your run. If the GPS is off, we will not accept the screenshot.

Upload two screenshots 10 days prior to the start of the trek

For < 45 years age : One screenshot of 5 km in 45 minutes and the second 5 km in 40 minutes.

For > 45 years age : Two screenshots of 5 km in 45 minutes.

If you love cycling, cover a distance of 18 km in one hour and upload the same.

Fitness proof to be uploaded with GPS on and along with your picture.

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

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 Mukta Top Trek

Mukta Top is a high altitude trek. The trekking gear you need to carry for this trek is what you need for regular treks

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

1. Trekking Shoes:

Mukta Top requires trekking shoes that 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.

2. Backpack:

For a trek like Mukta Top, you need a 40-50 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.

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 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.

| 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.

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.)

| 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 other works as a better thermal. And they save you weight and space since you’re already carrying them. 

2 insulation layers:

The highest altitude you reach on this trek is 11,838 ft. At these altitudes, it can get really windy & cold during winters (November-March & April too!). You will need at least 2  insulation layers for this trek. 

You will need 2 light fleece layers or 1 thick fleece layer. Do not get your grandma stitched sweaters, which can be very heavy. You need sweaters and fleece jackets that can fold into compact rolls.

Note: During the May – June you only need to carry 1 insulation layer.

1 Outer layer:

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.

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 trekking 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 Mukta Top 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 trek like Mukta Top, you will find snow all over the trail during winter. Expect to walk on long forest 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

| 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.  

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. 

| 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.   

| Note: You can carry regular during summers. (May – June)

2. Suncap: A sun cap is mandatory. Trekking without a sun cap can lead to headaches, sunstrokes, 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 Mukta Top you are going to be handling snow quite a bit during winters. 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.  

| Note: You do not need Synthetic hand gloves during summers. (May – June)

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 Mukta Top trek you’ll need your hands free to wash dishes, pitch tents and hold your trek poles. 

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 Mukta Top 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.  

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. 

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.

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 porter on the Mukta Top 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 requirement

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.

Avoid getting large toilet rolls. The smallest size roll is more than enough for a trek like Mukta Top.

| 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. Watch this video on why steel cutlery is better than plastic.

3. Two 1 litre bottles or a 2 litre hydration pack:

Mukta Top has 4-6 hours of walk everyday. 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

4. 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): Diamox helps you by making you acclimatise faster. It makes you breathe faster and deeper, taking in more oxygen. It also thins your blood, making it easier for your heart to pump oxygenated blood to parts of your body. We have seen it come of use mostly above the 10,000 ft mark — both in terms of the preventive course and a curative course. So you don’t really have to go on a preventive course for treks that climb to just around 12,000 ft like Dayara Bugyal.    
  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 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. Anyone who wants to register for the Mukta Top 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. Monitoring health on a trek

Any abnormal reading will be paid particular attention to and action will be taken immediately.  

On the Mukta Top trek, your Trek Leader will be monitoring two aspects thrice a day.

  •      Oxygen Level
  •      Pulse Rate

Your Blood Pressure levels will be checked once a day.

This will help us ensure that your body is acclimatising as required.

Every trekker will be given a Health Card at the beginning of the trek. The Health Card is issued to monitor the trekker’s daily health, wherein they will be entering details about their health everyday. It also contains details of what symptoms one should look out for and what action should be taken during emergencies. These Health Cards will be collected back at the end of the trek.

3. High Altitude Medical Kit

Your trek leader will be carrying a full-fledged high altitude medical kit. This will include basic medicines and specific medicines catering to altitude sickness – Diamox, Dexamethasone (tablets and injections) and Nifedipine. Your Trek Leader will also be carrying a portable oxygen cylinder throughout the trek. In addition to that, there are oxygen cylinders installed at all high altitude campsites for any emergency situations.

4. High Altitude Trek Equipment

To ensure safe trekking on snowy terrain, Indiahikes will provide you with micro-spikes to attach to your shoes. This will give you good traction on hard snow. To avoid snow from entering your shoes, Indiahikes will provide you with gaiters that you can put on over your shoes. You will have qualified technical guides with you, who will lead the way on difficult terrain.

