With so many amazing villages and towns in the Himalayan region, getting a quiet and relaxing weekend is not difficult anymore. However, with the increased commercialization, a lot of places have lost their charm and have become a tourist spot now.
But there are still a few hidden gems which aren’t visited as frequently as other places and one such amazing location is the Rajgundha Valley. In this guide, I will be discussing how you can reach this small, quaint village and enjoy a pleasant time while being surrounded by the Dhauladhar Ranges.
About Rajgundha Trek
Situated between Billing and Barot Valley, Rajgundha is one of the most picturesque locations in Himachal Pradesh. This small village is surrounded by the Dhauladhar mountain ranges and offers a clear sky, which makes it easy to observe the Milky Way with naked eyes as well.
At a height of 8900 ft., one can only reach this village via trekking which can take anywhere between 3-5 hours. Perfect place for nature and mountain lovers, Rajgundha is a peaceful place and isn’t as popular so you can still enjoy some quiet time here alone or with a few friends.
Best Time for Rajgundha Trek
Rajgundha trek can be done throughout the year except for the monsoon months so, really, there is no single best time to visit. However, each season offers something unique to the visitors so you can choose the trekking time accordingly.
Rajgundha has a cool temperature throughout the year. So, if you are looking to escape the summer heat then summer season is a good time to visit Rajgundha. During the summer, you will experience clear sky and crisp cool air to accompany you here.
And you will also be able to camp outside and enjoy a dip in the cool, refreshing river pools here.
For snow lovers, the winter season is a good time to visit Rajgundha as the entire place gets beautifully covered in snow. The snow starts to fall around mid-December and lasts till February, making this entire village resemble a Christmas village.
But it gets really cold at this time and trekking to this village can be slightly tough. However, if you can brave the cold and the trek then you are gifted with a beautiful snow-covered mountains view.
As mentioned earlier, the monsoon is not a good time to visit the valley as the trekking routes become inaccessible. But once the monsoon is over, which usually happens somewhere around the end of September, then you can come here again.
After monsoon, the entire valley is covered with lush greenery and you can also see snow-capped mountains in the distance. So, this is also a good time to visit Rajgundha valley if you are looking for some peace and quiet.
How to Reach the Starting Point of Rajgundha Trek
One of the most important things to note when planning the Rajgundha Trek is that there are two starting points for this trek. You can either start from Billing which is a 14 km to Rajgundha or Barot which is a 6 km trek to this village. Both the routes are scenic and different so I would recommend you to try them both, maybe one while going and one while coming back.
Here is everything that you need to know to reach the starting points of this trek.
In order to reach Billing, you first need to reach Bir and then take taxi to Billing site because there isn’t any public transportation till this place.
How to Reach Bir
For Bir, you have three transportation options to consider: buses, trains, and taxi.
Buses: There are many private buses which run to Bir every day. So, you can book a seat on one of these buses to reach Bir. If you are interested in taking a state bus instead then you will have to reach Baijnath and then take a local bus/taxi to Bir from here.
Trains: Another option is to take a train till Pathankot and then take a toy train to Baijnath station. From Baijnath, you have local buses and taxis going to Bir every hour.
There are two ways to reach Barot, you can either take a bus from Bir or you can reach Barot from the Mandi site.
If you choose to reach Barot from the Mandi site, then you would need to take a bus till Ghatasani from Mandi. From Ghatasani, you will need to take another bus to reach Barot. This route will take you around 13-14 hours to reach.
Rajgundha Trekking Trail Difficulty
Both the trekking routes to Rajgundha are filled with scenic views but are completely different from each other. The Barot route offers a view of the Dhauladhar ranges while the Billing route takes you through a dense, green forest.
Billing Trek Route
The Billing trek route is a total distance of 14 km and can take anywhere between 4-5 hours to reach. This route is quiet, with just 1 proper stop on the way and you won’t see a lot of people on this path. But the route itself is quite simple and straightforward to follow and cannot be really confused.
