Har Ki Dun is easily one of the most sought after treks in the Garhwal region of the Indian Himalayas. When it comes to Himalayan treks, this one stands out for its picture-perfect campsites, it’s sheer beauty and also because, at one point, it will remind you of a scene from Lord of the Rings.
Also known as the “Doorway to Heaven”, this little valley is a trek away from the Sankri village and is located at an altitude of 3,566 m (11,600 ft) and remains carpeted with snow from October up until the end of March. The meadowed wonderland is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful treks in the Western Himalayas.
The Valley is home to villages that are more than 3000 years old that makes this a gateway to a cultural extravaganza. The trail takes you to a world that is untouched by modern technology and will definitely transport you back to simpler times.
The Story of Osla:
When translated, Har Ki Dun means – Valley of God Har (Shiva). The story dates back to the time of Mahabharatha when a clan that was extremely loyal to Duryodhana resided in Osla. Their loyalty for the eldest of the Kauravas was so strong that they built a temple to worship him and the clan is devoted to preaching to Duryodhana to date. The village works with its own set of rules and regulations and forms it’s own Government. The attire of the village differs from the rest of Uttarakhand and depicts the culture and traditions of the clan. There are roughly about 250 houses in the village and they have close to 600 inhabitants. They also have a king who visits them once every month. The villages grow potato and wheat which is one of the major sources of food and income here.
Stay at a Homestay in Osla:
Not only do you get a glimpse of the culture of Osla, but you also get to live their culture for 2 days when you stay here. The village is an eye-opener to how people can live with sheer happiness with such limited resources setting an example of how staying happy is something that you can be in control of.
Camping with a View:
If there’s one thing that you must not miss on a Himalayan trek, it’s to camp on the trail. Right from camping amidst the valleys with streams flowing beside them to waking up to grand views of the revered peak – Swargarohini I, II & III, Bandarpoonch and Black Peak all in the same frame. It is also said that Har Ki Dun is the valley & pathway that the Pandavas took to reach Heaven through the Swargarohini peak.
Trek via the Jaundhar Glacier
Jaundhar is considered to be one of the largest sources of the Tons River. The majestic Jaundhar glacier lies in the trail to Har Ki Dun. Standing at a mighty altitude of 4,300 m (14,107 ft), the glacier is located close to the Swargarohini peak and is breathtakingly beautiful with impressive rock formations that are as huge as a mountain itself. The terrain here will be made of ridge-sand rubbles and rocky terrain.
COVID Pandemic Preparedness and Protocols:
- Screening of all nomads at the entry point for symptoms of COVID-19 such as temperature (using no-contact type thermometer/ thermal guns), cough, cold, etc.
- Only asymptomatic tourists shall be allowed.
- Those with temperature more than 37.5 °C (99 °F) and/or flu-like symptoms shall not be permitted to travel.
- Nomads in the age below 10 and above 60 will not be permitted.
- Before the commencement of Travel, all nomads to mandatory submit a self-declaration form. Travelers to provide basic personal information when traveling, including name, phone number, Govt. ID type and ID number. Consent for sharing of their details with the administrative / health authorities will be taken from visitors, as and where required for contact tracing related activity.
- All nomads shall be briefed on the safety measures taken before onboarding.
- All the nomads shall be briefed on the Dos and Don’ts to be mandatorily followed while traveling and during the trip.
- Nomads are recommended to carry their own mask, sanitizer, wet wipes and cutlery set for personal use.