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The Complete Guide to Seoj Dhar – Kailash Kund Trek

The Seoj Dhar – Kailash Kund trek takes you to Kailash Kund, a lake situated at 12,887 ft above sea level. It is a lake shrouded in mystery and lore, and is considered a holy place for the people of Bhaderwah, in Doda district of Jammu.

The Kailash Kund yatra — a three-day holy walk — conducted every year is dedicated to the deity of Bhaderwah town, Vasuki Nag, and has been followed for thousands of years. This ritual brings a lot of pilgrims to Kailash Kund only on these three days of the procession that takes place between August and September.

The three days usually fall in the last week of August based on the Hindu calendar and thus the dates vary every year. For the exact dates of the yatra, one can check the local news from Jammu, if interested to experience the culture and tradition.

Myth aside, the trek to Kailash Kund takes you to the foot of Mt Kablas (as the locals call it), on a rugged landscape where the mile-wide, stark gray lake sits.

The usual trail to Kailash Kund starts from the Vasuki Nag temple at Gatha village in Bhaderwah. The trail then goes through a series of villages before reaching the beautiful Seoj Dhar meadows.

The pilgrimage route is filled with folklore and there is a story behind each rest point the pilgrims halt at, and each temple they visit along the way. If you are someone who has a keen interest in knowing the culture of a place, then this route and the yatra is for you!

At Indiahikes, we explored the Kailash Kund trek from the other side, starting from the roadhead of Chattergala Pass. This trail is more scenic and secluded and in all probability you’ll be the only one trekking before the yatra season begins, or after the yatra season ends.

This makes the trek unique as it remains untouched for the whole year, except three days.

The best part of the trek is, you get to see Mt Brahma I and Mt Brahma II as you climb up to Kailash Kund!

Considering the landscape of Jammu and Kashmir, this is a refreshing  view one can ask for on their trek.

The trail takes you through the coniferous forests of pine, fir and cedar trees, through the meadows and steep ascents through rocky sections before finally reaching the rugged, boulder filled plains at the base of Mt Kablas (Kailash).

From Mt Kablas, you descend through the Seoj Dhar meadows. If we say meadows, the first image that comes to mind is kilometers of lush green grass. But, that is not the case with Seoj Dhar. Along with lush glades of grass, it is filled with smooth boulders of various sizes, which make you wonder where on earth they came from!

The Seoj Dhar – Kailash Kund trek is a refreshing change in terms of scenery in the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir, which gives a peek into the culture and local traditions of Bhaderwah too.

Table of Contents

Just like you, we love trekking! And this is a trek we’ve documented in great detail to help you do it on your own. Drop-in comments at the end of the page if you need any help!  You will get all the information required to do the Seoj Dhar – Kailash Kund trek on your own.

To navigate through the documentation easily, use this section of Table of Contents.

| Highlights of Seoj Dhar – Kailash Kund Trek

1. Views of Brahma I and Brahma II Peaks

Brahma-1-and-2-Seoj-Dhar-Indiahikes

On a clear day, you see both Brahma I and Brahma II peaks from the trail. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

The views of Mt Brahma I and Mt Brahma II of the Kishtwar Himalayan range as you make your way up to Kailash Kund catch you by surprise on a clear day. Keep your eyes fixed on the right side as you gain altitude on Day 1 of the trek.

Though far away from the trail, these 21,000 plus ft majestic peaks stand tall, towering over everything in their way! And this is extremely special when you’re trekking in Jammu & Kashmir, because we rarely get to see tall peaks towering in such fashion in this landscape.

2. The Holy Kailash Kund

Kailash-Kund-Seoj-Dhar-Indiahikes

The holy Kailash Kund is a mythical place of worship to the people of Bhaderwah. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

Kailash Kund at the foothills of Mt Kablas is a place of worship for the people of Bhaderwah. It is rich in folklore and asking any local about the kund (or the lake) will familiarise you with its stories.

The lake itself lies amidst millions of boulders, and has a grayish tinge to it that goes perfectly with the setting. After a long climb to almost 13,000 ft, just spending a few hours around the lake will give you much needed respite.

3. Meadows of Seoj Dhar

Seoj-Dhar-Meadows-Indiahikes

The bouldery-grassy meadows of Seoj Dhar is another highlight of this trek. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

The Seoj Dhar meadows are a hidden paradise so close to the town of Bhaderwah, which is also famous for its synonym — ‘Mini Kashmir’.

