Bordering Tibet, the region of Garhwal in Uttarakhand, is most famous for the holy sites including the source of India’s most sacred Ganges River which each year receive thousands of pilgrims. Located at the very centre of the great Himalayan chain Garhwal has a host of 7,000 metre peaks such as Nanda Devi, Kamet and Trishul, and sub 7,000 metre expedition peaks such as the stunning Shivling, and this makes the region a Mecca for mountaineers also. 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.
We begin by following the ages-old ‘Pilgrim’s Trail’ to the source of the mighty Ganges at Gaumukh, and from here we journey into the mountainous heart of Garhwal. We establish a succession of alpine meadow and lakeside camps, with magical views of some of India’s biggest peaks including Shivling, undeniably one of the most beautiful peaks in the Himalayas. Beyond Nandanvan, we climb onto the Chaturangi Glacier and for the next 4 days our route is either on or beside this river of ice as we approach the Kalindi Khal (5947m.).
The walk now is mostly over the moraines and the snow fields with deep crevasses and gives great opportunities to view the high altitude wildlife. From our highest camp, the short and yet exciting climb to this glaciated pass involves the use of ice axe and crampons. We enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains before descending to the beautiful Arwa lake. We follow the Arwa Valley to its junction with the Saraswati River and make our return to civilisation through the villages of Ghastoli and Mana. 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.
Only for experienced trekkers!