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Trekking Routes in Garhwal Part 1

The beauty of the Garhwal hills is picture-perfect, a fusion of high mountain valleys and lakes, of many streams, and some of India's greatest rivers. Carmine rhododendron blooms and scarlet flame-of-the-forest blossoms are luminous in jungles of dense green, while the faith of an ancient civilisation has kept alive a lifestyle that dates back several centuries.

These are the playgrounds of the gods, where legends have the sanctity of history, and where the people are warm and hospitable in a way that is unknown to modern metropolises.

Comprising the districts of Uttarkashi, Tehri-Garhwal, Pauri-Garhwal, Dehra Dun and Chamoli, the Garhwal hills are a veritable aradise for trekkers. Nature is in her element here, and trekking trails are renowned for the great beauty of their views, stunningly different at almost every turn.

There is plenty of interest here for the amateur trekker too. For those interested in the fusion of art and culture with religion, the popular temple pilgrimages and hilltop temples will provide enough for a rewarding journey. Botanists can spend months studying the vast treasure-house of plants here. The birds of the Garhwal Himalayas, and their sheer profusion, will captivate bird-watchers.

And for photographers, professional or amateur, the canvas of the mountain scenery will provide a perfect landscape. Nor is trekking in the Garhwal hills expensive, for one can stay at any of a number of rest houses, travellers lodges or dharamshalas at nominal rates.

More on Uttarakhand

Garhwal Part 2
Pindari Glacier
Dodi Tal
Kumaon Part - 1
Kumaon Part - 2

Kumaon Remembered


Adventure activities
Rock climbing
Scuba Diving

Though you are advised to bring your own equipment, the Yatra Office of the Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam at Munikireti, Rishikesh can help with the hiring of tents, sleeping bags, windproof jackets etc. Trained guides too are available at this office. Basic food is available at most places along the route, though if your trail takes you to remote areas advance arrangements are necessary.

Trekking routes remain open from April to October, though the best period is considered to extend from April to June, and from mid-September to November.

Base : Mussoorie
Often called the 'queen of hill stations', Mussoorie is a popular tourist destination from Delhi, and is therefore also a favourite base for trekkers. Accommodation here includes several privately run hotels, and a tourist bungalow.

Route One
Mussoorie (2,001 m)- Dhanaulti (2,600 m, 26 km) - (Bheetsi, 6 km )- Sahastradhara (14 km)- Dehra Dun (14 km). Dhanaulti, in a beautiful forest has a tourist bungalow and a forest rest house. Bheetsi is a small village. Sahastradhara has a tourist rest house and a PWD inspection house, as well as sulphur springs and a beautiful waterfall. At Dehra Dun, at the conclusion of the trek, stay in any of a choice of private hotels, or at the tourist bungalow.

Route two
Mussoorie (2,001 m)- Dhanaulti (2,600m, 26 km)- Gopichand ka Mahal (12 km)- Anand Chow(10 km) - Ringal Garh (13 km) - Rangar Gaon (15 km) - Guttu(6 km)- Maldevata (18 km). In the beautiful forested settlement of Dhanaulti, trekkers can stay at a tourist bungalow or forest rest house. Use your own tented accommodation at Gopichand Ka Mahal and at the village bazar of Anand Chowk. There is a forest rest house at Ringar Gaon. There are sulphur springs at Guttu, and a camping site. From Maldevata village, buses are available for the 12 km journey to Dehra Dun.

Optional route: From Ringal Garh to Hatwal Gaon (6 km, camping site) - Guttu (10 km ) and from here on the regular route to Dehra Dun via Maldevata.

Route three
Mussoorie (2,001 m)- Purola (1,524 m, 100 km) -Naitwar (1,401 m, 48 km) - Saur(1,400 m, 12 km) - Taluka (1,900m, 12 m)- Osla (1,400 m, 12km)- Harkidun (3,506m, 14 km). Situated in the interiors of the district of Uttarkashi, Har-ki-dun is one of the most picturesque spots in the Garhwal hills and is frequently visited by trekkers. Buses ply up to Saur-Sankri, from where the trek starts. The beautiful valley of Purola has hotels, tourist bungalow and a PWD inspection house. Naitwar is located at the confluence of two rivers and has a forest rest house. There is a tourist bungalow at the trekking base point, Saur. From here on, till the end of the route at Har-ki-dun, there are tourist bungalows under construction, and forest rest houses for accommodation. The forest rest houses are under control of the Divisional forest Officer, Tons Division, Purola, District Uttarkashi.

Route four
Mussoorie (2,001 m ) - Thatyur (1,200 m, 21 km)- Devalsari (1,800 m, 8 km)- Nagtibba (3,048 m, 14 km)- Pantwari (1,250 m, 10 km). Thatyur is a village, bus terminus and trekkers can stay in a school building here at the start of their trek. Devalsari has a forest rest house under the control of the Divisional forest Officer, Yamuna Division, Mussoorie, Tel: 2694. Nagtibba is a very picturesque place, overlooking the surrounding hills and Mussoorie, with a camping site. At Pantwari once again trekkers will have to accommodate themselves in the school building. From here, trekkers can bus back the 56 km to Mussoorie.

