“Gar firdaus, ruhe zamin ast, hamin asto, hamin asto, hamin asto” (If there is a heaven on earth, it’s here, it’s here, it’s here)
Although the above lines were used for Srinagar, Kashmir by Emperor Jahangir impressed by its enchanting beauty. But I would like to quote him to describe how beautiful my home state, Himachal Pradesh really is. Himachal Pradesh is truly a heaven on earth with mesmerizing lush green forests, spectacular cool mountains, stunning trekking routes, pristine rivers, friendly people and the weather. It is popular among romancers of nature and trekking fanatics as the place has much to offer like paragliding, mountain biking, trekking, hiking, skiing, river rafting and what not! It is a well liked destination for people who are in search of serenity away from the hustle bustle of their city life.
In this article we will be talking about some of the famous trekking routes of Himachal Pradesh and also about the best time to visit these trekking routes and some dos and don’ts if you are planning to pack your bags so that you can get ready with everything you need. So let’s start with Trekking to Kheerganga…
Trek To Kheerganga
It is a holy place at 2960m in the Parvati valley for Hindu pilgrims as it is believed that Lord Shiva, famous Hindu deity, meditated here for about 3000 years. There is a temple of Lord Shiva and goddess Parvati at the top and also a hot water spring which is believed to have curative properties with separate bathing facilities for men and women.
The trek to Kheerganga is an 11-14km trek uphill and the trail goes through the green forests with wonderful waterfalls, bridges and small villages along the gurgling river Parvati. The trek starts from Varshaini which is at a few kilometres from Tosh or Manikaran. One has to get off at Bhunter, Kullu to reach these places which are near Kasol.
On your way up to Kheerganga, you can make a pit stop at the Rudranag waterfall to have something to eat. After reaching Kheerganga there is nothing better than relaxing in the hot water spring to get rid of all the tiredness.
The best time to visit Kheerganga is in the months from May to November.
Dos and Don’ts:
- The trekking is long and can be tiring so carry a light backpack with essentials such as a bathing suit, slippers, and torch light etc.
- Don’t try to complete the trek in a day as I am sure you don’t want to miss the opportunity to stare at the beautiful night sky from Kheerganga and also it is not safe to trek at night here.
- Accommodation for staying the night is not a problem. Rooms to tents, whatever you prefer, everything is available here.
- Do carry some warm clothing as it is cold at Kheerganga even in the summers.
- Don’t litter around and keep the area clean and safe.
Trek To Triund
It is a beautiful hill situated at a distance of 13kms from Dharmashala and 8kms from Mcleodganj bus stand. The hill offers a spectacular view of Dhauladhar Mountains on one side and of Kangra valley on the other. Triund trek is a 4-5 hours easy trek with the last few kilometres a little steeper which might consume a little more of your energy and can be tiring. But the otherworldly charm that you’ll witness here will definitely be worth it. There are cafes on the way up which can help you in rejuvenating your lost strength.
The treks starts from Mcleodganj and then you need to get to Dharamkot and then to Galu devi, from where, after registration you can head to Triund hill.
The best time to visit this place is around the months of April-June.
Dos and Don’ts
- Do stay for the night if you don’t want to miss out on what can be the best night of your life.
- One can get tents on rent for staying the night and carrying ones own is also an option.
- The prices are a little high so one can carry his/her stock of Maggie packets and a pan. The wood is in abundance so one can cook his/her Maggie which can be your own little adventure too.
- Do carry water bottles to keep hydrated.
- Manage your trash properly and don’t litter around.
- Indradhar pass trek also passes through the camping grounds of Triund trek so in order to make your trek more adventurous you can trek to Indradhar which is a little difficult too.
Trek To Bijli Mahadev
It is one of the short treks of Himachal Pradesh. The trekking starts from Chansari village and is 3kms long only with merely taking an hour to reach the top. There is a temple at the top of the hill, Bijli Mahadev temple which is named as this because of the famous legend that the lingam at the temple is shattered often with the flash of lightening (bijli) and the priest makes sure that the lingam is bounded together again with the help of sattoo and butter. The spectacular view of the Kullu valley and the Parvati valley can be seen from here.
