The Best Ridge Trek In Our Country
To begin with, ridge treks are extremely uncommon in our country. There are hardly a handful. In exploring the Phulara Ridge trek in April 2017, we discovered a ridge trek that is looking to be one of the best!
Now, a ridge is a place where two sides of the mountain meet. So the walk on a ridge is almost like one on a knife edge, where there are just flanks of the mountain sloping down from either side of you. There are small ridge sections on a few Himalayan treks. However, to have an entire day’s trek on a ridge is unparalleled.
If you have done a summit climb, you would know that you stand at the highest point for perhaps 20-30 minutes. This is from where you get great views of the mountains around. On this trek though, you’re at a high point of 12,000 ft for day’s worth of trek(4-5 hours!).
The 250-degree panorama of snow-capped mountains stays with you throughout! It almost gives you the feeling that these mountains are trekking along with you, as you traverse the ridge that curves its way into the landscape. Below you, the ground sweeps down on either side – one into a meadow, one into a valley. This is what makes Phulara Ridge a unique experience.
What To Watch Out for
The Pushtara meadows
Right after you descend from the ridge walk, you find yourself in the Pushtara meadows. The vastness of meadows will blow you away. Folds and folds of carpeted green hills spread out as far as your eyes can see. Wildflowers sprout in all their glory. You see a 270-degree view of snow-capped mountains. And then you discover that this is where you will be camping! We would go as far as to call it our campsite of the year.
For a very short trek, the forests on Phulara Ridge is extremely dense. So dense, that only streams of sunlight coming through this dark forest light your way. And due to the relative lack of use by the locals, there are places with no trail. Since the forest hasn’t been trodden on as often, you are likely to be the only ones on the trail. So all the chirps, the whistle of birds and the rustles of trees – they are all magnified in this silence. You spot different kinds of trees too – oaks, pines, dwarf rhododendrons, silver birches and maples. Forest walks are a joy to behold and Phulara has the most isolated of them.
The density of the forests of Phulara welcomes the omnipresence of birds and wildlife. Our explorers spotted 11 Himalayan monals! This state bird of Uttarakhand is rare to spot and is one of the most colourful birds we have seen. It is special to spot even one of them – let alone 11. Our explorers also spotted barbets, woodpeckers, Himalayan whistling thrushes and drongos.
Banner image by Oishy Halder
Trekkers often ask us these questions about the Phulara Ridge trek:
These questions have been answered by Saurabh Sawant, Head of Documentation at Indiahikes.
❖ How difficult is Phulara Ridge?
The Phulara Ridge trek is a moderate grade trek. This means the trek is ideal for a fit beginner. The trek is 4 days long and each day, you’ll be trekking for an average of 5 hours each.
The geographical location of the ridge ensures lower temperatures compared to surrounding region. Therefore, Phulara Ridge is one of the very few treks that has snow even in the spring season at an altitude as low as 12,500 ft. You’ll be provided microspikes to help navigate these sections safely.
Having said that, it is still a trek in the Himalayas with difficulties in terrain, temperatures and weather. Therefore, you must train for at least a month before going on the Phulara Ridge trek.
❖ When is the best time to do Phulara Ridge?
The best time to do the Phulara Ridge trek would be in the summer– May and June. The gradual transition of the trail from snow to greenery is something to behold. This coupled with the blooming rhododendrons, the possibility of witnessing the rare alpenglow phenomenon and the vibrant meadows of Pushtara make it one of the best times to do the trek.
Another good time to do the Phulara Ridge trek is in the post-monsoon season — September to November. The trail is lush green in September, fresh from the monsoon outpour. As you move towards autumn, the region changes hues to dramatic yellows and oranges. You’ll also get the best views of mountains in this season.
❖ Where is Phulara Ridge?
Phulara Ridge is located towards the North-East of Uttarakhand, less than 25 km from the border of Himachal Pradesh.
It’s a high altitude trek with a maximum altitude of 12,171 ft above MSL located within the Govind Pashu Vihar National Park. It’s close to other popular treks like Kedarkantha and Har Ki Dun-Ruinsara Tal.
The Phulara Ridge trek starts from and ends at Kotgaon. The geographical location of Phulara Ridge gives it an almost unfair advantage over other treks. It is located in the shadow zone of the region, so the sun doesn’t hit a section of the trek directly. This means the snow on the trail stays longer, sometimes well into the spring season. This is a rarity for a trek lower than 13,000 ft.
To know how to reach Kotgaon, the base camp of the Phulara Ridge trek, click here for travel details and recommendations.
Day 1: Reach Kotgaon; 8-10 hours drive from Dehradun. Transport will be organised by Indiahikes from Dehradun Railway station at 6.30 am. Cost of transport by a 5-7 seater cab is Rs.5,500 and has to be shared equally by the trekkers.
Day 2: Kotgaon (6,397 ft) to Sikolta (9,300 ft); 5 hours
Day 3: Sikolta (9,300 ft) to Bhoj Gadi (11,155 ft); 4 hours
Day 4: Bhoj Gadi (11,155 ft) to Pushtara (9,500 ft) via Phulara ridge (12,127 ft); 6 hours
Day 5: Pushtara (9,500 ft) to Taluka (7,953 ft); 5 hours. Drive to Kotgaon
Day 6: Depart from Kotgaon by 7.00 am. You are expected back in Dehradun by 6.00 pm.
Transport will be organised by Indiahikes to Dehradun. Cost of transport by a 5-7 seater cab is Rs.5,500 and has to be shared equally by the trekkers.
Please note that you will be staying at a lodge in Kotgaon. The stay on all other days is in tents.
It is mandatory for trekkers to carry a copy of their photo id for entry at forest check posts on the trek. Since Kotgaon will have limited facilities to photo copy, do not leave this till the end.
Day 1: Reach Kotgaon
Kotgaon, base camp for this trek, is a small but pretty village with 250 houses. A few dhabas and shops make up the commerce scene in Kotgaon. In peak season, it is usually bustling with trekking activity as it is the basecamp for many treks – Kedarkantha, Bali Pass and Borasu Pass. The village offers a beautiful view of the sun setting behind the greater Himalayas. The peaks of Swargarohini shimmer in the evening sun, standing tall over the ridges beyond Kotgaon.
