Offbeat Himachal (Jalori pass, Shoja, Jibhi, Shangarh)

12th Mar 2021
Photo of Offbeat Himachal (Jalori pass, Shoja, Jibhi, Shangarh) by Aditi Sawant
Day 1

Yay, Finally after such a long time I was so close to the  Himalayas. The excitement was so much that I was very anxious through out my journey in the flight then the Bus and then the shared cab which helped me reach my Homestay in Shoja. Shoja is a small village on the way to Jalori pass in Himachal Pradesh. Most of the travellers visiting the Jalori pass prefer to stay at Jibhi which is 12 kms away from Jalori pass, but I opted for Shoja as it was closer to Jalori pass and my internet search suggested it is more calmer compared to Jibhi. After reaching the homestay I was definitely happy with my decision.Windows overlooking the mountains and the view of the Dhauladhar ranges what more could I have asked for on the first day of my trip. Well the day was just getting started, a walk in the forest along with some locals and city dwellers to collect wood  was an unexpected treat on Day 1.  Super awesome 1st Day,I would say

Perfect Evening in the Himalayas

Photo of Shoja by Aditi Sawant

Dog's Eye View

Photo of Shoja by Aditi Sawant
Day 2

Yummy breakfast filled my tummy and I was all geared up for the day. As I was traveling solo I didn't miss a chance of interacting with the locals and getting to know the area better . One of the locals  helped me get a free ride to the Jalori pass , well they say na Best things in the world are Free that's what I experienced that day. what an awesome journey full of twists and turns on the narrow road to Jalori pass with Snow on both sides of the road . Jalori pass which is famous for the Kali Mata Mandir is also the starting point for few treks . There are two popular treks which most of the travellers visit , the 360 degree view point and the Serlosar Lake. These two treks are in different directions, 360 degree view point is 20-30 min hike slightly steeper while Serolsar Lake is a 5 km trek( one way) through the woods. Most of the visitors are not aware that one can trek down from the 360 degree view point to the Serlosar Lake , thank fully I had tagged along with a group who had opted for a local guide who knew this route. The view from the 360 degree view point was magical you can see numerous mountain ranges and valley all around you and the snow patches just added to the beauty. With too much contentment we trekked down to the Serlosar Lake which is considered Sacred by the locals. The lake has a temple which is visited by the locals often . The Serolsar lake is super clean and there are mystical stories about the lake  which the locals keep on reiterating. The trek to the lake was a walk with few ascents and descents in between . We reached back to Jalori Pass a bit late around 5:30 pm by that time all the local buses had left and I had to take a private cab to my Homestay.

Serlosar Lake

Photo of Serolsar Lake by Aditi Sawant
Day 3

Today I decided to visit Jibhi which is a village around 7 kms from Shoja and is the closest market place  where you get most of the basic items. This village is situated on the Bank of the river Tirthan and has lot of cafes with riverside view. I decided to walk my way down to Jibhi just enjoying the valley  and the sound of gushing water along the way. It is difficult to walk along this route as the roads are narrow and giving way to vehicles can be scary as there are no or broken railings on the sides of the roads  and you can  see few landslide locations on the way . After reaching Jibhi I enjoyed a local bread Sattu with potato stuffing and Apple juice in one of the river side cafe. Post that I spend some time chilling on the Bank of the river before getting back to my Homestay in a local bus. I would recommend to experience traveling in the local bus atleast once ,but mind you it's not for faint hearted your heart will definitely skip a beat when the bus takes a reverse at times to give way to other vehicles while climbing the ghat.

