Bamsaru Khal Trek

Bamsaru Khal ( Pass ) Trek

In May-2011, my company travel club/group sent an email  for Bhamsuru Khal  trek(4900M,  Khal mean Pass ) , with tentative itinerary. Without giving a second thought, I replied to the  email  and showed my interest to join the team. However, I was concerned about the timing of the trek( last week of August) , because rainy season does not end by that time. As per emailed plan,  we needed to start in the last week of  Aug-2011,  so that we can take advantage of National holidays like Ganesh Chathurti and “Eid” , and thus need minimum leaves.

About Bamsaru Khal
Bamsaru-Khal defines, one of the routes from Gangotri to Yamunotri, along a traverse up the Hanumanganga river (one which meet  the Yamuna at Hanumanchatti), over across to Bamsaru khal. Bamsaru-Khal  is a less explored valley in the Garhwal Himalayas, which is adjacent  to the Ganga Valley and is known for its virgin meadows (Bugyals) and beautiful peaks  along a beautiful trek. The Bamsaru Khal trek provides an opportunity to explore the  Ganga valley, and the upper reaches of river Hanuman Ganga all the way to Gidara valley. This route is considered as the old traditional conjunction between Yamunotri and Gangotri.

The Preparation

I did a google search and found that a few had done this trek  and they had done it  from Bingad to Gidara/Dayara ( Via Bhamsuru Khal) and we were planning to  do just the  opposite.

While going through blogs , I found a blog from  Anurag Tyagi. Like us , they also had followed more or less same path. I left a message on FB and Anurag shared his contact  and later  gave full details about their  trek which was very helpful.

Bamsaru Khal trek team -> Virag , Trilok , Lakshmi , Muthu , Sridhar


Our team of 6 people ( Sridhar , Shivatrilok , Anil Kumar , Muthu Kumar , Lakshmi and Virag ( me ) , started building stamina almost 3 month before the trek . At the last moment, Anil had to drop, due to personal reason.   Most of the team member used to gather on weekend for jogging and exercise and  send their progress. Since I was  not able to join them, so used my apartment  club house gym to get prepared for this trek.

Also there were huge discussion about shoes, clothing, type of bag etc. After reading few forums , I brought woodland trekker shoes , later expert trekker told me woodland will not work in Himalaya range , I must have flexible good grip shoes.

I was not sure about my preparation , so decided to go for small trek to check my preparation.
So went to Hogenakkal Waterfalls to Gopinatham -> 22.8 km uphill Hike from Gopinatham ( Mystry Trail camp ) to Ponnachi ( it is MM Hills at Karnataka and Tamilnadu boarder ). Gopinatham is the birthplace of Veerappan. The village, nestled among high mountains and dense forests, is rich in water sources. This is also one big wonderful story , might write about this in another story.

 

Trek Details

Booking.com

Going through the full details of trek is not possible, I will try to summarize Bhamsuru Khal trek.
This kind of trek is a once in a lifetime affair . You just buried your  daily life worry and enjoy the beautiful valley, mountains etc it is one great  feeling of content. Just think, for 10 day No laptop , no mobile just beautiful scene of snow peak mountain and beautiful valley. Sounds too good,  isn’t it ?  Let me introduce the real story

We had decided the following path

Uttar Kashi -> Barsu  -> Dayara  -> Gidara -> Bamsaru Base -> Bamsaru Khal/pass – Bamsaru Base-> Bingad -> Darwa top -> Seema Bugiyal -> Hanuman Chatti -> Uttarkashi

But due to bad weather condition and Health issues with 2 porter , we needed to change our  plans on the  go , and the  final trek become Small

Uttar Kashi -> Raithal  -> Dayara  -> Gidara -> Bamsaru Base -> Bamsaru Khal/pass – Bamsaru Base-> Gidara -> Bhagila Village -> Gangnani

Here is day by summary of my trek travelogue

  • 1) Haridwar – Uttar Kashi
  • 2) Uttar Kashi – Raithal – Dayara
  • 3) Dayara – Sura/Surni top
  • 4) Sura top – Gidara
  • 5) Gidara – Bamsaru Base
  • 6) Bamsaru Base – Bamsaru Khal/pass – Bamsaru Base
  • 7) Bamsaru Base – Gidara
  • 8) Gidara – Bhagila Village – Gangnani
  • 9) Gangnani – Gangotri – Uttarkashi
  • 10) Uttarkashi – Haridwar – Delhi

 

Day 1->  Haridwar – Uttar Kashi

While the group  started  from Hyderbad , I joined them at Agra. We reached  Haridwar  early morning . After having the customary holy dip at Har-Ki-Pori, we  attended morning Ganga arti. I have been to  Haridwar many time but never had a chance to take holy dip in  Ganga or participate in the morning arti, believe me it is something to experience.

