A Medley of beautiful Trails, Rupin Pass
You will always be allured by the beauty of The Mighty Himalayas. One of the best ways to explore and feel the mountains is to live in it, that’s when you realize the beauty of it.
There are few states in India which allow experiencing that. Starting from the northernmost part of India, Jammu Kashmir to Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, and Arunachal Pradesh. Rupin pass is one such trek in the Himalayas, starting from Uttarakhand and ending at Himachal Pradesh.
The charisma of Rupin pass is you get to see a few of the most beautiful shades of the Himalayas along with few of the best trek routes. It is like a combo of divergent trails which includes crossing plain grass fields to climbing rocky mountains to crossing terrains and mountains covered with snow.
So here is the brief itinerary we followed.
Day 0 – Start from Bengaluru, Reach Delhi and Then to Dehradun
Day 1 – Make necessary arrangements to reach Dhaula, Try to start early in the morning from Dehradun
2 main reasons to start early –
1. The road to Dhaula is long, time taking and a bumpy ride. So better start early
2. Having mentioned the point 1, the journey to Dhaula itself will captivate you with the beauty of the hills that you cross. And also, the campsite of Dhaula is also beautiful, which fills you with excitement for the upcoming trail..
Day 2 – Camp Little ahead of Sewa
Day 3 – Camp at Jakha village
Day 4 – Camp at Lower waterfall
Day 5 – Camp at Upper waterfall
Day 6 – Complete the Rupin pass and camp little ahead of Ronti Gad Campsite
Day 7 – Reach Sangla
Day 8 – Depart to Bengaluru
We were a small group of 7 people, just enough group size for everyone to stick together and also to have fun. The group was a fine blend of a cheerful family(4), an experienced and humanitarian solo traveler, and us, a group of 2. We all met for the first time at Dehradun
Day 0 – Flight departure from Bengaluru at 10.10pm, arrival at Delhi, 1am. Now according to our plan and booking, the next flight was supposed to be at 6.10am, arriving at Dehradun at 7.10am. The flight got delayed initially by 3hrs, postponing the flight to 9.10am and this was long before the journey date itself. But to make things worse, it got further delayed by another 2hrs, so eventually departing Delhi at 11.30am and reaching Dehradun at 12.30pm. So we had an exhausting 10hrs wait at Delhi airport.
Day 1 – So finally after all that struggle, we had a sigh of relief once we boarded the flight and the 1hr journey to Dehradun just passed with a blink of an eye. We knew that we couldn't stay in Dehradun, cause now we had a long journey to cover to Dhaula. So we quickly freshened up at Dehradun airport and met the rest of our troops, gathered up, and started our journey to Dhaula. Now, Dhaula is hardly 220-250kms from Dehradun, but the journey takes approximately around 7-8hrs. That's the reason for most of the people to start early from Dehradun. But the journey itself gave us one of the most reliving memories. By the time we were close to Dhaula, it was pretty dark and we missed half of the beauty, and that's one another reason to start early. We reached around 11.30pm to our campsite and we had no clue how our surroundings were, and we quickly hit the bed.
Day 2 – Trek from Dhaula to Sewa camp
Since the previous night, we couldn’t even catch a glimpse of our campsite, the very next morning, the sight was just captivating. We were close to the banks of rupin rivers. High rising trees eventually opening up to the sky with beautiful birds wandering among them was just an unforgettable sight. And the best part is, starting the day to a hot cup of tea. After a hefty breakfast, it was then time to get all geared up for a 6day adventure. The first day of the trek was mostly walking through forest areas of Govind national park. There were occasional steep climbs but mostly it was a peaceful walk. You will be encountering lots of pit-stops since we are a lot closer to human habitat and there are few stalls en-route. Our campsite was a little ahead of Sewa campsite and closer to river banks. Once we reached the campsite, a few of us got excited and decided to take a dip in the river. The water temperature was bone-chilling and we could hardly stay in it for a minute or 2, before we could break out and enter again. That gave us a kick start experience.
Day 3 – Sewa to Jhaka village
Day 3, the start of the trek itself was a climb. It was a climb through the forests to reach the nearest motorable trail, followed by a very long walk, crossing the nearby villages and the river, always accompanied by our side.
Occasionally, encountering waterfalls and we did stop by to refill our water sources and get a few a clicks
We were happily walking for the first 2hrs of Day 3, but the trail quickly changed from a simple walkthrough motorable roads to steep climb through rocky mountains leading to a village and a trail through the village. Even the exit through the village was sort of a ascend leading us to a trail, which was again a simple walk for a couple of km. Soon everyone was delighted with the fact that it was our lunchtime and the best part of it was the location where we decided to have our lunch. We had a delightful meal for both our hearts and stomach. The mountains around us felt like they have been creatively carved out by a craftsman.
Once we were done with our lunch, it was time again to get on with our journey. But this last stretch of our trail was an acute climb for the next 1hr. We were much caught up in the climb that we even forgot to take a pic of it.
Finally, justice was done once we reached our destination, Jakha. None of us could stop admiring the beauty of that particular location. It was like straight out of a dream, one could have just imagined of such a place his whole life. Every one of us just drowned in that moment, trying to sink what we had just witnessed.
Day 4 – Jhaka to Lower waterfall
After a royal service at the homestay and a soothing morning bath, we continued our journey. We had kind of mixed emotions when we started today. Our minds were in constant conflict between happiness and joy of what we had just experienced the previous day and the obstacles that the trail was going to hammer upon us today. We had already gained a decent altitude of 8700ft the previous day and the trek/altitude today certainly started having noticeable impacts on our body. By the time we reached our lunch point, we had gained around 12000ft. And by the time we reached our campsite, we could actually feel the difference, the effect of that altitude and mind games it plays.
