A Travel Guide for Trekking to Kheerganga

Kheerganga trek is really an amazing experience in Himachal Pradesh. The beauty of nature, cloudy weather in the trekking route is really unforgettable. A 9 km long but fairly easy, the Kheerganga trek amidst the beautiful mountains is a delight. The Kheerganga Peak is abode to a temple of Shiva and Parvati from where the hot springs originate.

The most sought after trek is Kheerganga, nestled in the Parvati valley at 3,605 meters in a Kasol district of Himachal Pradesh. The trekking is enveloped with picturesque views of the valleys, greenery, waterfalls, panoramic skies and tiny village hamlets which is epitome of the local culture of Himachalis.

Himachal’s most popular destination, a place for numerous activities, an easy starter for first time trekkers, Kasol is a wonderful option for a summer getaway. Commit to your plan only if you have time, patience and little bit of endurance. This is also a long trek but can be completed within few hours of day. You can have fun relaxing in hot water streams or explore more places nearby.

Despite the most popular places there are in Kasol, a few including Pulga, Rashol and Malana are some lesser known yet too beautiful to miss places. Being the mini Israel as well as the trekkers point, with an enigmatic beauty and heartfelt culture, this place deserves to be on everyone’s bucket list. Famous for its herbal warm springs, Kheerganga Trek is a famous vacation spot for tourists and pilgrims. Taking you via dense forests, and picturesque villages, and culminating within the recovery hot springs of Kheerganga, this trek seamlessly blends the adventure with rejuvenation. With several attractions, this is a tremendous trip for hikers of all talent levels.

Best Places to Visit in Kheerganga Here are few attractions mentioned about Kasol, which will lure you to add this to your list:

1. Bhuntar

Catch an overnight bus from Majnu ka Tilla to Kullu that leaves around 7:00 pm in the evening. Mostly it takes a maximum of 12 hours but it’s also a part of the fun totally covered around in nature. Get down at Bhuntar circle to catch the local bus and reach Kasol (30 km from Bhuntar) in the afternoon.

Arrive at the Parvati Valley, in the region of Himachal Pradesh, with many illusions. To get there you can also take a public bus from Manali (New Manali Station) to Bhuntar. The journey is about 2-3 hours. Once you get to Bhuntar, take another bus towards Kasol.

Parvati valley lies at the periphery of Great Himalayan National Park and mostly covered with dense forest of alpines and oaks with apple orchards in between. There are multiple hotels located in a range of 2 Km in every direction but you must try to take the hotel at the edges of the Parvati river. There are a lot of bridges and people can walk above the river to reach the hotel.

While trying to reach the hotel see multiple dogs on the way like Pitbull, Husky, Lebara, Royal Retriever, American bully types and people staying here generally take care of them. This is for a little adventurous lot, due to its narrow trails and tricky roads. The summer visit offers you with another adventurous activity, white water rafting. Basheshwar Mahadev temple, Jagganath temple and Himalayan national park are other few nearby places to visit.

2. Manikaran Sahib

Wake up early. Firstly go to Manikaran Sahib road and wait for the bus for Barshaini. If you miss the bus for the first time then you have to wait for an hour for the next one. Take some snacks for your trek from the upper bus stand at Manikaran Sahib Gurdwara. With religious fervour all around, the delicious langar, the holy hot spring, Manikaran is an absolute pleasure to rejuvenate your mind, body and soul. Situated within the proximity of the city, there are a number of tourists coming over.

Legend has it that somewhere in the valley, more precisely in the village of Manikaran, Shiva rested after making love with Parvati.

From there, the special and spiritual nature of the place emerges. Another legend tells that Parvati lost a jewel in the river and that she got back in a hot water stream. Parvati Valley is a green and leafy valley that grows around the Parvati River. Knowing the history, the legends and the reason for the names of the places gives an extra charm.

A holy place located in the middle of a spectacular landscape and River Beas welcomes devotees throughout the year. The major reason why one should pay a visit here is the hot spring that originates from the peak which is believed to wash away the sins of someone who bathes in it. The delicious langar (free food offered at Sikh temples) that they serve is a cherry on the cake.

The most beautiful thing about Manikaran is to climb the mountain that is on the left of the village and go to Gargi and see how the people of the mountain live. In Manikaran there were no amenities for tourists, nor continental food, nor many offers to stay. But it has mysticism.

Road to Barshani goes parallel to the Parvati river and passes through Kasol and Manikaran. Barshani is the last village connected with road and lies on the bank of Parvati river. Soon after reaching Barshani, find yourself in the midst of hippie culture with stoned freaks dominating the streets and staring at something unknown. And of course there are some gorgeous beauties as well seeking something within.

Start to Kheer-Ganga just after reaching Barshani to buy yourself enough time. There are few things you should know about hippies. Hippies acknowledge you and ignore you at the same time. If you are softhearted, your chances will diminish. Hippies worship those who can arrange them something to get intoxicated. If you don’t smoke then you are not welcome.

Hippies don’t mind much if you are flirting with their girls but if you don’t go by their rules, there are least chances to get their girls. Start learning Hebrew to strengthen your chances. Forget about bragging about your possessions or knowledge, it won’t be any help. Remember not everyone in Parvati is hippie.