The drive to Kotgaon will take you through Nainbagh, Naugaon, Purola, Jarmola, Mori Naitwar (a left turn from Naitwar will lead you to Dhaula, which is the base camp for Rupin Pass and Bharadsar lake trek), and finally Kotgaon.
- Altitude: 6,397 ft (1,950 m)
- Time taken: Kotgaon, the base camp, can be reached in 8-10 hours from Dehradun. Transport will be arranged from Dehradun Railway station at 6.30 am.
Day 2: Kotgaon to Sikolta
- Altitude: 6,397 ft (1,950 m) to 9,300 ft (2,835 m)
- Time taken: 5 hours
- Trek gradient: Moderate. Ascending trail throughout.
- Water sources: A small stream near the broken bridge, around 3.5-4 hours into the trek
The initial ascent is through the lovely pine forest. The trail is wide and marked well. An hour and half of ascent on the trek, you cross a small concrete bridge. Keep your ears and eyes open on the ascent as you spot a lot of birds on the trial. Right from barbets, drongos, treepies, woodpeckers and a lot more. Later, you cross a broken dhaba on the trail. Follow this trail for another 30 mins. This is where you come to the first clearing. It is known as ‘Jainol Thatch’.
Another 10 mins of ascent, you come to the second prominent clearing. This place is called ‘Marikoda’. As you look to the left, one can see the peak of Dhunda. The Phulara ridge can also be spotted from this point.
There are two forks in the trail now. If you follow the trail straight ahead, it’s the one to the famous Juda Ka Talab. You can either follow this to JKT and then take a left from the lake or the better exciting trail which is to explore the trail to the left from this fork. This takes you through the lovely pine forests. The aroma of the Himalayan Cedar or Deodhar Cedar is filled around the area as your legs enjoy a soft crunch through the forest floor. You will hear the tiny bees buzzing, resonating all around the forest. A nice half an hour on the forest path, you reach the main trail. This the trail which comes from JKT. Take the left over here and follow the trail in the forest.
You will be surprised to see a ridge to your right. The sunlight cuts across the canopy beautifully here. You start seeing snow-capped peaks being visible now to the left. You will pass a small broken bridge. A stream is flowing down the hill where you can fill your water bottles.
The ascent continues from here for another 40 minutes. The Trail has Yellow Marsh Marigold and purple lilies blooming around. You come across a lovely large rock – The Gecko rock. It resembles the shape of a lizard having its head held high. The trail takes the right which leads to clearing of ‘Sikolta’. A nice meadow patch with broken Gujjar huts. There is another good clearing to the left where you can pitch your tents. To the right, you have the water source. The streams will be running with water post-monsoon.
Landmarks on the way:
- A small bridge crossing in the ascent to Marikoda
- Marikoda is the second clearing on the trail
- A broken bridge where the water flows down.
- The meadow of Sikolta
Day 3: Sikolta to Bhoj Gadi
- Altitude: 9,300 ft (2,835 m) to 11,155 ft (3,400 m)
- Time taken: 4 hours
- Trek gradient: Easy-moderate. Ascending trail throughout.
- Water sources: A stream near the bridge, around an hour into the trek.
A good ascent from Sikolta for about 30 minutes through the forest patch. The forest is a bit dark and dense. Watch out for few trees fallen down on the trail. You spot a bridge at down along the trail. A small descend to the bridge and a sharp ascend through a small section of the landslide terrain. This section is just about 100 meters. A nice stream is flowing underneath the bridge where you can fill water. The bridge and the stream separate the valley. Continue the ascend for another 15 minutes to reach a bigger clearing known as ‘Karsu Thatch’. The grass is filled with yellow flowers.
As you enter this big clearing, to the right you see the Kedarkantha peak. You see the decline in the tree line from here. You need to take the gradual ascent and keep to your left. The ascent is a gradual one for another 30 minutes. The rhodo type trees with some Bhoj trees are filled on the trail now. The flowers bloom after the monsoon. The clearings start to open up and you enter the lush green meadows. A treat for your eyes and legs, one can enjoy walking on the green cover now.
The Dhunda Top is the highest point of this hill. A small gradual ascent of 15 minutes and a trek for another 10 minutes on the trail to the left, you enter a nice flat meadow patch. This will be your campsite. You have a stream flowing down the valley. This will be your water source.
You can go for an excursion/acclimatization walk to the top of the hill. It’s a long ridge at the top which can take you all the way to Kedarkantha as well. From here you will see Purola region, the peaks of Kedarkantha, Swargarohini, Devkyara, Lekha Top, Vijay Top and few others. The sunset, rising of the moon and early morning sunrise is a beautiful spectacle to watch out for from this campsite.
Landmarks on the way:
- Bridge after the forest patch
- Karsu Thatch clearing
- Green meadows of Bhoj Gadi
Day 4: Bhoj Gadi to Pushtara via Phulara ridge
- Altitude: 11,115 ft (3,400 m) to 9,500 ft (2,896 m) via 12,127 ft (3,696 m)
- Time taken: 6 hours
- Trek gradient: Easy-moderate. Ascend trail up to the ridge. A flat trail at the ridge followed by a descent to the Pushtara.
- Water sources: None. Carry at least two litres of water from Bhoj Gadi
The top of the ridge can be seen from the campsite. To start the day, there is a nice ascent. It takes about 45 minutes to reach the top of the ridge. A lot of Himalayan Monals can be spotted on this trail. I saw seven Monals on this day and when approaching the ridge.
The view from the ridge is amazing. The view of the snow-peaked mountains of 250 degrees. You can see the ridge going ahead with slight ascents to reach the end of this beautiful trail. As you are trekking, you feel the snow-capped mountains moving along with you.
Another hour of trekking, you come to the end of this trail where it takes a right turn. Few stones kept along the pathway, make you feel like you got a grand entrance to view the majestic view. The peaks from right to left are Hanuman Top, Sarutal Top, DKD, Bandarpoonch, Kalanag, Swargarohini, Hata Peak(HKD), Ranglana, Devkyara valley, Lekha Top, Vijay Top, Kedarkantha. Take the right from this point where the trail leads. An intermittent signal of Vodafone can be caught at the top. You can see multiple descents and ascents one has to take. The base of Sarutal is where you need to cross.
