Har Ki Dun Trek - Day 03

CONTINUED FROM: Har Ki Dun Trek - Day 02

Day 03: 16-April-2023

Route: Halchai  (2978m / 9770ft) to Har Ki Dun  (3645m/ 11960ft) and back 

Distance: 16km (8H)

What is the limit of your universe?

I woke up to a clear sky. Black peak and Bandarpunch were clearly visible. 

Our breakfast was ready by 7:30AM. The cook had prepared an elaborate breakfast for us - Besan ka Chilla, Poha and Dalia. I love the taste of dalia that is prepared in the mountains. This wheat porridge is something I would like to replace my breakfast oats with.

We started our trek at 8AM. It was still cold so, I put on a base layer and a winter jacket. But within 15 minutes of walk, it felt warm and I had to stuff the jacket into my tiny daypack.

Behind me, towards the Sankri side of the trail, the Kedarkantha peak stood tall, with its peak covered in snow. I had trekked Kedarkantha in December 2021. The view from the summit is spectacular and that trek in the terrible cold was an experience of a lifetime. 

We had the best views on this day. The weather was perfect. The trail passed by a beautiful waterfall. 

We also stopped at a few shops to rest. I noticed that the villagers made broom sticks out of a grass called ringal. It seemed effective. 

The mountains were covered in tiny violet flowers. I packed a few wild plants for home. Several interesting wild flowers of all colours had bloomed at this time of the year. 

We also passed by Bhasla campsite. This was previously the campsite on this trek. The location has great views of the Har Ki Dun peak. But since Himalayan Hikers have bought a land of their own at Halchai, they setup their tents there. They can therefore avoid a fee. The Forest department charges around Rs 100 per tent. Bigger tents for kitchen and dining area might cost up to Rs250 per day. 

As we got closer to the valley, the view got better and better. We were walking right in front of Har Ki Dun peak. On its left was Hata peak. 

We stopped by the river to relax and had our packed lunch there. 


Post lunch, we continued to the view point. The view point offers a   clear view of the Har Ki Dun valley. Vijay pointed towards the end of the valley and said that Jaundhar glacier was somewhere there. We stood facing the Swargarohini mountain. It is believed that the Pandavas from Mahabaratha had taken a journey to the heavens by climbing up this mountain. 

Har Ki Dun or Doon means “the valley of God”. I could imagine how wonderful and different this valley would appear during monsoon and soon after. The entire valley would have turned lush green. But the snow be limited to the peaks. Every season has its own beauty. 


As per the plan, we were supposed to trek to Monida lake or Jaundhar Glacier. Ganesh was very tired and told us that he would prefer to rest at the viewpoint and not wish to trek any more. Divyesh and I were left to decide if we wanted to do it. Vijay was extremely lazy and he kept discouraging us by saying how far it was. We asked him to show us the pictures of the lake. It is a small lake with no significantly different view. So, we decided against continuing the trek and stayed back at Har Ki Dun viewpoint. 


At Har Ki Dun viewpoint, there is a forest guesthouse. You can book your stay here in advance. On a small rock, there is a Shiva linga and a small shrine like structure. It looks relatively new and I wonder if this was built after the trek became popular. There is a guard looking after the place. I am afraid that in few years this might turn into a temple and attract a sea of greedy people praying for their selfish desires to come true. 

We picked a good spot to sit and watch the magnificent view. Sitting right in front of Mt. Swargarohini, I had a déjà vu moment. I remembered myself sitting in front of Mt. Kanchenjunga at Goecha La view point, in April last year. Divyesh and I sat there for a bit discussing life. 

When we were there, we realised that Vijay had not brought the Himalayan Hikers banner. It is a tradition to take a picture with the banner on every trek. I wasn’t bothered a lot by it though. But it does matter to some; probably it did to the others. Vijay just brushed it away with a carless comment - “I shall fit it in using photoshop.” One thing I cannot stand is careless attitude towards one's work. No matter how small or big it is, it must be performed with sincerity. Having been a manager, and having observed several people, I was certain by now that Vijay was lethargic to the point of being highly irresponsible. 

We returned back to Halchai campsite at around 4PM. It was an arduous trek, even without our backpacks. We were exhausted by the time we reached our camp and all I wanted to do is rest. Therefore, I continued to sketch. 

That evening 4 trekkers had arrived at Halchai campsite. There was a young couple from Kolkata who were not more than 20 years old. They were really cute. As we were all much older than them, they would refer to us as Dada (Elder brother in Bengali). The girl was eager to speak to the rest of the group and had lot of interesting things to share about her under-graduate course in fine arts. However, the boy was limited by the lack of fluency in both Hindi and English. It reminded me of the quote by Ludwig Wittgenstein that I often share with my students - “The limits of my language means the limit of my universe.

Apart from these two, there was a lady (perhaps in her late 20s) from Pune and a hyper active young man (probably in his mid 20s) from Hyderabad. It appeared to me that he was in a haste to offload all his acquired knowledge about this world right then and there. Ganesh and he began to converse in Telugu. This I feel is a common phenomenon. When you see someone who speaks your tongue or is from where you belong, you immediately bond with them. 

We all gathered at the dining area and played UNO. The young couple chose to cuddle up in a corner and watch us play. It was good to have a larger group on that day. Thankfully, on that day, it did not rain. I therefore got a chance to capture some time lapse videos. 

The lady from Pune would follow me around with questions. She wanted to know more about the trek they shall be doing the next day, she wanted me to share the pictures and videos of the Har Ki Dun valley with her. She wondered why I had taken a time lapse video at the valley with us in it. According to her, it would have been better if we weren’t in it. When she learnt that I sketch, she wanted me to do a small sketch on the journal that she was carrying. In my 40s, I have become a lot more patient in dealing with situations like this. I try to control my strong opinions and respond with a smile, followed by a silence that neither denies nor accepts the proposition directed at me.

She had done a few treks in Maharashtra about which, she shared some details with me. This was her first Himalayan trek. She is also a football player and had recently injured her leg, due to which, she said that she struggled a bit during this trek. I have noted that many (obviously not all) from Maharashtra and Karnataka enjoy trekking. I presume this is because of the Western ghats that passes through these two states. I was introduced to trekking at a very young age. 

Their guide was a middle-aged man. Like Vijay, he too was humorous. But if Vijay represents farce, he represents satire. He would occasionally pass some witty comments. Additionally, he was sensible and informative too. He advised his group that they must not wear thick jackets while entering the sleeping bags. Because, the sleeping bag material functions based on our body heat, by retaining it. It therefore did not make sense to enter into a sleeping bag with heavily insulated jacket. A base layer would suffice. 

I was so tired that day that soon after dinner, I went to bed. I was filled with beautiful visuals of Har Ki Dun valley and I hoped to travel back there in my dreams that would soon follow.

CONTNUED HERE: Har Ki Dun Trek - Day 04

Here is my Vlog on Har Ki Dun Trek:



  1. Loved the snow covered mountains. Reminded me of my 5 year stay at Salt Lake City. Interesting that lady was hitting on you.

    1. LOL SG...hahaha, I did not think my description of her was hinting at such a conclusion. Not at all, she was inquisitive by nature.


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