Churdhar Peak Trek
Churdhar Peak Trek: A Complete Guide to Trekking the Highest Peak of Outside Himalayan range
Nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas, Churdhar Peak Trek is a hidden gem that offers a mesmerizing view of the snow-capped mountains, lush green valleys, and a variety of flora and fauna. This trek is located in the state of Himachal Pradesh, India and is a perfect weekend getaway for adventure enthusiasts, nature lovers, and hikers.
In this article, we will take you through the journey of the Churdhar Peak Trek, covering its highlights, difficulty level, best time to visit, and other important information. But before we dive into the article let’s discuss the history of Churdhar Peak.
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The Fascinating History of Churdhar Peak
Churdhar Peak, also known as Chur Chandni, is the highest peak in the outer Himalayas and is located in the state of Himachal Pradesh, India as mentioned above. It stands at an elevation of 3,647 meters (11,965 feet) above sea level and is a popular trekking destination in the region. The history of Churdhar is deeply intertwined with the local mythology and culture of the region.
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Mythology and Legend of Churdhar
Legend has it that Churdhar is the abode of Lord Shiva, who is considered the supreme deity of the region. It is said that the Pandavas from the epic Mahabharata had also visited Churdhar during their exile. In fact, the peak is named after the five Pandava brothers – Yudhishthira, Bhima, Arjuna, Nakula, and Sahadeva – who are collectively known as Chudamani.
Churdhar During the British Colonial Era
The peak was also an important location during the British colonial era, as it served as a crucial observation point for the British army. The Churdhar ridge was used by the British to monitor the movements of the Gurkhas, who were a constant threat to the British forces during the 19th century.
Churdhar - A Popular Trekking Destination
In recent times, Churdhar has gained popularity as a trekking destination. The trek to Churdhar Peak starts from Nohradhar, which is located at a distance of about 90 kilometers from Shimla, the state capital. The trek is about 18 kilometers long and passes through dense forests, scenic meadows, and steep slopes. It takes about 2-3 days to complete the trek, depending on the pace of the trekker.
Stunning Panoramic Views and Rich Biodiversity of Churdhar
Churdhar Peak offers stunning panoramic views of the surrounding valleys and mountains, including the snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas. It is also home to a variety of flora and fauna, including deodar trees, wildflowers, and rare species of birds and animals.
Getting There: How to Reach Churdhar Peak
The Churdhar Peak Trek starts from the small town of Nauradhar in Sirmour district, Himachal Pradesh, This town is well-connected to major cities in Himachal Pradesh and neighboring states. The following are the best ways to reach Nauradhar:
- By Air: The nearest airport to Nauradhar is in Shimla, which is approximately 100 km away. You can take a flight to Shimla from major cities like Delhi, Chandigarh, and Kullu. From Shimla, you can hire a taxi or take a bus to reach Nauradhar.
- By Train: The nearest railway station to Nauradhar is also in Shimla. The Kalka-Shimla Railway is a popular tourist attraction and connects Shimla to major cities like Delhi, Chandigarh, and Kalka. From Shimla, you can hire a taxi or take a bus to reach Nauradhar.
- By Road: Nauradhar is well-connected by road to major cities in Himachal Pradesh and neighboring states. You can take a bus or hire a taxi from cities like Shimla, Chandigarh, and Delhi to reach Nauradhar.
Trekking Route: What to Expect
The Churdhar Peak Trek is a moderate trek that takes you through a variety of landscapes. The trek starts from Nohradhar and takes you through dense forests, meadows, and rocky terrain.
- 1st day: On the first day, you will trek for around 5 km to reach the Jam Nallah campsite. The trail is a gradual ascent through the forest, and you will be able to spot some wildlife on the way.
- 2nd day: On the second day, you will trek for around 6 km to reach the Churdhar Peak base camp. The trail gets steeper as you gain altitude, and you will be able to see some stunning views of the surrounding mountains. The base camp is located at an altitude of 3,650 meters, and you will be able to see the Churdhar Peak from here.