The trail takes a bit of descent and follows a gradual ascent. To the right is a drop. In the distance across the tall pine trees, is the valley of Purola. This section is not possible to take during the winter months because of snow. This section also does not have water sources. Crossing the snow section during the month of April, May itself is a difficult, tricky section. It took about an hour and 50 minutes with snow. Without snow, it would take about 30 minutes to complete and cross the Sarutal section. Watch for wildflowers and Monals through this section.
Once you cross this valley, you enter the right side of the hill. Few big mountains right in front of you. Take the descent and keep to your right. You will be blown away by the vastness of Pushtara meadows. It’s on the edge and a beautiful place to set up your campsite.
If you cross this valley, you have Taloti. A medium-sized gorgeous lake formed by the melting glaciers. Pushtara has a good amount of water on the right side. A small graveyard by the Gujjars can be seen gives a nice chill to the bones. A good place to come up with stories for the night.
Landmarks on the way:
- Top of the ridge. Pathway with stones
- A prominent right turn towards Sarutal valley
Day 5: Pushtara to Taluka. Drive to Kotgaon
- Altitude: 9,500 ft (2,896 m) to 7,953 ft (2,424 m)
- Time taken: 5 hours trek + 1-hour drive to Kotgaon
- Trek gradient: Easy-moderate. Descending trail all the way to Taluka.
- Water sources: There is a stream just before you enter the forest, around 1.5 hours into the trek.
The trail would be a complete descent to the village of Taluka. The first 30 minutes is the descent through the meadows. You see some broken Gujjar huts here. You see the trail coming from the Taloti valley to the right. Take the descent and join this trail. Keep descending and going towards the right. The tree line starts to increase. The floor is laden with beautiful yellow flowers. It feels like a bed to just lie down.
A descent for another 30 minutes, you enter the forest. Wide good trails entering the forest at first. The forest is a big one and is easy to get lost if you go off-trail. Initially, trees are spaced with a good amount of light coming through the cover. Later big pine trees dawn over you. You seem like tiny individual trekking in the big forest. You need to cross some trees which have fallen down on the ground. A troop of curious langurs stares at your trekking technique while they jump effortlessly from one tree to another.
Keep an eye to the right, you see a small village. You won’t be going to this village but gives you the reassurance of following the trail. The descent goes for about an hour and 30 mins through this forest. The last stretch of thick untouched forest and you hear few bells. You spot a herd of cows, goats grazing and also few logging activities indicating that you are close to civilization. Follow the same trail and you see a pathway and a collecting pipe from the stream. There is a big water tank and you see wooden huts with stoned roofing. This is the village of Tumrikot. A beautiful village walks for 30 mins and you reach the end of your trek. The small village of Taluka has a couple of shops. You can see a clear marking for the Har Ki Dun trek.
Landmarks on the way:
- Broken Gujjar huts
- Logging of timber
- Water Tank, Tumrikot village
Banner Image by Payal Morankar
Plan Your Travel for Phulara Ridge Trek
It is great to see you going on the Phulara Ridge Trek, the Best Ridge Trek In Our Country. 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.
- A quick view of your travel plan (Skip to section)
- Planning your onward air/train booking (Skip to section)
- Planning your return air/train booking (Skip to section)
- Planning your hotel booking (Skip to section)
- How to reach Kotgaon on your own (Skip to section)
Here’s a quick view on how to plan your travel.
Day 0: Book your air ticket to Delhi or Dehradun. If Delhi, book night train/bus to Dehradun. Click here for more explanation.
Day 1: Transport will be organised from Hotel Grand Legacy, Dehradun. Reach Kotgaon; 8-10 hours drive from Dehradun and 190 kms..Cost of cab – Rs.5,500 per vehicle.
Day 2: Kotgaon (6,397 ft) to Sikolta (9,300 ft); 5 hours
Day 3: Sikolta (9,300 ft) to Bhoj Gadi (11,155 ft); 4 hours
Day 4: Bhoj Gadi (11,155 ft) to Pushtara (9,500 ft) via Phulara ridge (12,127 ft); 6 hours
Day 5: Pushtara (9,500 ft) to Taluka (7,953 ft); 5 hours. Drive to Kotgaon; 1 hour
Day 6: Depart from Kotgaon by 7.00 am. You are expected back in Dehradun by 6.00 pm. The drive is 8-10hours and is 190 kms.
Book your return by train from Dehradun to Delhi on Day 6 after 8pm.
Day 7: Book your flight from Dehradun/Delhi. If its from Delhi book a flight after 8 am.
| Important points to note:
- While getting to Kotgaon, we recommend you arrive a day earlier and stay at Dehradun (Day zero). Get a good night’s rest for the journey the next day.
- We can also pick you from Mussoorie which is about an hour and a half from Dehradun, the distance is 33 kms. The pickup from Mussoorie is at the Library chowk (Library end junction)
Route from Dehradun to Kotgaon via Mussoorie, Purola.
2. Planning your onward flight/train booking
Click here to plan your return flight/train booking.
If you are travelling from Bengaluru, Chennai, Pune, Mumbai or any other city, book your
air tickets for Day Zero, which is the day before Day 1 on the itinerary. If your trek start day is 25 November, book your air tickets for 24 November to either Delhi/Dehradun.
There are two options.
Option 1: Fly directly to Dehradun.
We recommend this. It gives you an added rest day at Dehradun. Most metros are directly connected to Dehradun. However, if the cost of the flight ticket to Dehradun is too high, book to Delhi and connect to Dehradun by train/bus. Dehradun Airport in Jolly Grant and 35 km from Dehradun.
The Dehradun airport is somewhat inconvenient when it comes to city connectivity ( to Dehradun). Airport buses that ply to Dehradun via airport run every hour. In our experience, the hour can stretch to even 1½ hours.
