A tale of Rudra


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Ever since Covid had bogged us down, I was itching to do a trek, but something or the other always played spoilsport to my plans. Finally this year in August (11th - 13th), I was able to do the Rudranath trek and pay my obeisance to Lord Rudranath. The journey was from Noida > Gopeshwar > Rudranath > Gopeshwar > Noida.

The following log is about the same. I’ll start with few customary intro pictures.






Active Member
Apologies for being so late in updating. Need to seriously sort out my work-life balance

Let me start by listing the items carried for the trek –
  • Rain pant – 1
  • Poncho – 1
  • Umbrella – 1
  • Half zip fleece – 1
  • Wind proof jacket – 1
  • Warmers (upper + lower) – 1
  • Cap fleece – 1
  • Cap baseball – 1
  • Trek pants – 2
  • Cotton t-shirt – 1
  • Dry fit t-shirts full sleeve – 2
  • Dry fit t-shirts half sleeve – 1
  • Under garments – 3
  • Microfiber towel – 1
  • Socks – 3
  • Hand towel – 1
  • Scarf / Bandana – 1
  • Camera – 1
  • Lens – 1 (16-80 mm)
  • Battery – 2
  • Filters – 1 CPL
  • Power bank – 1 (20,000 mAh)
  • Phone – 1
  • Water proof cover for phone – 1
  • Head lamp – 1
  • Torch – 1
  • First Aid kit – 1
  • Toiletries
  • Hand sanitizers – 1
  • Wet wipes – 1
  • Cables & chargers – 1
  • Rucksack – 1 (40 lt.)
  • Day pack – 1 (15 lt.)
  • Dry bag – 1 (20 lt.)
  • Trekking shoes – 1
  • Sandals – 1
  • Food items –
  • Dry fruits
  • Chocolates
  • Mints / Polo
  • Water bottle – 1

Items not used –
  • First Aid
  • Torch
Items sorely missed –
  • Sunscreen
  • Trekking hat anti UV (Boonies hat)
  • Sunglasses
  • Tripod
Total weight – 7 Kgs

Day 0 + Day 1

  • Day 0 - The day I actually reach the trek beginning point. Mostly involves travelling by train /car / bus.
  • Day 1 - 1st Day of trek
That out of the way, let's start the journey.

Day 0 (11th August) -
Day started with, how it always starts, us hunting for an darned Uber/ Ola to drop us to the Railway station on time, so we don't end up watching it (train) go past us. IMHO it (getting them to accept the ride) was much harder than the climb to Panar.

* 'Us' = Me + rest of family (It was vacation time, Rakhi + Independence day, a real one for me.)

Finally, Dehradun Shatabdi chugs along and I am on my way.

Reached Haridwar by 11:30 am. Plan was to cover as much distance today as possible.

I knew reaching Gopeshwar was close to impossible, so anywhere between Rudraprayag to Karnaprayag was an acceptable outcome.

Caught a taxi from Rishikesh; why not Haridwar itself?. I was not aware they plied from Haridwar, yeah big surprise

Anyways, the taxi was till Karnaprayag. So day 0 target checked.

While I was browsing for any cheap + clean accommodation in Karnaprayag, a passenger boarded our taxi. And guess what, he was going to Gopeshwar. Had a car parked in Karnaprayag and would drive from there on.

I unabashedly asked if he could drop me and he agreed.

Voila...Day 0 target = 110% overachieved.

Day ended in a GMNV dormitory and slumbering off.

No pictures for the day, was cooped up in the car.


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Day 1(12th August) - Magic begins.

I had woken up early, and was ready to depart by 6:30 am. But guess what, it was raining. Eventually stepped out and looked around for a taxi to Sagar; was told they would not start before 8:30.

I guess the trek begins early then.

Add ~4 km to the total distance. But it was a good warmup. Plus point – got to check my umbrella + poncho (they worked, no leakages.... yippee :) )


enroute Gangol-gaon

Reached Gangol gaon in ~ 45 mins.

*There are 2 gates to start Rudranath trek. First one is at Gangol gaon, other is at Sagar.

By now it had sort of dried up. So re-packed and off I went.

Trust me, the climb hits you from the start itself.

*If someday I list out my enemies, Stairs will be the first one on the list.

And this route was only stairs. And humid

Gopeshwar is hardly ~1300m in elevation, Gangol Gaon is ~1700m. Add a clustered village + Madua (Ragi) crop + rains = humidity.

