A Solo Trek to Kheerganga

24th Apr 2023
Photo of A Solo Trek to Kheerganga by Prosenjit Banerjee

As summer rolls around, I usually find myself daydreaming about traveling, yet somehow, I always end up postponing those plans.

But something changed during the lockdown. Spending countless hours on YouTube, my wanderlust grew stronger. Inspired by the breathtaking visuals and stories of travelers, I decided it was time to embark on an adventure of my own.

Scrolling through Instagram, I kept seeing mesmerizing posts about various treks. My newly purchased camera and drone were practically begging to be used.

After extensive research and weighing my options, the Kheerganga trek stood out. It promised an exhilarating mix of natural beauty and personal challenge. I was sold.

I set off from Kolkata, taking a flight to Delhi. A quick rest stop in the capital, and I was on an overnight bus to Kasol.

Day 1

Reached Kasol

After an overnight bus journey, I reached Kasol, checked in my hotel and spend some time exploring the town and some nearby places such as Manikaran and Chalan Village.

Photo of A Solo Trek to Kheerganga by Prosenjit Banerjee
Day 2

Setting Off on the Kheerganga Trek from Kasol

The day had finally arrived—the purpose of my stay in Kasol. After completing my morning routine and checking out from my room, I couldn't carry all of my luggage with me, so I left it at the hotel where I had stayed the previous night.

With my luggage taken care of, I set off with a few doubts in my mind. I was still unsure about my stamina, so I devised a few backup plans in case the main one didn't work out.

Option 1: If the weather turned bad, I would return and explore Kasol.

Option 2: If the weather was fine but solo climbing felt too challenging, I would return and explore Kasol.

Option 3: If everything went smoothly, I would begin my climb.

Having these three options gave me a sense of security and reduced my worries.

Before embarking on my journey, I enjoyed a delicious breakfast. The aloo paratha was particularly delightful.

After a short wait at the Kasol bus stand, I opted to walk to the taxi stand and hire a taxi instead of taking the local bus.

In no time, I was en route. I struck up a brief conversation with the driver, who surprisingly arranged a camp booking and provided me with a trekking stick from a store he knew. I paid half the price for the camp and was on my way.

Choosing the Kalga Village Route

A view on Way to Kheerganga via Kalga route

Photo of A Solo Trek to Kheerganga by Prosenjit Banerjee

After researching and watching YouTube videos from experts, I decided to begin my trek via Kalga. The trail is lined with trees, making it an ideal route for an uphill trek.

Sure, I've conquered Lohagad (almost) and trekked a whole kilometer to the breathtaking heights of Tso Moriri (it was high, I must say), but this? This was a whole new challenge for me.

Walking on plains and mountains are two different beasts. While I'm used to walking several miles every day, climbing is an entirely different challenge. So, the initial part of my trek involved ascending a few steep feet, and I grew so weary that I nearly gave up and considered turning back.

Then, I stumbled upon the first food stall, actually a cluster of food stalls and shops. I sat down, and bought a bottle of water, and a couple of energy drinks.

I just sat there and took deep breaths.

After resting for a few minutes, I gathered my strength and pressed on. I was determined to reach the summit.

The trail to Kheerganga was simply mesmerizing, with lush greenery and snow-capped mountains in the distance. I pulled out my mirrorless camera and began snapping photos every few minutes, as each path had its own unique beauty.

After walking for a few more minutes, I encountered some people, and I felt relieved to know that I wasn't alone, even though it was a weekday.

Streams, waterfalls, mountains—what more can I say? My bag was heavy with a few camera gears.

I kept walking, but tired out again. Taking a break on a rock, I watched the amazing Himalayas and enjoyed a few minutes catching my breath as I saw two guys walk past me. I started questioning my ability, my stamina, as I watched them.

Later, I resumed my trek, telling myself, "We each have our own pace, I'm not competing," until I reached the next food stall. There, I enjoyed the famous Maggi noodles and bought a few chocolates and energy drinks.

