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Pindari: The only trek where zero is success

By Akash Shukla

Found in the upper reaches of Kumaon Himalayas towards the southeast of Nanda Devi, Nanda Kot, it gives rise to river Pindari which meets the Alakananda at Karnaprayag in Garhwal. The trail to Pindari Glacier is an on-the-house delight for trekkers.

The journey begins with level walks through peaceful rhododendron forests, which is home to several exotic birds. Pass that, mountain ridges, spider-walls and stream cross await the trotters. Once a traveller is done with his main course, the appetizing dessert welcomes in the form of Pindari Glacier at Zero Point. Unearthly beauty at 12,300 feet, the magnificence of Pindari Glacier can forever fill a tourist’s heart with boundless joy.


To reach the glacier, the trail crosses the villages of Saung, Loharkhet. It crosses Dhakuri Pass and continues towards Khati village (the last village with people). Thereafter, it is Dwali, Phurkia and finally it is Zero Point, Pindar and the trail ends. Though most of the trail is along the banks of the Pindari River, the river goes into hiding until after Khati.

Pindari & The Ancient Trade Routes

Many-a-route for trade flourished in Pindari and Milam Valley. All these ancient routes have linked it to Tibet for centuries.

First Deputy Commissioner of Kumaon GW Traill, back in 1830, explored a shorter route to Martoli in Milam Valley from Pindari Glacier.

Crossing Traill’s Pass (17,700 feet), this route was through the Pindari ice-fall. Later on, many followed suit. Post the deputy commissioner, it was followed up through a series of explorations by Schlagintweits (1850), Ruttledge (1926), Japanese Mt. Nanda Kot Expedition team (1936), Osmaston and the surveyors (1938), Arnold Heim (1937) and SS Khera (1941).

In 1966, as a survey’s result of Pindari glacier, one of the most significant features was noticed and it was regarding the separation of the Chhanguch branch; until 1958 it was a tributary to the Pindari glacier. After separation, both glaciers have two independent ice caves.

So if you aim to reach Kathgodam by the evening, start at the break of dawn. Begin the trek from Khati to Kharkiya and reach the road-head. Board pre-arranged jeeps for a drop to Bageshwar.

The traveller may have to change the journey route and take another mode of transportation for Kathgodam from Bageshwar. Unless a direct drop is arranged on request, locally-stationed jeeps only ply from Kharkiya to Bageshwar.

…so pack your bags and start off on the most amazing trek of your life as the heaven never opened a more beautiful outlet.




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