- 3rd day: On the third day, you will start early in the morning to reach the Churdhar Peak summit. The trek to the summit is a steep climb, and you will need to be physically fit to make it to the top. The summit is located at an altitude of 3,647 meters, and the view from the top is breathtaking. You will be able to see the entire Himalayan range, including the peaks of Kinner Kailash and Shrikhand Mahadev.
Best Time to Trek: When to Go
The best time to go for the Churdhar Peak Trek is from April to June and from September to November. During these months, the weather is pleasant, and the skies are clear, making it easier to trek. However, if you want to experience snow, you can go during the winter months of December to February.
Things to Carry: Essential Trekking Gear
Here are some essential trekking gear that you should carry with you on the Churdhar Peak Trek:
- Trekking shoes: When it comes to trekking, a reliable pair of trekking shoes is a must-have. Make sure you choose a pair that is comfortable and provides good grip.
- Backpack: You will need a backpack to carry all your essentials. Make sure you choose a backpack that is sturdy and has enough space to carry all your gear.
- Warm clothes: The weather in the Himalayas can be unpredictable, so make sure you carry warm clothes like a jacket, thermal wear, and gloves.
- Sunscreen and sunglasses: The sun can be harsh at high altitudes, so make sure you carry sunscreen and sunglasses to protect yourself.
- First-aid kit: Having a first-aid kit is crucial when going on a trek. Make sure you carry basic medicines like painkillers, antiseptics, and bandages.
Accommodation on Churdhar Peak Trek: Where to Stay
One of the essential things to consider is where to stay during the trek. The trekking route requires camping throughout the journey, and you need to choose the right campsites to make your trekking experience comfortable and enjoyable.
Jam Nallah Campsite – Night 1:
The first night of the trek will be spent at the Jam Nallah campsite. It is a beautiful meadow surrounded by dense forests, located at an altitude of 2,800 meters. The campsite provides an ideal setting for camping, with lush greenery all around and a small stream running nearby.
Churdhar Peak Base Camp – Night 2
The second night of the trek will be spent at the Churdhar Peak base camp, situated at an altitude of 3,650 meters. The base campsite is located at the foot of the Churdhar Peak and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountain ranges.
The campsite is well-equipped with essential facilities like tents, sleeping bags, and camping chairs, making your stay comfortable. You will also have access to clean drinking water and hygienic washroom facilities.
Food and Water: What to Eat and Drink
During the Churdhar Peak Trek, you will be provided with three meals a day – breakfast, lunch, and dinner. These meals will be included in your trek package, so you don’t need to worry about arranging your own meals. However, it’s important to note that the meals are typically vegetarian, so if you have any dietary restrictions or preferences, make sure to inform your trekking company before the trek.
The meals provided during the trek will consist of local dishes like dal (lentils), rice, and vegetables. These are nutritious and filling dishes that are commonly consumed in the region. They will provide you with the energy and sustenance you need to complete the trek.
You will also be provided with snacks like biscuits and fruits. These snacks are great for providing you with a quick burst of energy and keeping your hunger at bay between meals.
Staying hydrated during the trek is crucial, so it’s important to carry enough water with you. Make sure to carry a refillable water bottle with you and fill it up before you begin your trek. You can also refill your water bottle at the streams along the way. Drinking enough water will keep you hydrated and prevent dehydration, which can cause fatigue, headaches, and other health problems.
Permits and Fees: What You Need to Know
To go on the Churdhar Peak Trek, you will need to obtain a permit from the forest department. The permit fee is around Rs. 100 per person. You can obtain the permit from the forest office in Nauradhar. During the trek, it is essential to have the permit with you.
