Wednesday, December 8, 2021

All About Kheerganga That Makes it a Go-to Place!

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Trekking is a must in the to-do list of all adventure-loving people out there. Including me, of course. I know amid our busy schedules, vacations make their place somehow, at least once a year. But gone are the days when we used to sit and calculate when we will have our next long vacations, where to go, buying tickets in advance, planning everything from six months before the actual trip, and a lot of other works for just one vacation. It is time to include places like Kheerganga on your travel list.

Kheerganga is one of the most gorgeously decorated places in the lap of the Himalayas, where the artist is the almighty himself. Image source: Bing

We all get drained out due to the day to day workload and the same routine. From Sunday evening, we start to wait eagerly for the next weekends to come. So that we get some relief from the Monday-Friday monotonous schedule. But what do you do on weekends? Sit at home, party with friends, or like a legend plan some short term vacations?

Short term vacations must be included in the to-do list to get refreshed for the day-to-day hustle-bustle. Image source: Bing

Yes, you got it right. Get out of your usual weekend plans and make your life spicy with some soulful adventures. And when I say experiences, the first thing that comes to our minds is trekking. I mean, why not? The best way to run away from the city pollution, day to day hustle-bustle of life and dead architectures, is going to trek some green and mystic valley.

Parvati valley
Parvati valley, paradise in nature’s lap. Image source: Bing

Now, most of you would worry about the budget, but today we are going to tell you the ultimate destination of a pocket-friendly trekking point. Kheerganga will not only refresh your soul but also will take care of your budget. Not only Kheerganga, but the entire North of India is decorated beautifully by the almighty himself with magnificent hills and spellbinding valleys.

Kheerganga, the adobe of Lord Shiva. Image source: Bing

Admit it, that even looking at the pictures makes your heart crave to go and get mesmerized. And as we already hinted, Kheerganga fulfills all the eligibility criteria to be in your next weekend travel list. Yes, this Parvati Valley trip can be the calming rain in your heated life.

Parvati Valley trip can be the calming rain in your heated life
Parvati Valley trip can be the calming rain in your heated life. Image source: Bing

Imagine yourself amid the gorgeous Parvati valley of Himachal Pradesh. The thunderous Parvati river is flowing through a steep valley, leaving you in awe. Wherever you look, you see only the gorgeous hills and greenery, nature at its best. The mouth-watering smell of Israeli cuisine is coming from somewhere, making your tummy growl.

israeli food
Delicious Israeli cuisine is a key factor in the trek to Kheerganga. Image source: Bing

From magical waterfalls to soothing hot water springs, you see everything you dreamt of about a perfect trekking trip around you. You want to rush and climb the adobe of Lord Shiva as soon as possible to explore more of this paradise. But wait, Kheerganga is a place people go to slow down. To have a break from the fast pacing life. So slow down your imagination and read ahead to know all about Kheerganga.

hot spring
Not to mention hot springs are the icing on the cake in the trek. Image source: Bing

1. How to reach Kheerganga:

To start your Kheerganga trek, you need to reach Barshaini. To reach there, you have to pass Kasol. Kasol is a small hamlet in the magnificent Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh. And unfortunately, there are no direct routes to reach Kasol from anywhere in the world. But don’t worry as we promised we would be presenting solutions to all your problems regarding Kheerganga trek.

  • Reaching Bhuntar:

To reach Kasol, you need to reach Bhuntar. Bhuntar is a small yet beautiful town of Himachal Pradesh in mother nature’s lap. By air, you can land at the Kullu Manali Airport of Bhuntar. This is the only airport near Kheerganga that connects it to the rest of the country. The fact is, the flights here are limited, so for a more reliable option, you can choose the Mohali Airport in Chandigarh. But for the later count over 300 kilometers travel extra.

Bhuntar is a small yet beautiful town of Himachal Pradesh in mother nature’s lap. Image source: Bing

You can reach Bhuntar by train as well. The nearest broad gauge railway station is Pathankot, whereas the nearest narrow gauge railway station is Joginder Nagar. But I am sure you won’t opt this option out unless you are ready to waste as long as 7-8 days to reach either station from New Delhi.

