The incredible views on the Kuari Pass Trek

After 6 days of hiking up and down hills and over mountain passes we arrived at one of the most spectacular Himalayan views. The panoramic view from Kuari Pass was a wonderful surprise.

Uttarakhand state has some of the most beautiful mountain views in the Indian Himalayas. We did a 7-day trek passing mountain villages, through thick forests and over small passes to reach the incredible Kuari Pass. The gorgeous views began even before we started trekking. On the drive to our 1st campsite we had stunning scenery with the huge white-capped mountain range of Nanda Devi towering behind red, orange, purple and yellow fields of ripe amaranth. We knew then that the hike was going to be extraordinary.

River valley on the drive to Kuari Pass Trek1
River valley on the drive to Kuari Pass Trek
Nanda Devi Range seen on the drive to Camp 1
Nanda Devi Range seen on the drive to Camp 1
Amaranth terraces with the Nanda Devi Range behind
Amaranth terraces with the Nanda Devi Range behind

On the first day we saw many spindly karshu trees and then walked through forests of rhododendron, pine and oak. At times the trail would emerge out of the forest to pass through small meadows where shepherds bring their flocks of sheep and goats to graze for the summer. In these meadows were the rustic summer huts where the shepherds live for a few months each summer.

Local Ghuni woman carrying dried wood
Local Ghuni woman carrying dried wood
Karshu trees
Karshu trees
Shepherds' summer huts
Shepherds’ summer huts
Shepherds' summer huts
Shepherds’ summer huts

Soon we climbed up to the first small pass, Ramni Pass (3064m), where we had great views of the snowy peaks in the distance. After the pass we walked through a forest of massive walnut trees. We picked at least 1 kg of walnuts but didn’t realize until we tried to eat them later that they were too fresh to be removed from the shell. We would have to dry them out for weeks before they would be edible. That night we camped in the small village of Jhinjhi where we were entertained by curious local kids and adults. They brought a beautiful butterfly for us to see, and of course asked for 100Rs ($2) for their efforts.

View of Nanda Devi Range from Ramni Pass
View of Nanda Devi Range from Ramni Pass
View of Nanda Devi Range
View of Nanda Devi Range
Butterfly, Jhinjhi
Butterfly, Jhinjhi
Corn hanging to dry on a home in Jhinjhi
Corn hanging to dry on a home in Jhinjhi

The next day we walked around the deep contours of the valley through more forests of rhododendrons and pine to reach the small village of Pana on the other side of the valley. We looked back across the valley to see Jhinjhi and its fields. On the trail we saw a cow that had been killed overnight. Our guide suspects it was killed the night before by a leopard who would come back at night to feed. Further on we were excited to come across a large troupe of the beautiful, gentle Grey Langur Monkeys. There were at least 100 of them sitting on the boulders and in the trees curiously looking at us as we curiously looked at them.

Looking back to the village of Jhinjhi and amaranth terraces
Looking back to the village of Jhinjhi and amaranth terraces
Karshu trees
Karshu trees
Grey Langur Monkeys
Grey Langur Monkeys
Grey Langur Monkeys
Grey Langur Monkeys

The village of Pana is set on the mountain slope surrounded by terraces of amaranth and corn. In October the crops were ripe, so the fields were bright red, yellow, orange and purple. It made for a gorgeous setting. Our assistant guide is from Pana. The next day he brought us to his home where his mom cooked us lunch. The kitchen/dining room was very basic. She cooked the meal over a fire as she sat on the floor behind it. We sat on the floor across from her while we drank chai tea and then ate our dal and rice lunch. Our guide said she is about 40 years old.

Ripe Amaranth
Ripe Amaranth
Village of Pana with ripe amaranth crops on the terraces
Village of Pana with ripe amaranth crops on the terraces
Our assistant guide's mom making lunch in their home in Pana
Our assistant guide’s mom making lunch in their home in Pana
Our assistant guide and his mom in their home in Pana
Our assistant guide and his mom in their home in Pana
Village of Pana with ripe amaranth fields on the terraces
Village of Pana with ripe amaranth fields on the terraces

From our campsite above Pana we had an incredible view of the peaks of Nanda Ghunti (6309) and Ranti (6063).

Amaranth fields with the Nanda Devi Range behind
Amaranth fields with the Nanda Devi Range behind
Camp 3, above the village of Pana
Camp 3, above the village of Pana
Amaranth terraces with the Nanda Devi Range behind
Amaranth terraces with the Nanda Devi Range behind
Karshu trees with the Nanda Devi Range behind
Karshu trees with the Nanda Devi Range behind

After Pana, the trail goes through a wild, uninhabited forest. The valley below is steep with deep rocky cliffs jutting up from the river. The trail was surrounded by high rocky walls and in one area the rock wall was covered in long grass with a waterfall cascading across the width of the rock. It was beautiful.

Karshu Trees on the Kuari Pass Trek
Karshu Trees on the Kuari Pass Trek
Rugged valley on Kuari Pass Trek
Rugged valley on Kuari Pass Trek
Waterfall covering the entire cliff on Kuari Pass Trek
Waterfall covering the entire cliff on Kuari Pass Trek
Waterfall on Kuari Pass Trek
Waterfall on Kuari Pass Trek

Since it was nearing the middle of October when we were there, shepherds were bringing their flocks of sheep and goats down to the lower valleys where it’s warmer. As we walked up the hill, a flock of at least 500 sheep and goats were walking down. There were several new born baby sheep being carried in a sidesaddle on a horse.

