The highest trek in the outer Himalayan region, Churdhar lies at an altitude of 3655 meters and offers spectacular views. Once at the highest point you can witness some of the most famous snow clad Himalayan peaks like the Kedarnath, Badrinath, Kinner Kailash, and Shrikhand Mahadev. The trek also comprises a variety of terrains which makes it extremely interesting among trekkers from all across the country.
The trek is situated in the Sirmour district of the Himachal Pradesh and translates to mountains in the bangles of snow. The peak is known for its exceptional height and is also visible from various parts of the state including Shimla, Kufri, and Kasauli. Once at the very top, you will be greeted by a gigantic statue of Lord Shiva which immediately transports you to tales from Indian epics like the Mahabharata and Ramayana.
Popularly known as the Churi Chandni Dhar, the trek has been named after Shri Chureshwar or Shirgul Maharaj who, according to the local population, were residents here many years ago. One of the most striking features of the Churdhar trek is the Churdhar wildlife sanctuary that boasts exotic wildlife including the Himalayan Black Bear, Musk deer Langur, and many others. Enjoy your stay at exquisite campsites where you will be put up in tents amid lush valleys, forests, and mountains.
Maximum altitude: 3,655 meters
Duration: 2 nights and 3 days
Trekking distance: 32 km
Trail type: Steep hills, forests, and moraine
Rail head: Solan
Airport: Jubbarhatti airport, Shimla
Snow Season: December to April
Service from: Chandigarh
Base camp: Dharampur
Best season: Summer season, May to November
Region: Sirmaur district of Himachal Pradesh
Who can participate:The Churdhar trek is considered to be of an easy – moderate difficulty level and hence can be participated by both novices and experienced trekkers. It requires a reasonable level of physical fitness and if you have any sort of chronic illness, you should consult a medical practitioner prior to the expedition.
Itinerary at a glance
Day 1: Shimla to SaronStart your day early in the morning at Shimla and then reach Saron around midday. End your day camping in tents under the stars.
Day 2: Kalabang base camp to Churdhar templeStart your trek from the base camp at Kala Bang all the way to the Churdhar summit and then start your downward trek to the campsite
Day 3: 6kms trek from Kalabang tosaran and drive from saran to ShimlaBegin your downward trek to Saron early the next morning and continue on your onward journey all the way to Shimla.
Shimla to Saron
Get a pick up facility from your doorstep at the hotel or the Shimla ISBT at around 5:30 AM.
You will be driven from Shimla and after about 4 or 5 hours at approximately 10 AM, you will reach Saran. Halt at Saran for a while to have a sumptuous breakfast and also to pack lunch for your onward journey.
Begin your trek at around 11 AM and return to the campsite by around 4 PM.
Enjoy snacks at the camp once you return and then dinner is served by 8 PM. After dinner, you can engage in certain recreational activities that are conducted here.
You will spend the night in tents at the camp under the stars.
Kalabang base camp to Churdhar temple
Start your second day of Churdhar trekking early and soon after having breakfast and getting a packed lunch, you embark of your trek
Start your trek from the base camp at Kala Bang all the way to Churdhar Temple which will take approximately 2.5 to 3 hours
You will see a stark alteration in terrain and landscape as you cross the tree line and the number of trees start diminishing
Reach the temple site at around noon and stop for a while to take lunch here.
Continue your trek after lunch all the way towards the Churdhar summit which lies at a distance of just 1 km from the temple
Get mesmerizing views of some of the most popular Himalayan peaks from the summit before embarking on your downward journey towards the base camp at Jam Nallah. You should reach the campsite by around 6 PM.
6kms trek from Kalabang tosaran and drive from saran to Shimla
Early the next morning, once you have had a filling breakfast and got your lunch packed, head over to the final leg of your trek.
The trek begins with a downhill trail and you have to traverse downhill until you reach Saran at around 9 am.
Begin your downward trek to Saron early the next morning and continue on your downhill journey until you reach Saran which will be approximately at 9 AM.
The trek to Saran will take you about 2 to 3 hours.
