Where to travel
Walking the daylong steep trail hemmed with thick vegetation, linking Malla to Kush Kalyan (Khush Kalian), is rewarding for three reasons. From the rolling pastures of Kush Kalyan, the first glimpse of Jaonli Peak in the northeast and the Bandarpunch peaks in the north west will enthrall you irrespective of the season. Many of the white slopes of the meadow in winter are just perfect for skiing. If you trek during summer, you will definitely meet shepherds with their flocks. However, purposes of both the visitors conflict: You want pleasure, whereas the shepherds are in search of a bare necessity.
What to do & see:
Kush Kalyan, an alpine meadow in Bhatwari Block, Uttarkashi District (Uttarakhand, India), is less than fifty (50) kilometers from the district headquarter Uttarkashi (1,158 meters). The undulating meadow reaches to 3,868 meters.
Walk at a steady pace as the uphill trail moves through the luxuriant forest. Many whispers will fall on your ears, visuals will treat your eyes and smells will please your nose.
From the meadow, you can gaze at Jaonli Peak’s (6,632 meters) grey steep faces devoid of vegetation and partly dabbed with pure white color. You can capture the steep faces and the cirques occupying its slopes and feeding various glaciers, including 12-km long Jaonli Bamak (glacier).
Next train your cameras at Kalanag (6,387 meters), Bandarpunch I (6,316 meters) and Bandarpunch West / Bandarpunch II (6,102 meters) peaks of the Bandarpunch Range to capture their moods changing with the Sun movement.
If speed thrills you, glide over / ski the slopes of the meadow. If you are planning to visit during January, keep time to participate in Bhagirathi Fair. The fair is held at Uttarkashi on Makar Sankranti that falls during January. Deities from near by villages assemble here during the fair.
In summer, interact with the shepherds who enjoy company of their flocks and scenic beauty. Flocks graze at fresh grass and wildflowers while shepherds direct them and gaze at the mysterious mountains carpeted with flora, snow and / or nothing.
There are two approaches to the meadow:
Lata (1,700 meters)-Belak (2,570 meters): approximately 16-km trek
Belak-Kush Kalyan: approximately 14-km trek
Malla (2,000 meters)-Kush Kalyan: approximately 16-km trek
When to go
Skiing: December to March
How to reach
Delhi to Dehradun
Air India (AI) and Jet Airways (9W) fly on Delhi-Dehradun route. The AI and 9W one-way fares start from INR 4,095.00 and INR 5,050.00 respectively. The fares may vary with time of booking, season… The AI flights are available on all days of the week except Thursday, whereas 9W flights fly on all days of the week.
If your budget is small, you can travel by train. Six trains connect Delhi to Dehradun: Dehradun Express, Dehradun Shatabadi, Ind DDN Express, DDN Janshatabadi, Mussoorie Express and NDLS DDN AC Express.
Daily Dehradun Shatabadi starts at 6:50 AM from New Delhiand takes about six hours to reach Dehradun. You can choose from the First Class and Chair Car bogies. Chair Car fare amounts to INR 470.00 per person.
You can even catch a bus from Inter State Bus Terminal (I.S.B.T.) in Delhi for Dehradun. The bus fare starts from INR 350.00 per passenger for a non-AC bus.
Dehradun to Uttarkashi
This road trip is approximately162 kilometers long. You can board a bus from I.S.B.T. Dehradun.
Delhi to Rishikesh / Haridwar
Although there is no direct train connecting Delhi to Rishikesh, a number of trains connect Delhi to Haridwar that is approximately 25 kilometersbefore Rishikesh.
Alternatively, take a direct bus from I.S.B.T.,Delhito Haridwar to cover slightly more than 200-kilometer journey.
Rishikesh to Uttarkashi
Uttarkashi is approximately145 kilometersfrom Rishikesh. Only option to cover this stretch is road.
Uttarkashi to Lata / Malla
A short drive from Uttarkashi will take you to Lata and Malla villages, the starting points for the trek. Lata is approximately 25 kilometersfrom Uttarkashi and approximately three (3) kilometers further is Malla.
You can book a room at Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam (GMVN) hotel in Uttarkashi. The tariff ranges from INR 130.00 per bed in dormitory to INR 2,200.00 for a super deluxe room. However, the tariff varies from season to season.