Pindari Glacier is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Uttarakhand for those who like thrilling treks. The height of Pindari Glacier is about 11,000 feet above sea level. This glacier, about five kilometres long, is nestled between the skyscraper peaks of Nanda Devi, Changuch, Panwalidwar and Nandakhat, the second highest peak in India.
Pindari river originates from this glacier. This river joins the Alaknanda River at Karnprayag. The trek to Pindari Glacier passes through the villages of Saung and Lohar first to reach Dhakuri Pass. After this comes Khati Gaon, Dawali, Furkiya and then Pindar.
Pindari Glacier Trekking
Pindari Glacier trek of about 60 km starts from a beautiful village named Kharakiya, 50 km from Kapkot in Bageshwar in Uttarakhand. Until some time ago, this track used to start from a place named Song in front of Loharkhet, from where the passengers proceeded via Dhakudi. But due to the coming of the road to Kharkiya, this route has been reduced by about 15 km.
The special thing about the Pindari Glacier Trek is that even those people who do not have any experience of trekking can easily do this journey. Therefore, travellers who are fond of travelling with family can also enjoy trekking of Pindari Glacier. After the disaster of 2013, this route has got a little bad due to landslides but still, it is easy compared to the rest of the trek.
Trekking starts from Kharkiya Village
Itinerary of Pindari Glacier Trek
Day 1: Loharkhet to Khati via Kharkiya Village
You reach the banks of the Pindari River after a beautiful sloping path from a village named Kharkiya. Here you cross the beautiful Pindari river through a bridge. This river, originating from Pindari Glacier, later joins the Alaknanda. From this valley, a shady path leads to the village of Khati. There is a steep climb of about four kilometres to Khati village from here, but the view ahead takes away all your tiredness.
The village of Khati is so beautiful that even the scenery of Switzerland seems faint after seeing it. Against the backdrop of lush green fields, the traditional houses with sloping roofs of black stone seem to attract attention from afar. A special feature of the village houses is that the artists from outside have carved beautiful colours in them.
These houses with colourful paintings made on the walls make you stop and watch them in the midst of these lush green plains.
There is also a guest house of Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam (KMVN) in Khati. In front of the village, there is a beautiful view of the Pindar river flowing in the foothills of the peak of Bankatia. You can go ahead after having food in the hotel built here and taking a rest for some time. Khati is the last village on this track. However, there are guest houses of KMVN even beyond this, where there is a good arrangement for accommodation and food.
Altitude: 5,502 ft to 7,355 ft
Time: 3 hour Jeep drive, 1-hour trek
Distance: 3-4 km
Confluence or Holy Sangam of Pindari and Kafni Rivers at Dwali
Day 2: Khati to Dwali
After proceeding from Khati, the second step of the journey is Dwali. The route from here to Dwali is about 13 km. The greenery of oak, deodar and ringal trees captivates you on this path with mild ups and downs. The sunlight filtering through the trees in the middle of the dense forest makes the route more beautiful. Along the way, KMVN has also built teen shelters, where you can sit and relax. The clean water that comes filtered from the middle of the forest tastes so sweet that after drinking it, you start moving forward with double energy. Coming here, you can also see the peak of Nandakhat covered with snow.
You reach Kanyadhar on the banks of the Pindar River. Here the Pindari river is seen flowing at its full velocity at the place named Tapad ka Maidan. The Kafni river joins Pindari and increases its velocity even more. This is actually the catchment area of the Pindari river, so you can see the big boulders that came along the river scattered around. You cross the Pindari River and reach Dwali by a wooden temporary bridge built over the surging river. From Dwali one road leads to Kafni glacier and the other to Pindari glacier. Dwali is usually the first stop on a walking tour.
Altitude: 7,355 ft to 8,566 ft
Time: 6-7 hours
Distance: 13 km
The beautiful Bugyal of Furkiya
Day 3: Dwali to Furkiya
The next day the trek from Dwali to Furkiya starts. There are also minor ups and downs in this route of about six kilometres. You also find three glaciers on the way to Furkiya. Those who see you start to understand that you are moving towards a considerable height. You start to feel the thrill of travel while walking gently over the glacier. In between, small streams are felt to sing in some melody and the sound of birds coming from the nearby forests makes this note sweeter.
On reaching Furkiya, the view changes completely. Standing amidst lush green gardens, one can see high mountains covered with snow and glaciers coming out of those mountains. And below the river, Pindar is seen flowing in its course. From here you can see the beautiful snowy peak of Nandakot right in front of you.
Altitude: 8,566 ft to 10,465 ft
Distance: 5 km
Time: 3 hours
Pindari Glacier view from zero point
Day 4: Furkiya to Zero Point and back to Furkiya
To reach Pindari Glacier Zero Point from Furkiya, one has to walk about 8 kilometres on foot. The route is almost flat but the icy winds that blow when the clouds are over make it a bit difficult. Along the way, you walk along the banks of the Pindar River. Hundreds of pink birch trees found only in high places make this path very beautiful.
The petals of these beautiful flowers are laid on the way as if nature is welcoming you. Bhojpatra trees are also seen in some places. After covering about half the way, Pindari Glacier is visible in front. There is also a Baba ki Kuti about one and a half kilometres before the zero points. This Baba is popularly known as Pindar Baba, who has been living here for many years. It is said that they stay there even in the harshest of weather conditions.
How fast the winds will blow here can be gauged from the fact that the iron signboards and tin shelters on the way are seen uprooted. This place is also prone to blizzards, so notice boards have also been put up here to warn. It takes about an hour to reach the zero point from Pindari Baba's hut.
The trail on the hilltop has been devastated by a landslide, so you have to walk through the middle of the mountain. A wonderful sight awaits you upon reaching the zero point. The peak of Nanda Devi East is visible in front of which the Pindari Glacier is visible on the right and the beautiful peaks of Nanda Kot, Nanda Khat, Changuch and Panwalidwar are displayed next to it. The peaks are often covered with clouds when the weather turns rough, so it is better to reach here early in the morning. With the rising sun, the view becomes absolutely magical.
Altitude: 10,465 ft and 12,300 ft
Time: 7 hours
Distance: 16 km
Day 5: Phurkiya to Khati via Dwali
Finally, your trek to Pindari Glacier come to end, it is time to head back. You will go on the same trail back to Khati via Dwali.
Day 6: Khati to Kharkiya– 4 km (approx), 45 – 60 minutes trek. Jeep drive from Kharkiya to Kathgodam via Bageshwar
Today you will start early in the morning so that you can easily reach Kathgodam by evening. From Kharkiya you will take pre-arranged jeeps to Bageshwar.
Access to Milam Valley from Pindari Glacier by Trail Pass
There is a path from Pindari Glacier to the Milam Valley trek, which is accessible only to trained and experienced travellers. GW Trail, the first commissioner of Kumaon and Garhwal, is said to have been one of the earliest climbers to climb the Pindari Glacier in 1830. He reached the village of Martoli in Milam Valley by crossing the pass (now Trail Pass) at an altitude of 17700 feet from Pindari Glacier. This pass was named Trail Pass after his name.
It is said that the trail experienced snow blindness while crossing this pass. This was considered to be the wrath of Mother Nanda Devi and after that, some foreign travellers passing through this pass started their journey only after making special offerings to the Nanda Devi temple of Almora before climbing here. This route was also used as a trade route between India and Tibet. The road is very dangerous.