Har Ki Dun, literally meaning ‘the God’s Valley’, is a mesmerizing vale in the Western Himalayas. Spread out at the base of the Har Ki Dun peak, this destination fits the bills for a summer trek full of greenness and wildflowers as well as a hoary winter hike in ankle-deep snow. Like many sites in the state of Uttarakhand, elevated in the Indian consciousness as the source point of puranic mythology, the Har Ki Dun valley is also steeped in legends and lores connecting the region to the trail of the Pandavas taken heaven-wards as epically narrated in the Mahabharata. A majestic peak named ‘Swargarohini’ stands guard looking over the valley, the mountain was mythically the Pandavas’ stairway to heaven. The many ancient villages, about 3000 years old, falling on the Har Ki Dun trail show a unique lifestyle and communities observe many rituals and customs that reflect the puranic history associated with this place.
The shepherd's trail to the Har Ki Dun Valley winds through Govind National Park, recognized for the large variety of flora and fauna it is home to. The base for this trek is the village of Sankri at an altitude of 6,397 ft-- a quaint hamlet, reachable over an 8-10 hours drive from Dehradun. Lovely scenic surroundings begin on this journey from early on as we follow the sprightly river Supin into the vale. The spellbinding views of the mountain peaks Swargarohini I, II, II, the Bandarpoonch Range, the Blackpeak, and Ruinsara peaks meet the gaze upon reaching the valley, and the gurgling brook of Supin uphill keeps you company all the time. Most nights’ camps are by the riverside and the sounds of the gushing waters create an ambience of nature’s flamboyant energy. Beside the close connection with nature, trekkers especially love the villages on passing on this trek. These ancient hamplets exhibit a distinct architecture for their homes and curiously a religious tradition weaved around Duryodhana, the proverbial anti-hero of the Mahabharata. Since the trek remains entirely within forests and dense greenery, it is completely free of altitude-related sickness and marked an excellent option for beginning trekkers.
At its maximum, the trek reaches an altitude of 11,600 feet upon reaching the misty valley at the base of the Har Ki Dun Mountain. The gain in altitude is slow and easily adjustable for most people. The hike begins from the base camp village of Sankri perched at 6,397 ft, and slowly ascends from there.
In summer: Expect pleasing weather and no fog during the summer months of April to June. It’s sunny and temperate during the day but the mercury drop at night can go as low as 1 to 2 degree Celsius.
In monsoon: The windswept, rain washed trails of Har Ki Dun during the monsoon, during June to September is worth taking the apparent inconveniences like constant dampness.
In winter: Winters, from December to March, it is harshly cold and the region is swept under a thick carpet of heavy snow. Trek during this time to experience the frozen over river Sankri.
By Air: Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun is the domestic airport closest to this trek, from where pick up to the base camp village Sankri is arranged. The most conveniently reachable international airport viable for this trek is the New Delhi airport.
By Rail: Dehradun railway station is the railway stop closest to the trek, from where transport to the base camp village is available.
By Road: Sankri is connected to Dehradun by road with daily plying local transport. However, most trekkers find it convenient to travel to Dehradun by bus from Delhi, and from thereon picked up on shared transport to the base camp village.
Are There Any Shops Available On the Har Ki Dun Trek?
You can find shops for basic utilities and food in all the villages along the way on Har Ki Dun trek. During peak seasons, food stalls are stationed on convenient stops along the trails where you can get beverages and hot lunch.
How Long Does It Take to Complete the Har Ki Dun Trek?
The entire trek is of duration of 7 days (Dehradun to Dehradun).
Chances of altitude sickness on the Har Ki Dun trek are low to nothing. The trail remains well within the treeline and acclimatization is easy.
The Har Ki Dun trek, being an easy-level, week-long trek, remains busy throughout the summer. The crowd is comparatively thinner in the monsoons and winters.