Rupin Pass Trek
It is said that ‘Change is the only constant’. Rupin Pass follows through with this statement. Literally, almost with every turn that you take, there is a change in the scenery that’s there on offer. The trek runs along the River Rupin and its famous three stage waterfall.
In the upper reaches of the trek, we pass through superb snow fields and snow gullies, that gives one an adrenaline rush. You’ll have it all: hanging villages, terrific forests, glacial meadows, hundreds of waterfalls and an exhilarating pass crossing.
Those arriving into Dehradun from Delhi, there are two options, A) Travel by Nanda Devi Express which arrives into Dehradun by 5:40 AM. B) Travel by bus from Delhi that arrives at ISBT Dehradun by 6 AM.
Note: Train travel is preferred since you get proper sleep during the night. Also, most times, busses arrive into Dehradun earlier than estimated, resulting in you having to wait on the roads.
Those arriving by flight, please ensure selecting flights in a manner wherein you are able to reach the Railway Station by 5:45 AM. The airport is 25 kms away from the railway station.
Please ensure that your stay in Shimla has been booked in advance. This would curtail cost to some extent.
Busses (Luxury and others) ply from Shimla to Delhi and Chandigarh regularly. The journey to Delhi takes about 8-9 hours. Assuming that you depart from Shimla in the morning, not later, you can book for trains post 9 PM, later the better. For those who would be flying out of Delhi, please prefer to book a later flight, at least not earlier than 10:30 PM. Missing flights or trains could be disastrous, hence, please make your choices wisely.
What is included in the tour
- Accommodation in tents and homestays on triple sharing basis.
- Comfortable Non-AC Tempo Traveller from Dehradun to Dhaula and from Sangla to Shimla.
- All meals during the trek only.
What is NOT included in the tour
- Meals during road journeys.
- Any miscellaneous expenditure incurred during the tour.
- Anything not mentioned in the inclusions.
- Stay in Shimla.
Day 1: 12th May, 2018 : Drive from Dehradun to Dhaula; 215 Kms; 10-11 Hrs , Altitude: 5,100 Feet
Meet your Travel Trikon Buddy at Dehradun Railway Station at 5:45 AM. Those travelling by bus can join at the ISBT Dehradun by 6:15 AM.
Dhaula (5,100 ft) is the base for the Rupin Pass trek. It is a sleepy hamlet of a dozen homes and the last road head of Uttarakhand.The drive to Dhaula is on beautiful mountain roads and steadily gain altitude as you reach Dhaula. Deep valleys and thick forest cover greet you during your journey.
Day 2: 13th May, 2018 :Dhaula to Sewa; 12 Kms; 6 Hrs , Altitude: 5,100 Feet to 6,300 Feet
We begin our trek by passing a ‘fragrant’ cattle shelter with an enormous collection of dung. Once done, the trail starts to climb sharply, 200 metres outside the village – No! Don’t worry, many more such climbs to come! The climb eases out in 20 minutes into the first change of scenery;500 ft below, you can see the river bed of Rupin. Friendly villages hang out of the hills on either side. Village kids scamper about with their shy smile, some might say ‘Namaste’, others might ask you for a chocolate!
Next up, the Rupin careens out of a gorge. On one side of the slope, the trekking trail snakes its way up through apple and apricot trees.
Half an hour into the ascending trail, stop by at a roadside eatery and the only one you’ll find before getting to Sewa. Sip tea as you enjoy the view of the cliff face looming over you and the sound of the Rupin pounding at the bottom of the gorge.
Sewa, is your camp for the day. Visit the village temple adorned with medals and an electric clock.The two storey temple combines local and Kinnaur traditions, not surprising with the Himachal border so close. Relax!
Day 3: 14th May,2018 : Sewa to Jakha; 14 Kms; 7-8 Hrs , Altitude: 6,300 Feet to 8,100 Feet
This day marks the lengthiest distance of the trek, however, not so challenging as we walk on a well layered path for quite a while. We begin with a descent through the mixed forest over a slushy and often smelly trail pops out into the bright river bed of the Rupin. For the first time on the trek you actually trek on the river and not alongside it.
Prepare yourself for a bit of huff and puff that the trail has in store for you for the day. The good bit is that the climb sections are always followed by gentle level walks.
A bend in the trail, a short clamber over a narrow section and you stop short: a picturesque waterfall cascades down on the trail, it’s source so high above that you can’t see it. Spend a while taking pictures — and perhaps even a refreshing swipe under it.
A few more short climbs and finally, a well-deserved halt at the beautiful Jakha, the last village on our trek!
Day 4: 15th May, 2018 :Jakha to BuransKandi; 7 Kms; 5 Hrs , Altitude: 8,100 Feet to 10,100 Feet
The well-defined trail ascends past the playground, passing through fields of the upper Jakha village before entering a magnificent fir forest. The entry to the forest is again so sudden that it is almost like someone has opened up a gate to let you in. The towering blue pines, each more than few centuries old, take you through pristine and untouched surroundings.
Stretched under is a vast snow bridge across the Rupin .With no trace of snow earlier and only glimpses of snow patches at higher ground, finding a snow bridge at a lower height will make you gasp. Feel the snow under your boots for the first time on this trek!
Higher up, the scenery is rather different form what you have left behind. You’d now be walking on the boulder strewn river bed. The Rupin changes colour to a glorious icy blue – the water clear as crystal. No need to look for water to quench your thirst – just dip into the Rupin.
Soon, you are met with a small open grass land. It is easily recognizable by a big rivulet that gushes out of the hill side – the water pure and clean. This is Burans Kandi, an excellent place to camp if you don’t mind the many cows that graze in the bounties of nature here.