Our Jeep driver met us at Haridwar around 6:15 AM near Har-Ki –Pori , and informed us, that  all of the  roads to Uttarkashi were blocked due to land slide. Usually rains ease out by end of August, but this year heavy rains continued till 1st-2nd  week of September .

From Haridwar to Chamba road was fine. In Chamba our driver stopped and waited  for vehicle to come from other side , so that he could  get some info about road/route condition .

After waiting for 2-3 Hr and no luck  we started towards Tehri, we saw Tehri dam and new/old Tehri , we also encountered our first  land slide here, though most of the blockage  was cleared but at one place the clearing machine broke down, and we lost all hope of reaching Uttarkashi.

While  we were thinking how and where to spend the night  , our driver was in constant touch on mobile with all his friends etc, God knows what path he took and finally 2:30 AM we reached Uttarkashi.Hotel was booked and freshly made food was ready, but I preferred to sleep and skipped dinner ,rest of the team continued with dinner until 3AMJ

From Haridwar – Uttar Kashi l

 

Day 2 -> Uttar Kashi – Raithal – Dayara
Our hotel was on bank of Ganag and had beautiful view of Gangagotri and Uttar Kashi mountains.After getting ready in the morning , we did some shopping ( necessary items ). In Market everyone was asking by which route we had  reached, bless our driver we were fortunately ignorant.

Our porters, guides etc joined us in another jeep and from the  market, we started for Barsu. But as soon as we come out from Uttarkashi city , there was big land slide. After lots of discussion, and some hard  bargaining  with  jeeps on the  other side of landslide we managed new   transportation . We transferred our luggage to other side and started toward Gagnotri

Our Guide suggested to start from Raithal instead of Barsu. On the way to Gangotri,  we grabbed a quick  brunch. Afterwards the  jeep took a small road upside , off the main road of Gangotri to Raithal. Raithal is small beautiful village , surprisingly it has GMVN (Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam Limited) office.   We re-arranged our luggage and started our trek. Initial 2 Hr trek was  fine , then drizzling started and we got wet,  we got some wooden huts at Godham , here one tribal lady agreed to prepare tea on payment.  tea was refreshing. The 3and ½  Hr  walking had made us tired.One thing I realized that Rain coat is not good for trekking. Probably poncho would have worked  fine.

From Bamsaru Khal

We reach Dayara in the evening and setup tent there. We had good dinner. Our team member and lead, ‘Sridhar’ was NIMS (Nehru Institute of Mountaineering) trained, he gave some tips for trekking.  It was for the  first time that I was staying in small tent and using a sleeping bag , so had a tough time  getting  sleep. Honestly, the whole night was spent just lying awake. I was also worried  about next day , ‘how will I manage without proper sleep’ was the thought bugging me. Since then have done  3 more treks,  never had any issues , most likely because tent size were bigger.

Camping at Dayara

Day 3 -> Dayara – Sura/Surni top

In the morning, view outside our tents  was spectacular. We saw snow capped Mountains all around , took some pics, but after 15-20 Min  Mist covered the valley and mountains were not visible. We were supposed to start early , but got  late, we finished our breakfast by 8:30AM and started  walking towards Gidara.

From Dayara one black dog started walking with us , we thought it will go away after sometime but it  remained  with us till the end of trek. The Dog was too hairy, and resembled a  bear , got scared of him twice, he also had a bad habit  of crossing  the path when there was a difficult climb or narrow path.

While on the trek an idea popped up that we should also visit “Dodital” ( Lord Ganeshji Birthplace ). Dodital situated at a distance of 30 km from Dayara Bugyal, is also popular among tourists. Going there meant an  extension of 2 More days , which we could not  afford. Hence all  agreed to keep walking towards Gidara.