It's a real bummer to see people throwing wrappers and plastic bottles all along the trek. I mean, why???

After a few hours of walking, I finally heard the Parvati River roar, which felt good, like finding a familiar companion.

Then, I came across a sign.

The sign read: "Amihay Cohen (RIP) Here fell and died a dear man and good friend. Please be aware of shortcuts…"

I sat down on a rock to catch my breath and started thinking about the sign. My mind felt heavy, and for a few minutes, I reflected on how the entire trek mirrors life.

Sometimes, in life, things get difficult, and we feel like giving up, but some positive moments boost us up and help us move forward with more enthusiasm. Sometimes, we even try to take shortcuts to win, and sometimes we're not so lucky.

With a slightly heavy heart and keeping the warning in mind, I tightened my grip on my trekking stick and continued my trek.

After a few hours, I arrived at the junction where the Nakthan route and Kalga route met. It was almost 1 PM, and I reached a spot with a waterfall and several food stalls. When I asked how far Kheerganga was, they said, "It would take around an hour to reach Kheerganga."

Gathering some courage and drinking more energy drinks, I continued the final phase of my Kheerganga trek, and it was even steeper.

After walking a few more miles, I noticed the two boys who had overtaken me earlier were resting. Then I realized I'm not that slow after all.

Arrival at Kheerganga

After a relatively challenging trek(for me) of 5 hours and 30 minutes, I finally reached Kheerganga. Exhausted and not ready to trek any further, the sight of the camp made me weaker. I was prepared to enter the first tent I saw, but I had already booked one before the trek.

Kheerganga Camp

Photo of A Solo Trek to Kheerganga by Prosenjit Banerjee

Luckily, the tent I booked with the driver's help was closer. Stepping inside felt like entering a sanctuary after the long trek.

They offered me a complimentary tea, which I gratefully accepted. I asked if anything was available for lunch, and they replied, "We can make Maggi." I gladly accepted and had my third round of Maggi.

Surprisingly, the tent had WiFi, so I could call home.

After taking photos of the Maggi and consuming it, I took a few hours' nap. I woke up around 5 pm and was too exhausted to explore the place in the evening, so I strolled around the camp. The beauty was magnificent: snow-capped mountains, horses grazing on the green grass, and furry dogs staring at me.

After snapping a few more photos, I returned to my tent and took another nap, waking up around 8 PM.

The camp staff came around 8:30 PM and asked whether I wanted to have dinner inside the tent or outside. "Inside the tent, please," I replied.

Rajma chawal and roti—it felt awesome, and it was unlimited, I think, but I was happy with the initial quantity. After finishing my dinner, I headed out to catch a glimpse of the sky, but it was cloudy, so I gave up on my hopes of stargazing. My next plan was to visit the Kheerganga temple and start my descent as early as possible.

Stargazing at Kheerganga: First Milky Way Experience

Stargazing at Kheerganga

Photo of A Solo Trek to Kheerganga by Prosenjit Banerjee

With no hope of stargazing, I fell asleep. But for some reason, I woke up around 3 AM. I thought, let’s have a look outside.

My heart overflowed with happiness as I experienced the Milky Way for the first time, something I had previously seen only at Kolkata’s Birla Planetarium.

I stepped outside and stood there, mesmerized by the beautiful sky, marveling at its vastness and beauty. Tears welled up in my eyes. This was perhaps the most stunning part of my trek.

The dim light softly illuminated the mountains, creating a breathtaking scene.

Before the Milky Way faded away, I realized it was time to capture this memory. I quickly went back inside my tent, grabbed my camera and mobile phone.

I tried to capture what my eyes were seeing, but it wasn’t working. I hadn’t brought my tripod. I attempted to attach my camera to a mobile tripod and managed to take some long exposure, slow shutter photos. Most of them turned out blurry.

Although the photos weren’t satisfactory, the experience itself was unforgettable. I returned to my tent with my mission 50% successful; there was one thing left to do: fly my drone.

