The Rupin Pass trek is full of surprises. But these surprises require a keen eye or they pass by unnoticed. So here’s what you should watch out for when trekking to the Rupin Pass. Look out for them.
1. Barely 20 minutes into the trek from Dhaula – and after a short climbing bout – the trail evens out. As soon as the climb turns gradual, the entire Rupin fans out into the wide valley bed below you.
2. This surprise waits in the form of a watch tower. It is a temple, really. A Kinnauri temple, and one that you would find only if you ask villagers directions to it. It stands four-storeys tall and has a cabin on top. Indeed, it’s a unique work of architecture and unlike any temple that you must have seen elsewhere.
3. There will be a day when you will cross a rickety bridge over Rupin’s tributary early in the morning. Spend some time on this old wooden bridge. It separates the state of Uttarakhand from Himachal Pradesh.
4. You will come across a post office of Jiksun village. But that’s not a surprise. Trek past it and you will notice a cluster of houses hanging off the mountainside. Yes, that’s it. The hanging village of Jhaka is the next surprise.
5. The next unexpected moment awaits right outside Jhaka village. A jungle of tall pine trees. The scene changes suddenly, as if you have walked through a gate. There are also Maple trees playing hide and seek amidst the pines. And this forest ends as suddenly as it had begun, right over the confluence of Rupin’s tributary.
6. Next is a colourful treat of Rhododendron. This begins just past Buras Kandi. A riot of pink, white and violet Rhododendrons take you by surprise. These Rhodos stoop low into the Ruoin river, kissing the water sometimes and getting carried away with the water.
7. The next twist appears in the form of U-shaped glacial valley of Rupin. This happens soon after the Rhododendrons fade out of view. And soon the three stages of Rupin valley are seen. They look like falling clouds.
8. The sight from Saruwas Thatch is the next big surprise – a scene out of a picture book. Below, Rupin gently flows through the greenest of meadows. Accompanied steadily by snow patches sticking to valley walls.
9. Watch out for the three snow bridges you have to cross on your way to Dhanderas Thatch. While snow bridges are common on slopes, to see them on a wide open valley is a surprise.
10. The final ridge of Upper Waterfall is unlike any place you must’ve ever been to. It’s a large basin of icy flanks that melt and trickle into numerous tributaries that join to form the Rupin river.
11. The final push will be through a narrow gully. Not many must’ve experienced such a climb. And so it’s an experience new to many. Something you might not be prepared for.
12. The final one – kind of a cherry on top – are the towering summits of Kinnar Kailash that spring up unannounced after you trek out of Ronti Gad on the Sangla side.
Rupin Pass trek promises to be a delight with its plentiful snow. We are looking forward to taking you there.