Taxis are available from the airport (plenty). Prepaid taxis are available (look for the pre-paid taxi counter just out of the conveyor belt at the arrivals). You can also flag down a taxi (bargain a bit) with taxis outside the airport. Airport taxis are exorbitant, Rs 800 to Rs 1,000 to Dehradun.
Usually most passengers take taxis from the airport. Try to hook up with co-passengers on the flight for your taxi ride to Dehradun.
Pro Tip: If you want to save real money try to catch an auto just outside the airport terminal complex. They usually come there to drop passengers off. Autos are not allowed to enter the airport complex. They charge approximately Rs 300 to Dehradun.
If autos are not available, walk for further 1.5 km to get to the Rishikesh Dehradun highway. From the highway you can flag down regular town buses or shared autos (shared autos are called Vikrams). Bus fare is about Rs 30 to Dehradun. Shared autos charge about Rs 20.
Option 2: Flying to Delhi
Flying to Delhi may be a lot cheaper than getting to Dehradun. Make sure to book a flight that reaches Delhi by 8.00 pm. You must arrive in Delhi on Day Zero and not on Day 1.
Note: If you notice the difference in air ticket prices between Delhi and Dehradun less than Rs 1000 then book directly to Dehradun. The rest and shorter travel time is worth the difference.
Delhi to Dehradun by train
Next, book yourself in the Nanda Devi Express to Haridwar (Train No: 12401). It is a fully AC train that leaves at 23.45 hrs from Hazrat Nizamuddin and gets to Dehradun at 5:40 am in the morning.
Note: Earlier the Nanda Devi express would depart from New Delhi railway station. From 26 Aug 2019, it leaves from Hazrat Nizamuddin railway station. The train now comes from Kota. So expect about 15 to 30 mins delay in arrival. The train number has changed too from 12206 to 12401.
At Dehradun wait for Indiahikes pickup at 6.30 am. Contact your driver by 6.00 am. The number of your transport coordinator will be shared with you a week prior to your departure.
Caution: Do not book on any other train except the Nanda Devi Express. The other option, Mussoorie express, is notorious for its delay. Your pickup vehicle may leave without you. If you do not get tickets on the Nanda Devi Express, take a bus from Delhi to Dehradun, but do not book on the Mussoorie express.
Pro Tip: Take the afternoon Jan Shatabdi express( Train No 12055) from New Delhi railway station (leaves at 15.20 pm) to arrive at Dehradun by 21:10 pm. Stay overnight at Dehradun Take the Indiahikes pickup the next morning directly from Dehradun station.
Option 3: Delhi to Dehradun by Bus
If in case you do not get a train ticket, there are ordinary, A/C and Volvo AC buses from Delhi’s ISBT Kashmiri Gate to Dehradun ISBT. Buses are frequent and not usually crowded, there are buses till 12 pm. You can get a bus almost every hour. Buses take 7-8 hours to get to Delhi. Ordinary buses cost Rs 400, A/C Rs 525 and Volvo Rs 700.
From Dehradun ISBT take a shared auto to the Dehradun railway station Rs 10/.
3. Planning your return flight/train booking
Next, if your onward flight departs from Delhi, then book flight tickets for Day 7.
Sometimes trekkers worry if they can book an early morning flight out of Delhi on Day 7. Yes, you can. But book flights that depart only after 8 am. Do not book any flight between 6.00 and 8 am. You may not reach Delhi in time.
Option 1: How to get to Delhi on time for an early morning flight.
If your flight is early on Day 7, say between 8.00 and 9.00 am, then there are two options.
Train: Take the Nanda Devi Express from Dehradun station (12402) that leaves at 22:50 to get to Hazrat Nizamuddin Railway Station at 4.30 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.
If in case you do not get a train ticket, there are ordinary, A/C and Volvo AC buses from Dehradun ISBT to Delhi’s ISBT Kashmiri Gate. Buses are frequent and not usually crowded, there are buses till 12 pm. You can get a bus almost every hour. Buses take 7-8 hours to get to Delhi. Ordinary buses cost Rs 400, A/C Rs 525 and Volvo Rs 700.
From Kashmiri Gate ISBT you get Airport buses or taxis.
Note: Metro trains in Delhi do not start before 5.00 am.
Option 2: Taking a flight out of Dehradun
If you are taking a flight out of Dehradun then stay over night and book yourself on Day 7. Most metros are now well connected by Dehradun by flight.
- Planning your hotel/stay
If you arrive by flight at Dehradun on Day 0, stay overnight and come to the station the next day on Day 1 for the pickup from the station. There are many hotels near the station, here are a few.
Hotel options at Dehradun
Hotel Vishnu Inn is close to the Dehradun Railway Station. It is just a couple of minutes away from the station. Many trekkers have stayed here and given good reviews about the hotel. The rates will be from Rs 750 to Rs 1000 depending on the season.
Contact Number: +91-7060038228, +91-135-2720721, +91-9837366686
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/
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.
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
What if you miss the Indiahikes pickup? Getting to Kotgaon on your own.
If you miss the Indiahikes pick up from Dehradun, here is how you can get to Kotgaon base camp on your own.
Bus from Dehradun to Kotgaon
There are two direct buses from Dehradun railway station to Kotgaon. They leave at 6 am and 7 am respectively from Dehradun ISBT. The cost per ticket is Rs 350 – 400/-
If you are reaching Dehradun late, you can take a bus to Purola/Naugaon and then a shared cab to Kotgaon. It costs Rs 150, make sure you reach Purola by 3pm to take the last shared cab to Kotgaon.
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!
There is no network on this trek.At the base camp Kotgaon, you will get patchy BSNL network if you are lucky.
How to get fit for the Phulara Ridge trek
The Phulara ridge trek is marked as a moderate trek. It starts at an altitude of 6,397 ft at Kotgaon and climbs to 12,127 ft at the ridge. This means there is an altitude gain of close to 6,000 ft over the first three days of the trek. Consequently, all the three days leading to Phulara ridge involve constant ascent.
