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’s day 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
Day 1: Reach Sankri; 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: Sankri (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 Sankri
Day 6: Depart from Sankri 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 Sankri. The stay on all other days is in tents (3 per tent).
It is mandatory for trekkers to carry a copy of their photo id for entry at forest check posts on the trek. Since Sankri will have limited facilities to photo copy, do not leave this till the end.
Day 1: Reach Sankri
Sankri, base camp for this trek, is a small but pretty village with 250 houses. A few dhabas and shops make up the commerce scene in Sankri. In peak season, it is usually bustling with trekking activity as it is the basecamp for many treks – Kedarkantha, Bali Pass and Borasu Pass. The village offers a beautiful view of the sun setting behind the greater Himalayas. The peaks of Swargarohini shimmer in the evening sun, standing tall over the ridges beyond Sankri.
The drive to Sankri will take you through Nainbagh, Naugaon, Purola, Jarmola, Mori Naitwar (a left turn from Naitwar will lead you to Dhaula, which is the base camp for Rupin Pass and Bharadsar lake trek), and finally Sankri.
- Altitude: 6,397 ft (1,950 m)
- Time taken: Sankri, the base camp, can be reached in 8-10 hours from Dehradun. Transport will be arranged from Dehradun Railway station at 6.30 am.
Day 2: Sankri 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 Sankri
- Altitude: 9,500 ft (2,896 m) to 7,953 ft (2,424 m)
- Time taken: 5 hours trek + 1-hour drive to Sankri
- 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
How to get to the basecamp – Sankri
Delhi → Dehradun → Sankri
The Phulara ridge trek starts from Sankri, 186 km from Dehradun. Sankri is a small village bustling with trekkers. There are around 250 houses in this village, and the views from here are beautiful!
Indiahikes organises transport from Dehradun to Sankri. The pick up is at 6.30 am from Dehradun Railway station on Day 1. The cab fare is Rs.5,500 per vehicle. This is not included in the trek fee. It is to be shared by trekkers and paid directly to the driver.
The drive to Sankri is beautiful, beside the River Tons. You pass through Mussoorie, which is a popular hill station. Stop for breakfast at Kempty Waterfalls, which is a popular tourist destination. You will reach Sankri around 6.00 pm.
Note: In case you have excess baggage, you can keep it at the base camp, Sankri, and collect it after you’ve completed the trek. Lockers are not available, so please make sure that you do not leave behind any valuables.
To reach Dehradun
The best way to reach Dehradun is to take an overnight train from Delhi. There are two trains available from Delhi to Dehradun.
- 12205 Nandadevi Express – 23.50 – 5.40
- 12055 DDN Jan Shatabdi – 15.20 – 21.10 (reach the previous night)
If you cannot find a train, then take a bus. To stay on the safe side, book buses online in advance. Book such that you have some buffer time to make it to Dehradun on time for the pick-up; buses usually get delayed.
Sankri → Dehradun→ Delhi
The Phulara ridge trek ends at Sankri. From Sankri, you’ll be retracing your route all the way to Dehradun. It takes 10-11 hours to drive back to Dehradun. Indiahikes organises this transport for a fare of Rs.5,500 per cab. This is to be shared amongst trekkers and paid to the driver directly. You will reach Dehradun by 6.00 pm.
If you are travelling further from Dehradun, keep a couple of hours as buffer time in case of delay. Book your onward travel from Dehradun post 8.00 pm. If you are travelling to Delhi, you can choose to go back by Mussoorie Express (21.20) or Nanda Devi Express (23.30).
If you want to get to the base camp by yourself
There are direct buses from Dehradun to Sankri. They leave at 6.00 am, 7 am and 8 am respectiveley from Dehradun Railway station.
If you are reaching Dehradun late, you can take a bus to Purola/Naugaon and then a connecting bus to Sankri. The last bus leaves from Dehradun Railway Station at 12.00 noon. If you reach Purola late, you can stay there overnight.
If you are taking a hired taxi, the route is pretty straightforward. First, head to Mussoorie, then move down to Yamuna Bridge via Kempty falls. Then follow the Yamuna on your left until you reach Damta and further on to Naugaon. Cross the Yamuna at Naugaon and head towards Purola. The route immediately turns scenic, with pine trees overlooking the road.
At Purola break for lunch. From Purola, the route gets mesmerising with the road climbing up and descending through thick pine forests until you get to Mori along the Tons River. 5 km out of Purola try to locate the south face of the Kedarkantha peak on your left. The highest peak, it is not difficult to spot.