However, you have to be careful while walking on this route because you can encounter a few wild animals on the way. So, it is better to take a guide with you who has an idea about this area. But overall, this is an easy albeit a slightly lengthy trek.
Barot Trek Route
The Barot trek route is a total of 6 km and can be completed in almost 2-3 hours and would require you to cross the river on the way. This trek route is slightly more tricky as there are a few steep ascents and descents on this route. And on the way, you will come across a few small water sources where you can refill your water bottle and sate your thirst.
Again, you don’t have a food stall on the way but you do cross a village and a few farms on your way. Also, since this is a shorter path, you can pack some food from Rajgundha and keep yourself full for the 2-3 hours of trek. After that, you would reach Barot village where you can have a delicious meal.
Food Options on Rajgundha Trek
Food Availability on Billing Route
If you are starting the trek from the Billing side then you would find only two places for food throughout the trek route. One is at the Billing site where you have a couple of food stalls to get Maggi, snacks, etc. And the other food stop is right at the middle of the trek, i.e., around 7-8 km from the Billing site.
So, it would be a good idea to carry some energy bars and a packed lunch if you are taking the Billing trek route.
Food Availability on Barot Route
On the other hand, it is easier to find food on the Barot trek route as the trek distance is just 6 km here. So, you can get some food at the Barot village and then trek 6 km to the Rajgundha Valley. Once you have reached the valley, you will find a couple of food shops here to sate your hunger.
Accommodation Options in Rajgundha
As Rajgundha is still an unexplored and relatively secret location, there aren’t a lot of hotels or hostels to stay here. However, you do have a couple of camps and guest houses here where you can stay for the night.
A guest house would cost you about 500-600 INR here for the night and you can also get freshly prepared meals here.
Trust me, you have to try the Himachali meals here as they are not only healthy but really delicious as well, prepared from freshly cut vegetables.
Another option would be to get your own tent and camp in a closed enclosure by paying a small fee to the villagers. You can also take a camping package to this site where the trekking company will get you all the necessary equipment and you can simply enjoy the view
Note: Don’t camp alone on an unsecured land as a lot of wild animals roam around here in the evening and at night. So, it is always good to camp in a fenced area, surrounded by other houses.
ATM & Mobile Connectivity
There aren’t any ATMs in the Rajgundha village so it would be a good idea to withdraw some cash before starting your trek. You won’t find many ATMs at Barot or Bir too so carry cash from your home or withdraw at Mandi/Baijnath.
As for the mobile connectivity, only Jio, BSNL, and Airtel networks work here. So, make sure you carry a Sim of one of these networks otherwise let your family members know that you would be out of network for a couple of days.
Itinerary for Rajgundha Trek
Here is a sample itinerary for your Rajgundha Trek to make the most of your time here.
Reach Bir and freshen up a little. Have a good breakfast and then head to the Billing site. Start your trek to the Rajgundha village and stop in between to have lunch.
Reach Rajgundha by the evening and then retire to your camp to relax for a while. Enjoy some night photography and bonfire and retire for the night after dinner.
Start your day early the next day and make your way to the Channa Pass to enjoy a 360 panoramic view of the Thamsar pass. Come back to your camping site and relax for a while. Head to the Uhl river pool and take a dip in this cool refreshing water.
Walk around the Rajgundha Village to enjoy the natural landscape and proceed to watch a magical sunset here. Relax and enjoy a bonfire and then retire at night after dinner.
Start the return trek from Rajgundha and reach Barot village by early afternoon. Enjoy a meal in Barot and spend some time here. Then, take a bus/taxi to leave Barot and reach Mandi/Bir, depending on your departure location.
A perfect, offbeat trek in the Himalayan region, Rajgundha trek is not adventurous but really rewarding. With clear skies and surrounding mountain ranges, you will feel protected and safe here. And you can be sure to have one of the most memorable nights while camping here.