Aren’t you just done with the pandemic and having to live with the same people? As done as done could be. Wouldn’t it be nice to escape to a remote land and make friends with some lovely locals? Absolutely. Blessed with snow-capped Himalayas, gorgeous river views and dense birch forests, Darma Valley in Uttarakhand’s Kumaon could be just the kind of deep seclusion travel getaway that you have been looking for.
Nestled in Pithoragarh, the pristine valley is nothing less than a heaven for nature lovers and solace seekers. Encompassed by the Kuthi Yangti Valley and Lassar Yangti Valley, Darma Valley is shaped by the gurgling Darma River. Located at an altitude of 3470m, the valley offers spectacular views of the glorious Panchachuli peaks.
Home to 12 tribal villages, the valley draws tourists and backpackers with its unique experiences. Most people come here to undertake the popular Darma Valley trek and also to experience the unparalleled hospitality of the warm locals, who love hosting them in their homestays.The valley is perched near the Indo-China border and is endowed with a rich floral variety. Orchids are the most grown flowers here. It is also home to alpine meadows and magnificent waterfalls.
Darma Valley is also seeped in Indian myths and legends. If mythology is to be believed, this is where the Pandavas had cooked their last meal, on the Panchachuli peaks, on their way to heaven.
The Darma Valley Trek
One of the most enchanting Himalayan treks, the Darma Valley trek is not for beginners. A bit strenuous, it could be accomplished if you are using the right techniques.
The trek begins from Sobla, goes through Dar village and moves towards Duktu and Dantu villages via Sela and Bailing. The part that involves crossing the soaring glaciers is a tad challenging but the views are every bit rewarding.
Duktu’s alpine meadows are perhaps the best place to appreciate the Panchachuli peaks. The trek takes you through cosy hamlets, little villages, shimmering rivulets and divine meadows, making it an absolute delight for those who love mountains.
The best season to go for the nine-day-long trek is during the months of September and October and May and June.
When to go: April-June; September-October
Activities in Darma Valley: Trekking, Camping, Village Tourism
District Tourism Development Officer
Where to Stay:
Hotel Jyonar Palace
Location Nagar Palika Chowk, Simalgair Bazaar Tel 223118, 6223031 Cell 07579064589 W
hoteljyonarpalace.com Rooms 24 Tariff Rs 750-990 Facilities Restaurant
Manas Hotel KMVNL
Location Dharchula Tel 05967-222557 Cell 07579231550 Rooms 21 Tariff Rs 900-950 Facilities Restaurant (food on request), attached bath
TRH Dugtu KMVNL
Location Dugtu Cell 07579231550 Rooms 6 Igloo huts Tariff Rs 1,500/person +meals Facilities kitchen with local food, 2 baths/Igloo
Air Pantanagar is the nearest airport. Taxis to Dharchula cost around Rs700 per head and it takes 8 to 9 hours to reach there from the airport. Pantnagar is also well-connected to Haldwani, Dharchula and Dugtu by bus
Rail Tanakpur Railway Station is the nearest Railway Station at 250km. Taxis to Dharchula cost Rs700 per head and the journey is around 8-9 hours long
Road Buses and taxis to Pithoragarh and its important towns are easily available from Delhi to Dharchula and major cities of Pithoragarh district like Almora, Champawat and Tanakpur
Earlier the last motorable road head was Dar (42 km from Dharchula), now it has been extended till Dugtu. Dar serves as the starting point of the trek to Darma Village. One can hire a taxi from Dharchula to Dar or till Sobla or till Dugtu. Sobla marks the entry point of Darma Valley and lies 5 km before Dar
Road Route via NH74 Delhi-Kathgodam-Almora-Dharchula- Tawaghat-Sobla-Dar-Sela-Baling-Duktu-Dantu