It is rightly so, because the setting is unique, and the meadows continue for miles with coniferous trees dotting the landscape in parts. It also makes for a great campsite, filled with greenery all around you.

4. Beautiful Forest Walks

Forest-Walk-Seoj-Dhar-Indiahikes

The memorable walks through the coniferous forest are something that stays with you for a long time. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

There are walks and then there are forest walks on a trek. This is where the Seoj Dhar – Kailash Kund trek hits the sweet spot.

The long walks through the beautiful coniferous forests are something to remember. The forest section is long, starting from Seoj Dhar meadows and going down all the way to Bhaderwah. The sunlight playing hide and seek through the trees, and the lighting resulting out of it is nothing but nature’s light show at a grand scale!

You’ll also get to spot a variety of flora and fauna, so keep an eye out for them.

| Quick Itinerary

Route-Map-Seoj-Dhar-Indiahikes

Route Map of the Nafran Valley trek. Screenshot on Google Earth

Day 1: Reach Bhaderwah from Jammu

Drive distance: 190 km | Duration: 6 hours

On your first day, travel to Bhaderwah in Doda district, from Jammu.

Day 2: Drive from Bhaderwah to Chattergala Pass and Trek from Chattergala Pass to Seoj Dhar via Kailash Kund

Drive distance: 37 km | Duration: 1 hour and 30 minutes
Trek distance: 12.50 km | Duration: 7 hours
Altitude gain and loss: 9,941 ft to 10,650 ft via 12,887 ft
Trek type: Moderate

Day 3: Seoj Dhar to Bhaderwah

Trek distance: 11 km | Duration: 5 hours
Altitude loss: 10,650 ft to 5,709 ft
Trek type: Moderate

Day 4: Reach Jammu from Bhaderwah

Drive distance: 190 km | Duration: 6 hours

Travel to Jammu airport/railway station from Bhaderwah

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| Know Your Trek

We have always wanted trekkers to be well-informed before they go on a Himalayan trek. Knowledge is the difference between a safe trek and a dangerous one. It’s also the difference between a wholesome experience and a surficial experience.

Use this section to learn about the Seoj Dhar – Kailash Kund trek. It has in-depth information about each day of the trek, what to expect, and how you need to prepare for it. Many years of expertise have gone into this content. Don’t miss the ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ section. Trekkers find that extremely useful.

How Does Each Day Look

Day 1: Reach Bhaderwah from Jammu

Bhaderwah is about 190 km from Jammu. You’ll cross well known places in Jammu namely Udhampur, Batote and Pul Doda. There are multiple ways to reach Bhaderwah from Jammu.

You can either drive the entire way, on beautiful roads with hairpin bends and sharp inclines, or take a train from Jammu to Udhampur and then take a shared taxi from there to Bhaderwah.

You can also choose to travel locally and take any state transport buses from Jammu, or from Udhampur.

Either way, you should expect a journey not less than 6-7 hours to reach Bhaderwah.

Day 2: Drive from Bhaderwah to Chattergala Pass and Trek from Chattergala Pass to Seoj Dhar via Kailash Kund

Trek gradient: Moderate. Moderate to steep ascent from Chattergala Pass through rocky terrain, with tricky sections in between.
Water sources: Carry sufficient water. Only one water source on this day is a water stream that flows down the cliff next to the trail.

Drive or take a ride in a shared taxi from Bhaderwah to the intersection on Chattergala Pass that climbs up next to the roadhead. Take the moderate to steep ascent towards Kailash Kund.

Chattergala Pass - Seoj Dhar - Indiahikes - Dhaval Jajal

The Chattergala Pass road head is visible from the trail towards Kailash Kund. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

The ascent quickly turns to rocky terrain, which gives a barren look to the whole landscape. It is not easy either. You are gaining more than 3,000 ft today.

Ascent - Seoj Dhar - Indiahikes - Dhaval Jajal

Rocks pave the way for most of the ascent. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

The difficult ascent is all the more rewarding as you get to view the famous Brahma I and Brahma II peaks of the Kishtwar Himalaya, on a clear day. As you gain altitude, the entire landscape of Bhaderwah opens in a wide panoramic sweep.

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Trail leading to Kailash Kund - Seoj Dhar - Indiahikes - Dhaval Jajal

The trail leading you to Kailash Kund. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

Seeing the town of Bhaderwah along with small settlements way below keeps you close to civilization, yet you are so far from it.

Meadows of Bhaderwah - Seoj Dhar - Indiahikes - Dhaval Jajal

The meadows of Bhaderwah open up as you gain altitude. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

After about two hours into the trek, you come across a small stream that flows down the cliff to your left. Make sure to refill your water bottles here as it is the only water source for the day.

