Kumaon, Uttarakhand - Trekking
Dharchula - Panch Chuli Base Camp
I’ve done quite a few treks in Uttarakhand. And the journeys were with group or solo. Panch Chuli trek was done in last week of May and It started raining and most of the treks in Uttrakhand as roads closed due to landslides which are pretty common. Few treks can offer almost everything, the trek take you through Incredible views of glacial valleys, rock mountains, vast grassland, snowy patches, crossings raging river, amazing meadows, pumping waterways, thick lush evergreen deodars-spruces-furs forests, adventurous crossing high altitude pass, glimpses of barren lands. Discovering the unique landscape is like a dream to reality experience.
Best thing in this trek is moderately high altitude and less altitude gain that good for inexperienced trekkers. Hike will become challenging due to rapid gains in height to reach Panch Chuli. Most beautiful n popular route for local shepherds use this high altitude pass to take their castles, where special grass grows considered a very good source of nutrients for sheep n goats to reach Bugyal. I like the idea of taking long treks, under magnifying beauty of Himalayan cliffs.
“ You have several options, If you are faced with a mountain. You can dig under it. You can go around it. You can fly over it. You can climb it and cross to the other side. You can blow it up. You can ignore it and pretend it’s not there. You can turn around and go back the way you came. Or you can stay on the mountain and make it your home.” – Vera N.
Day 1: DHARCHULA - SOBLA - DAR
Who loves to roam in mountains, the Panchchuli Base Camp Trek is another hypnotizy journey. Some adventure in this trek. This time, I was ready for Panchachuli Base Camp, located at the eastern Kumaon region, UK. Panchchuli peaks lie in the Eastern Kumaon Himalaya and form the watershed between the Gori Ganga and Darma Valleys. Dharma Valley is 134 kms from Pithoragarh and 35 kilometers from Dharchula. People came to see the ethereal beauty of nature, as the Himalayas foothills are just the perfect alternative to experience adventure. Blessed with immense natural beauty, Panchachulipeaks in their towering glory settled in the Eastern Kumaon Himalayas. The road condition from Dharchula- it’s raw. The trail is well-marked in Kms as well. It’s a landslide area. Sela, Urthing, Nagling, Baaling and Duktu, and then finally concludes at Panchachuli. It’s a fairly used track by villagers, who live in the valley in summer.
Day 2: DAR - URTHING – NAGLING
The Panch Chulli peaks lie in Eastern Kumaon Himalaya and form watershed between Gori Ganga and Darma Valleys. Panchachuli, literally means ‘five pointed oven’. According to the locals, it was Panchachuli peaks where the Pandavas cooked their last meal on the five peaks of Panch Chuli before leaving for heaven. Panchachuli Base Camp is one of the exciting base camps that set out its marquee in a 40-kilometer trek starting from Dar to Panchachuli Glacier. The ethereal feel all through the expedition is what makes this trek different from others. Mountains are as unpredictable as wives; we hoped there are less chances of landslides in this part of the himachal. Description of this trek can't be done in few words; it would be an injustice to the scenery that unfolds in front of trekkers eyes to behold. Starting from Almora, the trekking trail passes through Dharchula, Tawaghat, Sobla, Dar. So it’s very likely that if do this trek, a few months after this article was written, the road might have already reached Dhuktu, and you no longer need even 2 days to see Panchachuli Peaks.
Day 3: NAGLING - BALING - SAUN - DUKTU
Dharchula, which is at an elevation of 915 meters and is approximately 90 kilometers away from Munsiyari by road. Trek takes us over the majestic foothills of the Himalaya. The beauty of this trek is everyday the landscape changes. So it’s very likely that if do this trek, a few months after this article was written, the road might have already reached Dhuktu, and you no longer need even 2 days to see Panchachuli Peaks. Dharchula, which is at an elevation of 915 meters and is approx 90 kilometers away from Munsiyari by road. Trek takes us over the majestic foothills of the Himalaya. The beauty of this trek is everyday the landscape changes. On the final lap at village Duktu/Dantu one gets the majestic spectacle of Panchachuli that derives its name from the five peaks, named after the legendary Pandavas. The five peaks of Panchachuli create the unforgettable specter of Him Khand, Yuliriver skirted by the jungle of Devdaar and Bhoj Patra trees and vast meadows.