There is also a 60feet high staff which sparkles like a silver needle in the sun and is believed to be the reason why lightning strikes this place often.
The best time to visit Bijli Mahadev is in the months between March-November.
Dos and Don’ts
- The trek is suitable for every age group as it takes only around 1-2 hours to reach the top.
- Try visiting in the month of Savann as the crowd visiting this place is phenomenal in this month.
- Don’t litter around and keep the environment clean.
Trek To Kamrunag
Kamrunag is the King Yaksha of Mahabharata and Pandavas were the worshippers of the deity and is also believed by the locals to be the Rain God. Kamrunag temple along with a small lake is situated at a height of about 3334m with dense deodar forest all around. The trek to Kamrunag starts from Rohanda and takes about 3-4 hours to reach the top. Rohanda is situated at a distance of 35kms from Sundernagar, Mandi and easily accessible through local buses.
However the lake beside the temple is small but holds great value. From so long, devotees have been offering coins, gold and silver to the lake after their wishes are fulfilled by the good wishes of Devta Kamrunag and these offerings has settled at the bottom of the lake with no estimate of their worth or quantity.
The trekking route can be accessed all over the year. Winter trekking with snow all around, is also an option for some adventure lovers. For nature lovers, they say, it is a trek in paradise.
Dos and Don’ts
- Try to start the trekking early in the morning because there are no facilities of staying for the night.
- Manage your trash properly. Keep the area clean
- Complete the trekking in daytime as it is not safe to trek at night. You can also get confused with the route as there might be no one to ask for directions.
- Don’t do trekking in bad weather conditions.
Trek To Shikari Devi
image source- Dil hai Mandayali
It is near Karsog valley and the trek starts from Jhanjheli. It is considered to be a difficult trek. There is a unique temple at the top of the hill with no roof on the top. This temple has historical significance as it is related with Markandya Rishi as well as with the Pandavas from the epic Mahabharata. However as the hill is covered with dense forests and wild animals, hunters used to come here and worship the Goddess asking for their successful hunting experience. And that is how the temple was named as Shikari devi. There is myth among the locals that during winters when there is snowfall on the peak, the snow never stays on the temple but stays only in the surroundings. Navratra fair which is held every year also serves as a great attraction for the pilgrims.
Best time to visit is between the months from May to October. The place offers breathtakingly beautiful views with clouds all around the peak of the hill.
Dos and Don’ts
- Be careful with everything at all times as the trek is difficult.
- Check the weather conditions before planning your trek.
- Carry some warm clothing.
- Don’t litter around. Keep the area clean.
- Don’t plan your trek during winters. It is so not safe.
Trek To Churdhar
image source – Hum Himachal
Churdhar is the highest peak in the outer Himalayas in the Sirmaur district of Himachal Pradesh. The peak holds religious values as it is related to Shri Shirgul Maharaj also known as Chureshwar Maharaj. Churdhar sanctuary has well connected roads and is named after the peak Churdhar. The Churdhar peak is visible from Shimla also. There is a Shiva statue at the top of the peak.
The trek starts from Nauradhar and is about 6-7 hours long. There are sparkling water streams and beautiful villages along the way up to Churdhar. There are two break points- Jamta and Teesri, one can get something to eat and rest for sometime here to regain the lost energy.
As this is the highest peak in the area you will be enthralled on reaching at the summit by the enchanting beauty of the other mountain ranges all around. You’ll be literally on top of the world. Churdhar trekking is among the best trekking experiences in my life and I believe this place is really abode for trekkers on Earth
The peak is also called as Chur-Chandni Dhar or Bangles of snow ridge.
Best time: April-June
Dos and Don’ts
- Carry a lighter back pack as the trek can be really tiring.
- Carry sufficient water bottles as the water is scarce on the way up.
- Do take some warm clothing as it is cold even in the summers.
- Don’t trek at night.
- There is an ashram built 300m below the summit for the trekkers and the pilgrims.
- You can get something to eat from the small dhaba.
- There is no connectivity on the way up to Churdhar.
