Hiking - Destination

Rupin Pass Trek: A must Trek in the Indian Himalayas

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Is trekking something you’re passionate about? If so, then you must have heard of the Rupin Pass that is considered as one of the most beautiful and enthralling treks in the Indian Himalayas. To be trekking here means getting surprised by the wondrous elements of nature and each and every moment. With each turn that you take, nature wouldn’t fail to mesmerize you with its immense beauty.

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The experience of the Rupin pass trek can be compared to an orchestra wherein momentum keeps building up with new scenery to unveil. To complement this wondrous scenery, are the mesmerizing blue waters of Rupin gliding by. This high altitude trekking experience is something that you would cherish for a lifetime.

Rupin Pass: A Snowy Paradise for Lost Souls

  • Where it is Located: Uttarakhand/Himachal Pradesh
  • Number of Trekking Days: 8 days
  • Trekking Grade: Moderately Difficult
  • Max Altitude: 15,250 ft 
  • Trekking Distance: 67 km


Rupin Pass Trek Virtual Map
Cold isn't a Problem for These Goats! (source)

Rupin Pass is a high altitude pass that runs all the way across the Himalayan mountain range in Himachal Pradesh, India. The Pass lies on the conventional hiking and Shepherd route that begins from Dhaula in Uttrakhand and ends at Sangla in Himachal Pradesh. The whole path leading up to the pass is situated mostly across uninhabited areas of the Himalayan ranges and the Rupin pass height is 15,250 ft (4,650M) above the sea level.

Description of Rupin Pass

Snow Bridges
The Bridges which will sway you away  ! (source)

You will find everything from wooden bridges to faces carved out of rocks on the Rupin Pass Trek. There are various trails which offer access to the Rupin. The most popular path is the one that begins at the village of Gosangu. This is actually Himachal Pradesh’s last road head and trekkers travel to this sleepy village by road from Shimla via Rohru. Along the way to the Pass, you would be able to see vast expanses of beautiful green meadows and white Rhododendrons.

Highlights of the trek
Jhaka: The Hanging Village (source)

The other road that is often chosen by the trekkers is the one that begins from Naitwar and is can be reached from Dehradun via Dhaula. Whichever road you choose, Gosangu or Naitwar, the first camp that you would find there is the Jhaka. This hanging village is actually the last stop where you would get the chance to have a look at the human faces and replenishing your stocks for the trek. The trail that you take would actually follow the Rupin River all the way to the top. Travelling to this Pass is a moderately difficult level of climbing.

Recalling his experience of the Rupin Pass, Saravana Kumar, in his blog at Kettik wrote, "It was a white world. Everything around me was buried under deep snow with only the biggest boulders sticking out. The trail had disappeared under the snow and I was totally at a loss on which way to go next."

How to Reach

You could reach Dehradun by road, air or by train depending on whichever means of transport you prefer the most.

By Road

rupin pass trek route
Roadtrip to Heaven (source)

If you choose to go by road, you would be glad to know that Dehradun is pretty well connected with all the major states and cities in the country. Dehradun is about 235 km from Delhi. The NH27A connects Dehradun to Roorkee (NH58) and thereon south to Meerut as well as Delhi. The NH72 highway connects with Nahan towards the north-west and thereon to Chandigarh, Panchkula and Shimla. In case you choose to go by bus, you can do so by taking a bus from for Dehradun from Delhi ISBT Kashmere Gate.

By Train

The Indian railways connect Dehradun to most of the important cities like Mussoorie, Varanasi, Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Lucknow. You can look up for the details of the train online.

By Air

Dehradun’s airport is the Jolly Grant Airport which is situated approximately 25 km away from the city. From Delhi, there is a daily flight service to Dehradun.

Rupin Pass Trek Map

rupin pass trek map
Rupin Pass Trek Map (Source)

Rupin Pass Trek: Detailed Itinerary

trekking organization is best for Rupin pass trek
The Rupin Pass Trek: An Adventure in the Snow (source)

If we talk about the Rupin Pass trek, in brief, you would first need to reach Dehradun from where you would take a train and reach Dhaula. From Dhaula, you would travel to Sewa and from there to Jhaka. From there, you would head to Saruwas thatch and then to Dhanderas thatch which is the lower waterfall. From there, you would head to the Upper Waterfall camp and then to Rupin Pass to Ronti Gad to Sangla.

