Trek to Churdhar - A Night Under The Sky !!

25th Nov 2016

It has been a long pending wish to plan a trek to 'Churdhar' peak. My buddy 'Navjeet' with whom I have already completed couple of treks in past finally agreed to attempt it on 25th November.

Photo of Trek to Churdhar - A Night Under The Sky !! 1/15 by Pahari_In_Town

Churdhar Peak is located in Sirmour district of Himachal Pradesh, India. Churdhar which is 11,965 feet high is the highest peak in Sirmour district of Himachal Pradesh. Apart from its scenic beauty ;Churdhar peak also has a religious significance to the people of the villages of adjoining districts like Sirmour , Shimla , and Solan. Churdhar is a holy place related with Shri Shirgul Maharaj (Chureshwar Maharaj), a deity widely worshipped. Churdhar can be approached through many routes but we completed it via Nohradhar . Best time to visit this place is between April to November barring rainy/monsoon season. It was a simple to moderate difficulty trek.

We (three of us) left from Gurgaon at 6 PM in our own car after completing the day in office and intended to finish it with in the weekend. It was indeed a very ambitious plan but due to personal and official commitments we had no choice. Also, since recommended season for this trek was almost getting over we did not want to delay it any further. Estimated journey time to the base camp "Noradhar" was ~9 hours but due to excessive traffic on Delhi roads (thanks to the marriages season) it took three extra hours for us to cross Delhi.

We witnessed sun rise while approaching Solan city of Himachal Pradesh.

Photo of Trek to Churdhar - A Night Under The Sky !! 2/15 by Pahari_In_Town

Took a turn towards Rajagarh as soon as we entered Solan. Rajgarh is 36 KMs from Solan and Noradhar is another 26 KMs from there. We reached Noradhar around 9:30 AM. We parked our car at the paid parking space. As soon as we came out of the parking lot, one local guy from nearby eatery came to us and asked if we needed breakfast. While we were deciding what to eat he gave us information about the trek like it is going to take 8-9 hours to reach the summit and that there is no place to eat on the way so we must stuff enough food to survive this 16-17 KMs journey. I tried to impress him by saying that I am Himanchali and've done many treks in past and that we might complete it in 5-6 hours ;) to which he said "Yeh toh baad mein hee pata challega" ;only time will tell ;with a very big sarcastic SMILE . I must confess , he was dead right. After freshen up; we had breakfast at nearby "Dhaba" , bought dozen of bananas, bread n butter , chips and biscuits. We were carrying rucksacks , a tent and two sleeping bags (remember, we were three so short of one sleeping bag). We finally started the trek from Noradhar at 11:30AM. There were two ways to approach it; one climbing straight up the mountain which would save atleast half an hour of journey and another was little easier that passes through the villages a trail around the mountain. We took the shortest path. As we started hiking, the view of the valley was awesome, deep blue clear sky, crystal clear sunshine and layers of green mountains. The view swept away the tiredness of first hour of difficult trek.

Village on the way.

Photo of Trek to Churdhar - A Night Under The Sky !! 3/15 by Pahari_In_Town

Though we were slow initially, we kept picking up pace while confirming right trail with the villagers who met us on the way. After trekking for three hours we finally reached 'Jamnala'. N

ow we were on a proper trail made of stones & soil going through thick forest. As we walked through;sun shine kept diminishing and the cold picking up very fast , we put on warmers and were all prepared to face wind chill of around 1-2 Degrees C. Since it was off season we did not meet any one after 'Jamnala'. After trekking for three more hours we reached 'Teesri' around 6 PM. It was very windy and cold, temperature must have been around 3-4 degrees. There was a small cemented hut and 2-3 other ruined makeshift sheds made of stones, this place was totally deserted. It was almost dark and there was no one else except three of us. There were 2-3 small trails leaving in different directions and we took the one which looked solid and seemed to be used more frequently.

Unfortunately we were not sure if the path we took was right and also how long we may have to walk more to reach the Churdhar temple. This situation was enough to put us in the state of confusion and made our trek more challenging and adventurous ;).