 

On the way, we met a  group of women,  they were going for searching and gathering herbs in the jungle. It was sunny and we all took rest and pics with  the women. After some time mist covered  the valley and visibility dropped to below 10 Meter. We all kept walking on trail.

From Bamsaru Khal

We all were missing the  beautiful view of mountains due to fog/mist. We could hear the sheep and goats , but were not able to see them due to fog/mist all around. At this place our only female team member was left behind and she started whistling. We responded with whistles, but she was expecting that one of us would  go back and show her the  way and since we did not do any such thing  , she blasted at all of us, with such an expression, that, we shall never forget J

From Nasty Weather view 
From Walking on Edge
From Vertical Climb

After some time all water bottles were empty, and all of us were thirsty we kept asking our  guide , where would we  get a water stream. Without water it became hard to walk.  Finally our  guide  got water from somewhere in the  field and used chlorine  capsule etc  to clean it. After drinking water we got some energy and started walking slightly fast. But visibility  went down and it  was not possible to  reach Gidara by evening, so the guide decided to stop near a water stream. We stopped at Sura Top. Since there was no level place to put tent,  we pitched our  tent on a  15-20 degree slope ,because of slop many time in night , we found our self at bottom of tent J ,   the whole night we kept pushing our self up and it is hard to do so, when you are in a sleeping bag.

From Tent on slop had hard time to sleep
From Walking on circumferences of mountain l

Day 4 -> Sura top – Gidara

After breakfast we started walking towards Gidara. This time we made no mistake, took enough water with us . There was no fog and Sun , weather looked  good for walking.

It was a beautiful scene all around. There were many places, we needed to walk on edge of mountains and circumvent them with very narrow ledges. Our porters had no problems  on those ledges. I followed their foot steps to cross the tough trail. We came across a  big mountain with 70-80 degree upward  slope on the other side of this  mountain was Gidara.  Our guide and porters assessed the climb , it was too slippery , taking no chances our guide asked us to follow a  alternate path ,which first led us down  and then by the side of the mountain it was easy as compared to climbing on 70 degree slope  , but dangerous  due to falling loose stones , our guide made us cross fast and only one person at a time.

After some time it started raining. Our plan was to reach Bamsarukhal base, but weather become too bad and we had to stop at starting point of Gidara only. Weather was so bad that we were  not able to see each other even when standing nearby.

From Camp at Gidara other side snow cap mountain is Bamsaru Pass

Day 5 ->  Gidara – Bamsaru Base

From Bamsaru Khal

We woke up early and saw beautiful view all around. I would like to mention here that a friend who saw the pictures of the trip on FB commented that if this place is in INDIA, why go to Switzerland. There is talk of Government plans of installing ropeway here to encourage tourism.

One porter condition become too bad , he was suffering from High altitude sickness. Sending him back alone is not possible, so sent another porter with him. So at this place we lost 2 Porters, it mean more load, slow movement. More then load / weight, all were concern that porter should reach safely.

Sridhar Guiding Trilok and Lakshmi

However back on the trip we noticed that vegetation had become scarce there were no trees , it meant that there was less air and consequently less oxygen which made walking hard. By Lunch time , we reached to Bhamsaru khal base, as weather became bad and it was too cold, our guide suggested to stay at base.

Day 6 -> Big Day -> Bamsaru Base – Bamsaru Khal/pass – Bamsaru Base

Last night there was snow fall J  so early morning we were greeted by cotton white snow all around, all the way to the mountain peaks  Which meant that the  climb to Bhamsaru khal had  became tougher.

From  Bamsaru Khal climb started
From Trilok and Lakshmi struggling for climb

We started our climb, early but due to scarce oxygen  we all started  panting and had to  take frequent  rest,  our guide and cooks reached the top first due to fresh snow on the stones we kept slipping often and this made our climbing hard. Finally we reached the top . On the other side it was full of snow a breathtaking sight.

