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.
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.
Abundant bird life
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.
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, especially for first time trekkers,” says Leo Saldanha, our Trek Leader who explored the trail.
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).
As a bonus, the Mukta Top trail is a virgin trail — 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.
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 by 6 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Trekking shoes: The trek distance is long and you will have to walk for long distances which need you to have comfortable trekking shoes. You can watch this video to learn to choose the right trekking shoes.
- Backpack (40-60 litres): A backpack with sturdy straps and a supporting frame. Rain cover for backpack is essential.
On a trek, carry fewer clothes than you would normally need. Do not pack for ‘what if situations’. That will only add to the weight of your backpack and not be used on the trek. Once your clothes get warmed up, you will not feel like changing. Just maintain personal hygiene.
- Three Warm Layers: You will be trekking and camping at high altitudes. So make sure you have the apt clothes for the climatic conditions. It will be cold at the higher altitudes so make sure you have at least three layers of warm clothes to protect yourself.
- Two trek pants: One pair of pants should suffice for this trek. But you can carry one spare pair in case the first one gets wet. Wear one pair and carry one pair. Denims/jeans and shorts are not suitable for trekking.
- Two collared t-shirts: Carry light, full sleeved t-shirts that prevent sun burns on the neck and arms. Again, wear one and carry one. Let one of these be a dri-fit t-shirt. It will dry quickly in case you are trekking on a rainy day. A common mistake that trekkers make is not changing their tshirts often enough. Regardless of how cold it is, the body tends to sweat a lot. Trekkers who don’t change to fresh clothes after reaching the campsite fall ill due to wet clothes and are often unable to complete their trek.
- Thermals (Optional): Those who are more susceptible to cold can carry thermals to wear at night.
- Suncap: The sun is more harsh at high altitudes so wear a suncap to protect your face and neck.
- Synthetic hand gloves: One pair of fleece or woolen hand gloves. One pair of water proof/resistant, wind proof gloves.
- Balaclava: You may use woollen scarves instead as well.
- Socks (2 pairs): Apart from two sports socks, you can take a pair of woollen socks for the night.
- Headlamp/LED torch: Mandatory
- Trekking pole: Watch this video to understand why you need a trekking pole.
- Ponchos: At high altitudes, snowfall and rain are quite common and hence it’s mandatory to carry a poncho so that you don’t get wet.
Indiahikes offers rentals on this trek. You can now rent trekking shoes, trekking pole, padded jacket and poncho instead of buying them. You can collect these directly at the base camp and return them there after the trek. Get the details here.
- Daypack (20 litres): If you are offloading your backpack, you will need a smaller backpack to carry water, medical kit and some light snacks.
- Toiletries: Sunscreen, moisturiser, light towel, lip balm, toilet paper, toothbrush, toothpaste, hand sanitiser. Do not carry wet wipes since these are not biodegradable. If you do happen to use wet wipes to clean up after a trek, make sure you bring them back with you. The same holds for used sanitary napkins. Carry a zip lock bag to put used wet tissues and napkins. Bring this ziplock bag back with you to the city and do not dispose wet tissues and sanitary napkins in the mountains.
- Cutlery: Carry a spoon, coffee mug and a lunch box. We insist on trekkers getting their own cutlery for hygiene reasons.
- Two water bottles: 1 litre each
- Plastic covers: While packing, use plastic bags to compartmentalise things and carry few extra plastic bags for wet clothes.
Mandatory Personal Medical Kit
- Diamox – 10 tablets (to prevent AMS)
- Dexamethasone – one strip
- Nifedipine – 5 tablets
- Crocin – 6 tablets (fever)
- Avomine – 4 tablets (motion sickness)
- Avil 25mg – 4 tablets (allergies)
- Combiflam – 4 tablets (Pain killer)
- Norflox TZ & Lomofen– 6 tablets each (diarrhea)
- Digene – 10 tablets (acidity)
- Omez/ Rantadine – 10 tablets (antacids)
- Crepe bandage – 3 to 5 meters
- Gauze – 1 small roll
- Band aid – 10 strips
- Cotton – 1 small roll
- ORS – 10 packets
- Betadine or any antiseptic cream
- Moov spray (aches, & sprains)
- Knee cap, if you are prone to knee injury
- Anti fungal powder
- Original and photocopy of government photo identity card- (driving license, voters ID, etc.)
- Disclaimer- Download PDF
- Medical certificate – Download PDF
Here’s a guide to help you pack for the trek –
What you need to know about the trek fee
The trek fee of Rs. 8,950 + 5% GST covers all costs of the trek from Kaflon, back to Kaflon.
Here is what the trek fee includes:
- Accommodation – Stay is included from Day 1 to Day 5 . You will be camping on all days of the trek (3 per tent).
