On reaching Pindari Glacier after the long trekking journey, one is speechless for many minutes with the amazing beauty that unfolds in front of them! The mesmerizing songs of the winds that reverberate in your ears places you in a totally different league. Located in the Kumaon hills, this trekking experience offers all that a trekker is looking for... excitement, adventure and that mandatory adrenalin rush! Add to this excitement the countless streams, sometimes tranquil sometimes raging rivers, the flora and fauna of Kumaon area and you can have the best 7 day trek ever.
Approaching Pindari after an arduous trek
The Barren Valley leading to the ice capped peaks of Pindari
One needs at least 10 days in hand to visit Pindari Glacier.There are many groups that organize treks to the Kumaon region from Nainital/Bhimtal/Mukteshwar. Terrainspotter team had gone to Pindari Trek with the help of Mr. Vikram Bisht of the Trishul Orchard : http://tinyurl.com/6l4m8yw.
If trekking for the first time ensure the following is carried by you :
Evening 1 : Take a train from Delhi(Ranikhet Express - starts 10 PM from Old Delhi Railway Station) and you will reach Kathgodam at 6 AM.
Day 2 : Journey to Loharkhet
Jeep ride from Kathgodam to Loharkhet : will take about 5-6 hours. Do stop by at Bhimtal lake and enjoy the cool breeze coming from the vast lakeside.
Feel Tranquility as you stand in front of Bhimtal Lake
The 2 Km upward jeep ride on a non existent road to the Loharkhet Forest Rest House
After Bhimtal, you will pass by the periphery of many other worth seeing places like Ranikhet , Mukteshwar, Jaageshwar etc, but its advisable to keep going as the ride up to Loharkhet is a tricky one and not for the faint hearted(There is no road uphill but what looks like a rocky terrain with with space for only one vehicle to move. Its another fact that there will be vehicles coming from other side also).
Driving alongside the Saryu River
The river Saryu will be your constant collegue almost along the whole jeep ride. Loharkhet will not have fancy hotel options so do check with your trek organizers where you will be put up! There is a Forest Rest house on top of Loharkhet and most of the times , it serves as the night stop for the next day's trek!
Day 3 : Get Ready To Trek
The actual trek starts on Day 3. The first stretch is a really tough uphill Ride to the Dhakuri Camp - 12 Km's.There will be one or two temporary shacks on the way where you can take a break from the exhausting upward movement on the rocky terrain.
Small villages fall during the stretch between Loharkhet to Dhakuri
The vegetation starts getting denser as the altitude rises
Dhakuri Top : Pure Bliss after 11 Km's of uphill trek
One can make a night halt here or spend 2-3 hours here and then move forward. Stay can be an issue here as there is only one guest house and that's booked almost always. Thus spending the night at Khati is a better option.
Day 4 : Live the Unhurried life at Khati
One of the many homes/guest houses at Khati - the serene village at the base of the mighty mountains
Chai/Omellete shop at Khati. Five star view at 30 Bucks
Khati is a beautiful town that is an 8kms downhill trek from Dhakuri Camp. Placed at the height of 7600ft it is surrounded from all sides by Himalayas. Khati is a place that is dwelled by simplistic people, where people enjoy a laid back life playing carom, smoking their pipes or talking about the hills! Engulfed by silence and blessed by nature in its purest form, it is bliss for the city dwellers that want to be away from the usual humdrum of city life. If, however all this looks boring then one can take a downward trek to Pindari river, which does give a scary impressions at first with rapids well above level 4 but anyone who is able to overcome the initial fears would enjoy the scenic beauty offered at this spot.
Khati is perennially raining, and it is the sole place around here to have solar powered STD booths. So make your calls before you leave Khati, because after that all forms of communication is lost. Travellers from the adjoining areas of Pindari, Katni and Sunderdungha all come to Khati to make their calls.
The Walkways of Khati Village
A typical Uninvited Landslide
However; one of the deadliest things that can happen at Khati is the landslides, where the ground beneath you could just collapse. The worst thing is that there is nothing that one can do to avoid this or any precautions that one can take to averse this danger. This is something that could be just be avoided by your luck only.
Day 5 and Day 6 : Leave Civilization that you know of - Dwali and Phurkhiya
A glimpse of Pindari region on the morning of Day 5
The rocky road alongside streams to Dwali
Dwali is located around 11 kilometers from Khati village. The trek is far easier compared to the Dhakuri one and is very scenic. The entire journey of 11 Km's is besides various rivers and streams. Trekking down the entire stretch of Dwali is the easiest as one can enjoy the visual treats of the rivers and at the same time enjoy the cold river breeze hitting on your face; which can be an added enchantment on offer. Evening time in Dwali are really cool, the sun setting with its lights getting dimmer and dimmer and clouds lying so low and near you, that you can almost touch them. A night at Dwali has to be spent in a tent, as there's only one guest house and it's always packed!
One of the numerous streams on the way to Dwali from Khati
The road to Phurkhiya
Phurkhiya is around 5km uphill from Dwali and while it does not look difficult but due to the now thinning air, little distances will make you tired! This is the last spot where one can see houses before Pindari Glacier, Katni, and Sunderdungha Glacier. It is just on the foothills of Himalayas from where the peaks can be seen in proximity. From here the Pindari Glacier is at a stone's throws away distance. Though there is a Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam guest house here but it requires advanced bookings. Therefore in case yours is not a planned trekking experience then you can get your tents and camp here and also enjoying the camping experience here. You also have to ensure that you has proper meals before starting towards Pindari as there are no eating joints available there.
Day 7 : The Pindari Trek and meeting Pindari Baba
The icy peaks at Pindari - Panwali Dwar - 6683 m
Thankfully the Pindari trek is not very steep, though it is slightly up and down. Also owing to its height (at 14000 ft) some people can have difficulty in breathing. The magical route from Phukhriya to Pindari can just take your breath away, though the cold and biting air can be nerve chilling! Gradually the vegetation gives way to the old and dry rocks of Pindari, which slowly begin to show signs of snow on them. This transition from greenery to icy cold whites of the snow is definitely a experience worth watching! Though the glaciers might seem close by but it does look closer than what might be the actual distance of the glaciers. Once there; the sight of Valley of Dream' can certainly make a very impressionable impact on the trekkers' minds. The hard toil that makes you reach the allocated destination after 6 days long trekking days can actually make you feel the joy and ecstasy of being in midst of nature at its best.
The proud Terrainspotter team(Saurav and Vikas) with Pindari Baba
On reaching, one can see Pindari Baba's camp that is inhabited by Swami Dharamnanda who stays in the Pindari Glacier for 8 months and subsequently moves back to Khati during the peak snowfall times. He is usually guided by two of his dogs, and he is generous enough to offer you snacks and tea after a long toil of the day.