Bring your trek to a close by going back to Shimla, where you had started from. The final part of your tour will be by car where you will be driven from Saran to Shimla.
You will reach Shimla at approximately 8 PM bringing your trek to an end.
Medicines to Carry
2 to 3 layers of warm clothes : You will need at least 2 or 3 layers of warm clothing such as fleece, woolen, and padded jackets as the temperatures during sundown drops to around 2-6 degrees Celsius.
2 sets of trek pants : You should carry an extra pair in case one gets wet
2 collared t-shirts : these should be preferably full sleeved to prevent sun burns on your neck and arms.
Thermals : you can carry these to wear at night.
Sunglasses : This will prevent snow blindness
Suncap : You can also use a baklava or a woolen scarf
Trekking shoes: It is very important that you get good quality trekking shoes with proper grip.
Backpack: Carry a 40-60 liters capacity backpack with sturdy straps, supporting frame, and a rain cover.
Original and photocopy of government photo identity card- These could include driving license, voters ID, Aadhar card, etc.
Medical Certificate and Disclaimer- This has to be downloaded and filled by the trekker
Medical certificate: This has to be downloaded by you and filled by a doctor.
The Churdhar trek takes you through a picturesque trail through mountain peaks, lush valleys, forests, and meadows. Like any other trek around the Himalayas, this also requires adequate preparation and certain important things that you should keep in mind to make your expedition a smooth and memorable one.
Carry a good camera with spare batteries and memory cards as you will come across several places along your trek that are worth capturing. The additional batteries are important as you may not find many places with electricity to charge them.
Do regular physical fitness training as well as exercises for mental endurance from months before the trek as these will assist you a lot during your expedition.
Reach the base camp a few hours prior to your actual trek to acclimatize yourself with the surroundings.
Remember that the last bus from Nohradhar to Solan is at 4 pm and to Rajgarh is at around 6.30 pm. So time yourself accordingly on your return journey or you may have to spend another night at the base camp.
Carry enough cash with you and do not rely on the ATMs at Nohradhar as they are closed on Sundays and other holidays.
You can avail a direct route from Churdhar to Teesri which can save you almost 2 hours. You can learn more about this route from the locals.
Do not remove your sunglasses when in the snow.
Wear collared t-shirts with full sleeves to protect yourself from sunburn.
Opt for a headlamp instead of an LED torch as it becomes extremely easy to work in the darkness when both your hands are free.
You have to first reach Chandigarh from where you will head to the base camp for the Churdhar trek. Chandigarh is well connected with most metro cities in India.
By Air: The nearest airport is the Chandigarh Airport which is well connected with Delhi and other places with daily flights operated by several airlines
By road: You can take a direct road route to Chandigarh from Delhi. You can book a private cab or one of the many buses that ply between the two cities. To reach the base camp at Nohradhar from Chandigarh you can either hire a taxi or opt for the local bus service. There are several buses available at the Sector 43-ISBT at Chandigarh. You have to take the Kalka – Shimla highway from Chandigarh and reach Solan. Once at Solan Bypass Road, you disembark and either start walking or take an auto rickshaw to the D.C. office, Solan, which is a kilometer from the bus stop. From here, you take a bus to Rajgarh and then another bus directly to Nohradhar.
The best time to go on the Churdhar trek is during the summer months preferably in the month of June which is also the peak tourist season here. During this time, the weather remains pleasant and ideal for outdoor activities like camping, and trekking.
Summer season:Summer season usually starts from the months of May and June when the temperatures range between 20 degrees Celsius to 25 degrees Celsius. The weather also remains quite pleasant during this time that helps in the long walks. There is very little snow during this time of the year, although you will still find snow at the peak.
Winter season:Churdhar trek is very different in the winter months than it is during the summers. The level of difficulty rises several notches in the cold season especially because of the amount of snow during this time. Temperatures range between 5 degrees Celsius to 0 degree Celsius during the early winter months.
Monsoon season:Although you can do the Churdhar trek all through the year, it cannot be done during the monsoons. This is because the area receives heavy rainfall during this time leading to road blocks and landslides.