In an hour from there you see the first glimpses of Kailash Kund that piques your interest.

Meadows of Bhaderwah 2 - Seoj Dhar - Indiahikes - Dhaval Jajal

The meadows of Bhaderwah open up as you gain altitude. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

The holy lake sits in a depression, at the base of Mt Kablas, another name for Kailash as the locals of Bhaderwah refer to it.

Waters of kailash kund - Seoj Dhar - Indiahikes - Dhaval Jajal

The dark gray waters of Kailash Kund. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

Closer look at the lake - Seoj dhar - Indiahikes - Dhaval Jajal

A closer look at the lake. They gray turns into a tinge of blue as you get closer. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

The lake also has an idol of Nandi, the sacred bull of the Hindu deity, Lord Shiva, at the mouth of the lake where the temple is built. This is where the devotees perform their rituals during their three-day yatra to Kailash Kund.

Idol of Nandi - Seoj Dhar - Indiahikes - Dhaval Jajal

An idol of Nandi, the sacred bull of Lord Shiva. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

Spend a good amount of time here, exploring Mt Kablas and the lake. This makes for a pretty good spot to have your packed lunch.

From the lake take the trail to your right that goes down towards Seoj Dhar meadows.

Trail that goes to meadows - Seoj Dhar- Indiahikes - Dhaval Jajal

The trail that goes down to the meadows. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

The descent quickly turns steep with rocks sprinkled all over it. So exercise caution here as the chances of hurting yourself are more in this section.

In about half an hour from Kailash Kund, you should see the whole trail leading to Seoj Dhar and the view of the whole meadow from the top is a refreshing sight.

Descent to seoj dhar - Indiahikes - Dhaval Jajal

Steep descent to Seoj Dhar. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

Almost 2.5 km later, you reach Seoj Dhar meadows which is where you pitch your tents for the day.

The meadows are vast and beautiful, with smooth boulders dotting all over the grassland. After a hard day’s trek, this is the best place to camp and retire.

Seoj Dhar meadows - Indiahikes - Dhaval Jajal

The beautiful Seoj Dhar meadows. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

Day 3: Seoj Dhar to Bhaderwah

Trek gradient: Moderate. Steep descent all the way to Bhaderwah.
Water sources: Carry sufficient water. Only one water source on this day is a water stream that flows down the cliff next to the trail.

Today’s trek is going to be moderately strenuous. Because you are descending down almost 5,000 ft! As per our trekking standards, that a lot of ground covered on a single day!

Take it slow and steady. Descents are always trickier and more time consuming than the ascents. So make your way gingerly, especially at the tricky sections.

Meadows seoj dhar - Indiahikes - Dhaval Jajar

Going down through the meadows of Seoj Dhar. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

Trace your way down towards the coniferous forest by spotting the trees at a distance. This is a sign that you are losing altitude and approaching the tree line.

Forest - Seoj dhar - Indiahikes - Dhaval Jajar

Soon you’ll enter the forest, one of the most beautiful sections of the trek. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

Soon you’ll be greeted by the cool breeze and tall coniferous trees of the forests of Bhaderwah. Enjoy the gentle walk through one of the most beautiful sections on this trek.

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Inside the thick forest of Bhaderwah. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

Coniferous forest - Indiahikes - Dhaval Jajal

An opening through the coniferous forest. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

Four hours into the trek you’ll see an opening in the forest. This brings you closer to your destination — Bhaderwah town. Look for the shepherd huts (Gujjar Huts) for signs of civilization at this point.

Bhaderwah town - Indiahikes - Dhaval Jajal

Bhaderwah town in the distance. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

Very soon you’ll spot the town of Bhaderwah right in front of you, although in a distance. Make your way down the same trail and you should reach Bhaderwah in about an hour.

Day 4: Reach Jammu from Bhaderwah

Take the same route back to Jammu from Bhaderwah by any of the options you chose to reach Bhaderwah on Day 1.

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| How Difficult Is Seoj Dhar – Kailash Kund?

Honestly, Seoj Dhar – Kailash Kund trek, which climbs to 12,887  ft, is not really difficult. It is rated as ‘moderate’. That too only because trekking days are slightly long. 

A moderate rating refers to marginally longer trekking days with steep climbs (example: climb to Kailash Kund). This makes it a notch more difficult than the easy-moderate treks like Tulian Lake, Bhal Padri, Kedarkantha and Dayara Bugyal.

