Sunday, April 18, 2010

Trekking in the Pindar Valley

The stories follow, but should you be planning to go there (and you should), here are the basics:
Where?
The Pindar valley lies to the north of the town of Bageshwar, in Uttarakhand. You can see it online, or if like me you prefer good old fashioned contour maps, the picture below is from nh-44-06, available here.
When?
May and June is 'The Season'. The flowers are in their hundreds, but so are the tourists. Earlier than that, all the flowers in the bugyals are not in flower, but the rhododendrons are, and the relative solitude is definitely worth it.
How?
The motorable road goes to Loharkhet, from where your trek begins. You can drive up all the way there, but the public transport way is to take a train to Haldwani (the Kathgodam Express from Dehradun, or the Ranikhet Express from Delhi). Take a share-taxi to Bageshwar (300/-, and expect to change cars at Almora). Once there, you will have to hop the share-jeeps in 30-10 Rs instalments (Bageshwar-Bharadi Bazaar-Song-Loharkhet), or splurge on a 'booking car' to Loharkhet from Bageshwar (1100 Rs). That's expensive, and the share-taxis not only make for environmentally friendly car-pooling, but are very pretty too. If you like masses of fake flowers, that is..
Then what?
Then you start your trek. If you leave Haldwani at seven-ish, you'll probably reach Loharkhet a little before 6 pm. You can elect to stay either at the KMVN guesthouse or as we did, stay in the forest rest house. This is prettier, friendlier, and cheaper. The accommodations are dorm-type, but we had the place to ourselves. Here is a snap..
Why?
Eh? Because it's there! Actually no. There are a hundred saner reasons.
Because this is the easiest trek to actually touch 3860 masl.
Because one can watch Thar prance about on sheer rock cliffs
Because there are more Monal than you can shake a stick at- not that you would do it, of course.
Because it is good to realise that a watch has no relevance here, to wake and sleep with the sun.
Because it is even better to pause in the middle of a walk and realize that you are the only human in a kilometer's radius.
Because the road from Loharkhet to Kafni passes through forests of oak, rhododendron, horse-chestnut, fir, deodar, more rhododendron, juniper, and so on to the high altitude grasslands.
Because there is more concentrated beauty here than I've ever seen.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

what are Bugyals? sorry. am sure everybody else knows :)

nice article.

but we uttarakhandandies have begun to expect those people stories..

whom did you meet?

pictures?



nadi

another of the uttarakhandandies said...

..echoing Nadi's sentiment! Do go on.. all agog..Wow