Ever heard of the Garhwal Himalayas? In the northern state of Uttarakhand, the Garhwal Himalayas are mountain ranges which cross the two regions of Garhwal division and Kumaon division.
These ranges are arranged with an assortment of different cities that span across its entire exspanse. It is to be noted that this region is laden with some of the most popular tourist spots and locations, the the hill stations of Mussoorie, Dhanaulti, Tiuni, Nainital, Bhimtal and Kausani. The UNESCO World Heritage Site, Valley of Flowers and Nanda Devi National Park are also located in Garhwal Himalayas.
Enclosing upon an approximate distance of a near-hundred kms, lies the trekking route from Gangotri – Badrinath, via Kalindikhal, known popularly as the Kalindikhal Pass Trek. The route, adorned with snow and glaciers and having several boulders in the path, sidles through some of the most magnificent points in these ranges and this path – Bhagirathi one, two and three, Shivlinga, Basuki, Chandraparbat, Satopanth etc. It is as if you are a part of this majestic setting of snow peaks. The trek is full of adrenaline rushes and exciting chills and requires for the trekker to understand some fundamental knowledge of mountaineering. The arduously assiduous track, stretching nearly 100 kms, as mentioned above, begins at Gangotri (3048 mts), the primary spot, which then passes through Gaumukh at 3892 m, Nandanvan (4500 mts), Vasuki Tal (5300 mts), Kalindi Base (5590 mts), Kalindi Khal (5948 mts) and then goes down to Arwa Tal (3980 mts), Ghastoli (3600 mts) and concludes at Badrinath (3100 mts). The route that you trace when on this trek is amazing in a way that the trekker saunters on a road that takes him almost all over the Garhwal Himalayas especially Garhwal from the Bhagirathi river Valley to the Alaknanda river Valley. This trip is recommended only for those who have a previous moderate experience of high altitude treks. This is a trip that demands basic fitness and is not really recommended for the people who cannot stand extreme experiences. The very mention of this trek gives even seasoned veterans of the trekking community a thrill.
The next point in the trail is Vasuki Tal (4900 M). The River Vasuki Ganga flows in to commiserate with the river Mandakini. The location is ensconced within several perching peaks whose reflections shine on into the lake which shimmers radiantly. One moves on to cross the Kalindi Khal pass at an approximate 6000 m, a tough climb from where one feels that there is little else left to be seen. The track takes you to the Tal called Arwa and finally lands you on Mana which is the last town after which begins the Chinese frontier. At Badrinath, the trek comes to an end with a visit to the holy temple.
This trek causes a rush of excitement as the adrenaline pumps up in your blood as you scale right up to a Himalayan pass 6000m high. It is encompassed right within the snowy folds of the Himalayan ranges. It is literally a spiritual haven decorated by gorgeous mountains and the grandeur of nature, a source of joie de vivre.
This trekkin adventure is started in the Gangotri, which is near the holy waters of the river Ganga. Gaumukh is the source of origin of River Ganga, holy for many and you have the option of starting your journey at this point. Get enchanted by the grasslands at Tapovan and mesmerized by several rivulets and peaks of Shivling, Bhagirathi and Meru.
This trek is evergreen. You can enjoy the several treats that wait for you on this trip but make sure you have gone through briefing and informed about what can be the things that happen on this trek. Every part of camping here is delightful and you can relax within several picturesque views that include moraine, glaciers and majestic high peaks.
Kalindikhal is the most challenging expedition touching across the great heights of almost 600 m high pass in the Himalayas rewarded by spectacular views. Trekking across Kalindikhal ranges is actually bringing the high adventure in a very remote and spiritual region. Kalindikhal trekking adds an interesting flavor to the beauty of the Tapovan while exploring the undulating alpine meadows, network of gurgling streams and the almost next to you the presence of some of the renowned Himalayan peaks.