The trail passes through beautiful alpine meadows following the river Parvati uphill. En route come across many villages and surprisingly Hippies stay everywhere. Reach Kalga, a small village surrounded by apple gardens. If no one is watching, you can pluck the apples from the trees and eat. Also get chance to pluck apples and apricots from the orchards adjoining the trail.

Spend night at Kalga, lots of guest houses are available. They offer very yummy and cheap food to eat.

3. Kheerganga peak

One of the best trekking points, to enjoy the landscapes and the hot water spring. Also the trekking trail covers a number of beautiful villages and apple orchards. With best time to visit Kheerganga being June to September, the experience of taking a dip in the Parvati kund is the best way to energize yourself.

The most exciting part of the trek is the natural springs on the top of the valley known as Parvati Kund, the best place to take a bath after a tiring trekking and a refresh in the winter season. Kheer Ganga is at 3050 meters, lies at the extreme end of Parvati valley in the Himachal Pradesh and the last inhibited village while trekking to pin valley via Pin-Parvati pass.

This trek is a most sought after as Kheerganga's panoramic skies and vast greenery are a delight to the trekker's and for memories behold. As Kheerganga trekking is now one of the most sought after and there are lot of guided trek routes, as the trek starts from the beautiful hill station Barshaini which is the starting point of this trek.

Enroute explore some of the tiny village hamlests like Rudranag. This hamlet is very scenic and picturesque and epitome of the local culture of HP, as you can taste the local cuisine in the local cafes on the way, also there is a Rudra Nag temple. After crossing the the waterfall, the trek gets a gradually steeper as you walk uphill you'll sight a view of blue and yellow tops, which indicates the village.

Once you reach the Kheerganga, the trek is not complete without taking a dip in the natural hot water at Parvathi Kund. This is the most attractive in the winters, unwind your day with gossip and vocal music or just read the books and enjoy the local food and pack up with new memories.

The night trek has its own charm as it provides you with a beautiful sky. Nothing can get better than a trek where all you are surrounded by a cluster of stars and a huge abode of forests of the Khirganga National Park.

Kheer Ganga (2960 meter) lies in the extreme end of Parvati valley and is the last inhibited village while trekking to Pin valley via Pin-Parvati pass. Kheer Ganga remains snow-covered during winters and only gets temporary settled during summers which makes it a perfect hideout.

Khir ganga trek is truly a heavenly affair! There are homes, only guest-houses, and restaurants, all prepared to receive people. Khir Ganga lends itself to see nature, alternating with thermal baths. Here you can see the Rainbow movement. What is it about? A movement that was born at the end of the 1960s and takes as an object the meeting to camp and live in community.

There is shared cooking, shared music and a little meditation. The idea is that everyone can learn what they want and teach what they know. It is done on certain dates, in certain places.

A valley in the middle of the Himalayas has to be amazing. The energy of the place can be felt but cannot be seen. For hippies the place emanates a special energy. Anyone who stops in the valley can feel it. Find the magic of the place and see nature in all its magnitude. Huge mountains are separated by the force of the river.

Trek till Kheer Ganga and Tosh to get a glimpse of hippie culture and making new connections.

In the morning start for Kheer Ganga again. From Kalga it is around 11 km trek to Kheer Ganga. Following the roaring parvati river and crossing some breathtaking wooden bridges, make it to Kheer Ganga after 3-4 hours of trekking. Lots of waterfalls are there. It is a simple trek but still you have to be careful. Lots of small food stalls are available in the trek. You can have tea, hot chocolate, maggi, omlet etc.

While trekking get greeted by many fellow travelers. Kheer Ganga is a tableland surrounded by thick forest of alpine meadows. It is a mesmerizing view when clouds started enveloping the forest and the snow-clad mountains. Kheer Ganga is known for hot water stream which flows beneath the temple of Shiva. The temple is highly revered hence alcohol is not permitted in Kheer Ganga however other kind of intoxication are in surplus.

There is well made pool to bathe in the hot water stream and water is really hot. You will only get basic tent kind of accommodation in Kheer Ganga. In the evening, views of the forest and the peaks were simply spectacular. Heavy mists enclose the valley but the peaks shine while sun sets down at a distant horizon. In addition to that, the melody of Parvati River is soothing the entirety of that moment.

It is too much to absorb and appreciate for a nature lover. As night approaches, clouds disappear completely to offer the crystal clear view of sky and the stars, a view of sky which you hardly feel in towns or cities. Roam around the plateau, climb small rocks, barge into the grooves, listen to the sound of silence and realize the very freedom of this place which makes it so special.

Being in Kheer Ganga is a different feeling than what you feel while accomplishing a challenging peak or high altitude trekking or defeating harsh terrain or exploring untraveled. There is nothing to feel special about or nothing to brag about, no feeling of home or homelessness. It is just thoughtlessness. That evening is a conditioning to the mind and the soul or to the existence.

If you want to reach the state of thoughtlessness, Kheer Ganga is your destination and if you continue your trek you will reach Mantalai Lake.