All our sleeping bags and tents are custom-made for high altitude. If it is cold outside, it will be around 10 degrees warmer inside the tent. The sleeping bags can withstand temperatures up to -10 degree Celsius.

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.

5. Being hydrated and well nourished on the trek

You need to drink a minimum of 4 litres of water every day during the trek to ensure that you’re well hydrated. De-hydration on a trek can make you lose energy very quickly and intensify the effects of AMS. Your trek leader will brief you about the amount of water that you need to carry with you at the start of each day as well as water sources on the trail.

We provide trekkers with nutritious meals to ensure that they are energized to complete the trail each day. Apart from this, snacks or packed lunch is provided wherever the trail before a meal break is likely to be long. Make sure that you do not skip any meal as this can lead to serious health emergencies on high altitudes.

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 includes –

  1. Accommodation – Stay is included from Day 1 to Day 6 (Kaflon to SankriKaflon). You will be staying at a lodge in Kafloni 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 Kaflon on Day 6 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 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

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 on the summit day. As a measure of your fitness, we require you to be able to run at least 5 km in 40 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, mandatory requirement.

If you prefer cycling over running, then try to cover 18 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 a trekker is unable to carry his or her backpack, he/she can offload the same by paying an additional charge.

Backpack offloading charges – Rs 250 per day plus GST of 5%. Charges for last minute offloading during the trek will be Rs. 375 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/trolleys/duffel bags will be allowed.

Online offloading in advance is possible up to three days prior to the trek start date.

Transport

Transport

Indiahikes will organise transport to and fro Dehradun railway station and base camp Kuflon, 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 5500. It will be shared among all the trekkers. The same thing applies to the return journey.

Participants are expected to share the cost of the cab. The amount is to be paid directly to our transporter.

Indiahikes only arranges the vehicle pick up and is not responsible for any issues during transport.

Repeat Trekker Policy

At Indiahikes, we believe that the mountains hold all the aces. The weather could play spoilsport, the altitude could mess with a trekker, the unpredictability of nature itself could turn against him. Whatever the reason might be, it is never nice to turn away from a trek midway.

In the event that a trekker has to come down without completing your trek, they can always head back to the mountain and do the same trek again. If this happens, trekkers don’t have to pay the trek fee. They have to just make the optional payment for the insurance amount.

On another note, it could also happen that you love a trek so much that you want to go back time and again. Trekkers don’t have to pay the trek fee for repeating a trek.

Note – The Repeat Trekker Policy holds good only for Indian Treks.
It is not valid for treks we run in Nepal.

Discount Policy

Discount Policy

Discount for a group of 10 and above

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.

This is a new trek that you have recently started running! Why should I opt for this trek unlike some other older popular ones? OR What are the highlights of the trek?

Mukta top is a scenic birder’s paradise. With a wide variety of beautiful forest sections, lovely meadows, smashing views and the experience of a tal or lake, it is certainly one of the most unique treks in Uttarakhand.

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 base camp Kuflon, 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 5500. It will be shared among co trekkers in the same vehicle. The same thing applies to the return journey.

Can 8 year old or kids go on this trek?

No this is a moderate trek hence we do not recommend this trek to kids.Even though they are active in their daily life, because of the steep ascent of the trek they may not be able to complete it.

You can consider going for Dayara Bugyala and Kedrkantha Trek.

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

Mukta top 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 starts at an altitude of 4600 feet and climbs up rapidly to 12,000 feet in a matter of 4 days. This makes the ascents on the trek strenuous. It is a good trek for fit first timers.

You will need at least 4 weeks of solid preparation for this trek. You can begin preparation by going for brisk walks and then do brisk jogs to improve your cardio. Your target should be to cover 5 km in 35 minutes comfortably by the start the trek.

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 1050 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, Kuflon. 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.

Here is what trekkers have to say about their experience at Mukta Top

AKILA J

Batch of
February 2020

It really went well. And there is no negative comments to tell about it. 
Even if we are about to make few sudden decision due to climatic conditions or due to the difficulty of reaching the summit, Our trek leader Anuj did it very wisely. He was so cool and handled everything so patiently and efficiently. He maintained timings perfectly and planned accordingly so that we can reach the summit within the time. He was constantly encouraging and boosting all of us throughout the trail.