 

From Few reached Bamsaru Khal top

It was the day of  Ganesh Chaturthi, so  on the top of Bhamsaru khal , we performed Ganesh Pooja and started descending on the other side of Bhamsaru khal  . Our guide went ahead with  snow axe for checking the trail while the other guides/porters  gave us cord for snow walk. Weather become nasty again , it started to rain as we started walking down , after about 600-700 Meter walk , we encountered a huge slope, the guide suggested  to sit and slip down , it was fun.   Our guide again went ahead to

From Ready to move down other side of Bamsaru Khal
Walking on snow  Bamsaru Khal

check path while we waited . He came back after sometime and said there are crevasse. Our Cook who was also an experienced mountaineer went to checked and confirmed ……

Waiting for Guide signal at  Bamsaru Khal

Our guide at this point decided that we  go back , the  porter become angry coz going back meant a lot of  work. On our  Left there were snowless mountains , but stones were falling every now and then from the top . One can clearly hear the noise of stone falling from those mountains from any  where in the valley, it is very very scary.

Hardly 2KM away was the  other side of the base. but as the guide had decided to  go back , we started walking  back to same place from where we had  started. Life’s truth was in front of me here every step was a problem it was hard to walk but every step taken towards the top was a step taken closer to survival, towards life. Our biggest worry was Lakshmi  , she was the  weakest link of chain , but thanks to our cook , who offered and carried  her luggage and guided her  back to base camp , she was the 1st to reach base, we all  were struggling to reach the  top and then down to base , I was the second to reach with another guide. We came to know our lead had fallen/ slipped   somewhere near Bhamsaru Khal  top and got some injury  , hence we  sent one porter and guide , to help him come down to base.

At the top , i asked guide to put tent here and will try next day again , But guide ruled out because of bad weather ,no water availability and bad health of one porter.

From Camp at Bamsaru Khal base

Day 7 -> Rest Day -> Bamsaru Base – Gidara

Our Youngest porter became ill when we were climbing Bhamsaru Khal, his condition was bad. One porter was needed to carry him our guide suggested that  we should descend lower , so that the porter can recover.

r Crossing stream l

We descended  to Gidara and this time we pitched the tent on other corner of Gidara , and that to on the edge of the  mountain. It was a sunny day and we made good use of it by  drying our cloths , bags etc. and prayed that our porter regain his health soon. Our guide assured us that the porter was suffering from altitude sickness and will recover soon as we descended lower.

Verticle climb

Since we had reached early , two porter went to some nearby place and brought wood , we had bonfire during dinner.

 Welcome to Beautiful Valley

After mid night wind suddenly picked up , since we pitched up tent on edge , we had hard time to keep our tent upright ….. In no time ,  we also realize that, it  is raining with hailstones. we sat inside the  tent holding it tight , so that  it does not fall down. In the  other tent someone started crying (  will not tell who ) . Why to make fun of others,  honest truth is that I was afraid too , when wind and rain did not settle down , I started abusing myself , why the hell did I come come here to die. Later  in the morning I learned that our guide was also afraid.

Day 8 -> back to civilization -> Gidara – Bhagila Village – Gangnani

We started early after breakfast, After walking around 2KM , we  sew trees again which  meant air was now  enough , I realized that  we were  not panting much, while walking now.

 Walking in Beautiful Valleyl

It was a beautiful 18 KM walk from Gidara to Ganganani. At a lot of places slope was almost 70-80 degree , and due to recent  rains it was slippery. We stopped at Gujjar Hat for Lunch , we saw Gujjar families  while going down through  Bahngari village. They live there with their  cattle and go down to sell ( milk , butter , Paneer , Cheese etc)  and buy daily items.

Gujjar Hat

We reached Bhangari village by evening , We took tea and asked same guy to keep the  dog which had accompanied  since day one. Bhangari is very nice small village, but there are  no proper roads (after 62 Years after Independence , speaks volumes of the great Indian growth story ).

From Bhangari Village

Ganganani is around 5KM from Bhangari village connected by a stony trail.  We reached Ganganani in the night only with the  help of torches  and of course our guide. After reaching Ganganani  , First thing I took was cold drinks …… 1..2…3..too many :).

We all had dinner together , after Dinner we have given appreciation award to porters , apart from what they suppose to get.

