Darma Valley Trek (34 Darma-Trek) 

A Monsoon trek in Darma Valley of Eastern Kumaon in July 2009. 

Darma Valley Trek Sketch (

click for bigger version)

Tour Highlights Pictures:

Pine Forests of Choukhori

Tawaghat landslide

Red flag is up ... rocks are falling!

Children of Bongling village

The suspension bridge at Sela

The torrent of Dhauli Ganga

A misty peak along the trail

Green fields ... of Baling Village

Dharam Singh : Postmaster of Daktu

A cheerful lady in SonVillage

Panchachuli Base Camp & Glacier

 A beautiful lady ... of Dantu

Panchachuli Peaks in clouds

13yr old kid "Sagar" of Tidang

Lassar Yakthi river at Tidang

Dantu and Daktu Villages

Nagling Peaks ...  as seen at dawn

At Nagling ... our GH complex

Chamu helps KS cross a log bridge!

Dev Singh ... owner of Sela GH

A Monsoon Trek has materialised out of thin air!

Sadanand Kamath (SK,  with whom I did the Roopkund last year), had been asking me to go on a trek in the month of June. I was tied up with some personal family matters, and so I had told him no trek is possible this summer. But by end-June the family matters got resolved and everything fell into place.  So, I asked SK if he was still interested to do a Trek in July, risking the uncertainities and landslides of a trek in the monsoon rains? Coincidentally, for SK too some consulting-work comittments ended on 30th June ... and he was more than happy to come for any Trek!

We quickly decided on the Darma Valley trek (in North-East corner of  Kumaon, Uttarakhand (on which a IndiaMike poster, Rajkumar, has made several posts in the trekking forums). We called Debu (my regular Guide) to see if he was free and had experience on this route. Debu said, he has not done this trek, but knows a guide named "Chamu" who lives in Waacham village, near Khati and he will bring him along as Route Guide. So it was agreed we meet in Bageshwar on 8th July, and from there move on to Dharchula and then to Dar and start our trek from there.

Google Earth Image of Darma Valley Trek Route. 

If you have Google Earth installed in your computer, you can see the entire route waypoints by downloading the KMZ file "KS-SK Darma Valley Panchachuli Base Camp Trek" from my Files D/L Page. 

If you don't have Goggle Earth installed, you can see the Darma Valley in Wikimapia (in your regular browser), click here:  Darma Valley


A tentative Plan was drawn up by Sadanand (SK) as under:

July 6/7 : Mumbai-Delhi by A.K. Rajdhani Express.
July 7/8 : Delhi-Kathgodam by Ranikhet Express.
July 8 : Kathgodam-Bageshwar by Taxi.  Our guide Debu will join us.
July 9 : Bageshwar to Dharchula by Taxi/Jeep

July 10 to 19: Darma Valley trek.

The schedule will be finalised on reaching Dharchula and the time taken to get Inner Line Permit. Our plan is to trek first to Dugtu-Dantu Villages and visit Meola Glacier and the Panchachuli Base Camp. And then rain-permitting, trek up to the last village Sipu, in the  Lasar Yangthi Valley. And time permitting, trek up the Dhauli Ganga upto Bidang & Khimling villages in the Darma Valley.

July 20 : Visit to Narayanswamy Ashram and overnight stay.
July 21 : Narayanswamy Ashram to Dharchula by Jeep. We may
have to trek about 2-3 kms from Ashram to catch a jeep.
July 22 : Dharchula-Bageshwar by Taxi/Jeep. 
July 23 : Bageshwar-Ranikhet by Taxi.
July 24 : Ranikhet-Kathgodam by Taxi and to Delhi by Ranikhet Express.
July 25/26 : Delhi-Mumbai by A.K. Rajdhani Express. 

Our overall plan is to explore the Darma Valley and the Region, with no specific destinations to conquer. If we encounter any major rain-induced landslides or other hurdles, we may end-up doing something totally different from above plan! Will post actual trek details after 26th July 09. 


22-July-2009: We are back from Darma and in Mumbai now, earlier than planned! We hardly got wet in the rain during this so-called Monsoon Trek! Though it rained most nights, during daytime when we were walking there was no rain!  This year, the monsoon is delayed everywhere in India, including Darma Valley.