MORE

AKILA J

Batch of
February 2020

The evening after the summit Anuj distributed us fridge magnets and made us to sit in a circle and share our experiences. That time was the most memorable as many of us came out of our comfort zone and spoke about everything and explained how we felt throughout the trek and how much it means to us and how we are literally enjoying each and every moment and our experience with India hikes.

MORE

Dattattray Desai

Batch of
February 2020

HI Team,

Very thankful for the trek that we just completed. It was fantastic experience and India Hikes team ensured that we become reach in our experience. Everything was 10/10 from day one to the last day. 

Our experience in pitching tents will be helpful for life time and in all my upcoming treks which I do in sahyadri range. All the instructions given by trek leader Anuj were helpful and he ensured that everything falls in place as per schedule. Trek leaders Baldev and Sunil were equally good and they support both fast pacers and slow movers like me. Everything was on time starting from morning tea, breakfast, Lunch & Dinner. I did not came across any delay on all the days. Pitching tents on ice was my first experience. When we decided that we have to sleep on tents pitched on ice, the thought going through mind was that our sleep is going to miserable, but our we got our best sleep on the ice pitched tents. It was wonderful. 

One thing which stands out is food. The Quality and Test. This is one of the reason that i did not loose any weight on this trek. I was expecting to loose at least 10 KG. But sadly not even a gram. Harpalji is awesome cook and my reason to go on multiple treks with you guys in future. 

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Apoorvabaragur Baragur

Batch of
February 2020

The kind of confidence I got from the trek was huge!! I could do bungee jumping at rishikesh only because of the confidence I go at the trek! Even in life confidence really matters a lot at every stage and I'm thankful to the trek for giving me the confidence I have now about myself and in general. It also taught me patience, it taught me how to deal with people of different mindset, how to adjust according to different situations, how to cope up with fears, how to go with the flow in life when plans don't work and many more which I'm just too overwhelmed to write about.

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Rathinavelu Karthick

Batch of
February 2020

Core values are the most important things of great company ,that’s the secret behind the success I heard allot request in the hikes can we do this can we do that there was one firm answer we at at Hikes don’t do that we follow this strongly because of this , I was so happy to hear when I climbed the Mukta top and came down I just thought hope this stays the same way when my son grows and he is ready to climb to see the beauty and I believe that’s possible with strong core policies like Indian hikes , people they finish climbing don’t bother someone has to climb after that they get down to their celebration and destruction very aselfish attitude of human being :) core values are more important for that 

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AKILA J

Batch of
February 2020

Indiahikes is the safest organization I have ever heard and met. There were daily health check ups for us with equipments like oxymeter. And the provided gears like spikes and snow gaiters helped us a lot and without that we couldn't even imagine about trekking in snow. 

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Rathinavelu Karthick

Batch of
February 2020

Safety standards was very high no doubt about it ,one small suggestion my personal opinion we come to the mountains for silence to respect the beauty and not to celebrate after the summit climb is over with music and sound that’s my personal opinion but it could be different for different people .....
 

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Manoj Choubey

Batch of
February 2020

Was happy on my association with IH. Looking forward to interacting again.

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Monika Upadhyay

Batch of
February 2020

Good ethics. Green Trail initiative is good. 

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Eesha Mandekar

Batch of
February 2020

This trek was a great learning experience for me! it was a great experience to pitch and unpitch our tents! Outdoors can be a great learning experience for example when it was so cold outside we could see our kitchen staff working bare handed! Can't be grateful enough for the food that they provided. We had a small astronomy session on the campsite it really was very moving! It kind of put things in perspective that how small we are in front of the nature yet how we can make a huge impact. Last but not the least this was my 2nd trek with indiahikes, the leave no trails initiative is what sets IH apart! The 1st trek itself had a huge impact on me and made me a zero waste, responsible consumer! I could see everyone by the end of the trek actually discussing the issue of waste management and collecting waste from the trail. So yes this trek was a great learning experience!

