Darma Valley

a comprehensive travel guide

Overview

A valley like no other, where the beauty of its scenic views and the solitude within the villages in this valley will take you on a mystical journey. Darma valley is enclosed within such ecstatic shades of nature. The beauty of those Alpine meadows and shimmering river streams along with dense forests will simply bring you back to the place over and over. 

Darma or Dharma valley is known for its serene wilderness, where even the blooming wildflowers of all the colors you can imagine is another captivating treat for your eyes. If the destination is filled with just beautiful presents of nature, one can imagine the extravagant beauty of the journey till you arrive at your destination. As the hiking trail is enclosed within coniferous forests, Enchanting Glaciers, and even such diverse Flora and Fauna. 

A beautiful valley formed by the Darma river has many Indian Mythological stories attached to its history. For travelers who are interested in the mythological importance of Darma valley would be surprised to know that this place is where the Pandavas cooked their last meal before departing on their final journey. 

Darma valley, situated on the border of India at an altitude of 3470meters, in the north-east of Kumaon within the Pithoragarh District of Uttarakhand. A small village known as Dawe is where Darma valley begins. A remote valley that provides shelter to about 12-13 villages and not more than 1000 people reside within those villages. 

This is one of the major reasons behind the flourishing beauty of Darma valley spellbinding nearly anyone. It is like entering a dreamland enclosed with blissful Flora, like orchids in such massive numbers, you cannot imagine. Even those small yet majestic waterfalls and rivers streams, simply add to the beauty of such dense forests of Darma Valley. You will be delighted to hear  about that another destination which falls in line with the Darma valley, make sure to read about the Trek To Milam Glacier before you embark upon it.

We are sure you are captivated enough to plan your next trip to Darma valley, it is time you learn a bit more about the place that will make your journey safe and sound.

Key Highlights of Darma Valley

  • Let us start with the enthralling beauty of Flora and Fauna surrounding Darma valley from the inside out. As the diversity of blooming wildflowers leave you awestruck, where it seems like the entire meadows are lying under a blanket of flowers. 
  • A splendid treat for travelers who always look for a peaceful surrender within the arms of nature’s remoteness and solitude. As we know the population of Darma valley is so low that it reeks of peaceful isolation where you get to experience the essence of the place from the perspective of a traveler and as a local as well. 
  • For adventure seekers, Darma valley is a must-visit place. As the trekking trains might be a little tough but the scenic beauty makes it all worth your while.
  • Travelers who are looking to get away from their regular lives and are tired of sleeping in a room. Darma valley has numerous spots for you to pitch up your tents from where you get to watch those majestic Himalayas and that go hand in hand with the dense forests and wide-open meadows. 
  • The night sky from Darma valley is so enchanting as the star trails simply send shivers down your spine. An unbelievable amount of shooting stars and the milky way might not let you take your eyes off them even for a little while

 

Basic Itinerary for
Darma Valley Trek

Coming to Darma valley would remain incomplete if you do not see the Panchachuli Peaks from as close as you can get. Along with those captivating hiking trails we have prepared for you to make the most of this trip, in terms of solitude and adventure. 

After all, a traveler’s journey is the one-off finding comfort in the journey within this unknown land.

The following itinerary will not just take you trekking but moreover exploring the Darma Valley.

Day 01: DELHI – KATHGODAM (285kms) – ALMORA (100kms)

  1. The initial stage of your journey begins early in the morning from Delhi.
  2. Booking a bus or a train would be convenient, which will take you 7-8hrs to reach Kathgodam.
  3. And it is time for a break with a cup of tea and a healthy Brunch.
  4. From here onwards, you will drive in your pre-booked taxis taking you towards Almora.
  5. After another drive of nearly 3 hours, you will be happy to hear that your beds and food are already prepared. 
  6. After relaxing for a bit, you might want to take a stroll through the ever-flowing ancient bazaar of Almora.

Day 02: ALMORA – DHARCHULA (210kms)

  1. After a goodnight’s sleep, it is time to rise and shine. 
  2. As the breakfast is ready. While you eat, watch the early morning scenic view of Almora. 
  3. It is time we begin the next stage of our journey, which will take you to Dharchula. 
  4. The drive to Dharchula is going to be a little exhausting yet beautiful at the same time. 
  5. Where the scenic beauty of towns like Thal and Chaukori will take your mind off everything for a while. 
  6. By the time you will reach Dharchula, your stay and delicious food will be waiting for you. 
  7. Light’s out, as the real journey begins tomorrow.

Day 03: DHARCHULA – SOBLA (40kms) – DAR (5kms – Trek)

  1. Wake up with the rising sun. Enjoy the sunrise with your morning cup of tea/coffee.
  2. After light breakfast, let us hop into our taxis as the journey from here till Sobla is going to be one heck of a drive.
  3. After sitting in a car for nearly 2-3hrs, while enjoying the scenic beauty of landscapes. 
  4. It is now time to get your trekking gear out. As your hiking journey begins from Sobla
  5. Today we will trek for nearly 5-6kms and nearly 4hours before we reach Dar. 
  6. From Sobla till Dar you will now reach an elevation of 2135meters. 
  7. Let us take a halt here for the night.

