Only a few hikers have discovered the Kugti Pass trek and it’s no surprise why it is so. It is practically unexplored – and maybe this is its charm- one of India’s unexplored treks. If you admire trekking, the Kugti Pass is a trek that should be a preference in your treks for tomorrow.

The Kugti Pass Trek is unique and secluded – On the lower trails, the trek covers properties of apple orchards, pine forests, and miles of lush green grasslands. Waterfalls are everywhere. On the higher inclinations, the trail goes through snowfields, glaciers, and ice waterfalls. The excitement of the high altitude is intoxicating. 

One of the most fascinating yet unexplored treks, the Kugti Pass Trek in Himachal Pradesh takes you to an impressive elevation of 16,600 feet. Frequently used by the Gaddi tribes to pass the Lahaul and Spiti valleys to feed their herds, the Kugti Pass confirms to be an ideal gateway. An arduous climb with steep ground and tricky trails make this trek one of the most difficult treks in the Central Himalayan ranges. High altitude trekking experience is a must before attempting this trek. 

Starting from the town of Bharmour near Chamba,  Your initial main stop on the trip would be the pictorial village of Kugti from where the views of the surrounding plains and the Budhil river shaded with dense pine trees really makes it look like a picture from postcard.

History of Kugti Pass Trek

Do not forget to tour the temples of Kartik and Mata Marala on the way from the village of Kugti to Duggi; the deities residing in these temples are deemed deeply holy to the Gaddi who consider them as the savior of their flocks and herds. You will come across the Keylong temple and the Murkula Devi temple (considered the goddess of the Kugti pass). In this path, the tracker can see the beauty of the Pir Panjal range. 

The local people called Gaddi (shepherd) live their difficult life with their flocks and are devoted and committed to their gods and goddesses like Lord Shiva, Lord Kartik, and the goddess Marali Mata. The Gaddis first acquire approval to pass the Kugti Pass from Lord Kartik and the goddess Marali Devi. They scarify their few sheep to Lord Shiva, Lord Kartik, and Goddess Marali Devi at Kartik temple to get the approval.

AREAPir Panjal Range of Central Himalayas, Himachal Pradesh.
BEST SEASONMid-June – Mid October
Keypoints of Kugti Pass Trek

Highlights of Kugti Pass Trek

  • You would have the chance to see stunning waterfalls during your trip.
  • Huge lush green meadows are ready to welcome you.
  • Discover the charming landscape at high altitude.
  • You may have the opportunity to get a feel for the life and culture of the Gaddi shepherds.
  • The trek passes through lesser-known and secluded areas.

Location of Kugti Pass Trek

The Kugti Pass is located approximately 5050m near the picturesque and remote village of Kugti which lies under the Pir Panjal Range of the central Himalayas. The bliss of climbing the summit would be rewarded with the awe-inspiring views of Manimahesh Kailash peak, the Dhauladhar mountain ranges, and even the snow-capped mountains outside of the Lahaul Valley. You can also visit Leah’s Cave located at the foot of Kugti Pass. 

Best Time to Visit Kugti Pass Trek

The best time to visit the Kugti Pass Trek is from mid-June to mid-October. The days benefit from a beautiful sun with a temperature between 12 and 18°C and the nights become colder with -6 to 4°C. 

How to Reach Kugti Pass Trek

By Air:-

The most proximate airport is Gaggal Airport. Flights from one hour and fifteen minutes to half an hour from Delhi are available. From there you can hire a taxi. 

By Train:-

The most proximate station is Pathankot. Most trains to Jammu Tawi stops at this station, from where taxis and buses can be used to reach Chamba.

By Road:-

Take the bus from Delhi to Chamba. Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation runs buses to Chamba from Delhi via Chandigarh. Several private operators also run buses on this route. 

Itinerary of Kugti Pass Trek

Day 1: Delhi to Pathankot (by train) 

Take the train to Pathankot from New Delhi station. Night travel.

Day 2: Pathankot to Dalhousie (80 Km)

Upon entry at Pathankot Station, move to Dalhousie. In the evening, tour the incredible regional attractions and sights of the astonishing Dalhousie hill station.

Day 3: Dalhousie to Kalatop to Khajiyar to Bharmour (110 Km)

Continue to traverse Kalatop Wildlife Reserve, then drive to Khajiyar. Enjoy and traverse the fascinating and elegant natural beauty of Mini -Switzerland. Move further towards Bharmour via Chamba. 