What Makes the Churdhar Peak Trek Unique
Here are some additional interesting facts and features that make the Churdhar Peak Trek a unique and standout trekking experience:
- Wildlife Spotting: The Churdhar Wildlife Sanctuary is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna. During the trek, you may spot animals like the Himalayan black bear, musk deer, and bharal (blue sheep) among others. Bird watchers can also spot a variety of birds like the Himalayan monal, koklass pheasant, and kalij pheasant.
- Cultural Experience: The Churdhar Peak Trek is also a cultural experience as it takes you through several traditional villages where you can interact with the locals and learn about their way of life. You can also visit the historic temple of Churdhar, which is believed to be over a thousand years old.
- Panoramic Views: The trek offers panoramic views of some of the highest peaks in the region, including the Dhauladhar range, Kinnaur Kailash, and the Pir Panjal range. The views from the summit of Churdhar Peak are breathtaking and are worth the effort it takes to reach there.
- Off-Beat Destination: The Churdhar Peak Trek is still a relatively lesser-known trek compared to some of the more popular treks in the region. This means that the trekking trails are less crowded, and you can enjoy a peaceful and serene trekking experience.
- Accessibility: The Churdhar Peak Trek is easily accessible from major cities like Chandigarh, Shimla, and Dehradun. The trek starting point, Nauradhar, is well-connected by road and can be easily reached by private or public transport.
Tips for Trekking: How to Make the Most of Your Trek
Here are some tips to help you make the most of your Churdhar Peak Trek:
- Start training early: The Churdhar Peak Trek is a moderate trek, but it still requires a certain level of fitness. Start training at least a month before the trek to ensure that you are physically fit.
- Pack light: Make sure you pack only the essentials and keep your backpack light. A heavy backpack can make the trek more difficult.
- Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water and fluids to stay hydrated during the trek.
- Follow the trek leader: Listen to your trek leader and follow their instructions.With ample experience, they possess a thorough understanding of the route.
- Enjoy the journey: The Churdhar Peak Trek is not just about reaching the summit. Enjoy the journey and take in the beautiful landscapes along the way.
How to get fit for the Churdhar Peak Trek
To enjoy this trek to the fullest, it is essential to prepare your body for the physical challenges it presents. Here are some tips on how to get fit for the Churdhar Peak Trek:
- Start exercising regularly: The first step to getting fit for the Churdhar Peak Trek is to start exercising regularly. It is recommended that you begin at least 2-3 months before the trek. Cardiovascular exercises like running, cycling, and swimming can help improve your stamina, which is essential for trekking. You can also incorporate strength training exercises like squats, lunges, and planks to build strength in your legs, core, and upper body.
- Increase your endurance: Trekking involves long hours of walking, often on steep and uneven terrain. To increase your endurance, you can start by taking short hikes in your local area. Gradually increase the distance and elevation until you can comfortably hike for several hours without feeling fatigued.
- Practice walking with a backpack: Carrying a backpack while trekking is a must, as it contains all your essentials. It is essential to practice walking with a backpack to get used to the weight and build strength in your shoulders and back muscles. Start with a light backpack and gradually increase the weight.
- Eat a healthy diet: A healthy diet is crucial when preparing for a trek. You need to fuel your body with the right nutrients to improve your strength and stamina. Include foods that are rich in protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats like fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds in your diet. Avoid processed and junk food, as they can make you feel sluggish.
- Hydrate: Staying hydrated is essential when trekking. Make sure you drink plenty of water throughout the day, especially when you are exercising. Dehydration can lead to fatigue, headaches, and dizziness.
- Get enough rest: Getting enough rest is crucial when preparing for a trek. Your body needs time to recover and repair after exercise. Make sure you get enough sleep and take rest days between your workouts.
The Churdhar Peak Trek is a must-do trek for anyone seeking a thrilling trekking experience in the Himalayas. The trek offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains, lush green valleys, and enchanting forests. With a moderate level of difficulty, this trek is suitable for both beginners and experienced trekkers. Prepare yourself for the journey of a lifetime by packing your bags and getting ready to embark on an adventure!