Har Ki Dun Trek Blog – Day 3 – Sankri to Seema

Flickr Photo Gallery of Har Ki Dun Trek, Day 3:
2015-05 Har Ki Dun Trek - Day 3
This post is a continuation of the previous post. See this post for detailed summary and itinerary of the Har Ki Dun trek.
Day 3, Monday, 18th May 2015: Sankri to Seema :

Our plan was to leave on time at 7.30 am, so that we reach our first stop (Seema) early and get at least couple of hours to relax and explore surroundings before sunset. We got up at around 5.30 am ! Big dilemma was weather to take a bath or not, since next 4 days were going to be spent without taking a bath. There was no hot water and it was chilling cold (approx 5-8 degrees) for me ! Ice cold water in the washroom was numbing all the senses. I had two other room-mates and we decided to quickly get ready and head out for a cup of tea.

Small eatery was warm and cozy at the dawn, fortunately tea was available. What a wonderful experience it was to sip a cup of tea in cold weather and looking at Sankri valley and faraway mountains, anticipating the grand walk towards the Har Ki Dun.

Soon everyone got ready and assembled on the road with rucksacks and shoulder bags. Jeeps arrived in time and we loaded our luggage on top of them. We started for Taluka at 7.30 am. Journey to Taluka was very interesting. It was narrow mud road and it was clinging to the mountain slopes. Road was just enough for one vehicle to pass. Our Jeep crossed couple of water falls on the way and it was quite a view. We crossed couple of herds of sheep on the way.

Heard of sheeps on the way to Taluka
Herd of sheep on the way to Taluka
Looking Back - Going towards Taluka, Sankri visible as a small patch at the centre of the photo.
Looking Back – Going towards Taluka, Sankri visible as a small patch at the centre of the photo.

We reached at beautiful Taluka village in 45 minutes. This tiny village has about 60 to 80 households. Taluka village also has a Forest Guest House. One can stay even at Taluka instead of Sankri and start the trek much earlier, however I doubt about dinner and other facilities in Taluka. Do not expect Forest Guest House to have any facilities. Starting point of the trail was right besides the compound wall of the Forest Guest House.

Beautiful Taluka Village
Beautiful Taluka Village
Forest Guest House at Taluka. Starting point of Har Ki Dun trek is indicated by arrow painted on the wall.
Forest Guest House at Taluka. Starting point of Har Ki Dun trek is indicated by arrow painted on the wall.

 
 
Starting the Trek:
 
We started our trek at 8.30 am. Initially the trail went downwards, for few meters and then it became almost plane. For couple of hundred meters, a solid concrete path of about 2 feet wide was laid. After that trail became a usual jungle trail built with soil and rocks.

Trail just after Taluka village
Trail just after Taluka village

Some people had set-up their tent near Taluka village. It was a beautiful view with a large mountain on the side and huge riverbed near its base. It was a clear day and valley was flooded with refreshing morning sunlight.

People camping besides the trail, about couple of hundred meters from Taluka village
People camping besides the trail, about couple of hundred meters from Taluka village

Trail became narrow and clung tightly to hills as we went further. There is thick alpine vegetation along the trail path. Shortly after Taluka, at about 2 Kms trail runs almost at the level of river bed. We stopped there for a while to enjoy the scenic beauty. It is from this place, for the first time during our trek, we saw beautiful snow clad peaks at a far distance.

Trail after Taluka
Trail after Taluka
First view of the snow clad peaks at about 2 Kms from Taluka
First view of the snow clad peaks at about 2 Kms from Taluka

After walking for another half an hour we crossed a small bridge over one stream. The stream was coming from the Datmir village. After crossing the bridge trail went little up and we reached at a nice small sized plateau. Even this could be a really good camping place! Datmir village is located high up above the mountain slope and trail splits into two parts here. Small bifurcation to the right goes to Datmir village and the straight one goes towards Seema.

Few of us were thirsty and filled their water bottles from this stream. However the taste of water was strange, we were unable to drink it. When we observed the water inside our bottles, it had lots of sediments. Our guide told us not to drink water from any random sources but to consult with him before doing so. There are two issues here. First, if the stream is very big, like the one we saw here (almost like a tiny river), it means it had come a long way from the mountains and so it carries lots of sediments along with it. Rocks in the Himalayas are brittle and have lot of minerals which mix with water and impart strange taste to the water, and probably they are not good for health as well. Secondly, upstream settlements will discharge their waste into the flowing water, thereby contaminating it.

TIP: Drink water only from small streams flowing over rocky surfaces. Small and tiny streams have their origin into nearby rocks. Thus they have much lesser minerals, resulting into clear water and have less risk of contamination.

Stream coming from the mountains. Datmir village is located high up in the middle of the photo.
Stream coming from the mountains. Datmir village is located high up in the middle of the photo.
Bridge on the stream coming from the mountain, photo taken from a small plateau
Bridge on the stream coming from the mountain, photo taken from a small plateau

After this we continued our walk, and reached at a place where we saw one large and long wooden bridge on the adjoining river. We did not take that bridge but instead did a small photography session at that place. We continued further and trail started climbing upwards after that. On the first day we walked mostly through a thick cover of trees. We met many other trekkers, also going to Har Ki Dun, on the way.

Large wooden bridge on the adjoining river
Large wooden bridge on the adjoining river

It was almost 10.30 am, and we had done about 2 hours of walking with couple of short breaks. We encountered a tiny waterfall flowing from the mountain rocks and many of us filled our water bottles there. Water was clean but had some floating matter, which was ok.

While walking on the trail we encountered ‘mule traffic’ many times. It is usual practice here to send ruck-sacks on the mules. Even local folks use mules for transporting heavy items. When we were half way through, our mules overtook us and went ahead.