Was told by villagers to keep on asking for directions as the route is not very well marked due to monsoons.

At one point in the jungle I did feel lost, finally was able to figure out the way and managed to reach the 1st dhaba at Chandrakoti.

Not much to write except the darned climb, so will let pictures do the talking.



the dense jungle

In some time I reached Pung bugiyal. 1st break. Had tea + Maggie.


Pung bugiyal

Caught up with a group from Chennai. They were doing Panch Kedar. 3 elderly men + 1 female + 1 young adult.

They had completed, Kedarnath + Madhyamaheshwar + Tungnath last week.

For Rudranath they hired horses as fatigue had caught up with them. Hat off to their grit.

Soon after they left the jungle beckoned me, and off I went.


Trust me, all the energy from Maggie + tea lasted for a whole of 1 full minute :shock:

And we were back to the joint breaking climb.

Funnily, as per the locals, the actual climb does not start till Gim-Gima Paani.

I really need to revisit my definitions of hard. Or maybe they theirs.

Encountered some gorgeous waterfalls and ferns.


a collage of waterfalls


some ferns

Took break number2 (don't know the name of the place), had only tea.

This was just after the 2nd bridge.


some fungi

Had a conversation with the shop owner over chai about his life, tourism, and wild animals especially Himalayan bears.

After a hearty rest, up we go.

Damn this is really hard. The steepness kills you, and there is no respite. It’s just continuous uphill.

But the views more than made up for this hardship.


fog closing in


flowers of Rudranath

Took my 3rd break at Lwiti bugiyal. Had Maggie and tea.

Met a lot of people coming down, apparently a 'mela' / fair is held at Rudranath mandir on Rakhi every year.

People were telling me, I missed the bhandara / feast, and I was thinking, lucky me, there won't be a crowd at the temple.

Different priorities I guess.

Panar is approx. 1Km from here and no surprises, it is steep as hell.


Panar almost!

But it is worth it.
Took a tent at the only camp, and went off to explore Panar.

Wow it is absolutely gorgeous. Pictures won't do justice to this beauty.



Panar bugiyal

There's a dilapidated Forest hut, a small pond and even horses and sheep.


horses and mountains


sheep in Panar

It had cleared up quite a bit, so I could see the 4 pillars of Mt Chaukhamba.


Spent almost 2 hours in the bugiyal. Clicked few pictures but was mostly engaged in soaking up the silence.


horses redux


There was no one there except me and mother nature.


a bright spot

Even the sunset was gorgeous or maybe I had forgotten how beautiful it always is, being confined to Delhi-NCR.


last lights


Will end the day with one last picture.


this is bliss

Adios amigos, tomorrow we go to see Lord Rudranath.



Active Member
  • Day 2 (13th August) –

It was almost a full moon night, so no star lit nights. Wanted to go out and shoot some pictures, then decided against it. Wanted to conserve batteries, plus was very tired.
Had a quick dinner, and fell asleep soon after.

Woke up to a clear morning. Not a speck of clouds in the sky.
Rushed outside and saw that the sun was not fully out, picked up my stuff and ran over to Panar. Didn't want to miss sunrise.
Saw this on the way up....


first light -

And was just in time for this.


sunrise on Panar-

Ohh..the glory that is Panar during sunrise.
Golden light shining on the pond, the glass blades...it was absolutely glorious.


morning in Panar -

But soon enough it was too much light, is there is a thing as too much light.
Apparently, there is such a thing for the darned camera.


Chaukhamba from Panar -


just a peak-scape -

Just sat there...and feasting my eyes. Soon it was time for feasting the tummy too.
Descended to my camp for breakfast. Packed up my stuff and proceeded to leave for Rudranath.

It's great day for hiking, except I did not bring the darned sun cap and sun block.
Ahhh.. the joys of not listening to your wife's advice.

Managed to leave at almost 8:30 am for Rudranath.


time to say bye bye Panar -


Panar and peaks -


the goddess -

I had 2 hours at the max before clouds cover the peaks. So proceeded to click as many pictures as possible.


some grass-scape -


Panar is huge -

Few handhelds of the prominent peaks. Sorry don't know the names of most of them except Nanda Devi.
Sorely missed Peak finder app.
Note to self - Install Peak Finder before next trek.


peak 1 -


peak 2 -


goddess Nanda devi -


peak 3 -


Dumak from Panar -


way to Pitra dhar -


peak-scape -

Till Pitradhar, the route is uphill. Not a killing uphill like yesterday, but a gradual climb.
Only pain point, there is no water between Panar and Pitra Dhar.
Rather water is available only at Panch Ganga, some 1km from Pitra Dhar.

