Khatling glacier trek: Enjoy a long trek passing through sacred spots of India
Khatling Glacier Trek experience and story: The Khatling glacier which is an extraordinary sight is the primary source of the revered river Bhilangana. According to legend, Bhilangana originated from a divine spirit which was rejected by Lord Shiva. Legend says that this holy spirit made attempts to tempt the great Lord Shiva. After rejection, it turned into a liquid form and thus the river Bhilangana flew from it. On the west, the glacier has Sahasratal. On the east, it has Masartal and glacier is covered by snow clad peaks from all four corners. The mountains belong to the Jogin group (6466 m), Sphetic Pristwar (6905 m), Kirti Stambh (6902 m), Barte Kauter (6579 m) and Meru.
If you are nature and photography enthusiast, then you will love the valley of Bhilangana which is a divine sight for nature lovers. If you appreciate excursions that take you to the hidden spots of nature, then you are in for a ride since trekking to Khatling glacier is perfect!
Located in the scenic state of Uttarakhand, Khatling Glacier Trek is a beautiful long and quite a challenging ascending trek that will take you through the most beautiful and revered spots of the state. The best time to catch Khatling Glacier Trek is from the months of April to May and September-October.
Khatling Glacier Trek itinerary ;
Your trip starts at Rishikesh which is a scenic town, tucked safety amidst the Garhwal hills. Buses and trains are readily available from major cities to Rishikesh. You can also reach Haridwar first and then enter Rishikesh from there as it is only around 20km from there.
Rishikesh is a famous city in the heart of India. It is a sacred city, a lot of Haridwar and many international tourists flock to the town to see the natural and holy beauty of the place. It is home to Bharat Mandir, Neelkanth Mahadev, and numerous yoga ashrams. So if you come early in the morning, you can spend the rest of the day enjoying the city.
Your day two takes you from Rishikesh to Ghuttu covering 170km over 4-5 hours. Begin your trip in the morning after making sumptuous and full breakfast. Your journey will take you along the Ganga valley after which the Alaknanda valley will follow it and finally, you will reach the Bhilangana river valley. The Tehri Dam en route to Ghuttu is the beginning point of the Khatling Glacier Trek. At this village, you will see the valley and dense greenery. Spend the night in a rest hour or at the camp, under a beautiful sheet of stars on a naked black sky.
On day three, you will visit Reeh (1524 meters) from Ghuttu covering 10km within 4 – 5 hrs. This trek will have a steep climb of 10 km until you reach Reeh which is also known as Reeh Chhani. You will pass through the river Devling, Delong village through which the trail will become steeper. After which there is climb through the Chir Pine, and Rhododendron forests and pass the dense groves of the local bamboo which are called the “Ringaal” by locals. The campsite is close to the woods, enjoy your dinner and a beautiful night full of relaxation await you.
On Day fourth, you will go from Reeh to Gangi (2606 meters) covering 12kms in 4 to 5 hrs. Technically, this is the second day of the trek. Since you have done the hard work on day three, you will already be used to the steep climbs and dense forests. You will cross meadow patches through the valley and the cross atop the ridge. Here you will see the beautiful Panwali Kantha grasslands on the south side of Ghuttu. You will see some locals in traditional woolen long coats.
These people do not maintain any contact with people from other locations and derive livelihood entirely from agriculture and animal husbandry. Reeh residents move to Gangi to spend the summer months. The large village of Gangi is 8550 feet and has more than 100 homes. It also houses residents from Nalan and Devkhuri. After exploring the beautiful village, spend the night at the camp gracing your bowls at late evening.
On day five, you will go from Gangi to Kharsali (3110 meters) covering 11 km within 5 hrs. You will have to carry lunch with you, like on other days since there are no stops where you can grab lunch so make sure that your meal is sumptuous. Even if the trek is average, the hard work during the trek will make you look forward to it for sure. At the Deokhri Channi (a winter settlement for Gangi residents), the trails go on low.
From this point, by following a half an hour trek by the side of the Kalyani stream, you will reach the Sahastratal lake at 4872 meters. On the right lies the great Khatling and if you keep going straight from this area, you will reach Birodh. Kharsali is a couple of hours away from this point. Surrounded by conifers, Kharsali is perfect for camping so spend the night camping there.
