Trek To Pindari Glacier Amidst Flowering Rhododendrons In May 2018

Tripoto
29th Apr 2018
Photo of Trek To Pindari Glacier Amidst Flowering Rhododendrons In May 2018 by Disha Kapkoti

The best season to visit high altitude regions in India is during the pleasant window between April and June. Wild rhododendrons blossom during this time of the year. By the end of the season, the trees at these high altitudes surprise you with an enchanting purple and pink cover. Every year a trek during this season leaves me with incredible frames of floral colours. This year my rhododenron trail was Pindari Glacier.

My brother and I planned as quickly as we could, and another friend joined us. We knew the route was rather long, but it's still supposed to be an easy trek. A couple of my school friends had been there on a trip years ago, so we knew that the trail shouldn't be too demanding. Dhiren, a local boy from Khati Village, was contacted. He was our guide for the next couple of days and we left for Bageshwar.

Day 1

Drive to Bageshwar from Haldwani

We started from Haldwani at 8 am for a 5 to 6 hour drive to Bageshwar. Of course there are multiple pit-stops on the way. We stopped at Kainchi Dham for their special lemonade, at Garampani for lunch, and even took a detour to Dokane, a beautiful waterfall near Suyalbari. At this time of the year, the green cover and the vibrant foliage on the hill side gave us an inkling of what lay before us on this trip.

Click here to find out how to reach Dokane waterfall.

Photo of Trek To Pindari Glacier Amidst Flowering Rhododendrons In May 2018 by Disha Kapkoti
Photo of Trek To Pindari Glacier Amidst Flowering Rhododendrons In May 2018 by Disha Kapkoti
Photo of Trek To Pindari Glacier Amidst Flowering Rhododendrons In May 2018 by Disha Kapkoti
Day 2

Drive from Bageshwar to Kharkiya and trek to Khati (5km)

The weather was erratic in Bageshwar and it rained heavily while we rested in this town. The next day purple Jacaranda flowers lay strewn on the roads everywhere warning us of the mayhem of the rain from previous nights. We proceeded anyway and boarded a taxi to Bharadi from the taxi stand near the bridge. It was the time of the year when ripe wheat crops paint the villages yellow; and on this drive we could see the beauty of it all. The next taxi had to be boarded from Bharadi to Kharkiya, the last motorable spot on the Pindari Route. Somewhere between Bharadi and Kharkiya is Vinayak, the last spot where you get mobile signals and can make last minute calls. It took us almost 4 hours to reach Kharkiya from Bageshwar, and from here the hike to Khati started. It's a short 5 km walk through the oak and rhododendron trees.

It's the only stretch on the entire route where you can see the common red rhododendron in abundance. Ahead on the route, the flowers change color and more shades and varieties of these flowers appear.

Click here to know more about the beautiful village of Khati.

Photo of Trek To Pindari Glacier Amidst Flowering Rhododendrons In May 2018 by Disha Kapkoti
Photo of Trek To Pindari Glacier Amidst Flowering Rhododendrons In May 2018 by Disha Kapkoti
Photo of Trek To Pindari Glacier Amidst Flowering Rhododendrons In May 2018 by Disha Kapkoti
Day 3

Trek from Khati to Dwali (14 km)

The previous night we stayed at a KMVN Rest House in Upper Khati. We were travelling light since we were assured that food and lodging will be taken care of. There are KMVN Rest Houses at every pit-stop on the way. 

On day 3 the trek started with an easy descent to the Pindari Bridge. Once we crossed the bridge, we walked along the left bank of the bridge throughout. On the other side of the river Pindar, we could see the old trek route destroyed by the 2003 floods. Throughout this trek we heard stories from our guide, our care taker at the TRH, and other people we met here, about the devastation on the trek route. The Kafni Glacier trek route has not been opened since the floods five years ago. 

After the walk through the dense oak forest, we finally descended to the Pindar River bed. The campsite of Dwali was right in front of us. The destruction of the floods can be seen all around you in Dwali. It is from here that the route to Kafni bifurcates but is still not operational.

Photo of Trek To Pindari Glacier Amidst Flowering Rhododendrons In May 2018 by Disha Kapkoti
Photo of Trek To Pindari Glacier Amidst Flowering Rhododendrons In May 2018 by Disha Kapkoti
Photo of Trek To Pindari Glacier Amidst Flowering Rhododendrons In May 2018 by Disha Kapkoti
Day 4

Trek from Dwali to Phurkiya (7 km)

Potatoes for dinner and parathas for breakfast continued on day 4 too. Although we had previously intended to head straight to Phurkiya on Day 3 itself, we had to stop at Dwali the previous night because of heavy rains that went on till next morning.

