Har ki Dun Trek - Valley of Lord Shiva
Anyone who has done just 1 or 2 treks anywhere in the Indian Himalayas would likely have heard about Har ki Dun trek. Some treks are such that one can never write enough to describe them. Har ki Dun is such a trek. It is undoubtedly one of the best known and most loved treks in India. This speaks volumes about the experience of doing Har ki Dun and how much all the trekkers have loved doing this trek over the years. Trekkers have been going to do Har ki Dun trek for many decades. And here we are, talking about making the Har ki Dun trek better! Is it even possible?
We believe, yes, it is possible. The way to make Har ki Dun trek better is to add Ruinsara Tal to the same itinerary. But first lets talk a bit more about why Har ki Dun trek is already a great trek.
Har Ki Dun Trek is one of the best in Uttarakhand and Garhwal region. It starts from the beautiful village of Sankri in Jaunsar region of Uttarakhand. A wonderful drive following the Yamuna and the Tons river brings you to the village of Sankri from where your trek starts. The peaks of Swargarohini welcome you to this wonderland. With each day on the trek, you keep taking yourself closer to these giant Himalayan peaks. There are several reasons that make Har ki Dun trek a beautiful trek for everyone. One reason is its difficulty level. This trek is not very easy, it is a moderate one. But there are no big steep ascents and descents on the entire route. Almost the whole trail is very gentle and gradual. That makes it a really nice and enjoyable trek for almost everyone. All sorts of people from various age groups including families with children, friends, solo trekkers etc can do this trek. Walking on the Har ki Dun trek route, we follow the Har ki Dun Gad (river stream) or Tamsa river back to its true origin. This whole valley trek offers a great variety of views and flora and fauna. From the forest covered by Pine, Deodar and Rhododendron trees to the views of majestic snow capped peaks standing tall above 6000 meters in the Saraswati sub-range. Once you reach the Har ki dun valley, the view is again so mesmerizing that you can't take your eyes off the Har ki Dun peak, Hata peak and Swargarohini peaks.
Har ki Dun valley covered in snow seen in the month of April with Har ki Dun peak and Haata Peak.
Some beautiful flora seen on the Har ki Dun trek route
Another big attraction of Har ki Dun trek is the local culture and villages that you get to see on your way. Specially the Borasu villages of Dhatmir, Gangad, Puoni and Osla look as if they are hanging in the sky. All these villages are at least 3 to 4 centuries old and have rich ancient cultural heritage. The structure of their houses and religious practices are unique and are insightful to learn. The architecture of the temples is fascinating too. The Someshwar Mahadev temple of Osla, previously called the Duryodhana Temple, is related by legend to the ancient characters of the Hindu Epic - Mahabharata, and also as an incarnation of Lord Shiva, whose presence dominates the region.
The beautiful village of Gangad on the trek route & The Someshwar Mahadev temple in Osla village
Including Ruinsara Tal with Har ki Dun trek
Now when we know that Har ki Dun is a really nice trek in itself for all the trekkers, why should we add Ruinsara Tal to this trek itinerary? We should include Ruinsara Tal simply to make the whole trek even more perfect and more complete in every sense. Ruinsara Tal is right there in the adjacent valley to Har ki Dun valley. Both these valleys are connected by a beautiful trail going through a thick forest from a place called Boslo in the Har ki Dun valley to Rain Basera in the Ruinsara valley. Ruinsara is not a small lake, it is quite big. It has the purest tranquil water that almost looks like a mirror from a distance. You also see an even closer and more magnificent view of the Swargarohini peaks from here. You also get a closer view of Kalanag (Black peak) and Bandarpunch peaks from Ruinsara valley. All these peaks are in the Saraswati sub-range of Garhwal Himalayas with Kalanag being the tallest among them standing at 6387 meters. When you see the reflection of all these mountains in the blue tranquil water of the Ruinsara Lake, it looks like something from out of this world and you feel completely taken over just by the sheer beauty, the grandeur and the awe-inspiring views of the Himalayas.