Day 04: DAR – SELA (11kms) (2440meters)

  1. Your day begins early in the morning when the first rays of the sun lighten everything up. 
  2. We hope you are all set for today’s hike, as it is going to be a long yet easy one. 
  3. Make sure to be careful while you pass along the shooting stone areas. 
  4. You will be walking through the deodar forests for about 5-6hours.
  5. Mesmerized and tired from your walk, you will enter Sela, a tribal village where you will spend the night. 
  6. This is where we will visit the ITBP camp office to get permits all sorted out.

Day 05: EXPLORING SELA

  1. This day is solely dedicated to you being one with the essence of the place. 
  2. Spend some time with the locals. Satisfy your artsy side of a photographer or bird watcher.
  3. Enjoy the enchanting star trails in the night alongside the fire.

Day 06: SELA – BALING (9kms) (2745meters)

  1. After a good night’s sleep, we will carry on with our journey.
  2. As trekking to Baling is another 5-6hours walk before you reach this beautiful gem of a place.
  3. Don’t worry you are not in an army camp; we will keep on taking beautiful little breaks with nature.  
  4. After a beautiful scenic walk from Sela to Baling, you will spend the night here. 
  5. Well, it is still time before nightfall, a good opportunity for you to explore the village.
  6. Time to pitch up our tents and start the process of lighting fire and cooking.
  7. After a good dinner amongst the night skies, it is time to go to sleep.

Day 07: BALING – DUKTU (6kms) (3050meters)

  1. After you cross Baling, you will realize that was the last village of Darma valley that remains populated even in the winters. 
  2. From here it is another 6kms of the trek which will take you nearly 5-6hours. 
  3. There is no rush, the motive of this journey is to savor every moment of it. 
  4. The moment you enter Duktu, it will feel like you are standing at the doorway towards heaven. 
  5. Time to put your bags down while you watch the majestic and enchanting Panchachuli peaks right in front of you. 
  6. Time for little snacks while you remain mesmerized by the beauty of the place.

A note to fellow travelers, from here you can also head towards Panchachuli Base Camp covering a distance of 8 km.
You can also head back following the same way!

A note to fellow travelers, you can come back the other way and take a halt in Munsiyari if you are interested in the
Trek To Khaliya Top

Basic Preparation Before Going to Darma Valley

The fact is that we have all been mesmerized by the beauty of nature and yet we also have seen the harshness and devastation nature can cause on the surroundings and one’s mind and body. 

Everyone can do this trek, but you must train yourself, physically and mentally for the journey you’d be going on. Get yourself a full body check-up before you leave as It is always good to be prepared.

All it takes is being extra conscious about the preparations and training before you leave. Along with the pre-hand preparations, one must make a list of every important thing you will require to follow up on this journey.

 As you can only set yourself free within such a majestic place when you have everything you need to not just enjoy but be safe as well. 

Trekking Gear

  • A pair of proper trekking shoes as a normal pair of shoes will not cut it.
  • A rain-proof pair of clothes. 
  • A proper 50-60ltr rucksack with rainproof cover. 
  • Must carry a trekking pole or a walking stick.
  • Warm clothes including, gloves, jacket, socks and maybe a shall. 
  • A headlamp or a torch
  • Must always carry your identity documents. 
  • Do not forget toiletries, garbage bags, jungle knives, Matchbox, or a lighter and water bottle.

Medical Kit & Supplies

Although there will be a full medical kit and supplies provided by the tours and travel company. 

  • First, if you have a serious medical condition, carry your medicines. As for Asthmatic patients, it is a must to carry their inhaler and an oxygen pump. 
  • Must carry all essential medicines for, stomachache, headache, etc. 
  • All kinds of Band-Aids for injuries.

Now that you are completely equipped and prepared for the journey that lies ahead. You cannot just enjoy but relax with your mind and body at ease.

Seasonal Guide to Darma Valley

Being so close to the Himalayas Darma valley is not accessible throughout the year. But with the arrival of Summers, the weather and even the entire valley welcomes you to its enchanting beauty of Waterfalls and forests and the mighty Panchachuli Peaks. 

And soon the Monsoon arrives, making Darma valley inaccessible again, due to massive rainfalls and even landslides. 

Now comes a small gateway during October and September when you can again visit Darma valley and see a whole other side of the place. This time when the rains stop and the meadows, forests are greener and denser. 

Along with the chilliness in the wind, you get to be one with the isolation of Darma valley as during these months, not many people visit this place.

Now comes the winters, when every little beauty of Darma valley goes hibernating under a thick furry blanket of Snow, making it inaccessible all over again. 

But that comes along with all the perks of being a traveler, the long waiting for a place to be accessible!

Why One Must Visit Darma Valley?

First of all because by now you already want to. 

A valley like no other, where you get to experience the true remoteness of these tiny little villages in the higher regions. Every experience you will gain here would be an extreme one, from peace till adventure. 

Well, this trek brings along an interesting opportunity to gain more knowledge on the Trek to Adi Kailash before you come back the next time.

Darma valley, a place giving you an opportunity of touching a Glacier, while you trek hand in hand with the river flowing right next to you.

Last but not the least, make sure you don’t leave your garbage behind and experience the same enchanting beauty of Darma valley when next time you are here.