So what is the best way to reach Bhuntar? The best way to reach Bhuntar is by road. It is way more convenient and less time consuming than the other two options. The approximate driving time from Delhi to Bhuntar is 12 hours. Of course, it depends upon your driving speed how much time will it take you to cover around 485 kilometers. You can also opt for taxi, cab, and buses from Delhi to Bhuntar. You can take private Volvo buses from Manju Ka Tila or Ramakrishna Ashram metro station in Delhi. You can book them online from here.

bhuntar town
Bhuntar Town. Image source: Bing

Another bus option is taking the HRTC Himsuta Volvo from ISBT Kashmere Gate. All buses from Delhi to Bhuntar leave in the evening and reach Bhuntar by dawn. It will The cost will be you around Rs. 1000-1500 per person.

confluence point
Bhuntar is the hometown of the confluence of river Beas and river Parvati. Image source: Bing

While you wait for the bus, don’t forget to stand on the iron bridge and get lost in the beauty of river Beas and river Parvati joining each other at the confluence point.

iron bridge
Watch the gorgeous confluence point of river Beas and river Parvati from the iron bridge. Image source: Bing
  • From Bhuntar to Kasol:

Bhuntar is regarded as the gateway to majestic Parvati Valley. And the road from Bhuntar to Kasol is even more impressive. If you reached Bhuntar by bus, then you can take another bus or taxi to Barshaini from the Bhuntar bus stand itself. But we would recommend you to stop at Kasol and then go to Barshaini. The road is no less than an artist’s masterpiece decorated with luscious greenery, snow-capped mountains by the rivers Parvati and Beas.

beas river
River Beas flow by Kasol. Image source: Bing

If you don’t stop at Kasol, you will be missing some of the most rejuvenating moments of your life. The roaring rivers Beas and Parvati flow side by the side of this small hamlet. If you spare some time at the iron bridge of Bhuntar, you can get lost in the beauty of the confluence point of river Beas and river Parvati. Coming to Kasol, it is a must-visit when you are out for the Kheerganga trek.

Kasol is a must-visit when you are out for the Kheerganga trek. Image source: Bing

Spare some time to visit the Gurudwara of Manikaran Sahib, and I am sure you will feel some other level of peaceful devotion in the surroundings. It is impossible the feelings in words. The icing on the cake is the hot spring of Manikaran to refresh both your body and mind. After taking a dip into the hot spring, you can walk along the roaring Beas and reach the famous Kasol market.

manikaran gurudwara
Manikaran Gurudwara. Image source: Bing

Kasol market is famous for its souvenirs and a point to meet and greet new friends! Moreover, this is the point you can treat not only your eyes but also your tongue. Remember we told you about the mouth-watering smell of Israeli cuisine? So Kasol is the spot of some famous Israeli cafes like Evergreen café, Rainbow café, Moon dance café, or any other and just binge on the delicious Israeli cuisine. Bet your stomach will be filled, but the tongue will surely want more. What more to do at Kasol? Find the full guide here.

So in your planning of Kheerganga trek, it is recommended to spare a day to explore the scenic Kasol. There are a lot of hotels available here as it is a popular tourist point, mainly among foreigners. And you can book one from here.

manikaran hot spring
Hot Spring of Manikaran. Image source: Bing
  • From Kasol to Barshaini:

Barshaini is the last motorable place of Parvati valley and the starting point of Kheerganga. You can either come to Barshaini directly from Bhuntar by bus, taxi, car, or you can go here from Kasol in the available transportation options. Bus, taxi, car everything is available to reach Barshaini from Kasol. The fare takes around Rs. 1000.

