Kheerganga-Trekking experience of a girl backpacker
Enjoy the thrill of trekking @ Kheerganga!
Kheerganga – The Trek to Explore Wilderness
Location - Kheerganga, Parvati Valley, Himachal Pradesh,India
Famous for - Day Hiking/ Trekking
Route Covered - Bhuntar - Kasol - Manikaran - Barshaini - Rudra Nag - Kheerganga
Elevation - 13,051 ft
Best Time to Visit - May - November
Trekking Distance – 15 kilometres (From Barshaini to Kheerganga)
Kheerganga – Some Important Facts
Situated in the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, Kheerganga nestles in the Parvati Valley of Kullu district. Kheerganga is a meadow located at an altitude of 2960 meters and known as one of the most refreshing treks that you can go anywhere. According to the locals around Barshaini, Kheerganga has gained its popularity because Lord Shiva has meditated there for 3000 years and people from all around the world travel here to find them. There is a natural hot-water-spring (for both men and women) and a dip in this water spring after the tiring trek is something that you will remember for a lifetime. One of the best times to visit Kheerganga is during the months of May to November when the weather remains pleasant and favourable. It is advised to avoid the trek during the wintertime as the trail is difficult to tread and the rocks become slippery.
How to Reach Kheerganga?
If you are planning to trek to Kheerganga, you need to catch a bus from New Delhi that goes until Manali and you need to get down at Bhuntar circle. You can also take taxi from Delhi to Bhuntar. Bhuntar lies on Manali Highway, so you will easily get many other buses on this route if you are coming from any other city of Himachal Pradesh. After reaching Bhuntar, you need to catch a connecting bus to Barshaini via Manikaran and Kasol. There is a local Himachal Roadways bus plying every hour and will take around 2-3 hours from Bhuntar to reach Barshaini. Kheerganga is 15 kilometres trek uphill from Barshaini. There are many villages in between the trek with beautiful vegetation and apple orchards to help you identify your route.
However, do not forget that the last local roadways bus ply from Barshaini to Bhuntar (via Manikaran) at 5.00 PM, but there are shared/private jeeps also to help you reach Kasol. Bus Fare (Himachal Roadways) - Bhuntar - Manikaran (36 km, 40 INR, 90 minutes) Manikaran - Barshaini (18 km, 20 INR, 60 minutes)
Kheerganga – My Experience Being There
How would you feel if you are trekking and there is nothing around you except a wild river on one end and endless forest on the other?
To reach Kheerganga, a hilly terrain amidst the wilderness of Parvati Valley involves a lot of walking, trekking and hiking. Words fail to describe the beauty, calm, peace, and serenity of this place. The trek to Kheerganga seems like a daring journey into the wild that takes you to a different world away from chaos of traffic, pollution, and city life.
Starting of the Kheerganga Trek near Barshaini
I started my journey with three backpackers around 7.00 AM from Barshaini, which is located at a distance of 4 km from Manikaran. I took a bus from Manikaran to Barshaini as it is the last motor able point and the starting point of the Kheerganga trek.
Scenic View from the village called Phulga during the trek
It starts from Phulga, where the construction of the Parvati Hyde Project, a hydroelectric dam is taking place, which also dominates the landscape. However, the best point of Barshaini is when I saw the confluence of Tosh and Parvati River.
Parvati River's view from Challal Village
From Phulga, the downhill footpath climbs to a temple and a small dhaba at a waterfall called Rudra-Nag located at a distance of 9 km from Barshaini. The terrain during this course is an easy one and does not require a lot of effort while walking. However, after reaching Rudra-Nag, the toughness of the trek started, as there were many steep points that tested my endurance and made me feel weak in my knees.
Rudra-Nag Waterfall at the Rudra-Nag Temple
Massive Waterfall after the Rudra-nag Point
I took halt at only two cafes i.e. Sunshine Cafe located at a distance of 8 km from Kheerganga and then Rudra-Nag cafe located at a distance of 5 km for 15 minutes each. I had water and some dry fruits during these halts to regain my energy level and then started again with a smile on my face. It took me approximately 6 hours to reach Kheerganga, which offered a completely different view and drastic changes in the environment as it opens up into a flatland that is graced by occasional cafes and tents around. After reaching Kheerganga, I took a dip in the natural hot-water-spring and had my favourite "maggi" noodles at the Lonely Planet Guest House where I stayed during my trip to Kheerganga.
Experience, Yes! This trek proved as a changing point for my whole life as travelling alone to a new place with no plan in mind comes with many tiffs. However, after being to "Kheerganga," I know my endurance capacity and how much I can test myself under different circumstances away from a city life. Kheerganga's positive vibes not only made me composed but also helped me in finding my inner calm.
Why Should You Do This Trek?
A long trek of 15 kilometres filled with thrill, excitement, and anguish helps you to know yourself. It is just like travelling to a different world altogether in the process of finding your inner calm. The experience of being there will leave you startled during the first few minutes, but later you would be all happy to be in the arms of nature. The trek will definitely offer you the most exhilarating view of the Parvati Valley that you would not have seen before, very magical!
Things to Carry and Accommodation Options for You
The first thing that you need is a good sturdy backpack. The size of your backpack will vary as per your plans of staying there. If you plan to stay just for a day, then you should carry a small backpack. However, there is only one small problem with staying there for one day; your heart will melt, as you will move away from the place. For staying there at night, there are wide options available like camping and small hotels. Camping is easy and this is what you should do. However, if you are an all-girls group, then you can also opt to stay in a hotel as there are basic rooms with mattresses and blankets starting from a range of 150 INR to 300 INR (per night).
Things to Keep in Mind While Trekking
- Respect Nature
- Do not opt for a short cut in the mountains as it can take you anywhere
- Do not pluck apples from the orchards on your way to Kheerganga
- Carry a pair of slippers, water bottle, a good pair of trekking shoes, sunscreen, sun glasses, torch and basic medicines (in case of Acute Mountain Sickness)
- Have faith in yourself that you will make it to the destination
- Watch your steps at the Hot water spring, as it is very slippery
- Carry a raincoat, as weather can be unpredictable sometimes.