- Meals – All meals from dinner at Kaflon on Day 1 to breakfast at Kaflon on Day 6 are included. We provide simple, nutritious vegetarian food on all days of the trek.
- Camping charges – All trekking permits and forest camping charges are included.
- Trekking equipment – You will stay in high quality tents and sleeping bags in all the camps. Our high altitude sleeping bags can withstand temperatures as low as -10 ºC. We provide ice axes, roped, micro spikes, gaiters etc. as required.
- Safety equipment – First aid, medical kit, oxygen cylinders, stretchers etc. will be available at all campsites to deal with emergencies.
- Services of an expert Trek Leader – All our trek leaders are qualified in basic / advanced mountaineering courses.
- Services of an expert Trek Team – The mountain staff on this trek consists of well trained guides, cooks, helpers and porters.
Here is what the trek fee excludes:
- Transport to and from the base camp – We will arrange shared taxis for trekkers to pick you up from Dehradun and drop back to Dehradun. This will cost approx. Rs. 5,500 per 5-6 seater vehicle. You will have to share this cost with the other trekkers
- Food during transit to and from the base camp – The trek fee does not include meals purchased during the journey to Kaflon and back from Kaflon
- Backpack offloading charges – If you wish to offload your backpack, there will be an additional charge of Rs 250 per day + 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 Raithal. Online offloading in advance is possible up to two days prior to the trek start date.
- Stay at Dehradun on the last day
- Personal expenses of any kind
- Anything apart from inclusions
Terms & Conditions
1. Cancellation: If a trek is called off at the last moment due to a natural calamity/unforseen circumstances (like rains, earthquake, landslides, strike, bandh etc), Indiahikes will issue a trek voucher for the full amount. The voucher can be redeemed for the same trek or another trek in the next one year.
In case, you wish to cancel your trek, please login to your account and cancel. Cancellation requests will not be taken over phone or email.
The cancellation charges are as under:
- Cancellations prior to 30 days from the start of the trek — full refund.
- Cancellation between 30 days and 20 days to the start of the trek — 50% refund.
- Cancellation less than 20 days to the start of the trek — no refund.
Please note: In case of refund, there will be a deduction of 4% (cancellation charges) from the total fee you have paid. Also, if you have opted for a trek insurance, the amount will not be refunded.
The trek fee includes all costs of the trek from the start and to the end of the trek.
2. Pick up: Trekkers are picked up from Dehradun railway station at 6.30 am. Usually, trekkers are clubbed together with other participants to make a group. The group travels together to Barsu in shared cabs.
3. Transport: Transport from Dehradun to Kaflon and the return can be arranged by us at an extra cost. Participants are expected to share the cost of the cab (Rs 5,500 for a 5-6 seater vehicle). The amount is to be paid directly to our transporter. No GST is applicable on transport cost. Indiahikes only arranges the vehicle pick up and is not responsible for any issues during transport. You can choose to come independently to the base camp.
4. 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 charge is Rs 250 per day + 5% GST. Partial offloading is not allowed. Charges will vary for last minute on slope offloading. The backpack cannot weigh more than 9 kg. No suitcases/strolleys/duffel bags will be allowed. Online offloading in advance is possible up to two days prior to the trek start date.
5. Emergency during trek: In a trek a medical emergency or any other emergency may arise. If for any reason you are sent down from the trek then Indiahikes will make arrangements for your return to the base camp or nearest road head. A staff will accompany you. He may not be a trained personnel.
Evacuation or dealing with emergencies is extremely difficult in the mountains. It is time consuming as well. A normal trek of 2 hours may take 6 hours in an emergency (a sick person is not easy to evacuate). Doctors do not go along with a team. Doctors are not available at the base camp or nearest road head either. Indiahikes trek leaders are trained to administer first aid and know how to deal with issues related to the mountains. However, they are not doctors.
Registering for this trek is an understanding that you have read up on the difficulties of high altitude trekking and understand the risks. You have also understood what AMS, HAPE and HACE are. You have taken efforts to educate yourself and you are in a position to manage your own altitude related emergency.
6. 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. Cardiovascular training before a trek is critically important. Training must include strength and flexibility workout. We have laid out the eligibility criteria here. Registering for the trek is an understanding that you will undertake the mandated fitness training. Indiahikes has the right to reject candidates who do not meet our eligibility requirement at the base camp.
7. Non-liability: Indiahikes is not responsible for any loss/damage of your gears/equipment or other belongings on the trek.
8. Payment: Payment for the trek can be done online through credit/debit card or net banking. Cheque/draft or cash is not accepted.
9. Drinking and smoking during the trek is strictly prohibited. If found flouting the rules, your participation on the trek will be cancelled with immediate effect.
