The pass is probably the best window to view the high Himalayan peaks. The views are simply breathtaking, facing north the vision sweeps from the gorges of Trishul in the east to the peaks of Kedarnath in the west – the Kedarnath, Chaukhamba, Nilkantha, Kamet, Gauri Parbat, Hathi Parbat, Nandadevi, Bethartoli, Dunagiri – (all high 6000 m or 7000 m peaks) lined one after the other in a magnificent arc. Southwards the foothills stretch wave upon wave on to the dim haze of the distant plains. Dotted by some remote villages one also gets good insights into the local life.
Day 01: Delhi to Rishikesh (330m) 5-6hrs.
Board the morning Shatabdi Express departing New Delhi at 7am. Reach Haridwar at 11:30 am. Transfer to the hotel in Rishikesh, a bustling pilgrim township, a popular meditation centre and the Yoga Capital of the world. After lunch, optional rafting on the Ganga till short of Rishikesh. Evening explore the township and attend the aarti (evening prayers) by the banks of the river Ganga. Overnight hotel.
Day 02: Drive Rishikesh to Ghat (1330m) 7-8 hrs.
The drive takes one into the rugged country of the Garhwal along the Alaknanda river. Going past a few holy confluences and then finally into the narrow valley of Nandakini we reach Ghat, the road head for the trek in the evening.
Day 03: Ghat – Ramni / Ghunni (2550m) 6-7 hrs.
For the first half the trail goes along the river and then finally starts climbing from the river bottom, some parts being quite steep. We camp just above the fairly large village of Ramni in a nice grassy patch and visit the village in the evening.
Day 04: Ghunni – Sem Kharak (2400 m) 5-6 hrs
The trail starts climbing up to the pass, crosses a lot of small tributary rivers and waterfalls including one which offers a great opportunity for a shower. After a steady climb we arrive a small pass called Ramni pass (3060m) which offers views of Kuari Pass and then we descend gradually to the grazing meadows of Sem Kharak.
Day 05: Sem Kharak – Pana (2450m) 5-6 hrs
From Sem kharak we descend down to the suspension bridge over the Birthi Ganga then climb up again to another prosperous village of Pana
Day 06: Pana – Dhakwani (3341m) 6-7 hrs
Option of camping at Sartoli (2980m), an hour and a half short of Dhakwani.
A few ascends, descends and traverses bring us close to the foot of the Kuari Pass. The trail comes out of the tree line and goes through the grazing grounds in the meadow country to reach Dhakwani.
Day 07: Dhakwani – Tali (3180m) 4-5 hrs
The trail is steep up to the Kuari Pass (3690m) and it takes about 2-3 hours to get there. Once we are up on the pass, the views are simply breathtaking, a wide panorama of high Himalayas – the Chaukhamba range, Nilkanth (6596m), and Abigamin (7355m) extend to the Tibetan border. In the middle foreground, the main Himalayain chain in the vicinity of the Bhyundar valley & Hemkund includes Nilgiri parbat (6474m), Rataban (6166m). We walk down the beautiful ridge heading towards Auli and camp at the small campsite of Tali in the woods.
Day 08: Tali – Auli (3000m) 3-4 hrs and drive to Birahi (1330m)
The last day of the trek is very different from the rest of the days. We climb out of the woods into the meadowland with wide views of the high mountains right in front. The walk finishes as Auli before going through the wide rolling meadows of Gorson. It’s about 3 hours drive from here to the comforts of the hotel in Birahi.
Day 09: Birahi – Delhi
After an early morning breakfast set out for the long 8 hr drive to reach Haridwar in the evening to board the evening Shatabdi Express leaving at 6:10 pm to be back in Delhi by 10:30 pm. Trip ends !