|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|
I always wanted to do a trek in the mighty Himalayas. However, I was not able to find the right time and the right group of friends for this adventure. The opportunity came when our office team decided to go for a trek in Garhwal Himalayas in Uttarakhand. After few rounds of discussions, Har Ki Dun trek was finalized and I was super excited. The planning process of this trek is discussed in Har Ki Dun Trek summary post. I am writing down a detailed travelogue of the trek from this post onwards.
For eleven out of twelve people in the group, it was their first multi-day Himalayan Trek. So, as the day of the trek was approaching we were getting excited, restless and more and more anxious about the trek. Two days prior to our departure we purchased our trek supplies and distributed them amongst us. We packed our ruck-sacks and kept them ready a day before the trek.
One day prior to the trek most of us left early from office, as our anxiety levels were very high.
Day 1, Saturday, 16th May 2015 : The Departure from Bangalore :
Our flight was early in the morning. Myself and my office colleague shared a cab and reached the airport by 5 am on Saturday morning. To our surprise airport was bustling with a crowd ! Jet airways’ flight took off on time and reached Dehradun at 12:30 pm. While picking up luggage from the conveyor belt I spotted a peculiar luggage. The sheer number of check-in barcode stickers and fragile tags were telling the amount of travel that parcel and its owner must have made!
Few of our group members had already reached the airport and were waiting for me. We hired one Innova cab for six of us and headed to Mussoorie. Dehradun city roads are pretty narrow and had considerable traffic. Just before beginning of Mussoorie ghat, we stopped for a lunch at small hotel. We reached, at a place of our night’s stay, Hotel Ever Green, by 4.30 pm. The 3-story hotel was constructed on a 2 story tall foundation. It was small, but neat and clean. The best part was, it had a stunning unobstructed view of the Dun valley and we got rooms having a valley view.
We got refreshed and then relaxed for a while. Upon request, hotel waiter sent us really nice tea to our rooms. Coincidently few of my friends were there in Mussoorie, so I picked up my camera and headed out to meet them.
An Evening in Mussoorie:
I decided to walk down the road and meet friends. Mussoorie, being a hill town, has all the properties constructed on steep slopes of the mountain. Narrow but neatly maintained roads with sharp turns were quite a fun to stroll on. As dusk approaches, the temperature starts dropping rapidly and you will start feeling cold.
On the way, I saw small Durga Mata Mandir at one of the turns, and beautifully made Lord Shiva’s statue. As if lord Shiva is guarding the roads of Mussoorie, an entry point to the Himalayas, and his heavenly abode.
After a few minutes of walk, down the hill through small by-lanes, I reached a place where my paragliding friends were camping. They were in the process of organizing tandem flying festival in Mussoorie.
After the sunset I had to rush back to the hotel, as it was getting cold and I had forgotten my jacket! Valley was looking extremely beautiful in evening colors! After nightfall, we set out for the famous Mall road in Mussoorie for dinner.
Mall road is the place where you will find many interesting eateries in Mussoorie. As night set in, it started bustling with people. Near the entry point, it has an establishment called as Picture Palace. It is a small entertainment complex, where they show 5D movies, something which people from metros would not like to visit in Mussoorie ! Anyways, Mall road also had quite a few branded clothing shops. It was a heaven for foodies and shoppers alike, a kind of happening place !
We reached our first dinner place, the Rice Bowl. It is one of the recommended places on wiki travel page for Mussoorie. I ordered Vegetable Thukpa. It was fairly bland and less spicy, quite decent indeed!
After eating Thukpa we headed to another attraction on Mall road, Lovely Omelette Centre. It is famous for serving omelette which does not smell of Eggs !! It was indeed delicious and without any hint of peculiar egg smell. We finished our multicourse-multiplace dinner with delicious Elaichie Dudh (Cardamom milk) from Mussoorie Sweet Shop.
Chic Chocolate was one the most famous dessert and bakery place. This place had unique and retro style interiors. Since we were quite full after eating at many places, we just decided to window-shop the menu of Chic Chocolate.
After stomach full of dinner we headed to our hotel. Cold was just becoming little overbearing and everyone wanted to sleep early as next day we had to leave by 7 am.