Thankfully I had filled up my bottle at the camp itself. The next day, saw many people struggling with lack of water.


chasing shadows -

Anyways, did meet up with the folks from Chennai I had met yesterday at Pung bugiyal.
A brief meet and greet and we went our separate ways.


Toli taal and Panar -

The entire route was eerily quiet. I liked that, met only 3 people between Panar and Pitr Dhar. 2 trekkers, and 1 shepherd.

The shepherd was an interesting fellow. He had a flock of almost 500 sheep and 4 huge dogs. But they were such darlings.
2 of them were super cuddly, and they happen to greet by licking your face.

Apparently, there was a mini sheep jam, so I just sat and conversed with him, about his life and work in general.
Post the mini jam I was off to Pitra dhar.


sheep jam -

Had a mini break at Pitradhar as I was halfway through.


Pitra dhar -

The first thing you notice post Pitra dhar, is this huge peak.


And the second thing is the garland of rivers around a bugiyal, not sure which one it is.


garland of rivers -

As per the information I had collected, it was supposed to be all downhill now.
In reality it was more of rolling hills, up and down, to be fair its more down than up.


rolling hills of Rudranath -

Met quite a few people returning from Rudranath. Some of them had done the climb (from Rudranath to Pitra dhar) in ~ 2 hrs.
I thought that was amazing.

Reached Panch Ganga and had drank almost a bucket full of water.
Was parched, remember told you it was a cloudless day. "Ra" was at his full glory.
Sorely missed the hat and sunglasses.
Should have listened to her advice.

Boy! this place sure did have some gorgeous flowers.


few flowers potraits -

Had a brief rest at the Panch ganga.


It is a gorgeous place. Wild flowers blooming everywhere and a stream of water running amidst them.
So peaceful, was seriously contemplating a nap.

Instead.... took a cold shower. Ohh.. it was so so refreshing.
It would surely be a toss between the flowers and shower :lol:


portrait -


flower scape 2-

After resting for some more, slumbered along the path. It was such a beautiful pathway. A light breeze was blowing, and you could see tufts of grass waving. Felt as if they were waving to me.


portrait 2-

Soon I reached the point from where we have the first view of Rudranath Temple.


first darshan -

What a soothing sight it is. As if all the tiredness is lost and fresh energy is flowing through you, rejuvenated is the word


mini bugiyals -

But it is still some way to reach the temple. After crossing a few mini bugiyals, soon was at the temple doors.


almost there -

Rang the bell and announced myself.
It was 2PM. Still had 4 hours before the evening aarti. Spent lot of that time just sitting silently and soaking in the divine aura.


Lord Rudranath -

Strangely, I was the only visitor at that time, not that I was complaining. That did change later on in the evening. Still we were only about 20 odd people at Rudranath that day.
Had a good discussion with Pandit ji on matters of the mortal and spiritual realm.

One important thing to note - The private hotel / guest house (paid accommodation) is the first one after the FRH (Forest rest house). I had planned to stay in temple premises, so chose to ignore it.
Stay at temple is in the dharmshalas (dormitories). And is free of charge, you only pay for food.


climb for tomorrow -

About the temple, as it is with other panch kedars, it commands a majestic view.
The temple pandit ji jokingly mentioned earlier, that their power bank is the goddess Nanda Devi. One look at her and you have all the energy you need.


goddess Nanda devi - the power bank -

Sunset was a glorious affair, but was unable to see any of the orange-red peaks stuff, they (mountains) chose to hide behind a cloud cover you see.


hide and seek -

Last one for the day -


Soon enough it was time for evening aarti (prayers).
Man! what an aarti it is. The atmosphere is absolutely electrifying.
Maybe it was just me, but I swear I could feel the raw energy surging through the temple, and through me. Had goosebumps for the entire duration of aarti (evening prayers).

Soon it ended, and we all were given Brahma Kamal (Saussurea obvallata), state flower of Uttarakhand) as prasadam.

A magnificent end to a wonderful day.

Cheerio amigos :)