Nestled in the eastern-most district of Pithoragarh
, Darma Valley is the most scenic and lesser-known valley in the Kumaon Himalayas. It is on the eastern border of Kumaon
and is in the trans-Himalyan region behind the Panchchuli range. Still untouched by tourists, it boasts lush conifer forests, enchanting waterfalls, sparkling streams, majestic Panchchuli Massif, alpine meadows and picturesque hamlets rich in cultural heritage and mythology. The gushing Dhauli Ganga River flows through the heart of this pristine valley.
This is a mysterious land of myths and fascinating customs of the people who, for centuries, have survived the rugged inclemency of the high altitude terrain of the central Himalayas. It was at Darma valley that the Pandavas cooked their last meal, on the five peaks of Panchchuli massif, before leaving for heaven.
The lowest village (Syela) is at a height of roughly 2,700 m, while the highest (Marchha) is about 3,750 m. Dharchula is the last town of this valley, located on both banks of river Kali which separates India and Nepal. The entire trek through the remote villages and meadows dotted with hundreds of sheep and a dazzling variety of exotic flora and fauna of this valley is enchanting. The more venturesome tourists can go paragliding, rock climbing or river rafting on the Dhauli Ganga.
The best season to visit the Darma Valley is end August and early September. A well-maintained road connects the valley with Tanakpur, 171 km from Pithoragarh. The nearest railhead is Tanakpur, 282 km away. From Delhi one can come via train up to Tanakpur (634 km).