The next day we got a clear weather window to trek from Dwali to Phurkiya. The trek is short but steeper than what we had experienced till now. However, the sights on this short route are simply breathtaking. The pink and purple hues of the rhododendron flowers could be seen ridges after ridges. Every flower had a different shade ranging from bright pink to light blue here at the southern wilderness of the Nanda Devi Sanctuary. The red rhododendrons of the lower altitude had now disappeared. 

KMVN has placed benches and sheds at the best spots possible. From there you can view the peeping Changosh Peak at a distance. Waterfalls on the other side of the Pindar River look magnificent; and there's green grass cover and blue drumstick primrose spread wildly over it. On this way we spotted a Monal which was first mistaken to be a wild hen. However, we knew it was a Monal once it opened it's bright blue wings to glide out towards the river.

Photo of Trek To Pindari Glacier Amidst Flowering Rhododendrons In May 2018 by Disha Kapkoti
Photo of Trek To Pindari Glacier Amidst Flowering Rhododendrons In May 2018 by Disha Kapkoti
Photo of Trek To Pindari Glacier Amidst Flowering Rhododendrons In May 2018 by Disha Kapkoti
Day 5

Trek from Phurkiya to Zero Point and back to Dwali (14 km)

The hike on the next day started at 5 am when the sun could be seen coloring the distant Changosh Peak almost saffron. The sun had still not lit up this cold valley; we walked as fast as we could to catch the first rays of sun to warm up.

It was bright enough by the time we had crossed the famous Baba Mandir before the Zero Point (3660 m). From here we could finally view the melting Pindari Glacier on the immediate right of Changosh Peak. Snowcapped peaks surrounded us on all sides and among the popular ones that we could spot were Nanda Devi Peak, Panwali Dwar and Maiktoli.

Pindari Glacier lies right next to India's highest peak, Nanda Devi (7816 m). It is more than 3 km in length an 1.5 km in breath. Even at the final end of Zero Point you're at least two kms away from it. That's the farthest you can go. Beyond this is a deep gorge from where the Pindar river, which is almost like a small brook, makes it's way to the valleys below. 

Photo of Pindari Glacier, Uttarakhand by Disha Kapkoti
Photo of Pindari Glacier, Uttarakhand by Disha Kapkoti
Photo of Pindari Glacier, Uttarakhand by Disha Kapkoti
Day 6

Trek from Dwali to Kharkiya via Khati (19 km) and drive to Bageshwar

On the last day we walked back from Zero Point all the way to Dwali and spent the night at TRH. We were travelling light with no spare clothes and supplies for extra days. Today, by any means, we had to trek straight to Kharkiya from Dwali via Khati. So we started at 5 am when it was just bright enough to make our way through the boulders on the Pindar river bed. 

About 5 kms from Dwali, while walking ahead of the group, my brother spotted a bear cub in the bamboo thickets and stopped to show us. We were discussing that the mother bear must be close by and perhaps we were crossing the forest too early. We stopped at a tea shop closeby which was still not open.

Just as we left the shop and reached the bridge below, a huge bear dropped a boulder from the hill while running away. We ran in the opposite direction and stopped at the tea shop that we had crossed earlier. We waited there till the tea seller arrived with his dog. We told him about the bear but unlike us he wasn't rattled. The bear seemed to have been a regular visitor there but for us it was the last story of adventure from Pindari.

We walked slow now because of the bear fright. Later that day we reached Khati, stopped at Dau for some tea and proceeded to Kharkiya. Luckily, even at noon, when we reached we found a vehicle; but it cost us double of what you generally had to pay. When we reached Bageshwar after a gruelling 4 hour drive, it was just how we had left this town, drenched in rain. 

Photo of Trek To Pindari Glacier Amidst Flowering Rhododendrons In May 2018 by Disha Kapkoti
Photo of Trek To Pindari Glacier Amidst Flowering Rhododendrons In May 2018 by Disha Kapkoti
Photo of Trek To Pindari Glacier Amidst Flowering Rhododendrons In May 2018 by Disha Kapkoti

Important Information: To make arrangements for this trek you can get in touch with Khimpal Singh and Anand Singh of Jaikuni Village. Their contact number are 7579454213 and 7830125563. You can even stay at their beautiful Annapoorna Cottage at Jaikuni near Khati Village. 

Check out more photos from this trip on my Instagram and follow for more updates.

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