2. Starting to climb up and up!

Once you reach Barshaini, you will understand why Kheerganga is called one of the most picturesque places in the Himalayas. It is just incredible. The trek starts from Barshaini, and you should refill your water bottles and carry some light snacks before starting the trek. You can also buy trekking poles from here. Once you are fully equipped to explore the adobe of Lord Shiva, you can take any of the three routes mentioned below-

  • The route through Nakthan villages:

This route is the simplest, easiest, and hence the most popular one to reach Kheerganga. Reaching the Barshaini bridge, just take a left turn. There your journey to Nakthan village starts. This is also the shortest route to Kheerganga and takes around 3-4 hours only for a man with average trekking speed. You will be trekking along the gorgeous Parvati river and some appealing apple orchards. Other than the pristine river, you can have a visit to the famous Rudranag temple, which falls around 1.5 kilometers away from the village.

nakthan village
Nakthan Village. Image source: Bing

If you are an atheist, you can still visit the temple to see the serene waterfall near it. The water is pure enough to be drunk without any hesitation. And not to mention river Paravati is singing through her waves around it. The route through Nakthan village is the safest as it is accessible enough for you not to get lost during the trek to Kheerganga.

The serene waterfall near Rudranag. Image source: Bing
  • The route through Kalga village:

Through the Kalga village is the second route. This is another small village like Nakthan in nature’s lap. If you want to trek Kheerganga off the beaten path and add some more pinches of adventure to our journey, this route is probably the best for you. Instead of left, take a right from the Barshaini bridge to start your trek to Kheerganga through Kalga village. It takes around 5-6 hours to reach Kheerganga through this route.

Kalga village. Image source: Bing
Kalga village. Image source: Bing

The route till the scenic Kalga village might seem to be not so difficult for you. The real challenge starts once you cross it. After crossing Kalga, the route proceeds further through a dense forest.

The route to Kheerganga through Kalga goes through a dense forest. Image source: Bing

No, don’t worry, there are not any ferocious cannibals out there waiting to eat you out. But the path is surrounded by dense forest, so chances are high you can get lost if you don’t take an expert guide with you.

Most people don’t know about this route, and it is mainly popular among adventure lovers. Still, if you are taking this route unless you are an expert yourself, take a guide familiar to this route. After halfway, this route merges with the main route that comes from the Nakthan village. So if you are craving for little more adventure in your trek to Kheerganga, take this route through Kalga village, surrounded by poetic deodar trees.

  • The route through Tosh village:

Last but not least, comes the route to Kheerganga through Tosh village. This route is mainly used by travelers and trekkers who stay in the Tosh village at night and opt for trekking to Kheerganga the next morning. This route, like the Kalga village one, joins with the main route of Nakthan village after a few kilometers.

Tosh Village. Image source: Bing

Tosh is like a hidden gem in the lap of the Himalayas. Tosh river flows majestically by the village and ultimately loses its identity by joining the Parvati river. This picture-perfect village is apt for you to spend a day or two and start your trek to Kheerganga from here. Want more reasons to visit Tosh? Head here.

It does ‘nt matter which route you take. It is going to be a total of around 12-14 hours to finish the trek. It is going to be exhausting but worth it. Once you reach the top, you will feel all your tiredness has vanished in a blink. Kheerganga is no less than the gateway of paradise. The nature at 3000 meters above the sea level is beyond explanation! You can be assured you reached your destination once you see the cluster of pretty huts and camps.

3. Reached, but where to stay?

In the past few years, Kheerganga has become so popular among tourists that there won’t be any problem to find a place to stay. Even if you have not booked any stay in advance, it might be possible to find accommodation. But it depends on the season. To book a stay in advance, you can visit here.

There are no hotels in Kheerganga. Instead, there are traditional huts, cottages, and even camping areas to stay in close contact with nature. Coming to the food, Indian and Israeli cuisine is famous around here. And the herbal teas will refresh each cell of your body. A lot of open-air cafes are available around. The cafes or staying areas are not at all dull and colorless. Instead of that, you will find beautifully colored walls and even colorful rooftops.

kheernga accomodation
Camping in Kheerganga. Image source: Bing

There is an Ashram nearby, which you can opt for sharing accommodation. The food and stay there are cheaper compared to other available options. But in the cafes, you will find inbuilt tandoors and glass windows which you take your journey to Kheerganga to another level of peace and warmth.  Reaching Kheerganga, don’t forget about the Parvati Kund hot spring. I mean the scenery is so jaw-dropping there you can even forget to come back home!