This brief explanation would give you a fair idea for how far you need to travel. Now let’s talk about this in detail.

Reaching Dhaula

rupin pass trek guide
Dhaula: Where Your Adventure Begins (source)

Reaching Dhaula would actually be first step towards the trek. You can reach Dhaula via Chandigarh. You can of course choose whichever means of transport suits you the best. If you do choose to go by car, you would notice that the weather is rather pleasant and the condition of the roads is also average. On our way to Dhaula, you would also see the River Yamuna flowing and charming villages.

In her article at Trek The Himalayas, Arpita Mehra said, "At Dhaula, the mountain stretches immersed in the mist transcends far beyond the realm of contained beauty. The enchanting ambience and cool transient mountain air carries assorted sounds, leaving many tales and folklores from echoing history in its wake."

Journey from Dhaula to Sewa

the trek starts from and ends at
Sewa: Get Lost in it's Religious Roots (source)

This trek is rather easy where you would need to walk for only about 11 kilometres. On the trail, you would find innumerable apricot and apple trees. The trail would take you through a village after which you would need to climb up. The path seems easier, and mesmerizing scenery would leave you awestruck.  There are small shops wherein you can have tea and snacks and experience the most beautiful sound of the Rupin River flowing slowly. 

Journey from Sewa to Jhaka

Highlights of the trek
Jhaka: A Life in the Forests (source)

After this, you would begin your trek to the popular hanging village. The trail wouldn’t be as easy as the earlier day. There are several sections in trail where there are steep climbs. However, as you trek for a considerable distance and reach the last section of the trek, you would get to see walnut and deodar trees. The narrow trail from Gosangu to Jiksun may seem very uncertain and you would have to walk really carefully. From Jiksun village to Jhaka, it would take you approximately an hour and the trail would take you through the forests.

Journey from Jhaka to Saruwas Thatch

rupin pass trek route
Saruwas Thatch: A Snug Hideout (source)

When you wake up on the campsite in Jhaka, the alluring sights of the hanging village would leave you stunned. This trail is well-defined and would take you through fields, meadows, streams of water, snow bridges and dense forests. You can now spot patches of snow. In the forests, you can easily spot Rhododendron of several beautiful colours and you would also cross a wooden bridge. 

Journey from Saruwas Thatch to Dhanderas Thatch

Paying the Trek/ Adventure activity
Dhanderas Thatch: The Beauty of Water (source)

From Saruwas Thatch to Dhanderas Thatch, the trail is full of surprises. The views that you would get to see here is truly spectacular and would take you through meadows and forests just like the previous day. Just as you are about to reach Dhanderas, the views that you would get to experience would make you feel as if you are watching a 3D movie. The whole journey from Saruwas Thatch to Dhanderas Thatch is filled with adventure and would bring out your inner adventurous soul.

The hundreds of waterfalls flowing down the mountain is a sight to behold and this place is also referred to as lower waterfall camp.

As you keep walking, you would find the mountains sides filled with the sacred Bhoj tress that would accompany all the way till the entrance of the forest. As you move through the forest, you would find a U shaped valley. These mesmerizing views form the entrance of the valley wherein you would find several waterfalls rushing down. As you move further, you would find the Rupin River running down. After climbing another snow bridge, you would reach Dhanderas Thatch.

Journey from Dhanderas Thatch to Upper Waterfall Camp

rupin pass weather
Upper Waterfall Camp: A Much Deserved Break (source)

The hiking route from Dhanderas Thatch to Upper Waterfall camp is short but it is only after proper acclimatization that you can reach the base of Dhanderas and from there begin your trek. On your way, you would be crossing several Rupin’s rivulets and making your way through many wondrous elements. After walking steadily along the hills you would be able to see trail that runs along snow. You would then come across the last snow bridge which is actually the most beautiful of all. Here, the Rupin water would come right above your head and then get down just below your feet.