Local bread Sattu and Apple Juice

Photo of Jibhi by Aditi Sawant
Day 4

Time for another trip to Jalori pass this time to visit the not so popular destination Raghupur Fort. Luckily I got a free ride to the Jalori pass this time as well and the feeling was no different from my previous visit. Raghupur fort is usually opted by few trekkers as it a steep climb and you would take good 90 mins to reach the top. I took a guide along with me as the route to the fort can be confusing and there are chances that you will get lost. Also since not many people visit this fort there is high possibility of losing the way. It was fun trekking to the top of the fort while chatting with the guide about how it takes 15-20 mins for him to reach the top and at times during the peak season he visits the fort 10 times in a day.I also got to know that many people Camp at Raghupur fort and all the required arrangements are done by the locals.There is one more trek Lama Lambri  which is 5 kms ahead of Serlosar Lake. It's the highest peak in that region & you get great views of the valley from there. Ahh, the view from Raghupur fort was breath taking and the best part was there was no one at the fort except for us. While there are only few remains of the fort at the top but the views are really spectacular. I made video calls to my family and friends and gave them the virtual treat of the mountains, Vallies and the snow. Climbing down was easy and in an hour's time we were back at the Jalori pass. This time I took a local bus from Jalori pass to my home stay. Jalori pass connects Shimla to Mandi and Kullu region of Himachal Pradesh so you can get buses from there if you are on time.

Raghupur fort

Photo of Raghupur Fort by Aditi Sawant
Day 5

Today  I had planned a visit to Chehni Kothi .It is around 10 kms away from Jibhi. By now I was use to traveling in local buses in the region it gave me the opportunity of interacting with people and also I was not in a hurry to reach anywhere and wanted to enjoy my journey. I got down at a stop called Chenedar which meant I had to walk 3 km on a motorable road. Apparently the vehicle can go although upto Chehni village only with the expert drivers ofcourse, while most of the vehicles stop at Shringa Rishi Temple. I enjoyed the trek upto Chehni Kothi although it was little hot that day and I  got lost in between.  The village is nice offbeat location and there is one old tower made up of wood and stone which is called Chehni Kothi. There is a temple in the village which sees lot of visitors during the festival. After exploring the village for some time I started my downward journey, this time the school kids help me locate a short cut which saved a lot of my time while getting back from Chehni Kothi. This time I got a lift from a family who were going to Shimla side via Jalori pass. I had a good drive discussing with them the difference between mountain life and city life.

Chehni Kothi

Photo of Chehni Kothi by Aditi Sawant
Day 6

This was an impromptu plan , up untill now the places which I had visited  were all planned however this was something I decided on the go. I had one day in hand so I decided to visit Sainj valley along with couple of guys at the homestay. Reaching Sainj valley and then Shangarh by a public transport would have taken the entire day so we hired a cab directly to Shangarh. On the way to Sainj valley we did lot of Munching on Samosas and momos ,it feels so good to eat such delicious food at such high altitude. The route to Shangarh was very scenic we were driving along the river side throughout . On the way we took a small detour to a very beutiful waterfall and luckily we could see a very bright and colourful rainbow in the waterfall. The distance between Shoja to Shangarh is only 60 kms but it took us more than 3 hours to reach there.In mountains the ghat road make your journeys lengthier but prettier. Shangarh has a vast meadow which is the central attraction , you see people (not many though ) relaxing and children playing on this vast land.The place was a beauty ,the village didn't have too many houses but has few homestay which get lot of travellers. This place is base point to quite a few treks , the trekker in me had already started making plans of visiting the place again for a much longer stay. I spoke to few locals there and good a really good vibe of the place, I will be definitely  visiting the place soon. It was already past 5 pm by the time we left from the place. It's advisable to reach your homestay before sunset especially if you are traveling solo. luckily the guys with me were locals and were well versed with the region so I didn't mind making an exception that day.

Detour:- Waterfall with a rainbow

Photo of Shangarh by Aditi Sawant

Shangarh ground

Photo of Shangarh by Aditi Sawant
Day 7

Time to head back.

I didn't have anything planned for the day . Just did my packing and took a local  bus to Aut from where I had booked my Bus to Chandigarh. last few days were so great that I would have thought like 100 times about cancelling my flight tickets and extending my stay. With very heavy heart I began my return journey. I was so overwhelmed with the experience which I had in last few days. The locals are so welcoming and they will try to help you in all possible ways. My pickup location in Aut was  Gateway Cafe which had an awesome view of the Beas river from the roof top. I was so mesmerized with the beauty of the region that my heart was not willing to leave the place. But all good things come to an end with a hope that we will get even more beautiful experiences in future.

View from Gateway Cafe-Aut

Photo of Aut Tunnel by Aditi Sawant

keep exploring #solotravelling #loveformountains