Day 4: DUKTU - DANTU - PHILAM - DUKTU
Panchachuli Peak is a famous attraction of UK. Ensconced by the river Dhauli Ganga, Sobla is entry points of Darma valley. In Sobla the trekkers put on their rucksacks and get ready for the vigorous journey ahead. The trek to Panchachuli starts from Dharchula and ends at Dar. During the journey, trekkers will come across gorgeous Darma Valley, which offers the splendid view of the Panchachuli peaks. The trek to Panchachuli starts from Dharchula and ends at Dar. You also make your way across the unexplored villages such as Bongling, Sela, Nagling, Baaling and Duktu. Ensconced by the river Dhauli Ganga, Sobla is the entry points of the Darma valley. In Sobla the trekkers put on their rucksacks and get ready for the vigorous journey ahead. Here onwords, it's a 35-40 km trek that passes through Dar, Bungling, Sela, Nagling, Baaling, and Duktu/Dantu village in the darma valley before reaching Panchachuli Glacier. You also make your way across the unexplored villages such as Bongling, Sela, Nagling, Baaling and Duktu.
Day 5: DUKTU – PANCHCHULI BASE CAMP - DUKTU
The vicinity showcases the snow capped towers of Panchachuli that is a cluster of five thunder peaks in the Kumaun region of Himalayan, Uttarakhand.The entire trek to the glacier is a walk along the river Dhauliganga. The route to the glacier is abound in a splendid combination of enthralling scenery, snowcapped mountains, gushing streams, Alpine meadows and a rich variety of flora & fauna. The trail heads to the first tribal village on the route at Dhar. Duktu and Dantu, and here you are right over a alpine meadow wherefrom you can catch a glimpse of the Panchchuli peaks. The trail also goes through several tribal villages. The mountains are very high at the beginning of Dharwith narrow path. On reaching the base-camp, enjoy the sight of five peaks, which is simply enthralling. From Dhuktu Panchachuli Base Camp is an easy 1 hour walk. The view of the peaks and the entire valley from the Base Camp is splendid. I found that 2 days might just be enough. Darma Valley is being connected with a fine (as per the Himalayan standard) motorable road. Starting from Sobla, the road has already connected the town of Nangling. Next is Baling and then Dhuktu.
HOW TO REACH
BY TRAIN : From Delhi take the Ranikhet Express (5014) Dep. Delhi at 10:40pm arrival Kathgodam at 5:30am (Overnight Journey) or the Uttar samparkkranti (5035) Dep. Delhi at 4:00pm arrival Kathgodam at 10:40pm (6 hrs.40min.Journey) From Dehardun take the Doon Express (4120) Dep. Dehardun at 10:30 pm arrival Kathgodam at 7:10 pm (8hrs.journey).
BY ROAD : Regular buses ply from ISBT Delhi Anand Vihar station to Kathgodam. Buses that go to Nainital stops at Haldwani which is a twin town of Kathgodham (8 hrs. Journey).
MORE INFO : From Delhi (ISBT, Anand Vihar) most Volvo private buses leave after 6 pm.
WHAT ARE THE RISK INVOLVED ?
Acute Mountain Sickness(AMS): Shortness breath, Mild headache & Tiredness are some common in high altitude trek. Risk of being hit by AMS is considerably low but you are advised to be on a course of Diamox. In case of any medical emergencies, there are easy exit points on this trek, means evacuation will generally not take more than 24 hours.
HOW TO PREPARE FOR TREK
Prepration: Fight again sub-zero temperatures, carry multi layers throughout winter trek and practice carrying packed backpack to comfortable with it. Carrying dry fruits will help on trek since they provide instant energy. The ascent-descent during the trek demands level of fitness. Begin your fitness preparation, jogging 5 Km in 30 minute before One month or two before start the trek, stretching exercises for flexibility are important so you don’t get cramps in trek.