Day 5 – Lower waterfall campsite to Upper waterfall campsite
The last 2 days of the summit were very grueling. We could literally see the climb and feel it from our campsite. But the last 2 days were the most adventurous part of the entire trek. Everyone could feel the adrenaline rush within them. We started off with a steep climb, crossing few river streams in the beginning and the trail slightly covered by snow. Today’s plan was to camp just little before the summit so that the very next day, we start early and be done with the summit before the weather deteriorates.
The above depicts the climb we had to do today. All we had to do is climb, from the point where the pic was taken to the point where you can notice the start of the waterfall.
When we almost reached the top of the waterfall, that’s when our guide surprised us with the fact that, we had just covered half of the total distance. And the rest is just history.
Day 6 – The Judgement day – Rupin pass
Most of us could already feel the AMS in our heads. We were getting exhausted too easily and our heads were bursting out with pain, but still we managed to carry on, mostly because our zeal to get through the pass was stronger than the obstacles we were facing. The temperature had significantly the previous day itself. These are the two days when your warm clothes help you out to survive, especially during the night and early mornings.
Our last day of the onward journey was mostly the climb. We could see the ‘Pass’ from our previous campsite itself. And there it was sending chills down our spines.
The first 1hr, we were climbing through the snow-covered terrains, and half of the crew were worried about slipping and rolling off. Well, its quite normal during these expeditions and nothing to be serious about (:p). There were also instances where, our feet used to get down, into the ground due to unexpected levels of snow and that was terrifying some people. Its not too dangerous though, but your shoes and socks tend to get wet. Its recommended to not change immediately, cause there may be further such instances for next 1-2hr too. You may change it once you start getting down the pass and cross the snowy terrain.
The climb was by far the best experience. Pushing ourselves beyond our limits, at 15200ft, was nothing sort of ordinary. The climb was soo close, yet so far. For the last 30min, our minds were blank, except for one thought, to finish the climb. Once we reached the pass, our happiness knew no bounds.
On completion of any trek, may it be a small one, or a big one like a Himalayan trek, you have a sense of fulfillment within your hearts, the feeling which gets flared up at the peak and keeps asking for more.
The descend looked quite steep but now that everyone had crossed the pass, this seemed normal and it matters anymore. Once we started our descend, it was a long walk, along the edge of the mountains to reach our next destination campsite, ‘Ronti Gad’.
Ronti gad campsite was another beautiful location. The Winds were strong, our tents barely hanging on. Once we gathered around for a cup of tea in our diner camp, every one of us had so much to talk about, so much to express. The location, added to the depth of the conversation, something you can only experience in places like these and moments like these remains in your memories forever.
Day 7 – Descend from Ronti Gad to Sangla
Today it was mostly the descend. We could already feel that, we were getting closer to civilization. There were sights of farms and houses throughout our journey. Most of us enjoyed this walk. We were lot cheerful and playful than the previous day. It wasn't due to the fact that we were returning, it was more cause of the experience and things we witnessed for the past 6 days. It mostly took us less than 4hrs to reach Sangla and another 30mins to climb through the village.
Our ride back to Chandigarh was all ready. We had one last photo session without trek guides and we left Sangla, set up for a journey of 10hrs before we reach Chandigarh. The journey was long, through the narrow roads of Himachal Pradesh.
Day 8 – Farewell!!
After a 12hrs of a roller coaster ride and 2hrs of intermittent sleep time, we finally made it to the Chandigarh airport. But we were denied entry to the airport, cause apparently, we were too early, so we had to fall back to the crew waiting area. We had sufficient time to freshen up and have breakfast(canteen near the airport premises). Most of us already had a flood of messages and emails from work. 3 of us were on the same flight back to Bengaluru and the other 4, we're heading back to Chennai, but our flight’s departure was at the same time.
We were all catching up on a few things, while some of us were exchanging our numbers and pictures. Towards the end of the journey, strangers that you just met 6 days ago, have become your best companions and you make promises of keeping in touch forever. Though you may know whether that’s possible or not, you don’t know when your life path crosses each other again but all that matters is the time you spent together and memories they leave behind.
Things to pack:
We usually mention it in the beginning but this time, the experience we had overshadowed the importance of this. But still, few things that we think you need to consider while packing
- 50-60L Backpack
- Water-resistant shoes ( According to what I know, the new model of Forclaz 500 seems to be the best fit)
- 3-4 pairs of cotton socks, as you tend to sweat a lot and during the last 2 days of your onward journey, it inevitable for your shoes to get wet(unless it's waterproof or highly water-resistant)
- 1 pair of woolen socks is more than sufficient. Mostly during the night before the summit
- 1 pair of waterproof gloves
- 1 woolen cap or Balaclava, whichever suits you best
- 1 normal cap to protect yourself from sun
- Sunscreen and Shades (these two are highly recommended, to protect yourself from UV rays)
- Pair of flip-flops (this depends on your comfort, if you are comfortable in roaming around in shoes and cut down your bag weight, you can avoid this)
- Bag cover – mandatory
- Rain sheeter/ poncho – mandatory (rainfall/snowfall is unexpected in mountains)
- Trekking pole – advisable
- 1litre water bottle. Few other places they would have mentioned 2, but I feel it will just add on weight cause you will find many places where water is refillable.
- Headlamp or any other torch
- 1 Pair of thermals is more than enough
- A Down jacket – you won't be needing more layers than this, and its mostly for the last 2 days of your onward journey
- 2 water quick-dry track pants and T-shirts according to your comfortableness, preferably full sleeves. A quick note, the 2nd day, you will have a river stream next to your campsite, so few crazy people might consider taking a quick dip into it
- And finally the best version of yourself with loads of enthusiasm