You can relax there and enjoy the beautiful landscape.

Journey from Upper Waterfall to Rupin Pass to Ronti Gad

best time for rupin pass trek
Ronti Gad: An Experience Like Never Before (source)

This part of the trek would seem the most difficult. You would need to start pretty early. The path leading up to the Rupin Pass is steep and is actually a saddle on the ridge. There would be a humongous gain in the altitude and would take approximately an hour of climbing and then when you take a left, you would find a completely distinct site as compared to the other locations.

You would also be able to find the sacred prayer flags and stone cairns.

It is here that you would be able to see the snowfields of Rathi Pheri stretched as far as your eyes can travel. Making your way through the thick snow would be a challenge and would leave you exhausted. After this, comes the thrilling part where you would have to slide down so as to reach Ronti Gad. Being able to camp at the freezing and yet most delightful place surrounded with snow covered mountains is an adventure and an experience that you would remember forever.

Journey from Ronti Gad to Sangla Via Sangla Kanda

rupin pass height
Sangla Kanda: A Photographer's Pradise! (source)

Your inner photographer would be busy on this day of the trek from Ronti Gad to Sangla as the views of the landscape and Kinner Kailash Ranges is absolutely picturesque. The trail is steep and therefore you would have to walk rather cautiously. The trail would begin with an average climb and then you can walk towards Ronti Gad Valley. After descending for quite a bit, you would finally exit the narrow valley which would then lead you to the striking views of Mt. Kinner Kailash. This is the point when you have completely crossed the Rupin Pass and would be able to see no sign of it from this point. This is also the point from where you can view the Lake of Sangla Kanda. You could relax here for some time and then take a trail that would take you through the forest of Blue pines. You would finally be able to see orchards and village farms.  

You would finally be able to reach Sangla and this is where your trip ends. You can choose to stay there for a day and let your body rest or just depart from there.

Rupin Pass Trek Cost

Cost Terms: Inclusions & Exclusions
Rupin Pass: Home to Rivers, Forests, and Memories (source)

The Rupin Pass Trek Cost would completely be dependent on the travel agency that you choose. You could, of course, contact a few agencies and then compare their rates. Most of the agencies would provide you with accommodation facility, meals, medical kits and oxygen cylinder, trek equipment, an experienced and qualified trek leader and at times porters so as to carry your luggage. However, you would have to extra money to the porters each day.

The facilities that you get vary from agency to agency. Its best to ask the travel agents what all they have to offer and what would be the overall cost of the trek. Paying the Trek/ Adventure activity fee to most of these agencies can be done online or through a demand draft. When you make the booking, all the instructions would be sent to you via e-mail.

Best Time to Visit Rupin Pass Trek

Description of rupin pass
Rupin Pass: Beautiful All Year Long! (source)

According to the locals, August and September are the best time for Rupin Pass Trek. This is because these are the months just after the monsoon and hence the valleys would be filled with beautiful wild flowers of all the colours that you can possibly imagine. Also, at this time all the snow would have melted thereby making the trek a bit easier. The rupin pass weather during this time of the year is quite pleasant. The danger associated with the trek depends on the season that you choose.

What to Pack: Trek Essentials

rupin pass trek guide
Pack Up! (source)

As is quite obvious, there are quite a number of things that needs to be packed. Make a list and then before leaving on the trek, double-check so as to ensure that you all the essentials.

  • A personal backpack with comfortable shoulder straps and rain pack
  • A powerful torch and a walking stick
  • Personal medical kit
  • 2 water bottles of 1 litre each
  • Snacks like dry fruits, energy bars, tins of soups etc.
  • Sunglasses with UV protection
  • Sunscreen cream
  • Moisturisers and hand sanitizers
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Toilet paper and wipes.
  • Comfortable clothes, fleece jacket, waterproof and windproof jacket
  • Trekking shoes, gloves and socks

Having experienced the Rupin Pass trek first hand, Kavya, a blogger at Tripoto advises, "Do not compromise on the shoes. Those forclaz shoes are your knight in armor for the changing terrain. I almost kissed them once the trek was done."