I like how indiahikes stresses on preparation before the trek! Demanding screen shots is really an innovative idea to make sure everyone is physically and mentally prepared! Green trails is something that I have taken home with me from indiahikes. I have learnt it from here and imbibed it and now I practice it on Sahyadri treks as well! I truly believe in leaving the mountains in better condition than we found in and hence I carry a bag with me on every trek now to collect the garbage.

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Srinivasa Muralidhar

Batch of
February 2020

Green trails are very important so that we give back to the mountains. The fitness values we get from this is also very important to us.

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Joel Joseph

Batch of
February 2020

Every policies that have taken for caring mountais and land is appreciable.

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Mehul Chheda

Batch of
January 2020

It is the core values that drive an organisation.
The green trail is the perfect lesson for the city living trekkers.
Fitness routine... a necessity at high altitude treks

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Pranav Kaushik

Batch of
January 2020

Gratitude - At an altitude of 11000ft, at freezing temperatures of sub 0 degrees, being completely isolated from civilization, I have never felt more at home and safe within the hands of such a caring trek leader and the kitchen staff. 

I was also robbed of whatever little ego I had when I stood there facing the mighty mountains who let me scale them safely. I only completed the trek, not because of my physical fitness or preparedness, but because the mountains let me.

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Chowdhary Musunuri

Batch of
January 2020

This is a beautiful trek. Being a new trek, it offered us some untouched trails and campsites.

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Nalini Gascon

Batch of
January 2020

Your safety standards was at the top level!

Personaly, i would have even loved to take a bit more "risks" in trying to go for the summit. But this is very personal and I do understand your top level safety standards as it is about a whole group responsability!

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Navi Shri

Batch of
December 2019

I took few rent gears. They were really good for everyone to use and  helpful for me to save money by not buying them.

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Colonel Amrit Pal singh Madan

Batch of
December 2019

A user friendly website with extremely useful tips on pre trek planning and preparations including useful.videos in you tube. Special mention to ethos of encouraging renting.
Well organised trek
Par excellence team leader Leo...with a charismatic personality. The navigator Baldev, professionally sound experienced an a good human being.
Recommend availability of sufficient and larger inventory of equipment in rent.
Sharing of tent between two rather than three...esp in difficult and bad weather treks. Logic of camaraderie as enunciated by CEO guess is met adequately during the trek...


 

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Daisy Caur Pasay

Batch of
December 2019

The trek was absolutely amazing. The people that I met while I was on the trek were all so great. Everything was taken care of so well. We didn't have to worry about anything at all. The food was quite decent too. The views were absolutely magnificent. All in all, it was truly a great experience and I'd love to trek with INDIAHIKES again.
Indiahikes does indeed follow stringent protocols and I believe it is for the best. Health should always be the first priority. I think that the regular health checkups are an excellent way to be updated with the acclimatization of various individuals on the trek. A proper medical certificate from a medical practitioner was also required before the trek. 

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Roisin Farrell

Batch of
June 2019

The trek was beautiful and well organized. 

For me, the trek was a little easier than I expected as we had a lot of rest time. It was the staff and group that really made the experience amazing. We really bonded well and had a great time together and the trek leaders and guides were always looking out for each one of us. Couldn't have asked for a better team.  Overall it was a fantastic experience and I can't wait to do another trek 

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Narasimhan Agaram

Batch of
May 2019

Importance of fitness cannot be overemphasized. Situations can change quickly that demand higher fitness levels. At the same time, participants esp those over 40 often have their own challenges that need to be discussed and placed in the perspective of whether they might come in the way.

Green Trails is a great initiative and hope other trek companies follow suit.

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Aasiya Husain

Batch of
May 2019

Mukta Top was my first Himalayan trek, and I think this one’s going to stay with me forever. 
The trail was beautiful and full of variety. More than the actual top, I enjoyed the process of getting there. Getting to Damini point was exhilarating. Looking at Bandarpoonch, Kala Nag, and the Gangotri. Everything everything everything. Something that I won’t be able to forget. Ever. 
From the co-trekkers to the local staff, I am grateful for every being present there. The trek wouldn’t have been half as great without the company. Also, a big thank you to the entire IndiaHikes family and Nayana, our coordinator. She followed through with us before the beginning of the trek and after too! 