This trek definitely boasts views of the Gaumukh, the source of Ganges but there are also other perks. Kalindi Khal expedition begins at a point which falls at the foothills of the Shivling peak which sits at 6543m, called the Matterhorn of Garhwal. The route reaches the Bhagirathi Valley and then takes you through Nandanvan, the base of the Bhagirathi peaks. This gives you the chance to admire the beauty of the Shivlinga peaks and take in the breathtaking sights before you head towards Alaknanda.
You can set up camp at this wonderful section which is surrounded by towering snow-covered peaks is the Vasuki Tal. After proper acclimatization, the trekkers can find the opportunity to go up here for enjoying. It is across the Sweta glacier that one begins to cross the Kalindi Khal. This is a tough climb for climbers where the trekkers feel the summum bonum of their expedition. Finally, the Kalindi Khal trail then descends to Arwatal as mentioned above and later goes onto Mana. Passing over high pass at close to 6000 mt , the trek route crosses many glaciers , lakes and valleys. This is a two-in-one way of visiting both the holy sacred Dhams of Gangotri and Badrinath.
Kalindikhal Pass Trek offers the best of everything. You get to experience nature at its very best, visit holy places of worship and also get the climbing experience too. Places on the trek: Rishikesh, Uttarkashi, Gangotri, Gaumukh, Chirbasa, Bojbasa, Gaumukh, Nandanvan, Vashuki Tal, Khara Pather, Rajaparav, Arwa Tal, Mana, Badrinath, Joshimath Kalindikhal. Your adventure begins at the Gangotri and takes you further on to Nandavan, the base of the Bhagirathi group of peaks.
Day 1 –
Travel from Dehradun to Harsil (2600m, 8 hour drive for 280km)
Begin your trek for Kalindi Khal trek by driving from Dehradun to Harsil en route Uttarkash. Harsil is an idyll located amidst the striking natural gusto of the Himalayas. Upon arrival at Harsil, check into a lodge/hotel and relax for the rest of the night.
Day 2 –
Drive from Harsil (2600m) – Gangotri (3050m, 20 km drive), Trek from Gangotri to Chirbasa (3550m, 3 hour trek)
Have a hearty breakfast and then begin your journey along the superb path to the sacred place of Gangotri from Harsil. This location is gifted naturally and is bewitching beside the banks of Ganga. Travel through this holy land, which has numerous pilgrims and sadhus and visit its temple and the sanctum sanctorum and the ghats. Religious and spirirtual people can relax in the peace. The Gangotri National Park is a must-visit so you can go there and get enjoy watching the magnificent visuals of the Bhagirathi mountains. Set up camps on reaching Chirbasa. This is after a few hours of trekking. Here you can begin your acclimatizationand get adapted to the climate and altitude of this place.
Day 3 –
Trek from Chirbasa – Bhojwasa (3850m, 2 hour trek)
Start this day’s itinerary with a short trip to Bhojwasa and lay your eyes on the wonderful; sights of the surrounding peaks of Bhagirathi, Shivling and Bhrigu Parbat. Settle down your camps here and get acclimatized to the place. After a delectable lunch, trek up to Gaumukh and after spending some time here go back down to Bhojwasa. This is where the holy waters of Ganga originate and hence this is a famous tourist attraction. You will see several mountain antelopes or ‘Bharals’ here. Spend the night in your cosy tents here and bask in great comfort.
Day 4 –
Trek from Bhojwasa – Gaumukh (3890m) – Tapovan (4463m, 4 hour trek)
After a hearty breakfast, resume your trek up to Gaumukh again and traverse through numerous moraines, until you arrive at the beautiful location of Tapovan. Take pleasure in the amazing sights of the beautiful place that is a penchant for trekkers with high altitude verdant prairies, amusing little rivulets and stunning mountains serving as the perfect backdrop. Set up your camps at the Shivlng peak and enjoy the gorgeous views of Meru and Bhagirathi I, II and III peaks. Sleep in the comfort of your tents and have a good night’s sleep.