Highlights of the Trek

rupin pass trek guide
Caution: Beautiful Memories Ahead! (source)

On the way to Rupin Pass, you would be able to see a lot of magical and spellbinding splendour of nature.

  • Jhaka Village: Also known as the hanging village, this village is positioned uniquely right at the edge of the mountain. This makes it seems like the whole village is hanging through the cliff.
  • Waterfall Views: On your way up to the rupin pass trek route, you would get to see many waterfalls as well as streams. You would also get to see thousands of waterfalls that flow down from a really high height. This makes it seems like they are falling straight from the sky and is a view that you would cherish for a lifetime.
  • Lush Forests: While on the trek, you would also be passing a few forests that are filled with trees of Rhododendron, Fir and Oak. One of the amazing things about this place is the fact that the forests begin and end so abruptly that it would seem like you have entered the sets of a movie.
  • Snow Bridges: walking on snow bridges? Yes please. The feeling of walking on snow bridges is truly an enchanting and once-in-a-lifetime experience. The great thing about this? You would come across several snow bridges along the way up.
  • Views of Kinner Kailash: The alluring views of the Kailash Peak would leave you completely mesmerized. You would find the peak towards the end of your trek.
  • Kinnaur Temple: This is a two storey temple at Sewa of the Kinnauri culture and is quite different from its nearby areas.

Nearby Attractions

Waterfalls views
An Abundance of Nature (source)

The Rupin Pass trek would let you experience several wonders of nature. Along with that, there are also many other attraction that are worth mentioning and the ones that you would get to see if you choose to go by the way that begins from Naitwar. Tourists from all over the country visit this place each year to experience the breathtaking views of the wondrous mountains.

Trek/ Adventure activity fee
History at it's Best (source)

The views especially of Sangla Valley and Chitkul would leave you stunned. Bering Nag Temple is a wonderful architecture that has been dedicated to Lord Jagas. The Kamru Fort, that is considered as an artistic legacy is dedicated to Hindu Goddess Kamakhya Devi and is a sight to behold. This temple is known for its mythological significance in this area and therefore many people visit here just to offer their prayers.

Description of rupin pass
A Place Where Nature and Religion Live in Harmony (source)

Other than that, you would also get to see Brelengi Gompa in Sangla which is a stunning monastery that you must visit when you are there. Also, after your trek comes to an end and you do plan to stay in Sangla for a day or two, then you can visit Chitkul too. It is a village in Kinnaur district and is actually the last inhabited village near the Indo-China border. The place is quite nice to visit if you love quiet and peaceful locations. The place Sangla itself is popular for its wood carved artifacts and the place Kinnaur or its apples.

Health Advisory

high altitude trekking experience
Make Memories, But Safely! (source)

Trekking is a great way to stay in shape.

But, it also comes with a few health risks as well, especially if you’re traveling to a place like the Rupin Pass. The place, being located at such a high altitude, can often have varied climatic changes. Therefore, it is very important to take proper care of yourself.

  • Give your body some time so as to get acclimatized to high altitudes.
  • It is best to start early in the morning and avoid trekking at night.
  • Always follow the instructions of the instructor or the trek leader so as to enjoy a safe trekking experience. They are experienced and highly skilled and they know what they are doing.
  • While on the trek, you would be passing through some of the most beautiful and eco-friendly zones. It is therefore advisable not to litter at the campsites and keep the area neat and clean.
  • Talk to your physician who would let you know if you are fit enough to undertake the trek.
trekking organization is best for Rupin pass tre
The View is Worth the Efforts (source)

Rupin Pass is undoubtedly an ideal trek and is meant for someone who is up for a challenging task. Of course, it is recommended for those who have had a prior experience of a high altitude trekking. But, fitness is the key here. Any person above the age of 12 who is physically fit can undertake this challenge and finish it.

Have you ever been trekking before? Or, do you have any tips for people thinking about going for the Rupin Pass trek? If so, do share them with us.