Rocky mountains which in season turn from green to snow topped and made prettier with the Ruinsara Tal meandering between its folds at points, welcome to Har Ki Dun. Visit the Himalayas in this region of the Garhwal to take on this trek to reach 3,500 m. And beyond the altitude to reach the land that has been called the “Valley of Gods”.
How to reach: Reach Dehradun by a flight or train and thereafter travel by road to reach the village of Sankri.
Best time to visit: March to June, September to December
Altitude: 11,811 ft
Duration: 7-9 days
Difficulty level: Moderate
So, why is this called the Valley of Gods? Is it the might of the mountains that are giving you the privilege of climbing them? Is it the breath-taking views you get to see that give it this godly status? Or is it an epic tale etched in our mythology? Ding ding ding. We have a winner! This is said to be the fateful peak upon which the Pandavas made their journey to heaven.
Curiously though legend also states that the existing village called Osla houses a temple in honour of Duryodhan. Yes, for the one we thought was the villain of the epic of Mahabharata! However, back in ancient times the folks of this region were fiercely loyal to the Kauravas and they honoured Duryodhan with this temple. Many even ponder that probably this temple was the reason behind the Pandavas choosing this trail through the Himalayas instead of any other. As narrated by my dearest nani and well the pages that penned the elaborate battle, it is said that as the Pandavas climbed the peak, little by little each of them faced a probing question and eventually fell. None were able to make it to heaven except the most righteous, Yudhistir, who also had to sacrifice a thumb in penance. I guess human beings were always a weird breed which even then crumbled in the face of guilt or their actions. This valley thus earned its name the one of the Gods.
The cradle shaped valley welcomes you near the border of Himachal and Uttarakhand. Here you will find glacier basins and streams that chill you with the mountain air one so longingly craves. In addition to the birches, pines and bhojpatra trees the valley is also decked with medicinal herbs unknown to the medical community. These include Guchi and Nagtari which locals actually sell off to Chinese folks for meditation. And when you have made your way through the throngs of jungle trees, you could with luck find the Brahmakamal waiting for you as you reach the alpine lake. This flower is found in the Himalayan region only at high altitudes between 10,000 to 15,000 ft.
Speaking of alpine lakes, this trek can actually be done in a shorter period but then you miss out on Ruinsara Tal – a stunning stretch of glittering water surrounded by snow topped mountains standing guard around it. The path to the lake in itself is an added treat as it takes you via parts of the valley that with the flora and fauna find themselves draped in a vibrance of bright colours.
Pass through the invitingly green meadow of Devsu Tach. Take a few moments here for laying and gazing in the thick rows of trees or in the sheer riot of green. Waiting for you further is the Swrgrohini Peak which the Pandavas sought and the Duryodhan temple. The charm of this trek is simply doubled by this touch of mythology.
Quaint villages to pass through, a tale to tell, peaks that loom above you, chilly streams and lakes to joyously shriek into and the flowers of highlands which peak out in bloom to say hello, this is a trek which is sure to stir you in every way.
Click here to read about Ali Bedni Bugyal, a beautiful trek in Uttarakhand!