But the trek has easy exits and there are less technical sections.

To get a clear picture, imagine covering a total of 24 km in 2 days. You gain approximately 3,000 ft during this journey, which is hectic when done in a single day.

That means, on average, you cover 12 km every day. This includes gradual to steep ascents and descents.

That’s doable in a well-paced itinerary, like the one we follow for the Seoj Dhar – Kailash Kund trek at Indiahikes. The key is to pace it out..

You are exposed to the risk of AMS, since you gain much altitude on a single day. In such a situation, be very cautious for any discomfort in your body which may point to AMS. We will talk about this in detail in the next section.

Apart from AMS, be careful during the steep descent from Kailash Kund. It is long and tricky if you are descending during the rains. Wearing good quality trekking shoes with a great grip really helps here. (For details read: How To Choose The Best Trekking Shoes In India)

| Is Seoj Dhar – Kailash Kund Trek Safe

Yes. Trekking to Seoj Dhar – Kailash Kund  is safe even though it lies in Jammu. That’s because the trail is remote, away from civilization. Most of the time it’s just your group trekking on your own in nature.

Being mentally prepared for the trek is as important as being physically prepared to stay safe. For this, it is crucial to have a clear mental picture of the trek. Quickly, here it is:

Trek in a nutshell: On the Seoj Dhar – Kailash Kund trek you go up to an altitude of 12,887 ft. You will be trekking and camping at altitudes above 10,000 ft on your first day itself. It is possible that you could be hit by AMS on your first day, since you’ll be gaining altitude quickly. At Indiahikes, we believe that as long as you are well-informed and well-prepared, you can easily survive at high altitudes.

To do this effectively, let’s break down and examine various aspects of Seoj Dhar – Kailash Kund trek from the perspective of safety:

 Safety while trekking in Jammu
 What you must know about AMS
 Exit points on Seoj Dhar – Kailash Kund trek
 Closest hospital to Seoj Dhar – Kailash Kund trek

Safety while trekking in Jammu

While the Seoj Dhar – Kailash Kund trek remains untouched during times of unrest, getting to the base camp involves traveling through populated towns like Udhampur and Doda in the picturesque countryside of Jammu. 

On your drive to Bhaderwah, be mindful of where you are going, how you are traveling and if your mode of transport is reliable.

Thumb Rule:  Stay cued into news. Be curious about what’s happening around you. Keep a check of areas that are flagged red. Check if transport is getting affected and be forthcoming on enquiring about alternate routes.

Be aware, but do not worry or panic. Stay calm and keep the following pointers in mind when you are travelling in Kashmir:

 If you’re staying overnight at Jammu, stay in touristy areas.
 Blend in with the crowd in terms of dressing and behavior.
 Avoid going to downtown areas. Stick to tourist spaces as they tend to be safer and well-protected during times of unrest.
 Don’t panic if there is a curfew. Keep calm and wait for it to pass.

What you must know about AMS

As discussed in the above section, you are exposed to the risk of AMS when you cut the itinerary short. Pay close attention to your body. Stay alert for any signs of altitude sickness.

Attend to your uneasiness and take curative measures. Check oxygen levels, go on a curative course of Diamox, drink water and rest. If you do not feel normal after a few hours or overnight, do not proceed further on the trek.

To help you understand AMS better, we’ve put together a complete guide about it. This is a series a videos you must watch before you get onto any high altitude trek:

  1. What Is Altitude sickness? A Quick Look At AMS, HAPE And HACE
  2. How To Treat Altitude Sickness – AMS, HAPE, & HACE
  3. How To Prevent Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), HAPE and HACE
  4. 3 Life Saving Drugs You MUST Have To Tackle Altitude Sickness – AMS, HAPE and HACE

If you experience any symptoms of AMS, even in the slightest, start taking steps to treat the sickness.

At Indiahikes, our Trek Leaders are trained and equipped to take care of any emergencies related to AMS.

Exit points on the Seoj Dhar – Kailash Kund Trek

Medical Emergencies can strike on any trek. The key to dealing with them lies in knowing your exit points. Know how to get out and reach the nearest hospital quickly.

On Seoj Dhar – Kailash Kund trek, your best bet is to descend to Bhaderwah.

When you are deep into the trek — say at Kailash Kund —  you easily take a day to reach the Bhaderwah exit.

Closest Hospital to Seoj Dhar – Kailash Kund Trek

In case of a medical emergency, the closest hospital is in Bhaderwah. If you need serious medical attention, head to Jammu for better facilities.