Base : Uttarkashi
Uttarkashi is among the most beautiful of the Garhwal districts In the upper reaches of the district, the snow line ensures a tryst with snow-capped peaks. In the lower reaches, a carpet of forests, superb Himalayan views and all the joys of trekking through God's country. This is a district headquarter town, and trekkers can stay in a tourist bungalow.

Route one
Uttarkashi (1,158 m)- Gangotri (3,048 m,100 km) - Bhojbasa (3,500 m, 14 km)- Gaumukh (3,969m , 4 km)-Tapovan (4,200 m, 6 km). This trek in the Bhagirathi valley is through picturesque countryside, and the area beyond Gangotri is truly grand, a trail that leads to the high Himalayas. The trek begins at Gangotri, a holy shrine popular with pilgrims; trekkers can stay here in a tourist bungalow, forest rest house, PWD inspection house or any of several dharamshalas. Bhojbasa has a tourist bungalow and an ashram, and commands superb views. Gaumukh is the source of the river Ganga, here known as Bhagirathi, while Tapovan has a convenient camping ground.

Route two
Uttarkashi (1,158 m ) - Bhatwari (2,000 m, 30 km) - Raithal (7,000 ft, 4 m) - Dayara (3,400 m, 12 m) - Dodital (3,307 m, 35 km)- Agoda (2,000 m, 16 km) - Kalyani (1,800 m, 6 km). The Dayara trek is yet another picturesque hike through high mountains and beautiful valleys. The trek begins at Bhatwari, a small market-place which has a PWD inspection house. The panoramically located Raithal village has a school building to stay in. Trekkers will have to camp at Dayara, and can enjoy stunning Himalayan views from here.

Dodital has a beautiful lake, and is excellent for trout fishing Both Dodital and Agoda have forest rest houses to stay in. Kalyani has a fish hatchery, and from here one can catch a bus back to Uttarkashi. Camping is suggested on several points of the trek: the forest rest houses are under the charge of the Divisional Forest Officer , Uttarkashi.

Optional route: Dodital - Hanuman Chatti- Yamunotri. From Dodital, there is an exciting trek route to Hanuman Chatti in the Yamuna valley. As there is no accommodation between Dodital and Hanuman Chatti, trekkers are advised to carry their own alpine tents, or spend the night in a shepherd's shelter. Hanuman Chatti, however is an important halting point enroute to the pilgrimage at Yamunotri and has a tourist bungalow and a forest rest house. From Hanuman Chatti, Yamunotri is at a distance of 14 km.

Route three
Uttarkashi (1,158 m) - Malla (2,000 m, 25 km) - Belak (2,439 m, 15 km) - Jhala(2,439 m, 9 km) - Budhakedar (1,524 m, 5 km) - Guttu (1,524 m, 30 km)- Panwali Kantha (3,000 m, 15 km) - Manguchatti (3, 049 m, 6 km)- Triyugi Narayan (1,982 m, 5 km) - Sonprayag (1,821 m, 3 km)- Gaurikund (1,981 m, 5 km)- Kedarnath (3,584 m, 15 km). The trek starts from Malla. The temple town of Budhakedar has a PWD inspection house , as does the market town to Guttu. At Panwali Kantha one can stay in a hut, or camp, while camping is the only option at Manguchatti. At Triyugi Narayan, which has a Shiva temple, there is a PWD inspection house, and dharamshalas, while Sonprayag has small basic hotels and the Birla dharamshalas: buses are available from here to Gaurikund, which has hot springs and a Parvati temple. For accommodation there is a tourist bungalow and a PWD inspection house. Kedarnath is one of the important ''dhams' with a temple devoted to Lord Shiva: stay here in guest houses, dharamshalas, and a tourist bungalow.

Optional route: From Kedarnath, one can extend the trek to Basukital, a steep climb of 8 km , with no facilities enroute. It is best to take a guide from Kedarnath, and to return the same day.

Route four Uttarkashi (1,158 m) - Malla (6,000 ft) - Silla village ( 6,000 ft, 4 km) - Ghuttu (10,000 ft, 10 km)- Kailanpur (10,000 ft, 4km)- Bawani Bugyal (10,500 ft, 5 km)- Kyarki Bugyal (13,500 ft, 6 km)- Lamatal (13,500 ft, 5 km) Sahasratal (15,000ft, 5 km). On this interesting trek, one can stay in the school building at Silla village. There are shepherd's huts at Ghuttu, Kailanpur and Bawani Bugyal, and caves at Kyarki Bugyal, Lamatal and Sahasratal. Carrying your own alpine tents is recommended. Optional route: From Kyarki Bugyal one can either branch off, or return and proceed on a new leg : Kyarki Bugyal - Palang (7,500 ft, 10 km) - Jaurab village (6,500 ft, 5 km)- Silla village (6,000 ft, 4 km)- Malla (6,000 ft, 4 km).

More Trekking Itineraries:
Garhwal - 2
Kumaon - I
Kumaon - II
More Trekking Articles

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Editor: Romola Butalia       (c) India Travelogue. All rights reserved.