Har Ki Dun and Ruinsara Lake Solo Trek

Itinerary
Dec 3rd to Dec 5th : Bangalore to Delhi by Train
Dec 5th : Delhi To Dehradun by Train & overnight stay in Dehradun
Dec 6th : Dehradun to Sankri (Trail head) by bus and stay @ Sankri
Dec 7th : Sankri to Seema
Dec 8th : Seema to Har Ki Dun
Dec 9th : Har Ki Dun to Seema with Recce to find route for RuinSara Taal
Dec10th : Seema to Ruinsara Tal
Dec 11th : Ruinsara Tal to Ganghar
Dec 12th : Ganghar to Sankri
Dec 13th : Sankri to Dehradun by Bus and stay at Dehradun
Dec 14th : Dehradun to Delhi by Train
Dec 14th to Dec 16th : Delhi to Bangalore by Train

Summary & Highlights : It was a solo camping trek upto Har Ki Doon. I lost my way to Har Ki Doon (though it is well laid out) enroute Seema to Har Ki Doon. I had taken the lower track instead of the higher path. I realized this when I came to the confluence of the Ruinsara Gad & Har-Ki-Dun gad. I asked a few shepherds present there and climbed a hill to get back onto the track to Har Ki Doon. It snowed heavily in Har Ki Doon the next day and so had to beat a hasty retreat. I took a diversion to Ruinsara Tal. For Ruinsara Tal one has to cross a Bugyal and then there are 2 routes - 1 upper into the forests and the lower ones to a bridge and onto the trail for Ruinsara. I knew I had to find the lower route from the bugyal but unfortunately could not spot it and went a fair distance on the upper route. As I could not find a suitable campsite and it was late evening I headed back to Seema and reached it in the dark (6:00 p.m). BTW, because of winters it gets dark by 5:30 p.m. Also, the day breaks only about 7:00 a.m and by the time you are done with breakfast and packing it is well beyond 9:00 (often 10 a.m). So, the walking times were only 6-8 hours a day. I hired a local at Osla (main village across the from Seema) to guide me to Ruinsara Tal. The walk to Ruinsara Tal is spectacular with majestic views of Swargarohini, Black Peak and BandarPoonch. The are numerous landslides along the way to RuinSara Tal. These landslides are short stretches but still dangerous so one had to be careful. Stayed a night @ Ruinsara Tal campsite and headed back the next day and reached Gangar ( a village with Satellite phone). While retracing the path from Ruinsara the guide took me through a shepherd trail - a shorter route. However, that was slightly more dangerous. There is a very short landslide section where I lost my footing, luckily for me though there was a firm bush outgrowth on top which I was holding onto which prevented me from falling. The following day I headed back to Sankri.

Dehradun to Sankri
I took the 5:30 a.m bus from near the rly stn to Naugaan. From there I took a bus which went to Purola and more(i). From Mori you should get plenty of jeeps to Naitwar. From Naitwar I took a local bus to Sankri. You can even get jeeps to Sankri (if you are lucky). From Sankri to Taluka to you can get jeeps. Overall the cost for this travel from Dehradun to Sankri would be around Rs 200. Travel time overall is around 10 hours.

Sankri to Dehradun
On my return I took a direct bus which leaves Sankri at 5:00 (actually 5:30 a.m) in the morning and reaches Dehradun by 3-3:30 p.m in the evening.

Distances between major points on Dehradun to Sankri:-
Dehradun to Mussoorie : 30 KM
Mussorie to Damta : 50 KM
Damta to Naugaon : 30 KM
Naugaon to Purola : 30 KM
Purola to Naitwar : 47 KM
Naitwar to Sankri : 12 KM


Background of this Trek
I had a grade 3 ligament tear on my right ankle when playing badminton on Oct 7th 2011. My right ankle was in a cast for 5 weeks till Nov 11th 2011, when the cast was removed. After that for the next 1 week (say upto Nov 18th) I experienced pain while climbing up/down the stairs and I had to get used to walking normally without a cast. Slowly, I started walking & started doing slow runs over the course of the next 2 weeks (Nov 18th - Nov end). As soon as I could start running again the one thought plaguing my mind was whether I would be able to trek again. Walking/Running on an even surface is one aspect and walking in the mountains with a weight on your back is a totally different proposition. So, I decided that the only way I would know it is if I tested it out by going on a trek. Being Dec I was not sure what would be a good trail. On some research I narrowed it to either Kuari Pass or Har Ki Dun. Enroute to delhi (on the train) I decided that it would be Har Ki Dun.