10. Safety Protocol:
a. While our itineraries are designed to allow for adequate acclimatisation, most treks in Indian Himalayas climb quickly, which is called forced accents. Unavailability of camp sites and the Indian Himalayan terrain are the reason for this. There are chances that you will feel the effects of altitude sickness and oxygen deprivation while on this trek. Please be aware that your trek leader may deem it unsafe for you to continue trekking at any time, and arrange for you to descend to a lower attitude.
b. Our trek leaders will conduct routine health checks at all camps to measure oxygen saturation, pulse and blood pressure. Indiahikes reserves the right to exclude any trekker from climbing higher on the trek without refund if the trekker’s vital readings are below accepted norms for that altitude. These norms are available with Indiahikes trek leaders.
c. This is a high altitude trek. It is important that you are a fit and confident walker in mountain terrain, able to manage ascents and descents by yourself within a reasonable time. Indiahikes reserves the right to turn around a trekker if in the opinion of our trek leader they are unable to complete the itinerary without requiring exclusive assistance. Please realistically self-assess your fitness and suitability for this trek before registering.
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
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.
1. What is the style of accommodation in this trek?
This is a 6 day trek. You will be staying in camps/tents on all days of the trek. Each tent accommodates 3 trekkers. Sufficient number of toilet tents will be set up for the convenience of trekkers.
2. Will you provide us with tents and sleeping bags?
Yes, Indiahikes trekkers will be provided with tents and high altitude sleeping bags that can withstand temperatures as low as -10 ºC.
3. Which are the best seasons for this trek?
Spring, autumn and winter are the best times to do the Mukta Top trek.
4. When will there be snow on this trek?
You are likely to find snow in patches on this trail in April. You see fresh snow fall in December.
5. At what time should we reach Dehradun?
It is advisable to reach Dehradun railway station by 6.30 am. Indiahikes pick up is lined up at that time. You can take the Nandadevi Express from New Delhi Railway station at 11.50 pm. It reaches Dehradun by 6.00 am.
The cost of the pick up is not included in the trek fee. This amounts to Rs.5,500 per vehicle and is to be paid directly to the driver.
6. What will we do if it rains?
If it starts raining while you’re trekking, we will continue on the trail as planned. Your poncho should protect you from the rain. Carry a backpack cover for extra protection from rain for your belongings. When it rains at the campsite, we usually get together in the dining tent and play games. The tents that you will be staying in, the dining tent, kitchen and toilet tents are all water proof, so you will stay dry inside.
7. How will we get back to Dehradun?
Indiahikes will arrange for vehicles (usually a Tata Sumo) to drop you back from Barsu at the end of the trek. The cost of transportation would be borne and shared by trekkers. It will amount to around Rs.5,500 per vehicle and is to be paid directly to the driver.
8. Are trek poles, jackets and other equipment available for rent from Indiahikes?
Yes, we offer shoes, jackets and trek poles on rent. We also have some equipment on sale. You can order both rentals and purchase online. Check out our store here.
9. Is this a good trek for a first timer?
Mukta Top is graded as a moderate trek. Beginners can attempt this trek provided they stick to the fitness schedule and meet the health requirements. Kedarkantha, Har Ki Dun and Sandakphu are also good treks for first timers. As in all treks, physical preparation is mandatory.
10. Is there an option to offload my backpack on this trek?
Yes, there is an option to offload your backpack. This will cost Rs.250 per day + 5% GST if you inform us in advance. If you decide to offload once you reach Lohajung, the amount will be Rs.335 per day + 5% GST. The offloaded bag should not weigh more than 9 kg. Strolleys, duffel bags, suitcases etc. are not allowed. Online offloading in advance is possible up to two days prior to the trek start date. We suggest you read “5 Tips to make Carrying your Trekking Backpack Easy” before making a decision.
11. Can I take my child along on this trek? What is the age limit?
Mukta Top trek is a moderate trek and requires trekkers to be physically fit. Minimum age for eligibility is 12 years. If your child meets this criterion and is physically fit, you can take her/him along.
12. What kind of food is served on the trek? Should we carry any food?
Indiahikes uses a well planned menu suitable for high altitude treks. Breakfast varies from bread and butter, semia, poha to sandwiches and cornflakes. Lunch mainly comprises of roti or puri with sabzi. Dinner is complete with Dal, rice, roti and dessert. Dry ration of biscuits and chikki will be provided as well. You may carry nuts and dry fruits if necessary.
13. Who will be there with us on the trek from Indiahikes?
An Indiahikes team consisting of a qualified Trek leader, trek guides, porters and cooks will be with you throughout the trek.
14. What are the washroom/toilet facilities like on the trek?
During the trek, toilet tents will be set up along each campsite. There will be 2 to 4 of these toilet tents depending on the size of the group. A toilet tent will have a deep pit, where one can answer nature’s call. There will be a mound of soil and a shovel to cover it up. These are dry toilets, where you’ll have to use toilet paper. This is the most hygienic and convenient way to answer nature’s call in the wild. Please use plain toilet paper and refrain from using wet wipes since these are not biodegradable.