Day 5 –
Relaxation and acclimatization day at Tapovan
At Tapovan, unearth the beauty of the lush pastures as you acclimatize to the surroundings of the place. Enjoy your day with relaxing and resting. Explore the verdant meadows or climb to the Shivling base camp. You can even ascend right up to the Kirti glacier or just spend the entire day at the base camp. End the day and retire for the night.
Day 6 –
Trek from Tapovan – Nandanvan (4337, 3-4 hour trek)
Begin the day’s trek and head on out to the other side of Gangotri glacier. Keep walking till you reach the Nandanvan grasslands. Here this trail is adorned with streams and glaciers and moraines. Arrive at Nandanvan when you have completed a three-hour trek and enjoy the view that is offered by the peaks of Shivling, Thelu, Kedardome and Bhagirathi and others. Stop here and set up your tents for the night where you can retire.
Day 7 –
Trek from Nandanvan – Vasuki Tal (4880m, 4-5 hour trek)
This day’s trek will be of a simpler level with trails ascending to the lake of Vasuki Tal. For most part of the journey you will have to climb upon the Chaturangi Glacier. After some time, there might come a point when a rope would be hnady because of a challenging element in the crossing which should be done carefully and cautiously. Upon arriving at the lake, take in the picturesque views of the place and come across other trekking teams scaling the nearby peaks. Set up your camps here and get a good night’s sleep.
Day 8 –
Relaxation and acclimatization day at Vasuki Tal
The trekking journey to come in the following days can be an arduous task, so this day will be spent in total relaxation at Vasuki Tal. Spend the night here in your tents.
Day 9 –
Trek from Vasuki Tal – Khara Pathar (5480m, 3-4 hour trek)
Start your day with a healthy breakfast after which you can begin the day’s trek up the moraine-filled paths. Witness the breathtaking range of mountains as you continue trekking until you arrive at Khara Pathar which is also encircled by moraine. Settle down your camps here and retire for the night.
Day 10 –
Trek from Khara Pathar – Shweta Glacier (5500m, 4-5 hour trek)
Get prepped for a fun day of Kalandi Pass trekking amidst a landscape comprising of glaciers, mountains and moraine. After a few hours of trekking, set up camp on the moraine and spend the night here in tents.
Day 11 –
Trek from Shweta Glacier – Kalindi Base Camp (5600m, 4-5 hour trek)
Start this exciting day with a quick breakfast and get started with a trek through breathtaking terrains. Wield your way through a puzzle of mountains and paths. After a long trek that lasts a good few hours, reach the Kalindi base camp from where you can actually view and trace the route lying ahead till the peak on a clear day. You can stop here and set up camps while the guides will head out for a revision on the trails that you are to go on for the remainder of the trek, to figure out the safest and easiest routes. A briefing and advisory caution will be held after dusk. Then you can indulge in a sumptuous dinner and retire for the night.
Day 12 –
Trek from Kalindi Base – Kalindi khal (5950m) – Arwatal (3980m, 8-13 hour trek)
After rising early in the morning at about 1:00 AM, set off on an ascending hike through challenging trails depending on the snow and weather conditions. This will entail crevasses and tricky patches which will require you being roped for the entire climb as well as the descent. You need to be extremely cautious of the snow all along the way as well as the hidden crevasses. After a tasking climb with the help of ropes, arrive at the top of the 6000m high Himalayan pass. Marvel at the jaw-dropping views when at the Kalndi khal peak. Then head on downhill to the campsite through Rajparav and Arwatal with a few breaks along the way. Enjoy a warm cup of tea when reaching the campsite where you can celebrate the day’s thrilling trek. Snuggle in the comfort of your tents here and get a good night’s sleep.
