It’s a carnival of meadows, this trek! In the Garhwal region of Uttarakhand, blessed with layers of flora and fauna, with green lands running, dipping and sprawling widely and of peaks looking back prettily each other, such is the trek that goes by the name of Panwali Kantha. In later parts of the year some of its greens even change into a white wonder as snow falls upon them, making this a good choice for winter treks as well. Simple as it may seem, the trek still offers you a platter of mountain ranges to gaze upon such as Gangotri, Badrinath, Kedarnath and Yamunotri which are all quite the famed mountainous regions from around this area. So, get prepared because if you are thinking of packing your bags for this one, you can expect to see peaks such as Chaukhamba, Neelkanth, Kedar Dome and even Mount Meru from here! So, if you’re in the mood for an adventure that has you walking amongst such ranges and peaks, then you ought to head to this part of Uttarakhand.
Along the way you can even ask your local guides turned friends to tell you the famous legend that rose from the lands of this very trek. As per folklore, there is a havan kund (which is used for religious ceremonies) that lit up with fire on its own when Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati got married in Satyug! Since then the havan has not been allowed to dim out, so, the locals and believers bring wood and other essentials to keep the havan kund alight with fire at all time.
So, if the meadows and mysteries of this mountain make your mind wonder, then how about going wandering about its trails? If you decide to do so, here’s what you need to know!
How to reach: Fly down to Dehradun or you can even take a train till there. After arriving at Dehraduhn board a local bus or taxi in order to make your way to Ghuttu which can take between 7 – 8 hours. You can even opt to pre-book a private taxi if you don’t want to take a chance on the availability.
Best time to trek/visit: Depending on the season and form in which you are looking to explore this area, you can opt for the different periods including:
Mid-March to mid-April, September to October, mid-December to January end
Duration: 5 days
Altitude: 11,500 feet
Trek route: The route will of course depend on what you decide with your local trekking guide, but possible options include:
Dehradun – Ghuttu – Pobhagi – Panwali Top – Raj Karak – Gaurmanda – Ghuttu
Day 1: Dehradun to Ghuttu village
Altitude – 5,100 ft.
Approximate Distance – 183 kms (by road)
After arriving in Dehradun, straight away you shall zip away to the village of Ghuttu. This drive shall take about 7 -8 hours, so, pack away your favourite munchies, load up your phone with some good music and maybe even get to know your fellow companions along for the ride. Let the glimpses of surroundings as you gaze out of the window start letting the feeling of the beginning of an adventure start sinking in! Come evening you shall arrive at the village of Ghuttu and enjoy the hospitality of the locals living here.
Day 2: Ghuttu to Pobhagi
Altitude – 9,500 ft.
Approximate Distance – 9 kms
Time to get this show on the road, so, throw on those shoes, pick up your gear and let’s get trekking! The trail for the day is smooth and makes simple ascents as gradual paces. It is all about you getting a chance to look around and observe your surroundings comfortably even as you make your way deeper within them. Let the forests come out in patches until you find yourself at Pobhagi where the campsite directly stares at a thickly populated Buransh forest right before your eyes. In the right season this turns an enchanting shade of red! Lay on the grass, look into the depths of the forests and observe the sky for a while, this trek is all about appreciating the smaller things in life.
Day 3: Pobhagi to Panwali Top or Panwali Kantha and then Raj Kharak
Altitude – 11,500 ft.
Approximate Distance – 11 kms
If you are doing this trek in the summer season, your trek to the top shall be met with the reward of green panoramic views all around you. Meanwhile, if you happen to take this up as a winter trek, yes, it gets tougher but it also gets that much more beautiful. That’s because of those meadows and forests covered in white make a scene of dunes which miraculously instead of sand find themselves showered upon with snow. It’s where you want to spend hours just looking about and letting your mind wander wherever it pleases or surprisingly for it to find itself right there, in that very moment for that is the true magic of travel. ?
After enjoying your time at Panwali Top, you shall then head to Raj Kharak which is a quaint little place standing in its quietness with a cosy campsite for you for the night.
Day 4: Raj Kharak to Gaurmanda
Altitude – 8,965 feet
Approximate Distance – 8 km
This day is all about the easy breezy life. There is neither a rush to start the trek in a haste nor to reach point B in a hurry. The day is all about exploring the lands slowly as you move about in a comfortable place with the last bits of nature sweeping before your eyes. This night would also be your last night of camping out, so, maybe stay up to stare at the sky and see what it may end up offering you that night?
Day 5: Gaurmanda to Ghuttu and back to Dehradun
Altitude – Ghuttu (5,100 ft.), Dehradun (1,470 ft.)
Approximate Distance – 5 kms, 183 kms (by road)
Day 5 is when the whole adventure comes to an end but hopefully it is a memorable one and your drive back to Dehradun has your mind brimming with memories from the entire week!
Do you prefer to trek in the winter or the summer seasons? Which team are you?! ?