From Mori, follow the Tons to Naitwar, again through some breathtaking mountain scenery. At Naitwar, the road branches off to the right along the Supin, until you get to Sankri an hour later.
There is no network on this trek.At the base camp Sankri, 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 an easy-moderate trek. It starts at an altitude of 6,397 ft at Sankri 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.
What to take on the Phulara Ridge Trek
- Trekking shoes: Carry trekking shoes and not sports shoes. The trail will be slippery at several places and will require shoes with good grip and ankle support. 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.
- Three layers of warm clothes: If you’re trekking in winter, carry two sweaters, two fleece jackets and a padded jacket. If you’re trekking in the month of summer (April/May), three warm layers will suffice. If you’re trekking in the month of autumn (September/October), four warm layers will suffice.
- Two trek pants: Carry light cotton trek pants. Denim/jeans and shorts are not suitable for trekking.
- Three collared t-shirts: Carry light, full sleeved t-shirts that prevent sun burns on the neck and arms. 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: Carry thermals (top and bottom) to keep yourself warm at night. Keep your thermals fresh and don’t wear them while trekking.
- Sunglasses: Sunglasses are mandatory, especially in winter. There will be a lot of snow in winter and can cause snow blindness.
- Suncap: At high altitude, the sun is extra harsh, as the UV rays don’t get filtered. So carry a suncap to protect yourself.
- Synthetic hand gloves: Avoid woollen gloves as they will get wet if you touch snow. You can add a fleece glove as an inner layer, and wear two gloves on each hand if you’re more susceptible to cold.
- Balaclava: You’ll need this to cover your head, as most of the heat escapes from your head.
- Socks (2 pairs) and a pair of woollen socks: 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): You will need this to carry water bottles, light snacks and medical kit in case you decide to offload your backpack.
- Toiletries: Sunscreen, moisturizer, light towel, lip balm, toilet paper, toothbrush, toothpaste, hand sanitiser. Do not carry wet wipes since these are not biodegradable. We do not like biodegradable wet wipes because they take a long time to decompose in the mountains. Use toilet paper instead.
- Sanitary waste: Make sure you bring your used sanitary napkins back to the city with you. Carry a zip lock bag to put used napkins. Bring this ziplock bag back with you to the city and do not dispose 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. We do not allow biodegradable or disposable cutlery on our treks.
- Two water bottles: 1 litre each. For winter treks make sure, one of the water bottles is a thermos flask. We recommend the Lifestraw Go. Indiahikes trekkers can get it at a discount here.
- Plastic covers: While packing, use plastic bags to compartmentalise things and carry few extra plastic bags for wet clothes.
Mandatory Personal Medical Kit
- Diamox – 1 Strip
- Crocin – 10 tablets
- Avomine (optional, in case of motion sickness)- 1 Strip
- Combiflam- Half Strip
- Muscle relaxant – Half Strip
- Digene – Half Strip
- Avil – 1 strip
- ORS – 6 packs
- Knee Cap (If you are prone to knee injury)
- Original and photocopy of government photo identity card- (driving license, voters ID, etc.) – It is mandatory for trekkers to carry a copy of their photo id for entry at forest check posts on the trek. Since Sankri will have limited facilities to photo copy, do not leave this till the end.
- Medical Certificate (first part to be filled by a doctor and second part by the trekker) – Download PDF
- Disclaimer form (to be filled by the trekker) – Download PDF
Here’s a guide to help you pack for the trek –
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 an easy-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 Sankri as descent is the sure cure for AMS.
Exit points on the Phulara Ridge trek:
There are two exit points on the Kedarkantha trek – the base camp, Sankri if you haven’t crossed the rdige and Taluka, if you have crossed the ridge. It takes around 5 hours top descend to Sankri from the highest campsite of the trek. Sankri 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 Sankri 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 Cancellation Policy
We understand the pain of cancelling a trek. As trekkers, we always look forward to treks, and after months of training and planning, if we have to cancel our trek, there’s no greater disappointment than that.
Given that, we have one of the most trekker-friendly cancellation policies.
Take a look at the Indiahikes cancellation policy below. This policy is effective starting January 29th, 2020.
In the event that you cancel your trek, this is the cancellation policy we follow:
– Cancellation 30 days before the starting date of the trek — Get your full trek fee back in an Indiahikes Trek Voucher OR get a monetary refund with 15% cancellation charges.
