Picking yet again couple of destinations in Himachal that can’t be missed. Sense of anticipation says most of us either haven’t traveled here; odds are many have not even heard of these places. Selected gems of Jibhi & Shangarh, in the beautiful state of Himachal Pradesh will surely gratify your hunger to see different. These are relatively less traveled destinations & you can surely experience these places if you love to see different than the tagged ones.
The Place & Experience:
Jibhi – An ideal village to compliment you with the solitude, situated at decent altitude of 1300 m above sea level which makes it complacent to visit anytime of the year. With lot of options to explore in vicinity you can easily manage 3-7 days of vacation in Jibhi & around. Yet not visited by the most of the travelers it will give you the sense of purity & experience closer to culture. Surrounded by the dense forests you get the true sense of wilderness around the place.
There’s a fairy-tale walk over the wooden bridges, finding your way through so many butterflies to Jibhi waterfalls was indeed an experience to remember. Wandering through the forests following the stream was a delight for my soul. Sitting beside the brook, which flows through the village sounded like nature’s music to my ears, we did not realize that we spent hours there. For people who love the roads, can drive to Jalori pass for the views; drive goes through dense & lucid forest. Or you can pick Tirthan valley which is just an hour drive (20 km) here & experience some fishing. For a bit of off road you have Balu village as an option for the culture essence.
Trekkers would love to explore the ancient remains the of the Raghupur fort for the impressive views of Dauladhar & Pir Panjal range, the fort is surrounded with beautiful meadows & trek is moderate, It can be combined with the Serolsar Lake. If that’s not enough there is the great Himalayan national park in Tirthan valley where you can hike to your likes and experience the gifts of fauna, flora & beauty nature has blessed us with.
Accommodation & Food:
If you are looking for luxury then this is not the place; however there are quite a few basic though lovely cottages in the village. If you are looking for a tree house there is one, we chose to stay in a well done cottage next to the stream after the village on the road to Balu. If you get in touch with them in advance they will help you organize the treks as well as village cultural tour. Food preparation is decent in the cafes and restaurants as per my experience. If you like local food it can be organized by the owners.
Recommendations: Lato the hut, Leena’s place, Mudhouse & Seclude.
Jibhi is around 550 km from New Delhi and can be done by 2 route options.
Route - 1: If Jalori pass is open then I would recommend this one, as post Mohali drive gets beautiful and you travel more time in the mountains instead of boring plains. Moreover if it is a perfect road to pick as you can go in break journeys instead of driving for 15 hours at a stretch. We took our first halt at Mashobra & then the next day we went to Jibhi dividing the journey into two halves to make it more comfortable.
Navigation: New Delhi – Chandigarh - Shimla - Narkanda - Jalori - Jibhi.
Route – 2: In case Jalori pass in not open then you have to take NH205 combined with NH154 which goes to Kullu & Manali, Just before the Aut tunnel, you have to get from from NH154 and take road going to Banjar valley. Advantage of this route you will have access throughout the year as there are not high passes on the road so chances are less that this road is closed, landslide might be an exception with more probability in monsoons.
Navigation: New Delhi – Chandigarh – Bilaspur – Mandi – Banjar – Jibhi.
The Place & Experience:
Shangarh: Another esoteric hamlet, rarely visited by people will be an amazing change than routines of Manali, Shimla & Kullu. Situated at 2148 m above sea level, it offers wide and open views of the mountains. Not just the mountains, but it adds huge meadows with the village in the background making it a picture perfect spot for photographers and serene place to nature enthusiasts. Village offers relatively new and classic Himachal architecture temple of Sangchul Mahadev.
Options to explore:
Temple in the village is certainly an architectural pleasure to visit, apart from the temple you can always have a closer look of the village and town, we spent some time in government school there meeting and talking to teachers, they were a nice bunch of people, arranged for refreshments & snacks for us. Apart from the culture you can walk through the meadows enjoying the scent of nature & beautiful view of the mountains from here.
Accommodation & Food:
You can spend a night here if you like as there are couple of basic guest houses or home stays here. We just drove here spent few hours and went back to Jibhi, as I simply loved there. We had some refreshments arranged by the teachers in school so did not eat anything else in the area. Though I am certain where you will stay you will get all the basic Indian food organized along with your stay.
Recommendations: Divine lands & few camps around the area organized by locals.
Shangarh is just 51 km from Jibhi but will take around 2 hours as the road condition near Shangarh wasn’t that good, though I drove Toyota Corolla there; I’m sure any other car without clearance issues can reach. It is also just 30 km from Aut & shall take around an hour or so. Consider the map as it can be reached from Kullu & Shimla both.
Route 1: New Delhi to Mandi, Aut and to Shangarh via Sainj
Route 2: New Delhi to Shimla, Narkanda and to Shangarh via Jibhi
Navigation: Shimla - Narkanda - Jibhi - Shangarh