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phani kumar

Batch of
May 2019

frankly speaking there s nothing to change it was perfect.  everything was properly set right from our base camp to our summit it was perfect. The places where we camped, our food ( special mention - Mr.Harpaal ), trek leader and other staff were amazing and very generous.  I'll definitely write more about the trek soon including every nuance.

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Available dates

Oct November 2020 Dec

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.

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36 thoughts on “Mukta Top

    1. Yes, it’s a good trek for first timers. But like for any other easy-moderate trek, you must train for at least a month before the trek. There are good climbs on the trek. As for snow, you’ll see snow if you time your trek right. Go any time after mid-December and you’ll surely see snow. 🙂

  1. Which has better scenic views ? And which is better for first Himalayan trek in end of December ? Mukta top or Dayara Bugyal ?

    1. Hi Akil that’s a tough one! They are neighbouring trails, almost right next to each other, so both of them have very similar views. You see Mt Bandarpoonch, Mt Srikanth, Mt Jaonli, the Bhagirathi massif, Draupadi Ka Danda on both the treks. Mukta Top is slightly more rewarding because it has a good climb to the summit. So the feeling of achievement is a lot higher.

  2. I’m a beginner. I’m not trained and don’t have any knowledge about that. Will it be difficult for me?

    1. Mukta Top is a good trek for beginners, but you will definitely have to train and mentally prepare yourself. This is the case for anyone on any trek. 🙂

  3. Hi,

    I plan to trek mukta top in mid-jan. Will I need snow pants? Also, what features should my shoes have? What other gears will I need?

    1. Hi Vaishali, you don’t really get snow pants. You can get yourself a pair of dry-fit trek pants. That will do the job. For shoes, make sure it has good grip and ankle support. It should ideally be water resistant as well (at least for a few minutes). You’ll find a list of everything you need on the trek here – https://www.indiahikes.com/mukta-top/#what-to-take

      1. Thank you Swati 🙂
        Where in deheradun is the pick up point?
        Also, I see a lot of dates available in Jan. I’m planning to register for either 12th or 19th Jan. What if I’m the only one registering? Will the trek still start? Or can you tell me if I should go for 12th or 19th depending on minimum registration required to begin the batch?

        Sorry these are too many too specific questions.

        1. Hi Vaishali, in Dehradun, we have changed the pick up point to the Dehradun Bus Stop. (This is the case for three months from November 2019 onwards since the Dehradun railway station is closed). Also, I checked registrations for the dates you have mentioned. Jan 12th already has 3 others confirmed. You can go ahead and choose this date. 🙂

          1. Thank you for a quick response Swati! You’re awesome. How many registered for the 19th Jan batch?

  4. Hi Swathi, in terms of difficulty level on IH site, both Brahmatal & Mukta Top are Moderate… But which should one prefer as a beginner (planning in mid-Feb) ?

    1. Hi Piyush, Brahmatal would be a notch easier simply because it starts from a higher altitude. Mukta Top starts at around 4,600 ft whereas Brahmatal starts at 7,600 ft. And they both climb to similar highest altitudes. As you can imagine, there’s a bigger climb to Mukta Top. But it isn’t too steep. If you’re fit enough, and work on your fitness for at least two months before the trek, you should be able to do both treks comfortably.

  5. Hello Swathi,

    I’m a solo trekker and perhaps on a low/moderate level fitness and I brisk walk 8 km a day, in my scenario if I want to go for the Muktha top trek towards end of November, do you think I can finish this and how about Altitude sickness

    1. Hi Arun, brisk walking 8 km every day is a lot! You should be able to complete the Mukta Top trek comfortably. I would suggest timing yourself during these brisk walks and try doing them faster. If you can’t do it faster, you can reduce the distance and increase the time. That will help in terms of building stamina.

  6. HI
    which is the best time in jan for mukta top.
    & coming to trek gears ,should i buy all the gears & clothing???As i would not be trekking frequently.

