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Given the moderate level of trekking involved, Kauri Pass trek is highly recommended for the beginners. Sometimes known as the Lord Curzon Trail, the trek is quite popular among the people trekking in the Garhwal region of the Himalayas. However, Kauri Pass trek happens to be a segment of the Lord Curzon Trail that concludes at Ghat. These treks are held as per-monsoon and post-monsoon treks as the Autumn season approaches.
Kauri Pass trek commences from Auli and has a stretch of 6 days with average elevation of 3,650 meters. The views of the imposing peak of Nanda Devi, standing at an height of over 7,800 meters, is one of the the best features of this trek. Such is the pleasing panorama of the meadows of this path that trekkers would hardly feel exhausted on their journey.
It gains its byname as this traditional route was once traversed by Lord Curzon in 1905. Beginning from the meadows of Auli at 8,600 ft., the trek takes you through the abundant forests that feature deodar, oak, maple and chestnut tree. The splendid views of the mountains are well bound to keep you in eternal awe. The beautiful peaks of Nanda Devi, Trishul, Dronagiri, Chaukhamba and Changbang offer a miracle of rare delight. The locals and shepherds are always friendly and forthcoming for any help or guidance.
As you proceed further with your journey, the signs of civilizations begin to disappear with the wilderness of nature having to dominate the future course. The streams of water bouncing down the rocks are potable at many places and could always come handy during a long course.
Level of Difficulty
As for the level of difficulty, simple climbing techniques would be enough to take you through some challenging segments of the treks. Any fit person from the age of 14 onwards is eligible for this trek. Reckoned as a moderate trek, it begins with trekking through the slopes of Auli. Your final climb to Kauri Pass could be a bit challenging, where you would have to cross a bridge floored with frozen ice. The chilling weather may prove to be a source of torment, hence it is recommended to be adequately dressed and geared, so that you may be able to trek easily.
One could easily get networks at Auli with signals becoming weaker as you proceed further. Haridwar is the nearest city from Joshimath and you will be undertaking a 12-hour long journey to traverse the route between these places. The heads of Ganga and the confluence of its two main heads, Alaknanda and Bhagirathi, at Devprayag is a sight to behold.
Given the rugged terrain and the extreme weather, it is always important to equip oneself accordingly. A pair of trekking shoes, backpack, sun cap, headlamp, thermal flask, etc. are some of the important things that you will need to bring along. Apart from this, some basic medications may also be required on this journey. Once you are done with the trek, you may surely send some time and have a spiritual retreat in Rishikesh and Haridwar. And finally, if there are no train tickets available, then you can travel by bus from Haridwar to Delhi.
Pickup at 6 AM from Haridwar,
260 Km drive to Joshimath.
Enroute Rishikesh, Devprayag, Srinagar, Rudraprayag, Karnaprayag.
Reaching Joshimath by evening and accommodation, food in Guest House.
The first leg of this journey begins with an 11 hour drive from Haridwar to Joshimath. One could reach Haridwar by taking an overnight train, Nanda Devi Express, which leaves New Delhi Railway station a little before midnight. Given the issues of ticket availability, you may also opt for a bus ride as deluxe buses ply frequently on this route. We would organize cabs from Haridwar early in the morning so that you may reach Joshimath by the evening, the payment for this ride will be made directly to the driver by the trekkers.
Haridwar is literally the gates to the land of Gods. It is here that the sacred river Ganga enters the land. You will have distinct views of the streams of this river, something which is more about a spiritual experience that you may have all along the route to Joshimath. En route, you may have a brief stop at Devprayag, the site of confluence of Alaknanda and Bhagirathi. These two rivers, along with three other rivulets, form the five heads of river Ganga. We will be providing accomodation,food on reaching Joshimath.Take rest and be prepared for start of trek on time next morning .
Altitude Gain from 8,600 ft. to 10,640 ft.
4.2 Km Trekking , 11 Km Drive
1 hour Drive , 4 Hours of Trekking
Camping in Padiyar
Camp Accommodation and food in Tents
Day two is divided into two phases. The first one involves a 50 minute drive from Joshimath to Auli, followed by a trek to Padiyar Camp. Known for its ski slopes, Auli provides a vantage point for some of the majestic views of Nanda Devi, the snowcapped peak standing at 7,816 meters.
The trek from Auli begins with a ski slope, followed by passing through several forests, meadows and cliffs. As you walk through the Oak Forest after half an hour of trek, you would find a sacred shrine and streams of water flowing along. This phase takes you to Gorson Bugyal, a pleasant meadow surrounded by the scintillating peaks of the Himalayas. Acclimatization is an essential part of your journey as you gain some 2000ft on the second day. So the day winds up after a not-so-exhausting trek that would also leave you with ample of time for admiring the gifts of nature. Padiyar camp is just at the periphery of these beautiful pasture lands.