Day 2, Sunday, 17th May 2015: Mussoorie to Sankri :
The journey from Mussoorie to Sankri is of 152 Kms. There are no plain roads, entire journey is through hilly terrain and we had to reach Sankri before evening. So, we got up quite early, got fresh and settled remaining hotel balances. Dun valley was looking lovely at early morning ! Such a refreshing view it was !!
Meanwhile, our Tempo Traveller had arrived and we quickly loaded all the luggage on it. As per our plan, we started at around 7 am from Mussoorie. We stopped for a breakfast at 8 am at a place called as Eatwell Restaurant near Kempty Falls. It was mediocre but hygienic breakfast place but quite expensive. Breakfast, for 12 of us, cost us whooping 1800 Rs, in spite of eating less to prevent motion sickness during travel !!
Tip: If you want to take anti motion sickness / anti vomiting tablets it is advisable to take them at least 1 hour before starting a journey. Few in our group experienced that tablet was showing its effect, only 1 to 1.5 hours after taking it.
Yamuna river accompanied us till half way, i.e. upto Matiyali village. From this village left turn goes towards Sankri, while straight road goes to Yamunotri, an origin of Yamuna river.
There were countless scenic spots on the way. At many places, there were small one lane bridges for crossing the streams or waterfalls. At some places, the road runs alongside the river and gives you an opportunity to stop by and take a dip in Holy Yamuna !
Although it looks as if there is abundant water, you cannot use it for drinking. There are lot of sediments and minerals mixed in the river waters and hence it tastes quite strange. We got the first glimpse of our future sources of ‘Mineral water’ straight from the mountain on the way. At one tiny stream near road side, a bamboo funnel was attached. This indicated that it is drinkable water and it should be preferred over the river water !
We stopped for lunch at Purola. We had delicious North Indian food. Pahadi Veg Subjee was notable ! After Purola, the road goes towards Mori village. We took a right turn from Mori towards Sankri. On this stretch of road, Tons river runs parallel to the road for quite sometime. Har Ki Dun trek trail goes alongside of one of the tributaries of Tons river ! Just after Mori, we stopped at another scenic stop for relaxing and enjoying the natural beauty.
After a long journey of 10 hours, we finally reached Sankri, a starting point of our Har Ki Dun trek, at around 5 pm. Our guide had booked rooms in Hotel Swargarohini Palace. We got valley side rooms on the first floor of the hotel. This hotel has a breathtaking view of the Sankri valley!
We quickly got fresh and headed for a small eatery in Sankri Village for evening tea.
After the high tea, we decided to venture out for a small walk towards Taluka as a part of acclimatization exercise. We walked about 2 Kms and returned when twilight started fading. That walk helped us to get acclimatized to the climate and altitude. The following photo shows the valley view, about one kilometer from Sankri, on the Sankri-Taluka mud road.
We returned to Sankri before nightfall. Our guide, Mr. Chain Singh had organized a small orientation session for us. He mentioned following important points for the trek:
- While walking on the trail always walk along the side of the mountain than the valley.
- If you see mules are arriving, quickly move towards the mountain side of the trail and give them way.
- Do not stamp on the stones near edge of the trail or do not throw stones in the valley. It might hit someone below you.
- Do not litter ! Collect your garbage with you and dump it on the next halt.
- Drink plenty of water during the trek, otherwise dehydration will cause muscle cramps.
- Don’t worry about altitude sickness at Har Ki Dun.
- Do not rush, enjoy the trek at your own pace.
- Leave unwanted stuff in the rucksacks in one common bag at Sankri. This will reduce the weight of the rucksack in case we have to carry it around for short time. (However, we never had to carry rucksacks, they were always carried by the Mules)
- If you notice there are sheep or cattle above you on the mountain slopes, immediately get away from that place. Small stones might start falling down on your head to cattle movement on the slopes.
After our briefing, we procured Ponchos from small shop besides the hotel. Ponchos are a big sheet of plastic, which can be used to cover ourselves in case of rain. We unpacked our rucksacks and removed excess luggage and kept it in the Hotel. Everyone was super excited. We had brief chat about next days plan and we distributed various dry eatables, which we had purchased in Bangalore, amongst ourselves, and went to bed 🙂
Day 3: Sankri to Taluka to Seema:
Travelogue of Day 2 (Sankri to Taluka to Seema) is posted here.