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| Best Time To Do The Trek

The best time to do Seoj Dhar – Kailash Kund trek is from June to the end of August. It is the traditional monsoon season in the rest of the Indian subcontinent, but things are different in Jammu & Kashmir.

Jammu receives only mild rainfall in the months of July and August. Not at all like in Himachal Pradesh or Uttarakhand. That’s because of the Pir Panjal range which prevents most rain clouds from reaching Jammu & Kashmir.

It’s a boon because it makes for a comfortable trekking experience. In all the other seasons, it’s too cold to trek, the trail and the meadows are buried under snow for most part.

But even if we look at just one season, Seoj Dhar – Kailash Kund trek changes appearance and colour throughout the three months – June, July and August.

Seoj Dhar – Kailash Kund in early June

Trekking opens on the Seoj Dhar – Kailash Kund trail in the first week of June. Until then the upper reaches are under heavy snow. The lower meadows open earlier.

When you trek in June you can expect to see remnants of snow by the Kailash Kund lake. You may even see melting ice floes in the lake in early June.

This setting offers a fleeting glimpse of how the landscape looks like for the rest of the year – buried under snow, punctuated with frozen lakes.

Sometimes, even if it’s not the best phase to complete the trek, the sight is spell binding.

Seoj Dhar – Kailash Kund from mid-July to the third week of August

After mid-July, Seoj Dhar – Kailash Kund trek starts revealing itself in full glory.

Now, the snow has almost melted. And the trail is carpeted with bright green meadows, which are in contrast with the rugged, grey mountains rising at the fringes. The best part is, these meadows are densely dotted with so many wildflowers!

You experience this beauty, especially in the Seoj Dhar meadows, as you trek over tiny flowers of colours ranging from violet, red, blue, purple to yellow and white.

Frozen chunks of the alpine lakes have melted by now. Waters of Kailash Kund are deep gray with a tinge of deep blue.

Rains — more like evening showers — pick up during this time.

Seoj Dhar – Kailash Kund in the end of August

Cold sets in as the season progresses to the end of August. The evening showers become frequent. But when the clouds part during this time of the year, you witness brilliant blue skies. Plus the chances of spotting the tallest peaks of Kishtwar Himalaya are more.

You will also see a change in the colour of the meadows. They look a bit roasted, just with a tinge of brown. Watch out for this as you camp at Seoj Dhar.

The grass no longer retains the soft, fresh green tinge. The flowers wilt too. And yet, there’s a beauty to this change of tone.

We usually suggest our trekkers to end their trek towards the first week of September, but some lone trekkers do attempt it till the end of September. So, it’s doable. But it may not be the most comfortable time, given the cold temperatures.

| Weather And Temperature On Seoj Dhar – Kailash Kund

On Seoj Dhar – Kailash Kund trek, the weather or temperature doesn’t fluctuate much between campsites. But yes, there is a considerable change between the day time and night time temperatures. The winds blowing on the open meadows of Seoj Dhar adds to the chill factor once the sun sets.

That, combined with soft, evening showers on certain days make trekking to Seoj Dhar – Kailash Kund a pleasant experience.

With that setting in mind, let’s dive into the details of weather and temperature.

 From June to mid-August:

June to August are the warmest months of the trek. Day temperatures hover around 15 – 18° C when sunny. Expect cloud cover or rain to decrease this range by  4 or 5° C. Nights tend to be balmy around 1 – 3° C.

July and August are not the traditional rainy months in Jammu & Kashmir. However rains are never ruled out in the mountains. You can always expect an afternoon shower or a day on the trek with full rain.  As you move to August chances of sporadic rains increase. It is all easily managed on the trek with appropriate rain gear.

In the end of August:

The mountain valleys in Jammu start getting colder by the end of August. It sees temperatures dipping by 3 – 4° C every week. This is when the flowers disappear and the meadows also turn golden.

| How To Plan Your Travel

To reach Seoj Dhar – Kailash Kund trek you need to travel around 190 km towards east from Jammu, going to Bhaderwah. The base camp of Seoj Dhar – Kailash Kund trek is Bhaderwah, a small town situated in Doda district.

For ease of understanding, we have broken down the journey based on the transport and the route you take:

From Jammu Airport to Bhaderwah

Step out of the Jammu (Jammu Civil Enclave) airport and head towards Bhaderwah.

There are two ways to get to Bhaderwah.