Trek To Prashar
This trek provides some breathtaking views of the Dhauladhar, Pir Panjal and Kinnaur mountain ranges. It starts at Baggi which can easily be accessed from Mandi. It may take 5-6 hours to reach Prashar. There is a Pagoda style temple built alongside the lake Prashar which has a floating little island on it and it is frozen in the winters. The temple is dedicated to sage Prashar and the area is surrounded by Dhauladhar mountains all around.
The trek follows a trail through beautiful villages, small water streams, lush green forests and lively people. The signal for mobile phones is very less on the way up, so make important phone calls beforehand and carry sufficient cash with yourself.
Best time to visit is in the months from April-November.
Dos and Don’ts
- Be ready with everything you need during the trek and carry sufficient cash.
- Do carry some water bottles with you.
- There is a small dhaba at Prashar which help in regaining the lost energy.
- Manage your trash properly.
- There is a guest house too but prior booking is needed. Carrying your own zippers and tents is also an option.
- Carry clothing according to the weather although it might get cold at night.
Trek To Kareri lake
It is best known for trekking in the Dhauladhars and is at distance of about 9kms from Dharamshala. The source of the lake is the fresh melting snow and is frozen in the winters for about 3-4 months. There is a temple at the top dedicated to Lord Shiva and Shakti which overlooks the lake. It is named after a Gaddi village Kareri. The trek starts from Ghera village which can be accessed from Dharamshala by taxi or on foot from Naddi village. It can take 7-8 hours to reach at the destination and one should stay for the night as finding accommodation to stay for the night is easy.
The lake is elliptical and there is a temple not too far from the lake dedicated to Shiva. Kareri lake also serves as a base camp for some other treks too namely Bleni Pass and Minkiani pass.
Best time to visit in the months of May-June, September-October.
Dos and Don’ts
- Don’t litter around.
- Be careful.
- Carrying your own tents is a great option.
- Carry sufficient water bottles to keep hydrated. You may come across many small water streams on the way.
Trek To Indhradhar Pass
image source -Abhijeet Khundari
This is yet another amazingly beautiful trek in the fascinating Dhauladhar mountains. As mentioned above in the Triund trek also, the base camp of both these treks is same. The trekking trail starts from Galu devi above Dharamkot village near Mcleodganj, Dharamshala. You need trek your way up to Triund and in about 2 hours uphill from there, you will reach Snowline cafe. Then next in line is Ilaqa Got (grazing ground) which can be reached in an hour or so. After that comes the difficult path, the climb is much steeper from Lahesh caves to Indradhar pass and will take about 7-8 hours to reach there. The panoramic views of the forests and the Dhauladhar mountains is just amazingly beautiful from Indradhar Pass.
Best time to visit is in the months of May-October.
Dos and Don’ts
- Carry water bottles as the trek can be tiring. Trekking is a difficult job in Himalayas so you should be well prepared
- It may take 2 days to reach Indhradhar pass so be prepared with everything you might need on your journey.
- Carry essentials such as toiletries, warm clothing, torch light etc.
- Dispose your waste properly. Don’t litter around.
Trek To Pin Parvati
It is a mountain pass that connects Parvati valley on the Kullu side with the Pin valley on the Spiti side. It serves as the shortest trekking route between the Kullu and Spiti valley. The trek starts from Barsheni village near Bhuntar, kullu which also is mentioned above in the Kheerganga trek.
It is the most challenging trek in the area so proper preparation for trekking is needed if one wants to take on the journey. It is situated at a height of about 5319m and there are no lush green forests all around but the complete opposite. The landscape you will witness from up here is totally different with barren mountains around. This is one of the top treks to do in Himachal according to my point of view.
It is covered with snow throughout the year so always consult proper guides before attempting such kind of treks.
Best time to visit is in the months between July to September.
Dos and Don’ts
- I will recommend this trek only to seasoned trekkers. Others should not try this trek without proper preparation as it requires more than your effort. Trekking is not always easy like Triund, so you should be prepared mentally and physically
- Carry essentials such as tents, sleeping bags, water bottles, toiletries, torch light, warm clothing, etc.
- It can take up to 11 days to complete this trek.
- The trek is often slippery so take some good trekking shoes with you.
- Don’t litter around. Manage your trash properly.
So guys this was all about some of the best trekking routes in Himachal Pradesh I hope you liked the article and for any queries you can comment below..