Day 13 –
Trek from Arwatal – Ghastoli (3796m, 5-6 hour trek
With several river crossings and a nice stroll, this day is to be started with a few hours long trek. Arrive at Ghastoli. Here there is an army establishment that you will be taken to. Here lies the border that separates Tibet and China and thus is important and rid with high-level security. You can choose to converse with the soldiers and have refreshments in the form of tea. Settle down your camps here beside the charming Arwa River.
Day 14 –
Trek from Ghastoli – Mana Village (5-6 hour trek), Drive from Mana Village – Badrinath – Auli (2 hour drive)
Fill in your tummy and initiate your day with a trek passing through well-developed trails from Ghastoli and then decending paths to Mana. You can even hitch a ride on the army truck. Mana was actually the last place on the Indian side of the border before the Tibetan border was drawn. It is a beautiful little place. From here you can ride to the holy place of Badrinath. Engage in your religious self here before you move ahead. Drive on to reach the exciting skiing destination of Auli. Later, relax and retire for the day.
Day 15 –
Transfer from Auli – Haridwar/Dehradun (8-9 hour drive)
Depart from Auli after you have had a good breakfast. As this is the day of departure, this will involve a drive from Haridwar or Dehradun. After this, you can move towards homeward bound transportation. The amazing thus trek comes to an end.
1. Accommodation (Camping): Tents are required when camping at base camp. A guest house in Leh (Day 1, Day 2 & Day 8 Night)2. Meals: Three meals per day will be given as part of the tour during the trek.3. Trek equipments- Several equipments and climbing gear will be provided to the trekkers.4. IMF Permits are officiated.5. First aid medical kits are kept handy in case of AMS and other medical emergencies and oxygen cylinders are carried because of the consequences of a rarefied air.6. Qualified & experienced trek Leader, Guide and Support staff to help trekkers.7. Transport from Leh to Road and return.
HOW TO REACH:
By Air: The nearest airport to Kalindi Khal is Jolly Grant in Dehradun. The airport is 215kms away from Uttarkashi.
By Rail: Haridwar and Rishikesh are the nearest railway stations for the Kalindi Khal Trek. From here taxi/cabs are available for Uttarkhashi and further destination.
By Road: Uttarkashi can be reached from Haridwar/Rishikesh by direct busses or shared jeeps. It takes about 6 – 7 hours to reach. Buses are available from early morning, and it is advised you leave early to reach early or to give yourself contingency time on mountain roads.
THINGS TO BE CARRIED:
Basic gear necessary such as backpack, rain cover (in case it drizzles), head torch, a walking stick, a water bottle and a hydration pack and snacks to nibble such as energy bars, dry fruits and ORS for hydration and rehydration. Also carry with self at least one thermos flask.
To keep warm and be comfortable in an unforgivable weather, make sure you carry comfy cotton T-shirts , Fleece T-shirts, Fleece jackets, (Alternative: a woollen sweater), a windbreaker and a waterproof jacket, thermal inners (upper and lower, at least one pair), Trek pants (two, avoid shorts, fitting denims, capris).
Also keep handy a set of amenities for your personal usage that might prove useful in the course of the trek such as Sunscreen cream, Hand sanitizer, Antibacterial powder, Toilet Paper & wipes, Toothbrush and toothpaste, Lip balm, a quick-dry towel.
And the most important of all factors in a trek: SHOES. These ensure the smooth flow of a strenuous trip and hence are very important.
· Trekking shoes (Waterproof and ankle-length or above with grip)
· Floaters/flip-flop (Optional)
· Cotton socks
· Woollen socks
Also, carry woollen gloves for the hand for protection in sub-zero temperatures.
To protect your head from the sun or the snow, whatever weather conditions prevail during the time of your trek, carry adequate clothing and protection.
Sun cap (One that covers the neck as well), Woolen cap, Balaclava, Neck-gaiters
Sunglasses, Dark with side cover, it should be U/V protected.
People who wear spectacles-
(A)- Contact lenses
(B)- Photo chromatic glasses.
Ensure proper acclimatization before setting out.