Darma Valley: A place like no other


It is a ritual for me to travel on my birthday and this year I wanted to explore Kumaon region, I planned for Pindari glacier trek but due to the fact that I'm travelling solo, I had to cancel my plans as the weather was getting quite unpredictable. So instead I found another interesting place, which was off the traveller's radar, Darma Valley.

Photo of Darma Valley: A place like no other 1/5 by Travel Beings
Entering Darma valley

Reaching Darma Valley is quite a journey from Delhi. You have to take a bus from Delhi to Haldwani, there are plenty of buses running to and from between both the cities. It will cost you anywhere between 200-450 rupees depending upon the type of bus. From Haldwani you have to take a Shared jeep to Darchula, there are very few jeeps running around 6:00 am in the morning(it will cost you 850 rs). If you couldn't find any direct jeeps to Darchula you can break the journey from Haldwani to Pithoragarh and Pithoragarh to Darchula, the cost would be the same.

Photo of Darma Valley: A place like no other 2/5 by Travel Beings
Balling, Darma Vallye

Once you reach Darchula, you will have to stay overnight at this beautiful border town, just a few steps away from Nepal. KMVN guest house would be the perfect place to stay, you can get a room for rs.800.

There are just two jeeps that go till Dugtu(somedays only 1) and they leave around 7:30 in the morning, so make sure you grab hold of one before the seats get full. There won't be many tourists but a lot of locals.

Photo of Darma Valley: A place like no other 3/5 by Travel Beings
Dugtu, Darma valley

The Jeep ride will take about 4 to 6 hours and it will take you through one of the most beautiful stretches, on the Kailash Mansarover route. As soon as you are off the Tarmac road you feel like you have reached a different word, herds of sheep causing traffic jams, a river flowing right next to you and snow-clad peaks all around you. At around 3:30 in the noon with overcast conditions, I reached Dugtu village. It was colder than I expected, there was only one shop open in the village and I immediately went inside looking for some tea and a warm meal. When I asked the shop owner about the guest house here in Darma, he told me that the people of the village also host travellers at their home, you can get authentic remote himalayan life experience here.

It was a house made up of mud and stone. Govind Singh(the owner showed my room, there was just a fireplace and a bed made up on sheep wool in the room. He wanted to show me the washroom afterwards but all I wanted was to get into the bed and sleep.

Govind Ji came at around 9:30PM to wake me up for dinner, which was in a different part of the house and you have to walk 50 meters outside, as soon as I got outside the weather was all clear, the peaks were are white under the moonlight and it all looked heavenly. I couldn't stay out for long as it was very cold. I was not able to recognize what was served to me, they told me it is some local Dal and vegetable but it was delicious, I had my dinner and went back to the warm bed.

Next morning I got up at 5:30 in the morning, before sunrise. I have seen some beautiful sunsets in my life, but this was so much better than everything I had seen until now.

I spent the whole day exploring the nearby villages Sipu and March(last village before Tibet region) the whole day, both the villages are at a distance of 5 kms, it took m around 2 hours to walk there.

Photo of Darma Valley: A place like no other 4/5 by Travel Beings
Photo of Darma Valley: A place like no other 5/5 by Travel Beings

The next morning I got up at the same time and went to Panchachuli Base Camp (I'll be doing a separate blog for it after this). It took me 5 hours for the complete trek and I was back by 10 am. The jeep to Darchula was waiting for passengers at the very shop by the time I got back, I paid Govind Ji, Rs.1200 for the food and accommodation and started my return journey back to Darchula by 11.

Day 0: Delhi to Haldwani overnight bus.

Day 1: Haldwani to Darchula Jeep. Rest and overnight stay in Darchula.

Day 2: Take the jeep to Dugtu to reach Darma Valley. Overnight in Dugtu.

Day 3: Explore the nearby villages or trek to Panchachuli Base Camp(or you can do it next morning to watch the sunrise). Overnight in Dugtu.

Day 4: Start your return journey to Darchula. Overnight stay in Darchula

Day 5: Darchula to Delhi return via Pithoragarh