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, target completing 5 km in 50 minutes when you begin slowly pacing it up to 5 km in 47 mins
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 47 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 prepare 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 Phulara Ridge Trek
Phulara Ridge is a high altitude trek. You’ll need enough warm layers and accessories to keep you warm and help you trek comfortably. So pay careful attention to this entire section.
- A list of everything you need for the trek (Skip to section)
- Useful videos to help you with your gear (Skip to section)
- A list of medicines for your trek (Skip to section)
- A list of mandatory documents (Skip to section)
First, The Essentials. You cannot do the trek without these.
1. Trekking Shoes
Phulara Ridge requires trekking shoes that are sturdy, have good grip, have ankle support and can handle snow. Here is a quick video on how to choose your trekking shoes.
| Buying Tip: The Trek series and MH series are good options by Decathlon. They are tried and tested. There really isn’t any necessity to buy the higher priced models. Here is a list of other budget shoes that trekkers are using.
| Rental: We have the Trek series and the MH series by Decathlon available on rent from the Indiahikes store. They are already broken into and in good condition. Rental shoes are not dirty or unhygienic. This is how they are kept clean. Rent here.
For a trek like Phulara Ridge, you need a 50-60 litre backpack. Make sure your backpack has good hip support, shoulder support and quick access pockets. Here is a guide on how to choose a backpack.
| Buying Tip: Wildcraft, Decathlon and Adventure Worx usually make good backpacks. While Wildcraft has more expensive ones, the other two brands have budget-friendly backpacks to choose from.
| Rental: The 48 litre backpack by Adventure Worx is available on rent from the Indiahikes store. They are custom-made for our Himalayan treks. Rent them if you don’t have a backpack. Rent here.
Wearing layers is the mantra in the mountains. Layers give you maximum protection from all elements. And when the weather changes in the mountains (as it happens every few hours), you take take off or put on layers as required.
Base layer: 3 T-shirts
Wear one T-shirt and carry two. Carry full sleeve dry-fit T-shirts (preferably collared). These prevent your arms and neck from getting sunburnt. In the rarified air on the trek, especially at high altitudes, UV rays can burn you in no time.
Dry-fit T-shirts quickly dry your sweat, they are easy to wash and in case of a rainy day, they dry quicker. Round neck T-shirts are ok, but collared ones are better.
| Cotton or Synthetic? As Indians, we love cotton. Down in the plains when the heat is a blistering 40°C it makes sense to wear cotton. But it takes a long time to dry when it gets wet. In the mountains, where it is cooler, synthetic is what you wear. They wick sweat rapidly and keep you dry. (But they do tend to smell quickly, so carry a roll-on deodorant with you.)
| Buying tip: You can get dry-fit T-shirts from Decathlon. Also, stores like Reliance Trends, Max have dry-fit T-shirts. They don’t usually cost much.
| Pro Tip: If you are extra susceptible to cold, you could get a set of thermal inners. In our experience, wearing two T-shirts over another works as a better thermal. And they save you weight and space, since you’re already carrying them.
3 insulation layers
The highest altitude you reach on this trek is 12,171ft. At these altitudes it can get really windy & cold during winters (November). You will need at least 2 insulation layers for this trek.
You will need 1 pair of inner thermals, 2 light fleece layers, 1 thick fleece layer and 1 padded jacket. Do not get your grandma stitched sweaters, which can be very heavy. You need sweaters and fleece jackets that can fold into compact rolls.
Note: During post monsoon season September – October or May – June you only need to carry 1 insulation layer.
For your outer later, a padded jacket serves the purpose here. You don’t really need a water resistant material. But you need an outer padded jacket that keeps the wind and cold out. Ensure your padded jacket has a hood as well.
| Do you need a down/feather jacket? Not really. A regular padded/shell jacket will do. This video here will help you to learn more about the difference.
| Note: Down/feather jackets are really not available these days. Many jackets masquerade as down/feather jackets. They are essentially fine polyester-filled jackets. They mimic the function of a down jacket but are usually expensive.
| Rental: Padded jackets made by Fort Collins are available on rent at the Indiahikes store. They are custom made for Indiahikes and trekkers find them terrific, even in winter. Rent here.
A minimum of one pair and maximum of two pairs of trek pants should suffice for this trek. Wear one pair and carry one just in case it rains/snows. 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 even in the cold climate.
| Buying tip: Go for pants with zippered pockets. They come in handy to keep your phone, handkerchief or pocket snacks.
| Track pants or trek pants? Stretchable track pants make a good backup and can double up as your thermal bottoms. But track pants are not trek pants — so don’t use them as your main outerwear. Keep them only as a backup.
Mandatory Accessories, without these too you won’t be able to do the trek.
These accessories are mandatory. Don’t go to Phulara Ridge without them. Trekkers generally put off purchasing / borrowing the accessories for the last minute. We suggest the opposite. Start gathering these accessories first.
Sunglasses are to prevent snow blindness. On a trek like Phulara Ridge, you may experience some amount of snow over the trail during November. A small overexposure to direct sunlight on snow can lead to snow blindness (about a half hour’s exposure). That’s because fallen snow is like thousands of mirrors that reflect direct UV rays. So you need sunglasses with UV protection.
| Wearing tip: Wear sunglasses if the trekking day is bright and sunny (on open sections, meadows). On a snowy section you must absolutely never take off your sunglasses until the section has been fully crossed.
| Buying Tip: Try getting sunglasses that wrap around instead of those that have openings on the side. Even peripheral UV ray exposure is not a good idea.
| If you wear spectacles: If you wear spectacles, you can get oversized sunglasses that you wear over your regular glasses (available at Decathlon). If that is cumbersome, photochromic lenses work equally well. Here’s a quick guide on managing sunglasses with spectacles.
| Contact lens users: If you use contact lenses, you can use them on the trek too. The lens solution will not freeze. You will also not face any problems in changing your lens in your tent. Just carry enough cleaning solution with you to clean your fingers well. Wear your sunglasses over your contact lens. Read this article for more guidance on managing contact lenses on treks.