1. Government Bus: This is the best way. There are buses every half an hour which take you to Udhampur. The ticket now costs approximately Rs.250 to Rs.300. This is the most reliable, safe and pocket-friendly way, provided you have time on your side.

2. Cab: The next option is to take a private cab. You will get plenty of them immediately as you step out of the airport. But take this option only if you are pressed for time because it is expensive. The cab will cost you around more than Rs.3,000.

Jammu-to-Bhaderwah-Google-Maps

Alternative: Break it at Udhampur

Use this option only if you don’t find direct buses or shared cabs from Jammu.

Train: If you don’t find direct buses to Bhaderwah, getting in a train from Jammu Tawi railway station to Udhampur and then taking either a government bus or a shared taxi from there to Bhaderwah is the fastest option.

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| What To Take On Your Trek

Things to get for the Seoj Dhar – Kailash Kund Trek

Seoj Dhar – Kailash Kund is a very high altitude trek. The trekking gear you need to carry for this trek is different from regular treks. So pay careful attention to this entire section.

– A list of everything you need for the trek
– A list of medicines for your trek

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

1. Trekking Shoes:

Seoj Dhar – Kailash Kund trek 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.

2. Backpack:

For a trek like Seoj Dhar – Kailash Kund, you need a 30-40 litre backpack. Make sure your backpack has good hip support, shoulder support and quick access pockets. Here is a guide on how to choose a backpack.

Buying Tip: Wildcraft, Decathlon and Adventure Worx usually make good backpacks. While Wildcraft has more expensive ones, the other two brands have budget-friendly backpacks to choose from.

Rental: The 48 litre backpack by Adventure Worx is available on rent from the Indiahikes store. They are custom-made for our Himalayan treks. Rent them if you don’t have a backpack.

3. Clothes:

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

Base Layer:

3 T-shirts:

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

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

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

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

ProtipIf 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 13,200 ft. At these altitudes it can get freezing cold even in the middle of summer. You will need at least 3 insulation layers for this trek.

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

1 Outer layer:

A padded jacket serves the purpose here. You don’t really need a water-resistant material. But you need an outer padded jacket that keeps the wind and cold out. Ensure your padded jacket has a hood as well.

Do you need a down/feather jacket? Not really. A regular padded/shell jacket will do. This video here will help you to learn more about the difference.

Note: Down/feather jackets are really not available these days. Many jackets masquerade as down/feather jackets. They are essentially fine polyester-filled jackets. They mimic the function of a down jacket but are usually expensive.

Rental: Padded jackets made by Fort Collins are available on rent at the Indiahikes store. They are custom made for Indiahikes and trekkers find them terrific, even in winter.

Two Trek Pants:

Two pairs of trek pants should suffice for this trek. Wear one pair and carry two just in case it rains. Trek pants with zippered cut-offs at the thighs are very suitable for treks. Also, choose quick-dry pants over cotton. They dry up soon in case of small stream crossings/rain.

Buying Tip: Go for pants with zippered pockets. They come in handy to keep your phone, handkerchief or pocket snacks.

Track Pants or Trek Pants? Stretchable track pants make a good backup and can double up as your thermal bottoms. But track pants are not trekking pants — so don’t use them as your main outerwear. Keep them only as a backup.

Mandatory Accessories, without these too you won’t be able to do the trek. 

These accessories are mandatory. Don’t go to Seoj Dhar – Kailash Kund without them. Trekkers generally put off purchasing / borrowing the accessories for the last minute. We suggest the opposite. Start gathering these accessories first.

1. Sunglasses:

Sunglasses are to prevent snow blindness. On a trek like Seoj Dhar – Kailash Kund, especially in early June expect to walk on long stretches of snow. A small overexposure to direct sunlight on snow can lead to snow blindness (about a half hour’s exposure). That’s because fallen snow is like thousands of mirrors that reflect direct UV rays. So you need sunglasses with UV protection.

Tip: Try getting sunglasses that wrap around instead of those that have openings on the side. Even peripheral UV ray exposure is not a good idea.

Wear sunglasses if the trekking day is bright and sunny (on open sections, meadows). On a snowy section you must absolutely never take off your sunglasses until the section has been fully crossed.

If you wear spectacles: If you wear spectacles, you can get oversized sunglasses that you wear over your regular glasses (available at Decathlon). If that is cumbersome, photochromic lenses work equally well. Here’s a quick guide on managing sunglasses with spectacles.

Contact lens users: If you use contact lenses, you can use them on the trek too. The lens solution will not freeze. You will also not face any problems in changing your lens in your tent. Just carry enough cleaning solution with you to clean your fingers well. Wear your sunglasses over your contact lens.   