Not many people are aware of the fact that the Churdhar Trek has great historic significance because this is where George Everest had made his astronomical reading of the Himalayan Mountains
Churdhar Peak is surrounded by 56 square km of forest sanctuary which is also home to a large variety of flora and fauna
The Shirgul Devta Temple is situated here at a height of 3640 meters above sea level and is the most famous temple of Lord Shirgul. According to Purana, it is dedicated to Lord Shiva and dates back to almost 5000 years
There is a massive and intimidating idol of Lord Shiva placed at the jaw-dropping altitude of 3647 meters above sea level. The climb to the idol is steep and fraught with difficulty.
The Churdhar peak is only marginally higher than the long east-west ridgeline that separates the rivers Tons and Giri.
The peak retains some amount of snow all through the year and is visible from different parts of Himachal Pradesh such as Shimla, Kasauli, Kufri, and Solan.
If you are a trekking enthusiast and looking for a scenic trail yet with not very high levels of difficulty, the Churdhar Trek is the perfect option for you. With a modest elevation of about 12,000 feet, this is also the highest peak outside the Himalayan range. Make an ascent to the iconic spot where George Everest made his astronomical reading of the Himalayan Mountains. The trek is extremely picturesque, comprises different terrains, and offers mesmerizing views of snow clad peaks of Kedarnath and Badrinath. It takes you through the spectacular and dense forests of Deodar and lush green terraced fields as well as the Gujjar pasture lands. Get blown by a mammoth sized idol of Lord Shiva at the very peak with snow bathed mountains surrounding you on all sides which leaves you with a sense of awe for mother nature and the modesty of human life.
How safe is the Churdhar trek for first-time trekkers?
Although the Churdhar trek has been classified as an easy-moderate trek, it comprises some steep ascents up to heights of almost 12,000 feet above sea level. This will require certain specific levels of physical and mental endurance and thus will need beginner-level trekkers to first get acclimatized with the trail and high-altitude medical conditions before embarking on it.
What is the maximum altitude of Churdhar?
At 11,965 feet, the Churdhar peak in Sirmaur is one of the highest in the Shivalik range. It is also known as Churichandni or the Bangle of Snow and offers some of the most magnificent landscapes in this region.
What kind of flora and fauna will I get to see on the Churdhar trek?
The massive Churdhar wildlife sanctuary surrounds the area and it houses a wealth of beautiful alpine flora, herbs, and wildlife. You may spot an occasional koklass, monal, and khaleej pheasants apart from canine toothed musk deer, and the Himalayan black which are known to inhabit the region.
What is the religious importance of the Churdhar peak?
The Churdhar peak has great religious significance especially for the local population of Sirmour, Chaupal, Shimla, and Solan. It is a holy place connected with Shri Shirgul Maharaj or the Chureshwar Maharaj, a 5,000 year old deity worshipped in Himachal Pradesh and Dehradun area of Uttarakhand.
Is the Churdhar trek open all through the year?
The Churdhar trek is kept open for trekkers to visit throughout the year. However, there are times during the winter season when the administration closes it on account of heavy snow. The monsoon season is also not a good time to go for the trek as heavy rainfall often leads to road blocks and landslides.
How Difficult is the Churdhar Trek?
The Churdhar trek has been distinguished as a easy to moderate trek and goes up to an altitude of 12,000 feet. This entails a good deal of climb along a long trail fraught with some difficulty. Thus, it requires you to maintain a certain amount of fitness level to attempt it.
The trek will require you to cover approximately 32 km in a span of 3 days which includes ascents, descents, boulders, moraine, river crossings and rough stretches. Hence, you have to have a good deal of cardiovascular endurance with the ability to jog 4 km in 30 minutes. You will also be required to cover long distances carrying a heavy backpack which is no mean feat especially on uneven terrain. For this, you must prepare yourself by doing 3 sets of squats with 8 repeations in each set. To make yourself ready for the trek, you should also be able to do stretches particularly of your hip flexors, lower back muscles, hamstrings, quadriceps, and shoulders regularly. You should also consult your medical practitioner before embarking on the trek especially if you have altitude sickness or any other chronic illness.