Our schedule was maintained without any problem though we went upto Tidang and dropped Sipu. We did go to Panchachuli Base Camp but did not get clear views of the 5-Peaks due to clouds. However we did see the Meola Glacier entirely, from the upper slopes of Panchachuli to the snout just below our feet (just some 3 Kms from Dagtu-Son Village). 

  Sadananad (R) and me (L) at Panchachuli Base Camp near Meola Glacier

On the way back we cancelled our visit to Narayan Ashram (due to rains and landslides near Tawaghat).  So we ended up cutting down 4 days from our original schedule.  Day-to-day descriptions follow ....  but first a summary of Actual Trek Schedule:     

Actual Tour - Daily Summary:

06/07/09 Dep:  Mumbai (Borivali) 18.15  by A K Rajdhani Express
07/07/09 Arr: H. Nizamuddin 10.50am Dep: 22.35  by Ranikhet Exp
08/07/09 Arr: Kathgodam 05.45 Dep: Kathgodam 06.00 by taxi Reach: Bageshwar 11.15 hrs 161 kms  by Alto@ Rs.1500/-  Stay in KMVN- Bageshwar @800/- 

09/07/09 Dep: Bageshwar 07.15 Arr:Dharchula 14.30 by Maxx-Jeep  of 144  kms @ Rs 3300 stay in KMVN, Dharchula @ 700/-

10/07/09 Dep: Dharchula 10.45 hrs  Reach: Dar (2134m)  14.00hrs  40 kms by Share Jeep Arr: Bongling 16.30 - 6 kms by Trek [With change of Jeep at Chouturdhar landside, 1 km before Tawaghat, and lunch at New Sobla and 1 km of trek to Dar village from the landslide point] Stay in Sher Singh’s house at Bongling

11/07/09 Dep: Bongling  08.00 hrs Reach: Sela (2440m) 12.45 hrs 5 kms  Trek [Bongling-Urthing (2 kms) Urthing–Sela (3 kms)] and stay at Dev Singh Selal’s Guest House at lower Sela

12/07/09 Dep: Sela 07.00 hrs Reach: Baling (3105M) 13.00 hrs 09 kms  Trek [Sela-Nangling (5 kms), Nangling–Baling (4 kms) ] Homestay in Baling (1 km before the village)

13/07/09 Dep: Baling 6.45 hrs Arr : Son (3220m)  10.15 hrs 6 kms Trek. Stay at Son in Dharam Singh Sonal’s house

14/07/09 Dep: Son 10.15 hrs  Arr: PCBC (3470M) 12.15 hrs 3kms Trek  Dep: PCBC 13.15 hrs Arr: Son 14.30 hrs 3 kms Trek. Stay at Son in Dharam Singh Sonal’s house

15/07/09 Dep: Son 07.30 hrs Arr: Tidang  11.00 hrs 7 kms  Trek. On the way Rest-stop and Tea at Dayal Singh Datal. Stay at Tidang in Lato Singh Titial’s house.

16/07/09 Dep: Tidang  7.00 hrs Arr: Nangling (2840m)  13.30 hrs 17 kms Trek.  Stay at Nangling in Phool Singh’s Nanyal’s house

17/07/09 Dep: Nangling 6.45 hrs Arr: Bongling  13.00 hrs 12 kms  Trek. Homestay in Bongling at Shersingh’s house

18/07/09 Dep: Bongling 7.30hrs arr: Dar (2 kms after Dar) 10.15hrs 5km Trek and Arr: Dharchula 12.30hrs - 24 kms by Share Jeep [changed jeep at Tawaghat on account of landslide]. Stay in Dharchula at KMVN

Darma Valley Trek : Total 67 kms.   

19/07/09 Dep: Dharchula 06.00 hrs Arr: Almora 14.30hrs 205kms  Share Jeep Rs 300/- per head. Stay in KMVN-Almora Rs 375/- per head

20/07/09 Dep: Almora 13.30 hrs Arr: Kathgodam 16.00 hrs 75 kms by Alto 800/- Dep: Kathgodam  20.40 by Ranikhet Exp

21/07/09 Arr: Delhi 4.00 hrs Dep: Nizamuddin 16.55 hrs by AK Rajdhani
22/07/09 Reach : Borivali 09.30 hrs [End of Tour]. 

Darma Valley Trek Pictures - Slideshow