 2. Sun Cap:

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.

ProtipSun caps with flaps are a blessing for trekkers. They cut out almost all UV leaks and prevent sun burns in every possible way. They are also 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 Seoj Dhar – Kailash Kund you are going to be handling snow quite a bit if you’re trekking in early June. 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. These are also very useful when it rains to keep your hands dry and warm.  

4. Woollen Cap or Balaclava:

Ensure these cover your ears. In the cold mountains, you lose maximum heat from your head, not from your hands, feet or the rest of your body. Which is why you need to keep your head protected, especially when the sun is down. Early mornings, late evenings, a cold trekking day are when you must use your woollen cap.

Your ears are sensitive too, so a woollen head cap that covers your ears is absolutely essential. A balaclava is a modern version of the woolen cap. It covers your ears, neck and parts of your face as well. Do not get a woollen cap that only covers your head. 

5. Socks (2 pairs):

Carry 2 pairs of sports socks to give you cushioning plus warmth. Again the mantra is to wear synthetic socks or at least a synthetic blend. Cotton socks soak in water and sweat. They are very hard to dry. As for woollen socks, they help you to keep warm and snug in the night. If you cannot get woolen socks, wearing two sports socks serves the purpose as well. 

6. Headlamp:

Trekkers are often confused about whether they need to get a headlamp or a handheld torch. You need to get a headlamp because it leaves your hands free to do other activities. On the Seoj Dhar – Kailash Kund trek you’ll need your hands free to wash dishes, pitch tents and hold your trek poles.

Buying Tip: Ensure your headlamp covers a wider area and is not too focused as a single beam. On a trek, your headlamp must help you see around you as much as ahead of you. 

7. Trekking Pole (A Pair):

Trekking poles give you stability and balance. They reduce your energy consumption by almost 40%. On the Seoj Dhar – Kailash Kund trek there are steep ascents and descents. A pair of trekking poles will make the difference between a comfortable and a strenuous trek. In India, we tend to use a single trekking pole. However, two trekking poles give you greater stability and balance. They also increase your walking pace.

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

8. Rainwear:

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

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

Rental: High grade ponchos are available on rent on the Indiahikes store.

9. Rain cover for your backpack:

Backpacks are your life. You carry all your dry clothes, your warm gear in your backpack. It is important that your backpack stays dry at all times. Modern backpacks usually come with built-in rain covers. If your back pack does not have a rain-cover, ensure you get a rain cover by either (a) buying a rain cover (b) or cutting a large plastic sheet to the size of your backpack. You can roll the plastic sheet around your backpack and keep it in place with a string or elastic. 

ProtipIt’s good practice to compartmentalize 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.

Click here to go back to the Table of Contents.

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.

ProtipCarry miniature-sized items. You will not need more than that. If you’re travelling in a group, share one toothpaste for all.

Avoid getting large toilet rolls. The smallest size roll is more than enough for a trek like Seoj Dhar – Kailash Kund.

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 of your sanitary waste.

2. Cutlery:

Carry a lunch box, a mug and a spoon. Your lunch box must be leak proof. You are expected to wash your own cutlery. Trekkers often expect Indiahikes to wash their cutlery. When you allow Indiahikes to wash your cutlery, your cutlery becomes part of a mass washing system. You immediately invite germs, bacteria to settle on your cutlery. Incidence of stomach disorders rises exponentially.

ProtipCarry stainless steel cutlery. Avoid fancy high grade plastic cutlery. Stainless steel cutlery is infinitely easier to wash in cold water. Grease is easier to remove and hygiene is at the highest. Watch this video on why steel cutlery is better than plastic.

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

Seoj Dhar – Kailash Kund has long walking days. You need to carry two one litre water bottles to keep yourself hydrated over the distance. If you are used to a hydration pack, then that is ok too. If one among the two bottles is a lightweight thermos, then that helps you to store warm water on a really cold day or for late evenings and early mornings.

Rental: You could rent lightweight thermos flasks from the Indiahikes store

4. Plastic Covers:

Carry 3-4 old plastic covers to keep your used clothes. You could use them even for wet clothes. Re-use old plastic bags for this and do not buy new ones.

Personal Medical Kit

Carry these medicines with you, easily accessible at all times.

1. Diamox (1 Strip): Be on a course of a half tablet Diamox starting from Delhi every 12 hours (125 mg). Carry on the medication until you descend down to Homwas. Being on a preventive course of Diamox greatly reduces the chances of Acute Mountain Sickness on the Seoj Dhar – Kailash Kund trek.    

