M.S. Dhoni or Virat Kohli…who do you pick?
The choice is ruthless. Two great Indian cricketers with unique capabilities and strengths.
The Buran Ghati trek vs Rupin Pass conundrum is exactly that. Both are exceptionally unique and have their fair share of positives and picking just one of them feels wrong.
However, if you have to make a choice, here is an in-depth comparison of the two treks so that you can make an informed decision that suits your preference.
Both Buran Ghati and Rupin Pass treks are at an altitude of 15,000 ft or higher. Buran Ghati is at an altitude of 15,000 ft (4,752 m) whereas, the Rupin Pass trek is a bit higher with an altitude of 15,250 ft (4,648 m).
Most people may not know this but these two treks are actually within a 50 km radius of each other. Despite lying in adjoining valleys, the terrain, the grasslands, the mountains, and the forests are surprisingly distinct.
The treks of Buran Ghati and Rupin pass are drastically different in difficulty.
Buran Ghati Trek is comparatively easier on legs, the pass crossing is not too gruelling and the days are often short. Having said that, the trek climbs up to a whopping height of 15,000 ft and requires at least a month’s preparation. Only exceptionally fit people who’ve done a couple of short treks should attempt this trek.
Whereas, the difficulty of Rupin Pass is higher by an extra notch. Despite the days being split into brief intervals, the day of pass crossing is long and draining. It is a testament to your endurance and resilience. The trek demands at least 2 months of preparation ahead of the trek. Prior experience of at least two moderate Himalayan treks is suggested.
Janglik, Dayara, Litham, Dhunda and River Camp are the campsites of Buran Ghati.
Janglik is a tiny town mostly untouched by human trace. Apple orchards add to the beauty of the lawns of the locals. The people, the language, and the culture are all yet to succumb to modernism. You get to stay in a homestay where you can experience the local culture. The trek ends at Barua which is equally alluring as Janglik.
Each of the campsites on the Buran Ghati trek seems cherry-picked, with spectacular mountain panoramas on all sides. They are all immaculate and unforgettable. You will always need to keep your camera handy.
Dhaula, Sewa, Jiskun, Buran Kandi, Lower Waterfall, Upper Waterfall, Rontigad and Sangla are the campsites of Rupin Pass.
You begin your trek to Rupin Pass from Dhaula, a sublime vantage point. You cross the local villages of Dhaula, Sewa, and Jiskun to reach the Rupin valley. The Rupin Valley is adorned with dense pine trees and the peacock-blue Rupin river. The next halt Jhaka is also a beauty to behold. It is a traditional village steeped in authentic Himachali culture.
The next campsites gracefully follow the U-shape of the Rupin valley. Buras Kandi is the first spot from where you can catch sight of the famous Rupin waterfalls. We camp in the meadows beside the stunning river. Fed by the waters of Rupin, this tiny grassland is sprinkled with vibrant flowers.
Afterwards, you approach the Lower Waterfall followed by the Upper Waterfall. These campsites are often higher up on the trekkers’ bucket lists. The last campsite is at Rontigad. It is worlds apart from the other campsites in terms of scenery. It offers picturesque lush grasslands and snow-capped mountains that are beyond compare.
The Buran Ghati trek has long-distance views and can see the trek extending miles ahead of you. With its Windows Wallpaper worthy landscapes, it is an ideal trail for photographers and amateurs alike to click a series of pictures. Everyone seems to want to capture this moment forever.
While Rupin Pass is a photographer’s dream. The traditional culture, the forests, the Rupin river, the snowfields and the grasslands are astonishing. Rupin Pass has a surprise element to it as you never know what’s next. You can not see the upcoming campsite from the previous and discover everything as you go…much like how a new level unlocks in a video game. It has so many different landscapes to offer and rouse inspiration in photoholics. However, no picture can do justice to the raw beauty of this trek.
On the Buran Ghati trail, you trek alongside the Pabbar River. Where you walk at a higher altitude, the river runs below you almost hidden from sight. At some point, the river does gush past your trail, but for the most part, it is a part of the picturesque backdrop.
For this reason, it may not leave as grand of an impression on you to form a deep connection with it.
Whereas, every trekker forms a profound connection with The Rupin river. The river stays beside you from the base camp up until you cross the pass. You can witness every slight change in the moods of the river up close. As you draw nearer to the pass, you can make out the place from where the river emerges.
The Buran Ghati trail takes you through dense oak, pine and silver birch (Bhoj Patra) forests. Shimmering streams run along the trail and the woody scent of the forest is heavenly.
On the other hand, the Rupin Pass trail has one short-lived yet enchanting fir forest. This forest falls midway between Jhaka and Udaknal.
Buran Ghati rightfully boasts of its vast green meadows. You get to camp in these lush undulating meadows at Dayara.
Rupin Pass is known for its expansive meadows too. The one halfway between Saruwas Thatch and Lower Waterfall is the most talked about.
Buran Ghati is adorned with the Chandranahan falls, an exquisite sight from the Litham campsite. You even visit Chandranahan lake, the birthplace of the river Pabbar.
The Rupin Pass trek in June or in early September glitters with several waterfalls. Between Saruwas thatch and the lower waterfall, you can witness several cascading waterfalls at once.
This is a difficult question to answer. Both treks offer different things that make them appealing in their own ways.
Buran Ghati is more about the journey and the experiences you have along the way, while Rupin Pass is more focused on the destination and reaching the summit. It’s a raw adventure. In terms of overall value, I believe that both treks are essential in getting the full Himalayan experience.
If you haven’t done either of these treks yet, we highly recommend that you do both of them. They are both great in their own ways and offer different things that you will only be able to experience by doing both. Rupin Pass and Buran Ghati are two of the best treks in the Indian Himalayas and should not be missed.