About Kheerganga Trek
Situated at the far end of the Pin Parvati Valley, Kheerganga is one of the most brilliant mountain tops which offers you the most mesmerizing view of the surrounding mountains and forests. Here, you get a chance to take in the green landscape around you during the daytime and ogle at the magical sky during the night time.
However, that is not all, you also have a relaxing hot spring here where you can take a bath and rejuvenate while breathing in the fresh mountain air. And on the way, you come across beautiful streams, waterfalls, etc. which are cold, fresh, and perfect for drinking too.
This is a comparatively easy trek which can be completed in a day and is perfect for beginners as well. In this guide, you will learn how to plan and prepare yourself for this amazing trek which happened to my first step to the trekking world.
Best Time for the Kheerganga Trek
One can go on the Kheerganga trek throughout the year, but depending on what you are looking for, the best time to visit Kheerganga often differs.
Personally, I think the best time to visit Kheerganga is just after the monsoon (August – October). During this time, you get to witness sunny days with cool temperature in addition to the lush greenery which surrounds you. However, the path to Kheerganga can be a little muddy and slippery at this time so, you have to wear good trekking shoes and be careful while going on this trek.
Most people tend to go for the Kheerganga trek during the summer months to escape the summer heat and spend some time surrounded by the majestic mountains. May and June are popular months for a visit as you don’t have to worry about carrying a lot of jackets and thermals as well and can enjoy the cool, pleasant breeze after a long climb.
For people who love snow, winter months could be a great time to go for the Kheerganga trek as you get to witness snow on the ground and the surrounding mountains. It can be slightly treacherous to trek during this time but if you hire an experienced guide, you should be good to go.
How to Reach Kheerganga Trek Starting Point
In order to start the Kheerganga trek, you have to first reach the base point of this trek which is from Barshaini village. Your journey to Barshaini can actually be divided into two parts, i.e., first reach Bhuntar and then reach Barshaini from Bhuntar.
Here are a few options that you can consider when planning your journey till Barshaini from your respective city:
Bhuntar is well-connected via road and airways so there are a few ways that you can reach here.
The nearest airport to Bhuntar is the Kullu Manali airport/Bhuntar airport which is just 3-4 km away from the city center. This domestic airport is connected to a few cities like Shimla, Dharamshala, Chandigarh, Delhi, etc. and can be opted if you are arriving from a far off place with a limited time with you.
While there is no railway station or track near Bhuntar, one can take a train to the Pathankot railway station or Shimla to reach Bhuntar. Pathankot is situated at a distance of approximately 270 km from Bhuntar and can be reached via trains from several major cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Ahmedabad, etc.
On the other hand, Shimla is situated at a distance of 200 km (approximately) from Bhuntar. One can take a train to Kalka and then a toy train to Shimla in order to proceed to Bhuntar.
You will find several HRTC buses plying between Pathankot and Bhuntar or Shimla and Bhuntar so, it would be quite easy to reach.
One of the best ways to reach Bhuntar from cities like Delhi, Chandigarh, Haryana, etc. is by taking an HRTC or private bus. You will find both ordinary and Volvo buses plying on this route which will cost anywhere between 300 – 1500 INR, depending on your bus type.
If you are good at driving in the hills and have your own vehicle then you can also plan a road trip till Bhuntar. Bhuntar is situated at a distance of approximately 500 km from Delhi, 250 km from Chandigarh, and so on. So, it will easily take you about 12 hours to reach from Delhi and about 6-7 hours to reach from Chandigarh.
Bhuntar to Barshaini
Once you have reached Bhuntar, you can make your way to Barshaini which is the starting point of the Kheerganga trek.
You can get a bus to Barshaini from Bhuntar which will cost about 50 INR and will take around 3-4 hours to reach. You will find one bus from Bhuntar heading to Barshaini in every 30 minutes or 1 hour till 4-5 p.m. in the evening.
On the way, you can also make a pit stop at Kasol and Manikaran, both of which are amazing in their own way and have really different experiences to offer.
If you have your personal car then you can simply start driving to Barshaini which would take about 2-3 hours to reach.
If you don’t have your own vehicle, then you can also hire a cab till Barshaini which will cost about 2000 INR for the entire car and will take about 2-3 hours to reach. You might also find other travelers heading in the same direction so you can share the cab with them to cut down on your expenses.
Kheerganga Trekking Path
Once you have reached Barshaini and rested for the night, you can start your trek early the next day. However, you need to decide on the path which you are planning to take as there are two trek path options available from Barshaini.
Kalga Village Path
If you are planning a trek during a sunny day then taking the Kalga village path would be advisable as this route is lined with dense forests so you get some shade and refreshing breeze. However, this path is muddy and can often be quite slippery and is generally a little longer than the other route.