15. Will there be water sources on the way? Will two litres of water be enough?
Our campsites are pitched near water sources. For your day’s trek, two litres of water should be enough. On Day 4 and Day 5, you will find one water source to refill your water bottles. Your trek leader will brief you about these before starting the day’s trek. There will be no water sources on the trail on the other days of trekking.
16. Is there mobile network on this trek? Are there any electricity charging points on this trek?
Idea network is available at Barsu. Signal on all other networks is available at Bhatwari, on the main road. Beyond that, the signal will be intermittent. There will be no charging points anywhere on the trek since you will be staying in tents throughout.
17. Do I need special snow shoes on this trek?
You don’t need special snow shoes. A good trekking shoe is sufficient for the trek. When there is snow, we provide microspikes and gaiters. In case you’re looking to purchase new trekking shoes before the trek, this video will help you choose the right pair.
18. Why is the trekking pole necessary?
A trekking pole gives you stability and balance, and helps reduce fatigue. We suggest you watch this video for a better understanding of why a trekking pole is necessary – https://www.youtube.com/
19. When it gets really cold can I consume alcohol?
Alcohol is dangerous in extreme cold, especially at high altitudes. Contrary to what people believe, alcohol does not make you warmer. Instead it opens your pores, making your body colder. Moreover, it dehydrates you very quickly. Hence consumption of alcohol is absolutely prohibited on all Indiahikes treks. Anyone found with alcohol is quickly removed from the trek. Smoking, similarly, is not allowed on Indiahikes treks.
20. How long do we trek every day?
Day 1: Reach Kuflon (4,600 ft) from Dehradun. Pick-up time at Dehradun: 6:00 AM. Travel Time: 7-8 hours, 150 km. Stay is in tents.
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.
21. How do I manage the negative temperatures on the trek? Do I need special jackets?
At 11,648 ft altitude, temperatures are sure to dip into negative at nights, especially in the winter. For these extreme cold temperatures, you need to keep the rule of 3 in mind. The rule of 3 usually takes care of cold that dip to -10°C. It is a simple formula of wearing 3 layers of woolen, inners and lower wear.
Follow this guide:
Wear one thermal and two T-shirts, three layers of woolens (two sweaters and a jacket). For your lowers wear a thermal inner with two layers of track suit. If you are prone to more cold, just add a layer.
The temperatures dip only late in the evening and early mornings. During the day if the sun is out, then you may even be trekking in your T-shirts. Make sure you use your thermal wear only at night and not while trekking.
A woolen cap/balaclava and gloves are a must.
This video also has tips on how to stay warm on a high altitude trek.
22. What all do I need to carry on the trek?
Click here to get the list of all the things you need to carry on the trek.
23. Is it safe to trek with Indiahikes?
All high altitude treks come with their share of risks. At Indiahikes, we pay utmost importance to safety of trekkers. While we do our bit to ensure a trekker is safe, we also expect any trekker who is enrolling with us to know what could go wrong, and if it does, how to tackle it. Before you go on the trek, make sure you’re thoroughly acquainted with the safety procedures followed on a trek.
24. What are the places of interest that I can visit before or after the trek?
You can spend time exploring tourist attractions around Dehradun. Please note that these are suggestions and Indiahikes does not make any arrangements for visiting them.
How to get to the basecamp – Kuflon
Delhi → Dehradun→ Kuflon
The Mukta Top trek starts from Kuflon, 155 km from Dehradun. Kuflon is a small village.
Indiahikes organizes transport from Dehradun to Kuflon. The pick up is from Dehradun Railway station on Day 1. The cost of the cab is Rs.5,500 per Bolero. This is not included in your trek fee. It is to be shared amongst trekkers and paid directly to the driver.
You will reach Kuflon at around 6.oo pm.
To reach Dehradun
The best way to reach Dehradun is to take an overnight train from Delhi.
- 12205 Nandadevi Express – 23.50 – 6.00
If you cannot find a train, then take a bus. To stay on the safe side, book buses online in advance. Book such that you have some buffer time to make it to Dehradun on time for the pick-up; buses usually get delayed.
Kuflon → Dehradun → Delhi
The Mukta Top trek starts and ends at Kaflon. It is again a 7 hour journey back to Dehradun. Indiahikes organises this transport for a fare of Rs.5,500 per cab. This is to be shared by trekkers and paid to the driver directly. You will reach Dehradun by 6.00 pm.
If you are travelling further from Dehradun, keep a couple of hours as buffer time in case of delay. Book your further travel from Dehradun post 8.00 pm. If you are travelling to Delhi, you can choose to go back by Mussoorie Express (21.20 – Dehradun) or Nanda Devi Express ( 23.30 – Dehradun).