 

Day 9 -> Gangnani – Gangotri – Uttar Kashi

Next day we took bath in the hot spring at Ganganani , it was very very relaxing because of 2 reason , one , we took bath after 8 days J , second , hot water relaxed our aching  bodies . We all,  then went to Gangotri temple,  had  darshan and started back to Uttarkashi. Also brought too many Apple and Nashpati ( Apple Pear ) from Harsil

From Gangotri Temple

 

Day 10 -> Uttar Kashi – Haridwar – Delhi

Early morning we took a bus from Uttarkashi for Haridwar, there was big land slide on the way and we had to wait for long time , all were worried about missing our  flight from Delhi to Hyderabad.  Lucky that things cleared and we  reached  Delhi on time.
It was a dramatic trekking experiences.This is one trip, I would remember all my life. Thanks to the wonderful team – our guide, Balwant , Lamaji , who would cook that tasty food for everyone after the days task, and all the porters.

The interested might want to see the complete album of selected pics at the following link

Click Here for all Bamsaru Khal Trek Pictures

  • Mahesh Semwal

    Let me have the opportunity to comment first on your post.

    Very well written and equally supported by beautiful pictures.

    As per my information , place covered by mountain is known as “khal”.

    • Thanks Mahesh. Yes , you are right , khal in Garhwali means the place covered by mountains. But all area covered by mountain are not called “khal” , Mostly were they call “khal”, there is pass to cross mountain. So in conman man language khal become synonym of pass.

  • Hi Virag, many thanks for sharing this wonderful trekking experience with us. Very nicely written post and beautifully decorated with pictures. We did Dodital this year in April and tried to go upto Darwa Top. But it was heavily snowed at that time, so we had to return back since we had no gears at all. Dayara too was looking like a snow bugyal at that time, all covered under snow. We have added this trek into our list….Thanks for sharing the photo link as some of the photos especially that of bugyals, mountains etc look wonderful as a bigger image……

    • Thanks Vipin for your comment and feedback.While putting pictures collage on post , i was thinking reader will miss absolutely detail picture of bugyals , that thought only push me to share album link. I heard Dodital -> Darwa -> Bingad one the most beautiful trail in that area , you are lucky to have glimpse of that trek.

  • Quite a ride Virag, you and the team had. From the excitement to be in those Bugyals to the tough and torturous weather, it was a full circle for the group. Thank you for sharing.

    • Thanks Nandan for your comment. Now those tough and torturous days are sweet memory. When i seat back and think about those day , it bring smile on face.

  • Very well written travelogue.
    Pics are beautiful. I have check all the pics from Url you given.

  • ???? ????? ????? ?? ????? ????? ?? ???????? , ?? ???? ??? ?? ???? ?????? ????? ?? ? ????? ???????? ?? ???? ?? ??? ,??? ? ???…

    • ??? ?? ??? ?? ??????? ????
      ????? ? ??? ????? ??? ??? ?? ?????? ?? ?????

      • Thanks Jatdevta. If really want to go, good trek then try Kalindikhal Trek , it is one of the best trek. Only bad thing about this trek is that, it is accidental , so need to be very careful.

  • ~ sakSham ~

    Very well narrated travelogue & beautiful picture collages..your courage is commendable.

    Thanks for sharing your experiences.

  • Surinder Sharma

    Hi Virag,
    Very nice description and good photos. Ten days journey in one post wonderful.
    Thanks

    • Thanks Surinder. Yes Sir , Ten days journey in one post and that took 10 Month to complete , if divided in 2-3 post then it would have taken another year :)

  • Lovely travelogue Virag and quite thrilling. Did the dog follow you guys through the snow too? incredible! Please post its picture if you have one…

    • ????? ?? , ???? ?? ????? ?? ???? ?????? ?? ?? ???? ????? ?? ???? ????? ?? ? ????? ??? ????? ?? ?? ??? ?? ???? ??? ????? ?? ?????? ???? ????? ?? ????? ?? ?? ???????? ?? ??? ?? ???

      ?? ???? ?? ?? ???? ?? ????? ??? ???? ??? ??? ?? ?? ??? ?? ?????? ????? ?? ???? ?? ????? ?? ?? ?????? ??? ??? ??? ?? ?? 2 ????? ??? ?? ?????? ?? ???? ?????? ??

      ??? ?? ????? ????? ?? ??? ?? ????????