Mules overtaking us. Our luggage is on those mules.
Mules overtaking us. Our luggage is on those mules.

Meanwhile we noticed a small advertising board about upcoming tea stall hanging from top of the tree ! We all became quite excited about it. We had become a bit tired and wanted to have a long break of at least 10 to 15 minutes. After completing first major climb, we reached a dry river bed and crossed it. After crossing this river bed, there was another lengthy climb.

Tea stall advertise put up on the tree!
Tea stall advertise put up on the tree!

Second big climb also goes through thick jungle and is quite comfortable. Most of the trees in this jungle are really-really tall ! Some of them are so huge that it can take three people to hug a tree trunk!!

Photograph of tall trees, looking at sky
Photograph of tall trees, looking at sky

Photograph of huge tree trunks

Photograph of huge tree trunks

We met two big trekking groups on the way. One was of Youth Hostels Association of India (YHAI) and another group was from Pune city . YHAI group had many enthusiastic youngsters, while a group from Pune had middle aged folks.

Har Ki Dun trail has many tricky points. At these locations connectivity between the two places is solely dependent on the tiny wooden bridges. These bridges connect two parts of the trail across waterfalls, or rivers or small crevasses. They are are constructed and maintained by the forest department.

After long and arduous climb, we reached at a place where we found two small ‘trail-side’ Thelas serving tea and snacks. It was quite refreshing to have a hot cup of tea after a tiring walk. Everybody relaxed here for a while. We filled our bottles and continued further.

Trail-side Thela (tea and snacks shop)
Trail-side Thela (tea and snacks shop)
This local dog was giving a company to trekkers and he came all the way till Har Ki Dun!
This local dog was giving a company to trekkers and he came all the way till Har Ki Dun!

We continued further and after about one hour of walking, we reached Gangaad village. This village was the birthplace of our trek guide, Mr. Chain Singh.

Gangaad village
Gangaad village

We enquired about educational, and medical facilities in the village. This village (like many in this valley) does not have electricity connections. There is a Primary school in this village, but teachers do not come here regularly, if they come they will stay for a week or two and then leave. School is completely at the mercy of these teachers. Same is the case with medical practitioners. They will come and stay there for a fortnight and then they will vanish for couple of months. Life is tough in these mountains !

Kids from Gangaad village
Kids from Gangaad village
Yet, another trail-side Thela
Yet, another trail-side Thela
Kids from Gangaad village
Kids from Gangaad village

We walked past Gangaad village and then stopped for lunch. We had been provided with a packed lunch of Puri-Subjee (Fried bread, with potato vegetables). After lunch we continued further. As we were heading towards Seema, ice peaks were getting closer and closer.

View of the mountains as we reach near the first day halt - Seema !
View of the mountains as we reach near the first day halt – Seema !

As we were nearing Seema, we saw few camps had been setup by various trekking groups.

Some trekkers had set up their camps just before Seema
Some trekkers had set up their camps just before Seema
Toilet facilities at those camp
Toilet facilities at those camps

Finally after a long trek, we reached at our first day’s halt, Seema, at around 4 pm. Seema has a small cluster of buildings. It has few houses of villagers, GMVN guest house and forest department guest house. Our accommodation was arranged in the forest guest house at Seema.

Forest guest house was huge. It had 3 big bedrooms and one hall. There was another tiny room, but that was being used as a store room. Everything was wooden except walls. Mattresses on the bed were dusty and blankets were okiesh. All of us had carried our personal thin fleece blankets, which we used as a inner cover for main blanket.

Photo of the Seema with forest guest house (green roof-tops) visible
Photo of the Seema with forest guest house (green roof-tops) visible

Forest guest house had two washrooms, but with extremely limited water. We had to manage in couple of buckets of water to freshen up ourselves. Actually, water was so cold that folks were least interested in washing their faces or hands with that water. We mostly used water for sanitation.

Photo of the hanging bridge on the river at Seema
Photo of the hanging bridge on the river at Seema

Dinner will be served a lot early, at around 7.30 pm, during the trek. After having tea we ventured out to explore surroundings. There was a large hanging bridge on the river. It was beautiful and gave lot of opportunities for photo shoots 🙂 . Some of the group members gathered firewood for a bonfire.

Sweet corn soup served to us at Seema
Sweet corn soup served to us at Seema

We wound up our exploration and photo shoots, as sun was setting, and returned to the forest guest house. We had delicious sweet corn soup waiting for us (BTW … it was a regular Knorr instant soup, but everything feels super tasty when you are dead tired, and when you are having it in the Himalayan Valley 😉 ) After about an hour dinner followed.

It started getting cold quite rapidly after sunset and by the time we finished dinner it was very cold (approx 5-8 ℃). I wore 3 layered cloths and wore thick jacket on top of it. We light up bonfire in the open space, warmed ourselves, and went to bed around 10 pm. Next day we had to get up early, as it was going to be steeper climb till HKD. Therefore, we had planned to finish our breakfast and start the trek by 7.30 am.

Day 4: Seema to Har Ki Dun:
Travelogue of Day 4 (Seema to Har Ki Dun) will be posted soon.
Related Posts:

1. Har Ki Dun Trek Day 1 & 2 – Bangalore to Mussoorie to Sankri
2. Har Ki Dun Trek Day 3 – Sankri to Taluka to Seema
3. Har Ki Dun Trek Day 4 – Seema to Har Ki Dun
4. Har Ki Dun Trek Day 5 & 6 – Har Ki Dun to Osla to Taluka to Sankri
5. Rishikesh Trip Day 7, 8 & 9 – Sankri to Rishikesh, and return to Bangalore

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