The Great Garhwal Traverse - Kalindi Khal

Connecting the two holy shrines of Gangotri and Badrinath, this trail traverses from one glacier to the other to cross the high pass of Kalindi just under 6000m. The walk is mostly over the moraines and the snow fields with deep crevasses and gives great opportunities to view the high-altitude wildlife and camp by some small glacial lakes.

Walking at an average altitude of 4500m for about 10 days and sleeping at freezing temperatures this trip is a lot more than a trek. The first crossing of this pass was done in early 1947 by 4 Sadhus wearing grass chappals (thongs) and surviving on a diet of tea and potatoes.

This was done to verify the legend that a priest from Gangotri did this crossing to Badrinath. One of the historic crossings of this pass was made on 15th August 1947 by TH Brahma and this is described in his book - Himalayan Odyssey. A challenging trek involving walking on crevassed slopes and moraine at high altitude, this trek is the ultimate for those seeking to trek into the unexplored regions of the Himalaya with some of the best views and a great insight into the Hindu culture as you visit the famous holy sites of Rishikesh, Gangotri and Badrinath.

Only for experienced trekkers !

Expedition Facts :

Area: Uttarakhand Himalayas
Duration: 15 nights/ 16 days
Grade: Challenging
Highest Point: 5947m.
Highest Camping Point: 5530m.
Best Time to Go: Mid-June - Last week of August.

Detailed Itinerary :

Day 01: Rishikesh to Uttarkashi (6-7hrs.)

After breakfast, drive to Uttarkashi. Lunch en route. On arrival check in at hotel.

Day 02: Drive Uttarkashi to Gangotri (3048m), 3-4 hrs

After a relaxed breakfast drive 3-4 hrs to the pilgrim town of Gangotri. With the new dam coming up on the Bhagirathi valley expect lots of construction activity. The drive gets picturesque as one approaches the village of Sukhi. Closer to reaching Gangotri one starts getting the views of the snow-capped peaks.

On arrival check in at hotel. In evening visit to the Famous Mother Ganges Temple. The temple to the Goddess Ganga built in the 18th century by a Gorkha General stand dignified surrounded by the mountains and attracts thousands of pilgrims each year.

Day 03: Trek Gangotri to Chirbasa (3600m) 4 – 41/2 hrs

Visit the temple and the start the 4 hr walk up towards Gaumukh, the source of the river Ganges. The trail keeps following the river and just short of Chirbasa one gets the first views of the Bhagirathi Peaks. Chirbasa (3600m), literally meaning the home of pine is now a cluster of shops and some pine trees. Walk down from the main trail and setup camp close to the river.

Day 04 : Trek Chirbasa to Bhojbasa(3800m) 2-3hrs

Continue through forests of silver birches with continuous views of the Bhagirathi peaks and sections of Shivling (6543m). The climb continues for another 2-3 hrs to camp at Bhojbasa at 3800m.

Day 05 : Trek Bhojbasa to Tapovan (4500m) 4- 4 ½ hrs.

The path now is on boulder and screen to Gaumukh (1 1/2 to 2 hrs), the source of the Ganges. We trek further to Tapovan (4500m), a huge plateau surrounded by Shivling and the Bhagirathi peaks with Meru at the back drop.

Day 06: Trek Tapovan to Nandanvan (4340m) 4hrs

We walk up to the meadow of Nandanvan at the base of Bhagirathi group of peaks. Crevasses mark this trail from where we make a gradual ascent across the Gangotri glacier from where the trail levels out to Nandanvan (4340m), also the base of climbing the Bhagirathi Mountains. Approximately 4hrs. The camp offers majestic views of Shivling - the Matterhorn of the Himalayas.

Day 07: Rest day in Nandanvan for acclimatize and excursions.
Day 08: Trek Nandanvan-Vasukital (4900m) 6-7hrs.

Walk along a stream with views of Meru and Bhrigupanth. After 5kms, we bypass the outlet of the valley leading towards Bhagirathi and come to a deep gorge eroded by the glacier. Descend diagonally towards the snout of the lateral glacier to reach Vasukital. Camp near the lake at the foot of the North-west ridge of Vasuki Parbat.

Day 09 : Trek Vasukital to Kharapathar (5456m) 5-6 hrs

Continue climbing to Suralaya Bamak. This day’s walk is over stony rubble and crossing moraines. Camp at Khara Patthar (5456m) rightfully named as there is a huge standing rock that marks this campsite.

Day 10: Trek Kharapathar to Sweta Glacier (5500m) 4-5 hrs

Today's walk is fairly hard on glacier and moraine. We pass small lakes and camp just before the junction of the Sweta and Chaturangi glaciers.

Day 11: Trek Sweta Glacier to Kalindi Khal Base(5530m) 5 hrs.

Trek through moraine and glacier keeping to the left side of the Chaturangi bamak following the beautiful Chandra Parvat to Kalindi Khal base at 5530mts. Kalindi top can be seen from the base.

Day 12: Trek Kalindi Pass Base camp to Rajparav(4910m) via Kalindi Pass (5947m, 6-7 hrs)

Leaving early we climb up to the Kalindi pass (5947m) walking on snow and ice. After spending some time taking in the breathtaking scenery of the snow-capped peaks, we begin a steep descent on more snow and ice to a nice camp by a stream at Rajparav.

Day 13: Trek Rajparav to Arwatal (3910m) 5-6 hrs

We follow an up and down path through glaciers and boulders descending to camp at Arwa Tal (3910m), a wonderful place with great views of the towering Arwa Spires and other Himalayan peaks.

Day 14: Trek Arwatal to Ghastoli (3670m) 5-6hrs.

Walk down Arwa nalla with its profusion of wild flowers. A leisurely day to camp at Ghastoli, back to civilization.

Day 15: Trek Ghastoli to Mana (3135)-Badrinath (3133m) 5-6 hrs

Descend on a well-defined pony path following the Saraswati river downstream to the village of Mana - 5hrs where the Saraswati river confluences with the Alaknanda river. We then continue on a rough jeep road to Badrinath (3133m).

Day 16: Drive Badrinath to Rishikesh ( 10 hrs)

Morning is spent visiting the temples and sites of Badrinath. After lunch, we drive to Rudraprayag town at the confluence of the holy rivers of Mandakini and Alaknanda. Overnight at hotel.

Gallery : Auden's Col