I think somewhere along the line Mother Nature did have a soft spot or even an abundance of affection towards Uttarakhand. How else do you explain all the scenic gems it holds within its folds? But hey, I’m not complaining! In fact, I’m thankful that the state offers us mountain lovers so many places to visit, adventures to take and trails to explore. From amongst its lesser known jewels comes a trek called Panpatia. A snowy wonder, this trek is also exceedingly demanding as it connects popular points such as Kedarnath to Badrinath over its vast expanse. So, if you’re planning to go for this one better get that preparation game on the road!
How to reach: Fly down to Dehradun and from there travel by road to reach Joshimath. Alternatively, you could even travel to Dehradun via train or bus from Delhi. For Joshimath you can find local taxis or buses for this but as this is a long journey it is better to book through a reliable source beforehand for a comfortable journey.
Best time to trek/visit: mid-May to mid-October
Duration: 12 days
Altitude: 5,260 metres, i.e., 17,257 feet
Trek route: The route will of course depend on what you decide with your local trekking guide, but possible options include:
Dehradun – Joshimath – Alaknanda Camp – Shepherd Camp – Snout Camp – Moraine Camp – Parvati Gully Base Camp – Panpatia Snowfield Camp via Parvati Col – Sujal Sarovar – Kachni – Nanu Chatti – Ransi – Rudraprayag
Day 1: Dehradun to Joshimath
Altitude – 6,200 ft.
Approximate Distance – 300 kms drive
As the beauty you’re about to go visit lays atop a hill in a far-off land, your journey to reach her is going to be a long one. You shall first have to reach Dehradun and then you’re headed for a long drive all the way to Joshimath. Enroute you shall cross the beautiful Devprayag which is the confluence point of 3 rivers. By late evening, you shall reach Joshimath. Make sure to pack snacks and water for your bus journey.
Day 2: Joshimath to Alaknanda Camp
Altitude – 8,530 ft.
Approximate Distance – 3 kms drive
Today’s drive is a much shorter one. You’ll be going over the roaring Alaknanda River via a hanging bridge. Camp out and get set for the trek to come.
Day 3: Alaknanda Camp to Shepherd Camp
Altitude – 11,745 ft.
Approximate Distance – 7 kms
And, finally, your trek commences! Greet the small village of Khirao which you shall be passing though, make your way amidst grassy slopes and then find yourself at the campsite after a couple of hours. It’s just the start of your trek, so, what’s better than gazing out of your tents for a while, conversing and sharing the excitement over what’s to come?
Day 4: Shepherd Camp to Snout Camp
Altitude – 12,860 ft.
Approximate Distance – 4 kms
This day has you doing a comfortable trek stretch or even a short walk we can say, in order to reach the snout of the Panpatia glacier. So, your campsite will allow your eyes to look at this view!
Day 5: Snout Camp to Moraine Camp
Altitude – 14,107 ft.
Approximate Distance – 4 kms
Day 5’s trek although a short one is quite demanding as it rises in the ascent. Keeping you company through this steep climb will be fields of moraine. After a while, the peaks of Neelkanth and Parvati shall join them to shadow you as you progress. A day with good weather also adds a sight of the stunning Chaukhamba peak.
Day 6: Moraine Camp to Parvati Gully Base Camp
Altitude – 15,091 ft.
Approximate Distance – 6 kms
Again, a short but demanding walk is in store but you shall feel pumped as you’re getting close to the snow field! The view surrounding you shall be turning into a white dream soon. Use your time at camp to both interact with the fellow trekkers as well as resting your body as you still have a long week and walk ahead.
Day 7: Parvati Gully Base Camp to Panpatia Snowfield Camp via Parvati Col
Altitude – 17,125 ft.
Approximate Distance – 6 kms
Snow, snow and some more snow! It’s going to be a day that tears a page right out of the Christmas movies you watch romanticizing a Winter Wonderland. The trek will have you seeing the Chaukhamba peak which doesn’t shy away anymore and instead receives you rstanding starkly in your sight. From there you move ahead further and find yourself in Panpatia’s snowfield which is essentially a plateau filled or rather buried in snow completely! Make a snowman, have a snow fight, pelt at each other or just jump into the snow, this is a landscape that you’ll never forget!
Day 8: Panpatia Snowfield Camp to Sujal Sarovar via Panpatia Col
Altitude –15,551 ft via Panpatia Col at 17,257 ft
Approximate Distance – 9 km
Another challenging day and yet another snowy day has arrived! You shall be making your way through the snow field with ropes with great caution. The peak blesses you with views of mighty mountains, glaciers and snow fields all stretching far and wide in all their glory. Pat yourself on the back for what you have achieved and make a steep trek to Suraj Tal, your campsite for the day.
Day 9: Sujal Sarovar to Kachni
Altitude – 13,648 ft.
Approximate Distance – 7 km
Next you shall be headed to a meadow. The meadow of Kachni is a simple and scenic one getting more beautified in the right season. It lounges about overlooking the Madhmaheshwar Ganga, so, run a bit and scream out at the top of your lungs to say hello?!
Day 10: Kachni to Nanu Chatti
Altitude –10.695 ft.
Approximate Distance – 5 km
As your descend commences, you can even go pay your respects at the Madhmaheshwar temple. Thereafter, once again you find yourself in the throngs of forests as you make your way to Nanu Chatti.
Day 11: Nanu Chatti to Ransi
Altitude – 6,397 ft.
Approximate Distance – 12 km
This might just be your last day in these peaks and their surroundings, so, let your full heart say goodbye to the mountains, the fields and their adorning flowers and grasses alike. A trek is never just about the peak alone but also about all the terrains you passed through, right?
Day 12: Ransi to Rudraprayag and further
Altitude – 2,940 ft.
Approximate Distance – 37 kms
From Ransi you can either board a vehicle to Rudraprayag and rest for the night or continue your journey further. Since it’s a long way back to Dehradun and you have worked hard over the last week, a rest may well be in order! You could remember all the past days and make sure that you leave this place with a smile.
Which is the trek you’re most keen on doing in Uttarakhand?