I had just heard one of the members talk about solo trekking in my local trekking group. The idea seemed fascinating to me. I had been on 10 treks in the Himalayas thus far, and all of them were in a group. By now, I had a good grip of the techniques of trekking. It was time to venture on my own.
I researched (by which I mean, Google, of course) to find that the Churdhar Peak trek was a trek that could be managed alone. It was also outside of the Himalayas. It was a double score, and I wasn't going to miss it for anything in the world.
Churdhar Peak is located in the Sirmour district of Himachal Pradesh. Also called Churi Chandni, meaning "mountain in bangles of snow", one gets to witness amazing snow clad ranges and peaks of Badrinath and Kedarnath.
PC : Ramantharki
At an elevation of just under 12000 ft above the sea level, Churdhar is the highest peak which is not in the Himalayas. This peak is visible from Simla, Kasauli and Kufri, owing to its height. There is a Lingam dedicated to Lord Shiva right under the peak.
This is a famous trekking haven, because of the well-defined trails. The north face of the mountain is covered with snow for almost six months and the peak is hardly higher than the east-west ridgeline bifurcating the rivers Giri and Tons.
There are three routes to approach Churdhar Peak. Chaupal, located in the district of Shimla is the shortest route with a trek distance of 7 km. Haripurdhar in Sirmour district involves trekking a longer distance of 50 km. Nohradhar is the most preferable route and it is a 20 km trek uphill. Nohradhar is a hamlet on the Solan-Rajghat-Sangrah road. It is around 390 km from Delhi.
PC : Ashish Gupta
Best Time To Take Up This Trek
November to March is the best time to go on this trek. The snowfall is not blinding as the peak is not exactly in the Himalayas. However, there is still quite a good amount of snow to enjoy the trek.
Things To Carry On The Trek
Trekking stick, trek shoes, woollen clothes, water bottles, energy drinks, snacks, head lamp, medical kit, sleeping tent, compass, socks, gloves, thermals, raincoat, poncho and an extra set of clothes are all that you need to go on this trek.
This is a short trek and a very popular trail. The roads are marked clearly. There is no necessity to engage a guide as there are many people trekking here. You can join them if you reach early in the day.
Day 1: Nohradhar-Teesri
PC : Anilthakur878
The starting bit of the trail is filled with rocks and only a good pair of trekking shoes will help you get through it. 30 minutes into the trek, the trail started becoming more defined. The views now were nothing short of divine. I passed through mostly lush green meadows and lean forests.
On the way, there are many potential camping spots. But I was set on making to Teesri for camping. On walking another 3 km, I reached Jamnala. There are a few shops here to make any emergency purchases. I had tea and refreshed myself. There is a facility to fill up water bottles here.
On a trek, it is always advisable to fill up the bottle whenever you get the chance, because it is extremely uncertain when you will be able to find water next. You can also stay at Jamnala for the night - there are plenty of options available.
PC : Anilthakur878
I started walking again to hit Teesri. This was a good 5 km stretch. The trail passed through dense forests. This route is pretty much straightforward. In about 2 h, I reached Teesri. I had carried basic utensils with me. I made tea and Maggi for myself. I camped here for the night with the tent I had carried.
It is advisable to carry your own tent if you are trekking alone. There might or might not be accommodation facilities and it is best not to leave such things to luck or chance.
Day 2: Teesri-Churdhar Peak-Nohradhar
PC : Lavleet kumar
I woke up early in the morning as the day was going to require a lot of walking. I had bread and tea for breakfast and started trekking. It was a pretty forthright route. After some time, the rocky paths filled with boulders made way to meadows. The sight was very pleasing to the tired eyes.
At this point, there are two routes leading to Churdhar Peak. The shorter one is 4 km long and goes to the peak directly. This is a steep path. The longer one is 7 km long and goes to a temple before hitting the peak. As I wanted to pray, I took the longer route.
This trail started passing through forests. Between a lot of ascents and descents, I had managed to empty my water bottles. Luckily, there were many small streams and I filled up my bottles. I reached the temple and offered prayers.
PC : Anilthakur878
By God's grace, I had reached the temple right in time for Langar. It is a sort of community cooking in Gurudwaras. After a nice and warm lunch, I started walking in the direction of Churdhar Peak again. It was 2 km away. From this vantage point, the idol of Lord Shiva was apparently evident.
The trail only got steeper from here. After a lot of rock-climbing, I reached the peak after 2 h. It was a sight that could move mountains. Pun intended. There was no peak higher than Churdhar Peak and I was quite literally on top of the world.
I took in the views and enjoyed some alone time. There were probably 2-3 people with me on the peak at that point of time. Then I started to descend to reach Nohradhar before dusk. I reached Nohradhar before 3 p.m. and waited to take the last bus to Solan, which was at 4 p.m.
It was an amazing trek, mostly because I could enjoy solitude with the mountains at every point. I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone who wishes to go on a solo trek.