Dec 6th : Dehradun to Sankri :
The views on the serpentine path from Dehradun to Sankri are spectacular. The green forest cover is a sight for sore eyes, used to the grey dullness of the city. The fresh air blowing against your face is a refreshing change from the pollution laden air inhaled in the city. The sights and the smell still can't completely obliterate the discomfort one feels while journeying over the pot-hole ridden roads from Dehradun to Naitwar. For the imaginative, the road may remind you of a voluptuous and curvaceous woman, but the curves, though attractive, are definitely not easy on the stomach. Though the sights are jaw-dropping the churning stomach may cause your jaw to drop for an altogether different reason. Braving the road journey, I reached Naitwar, where I got the permits to enter the Govind Ghat wildlife Sanctuary and National Park. As I encountered the bone shaking bus journey, where the bus driver searched for the road amidst the craters, I realized how comfortable the journey from Dehradun to Naitwar had been. It was late evening when I reached Sankri. Walked the half kilometre stretch to the village of Soud and camped in the YHAI camping ground. The children from the village helped me pitch my tent.

Har Ki Dun Trek

In the abode of Gods

Overview

    Snuggling amidst the cradle shaped Fateh Parvat, the valley of Har-ki-Dun is located at an altitude of 3566 meters and is one of the most gorgeous mountain valleys of Western Himalayas. It is situated in the district of Uttarkashi of Garhwal in Uttarakhand State. It is surrounded by densely populated endless forests and snow-clad mountain peaks. With abundant flora and fauna at a close range, the valley has caught attention of many bird watchers and nature lovers since decades. 

Har-ki-Dun is popularly known as “Valley of Gods”. ‘Har’ is another name of the Hindu God, Lord Krishna and this mesmerising valley is widely known to be the Valley of Lord Krishna. It is also called as the valley where fairies meet. The valley holds of tremendous value according to the Hindu Epic of Mahabharata. The Swargarohini peak which is located at an altitude of 6096 metres is believed to be the place from where Pandavas proceeded to heaven. Har-ki-Dun is the only place in the country which has temples of the Kaurava Prince Duryodhana and his allies Karna.  Local residents and communities of this region worship Duryodhana as their God.

The beautiful alpine meadows along the glacier basins and spectacular moraine ridges surrounded by medicinal herbs and shrubs of Ayurveda have enchanted trekkers and holiday makers from all around the globe. The picture perfect location is best suited for photography and bird watching. The houses of the region have carvings depicting tales from Mahabharata. Rice, Rajma, and Potatoes farm are seen every-which-where and they can be found in local delicacies as well. 

The trekking trail to the valley of Har-ki-Dun was found by Jack Gibson, a teacher at Doon School in 1940’s. He often brought his students on trekking and camping expeditions in this location and has been given the credit for the inception of Indian Mountaineering. Even till date, school kids can be found in a large number especially during summer vacations. Trekkers of all age can handle the difficulty level of this trek as the trails are well defined and are not very steep. Wooden bridges are constructed at water stream crossings and the average distance to be covered does not exceed 12 to 14 kilometres per day. Camps set up by the forest department come in handy for campers and trekkers. 

The valley of Har-ki-Dun is situated within the jurisdiction of Govind National Park which gives an insight into the stunning variety of wildlife present in Himalayas. You may spot Musk Deer, Indian Porcupine, Himalayan Brown Bear, Himalayan Snow Cock, Golden Eagle, Parakeets, Minivets, Himalayan Palm, Snow Leopards, Common Otter, Cuckoos, Hodgson’s Fly Squirrel, Steppe Eagle, Black Eagle, Tits, Warblers, Sikkim Vole, Finches, Goral, Civet, Buntings, Himalayan Rat, Wild Boar, Bearded Vulture, Thrushes, Koklas Pheasant, Western Tragopan, spot Hedgehog and Monal Pheasant. If you plan your trek during the month of April and May, the Rhododendron trees and wild Himalayan flowers are a delightful sight. Large number of flowers including Lilies, Primulas, Orchids, Blue Poppy, Anemonies and Potentillas are found during the stunning summers. The high altitude flower Brahma Kamal or Saussurea obvallata can be found close to Har-ki-Dun. 

Har-ki-Dun is an abode to many of the purest streams and rivers. During the trek, you will witness the source of Karmanasha stream which graciously flows to meet the Obragaad stream beneath the village of Sankri. The stream forms into River Supine which proceeds to merge with the sparkling Rupin River which flows from the state of Himachal Pradesh. At Netwar, River Rupin combines to emerge as Tons River which is a major tributary of the legendary River Yamuna. 

Taking a stroll in most breath-taking landscapes surrounded by Mount Swaragrohini, Kalanag, Fateh Parvat and Bandarpoonch will be a life-altering experience for every visitor. 

 


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