Day 5: 16th May, 2018 : Burans Kandi to Dhanderas Thatch; 3 Kms; 3 Hrs , Altitude: 10,100 Feet to 11,700 Feet
A clump of forest starts just outside the camp area, and before you know it, you are in deep foliage. The ascent is steep but not too long. Suddenly you are left speechless as rhododendrons in its variety of colours – white, pink and purple, fill the space above your head. As you get into a clearing, you find a beautiful green island in the middle of Rupin, full of silver birch trees. From here, you can catch a glimpse of the famous Rupin waterfall, a sight that can have one spellbound!
The climb through forest and shrubs makes way to a grand amphitheater of green. You notice thousands of waterfalls cascading down from the brown walls to meet the Rupin.As you walk into the meadows, you find wild flowers popping out everywhere!
The climb is like inching along near the top of a roller coaster ride, waiting, anticipating for the next view. It doesn’t disappoint you. You have arrived at the prettiest meadow of the
trek, a site so beautiful, that you want to set up camp right there. And you do, for no Himalayan camp site can better the location.This is Dhanderas Thatch.
Day 6: 17th May, 2018 :Dhanderas Thatch to Upper Waterfall; 4 Kms; 4 Hrs
This is perhaps the most important day of your trek. The acclimatization climb to the top of the waterfall will help you immensely for a super successful climb to the Rupin pass.It is about a kilometer to the base of the waterfall from Dhanderas Thatch.
Things get serious when you reach the snow patch at the base of the waterfall. This is where the skills you’ve been taught will boost your confidence. Implement them when crossing the snow and ice patches ahead until you get to the top of the waterfall.
Keeping to the tradition of surprises of the Rupin trail, the top opens up to a wide meadow. Enjoy the view and rest well. Sit at the edge of the waterfall and immerse into the beauty and silence. Streams fed from the alpine snowy flank on all sides, converge to feed the waterfall and become Rupin.
Day 7: 18th May, 2018 : Upper Waterfall to Rupin Pass, further onto Ronti Gad; 10 Kms; 10-11 Hrs , Altitude: 13,100 Feet to 15,400 Feet; Descend to 13,100 Feet
Steep climb to the pass followed by a sharp descent. This is the longest day of your trek and the most gruelling – and perhaps the most exciting too. It has enough adventure in store to haunt your memories for a long time.
The Rupin valley that has been your companion for the last six days is lost to view, and the alpine Dhauladar range takes its place to your right and across the valley. It is now snow fields and alpine country till you get to the Rupin pass.
On first sight of the Rupin Pass gully at the top, you might get a passing thought telling you that you’ll never get there. That isn’t true, all you need to cover is another hour and half more of a gruelling climb to the top. As you get to the gully, rest for a while. Only 200 metres away, but some tricky ground made up of scree. As you carefully negotiate this, you can see prayer flags fluttering in the high winds. This is it- Rupin Pass!
On the Sangla side, the descent is steep and the only place to camp is in the vast meadows below the snowline. Unlike the Rupin side, getting down to the snowline is quicker and steeper.
Step out of the pass and slide down the chutes of the snow. If you think you can walk down the slope, try it, but only to add speed to your slide! There’s only one way to get down and that’s on your bottom.
As we get below the snowline, it’s Ronti Gad, where we camp for the night.
Day 8: 19th May, 2018 :Ronti Gad to Sangla; 9 Kms; 5 Hrs and drive to Shimla
The descent to Sangla is hell on your knees and toes but makes up for everything with its ever changing scenery. For the first time you get to view the Kinner Kailash range and the blue pines of the Baspa valley.
Far below are the first signs of civilization – the lake of Sangla Kanda and the tiny settlement of the village. It takes another hour and half to get to the village. The sharp descent would have taken a toll on your toes and knees – and the village is a good place to take a break.
You can call this point as the end of the trek as well, bidding goodbye to Rupin Pass as you look back.
We move into cars quickly by afternoon to get to Shimla, not late in the night.
The trek ends, but the beginning to the blossom of bonds created over the past days!
Things to Carry
- A photocopy of your Identity Proof (Passport / Voter ID Card/PAN Card/Aadhar Card/ Driving License)
- Rucksack – If you are offloading your Rucksack, you will need a small daypack to carry your basic essentials
- Good trekking shoes and a pair of slip-ons, if required for use at campsites
- 2 Water Bottles (1 litre each)
- Woolen or Fleece Gloves and a pair of waterproof gloves
- Cotton socks and woolen socks (2 pairs each)
- Balaclava, Woolen scarf – If you do not have a Balaclava, you can carry Monkey cap instead
- Thermal Inners
- Fleece Jacket, Snow Jacket or Padded Jacket (1 each)
- Windcheater or Poncho
- 3-4 pairs of trek pants
- 2 collared and full sleeved t-shirts – Do not carry loose t-shirts as they tend to make you feel cold
- Camera or Binoculars (optional)
- Ready to eat snacks, Enerzyl Powder or Glucon D Powder – Carry nuts, dryfruits, energy bars to munch on during the trek. They provide instant energy whenever it hits the lower base.
- Cap, Sunglasses - Do ensure that your sunglasses are UV Protected. Do not carry reflectors.
- Headlamp/LED Torch – Mandatory
- Toiletries – Sunscreen, Moisturizer, light towel, lip balm, wet wipes, toothbrush, toothpaste, Hand Sanitizer, Mosquito repellent, if required
- Polythene Bags or Zip-lock Bags – These help to segregate wet clothes, used wet wipes or sanitary napkins on trek
- Any medicines that you normally consume - Please consult your doctor in this regard