A sun cap is mandatory. Trekking without a sun cap can lead to headaches, sun strokes, quick dehydration and a sharp drop in trekking performance.
| Tip: In the mountains, the general rule is to keep your head covered at all times. During the day a sun cap protects you from the harsh rays of the sun (it is doubly stronger with naked UV rays). A sun cap keeps your body temperature in balance. In the evening/early morning, the reverse is true. Your head loses your body heat quickly. A woolen cap prevents heat from dissipating from your head.
| Pro Tip: Sun caps with flaps are a blessing for trekkers. They cut out almost all UV leaks. They prevent sun burns in every possible way. They are a lot more effective than sunscreen lotion. A wide-brimmed sports hat also helps to prevent sunburn in a big way.
3. Synthetic hand gloves
On a trek like Phulara Ridge you are going to be handling snow quite a bit. You’ll need gloves to grip something or to steady yourself in snow. You also want the gloves to keep you warm. Get synthetic hand gloves that have waterproofing on the outside and a padded lining on the inside. If you find the combination difficult to get (not likely), wear a tight fitting fleece hand glove inside a synthetic hand glove. Hand gloves are mandatory on this trek.
4. Woollen cap or Balaclava
Ensure these cover your head. 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. If you get woollen cap that only covers your head, you will need a neck warmer or a woolen scarf.
5. Socks (4 pairs)
Apart from three to four pairs of 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.
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 Phulara Ridge trek you’ll need your hands free to wash dishes, pitch tents and hold your trek poles.
| Buying tip: Ensure your headlamp covers a wider area and is not too focused as a single beam. On a trek, your headlamp must help you see around you as much as ahead of you.
| Rental: Headlamps are available on rent on the Indiahikes store. Rent here.
7. Trekking pole (a pair)
Trekking poles give you stability and balance. They reduce your energy consumption by almost 40%. On the Phulara Ridge trek there are steep ascents and descents. A pair of trekking poles will make the difference between a comfortable and a strenuous trek. In India we tend to use a single trekking pole. However, two trekking poles give you greater stability and balance. They also increase your walking pace.
| Rental: Imported side-locking trekking poles are available on rent on the Indiahikes store. Rent here.
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 (partially) your backpack. It is extremely light and weighs next to nothing.
| Pro tip: Rain jackets are more streamlined and less cumbersome but weigh more. Rain pants are really not required. Dry fit trek pants dry quickly even if soaking wet.
| Rental: High grade ponchos are available on rent on the Indiahikes store. Rent here.
9. Rain cover for your backpack
Backpacks are your life. You carry all your dry clothes, your warm gear in your backpack. It is important that your backpack stays dry at all times. Modern backpacks usually come with built in rain-covers. If your back pack does not have a rain-cover, ensure you get a rain cover by either (a) buying a rain cover (b) or cutting a large plastic sheet to the size of your backpack. You can roll the plastic sheet around your backpack and keep it in place with a string or elastic.
| Pro tip: It’s good practice to compartmentalise your clothes, accessories and other things in plastic covers inside your backpack. That way, even if it rains and your backpack gets wet, your things are water-proof inside the backpack.
10. Daypack (20-30 ltrs, optional)
Some trekkers opt to offload their bags to a mule on the Phulara Ridge trek. While we do not encourage this practice, in case you opt for offloading, then carrying a daypack is mandatory. In your daypack you carry essentials like water bottles, rainwear, emergency medicines, headlamp, some snacks and a warm layer. Your main backpack that carries most of your equipment is accessible only at the campsites.
A daypack is a smaller backpack that is usually of 20-30 ltr capacity. Laptop bags are not daypacks. Do not get them.
Other mandatory requirements
1. A toilet kit
Keep your toilet kit light. Carry just the basics — toothbrush, toothpaste, small soap, toilet tissue roll, a small moisturiser, lip balm, and a roll-on deodorant. You will not be able to have a bath on the trek, so don’t overload on soaps and shampoos.
| Pro tip: Carry miniature-sized items. You will not need more than that. If you’re travelling in a group, share one toothpaste for all.
| Pro tip: Avoid getting large toilet rolls. The smallest size roll is more than enough for a trek like Phulara Ridge.
| 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.
Carry a lunch box, a mug and a spoon. Your lunch box must be leak proof. You are expected to wash your own cutlery. Trekkers often expect Indiahikes to wash their cutlery. When you allow Indiahikes to wash your cutlery, your cutlery becomes part of a mass washing system. You immediately invite germs, bacteria to settle on your cutlery. Incidence of stomach disorders rises exponentially.
| Pro tip: Carry stainless steel cutlery. Avoid fancy high grade plastic cutlery. Stainless steel cutlery is infinitely easier to wash in cold water. Grease is easier to remove and hygiene is at the highest.
| Two 1 litre bottles or a 2 litre hydration pack: Phulara Ridge has many hours of trekking everyday (approximately 6 hours). You need to carry two one litre water bottles to keep yourself hydrated over the distance. If you are used to a hydration pack, then that is ok too. If one among the two bottles is a lightweight thermos, then that helps you to store warm water on a really cold day or for late evenings and early mornings.
| Rental: You could rent lightweight thermos flasks from the Indiahikes store. Rent here.
3. Plastic covers
Carry 3-4 old plastic covers to keep your used clothes. You could use them even for wet clothes. Re-use old plastic bags for this and do not buy new ones.
Useful videos to help you with your gear:
- What to take on your trek
- How to pack your backpack
- How to choose your trekking shoes
- Trekking shoes vs sports shoes. How are they different?
- How to layer up on a Himalayan trek
- Why you need a trekking pole
- How to manage sanitary waste on a trek
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.
- Dolo 650 (5 tablets): This is a paracetamol. It helps to tackle fever, mild pain
- Avomine (4 tablets): Carry this especially if you are prone to motion sickness. Pop one half hour before the start of your road journey.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- Medical certificate. There are two sections in this. The first part must be filled by a practising doctor. The second part must be filled by you. Without the medical certificate the forest department will not issue permissions for your trek. It is also a requirement by Indiahikes – Download PDF
| Pro tip: Keep important documents in a clear plastic cover and slide them into the inner pocket at the back of your backpack. This keeps them from getting wet.
What are the risks on the Phulara Ridge Trek?