2. Dolo 650 (5 tablets): This is a paracetamol. It helps to tackle fever, mild pain

3. Avomine (4 tablets): Carry this especially if you are prone to motion sickness. Pop one half hour before the start of your road journey.

4. Combiflam (5 tablets): Take a combiflam if you get a sudden twist of the leg or a muscle strain. It is a pain reliever. It also contains paracetamol. 

5. Digene (4 tablets): Take it if you feel the food that you’ve taken is undigested. Alert your trek leader immediately. It could be a sign of AMS. 

6. ORS (6 packs): Consume a pack of ORS water at least once a day, usually mid day when you are in the middle of your trek. It replenishes essential salts lost while trekking.  Tip: It also makes cold water easier to drink.

7. Knee Brace (optional): Carry this if you are prone to knee injury or have known issues of knee pain.

Our trek leaders carry a high altitude medical kit with them which also consists 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.

| How To Get Fit For The Trek

Cardiovascular Endurance

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

Here’s a fitness routine that works:

–> Target completing 5 km in 45 minutes when you begin.

–> Gradually increase your pace by running 4 times a week and bring it down to 5 km in less than 35 mins.

–> If you are 45 years old and above and are more comfortable with long distance walking than jogging, then before you go on the trek, you should be able to walk at least 10 km at a stretch. Target completing this in 90 minutes.

If jogging is fine for you, your target should be completing 5 km in 45 minutes initially, and 5 km in less than 35 minutes before you go on the trek.

–> If you are somebody who prefers cycling over running, your target must be to cover 22 km in 60 minutes.

Working Out Indoors

If you can’t go out and jog because of time and space constraints, here’s a videoyou can use to work out indoors.

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| Frequently Asked Questions

1. How long is the Seoj Dhar – Kailash Kund trek?

The Seoj Dhar – Kailash Kund trek is 24 km long and you gain approx. 3,000 ft and lose more than 5,000 ft in total on the Seoj Dhar – Kailash Kund trek. The safest way to do this trek is to cover this distance in two days as it allows enough time for your body to acclimatize to the high altitude.  It’s easier and makes trekking more enjoyable.

Most walks are on the rocky terrain and undulating meadows. But as a chunk of this trek lies above 10,000 ft, watch out for signs of AMS if you cut the itinerary short.

2. Where is Seoj Dhar – Kailash Kund?

The Seoj Dhar – Kailash Kund trek is situated in the Bhaderwah town of Doda district. It is slightly towards the east of Jammu. The trek starts from Chattergala Pass, which is 37 km from the town of Bhaderwah.

3. How many lakes do you see on Seoj Dhar – Kailash Kund trek?

You come across one alpine lake on this trek. The holy Kailash Kund, at an altitude of 12,887 ft.

4. Is it safe to trek in Jammu?

Yes, it is safe to trek in Jammu. Talking about Seoj Dhar – Kailash Kund, while the trek remains untouched during times of unrest, getting to the base camp or onto the trail might raise concern in times of unrest.

So, here are certain pointers to keep in mind when you are traveling from Jammu to Bhaderwah:

 If you’re staying overnight at Srinagar, stay in touristy areas.
 Blend in with the crowd in terms of dressing and behavior.
 Avoid going to downtown areas.Stick to tourist spaces as they tend to be safer and well-protected during times of unrest.
 Don’t panic if there is a curfew. Keep calm and wait for it to pass.

5. How to get to Kailash Kund?

To reach Kailash Kund, you first need to reach Jammu. You may do this via flight or take a train to Jammu and then a 7-hour journey from Jammu to Bhaderwah.

Once in Jammu, make your way to Bhaderwah by either taking a state transport bus, or by getting a cab. You may also take a train to Udhampur from Jammu and take a cab from Udhampur to Bhaderwah.

Enquire about the details when you are booking for a cab.

6. Do I Need an RT-PCR Test before my trek?

As per the state government rules in West Bengal, Sikkim, Himachal, J&K and Uttarakhand, it is mandatory for you to get yourself an RT-PCR test done and carry a COVID negative certificate. So ensure you get it done not later than 72 hours before you enter Jammu.

We want our trekkers to ensure they are not carrying any infections to the mountains, where medical care is practically non-existent.

| Trek Contribution

Trek explored, documented and photos clicked by Dr Dhaval Jajal

Trek penned down by Gautam Singh

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