We had heard a lot about the scenic beauty of this 100 km trek, especially the Zero Point where the Glacier melts and the Pindari River originates.
Many go to the Himalayas in search of peace and solace. We accepted the challenge thrown by its mighty peaks and valleys in the lap of the wonderful nature.
Bharat and I reached Delhi on the 17th September and boarded the night train, Ranikhet Express to Kathgodam where we met out team mate Mr.Varun from Delhi. We were received by Mr.Satnam our Guide from #Himadventures International
Drive from Kathgodam station to Bagheswar was a bit tiring. We had our breakfast in Almora and then drove straight to Bagheswar. Nonstop chatting about various trekking adventures.
We reached Bagheswar around 3 p.m.We purchased our ration some Fresh Lokies, vegetables, pure desi Ghee and some kerosene. We also picked a dozens of apples as I enjoy eating them. It makes my Morning natures call very enjoyable, unlike Bharat who preferred some Hamdard Ka Isabghol.
We left for Song and all of us were excited that we decided to start our 1st leg of 2 hours of trek the same day. Song is the last place on this trip with some shops. Its on the banks of Revati Ganga River. We had to walk up for about 3 kms to Loherkhet. This place is at a height of 5800 feet above sea level. This was like acclimatization walk to get us all in a mood of the Hike.
We reached Loherkhet by about 6 p.m and pitched our tents. Satnam, our official cook cum Guide started pumping the stove and was ready with the dinner by 8 p.m. Food was light and very tasty. After dinner we started gazing at the stars. Varun showed us the Planet Mars. We also saw one American spy satellite which was moving from South to North.
It wasn’t cold in the tent as we had tucked ourselves inside our sleeping bags. The tent was just enough for three of us to sleep. We also had to keep our 3 rug sacks and our dirty shoes zipped inside. I did feel suffocated for sometime. Bharat would insist to change to his pyjamas and then go to sleep. Each of us snoring loudly and the sound was like a tranquilizer, which put us all to sleep.
We were up early morning and went around hunting for a safe place with our toilet paper rolls and a mug of water. Later we had a cool smooth shave, the last shave during this trip. After we finished our breakfast we set out for our 11 kms trek to Dhakuri.
We walked with our walking sticks through vast open spaces, land slide trails and water streams. There was a steep climb of about 2000 feet. The vegetation changed from pines to thick forests and a large variety of trees. The heat in the afternoon made us all very tired and exhausted.
Often we sheltered under giant trees and walked through the forest on the gentle undulating hills and terraced slopes. We had some tea at a small dhaba and checked our body if there were any leeches.
We reached Dhakuri at about 2 p.m. in the afternoon. We managed to get some blue and black Pepsi and enjoyed the valley view sitting outside the dhaba. There was a small monument of dedicated trekkers who lost their lives on the expedition to Sunderdunga Glacier. We were so tired that we decided to take our bath I remember the gutsy attitude of Bharat who had his bath in his Birthday suit. Seeing him enjoying I also enjoyed bathing nude in open with a few birds and clouds watching me.
Dhakuri was very scenic and is situated in a valley and it is surrounded by thick forests on all sides and one could get fabulously the view of snow clad peaks of the Nanda Devi Sanctuary.
We spent the night in the tent minus me, which I conveniently slept in a small room in the Dhaba. I made sure Bharat and Varun were comfortable in the tent.
The next day we were off for Diwali via Khati. It is along 19 km trek. Khati is 8 km walk from Dhakuri and is pretty downhill. From here the routes to Pindari, Sunderdunga Glacier separate.
We walked through the forest and through the openness of the hills the route was quite rustic. The weather started changing slowly. There was a chai shop in the route and we had some tea and biscuits. To our surprise we saw a lot of Poppy plants.
As we reached Khati we had some light snacks and left our excess baggage at a dhaba (Bharat not forgetting his pyjamas) because the ponies refused to go towards Diwali as the bridge at one point was broken. We took some local porters to carry our rug sacks and ration. Khati is the last village on this route. We found the people of Khati very warm.
From Khati one path leads to Diwali. It is a 11km walk through very difficult trails. At one point we had to walk through a lot of slush our feet and new Nike Trek Shoes had to sink in by 8 inches in water and slush. En route we saw a lot of waterfalls and streams. After about 5 km we crossed the bridge which was quite risky.
We walked through shaded forests with sunlight peeping in. We maneuvered our way across occasional treacherous landslide, and rickety log placed to cross a torrential stream, till we reached Diwali. We were completely exhausted when we reached Diwali. Everything ached.
Diwali is situated in between two valleys in very green surroundings. We could view the peaks with snow.