Phulara Ridge is an easy to moderate trek in terms of difficulty but it goes up to an altitude of 12,127 ft. Which means it’s still a high altitude trek. As with every high altitude trek, the Phulara Ridge trek comes with certain risks.
At Indiahikes, we pay utmost importance to safety of trekkers. While we do our bit to ensure your life is safe, we also expect you as a trekker to know what could go wrong, and if it does, how to tackle it.
What Indiahikes does to ensure your safety
Our philosophy is simple. We ingrain safety aspects in the people we work with, in the processes that we follow and in the equipment we carry. All our trek leaders are trained repeatedly on safety issues and protocols. Most issues are resolved with their intervention.
From the time you register for a trek, we will keep you informed of safety procedures on high altitude treks. We have listed a few of them below.
1. Fitness criteria before registration
Over the years, we have come to notice that safety issues are widespread among unfit, unaware and ill-prepared trekkers. Therefore we have brought in an eligibility criteria for the Phulara Ridge trek.
Before registration, you need to meet the fitness requirements. The primary measure for fitness is BMI or Body Mass Index. An ideal BMI is a minimum requirement to register for this trek. You can take a look here.
2. Monitoring health on a trek
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. It contains details of symptoms he should look out for and what action he should take during emergencies as well. These Health Cards will be taken back at the end of the trek.
On the Phulara Ridge trek, your Trek Leader will be monitoring your Oxygen levels and Pulse rate twice a day. Your blood pressure is measured once every day. Any abnormal reading will be paid special attention to and immediate action will be taken.
3. High Altitude Medical Kit
Your trek leader will also be carrying a full-fledged high altitude medical kit. This will include basic medicines and specific medicines catering to altitude sickness – Diamox, Dexamethasone (tablets and injections) and Nifedipine.
Your Trek Leader will also be carrying a portable oxygen cylinder throughout the trek. In addition to that, there are oxygen cylinders installed at all high campsites for any emergency situations.
4. High Altitude Trek Equipment
If there is snow on the trail, Indiahikes will provide you with micro-spikes.
These are attached to your shoes and will give you good traction on hard snow. To avoid snow from entering your shoes, Indiahikes will provide you with gaiters that you can wear over your shoes. You will have qualified technical guides with you. They lead the way on difficult terrain, where there might be too much snow.
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. Our sleeping bags can withstand temperatures as low as -10 degree Celcius.
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.
With all these processes and equipment in place, you can be rest assured that you will have a safe trek with Indiahikes.
What you need to know if you’re going on the Phulara Ridge trek
If you have registered for this trek, then here is some information that you must know in order to have a safe trek. At Indiahikes, we believe that as long as you are well-informed and well-prepared, you can survive easily at high altitude.
Even the smallest wound takes longer to heal at higher altitude. Reasons for this are increasing stress hormones and lower overall oxygen delivery to the tissues. Keeping your wounds clean and covered will prevent infection. To prevent the bruise from festering, apply a triple antibiotic ointment regularly.
Where on the Phulara Ridge trek is Acute Mountain Sickness likely to affect you:
Any campsite above 11,000 ft poses a risk of AMS. On the Phulara Ridge trek, the Bhoj Gadi campsite is at 11,6000 ft. However, the trek climbs gradually, so chances of getting hit by AMS are very slim.
AMS occurs when your body isn’t acclimatising to its surroundings. It can accelerate very rapidly, so it is important to identify the symptoms as soon as you see them. Before you read further, watch this video to understand the symptoms of AMS.
We cannot stress enough on how important it is for you to communicate any symptom to your Trek Leader.Only then will he be able to take steps at the right time.
What to do if you feel symptoms of AMS on the trek
Don’t let your guard down just because this is a moderate trek. If you feel any symptoms of AMS on the trek, report to the Trek Leader immediately. Do not wait till the end of the day’s trek. Do not try to handle it yourself either. Our Trek Leaders are well-trained and experienced to handle any cases and they will be the decision makers in any such cases.
Watch the video below to understand how to treat and prevent AMS. The information in this video is rare to find. With this knowledge, you can probably save your own life or another’s trekkers life.
As a first step, your trek leader will run you through the Triple One Test – One Disprin, One litre of water and One hour of rest. If you’re suffering from dehydration, this will solve the problem and you will be fine in one hour.
If the symptoms don’t go away, then he’ll begin to treat you for AMS, perhaps with a course of Diamox. If you’re already on a course of Diamox, your trek leader is likely to increase the dosage. The increased dosage of Diamox usually takes care of the Acute Mountain Sickness. Evacuation will be done if no improvement is shown. You will be taken down to Kotgaon as descent is the sure cure for AMS.
Exit points on the Phulara Ridge trek:
There are two exit points on the Phulara Ridge trek – the base camp, Kotgaon if you haven’t crossed the ridge and Taluka, if you have crossed the ridge. It takes around 5 hours top descend to Kotgaon from the highest campsite of the trek. Kotgaon is at an altitude of around 6,300 ft. So any symptoms of AMS will stop showing there.
For advanced treatments, the closest hospital from Kotgaon is in Purola which is around 54 km away. Please note that these are mountain roads and usually takes around 2-3 hours to cover this distance. It takes longer after nightfall.
Why you should personally know about the risks and precautions of high altitude treks
If you cannot find your fellow trekkers or anyone else while trekking independently or with another organisation, there are some life-saving steps you can take.
Firstly, you should be able to recognise symptoms of altitude sickness. So acquaint yourself with the symptoms.
Secondly, there might be instances when you have to administer medicines to yourself or to a fellow trekker.
If you are trekking independently, you need to know when exactly to administer these medicines and in what dosage.
Here, Sandhya UC, partner at Indiahikes, explains in detail about HAPE and HACE. Here, you can learn about the advanced symptoms are and how to tackle them.
It is a myth that fit and experienced people are not affected by Acute Mountain Sickness
If you’re of the opinion that fit people don’t get AMS, please get rid of that notion right away. AMS can affect anyone without paying heed to their fitness and prior experience at high altitude! Altitude sickness does not distinguish between a first timer and an experienced trekker.
For more detailed information about Acute Mountain Sickness, you can download and study the manual below.
