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Har Ki Doon- Valley of the Gods

So, a few days ago I was on a trek to the Himalayas; a place they call “Valley of the Gods”, a literal translation of the Hindi words “Har Ki Doon”, this five day trek was once in a lifetime experience and the serenity of the place took my breath away. From numerous cascades to ancient villages, one will find every element of the nature that soothes the soul. Situated in the state of Uttarakhand, this 52kms trail will fill your heart with unforgettable experiences. October is considered the appropriate time to visit Har Ki Doon, and if you are reading this, then this is the right time to pack your rucksacks and go on a getaway.

Har Ki Doon- Valley of the Gods 
So, a few days ago I was on a trek to the Himalayas; a place they call “Valley of the Gods”, a literal translation of the Hindi words “Har Ki Doon”, this five day trek was once in a lifetime experience and the serenity of the place took my breath away. From numerous cascades to ancient villages, one will find every element of the nature that soothes the soul. Situated in the state of Uttarakhand, this 52kms trail will fill your heart with unforgettable experiences. October is considered the appropriate time to visit Har Ki Doon, and if you are reading this, then this is the right time to pack your rucksacks and go on a getaway. 
How to reach? 
Your trip will begin from the capital city of Uttarakhand i.e. Dehradun; you must catch a roadways Bus to Sankri Village from the Bus Stand near Dehradun railway station. Two buses leave for Sankri at 0600hrs and 0800hrs respectively at a minimal charge of 360Rs. The 7 hr drive (200kms) will take you through the foothills of the Himalayas and mesmerize you with beautiful landscapes. Skyscrapers will turn to snowcapped mountains and the journey won’t be boring. 
Around 1700hrs you will reach a small village of Sankri which is the starting point of the Har Ki Doon trek. On the way to Sankri you will pass through landmarks such as Purola, Naugaon, Nainbagh, Mori, and Netwad. The bus stops at Purola where you will shall have lunch at a local restaurant. Then, at Netwad you need to submit your Ids in order to get the permit to enter Govind National Park. Local people and guides at Sankri will help you in all the process involved in getting the permit to enter the Har Ki Doon Valley. Book a hotel room and overnight rest. 
However, if you have booked a travel package with companies like India Hikes or Trek the Himalayas then there is no need for you to worry about anything, your journey will be planned by the organizers. 
The First Day
On the next morning, you need to reach Taluka, a small village 12 kms from Sankri; public transport is available and you will enjoy the bumpy ride on the jeep roof and mark my words it is a once in a lifetime experience. It takes almost an hour and half to reach Taluka, this is the spot from where the trail to the Valley of the Gods starts. You will see the tall Swargrohini peak on the way to Taluka waiting for you. 
The long walk is 26kms (one side) and you will have to cover at least 14kms on the first day. The Tamsa River besides the shepherds trail will be your source of water. Through ascents and descents you must cover half the distance to reach the camping site or government houses. 
The exhausting walk will enrich your heart and when nature is at its best, fatigue means nothing. You will meet many fellow travelers on the way, there are some Chai points where you can take rest and boost your energy. By 1600 hrs you will reach a small yet beautiful village of Gangad, if you wish you can explore the village. 
6kms away from Gangad, you will have to halt either at the village of Osla, or at the Government houses and camping grounds of Seema. Home cooked food is easily available and the stargazing experience from here is unforgettable. The sky is lighted with billions of stars and the milky way is visible to the naked eye. 
The Second Day 
If you want to reach Har Ki Doon valley the next day, then you must get up early, have breakfast and start climbing the mountains. The trail from the first day halt is 12kms and mostly with steep ascents. With every step, you move closer to the destination and I believe that journey is more important than the destination. By noon you will reach Kalkatiya Dhar, and the difference in flora and fauna is very visible. If you are lucky, you might spot some wolves or deer on the way. From Kalkatiya Dhar the trail is quite uniform and easy. If you feel tired then you can camp near Kalkatiya Dhar and visit Har Ki Doon the next day. However, if you have made arrangements at Government Houses (Pre-Booked) at Har Ki Doon for an overnight stay, then progress on to Har Ki Doon Valley. 
Note: The Government of Uttarakhand has strictly banned camping at Har Ki Doon meadows and the site is only a daylight visit thing. Camping can only be done at the reserved camping grounds. Also, bonfire is prohibited. 
The Third Day 
On the third day, you can explore the meadows of Har Ki Doon and admire the magnificence of the Swargrohini peak and Jangdhar Glacier. Words cannot explain the feeling of being in a place so beautiful, surrounded by mountains, a river flowing by, and the green meadows. 
On the same day, you can get back to Seema or Osla, and as you are going downhill, the time consumed will be less. You can do photography, bird watching or simply just feel the wind in your hair and feel the moment. 
The Fourth Day 
This will be the last of the days that your feet will have to bear the pain of walking; you must reach Sankri by evening. Maintain your pace and keep yourself hydrated, the body must be fed with at least 3-4litres of water every day on the trek. When you reach Sankri, have dinner at a local restaurant and take rest. 
The Fifth Day 
The buses from Sankri to Dehradun are available early in the morning at 0500hrs, 0600 AM and 0800hrs. 
Note: Itinerary may vary according to the groups and plan organizers.    
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Sandeep Semwal
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