      ?? ??? ??? ???? ?? ?????? ??? ??? ?? ?? ?????? ????? ??? ????? ?? ??? ??? ?? ??? ?? ??? ??? ????? ?? ??? ??? ??? ???? ??? ????? ????? ??? ?? ???? ? ??? ??? ??? ????? ?? ?????? ?? ??? ???? ?? ??? ?? ??? ?? ?? ????? ??? ???? ?????? ????? ??? ??? ???? ?? ?? ??? ?????? ?? ???? ??? ???? ??? ???? ??? ???? ?? ?? ??? ???? ?? ???? ??? ??? ?? ????

      • Thanks Manu. as mentioned above , it took 10-11 Month to write one post, 2 post might have taken another 10 Month :). But in 2 post probably able to write many incident/event that took place during trek.
        JATDEVTA is absolutely right and agree with his point of view to leave dog at same place.

    • Thanks Vibha. Yes , dog follow us through the snow too. In snow dog was jumping around , dog had gone mad seeing snow :). In above pic “Waiting for Guide signal at Bamsaru Khal” , left hand side big black spot is dog in pic.
      There are many time dog not able to cross big water stream , porter took in hand cross the stream.
      Not sure how to post pic in comment , but you can see dog pic in above given picasa album

      https://picasaweb.google.com/104004519107026235207/BamsaruKhal

  • Stone

    Brilliant account of your trek Virag.

    Very inspiring.

    Thanks for sharing the incredible experience with us.

  • venkatt

    Congrats Virag for successfully completing such a thrilling, risky trip. The snaps were truly breath-taking, particularly the campsite near Gidara.

    • Thanks Venkatt. Government planning to make rope-way till Gidara to promote tourism , then one can reach there without risk and thrill .

  • Dear Virag,

    A trek to a place in North India is fancy, popular and frequent among travel enthusiasts these days. However, in my opinion, these destinations are unexplored treasures which never disappoint us with what they offer us.

    What is good these days is how people plan a trip covering the religious places blending it well with the pleasure that a trek brings with it. It not just makes our soul happy, but also gives us an experience to flaunt :)

    Enjoyed the post, good work!

    • Hi Archana ,

      Strongly agree , that these destinations are unexplored treasures which never disappoint. However in North India , beaches , Kerala , Goa etc are popular, they found these place more fence. May be grass is green other side.

      Go for any trek in Uttarakhand , by default religious places covered. Har-Ki-Pori and Gangotri were not there in plan. Lakshmi want to visit Har-Ki-Pori, so rest of team joined. Same at Gangnani , I made final call , lets go Gangotri Temple and rest of team joined.

      Thanks for comment

  • Harish Bhatt

    Hi Virag,

    What a beautiful journey narrated in equally beautiful words. The pictures are very nice too. Thoroughly enjoyed.

    Thanks for sharing.

  • sarvesh n vashistha

    itni sunder photos ko khinchne wale camera ka naam kya he

    • Camera model are KODAK C713 and FinePix S5700

  • rohit

    What is the cost of travel and days

  • Gaurav Pareek

    sir this is gaurav
    ???? ?? ???????? ??? ??? ?? ??? ???????? ???? ?? ??? ??? ??? ??? ???? ????? ?????? ?? ?? ???????? ?????? ?? ??? ?? ?? ???????? ??????? ??? ?????? ?? ??????? ??????? ????

  • Virag,
    We, a team of 6-8, are planning to cross Bamsaru Khal during May 30 to June 15 this year following the route: Sangam Chati – Doditaal – Darwa – Bingad – Deodamini – Kanatal – Bamsaru base (crossing khal) – Songad – Sukki – Harsil. The route, available on a website, is quite different from yours. Can you pl mail me your phone number to ‘[email protected]’. I need to talk to you in detail regarding the trek. If you have any contact number of any guide with some experience of that route.

  • Virag,
    We, a team of 6-8, are planning to cross Bamsaru Khal during May 30 to June 15 this year following the route: Sangam Chati – Doditaal – Darwa – Bingad – Deodamini – Kanatal – Bamsaru base (crossing khal) – Songad – Sukki – Harsil. The route, available on a website, is quite different from yours. Can you pl mail me your phone number to ‘[email protected]’. I need to talk to you in detail regarding the trek. If you have any contact number of any guide with some experience of that route pl provide the number also.