A large flock of sheep  and goats on the trekking trail
A large flock of sheep and goats on the trekking trail
Baby sheep in a sidesaddle
Baby sheep in a sidesaddle
View of Kuari Pass
View of Kuari Pass
Kuari Pass from below
Kuari Pass from below

That night we camped 250m below a ridge that was the start of Kuari Pass. Richard ran up to the ridge in time to see the sun setting behind the mountains and giving a gorgeous alpenglow on Nanda Devi (7,816m) and Hathi Ghoda (6,700m).

Rocky approach to Kuari Pass
Rocky approach to Kuari Pass
Looking down from Kuari Pass
Looking down from Kuari Pass
Sunset from Kuari Pass
Sunset from Kuari Pass
Sunset from Kuari Pass
Sunset from Kuari Pass
Sunset Alpenglow on Nanda Devi from Kuari Pass
Sunset Alpenglow on Nanda Devi from Kuari Pass
Alpenglow on Mt. Hathi Ghoda from Kuari Pass
Alpenglow on Mt. Hathi Ghoda from Kuari Pass

We all woke early on our final morning so that we would see the sunrise from Kuari Pass (3800m). As soon as we reached the top of this ridge we were astounded by the amazing 180Β° view. We could see the high snow-covered Himalayas including Neelkanth (7,141m), Dunagiri (7,067m) and Changabang (6,864m).

Hindu shrine on Kuari Pass
Hindu shrine on Kuari Pass
Shepherd with his flock at Kuari Pass
Shepherd with his flock at Kuari Pass
Shepherd with his flock at Kuari Pass
Shepherd with his flock at Kuari Pass
Alpenglow over the Western Garhwal Range from Kuari Pass
Alpenglow over the Western Garhwal Range from Kuari Pass
Mt. Neelkanth and the Western Garhwal Range from Kuari Pass
Mt. Neelkanth and the Western Garhwal Range from Kuari Pass
Kuari Pass trail with Mt. Neelkanth behind
Kuari Pass trail with Mt. Neelkanth behind
Sunrise rays below beside Nanda Devi from Kuari Pass
Sunrise rays beside Nanda Devi from Kuari Pass
Sunrise beside Nanda Devi from Kuari Pass
Sunrise beside Nanda Devi from Kuari Pass
Mt. Neelkanth and the Western Garhwal Range from Kuari Pass
Mt. Neelkanth and the Western Garhwal Range from Kuari Pass
Sunrise over the Western Garhwal Range from Kuari Pass
Sunrise over the Western Garhwal Range from Kuari Pass
Hindu shrine on Kuari Pass with Mt. Neelkanth behind
Hindu shrine on Kuari Pass with Mt. Neelkanth behind

As we followed the ridge, the sun began to shine on them giving a gorgeous morning alpenglow. On a knoll above the pass, we made chai tea and watched the sun rise beside Nanda Devi (7,816m), the tallest mountain in India. After a cold hour spent watching the day begin, we started our descent to the small village of Tapovan (2,500m). For most of the descent we had gorgeous views of the majestic Nanda Devi and the incredible mountain ranges around.

Nanda Devi and the Kuari Pass Trek
Nanda Devi and the Kuari Pass Trek
Western Garhwal Range on the Kuari Pass Trek
Western Garhwal Range on the Kuari Pass Trek
Western Garhwal Range on the Kuari Pass Trek
Western Garhwal Range on the Kuari Pass Trek
Nanda Devi
Nanda Devi
Nanda Devi
Nanda Devi
Tapovan with the Nanda Devi Range behind
Tapovan with the Nanda Devi Range behind

Interested in doing this trek? Click here for route details.

Coming up next: Β The Ganges: Hikers, Hippies and Holy Sadhus

For extra pics from this trip go to Gallery/Northern India. For extra pictures from other blogs go to Gallery at monkeystale.ca

To read about more of our adventures go to Destinations.

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6 comments

  • Everything about this trek looks so spectacular. I can’t get over the colour of the amaranth fields. This alone would sell it for me. What month is this? Again I have to ask: how difficult is this? Where did you arrange your guide?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Caroline, We did the trek early Oct, drove the first day on Oct 8. We used the local Rishikesh guiding company ‘Incredible Adventures’. ramajosh123@gmail.com There is one other agencies in town but this one seemed to be better. There as good or better then anyone you’d find on the internet. They took care of everything: tents, all food, mules, transport, even sleeping bags if you need. The trek was not difficult. We took many breaks and went quite slow, our days were around 4 hrs trekking plus breaks. There were 2 days when we gained almost 1000m, but only parts were steep, and you only have a day pack. The pass was just below 4000m so you’re not very high. It was cold at night in October, 5 degreesC so bring warm clothes and warm sleeping bag. The colourful amaranth fields were as nice as the pictures and there were many of them throughout the trek. Hope that helps!

      Liked by 1 person

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