On this path, you come across several small waterfalls and snack shops and one major waterfall, beside which you have a popular cafe to relax and eat in.
This path is perfect for nature lovers and people who love climbing the mountains and would like a little bit of a challenge for themselves.
Tosh Village Path
For people looking for a simpler and straightforward path to Kheerganga, the trek through the Tosh and Nakthan village is the best choice. This route lies on the left side of the Parvati river and offers several picturesque views on the way.
You also come across plenty of snack shops (slightly more than the other route) on the way serving food and beverages. And you will also witness a few magnificent waterfalls on the way which makes this route a paradise for photography enthusiasts.
However, you won’t have any tree shade on this path so you might get easily dehydrated and tired if you are walking under the harsh sunshine. So, you can choose this route as your ascent path and the other route as your descent path for a complete Kheerganga trekking experience.
Food Options on the Kheerganga Trek
One of the best and the worst things about Kheerganga trek is that there are a lot of snack shops and cafes on the way to keep your hunger properly sated. Here, you will find Maggi, eggs, etc. in abundance but the prices would be highly inflated here. You will also find tea and coffee stalls on the way which is a great way to keep yourself warm and relaxed during the trek.
But, there are often chances that these stalls and shops run out of food due to a high influx of trekkers. So, it is always advisable to carry a 2-liter water bottle with you to keep yourself hydrated. You can refill this bottle from the numerous waterfalls and streams that you will come across on your trek.
As for the food, carry a few chocolate bars and snacks when you start the trek from Tosh/Barshaini. Carry a few green apples as well which you will get for 5 INR from the villages and which will be quite healthy and refreshing during the trek.
Accommodation Options for the Kheerganga Trek
Earlier, there were a lot of camps and tents available at Kheerganga for stay and people were also allowed to bring their own tents to camp here. However, due to increased garbage disposal and pollution, camping has been banned at the top of Kheerganga.
As a result, you have to complete the entire Kheerganga trek in a day and reach the base point to relax for the night.
So, you can find a homestay at Tosh village or camp here for the night and then start early the next day for the trek. A homestay in this village will cost you about 300 – 500 INR or you can simply get your own tent and camp near the village for the night.
Itinerary for Kheerganga Trek
Here is a short sample itinerary that you can follow while embarking on the Kheerganga trek:
Reach Barshaini/Tosh which is the starting point of the Kheerganga trek. Spend a night at Tosh in a homestay or a camp and enjoy the brilliant night sky here.
Start early at 5 a.m. for the Kheerganga trek. You can trek through the Kalga village or the Tosh village, it is up to you. You are likely to reach the top by 10 – 11 a.m., after which you can admire the view or take a dip in the hot springs here.
After a short lunch, start your descent to the Tosh village around 2-3 p.m. You will likely reach the base point around 5-6 p.m. and can opt to spend a night in Tosh or head towards Kasol.
Take an early bus back to Bhuntar/Kullu and head back to your home.
Important Tips for Kheerganga Trek
Now, that you have a general idea of the route and other details about the Kheerganga trek, you can start planning your own trip to this wonderful land. Here are a few tips to remember for a smooth and enjoyable trek to this place.
- Get Plenty of Cash before reaching Barshaini because you don’t have any ATM here. There are one or two ATMs in Manikaran and Kasol but most of the time, they are out of cash. So, it would be advisable to carry sufficient cash when leaving your home or withdraw an adequate amount from Kullu itself.
- Wear a good pair of waterproof Trekking shoes when embarking on the Kheerganga trek and carry 2-3 pairs of socks just in case. Trust me, you don’t want to catch hypothermia after getting your foot drenched in the numerous waterfalls and streams on the way.
- Carry a small backpack with bare essentials like a jacket, food, water, power bank, extra camera batteries, memory card, a few pairs of socks, etc. Don’t keep unnecessary items and make your backpack heavy on the trek.
- Keep some light snacks with you and a few energy bars and drinks to keep you full and energized.
- Avoid trekking alone no matter how experienced you are. Get at least one friend with you or hire a local guide to help you on the way. This way, if you get hurt on the trek, there is someone to help you out and bring you back to the base point safely.
- Get warm clothing with you regardless of the season because the temperature at the top is cooler than what you experience at Barshaini or Bhuntar.
- Carry a rain gear with you to keep yourself dry in case of unexpected rainfall.
- Get your own First Aid kit and medications for emergencies.
- Lastly, keep your family and friends informed about your whereabouts when trekking to Kheerganga. Make your calls at the base point because you won’t get any signal at the top.