Altitude Gain from 10,640 ft. to 11,030 ft.
7 Km Trekking
5 to 6 Hours of Trekking
Camping in Chitrakantha
Accommodation and food in Tents
Day 3 is about 7 km of trekking that takes more than four hours. The sublime view of Mt Dronagiri is an essential highlight of this phase of your journey and its summit could be beheld for a good part of your day 3 trek. Along with Mt Nanda Devi, this summit would remain to you left after you cross Gorson Bugyal. The meadow remains green during the summer and monsoon months and gives way to a brown turf during the winter months.
Again, the sprawl of meadows ends with oak forests with dazzling greenery proving a great relief to this arduous phase of your trek. You would then follow the track that leads you to a valley as you head towards the Nanda Devi Sanctuary at the end of day 3. A sumptuous dinner and a night-long camping would revitalize for the next day.
Altitude Gain from 11,030 ft. to 12,520 ft.
Altitude Drop from 12,520 ft. to 11,230 ft.
7.7 Km Trekking [Ascent till Jhandi Top]
4 to 6 Hours of Trekking
Camping at Khullara Campsite
Accommodation and food in Tents
Day 4 is perhaps an important and at the same time most interesting phase of this journeys. The ascent to Kauri Pass would be followed by a downhill journey that would take one back to the sprawling meadows of Khullara.
So beginning from Khullara, you would get off with some level walking. Khullara offers some magnificent views of Chaukhamba massifs along with other peaks like Hathi Parvat, Kalanka, Changabang, Mana, Kamet, etc. As the walk takes you to the greener sections of Chitrakantha forest ridge, the trail begins to ascent and involves climbing mounds of rock for about fifteen minutes. This way you reach the summit of this cliff that provides a scintillating vista of Kauri Col and Chitrakantha. This is followed by a short descent with Kauri Pass remaining to your right.
Climbs, downhill trail, bends and level walks feature all along this part of your trek. From the summit of Chitrakantha, you would be looking towards the Pangarchulla Peak as the trail descends towards a ridge connecting Lord Curzon trail. Dronagiri, Kalanka and Changabang peaks could be seen from the top of a ridge that falls on your way. Various ridges would form a significant path for this trail. As the journey proceeds, snow becomes more and more prominent. The 15-minute hike to the base of Pangarchulla Peak on the snow covered path may prove a bit challenging. You would also come across an incomplete bridge over a frozen stream while covering Lord Curzon Trail.
After climbing up to the Puli Col, the highest point of Lord Curzon Trail, you would be descending for about 350 feet to reach Kauri Pass. It requires you to stay to the left of the ridge and walk down for about 20 minutes while crossing three mountain bends. On reaching Kauri Pass, you can rest here for some time and relax in the abode of nature. The Lord Curzon Trail, undertaken more than a century ago by Lord Curzon, the then Viceroy of India and concludes at Ghat after crossing Kauri Pass and meadows of Sutoli, Jhangi and Ramni.
Kauri Pass is at over 12,500 feet above sea level. The downhill trail would take you back to a little over 11,200 feet. The return hike would be concluded by the evening as you reach the campsite of Khullara. It is worthwhile to mention here that descend is quite rapid and involves walking past some stony sections.
Altitude Drop from 11,230 ft. to 8666 ft.
8 Km Trekking, 10 Km Drive
5 to 6 Hours of Trekking, 50 Minute Drive
Accommodation and food in Guest House
On this day, you would be undertaking a downhill hike to Dhak and then have a forty minute drive back to Joshimath, the starting point of this Trek. So, on leaving the meadows of Khullara and entering the dense forests, the canopy would eclipse the views of the snow-clad mountains. The pine and oak trees would grace your way as you head for a downhill hike amid the cheering of waters gushing down the mountains. These are best source of potable water, something that you may need from time to time. Crossing mounds of ridges could always be physically challenging. So it is important to take timely stops and hydrate sufficiently while crossing mountains.
Mt Dronagiri emerges at its best with its majestic peak showcasing the extent of nature. The inhabitations too begin to emerge as hamlets would fall on your way to Dhak. The sheer wilderness of nature would give way to village homes, schools and playgrounds. The drive from Dhak to Joshimath later in the day would take you to the final leg of this trek.Take a hotel room,and stay overnight in sacred place .
260 Kms, 10 to 11 hours Drive
Drop location is Haridwar
A major part of this final day would involve a 12-hr drive back to Haridwar. It is easy to get a cab in the morning that reaches Haridwar by the dusk. You would be travelling along the river Ganges and will get to see the confluence of Alaknanda and Bhagirathi at Devprayag. There are several trains ply daily on the Haridwar-Delhi route. Of these, Mussoorie Express and Nanda Devi Express leave the Haridwar junction at about midnight.