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Barasu Pass

By Abhijit Chatterjee

Borasu Pass is the link pass between Himachal Himalaya and Uttaranchal Himalaya. People used to travel between these two parts of the Himalaya mainly through Rupin pass, Borasu Pass,  Nalgan pass along with some other high altitude passes from very ancient ages. These passes were used by the businessmen also for their trading with Tibet and China. After business relation with China ended with the Indo-China war, utility of these beautiful pass became limited to the adventurous trekkers and mountaineers.          

Nearest railway station is Dehradun, capital of Uttarakhand and nearest airport is Delhi from where it will take 4/5 hours to reach Dehradun by road.

            Dehradun is the gateway to many popular tourist spots, hill stations and definitely to the high mountain passes and peaks, the unique nature of the Himalaya.

            State roadways buses are available to reach Shankri, enroute Borasu pass, which is the starting point of the trek. Jeeps are also available on hire basis and share basis. It will take 7 to 8 hours to reach Shankri. Private hotel accommodation is available at moderate rates. Besides private hotels there is a Forest bungalow and GMVN rest house. High altitude guides and porters can be arranged with the help of local travel agents. Chandan Singh, Sulukram and Chand Pawar are two very reputed and experienced guides of this region whom you can engage for such high altitude excursions.

1st Day.            First day trek is 11km long. It is from Sankri to Taluka. The path is covered with green trees. Sounds of flowing Har ki Doon river from the gorge below will accompany you though you will not find it all the time. The road is through the reserve forest and your will find many birds, monkeys, rabbits etc. You have to be a little cautious where the roads are broken due to landslides. But after a trek for 5 hours you will be a recharged man when you will reach Taluka, the first day stop. For accommodation you can choose between GMVN rest house and Forest Rest house. Some private hotels are there to serve you food Lunch, Dinner and snacks besides GMVN rest house.

2nd Day            Start early in the morning. The path goes down by the side of Forest Rest house to the riverside. Now walk along the river on your left side. Road gradually goes up a little to reach a beautiful green camping site. Lovely place to take a break. Here you will find two paths. The right hand side path goes directly to Datmir village which is a steep one. The other one goes by the side of the river Har-ki-doon on your left side. The narrow path goes through dense forest with some places broken due to landslides. Cross these areas carefully. Suddenly you will find Gangar village on the other side of the river. It is unique village of this route. Till date Droupadi pratha is in effect in these villages. As Draupadi accepted all five Pandava brothers as her husbands, girls of these villages accept all the brothers as their husbands. Perhaps this system was introduced to prevent division of handful of agricultural lands of these remote villages.

Have some dry food and water. Relax and walk for another few hours through this green mountain and you will reach Seema. From Taluka to Seema will take around 5 to 6 hours good walking. This is your second day stop and again for accommodation, there are GMVN bungalow and Forest Rest House.

3rd day            Today we shall take you to Har-ki- Doon valley, the most picturesque valley ever you have seen! Start around 7.30 in the morning. First you have to cross the bridge over the river. Path now goes upward with the river on your right side. Here the path is little bit steep. After some distance the left side path goes to Osla village and the other is your path way to Har-ki-doon. Go further upward and path becomes easier. Walk through the green valley. On the other side of the river a bunch of peaks appear to welcome you to the valley of Har- ki- doon. You will find Kalanag(Black peak), Bunderpunch, Swargarohini and Debasu bugiyal ( valley). The magnificent view will definitely boost up your energy. Have a cup of hot tea at the only tea stall at this remote high field and enjoy every bit of nature which we miss at our civilized life. Again start walking slowly because the path is steep here but sure you will enjoy the walk. After some more walk you will reach the top of Kalkatti Dhar, now it is almost walk on flat lands and through forest. When you cross the narrow bridge of Mataki Nullah your reach Har-ki- doon. Consult your watch and it will be around 1.00 pm. Accommodation is the same as last night, either GMVN rest house or Forest rest house.

4th Day              It is a rest day. Acclimatization is required for the next part of the expedition. Har means Lord Shiva and Doon means valley. So Har-ki-doon means valley of Lord Shiva. It is great feeling to be in the valley of almighty Shiva. The valley is covered with soft green grass with colourful flowers. It is very difficult to move without destroying such little flowers. The valley is a three tier valley. At the lower tier Jamdwar glacier is seen from where Har-ki-doon nullah starts. On the top tier stands the FRH and GMVN bungalow. On the back side runs the river Mata ki- gad that is on the second tier.  This is the place where you can relieve yourself of all kinds of burdens and enjoy the nature only.

5th day           Today we are on the second phase of Borasu Pass Expedition. First cross the river Mata-ki- gad and start climbing. After 45 minutes you will reach the point from where you can view the Har-ki- Doon valley for the last time. After taking a rest walk starts along the left side of Marinda nullah over the boulders and grassy field. To reach Mirinda Tal it would take around two hours. It is a natural water reserver created by the obstruction of the boulders. From here the path goes over boulders and glacier. Around 10.00 am you will reach Ratadore. You can camp here. But there is another good camping site which will take another one hour walk. With the sunset, chilling cold will force you to take shelter in the tent.

6th Day -            Today we shall the path mostly over boulders. These loose boulders are very much unpredictable. At any time it may cause injury to you. At the end of this path we start walking over snow field. It is on the left ridge of the mountain. After crossing the first snowfield you have to climb the ridge on the right side and come down again. This place is surrounded by peaks from all the sides. This snow field is known as Shaorabira. The time is 10.00 am. It will take good 5 hours to reach Borasu Pass. It is better to camp at Lamdunga, which is another 2.30 hours walk. Definitely you have to consider the weather and permissible time limit to reach Lamdunga. Here you have to camp on a ridge from where you can see the Borasu peak. But Borasu pass is not visible from here.  

7th Day-            Today is the most important day of this expedition as we shall cross the Borasu pass. Early morning sunlight over Borasu peak and some other peaks will catch your eyes. Walking over snow is much easier in the morning as it remains hard till the sunrays strikes. It helps the ice to melt thus making the snow soft and walking over it very difficult. Today you have to walk over ice fields. After negotiating the first climb go to further right side and you can see the Borasu pass at a distance. The Borasu ridge is visible with some unnamed peaks in a half circle position. Now walking becomes harder as you have to negotiate the creaverses. Reaching the base of last climb you will find a steep 1000 ft climb with 80 degree gradiation. It will be difficult to make 10/12 steps at a stretch. Near the pass the snow is knee deep. It requires a difficult traverse to reach the pass at last.