We checked in the KMVN Dak Bungalow. One small room where 5 of us spent the night. This was like one room cum kitchen cum changing room cum store room, one cot with broken legs all in a 10 x 10 room without any light. There was a water tap close by with a pidly stream of water. It was totally dark outside as it was cloudy. This ambiance made me feel very depressed. Furthermore I could not shift sides on the cot as I was sure that if I move a bit the cot would give way. The night looked very long.
The next morning we started our trek to Phurkia. It started to pour lightly. The Trek to Phurkia was for 5 km. Here is the greatest challenge of the trek. The trails washed away and badly damaged with the recent landslides. We had to cross through flooded streams. One wrong step on the loose stones… it is all a game of courage and balance. A slight off balance on the wet slippery stones and you are gone.
As we approach Phurkia the air starts becoming thin and we observed a sudden impact of high altitude and we are out of the forests and in the open with lot of big mountains and waterfalls around us.
We reached Phurkia at 2 p.m. It was getting chiller. As the tenting was risky and the KVMN huts were locked we were told by Samuel that the kitchen was the best alternative to spend the night.
Luckily for us the watchman just then arrived and opened the rooms. We had an early dinner of Rice and dhal and planned to sleep early. We had to trek 7 km and at a much higher altitude for Zero point. We were up by 5 a.m. and were served hot soup and biscuits to increase our energy levels to climb.
The climb was very beautiful with the view of the magnificent peaks. There were numerous landslides throughout the way and had to cross a lot of cold water streams as which made our walk even more adventures. The scenery suddenly changed and the hues of the sky and the greens were extra rich.
In front of us we saw the pure white mass of Pindari Glacier located in between the peaks of Nanda Devi and Nandkot. It is 300 meters in width and 4 km in length. The valley is drained by the Pindari River that emerges from the Pindari glacier. It is a point where one can have an explicit view of the mighty Himalayas. It is like a place close to Heaven.
Download Pictures Of this Trek.
At 10 a.m. we finally reached the Zero point. We were greeted by Babaji who has built a lovely ashram. People there refer him as Pilot Baba. There were some solar panels fitted to charge some camera batteries. Babaji is from Orissa and lives there for 9 months. He goes very near the glacier every morning and evening to pray for 1 hour. We were surprised to see him in his basic clothing. We offered our prayers at Babaji’s ashram and rested for some time.
Here we met Mr. Mathew from Delhi camped there and was in-charge of the rescue operations of an American group of trekkers. And it was a coincidence that he was from the same St.Stephan’s college from where Bharat was. We had also met a guy from France who had cycled all the way to India.
We were all very hungry and our energy levels were in the pits as we just had some soup in the morning. Babaji was very kind enough to offer us food some hot poories and alu bhaji. The Alu bhaji tasted very different. It had some noodles and I think some Himalayan herbs…. Before leaving the Zero point we had some hot tea and we started our trek back to Diwali. Zero point was so beautiful that we left our heart back there.
After watching the Himalayas covered with snow and the sun light falling, it was like a snapshot we would never forget.
The trek back was a bit different the decent from zero looked easy but was very tough. The knees start aching .It was raining throughout and was very sultry. All of us tired we Walked at our own pace and used to meet each other after hours. At one point we saw our socks red with blood and realized that the leeches had stung us. It was a messy thing to pull them out.
After lunch at Khati, I walked 8 kms to Dhakuri all alone in the rain and met others only at Dhakuri. The 11 km trek to Loherkhet the next day was quite painful .The trails badly damaged and raining throughout .The calf muscles were like torn.
From Loherkhet we reached Song and hired a jeep for Nainital.Varun, Satnam had left for the Kathgodam station to catch their night train for Delhi which they missed by 5 minutes and then rushed to the next station Haldwani. And boarded their Train for Delhi. We reached Nainital at 9 p.m. and checked into a hotel.
We had a lovely hot water bath and shave after 7 days and then had some good Dinner at the restaurant and had a good night sleep.
The next day we spent in Nainital and left for Delhi by the night train and…. that was the end of our wonderful trek.
The Pindari Glacier trek was very tuff but great fun. Living 8 days in the mountains/forests without proper shelter, toilets, electricity and with lot of leeches around wonder how Lord Rama and Sita spent 14 years in the forest and wondering how Veerappan is still living in forest.
Before I close I would like to thank Satnam for professional services they rendered. The food was good and balanced. .Touch wood the trek was safe and we all were in good health and sprits. I would also like to thank Mr. Neol Ivon Director of Himadventures International Tours and Trades for the immediate response, guidance and planning of the trek.