Day 3

Final Part of the Kheerganga Trek

After waking up, I began my ascent towards the Kheerganga fountain and temple. I noticed that the Kheerganga hot spring was partially closed, but arrangements were available for bathing.

I visited the Shiva temple, and then it was time to launch my drone. With a mixture of fear and doubt, I cautiously started the drone. I must admit, I was quite anxious about losing it, so I flew it for only about 5 minutes, capturing some stunning views of the valley.

Heading Back to Barshaini via Nakthan

I returned to my tent, packed my belongings, and despite the complimentary breakfast, I opted to start my descent early.

With my camera filled with photographs and my mind brimming with memories, it was time to bid farewell to Kheerganga and begin my descent to Barshaini village.

Continuing my downhill journey, this time I chose to descend via Nakthan. Along the way, I stopped at a food joint and had aloo paratha for breakfast. There, I chatted with the shop owner who warned me about the challenging Nakthan route. Despite the difficulties, I had already made up my mind not to retrace the same path twice.

Crossing Parvati river, on way to nakthan village

Photo of A Solo Trek to Kheerganga by Prosenjit Banerjee

Gradually, I began to realize that it might have been easier to return via Kalga. The descents here were brutal, with some drops so steep that I had to grab onto trees, rocks, and anything I could hold onto to slide down carefully. Being a first-timer, it was quite an experience.

After a few hours of walking, I crossed a perilous bridge over the roaring Parvati River. Downstream, the river was tumultuous, living up to its dangerous reputation. Further along, I reached Rudranag, home to a beautiful Shiva temple.


Photo of A Solo Trek to Kheerganga by Prosenjit Banerjee

The journey continued, with the heat taking its toll and making the trek more challenging. The trail was slippery in places, adding to the adventure.

After hours of walking, I finally arrived at Nakthan village. I sat at a food stall and grabbed a few bottles of energy drink to recharge.

Nakthan Village

Photo of A Solo Trek to Kheerganga by Prosenjit Banerjee

I was so exhausted that I briefly considered staying the night, as they had accommodation facilities. However, I gathered my strength and courage and pressed on.

Finally, I caught sight of the Barshaini dam and reached there by 12:08 PM.

Thanks to my sturdy shoes and trusty stick, I completed my first solo trek.

Returning to Kasol

After descending from Kheerganga, bought a mango drink from the nearest shop and headed towards the Barshaini taxi stand. It had started drizzling, and I silently thanked my lucky stars for allowing me to complete the trek without rain. The trail would have been slippery and more challenging in wet conditions.

Finally, I reached Kasol and returned to the new hotel I had booked for the day. They had kept my luggage safely, and it was finally time for a nap. Maybe I would explore Kasol in the evening. After completing my solo Kheerganga trek I explored Kasol, did some shopping and finally headed back to Delhi.

You can read the detail about my Kasol trip and Kheerganga trek in my blog.

Overall Expenses

Assuming Delhi to be the most prominent connected city, that is well connected with all the Indian cities through rail, flight, buses. I am giving an overview of expenses from Delhi

- Delhi to Kasol (Volvo)- Around ₹1,500

- 1st Day Stay in Kasol - ₹1,000

- Taxi to Barshaini: ₹500

- Stay at Kheerganga(dinner+breakfast+tea)+Stick Charge: ₹1,200 (approx)

- Maggie+Parantha+Snacks on way to Kheerganga - ₹500 (approx)

- Stay at Kasol: ₹1,000

Reflections on Kheerganga Trek

Kheerganga may not have been a walk in the park, but it was an experience I’ll never forget. The challenge of the trek pushed me outside my comfort zone, and the breathtaking scenery filled me with a sense of peace and wonder.

This solo adventure wasn’t just about reaching the top; it was a journey of self-discovery. I learned about my own resilience, resourcefulness, and appreciation for the simple beauty of nature.

In the end I request, keep the trail clean, drink fluids, buy drinks, chocolates, eat maggie, but its best to carry back the wrappers in your bag and later dispose it in the nearest town.