We saw sun going down , small twinkling stars in the sky started to appear.Cold kept gripping our body, i could feels my cheeks going numb, nose was stone cold and so were hands. We kept walking but no sight of any one or any certain sign that could confirm if we were walking on the right path. We were at around ~1050 Ft and could easily see the lights emitting from the bulbs from the houses of surrounding valley. Clear sky with full of stars and constellation made the view so beautiful.

I'd never ever seen such a marvelous sky while staying in NCR/Delhi. We had been walking for more than an hour now and not sure where we were heading to. All tired, exhausted ,hungry so we decided to camp. It was dark and we only have one flash light which made the journey very difficult. We decided to rest for a while before deciding our next course of action. Suddenly we saw a flashing light from quite a distance. I shouted a aloud "Koie hai wahaan" is any one there. Some one responded back 'Hum rasta bhul gye hain' we have lost the way. We guided them using our flash light and they finally caught the trail.

They asked us if we know the exact way to reach temple, we explained them that even we are not sure of it. They had no means to camp hence decided to go back to 'Teesri'. One dog who accompanied them was kind enough to stay back with us and we were happy to welcome him. As soon as they left we tried to find camping site and found one camp beside a big rock. Fear of wild animals like bear and leopard kept scaring us,we were confident that this dog shall protect us in case of any emergency.

Camp site was not that smooth, we have to put it up on a slanting surface but considering the situation it was just fine. Wind chill must have been below zero.We really had to work hard to stuff ourselves in the tent as it was of capacity of only two peoples and also we were short of one sleeping bag.D og really gave us great company and warmth as it slept just beside our tent. We settled in the tent by 9 PM. This was one of the longest night of my life with only 2-3 hours of sound sleep.

We woke up at 6:30 AM in the morning. After wrapping up our stuff we had light snack and fed our dog. Since we were not sure of the way; best option was to go back to 'Teesri' and look for some help.

Photo of Trek to Churdhar - A Night Under The Sky !! 4/15 by Pahari_In_Town

On the way back to Teesri

Photo of Trek to Churdhar - A Night Under The Sky !! 5/15 by Pahari_In_Town
Photo of Trek to Churdhar - A Night Under The Sky !! 6/15 by Pahari_In_Town
Photo of Trek to Churdhar - A Night Under The Sky !! 7/15 by Pahari_In_Town
Photo of Trek to Churdhar - A Night Under The Sky !! 8/15 by Pahari_In_Town

After 45 minutes of trek we reached at 'teesri'. We setup fire to prepare bread toast,it was the first proper meal after day1 breakfast at 'Noradhar' , much relieved n full tank ;).

Photo of Trek to Churdhar - A Night Under The Sky !! 9/15 by Pahari_In_Town
Photo of Trek to Churdhar - A Night Under The Sky !! 10/15 by Pahari_In_Town

While we were eating; we saw couple of local folks, they were paying visit at 'Chureshwar' maharaj. We spoke to them, they told us that since it is off season not many trekkers visit during this period of year also the trail which we took was right but the journey to the summit could have taken 3 hrs.

After finishing breakfast we followed them and reached at the peak after trekking 4-5 kms in 3 hours.

Hike to the Churdhar peak.

Photo of Trek to Churdhar - A Night Under The Sky !! 11/15 by Pahari_In_Town
Photo of Trek to Churdhar - A Night Under The Sky !! 12/15 by Pahari_In_Town
Photo of Trek to Churdhar - A Night Under The Sky !! 13/15 by Pahari_In_Town

Magnificent view from the peak

Photo of Trek to Churdhar - A Night Under The Sky !! 14/15 by Pahari_In_Town
Photo of Trek to Churdhar - A Night Under The Sky !! 15/15 by Pahari_In_Town

From the there, another 2 kms trek took us to the temple. We had lunch there and relaxed for a wile under the sun before moving back to Noradhar. We left at 1:30 PM and reached the base camp at 6:15 PM. After having tea at the local shop we were all set to travel back. We started our return journey at 7 PM from 'Noradhar' , took our dinner at Rajgarh and comfortably reached Gurgaon in the morning at 3AM.

Highlights & takeaways :-

850 KMs via CAR, 45 KMs on foot and a very adventurers night under the sky. Always learn about the route from locals before going on the trek. Thoroughly plan the trek like which route to take, where to camp etc. Carry all necessary things with you while attempting this trek during off-season.