Har Ki Dun (literally Valley of Lord Shiva) is a valley trek located in the Garhwal Himalayas region of Uttarakhand, India. This hanging valley is surrounded by high altitude meadows, alpine vegetation and snow-clad mountain peaks.
The Har Ki Dun valley is located at a high altitude of about 3,560 m (~ 11,700 ft.) and remains covered with snow for the entire winter season. Although it is a long trek, it is perfect for beginners who want to experience snow in the Himalayan region.
Starting from Dehradun, the trek takes around 9 days to complete and from Sankri to Sankri it takes a couple of days less. For those who want to experience snow in this region, October to March are the best months to visit this trek.
The walking part of the Har Ki Dun + Ruinsara Tal Trek begins from Taluka village. During the trek, you will find yourself walking alongside rivers, crossing a number of wooden bridges, walking on extensive meadows and will be able to visit ancient villages located in this area which are famous for their cultural heritage.
The trek begins with a 210 Km ride from Dehradun to Sankri (a small village located in Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand, India). Sankri is located at an altitude of about 2,000 m above sea level. The drive will take you through the dense forests of Deodar & Oak trees which remain covered with snow during the winter season.
After about an hour drive from Taluka to Sankri (12 Km), you will start walking to your first destination, Osla/Seema. You will be hiking through a dense forest filled with walnut & chestnut trees and alongside Supin River. The entire length of today’s trek will be around 14 Km and will take 5-6 hours to complete with ample breaks for rest. After crossing over a few river streams you will reach the beautiful Osla village. If there is more time left, your trek leader can decide to walk another kilometre to Seema village which will be the destination for today.
From Oslo to Har ki dun, the trek gets a bit steep, the trail will take you through the orchids of sunflowers. As you keep climbing towards the top, you will see a huge meadow. After crossing Kalkatiyadhar, the trail will become less steep and you will be able to catch the glimpse of Hata Peak. The Har Ki Dun valley is located at the base of this majestic peak. Har Ki Dun is a beautiful and peaceful camping site with a small stream flowing through the valley. This will be your camping spot for the night.
Tracing your steps back on the same trail you came on for about a kilometre, take the path downwards towards a small bridge and cross to the other side of the river. Crossing a dense pine forest for about 2 Km, you will reach the Ruinsara Valley. Your trek leader might take you another 2 - 3 Km further to a waterfall which serves as a great camping location.
Today you will finally get to see the magnificent Ruinsara Tal, the path is filled with Rhododendron, Pindrow fir & Himalayan Birch which is a drastic change in the landscape and vegetation as compared to previous days. The view at the Ruinsara Tal is absolutely breathtaking. The lake is surrounded by a vast meadow full of Rhododendron flowers. Ruinsara Lake is considered sacred by the locals. You can explore the area around and return to the campsite at the lake.
You will start walking on the same trail back towards Seema village. The trek will be a lot easier as the trail is mostly descending with a few ascents.
From Seema, you will have to head back to Taluka where the trek organizers would arrange a vehicle for you to drive back to Sankri.
On the last day of the Har Ki Dun Ruinsara Tal Trek, you will be heading back to Dehradun city. The drive will take 7 - 8 hours so plan your stay/further travel arrangements accordingly.
Har Ki Dun Ruinsara Tal is another trek that remains accessible for the most part of the year. It closed down for visitors from July to September during the monsoon season when this area receives very heavy rainfall. Apart from monsoons, you can visit this place any month of the year. The variations in the landscapes during summers and winters is drastic and it almost feels like you are walking on a different trek altogether.
Seasons Breakdown - Har ki Dun Ruinsara Tal Trek
This is a great time to visit the Har ki Dun Ruinsara Tal trek for those who want to experience snowfall in the valley. The valley receives its first snowfall during mid-December. The temperature during winters easily falls below zero degrees and the nights are extremely cold. For the months of January & February, during the peak winter season, the Har ki Dun & Ruinsara valley gets heavy snowfall and this sometimes blocks the trail and therefore it is not advised to visit this trek during this season.
The trek reopens in the month of March until June. You can still find patches of snow from last year’s snowfall. The narrowness and the height of the valley above the sea level ensure that the snow can still be seen during the summer season.
The autumn season starts in September & lasts until November. The temperature during the day ranges from 15 - 20 degrees and around 5 - 10 degrees during the night. For those who don't like extreme temperatures, these months offer them a great opportunity to visit this valley.
This is a moderate difficulty trek mainly because of the long-distance that is needed to be covered by the trekkers. The trail is easy for the most part of the trek with some steep walks here and there. You gain a maximum altitude of 11,700 ft. from 6,000 ft. in 6 days. In Spite of this being of moderate difficulty, it is still a great choice for beginning level trekkers.
Har Ki Dun is a safe trek, the trails are clearly marked and you will easily meet other trekkers on this route. This is a great trek if you want to travel solo. Make sure you have proper gear according to the season you want to travel in.
This is a brief list of things that you should carry on the trek to make the experience more memorable and much more comfortable -
Government Hospital, Mori
Mori-Sankari Rd, Mautar, Uttarakhand 249128
Distance from Sankri - 21.4 Km
Time to Reach - Approximately 1 Hour
Government Hospital Barkot
R644+VRG, Barkot, Uttarakhand 249141
Distance from Sankri - 82.3 Km
Time to Reach - Approximately 3 Hours
Swami Vivekanand Dharmarth Chikitsalay
R643+QXM, Barkot, Uttarakhand 249141
Distance from Sankri - 82 Km
Time to Reach - Approximately 3 Hours
Network & Connectivity
There is only limited connectivity available during the Kedarkantha Trek. Only some spots get good network connectivity. The best networks for this trek are BSNL & Jio.
The last ATM before Sankri is an SBI ATM located in Mori but it remains void of cash a lot of times, in such situations you can swipe your card at and get cash from the authorized SBI Cash Withdrawal Center located Nearby.
However, it is recommended that you withdraw your cash at Dehradun, Mussoorie or Purola to avoid any last minute hassle.
How Difficult is Har Ki Dun Ruinsara Tal Trek?
Har ki Dun Ruinsara Tal trek is an easy-moderate difficulty trek. The trail is well marked and level for most of the park except for a few steep climbs. The main reason why this trek is of moderate difficulty is the distance that you need to cover during the entire duration of the trek which is about 70 Km.
How Long is Har Ki Dun Ruinsara Tal Trek?
The distance from Sankri to Ruinsara Tal is about 35 Km. The trekkers cover about 70 Km (both ways) from Sankri to Sankri.
How high is Har Ki Dun?
The Har Ki Dun Valley is located at a high altitude of 3566 m above sea level approximately 11,700 Km.
How do I get to Har Ki Dun?
To reach Har Ki Dun, you first need to reach Sankri village in Uttarkashi. You can board a bus or hire a cab to take you to Sankri from Dehradun. Make sure you reach Dehradun a day before because the busses to Sankri depart early in the morning. From Sankri, take a ride to Taluka and start walking on the trail towards Osla which will take you to Har ki dun.
Which is better, Kedarkantha or Har Ki Dun?
Both treks have unique thrills and landscapes to offer. It is difficult to choose one because Har ki Dun is a valley trek whereas Kedarkantha is a peak trek. It really depends on the trekker if they want to climb atop a peak of the mountain then they can choose Kedarkantha and if you want to have a leisurely walk through the forests, along the rivers surrounded by trees then Har Ki Dun trek would be a better choice for you.