A place as beautiful as Ruinsara Lake should never be missed specially when you are already so close to it in the Har ki Dun valley. Another great advantage of going to Ruinsara lake is that while returning from there, almost half of your route becomes different from the one you followed while going to Har ki Dun. If you go only to Har ki Dun valley and return from there, you follow almost the same route while going and coming back. But most of the trekkers would prefer it if they can have a change of route and scenery while returning to Taluka. So this happens if you go to Ruinsara valley. On this trail coming back from Ruinsara lake towards Seema village, you can also pass through an amazing high altitude grassland called Devsu Thatch or Bugyal. This beautiful lush green bugyal is completely hidden out of sight on this route between a dense pine forest. We could camp here too earlier but now due to some camping restrictions, we can't camp here in the bugyal. But passing through here and looking at this surprisingly beautiful place is also a treat. You'll miss this if you return from the Har ki Dun side of the valley. So including Ruinsara Tal in your itinerary definitely makes this trek much more rewarding and complete in every sense. One has to say that Har ki Dun trek will remain incomplete without going to Ruinsara lake.
Team Himalayan High camping at Ruinsara Tal
Wider views of Ruinsara valley, surrounding mountains and Ruinsara Tal.
Changes required in the itinerary
Including Ruinsara tal in your Har ki Dun trek itinerary adds only 2 more days to the trek. So now it becomes a 7 days' trek with total 9 days and 8 nights required for the whole trip from Dehradun to Dehradun. But for these 2 extra days, the reward that you get by going to Ruinsara Tal is just completely unforgettable and unmissable. Please note that Har ki Dun is a moderate level trek. This trek remains of moderate difficulty even after including Ruinsara Tal in the itinerary. Because the trail going to Ruinsara Tal is really very gentle and gradual. So the whole trek is still suitable for people of almost all age groups. But you must prepare yourself considerably well for this trek as we'll be required to walk for an average of 10-12 KMs everyday for 7 days. Your targeted preparation time for this trek should be around a couple of months.
A short itinerary of the whole Har ki Dun - Ruinsara Tal trek is as under:
- Day 1: Drive from Dehradun to Sankri
- Day 2: Drive Sankri to Taluka, Trek Taluka to Chillur Gad
- Day 3: Trek from Chillur Gad to Kalkati Dhar
- Day 4: Trek from Chillur Gad to visit Har ki Dun, Maninda Tal and Jaundhar glacier view point and come back to Chillur Gad camp
- Day 5: Trek from Kalkati Dhar to Rain Basera via Boslo
- Day 6: Trek from Rain Basera to Ruinsara Tal
- Day 7: Trek from Ruinsara Tal to Chillur Gad
- Day 8: Trek from Chillur Gad to Taluka, Drive to Sankri
- Day 9: Drive Sankri to Dehradun
To get much more detailed itinerary information, the day-wise itinerary links can be clicked. Every other information related to Har ki Dun with Ruinsara Tal trek is available here on our website: Har ki Dun with Ruinsara Tal Trek
Highlights of Har ki Dun - Ruinsara Tal Trek
- Duration: 9 days and 8 nights total; from Dehradun to Dehradun
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Best Season: March - June, Mid-September - Mid-December
- A chance to visit and camp at one of the most beautiful and pristine lakes in Garhwal Himalayas, the Ruinsara Lake.
- A much closer view of Swargarohini, Bandarpunch and Kalanag mountain peaks from the Ruinsara valley. All these mountains are above 6000 meters in the Saraswati sub-range of Garhwal Himalayas.
- A chance to see and trek through a surprisingly beautiful Devsu Bugyal which is generally completely hidden from sight.
Our final opinion
We have already described the beauty and serenity of not only the Ruinsara lake but also of the entire Ruinsara valley and this trail connecting it with the Har ki Dun trekking trail. So there is absolutely no question about why going to Ruinsara lake along with Har ki Dun valley should never be missed by any trekker. It really makes this whole trek complete and it takes the whole experience to such a level which is normally not expected from a trek like Har ki Dun. So spending extra 2 days here is really worth the reward and you get to take back beautiful memories of these heavenly places with you for the entire lifetime.