Wake up and head straight to the hot springs to take a bath at the altitude of 3000 mtr. It is really hot water. Overcome the fear and dip in the hot water spring. It is a refreshing pool in the midst of nature. Although there is no problem of food or accommodation but in the absence of the tourists, Kheer Ganga is quite deserted.

4. Tosh

If you want to stay for the night, there is another Tosh town that you can also visit. Favorite amongst Israelis is the village of Tosh at the far end of Parvati Valley. The architecture of the households leaves no stone unturned in pleasing the eyes of the spectator. Locals of the village live in wooden houses with slate roofs earning their major source of income from cultivating hash and apples.

This village again has an enthralling story to narrate. Because of hash in Kasol, Tosh is becoming popular by backpackers and hippies and is now a hub of psychedelic parties in Parvati valley. Initially narrow, this valley progressively opens up and provides a scenic beauty with every stroll. The beauty here is unreal! Popular for cannabis plantations, Tosh village offers breathtaking views of the snow-capped Himalayan range.

This place is not just for the holidaying group, it definitely is also for the foodies. The magic view cafe, providing the magical views of the valley along with an affordable and delicious food range, specially hot parathas. What better to offer in the winters! Another attraction that deserves to be tried, when at the Hill top cafe of Tosh is the snicker chapati. The drive from Kasol to Tosh is only about 20km and is quite picturesque.

5. Chalal

Welcome yourselves to the party place of Himachal, that happens deep inside the forest, with DJs from all over the world. Besides, chilling at parties, the place is great to relax with the gushing sounds of water near the river. With great views around and accessibility through foot from Kasol, Chalal has become quite a crowd puller.

6. Parvati river

Another mesmerising and unmissable part of Kasol is the parvati river. The river is only for experiencing tranquility all around and actually finding peace in nature. The views are more than just beautiful, the music the river creates with its flow is breathtaking and a great way of chilling.

7. Rashol pass

The place is especially for trekkers with easy and difficult paths to cover, overall a more than moderate level dangerous trek. With rhododendrons at long stretches, and waterfalls in between, a visit to Rashol will make one feel the adventure one must do while trekking.

8. Pulga

From the mysticism of Manikaran, go to see the rural life of Kalga and Pulga, two peasant villages with some guest houses lost in the forest.

To go to these towns it is as easy as waiting for the public bus opposite Kasol and getting off at the last bus stop, Barsheni. Once there you have to walk, the beauty of these towns is that you can make a route, first visiting Kalga, a mountain town full of pomeros and Mariguana plants, with a restaurant for a drink.

Then follow the path indicated by red arrows towards Pulga, crossing rivers and contemplating beautiful landscapes. Pulga has given us some beautiful views of the valley, which will be in our retinas for a long time. If you want to stay for the night, there is another Tosh town that you can also visit.

9. Malana

Way up in the hills, in the Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh is a small village called Malana. It is isolated from rest of the world. A small hamlet, with enchanting views and tranquility to offer, Malana village is a pure delight. It is situated on the banks of river Parvati and shadowed by its own natural guards, the Chanderkhani and Deo Tibba peaks. Malana is famous for Malana cream, a strain of Cannabis hashish. Malana cream is also the most expensive hashish in the Amsterdam menu. It is also one of the oldest democracies of the world with a well-organized parliamentary system, guided by their devta (deity) Jamlu rishi.

The Malana village is much more than a small town attracting hash lovers but is one of the popular places to visit in Kasol for backpackers. It is a total case study in itself. The Malanese think that they are the descendants of Alexander the Great and have rituals and rules of their own and their local court system even today reflects the ancient Greek system.

The green eyes and sharp features lay the claims that they belong to the Aryan race. Its culture is completely isolated from the rest of India which makes it perfect for explorers to unveil the mysteries of this village. The story of Malana will keep you hooked! Stay in the Waichin valley also known as Magic valley in a warm and cozy room. An additional day in Malana may also be worth learning the customs and unique traditions of the people.

Malana has many interesting stories associated with that. Some people claim that it is the oldest democracy in the world, while others trace the remote village to a wandering group of soldiers of Alexander the Great's army. Drink some unpasteurized milk obtained from Gujjars. Run into an isolated Malana dogri (part-time in the fields) and experienced the wonderful hospitality that simple rural people provide to complete strangers.

Malana has its own code of conduct for outsiders. In the village, strangers are expected to stay on defined paths. Visiting temples or even touching temple walls or stone slabs is prohibited. Violation of the rules results in a fine. In many places, there are tables that show warnings. Malana is a good place for those who want to spend a relaxed moment away from the crowds of the city. This place situated in the middle of the village is very beautiful.

The outsiders cannot touch them or their belongings without their permission. Outsiders are told to keep distance and not touch anything in the village. The shopkeepers will ask you to keep the money on the counter and place the goods on the counter, without any physical contact. In case of any contact, they will rush for a bath.

In recent years, the fame of Malana cannabis has also brought unwanted habits and, occasionally, unpleasant visitors. Outside the main village, on the south side, there are some guest houses and a tent settlement where the accommodation and boarding house are located.

Kalyan Panja