On day six, you will go from Kharsali to Bhedikharag (3700 meters) within 6 hours. During the morning, you will trek to Bhedikharag and cross the bridge over Kharsali stream to move into the dense forests of Bhelbagi. Following on this route, you will reach the Bhumkodaar cave on the left. After climbing 2 to 3 km, you will arrive at the Tamakund cave which is famous for its incredible and exotic flora. Now the campsite of Bhedikharg is only an hour away and you can have dinner there.
On day seven, you will move from Bhedikharag to Khatling and then back to Bhedikharag (3900 meters). You will cover 11 km within 6 hours. You will have to take an early breakfast and then a brief trek to the Zero Point of the grand Khatling Glacier to continue the trek for today. On this day, the primary challenge is not the climb but indeed the steep terrain. The surface is gravely, and since the entire day is spent walking, you will have to be cautious about the trail. Since weather changes at the altitude and the day sets fast, you will have to come back by 2 pm. Much of the day is spend in coming back from the Khatling to Bhedikarag. Enjoy stargazing at night if the sky is clear.
On day eight, you will go from Bhedikharag to Gangi (3110 meters) covering 11 km in 3 hours. Take a morning trek to Gangi so you can prepare for the long trek that is about to come. The more extended trek will take you to Panwali Kantha (destination for the following day). You will reach Gangi by lunch. Here you can see the local homes and visit wooden temples which are a common sight in this village. As you cross the valley, you will see that the southern part is quite enthralling. It will give you a glimpse for the next day’s stop. Spend the night at the campsite having dinner.
On day nine, you will go from Gangi to the Panwali Kantha grasslands (3658 meters ). Here you will cover 11 km in around 9 – 10 hrs. Have breakfast early and then prepare for the next 18 km trek to reach the Panwali Kantha grasslands. You will arrive at a bridge atop the frothing Bhilangana via a thick mixed brush. At the opposite southern end of Gangi, the trail will take you up through dense forest, and grassy clearings.
If you are a nature lover and photography enthusiast, then this point is strikingly beautiful. You cannot pass it until you have clicked some excellent shots; the place is so heavenly. There is extensive grassland which you will see amidst the peaks of Garhwal Himalayas. In evening, you will see the most beautiful sunset with warm shades reflecting on the surrounding mountain peaks. After savoring the sunset, take dinner and enjoy the campsite.
On day ten of the trek, you will go from Panwali Kantha grasslands to Maggu Chatti (2010 meters) within 5 – 6 hours.
Enjoy the sunrise at the scenic Panwali Kantha grassland and soak in the sun as you prepare for the upcoming trek for the following day. Since Maggu Chatti is not very far from this point. You can begin trek anytime until noon. Enjoy the trek walk as a gentle one since you will mostly walk on the grassy surface. Continue the trek watching picturesque sights and enjoy chai at the numerous stops at Maggu Chatti. Take Dinner at the campsite and enjoy the overnight stay.
On day eleven, you will go from Maggu Chatti to Trijuginarayan and then finally to Gaurikund (1982 meters). The trek is of 6 km which you can comfortably cover in 9 hours. The trek is mostly a gentle descent into Trijuginarayan and will take you through the numerous patches of Oak and Rhodendron until the tiny town of Trijuginarayan.
At the small town, you will see the beautiful temple at Trijuginarayan where a perpetual fire exists. According to the legends, the flame has been burning since the times when the marriage of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati took place. Lord Vishnu temple bore testimony to the holy matrimony and is now a revered place of pilgrimage and is visited by thousands every year. After prayers, continue for another 3-4 hours on the trail and reach Gaurikund. At this point, your khatling glacier trek is officially over.
Day 12 Khatling Glacier Trek :
On day twelve, you will reach Haridwar from Gaurikund covering 235 km over 8 – 9 hrs. Day thirteen belongs to the road as you will take a long and winding journey crossing through vast river valleys to get to Haridwar. Check into a hotel of your choice and enjoy a day of grand hospitality. Or you can directly catch a bus or train to return home.
Another recommended Holy trek in Himalaya: GOMUKH TAPOVAN TREK