The Indiahikes Special Covid 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.
This is why we have one of the most trekker-friendly cancellation policies.
This policy is effective for registrations starting January 5, 2021.
| Face no cancellation charges any time before the trek date
– Cancellation upto 7 days before the start date of the trek — Get a complete cash refund (minus 4% transaction fee). The money is refunded to the same bank account, credit or debit card from where payment was made.
– Cancellation during the last 6 days before the start date of the trek, and not counting the day of the trek — Full refund with 100% of the trek fee in the form of an Indiahikes Trek Voucher. Valid for 1 year from date of issue. Can be used on any Indiahikes trek.
– Cancellation on the start day of the trek, or no show on the start day of the trek — Unfortunately, no refund.
Important note: The Trek Insurance amount is not refundable.
| In the rare event that we cancel a trek, this is the 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, or government orders, 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.
| The Indiahikes “Repeat My Trek” Policy (trekkers love this!)
There are some thoughts and ideologies that we hold close to our hearts.
1. As trekkers, there are times when we have to let go of a trek midway. Sometimes we fall ill, or get hit by AMS or at times simply fatigue pulls us down. At other times bad weather plays spoilsport, or the trail is blocked. It can happen that your Trek Leader sends you down due to a safety or health issue.
At Indiahikes we feel terrible when such an event happens.
Should such a situation occur that you have to drop out from this trek, we want you to know that we feel as bad as you do. You can always come back another time and finish your adventure. For this you do not have to pay Indiahikes any money.
2. On the other hand, there are times when you fall in love with a trek. So much so that you want to do it again, perhaps see it in another season. If you ever desire to do a trek again, please do so. You don’t have to pay Indiahikes any money for repeating this trek. Just inform your Experience Coordinator who will guide you through a special internal process.
Our only request: Just register for your trek in advance – you know how it is with our groups – they get booked in advance.
Note: The Indiahikes “Repeat My Trek” policy does not apply to our international treks.
If you cancel any rental gear from our store:
- Cancellation of rental gear 7 days before the start date of the trek — Get a full refund minus 4% transaction charges.
- Cancellation of rental gear less than 7 days before the start date of the trek — Get a voucher for the whole amount. This voucher is applicable on all our 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.
| How to cancel your trek:
In case, you wish to cancel your trek, follow these steps.
- Login to your Indiahikes Trek Dashboard using this link.
- Find your upcoming trek on your home page.
- Click on “Cancel Trek”
- Mention why you’re cancelling your trek on the form that appears.
- Choose either a voucher or a refund (where applicable).
- 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 Experience Coordinator.
Your Trek fee includes
- Accommodation – Stay is included from Day 1 to Day 5 (Kotgaon to Kotgaon). You will be staying in lodges at Kotgaon and camping on remaining days of the trek.
- Meals – All meals from dinner at Kotgaon on Day 1 to breakfast at Kotgaon 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 – High-quality tents, sleeping bags, ice axes, roped, microspikes, gaiters etc. as required.
- Safety equipment – First aid, medical kit, oxygen cylinders, stretchers etc.
Your trek fee does not include
- 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 Kotgaon. This will cost approx. Rs. 5,500 per 5-6 seater vehicle one way. You will have to share this cost with the other trekkers
- Food during transit to and from the base camp
- Backpack offloading charges – Rs. 1,000 + 5% GST for the full trek. The backpack cannot weigh more than 9 kg. Suitcases/strollers/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 Kotgaon (Rs 350 per day + 5% GST).
- Anything apart from inclusions
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
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 long climbs and steep descents on a daily basis. 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 47 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.
Indiahikes expects all trekkers to carry their own backpacks. All common gear will be carried by the support team. If for some reason a trekker is unable to carry his or her backpack, he/she can offload the same by paying an additional charge.
Backpack offloading charges – Rs 1,000 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/strolleys/duffel bags will be allowed.
Online offloading in advance is possible up to three days prior to the trek start date.
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.
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.
Can I keep extra luggage at the base camp of Kotgaon?
Yes, you can keep the extra luggage at the base camp.
Once the trek ends, you will be able to collect the luggage.
Our team will arrange for this.
Ensure you do not keep any valuables at the base.
Laptops, mobile phones, cash or any important items cannot be kept here.
Is there an option to offload my backpack on this trek?
Yes, there is an option to offload your backpack (have a porter carry it for you). This will cost Rs 1000 + 5% GST if you inform us in advance. If you decide to offload once you reach Kotgaon, the amount will be Rs 350 per day inclusive of tax. The offloaded bag should not weigh more than 9 kg. Strolleys, duffel bags, suitcases etc. are not allowed. Online offloading in advance is possible up to five days prior to the trek start date. You can opt for this from your dashboard directly.
Is there a mobile network on this trek? Are there any electricity charging points on this trek?
You won't get any network on the trek or at the base camp. There are no charging points as well on the trek.
If you are very lucky, then small connectivity is possible for BSNL network to send a message. Not even a call, so I wouldn’t keep it as an option.
The last point where you get connectivity will be Purola which is 20 km before Kotgaon.
Can you arrange pickup from Mussorrie?
Yes, trekkers will have the option to stay at Mussorrie and get picked up as well.
The pickup will take place an hour later from Library Road end at 7.30 am.
Can I take my child along on this trek? What is the age limit?
Phulara ridge trek is suitable for anyone above the age of 9 years. However, you need to ensure that your child is physically fit for the trek.
What are washroom/toilet facilities like on the trek?
The guest houses at Kotgaon will have concrete toilets. On the other days, toilet tents will be set up along each campsite. 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. There will be a room freshener as well. It’s 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 bio-degradable.
Here is what trekkers have to say about their experience at Phulara Ridge Trek
Face no cancellation charges any time before the trek date
At Indiahikes we follow a 31-Point Safety Protocol to ensure that you remain safe even as you trek during the Covid times.
Having said that, we are also aware that travel rules are dynamic and lockdowns are not always predictable.
To address this, we have a very trekker-friendly Cancellation Policy. This cancellation policy allows you to cancel or reschedule your trek till the last day without losing any money.
- 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.
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