– Cancellation between 30 days and 20 days before the starting date of the trek — Get 80% of the trek fee in an Indiahikes Trek Voucher OR get a monetary refund with 50% cancellation charges.
– Cancellation less than 20 days before the starting date of the trek — No monetary refund, get 50% of your fees in an Indiahikes Trek Voucher
In the rare event that we cancel your trek, this is the cancellation policy we follow:
We almost never cancel our treks. But in case we cancel a trek because of natural calamities (snowstorms, thunderstorms, floods, landslides, earthquakes) or unexpected political unrest, curfews, local riots, government orders, Indiahikes will issue a voucher for the full amount of your trek fee (minus the trek insurance). You can redeem the Trek Voucher on any of our treks over the next one year.
Important note: The Trek Insurance amount is not refundable once it has been paid for.
If you cancel any rental gear from our store:
- Cancellation of rental gear 7 days before the starting date of the trek — Get a monetary refund with 4% cancellation charges.
- Cancellation of rental gear less than 7 days before the starting date of the trek — Get a voucher of the whole amount you have paid for the rental gear. This voucher is applicable on your future treks.
If you cancel the offloading of your backpack:
The offloading fee will be refunded to your account with a 4% transaction charge.
If you choose to cancel your backpack offloading AFTER reaching the base camp, you will get a voucher of the offloading fee.
Special Cases That Could Occur:
There are some special cases that could occur when you’re on a trek.
1. You may not be able to complete the trek because of bad weather, high snow conditions, or any natural calamity.
2. You may have to leave your trek abruptly (could be due to altitude sickness, abnormal BP, unpreparedness for the trek, any emergencies at home)
In the above two cases, you’re welcome to come back and repeat the same trek any time in future. You do not have to pay us for this. If you’d like to repeat your trek, get in touch with your Trek Coordinator and they’ll help you.
Important note: Your offloading and rental fee will not be refunded in the above two cases.
3. You may not be able to report at the base camp at all (could be due to blocked roads / cancelled flights/curfews), we will try to accommodate you in the next day’s team (if we have one).
In the third case, if we cannot accommodate you in the next day’s trek, we will give you a Trek Voucher of the entire trek fee (including your offloading and rental fee), which you can use on any Indiahikes trek within the next one year.
How to cancel your trek:
In case, you wish to cancel your trek, follow these steps.
- 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 Trek Coordinator.
The Indiahikes “Repeat My Trek” Policy (trekkers love this!)
At Indiahikes, we can’t help but fall in love with a few trekking trails. And we love revisiting them, perhaps in other seasons, when treks take on a totally different hue. In such cases, we do not like the thought of having to pay for it. Our trekkers shouldn’t have to pay either.
So if you have loved a trek that you did with us and want to repeat it, you’re welcome to sign up for the trek. We will not charge you for this. (Many people think this is a rumour, but it’s true.)
To repeat your trek for free, just get in touch with your Trek Coordinator. We’ll help you sign up with no charges.
Note: The Indiahikes “Repeat My Trek” policy does not apply for our international treks.
Your Trek fee includes
- Accommodation – Stay is included from Day 1 to Day 5 (Sankri to Sankri). You will be staying in lodges at Sankri and camping on remaining days of the trek (3 per tent).
- Meals – All meals from dinner at Sankri on Day 1 to breakfast at Sankri on Day 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 Sankri. This will cost approx. Rs. 5,500 per 5-6 seater vehicle one way. You will have to share this cost with the other trekkers
- Food during transit to and from the base camp
- 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 Naitwar (Rs.335 per day + 5% GST).
- Anything apart from inclusions
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 Sankri?
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 Sankri, the amount will be Rs 350 per day inclusive of tax. The offloaded bag should not weigh more than 9 kg. Strolleys, duffel bags, suitcases etc. are not allowed. 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 Sankri.
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 Sankri 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
Click on available dates to Register
- What the colours mean
Available:Registration is on.
Waitlist:The group is full, but cancellations are likely to happen. We have 5 waitlist slots for every group. You may register for the group. Waitlist slots confirmation chances are high if booked more than 30 days in advance.
Last 'x' slots:Indicates the number of slots available in a batch.
Full:Indicates the group is full. No further slots are likely. A full group has 18 members.
Dates not suiting you? Click here to see other similar treks.