    1. Hi Iyyappan. If you’re going in January, you can time your trek any time in the month. It’s a good winter trek with lots of snow in January. As for your gear, we have most of the important things you need available for rent — backpacks, shoes, jackets, trekking poles. And they’re always in great condition. After you register for the trek, you can book your rental gear here – https://store.indiahikes.com/product-category/rentals/

  7. Hi,
    I was focused on Deoriatal trek until I noticed Mukta Top. Both look fabulous for a late November or December. So Mukta would be less crowded, hopefully a chance for some early snow?

  8. I am interested in this trek for the month of Jan end or Feb beginning. I have done few Himalayan treks (12000ft +) , including Chadar last year. I can jog 5 kms about 40 mins now. How should I prepare for next 2 months? If the details of the trek can be sent to my email id please .

    1. Hi Ashis, it’s good to see that you have done treks before this one. That will surely help you on this trek. In terms of preparing yourself, you can start by trying to bring down the time taken to run 5k. If you can bring it down to around 35 minutes and make that consistent, it will greatly help you with your stamina for this trek. As for the cold, the temperatures will drop to -5 or -10 degrees on this trail in Jan and Feb. If you’ve done Chadar, you’ll surely know how to tackle that. 🙂

  9. Hi,
    I am planning to trek Mukta top with batch of 21 Dec. I wanted to make sure there is enough snow as my priority is to trek on snow. Please tell us if there will be snow on the way. If not which other trek may have snow for sure during 21 Dec.

    1. Hi Yatish, all our winter treks are in Uttarakhand, climbing to similar altitudes. Usually, if one trek has snow, the others also have snow. And we usually see snow on all treks by mid-December. So Mukta Top will definitely have snow in the last week of December. The only possibility of seeing more snow is trekking in January and February. 🙂

  10. Hi Swati, I am interested to join the mukta top trail during Jan end,but would like to know exact itenary if possible for the showcased start dates where can I see the same.
    Regards
    Leena

  11. Hi Swati,
    Me & my wife had booked with you for the Tarsar-Marsar Trek, this September, which sadly didnt come thru owing to the current developments in kashmir. Looking fwd to hitting the trail soon with indiahikes.

    Regarding Mukta Top, where can I find
    the daywise itinerary?

  12. Hello Mam,
    I am Interested in Mukta Top trek for the 7th December 2019 Batch. as Two of my friends are already enrolled for the same date. Please let me know, how can I?

  13. Hi, i was planning to join the Mukta top trek on 12th jan. However, by the time i could book, it seems to be full. Can you let me know how many people are before me in the waitlist. Need to know my chances. Also, given that i am supposed to make the payment, what will happen there are no cancellations and mine doesnt get confirmed?
    Thanks.

    1. Hi Viraj, you don’t have to make a payment to be on the waitlist. You just have to add your details and if there are no slots left, you automatically go to the waitlist.

      As for the Jan 12th batch, I wouldn’t recommend signing up for the waitlist. There are already 3 others on it, and they will get the first preference when there are cancellations. We rarely get more than 3-4 cancellations on a trek. So it’s best if you can choose another date for Mukta Top or perhaps another trek on the same date.

      Dayara Bugyal is available on January 12th and is a fantastic trek (Mukta Top’s neighbouring trek actually). It’s got great views and good snow cover in Jan. So you could easily go for that.

    1. Hi Sankalp, Har Ki Dun would be your best bet to see snow in November. It already snowed there last week (first week of November). You can see the pictures here – https://bit.ly/334kcoZ
      So I’d say go for this trek, it’s gorgeous at this time of the year. 🙂

  14. Hey, I’m planning to go on a Trek on 9 feb to be more precise, i was confused between kedarkantha and mukta top Trek. Which is better? Im looking for lots of snow and if I’m lucky i would like to experience snow fall, looking forward to your reply.

    1. Hi Ornella, both treks will have lots of now in February. And yes, there will be snowfall too, but mostly at night. But you might encounter snowfall during the day on your treks too.

      I would suggest the Mukta Top Trek as it is a grand package of many of our winter treks 🙂 You will find a beautiful forest section, high altitude meadows, and great mountain views.

      Also, Kedarkantha is the more popular, and consequently the more crowded of the two. Mukta Top is a completely secluded trail, which adds to the experience.

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