Day 4: Bharmour to Bharmani Mata Temple and back (6 km of acclimatization walk)

Early in the morning, begin the trek to Bharmani Temple. The Bharmani temple is situated on the ridge and is about 3 kilometers from the Bharmour trek.

Day 5: Bharmour to Hadsar to Kugti (20 km drive and 6 km trekking)

Early in the morning, travel to Hadsar by taxi, then continue the difficult trek which involves numerous ascents and descents on the river. Drive to Kugti village. Reach the small station of Dhanaul which is about 6 kilometers from Hadsar. After resting and relaxing in Dhanaul, continue trekking along the left bank of the Budhil river.

The hike to reach the Budhil river bed is at a total distance of 5 kilometers from Dhanaul. After passing the small stream with a clumsy wooden bridge, climb to reach the village of Kugti. Experience the elegant beauty of Kugti village and kill the remaining day resting and taking in the views of the village.

Day 6: Kugti to Dughi (3340m/8.5km trekking/6 hours)

Early in the morning, cross the village, pass a small stream on a wooden bridge, then climb along the banks of the Budhil stream. After a short walk straight ahead, the path ascends to reach the temple of Kartik. This temple is dedicated to the son of Lord Shiva ‘Kartik’.

Lord Kartik is deemed to be the guardian of cattle from disease and other dangers and was drawn from the nearby valley of Lahaul. Gaddi shepherds give sheep to Lord Kartik to guard their flocks.

After touring the temple of the goddess Marali and the temple of Kartik, here from the temple, the path slowly ascends into fragrant alpine meadows. Rest of the day, enjoy and recline amidst the charm of nature. 

Day 7: Dughi to Alyas base camp (4250m/9km walk/5hours) 

The base of the passes on both sides of the passes is called Alyas and regionally “Lahesh”. Move from Dughi to Alyas, difficult 6 kilometers, but a very courageous and entertaining part of the trek. It is a steep climb to reach the green plateau of Kuddy.

As the height increases, the line of trees and bushes is left behind. Enjoy the whole day and give rest to your body for the next difficult day. 

Day 8: Alyas Pass to Kugti Pass (5090 mt) to Alyas Base (12 km steep climb)

Alyas – Kugti Pass – Alyas is a 12 km trail that is dependent on the climatic and physical conditions of the hikers. Follow the footsteps of the herds, which is the most reliable route to traverse through the patches of crevices.

The path is very steep, over loose rocks and snow. At the top of Kugti Pass, admire the neighboring mountain, the peaks of the great and magnificent Himalayan range, and the striking view of Manimahesh Kailash, also admire the magnificent view from both sides of the Alyases and Grechu passes to the northwest side.

At the top of the pass is a simple temple shrine of the goddess Marali Devi, the goddess of the Kugti pass, symbolized by chimes, iron pendants, and parts of colorful fabric. After reaching the top rest for sometime and head downstream to reach Alyas.

Day 9: Alyas Base Camp to Udaipur/Keylong

Alyas to Jovrung is 8km. The trail starts at a ridge, which descends to the Rashil stream. Following the right bank, the path declines to a charming village called Jovrung. The trail then crosses the river.

Day 10: Udaipur/Kelong to Manali

After touring the main temple Mirkla Mata located in Udaipur,  travel to Keylong. Continue to Manali through Rohtang pass. Arrive in Manali.

Day 11: Manali to Delhi (570 km/14 hours) 

Half-day tour of Manali, visit old Manali, Hadimba temple, Shiva temple and City monastery are the main attractions.

Dhumdhar Kandi Trek

Day 12: Arrival at Delhi

Reach Delhi in the morning.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) for Kugti Pass Trek

Where do the Kugti pass trek start and end?

The hike begins in Chamba district in Himachal Pradesh and finishes in Lahaul district.

How high is Kugti Pass?

The Kugti Pass rises to 16,600 feet.

How long does the Kugti Pass Trek last? 

The whole trek is 12 days long with approximately 60 km of trekking.

When is the best time to go for the Kugti Pass Trek?

The best time to visit the Kugti Pass Trek is from Mid-June to Mid-October.

How difficult is the Kugti Pass trek?

The Kugti Pass trek can be considered as one of the most incredible yet challenging, intimidating, and unexplored treks in the Himalayan range.

Is the kugti Pass snowy?

The first part of the season is when you can see a lot of snow on the high passes. With the arrival of August, the snowpack begins to decrease. In the final phase of the season (September to mid-October) the amount of snow around the trail is reduced and the weather is pleasant with some risk of snowfall.