Best season: March to June and September to December
Maximum height gained: 4,600m (15,091ft)
Kuari which means “doorway” is a Himalayan high mountain pass situated in the Garhwal region of northern India. Kauri Pass Trek has been a favorite one with many trekkers, nature lovers and mountaineers. In spite of the spectacular mountain views this trek promises to offer, it is a fairly moderate one, which introduces everyone to most enchanting mix of the Himalayan village life, culture, pristine wilderness, wild life and great Himalayan ranges. On a clear day one can see mountains like Nanda Devi (7816m), Dunagiri (7066m), Kamet (7756m) and many more. The Kuari Pass trek is known as The Curzon Trail, named after the former British Viceroy of India “Lord Curzon”.
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RISHIKESH / CHEFNA – 220km (136mi) / 7-8hrs drive
Morning, after breakfast we drive for a good 7/8 hours to Nandprayag and Ghat and then to Chefna (starting point of the trek). The drive, though long is very scenic as we drive along the Ganga, Alaknanda and Nandakani rivers. Enroute we stop at Deoprayag which is another important Hindu site, known for the confluence of two rivers: Bhagirathi and Alaknanada, which then flows down as the Ganga. We camp for the night at Chefna, next to the river. Overnight in tents.
CHEFNA / GHUNI – 2,550m (8,366ft) / 3-4hrs trekking
After breakfast we start our trekking, first next to the river followed by an ascent. The walk takes us to a village called Ghuni at elevation of 2,550m (8,366ft). It is a typical Garhwal Himalayan village with friendly mountain people and cute attractive houses. Overnight stay and meals in camp area at Ghuni.
GHUNI / SHEMKHARAK – 3,064m (10,052ft) / 5-6hrs trekking
From the campsite we climb steeply for 300m (984ft) on a zigzagging trek to emerge into open, grassy, grazing meadows. Snow peaks begin to emerge above the forest to the north. The highest point, reached in 3 hours from the camp at elevation of 3,064m (10,052ft) is the Ramni Pass, also called Binayak Top. The trek is now gentle, mainly through open pastures into forests of horse chestnuts and walnut trees complete with waterfalls. Lastly, downward trail will bring us down to the campsite at Shemkharak. Dinner and overnight in tents.
SHEMKHARAK / PANA – approx. 2,900m (9,514ft) / 5-6hrs trekking
Trekking starts with a descent to the colorful village of Jhinjhi. Then walk continue to the old suspension bridge on the river Birahi Ganga followed by steep climb. After that trail becomes almost flat passing under the cool shades of the rhododendron forests. There are many streams and waterfalls on the way. We cross a village named Pana from where there is a short climb to a spot called Kaliaghat, which is a very good campsite. We can see an open valley of the village. Overnight in tents.
PANA / DHAKWANI – 3,200m (10,498ft) / 5-6hrs trekking
The trekking traverses above the village followed by a steep climb into a rhododendron forest. Then the trail descends gently, traversing along the valley to open meadows with scenic views of the Kuari Pass. We continue downhill through the valley along several streams, followed by another steep climb of about 900m (3,000ft) with a small break about half way up, to cross a large stream. The final climb brings us above the tree-line to the Dhakwani campsite – a large pasture where sheep and goats graze in summer, with the Kuari Pass towering above. Dinner and overnight in tents.
DHAKWANI / KUARI PASS / KHULLARA – 4,000m (13,123ft) / 4-5hrs trekking
Today the hike is not so long but strenuous, we will take our time to take breaks and to take pictures of the breathtaking surroundings all along the trail. To cross Kuari Pass we have to climb to the highest point of the trail at elevation of 4,000m (13,123ft). Once we have had our fill of the mountain views we walk down to our campsite which is set up in advance for us across a small stream in Khullara. Overnight in tents.
KHULLARA / PANGERCHULLI PEAK / KHULLARA – 4,600m (15,091ft) / 8-9hrs trekking
After early breakfast, 4 to 5hrs steep climb up takes us to Pangerchulli peak at elevation of 4,600m (15,091ft). Some of the highest mountains which can be seen from today’s trail are: Mt.Kamet 7,756m (25,446ft), Mt.Nilkanth 6,596m (21,640ft), Mt.Dunagiri 7,066m (23,182ft) , Mt.Changabang 6,864m (22,520ft) and Mount Nanda Devi 7,816m (25,643ft) – a highest mountain in India, herself visible if we walk along the ridge for a while. The blinding vision of snow peaks make all the effort worthwhile, for it is often said that this trail has the greatest mountain views in the world. After summit we trek down for about 3 to 4hrs to our base camp in Khullara for overnight stay in tents
KHULLARA / AULI / JOSHIMATH 4-5hrs trekking downhill
Most of summer treks finish in Auli and early summer/early winter treks finish in Tapovan because of the icy conditions on the trail to Auli. It is a 4 to 5hrs trek down to either place. Starting with a gradual descent to Auli – a charming hill station, the center of the Indian ski scene, down through the woods and pastures where we will meet our car waiting to drive us to Joshimath (half an hour drive), a small mountain town with ancient Hindu temples. Overnight in a hotel in Joshimath.
JOSHIMATH / RISHIKESH
Today approximately 8hrs mountain drive till Rishikesh for overnight stay in a hotel.