Dainkund to Khajjiar - Day Trek

Dainkund to Khajjiar - Day Trek

Summary

Dainkund to Khajjar is an easy to moderate 3.5 kilometre walk. The trek starts from the Pholani Devi Temple at Dainkund and it ends at a road head 6 kilometres from Khajjiar on the Dalhousie-Khajjiar Road. The route descends almost all the way from Dainkund and can be covered in an hour if you are in a hurry. However, don't let this short duration lull you into thinking that this route lacks variety or is boring. Despite a short duration, this route is chock-full with beautiful and photogenic viewpoints.

Pholani Devi Temple, Dainkund.

We have often camped along this route just to watch the sunset from one such viewpoint. From Dainkund, you get a bird's eye view of the awe-inspiring snow capped Himalayas. In addition, the ridge that you follow en-route has numerous campsites and a resplendent pond in the midst of a grass covered saddle. One can better appreciate the anomaly of a flat and treeless Khajjiar meadow, as it lies embraced in an ocean of evergreen forest. To the North, the foothills slowly rise to form the mighty Himalayan Mountains. In fact, each different direction has a varied vista that is extremely photogenic. In fact if you are an avid photographer, you will probably spend more time photographing the scenery than the actual walking time.

meadow enroute to Khajjiar.jpg

Trek Details

From the Pholani Devi Temple at Dainkund walk along a clearly defined trail NNW that leads to a small village. A few village houses are visible from Dainkund and this makes the trail navigation quite easy. The trail starts descending from the temple, to a concrete water tank then on to a lone Gaddi shelter. From the Gaddi shelter, the trail is a little mixed up. However, keep on walking in the general direction of the village and make a steep descent from the grassy knoll to a ridge. After 100 metres of descent you rejoin a well-used trail that leads towards the village. This trail winds its way along the ridge and onto a boulder-strewn strip. There exists a steep drop to your left and it is better to negotiate this section carefully. This steep left slope is also covered in a dense evergreen forest dotted with a few deciduous trees. The boulder-strewn strip provides a bird-eye view over this beautiful sylvan vista.

Khajjiar nestled in a ring of trees

In autumn, these deciduous trees turn into a riot of golden and brown hues. These bright colours lend a beautiful contrast to the mellow green of evergreen trees and it is a beautiful sight to behold. From the boulder-strewn patch you emerge into a beautiful grass covered saddle with a small pond. This meadow is an ideal camping ground if you pack along your own potable water. From this meadow, the village is clearly visible. Descend along a meandering path to the only shop in the village. The shop owner is a genteel man who loves a bit of chat and is only be too happy to provide you with a drink of water, free of cost. From this village a direct route to Khajjiar meadow passes through a thick evergreen forest. However, there have been numerous bear sightings on this forest trail. On one of our treks, we came across an Asian black bear a mere 100 metres from where we stood. Owing to safety concerns because of these frequent bear sightings, we do not recommend this route and thus we do not provide a GPS trail for this route. Instead what we do recommend is to follow an alternate route. The alternate route is a broad village trail that loops through the village and backtracks its way to a couple of concrete houses and a mud built gaddi shelter, 750 metres from the village. The Dalhousie-Khajjiar Road is visible just below these two houses. Descend from the houses to the road head. The road head is close to a milestone that states "Khajjiar 6 kilometres". From the road head you can choose to walk, hitchhike or wait for a bus or taxi to take you to Khajjiar. If you do decide to walk along the road, remember it takes just over an hour to reach Khajjiar and it is better to pack along a liter of water.

the view North

Trek Summary

DIFFICULTY

Easy to Moderate

DURATION

1.5 hours

DISTANCE

3.5 kilometres one way

MAX. ELEVATION

2737 metres

START

Pholani Devi Temple at Dainkund

END

Road head on the Dalhousie-Khajjiar road 6 kilometres from Khajjiar and 16 Kilometres from Dalhousie.

GETTING THERE

There are no busses between Dalhousie and Dainkund. You can take a bus till Lakkar Bazaar (Dalhousie-Khajjiar route) and hike 5 kilometres along the metalled road to Dainkund. Taxis can be easily rented from Dalhousie to Dainkund. Taxis can also be asked to drop you at Dainkund and pick you up in a couple of hours at the roadhead next to the Khajjiar 6 kilometres milestone.

ACCOMMODATION

None at Dainkund. There are hotels for every budget available at Dalhousie and Khajjiar

TERRAIN

An easy to moderate descent over a trail that is clearly defined for most of the way

WEATHER

Pleasantly cold during the day, usually cold and very windy at night

route overview  - Dainkund to Khajjiar (view in Google Maps)

elevation graph - Dainkund to Dalhousie (what is this?)


Caution - We recommend that you avoid the direct route to Khajjiar from the village en-route (The alternate route is listed and is extremely safe). Bears can be unpredictable and aggressive and encounters with them are best avoided. A small trail section has a sharp drop to the left, a bit of care is advised when negotiating this particular section.


Essential Gear

  • A camera with a wide angle and a telephoto lens
  • Sunscreen and a visored cap / hat for a sunny day

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Downloads and GPS Logs

GPS route map in .GPX and .KML format. GPX works with most GPS devices like Garmin and TomTom while KML works with Google products like Maps and Earth.

View the trekking route in Google Maps by clicking this link.

The most spectacular views over the easiest possible trail - Day trek from Chowari Jot to Dainkund

The most spectacular views over the easiest possible trail - Day trek from Chowari Jot to Dainkund

Day trek from Dalhousie to Dainkund

Day trek from Dalhousie to Dainkund