Though camping is allowed on Kuppar Top, it depends on the weather and some other factors. Before heading up with your camping gear, it’s best to ask the locals in Khada Pathar about the situation at the top. There are various accommodation options at Khada Pathar as well and one of these hotels was to be my stop for the night. I chose to go with the Forest Guest House and begged the manager to give me one tiny room, he hesitatingly gave in to my constant nagging and I was sorted for the night. Though one big suggestion is to always book before you reach there; the trek is slightly long and going back to Shimla on the same day may not be possible unless you have your own car.
Now there are two options to trek to Kuppar top. 1. Drive till Giri Ganga and begin the trek to the top; the trek to the top is at a distance of 3 km, 2. Start your trek at Giri Ganga and make your way to the top; in which case the trek would be 10 km long.
Tip: Carry everything you can possibly need for the trek. After Khada Pathar, there are no shops and no dhabbas – no stalls selling water and chips either. I packed my bag with packets of glucose induced biscuits, water bottles, chips and mint.
Call me crazy but I went with the second option for the trek.
Before I made my to Giri Ganga from Khada Pathar, I had noted down major landmarks, had made calls back home and was confident enough to begin the trek. The locals told me I may meet some fellow trekkers on the way but there is a huge possibility I’ll be completely on my own.
A little jittery, I started the trek nevertheless. The first 2 km to Giri Ganga are fairly simple while the next 3 km are a little confusing. Though there is a well-maintained road to Giri Ganga, there are no signs indicating the route. For an hour, I didn’t see a soul on the road and to be honest, I was terrified. Slowly and gradually, I let go off my fear and decided to enjoy the serenity the forests of Himachal offer.
The road is a little tricky and if you are confident of your trekking skills, it’s best to take the shortcut and climb the hill rather than stay on the road. It’ll definitely save you a few km. Half an hour later, I was at Giri Ganga treating myself to the soothing, gushing sound of the Giri River.
Though Giri Ganga is quite well known around the area for its temples, there weren’t too many people here. I spoke to a few locals, who didn’t really know which way I should trek from Kuppar peak. They had a lengthy discussion and reached a consensus on the best route for me to take. I was almost on the verge of giving up when I saw two couples get off from their car ready to begin their trek.
I thanked my stars, since I knew I wouldn’t be able to do this on my own. My physical stamina was struggling to hold up and I was very apprehensive of traversing the forest on my own. A local also spoke about brown bears who were quite fond of this trail before I decided to tag along (okay, around them) during the entire length of the trek.
Trek to the top
The best way to reach the top is by following River Giri. The river makes its way down three hills but unfortunately for you, you have to climb all three hills to follow the tributaries!
By the end of the second hill, you will be unsure of the route you have chosen. Followed by another 20 minutes of re-tracing the route in your head, you will finally realise that you are on the right path. The surrounding view of prominent peaks will give you a sense of accomplishment and the stress of the last 4 hours will vanish instantly.