One of the shortest yet iconic treks in the Indian Himalaya is the Kuari Pass trek in Garhwal. Also known as the Curzon Trail because of the fact that the former Viceroy,Lord Curzon had trekked there for the views in 1905, the pass is an important one. Before the motorable road from Rishikesh to Joshimath was completed in the 1960s, the shortest way to access the Alaknanda Valley and Badrinath was via this trail. As a result the Kuari Pass finds mention in some of the well known accounts of mountain exploration of the 20th century, including Eric Shipton's Nanda Devi, Bill Tilman's The Ascent of Nanda Devi and Frank Smythe's The Valley of Flowers, among others. The 4,264m pass lies on the shoulder of a high ridge that overlooks the confluence of the Alaknanda and Dhauli Ganga Rivers and offers a fantastic 180° view of the Garhwal Himalaya, from the Kedarnath and Kedar Dome peaks to the northwest through Chaukhamba, Neelkanth, Kamet, Hathi Parbat, Ghori Parbat to the north and Dunagiri, Nanda Devi and Trisul to the east through southeast. And its not just the mountains. From here you can view miles and miles of Himalayan ridges, emerald bugyals, streams, gorges and beautiful wildflowers. Simply put, this is a trek every Himalayan lover must do.
While many Himalayan trek operators offer this trek, one of the best operators you can go with is the award winning Aquaterra Adventures (aquaterra.in). They're organising a Kuari Pass trek (click on the link to know more) for 7 days between April 21-28. This doesn't follow the longer trail from the south, but instead climbs up the north face of the Kuari ridge from Joshimath in the Alaknanda Valley. The trek proper begins from the Auli meadows, through Gorson and Tali bugyals to the campsite of Khulara. The views get better as you climb higher, until the literal pinnacle is reached with the dawn view of the mountains from atop Kuari Pass. From here the trail goes back down the north face towards the Dhauli Ganga Valley to the hot springs of Tapovan. Apart from the mountains, there're forests, meadows and much natural beauty for you to savour. The trek ends at Tapovan, from where you drive to Pipalkoti and then to Haridwar for the train to Delhi.