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Ruinsara Tal is a majestic Himalayan lake nestled in the lush green meadows with a back drop of the snow clad mountains. Ruinsara Tal trek is a perfect trek for beginners who are looking for a long Himalayan adventure as its mostly an easy hike along the river banks. This adventure is perfect for a first hike. There’s easy walking, over the major portion along the river waters. Up above are the azure blue skies, on your right and left loom the dense forests of chestnut, deodar and sycamore.
You walk along sparkling, playful, flowing streams and waterfalls. And even the climbs are at a gentle gradient. The trek moves largely in the Supin River Valley, which is really the upper catchment area of the Tons. The Supin becomes the Tons (a tributary of the Yamuna) when it meets the Rupin stream lower down at Netwar. Open meadows in the middle of forests beckon you to camp, and the whole area is teemimg with life : parakeets, cuckoos, owls, minivets, bulbuls, tits and thrushes. You may also spot the monal koklass pheasant, western tragopan, steppe eagle, golden eagle, the Himalayan snowcock and bearded vulture.
The area falls within the Govind Wildlife Sanctuary. home to 11 mammals and 150 birds species. The upper reaches have been decared as a national park for the protection of the elusive snow leopard.The people of the area practise customs that may seem strange to the plains-dweller: instead of valorising the Pandavas of the Mahabharata, the Kauravas are worshipped here. You will find temples dedicated to Duryodhana ! Polyandry, too, is not uncommon, but given the dominant morality in the rest of the country, villagers now feel sheepish to talk about it. This is also the route that the eldest Pandava Yudhistara is supposed to have taken after the Mahabhararta war, traversing the Swargarohini on his way to heaven.
Village Sankri (8 hrs from Dehradun)
Dehradun Railway Station
Jolly Grant near Dehradun
From Taluka, its best to start early in the morning after a good breakfast and get some aloo-paranthas packed from a dhaba for lunch. There is a short descent to the river followed by level walking on the path heading east along the river for about 40 mins, which brings you to a bridge. Cross the bridge and you are in the small meadow. Two paths branch out – one goes up the mountain, and the other goes left along the river. Head north-east, up the river. This is easy, level walking, keeping the river to your left. Then the path turns east and starts climbing up the mountain. It’s a gentle gradient as the track meanders through green forest.
If you have started early, there is no need to hurry and you can savour the sights and sound of the forest. Walk uphill for about an hour, then there’s descent to a cute bridge over a stream, and then another 30 mins of climbing up. Another half an hour of almost level walking brings you to the gentle descent for Gangad village, with houses across the river, perched on the hillside. Hot tea awaits you at a small dhaba so pull out the aloo-paranthas from your backpack and dig into them !
For Seema/Osla (a village that has two names!), recross the river, and continue walking up river for another couple of hours of easy walking. There is a little uphill climb at places. Landslides, rains and fallen trees necessitate small detours at times. You start passing cultivated fields as you near Seema / Osla Village. There is a Forest Rest House and a Garhwal Mandal Guest House and two dhabas for tea and food. The village is across the river with houses clinging on the steep hillside.( If you have the energy, just an hour’s walk east will bring you to a large pleasant meadow called Debsu Thatch, where you can pitch your tent. However, there are no dhabas here and you will have to cook your own food.)
Start early recrossing to the left bank of the Asi Ganga. Heading north-east along the river, you cross a little bridge, which frequently gets washed away ! It is only a small stream, with convenient boulders to cross if the bridge is missing. as you turn a bend, barely 200m later, look north. There is an enchanting little waterfall emerging from tree-fringed mountains. Climb along the river for another 500m until you come to an intersection. The path branching off towards the north-west will take you across the river and onwards to Har-Ki-Dun Valley. Another 30 mins of a moderate climb brings you to a tempting meadow, Debsu Thatch. There’s level ground, complete with a convenient drinking water source. There is an open rectangular structure with a tin roof and low walls, ideal to set up your stove. On return you may want to pitch your tent at debsu Thatch instead of Seema/Osla.