4. Things to keep in mind:

As the trek to Kheerganga is exhausting yet mesmerizing, you should keep the basic trekking rules in mind-

  1. Keep candies to chew and get energy throughout the trek
  2. Never empty your bottle fully. Keep refilling it. The river water here is way purer than your home’s tap water
  3. First aid kits, mosquito repellents, light snacks, warms and waterproof clothes, trekking boots, ropes, and the other basic stuff for trekking must be packed. trekking gear

    trekking gear
    Don’t forget to pack the basic trekking gear. Image source: Bing
  4. There are a lot of network issues at 3000 meters above the sea. So better finish your calls before starting the trek
  5. ATMs are available in Kasol, so it is advised to carry some cash. As the ATM service in Kheerganga might not work.
  6. There are supermarkets around Kheerganga, so don’t worry, you will find the necessary items there.
  7. Charge your electronic devices to 100% and carry a fully charged power bank
  8. A short cuts because that often leads to falling from steep hills and death

5. Noted, but when to travel?

Kheerganga is a place you can trek throughout the year, but in winter, most of the path stay snow-covered, making the journey more difficult. And in monsoon trekking through the rural valley is nearly impossible. Chances of slip and death are more than high.

kheerganga camps
Camps and huts in Kheerganga. Image source: Bing

So the best time to trek Kheerganga is April to November. Leave the few snowy weeks of winter because not only the trekking path will be covered with snow, but also the accommodation options decrease a lot.

6. Legends about Kheerganga:

After going through the whole article, some of you might think why it is called Kheerganga? Legends say, Lord Shiva and Devi Parvati’s son Kartikeya (some say it was Lord Shiva himself) came to Kheerganga to meditate. Devi Parvati cooked Kheer (rice pudding) with the water of the hot spring of this place, turning the water milky and sacred. From there, the place got its name Kheerganga.

Kheerganga (1)
Kheerganga is known as the adobe of Lord Shiva. Image source: Bing

Another popular legend says, upon Devi Parvati’s request, Purushottam turned the kheer flowing here into water. Kheerganga is also known as the adobe of Lord Shiva.

No matter how it got its name, bet Kheerganga is one of the most gorgeously decorated places in the lap of the Himalayas, where the artist is the almighty himself.

7. So what is the average cost of trekking once?

Let’s please your pocket now! A round way trip to Delhi-Bhuntar by a Volvo bus will cost around Rs. 2000-3000. Bhuntar to Kasol round way trip will cost around Rs. 300-400. Stay in Kasol will cost per person around Rs. 500-600 each night. The food and other charges will be around Rs. 500 more. So a night’s stay in Kasol will cost you around Rs. 1000-1100.

kasol river
Trekking to Kheerganga is exhausting but worthy. Image source: Bing

Kasol to Barshaini bus fare will be around Rs. 2000 for a round way trip. Staying in Kheerganga is somewhat more expensive compared to other places discussed so far. The average cost of a night’s stay in Kheerganga runs around Rs. 200-300 each person. Food costs an average of Rs. 500 per meal. So counting three times a meal, that will be around Rs. 1500 per person.

kheerganga trek
Kheerganga is a picture-perfect above 3000 meters of the sea. Image source: Bing

Calculating the total cost of trekking to Kheerganga, it will be confined by Rs. 8000-10000 for a 3-4 days trip (including the stay in Kasol). If you don’t stay in Kasol, you can wrap up the whole journey to and fro Kheerganga under Rs. 6000.

So folks that were your ultimate guide to know all about Kheerganga. If you want us to include any point or still have questions regarding the trek, feel free to let us know in the comment box.

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