Look for a path between the trees, going through the forest to the east of the meadow. The path is the tricky and the gradient is steep. The forest is thick with lots of leaves on the ground. If it has recently rained, as it often as does, it is quite slippery. However, this is a short stretch. You can hear the roar and, within 30 mins, you are at a picturesque bridge across the Ruinsara Gad or stream. Cross and take a short biscuit break by the water, which careens, cascades and leaps playfully amongst the boulders at terrific speeds. There is a moderate climb through the forest as the path goes south-east, taking 45 mins.
A small descent and then it’s easy, level walking with the Ruinsara Gad flowing below for company. You may encounter short patches where the path has vanished because of a small landslide or has gotten washed away in the rains. These stretches have to be negotiated carefully as slipping means about a 100 m foot fall on to the boulders by the river ! A couple of hours of easy, level waliking brings you to a nice open space with a shelter ideal for a lunch break. Shartly after the path begins to climb. The gradient
is moderate, mostly with a few steep patches.
Then the path goes level along the mountainside, traversing pretty little waterfalls, and a stream, which must be crossed. Descending at a gentle gradient for another 30-40 mins brings you to the level of the river bed. It is water-logged and marshy, but with clear path going south-east. About an hour on this track, will bring you to a stream. The log bridge is often washed away and the path among the rocks is not so clear. Looking for a likely place to cross may easily take half an hour. Once across, there is a 30 mins moderate climb followed by level walking on a path for another half an hour. The trail passes a hut-like structure and brings you to the lake nestling at the base of the mountains – welcome to Ruinsara Tal. Pitch your tents by the lake.
A day’s stay, relaxing at Ruinsara Tal is a must ! The clear waters fringed by reeds and warm sun invite you for a swim in the lake. To the south-west is Yamuna Kanta, the pass which takes you to Yamunotri, and rated a difficult trek. To the east is the majestic Bandarpoonchh Peak (6,387m) and Swargarohini (6252m) to the north. The views of Dhumdhar Kandi (5,873m) to the east, and Kala Nag (6,387m) and White Peak (6,102m) to the south-west are spectacular.
Except for some short bits, this stretch is mostly level or descending. It’s an easy trek. Even if you start at 8 in the morning, you can reach Debsu Thatch latest by 4 pm or Seema/Osla by about 5 pm. If you have provisions left, pitch camp at this pleasing meadow of Debsu Thatch for the night. Watch the last rays of the sun light up the tree tops or go for short walks in the forest around. You can of course, avoid the hassle of cooking, opt for pushing on to Osla/Seema, check in at the resthouse.
From Osla, you can retrace your steps back to Taluka on Day 5 and a jeep drive to Sankri, the same evening. Sankri has some good options for a night stay – GMVN guesthouse and few good hotels.
FROM MUSSOORIE TO Sankri, it’s 161 km/7 1/2 hrs by car. There are no direct buses to Sankri; you must change at Purola (55km/2 1/2 hrs).
Dehradun to Sankri: Private buses early morning (5:30/6:00am) from near Dehradun Rly Stn. take 10 hrs to reach Sankri at 4:00-4:30pm(direct buses). From here you can take a shared jeep to Taluka(11km).
Return from Sankri: Early morning direct buses to Dehradun (5:30/7:30am) or take sumos which ply through the day to Purola from where you can get taxis or buses for Mussoorie or Dehradun.
Yes, it is absolutely essential to take a guide for this trek whether you are trekking solo or in a group.
The best season for Ruinsara Tal trek is May-June and Sept-Oct.
It is ideally recommended for 15+ age kids.
Yes, in fact all the Himalayan trails which start from small villages like Pantwari or Sankri are quite safe for women & solo travelers. People of the region are very warm, caring & hospitable in nature.
Camping tent accommodation (2-3 per tent).
Guides & porters in the region will never demand any tip money from you. They just need their daily wages paid by the trek operator. However, it is always encouraging if one can give a little tip to them if they provide good services.
Indian currency is accepted