TREK TO KHEERGANGA – A Lifetime Experience

29th Sep 2017
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Friday, 29th September, 2017

Dussehra & Gandhi Jayanti was round the corner, a holiday from work was up to be grabbed and the feet were itching to go on a leisure road trip. I soon came across a place called KheerGanga in Parvati Valley, Himachal Pradesh, the trek to which is amongst the most difficult treks in India. KheerGanga is situated at a height of 13,051 feet (2,960 metres) above sea-level and has a breathtaking meadow surrounded by snow-capped mountains that nestle the famous "HOT WATER SPRINGS". Being a lover of dangerous, risky, exciting adventures, I quickly convinced my fellow colleagues (Mayank, Ravi & Vishal) for the road trip, including the Director of our company – Gurvinder Singh, a man approaching his 50’s but still young at heart. So, the 5 of us, finished our work on Friday, took the weight of our feet in our XUV500 and began our journey at around 9PM.

Day 1

Day 1 → The love for Travelling, especially via Road Trips has resulted in a love for driving as well. We left Delhi around 9 PM in the night. I drove, we enjoyed, I drove further, we sang, I drove even further through the night and we finally reached Manikaran Sahib Gurudwara (20 Kms before Barshaini Village – the starting point of the Trek). The Gurudwara is famous for its Hot Natural Springs and attracts a lot of people all round the country to experience a Holy Bath in the springs. After having a bath in the water, we did Seva in the Gurudwara. We had our breakfast at a nearby restaurant and later drove to Barshaini, where the trek starts. We parked our car near the police station for security reasons and started the Trek.

Day 2

Day 2 → The trek in Parvati Valley includes many villages/ places. The 3 most popular amongst them are Kalga, Kheerganga & Tosh (Anti-Clockwise, they form a complete circle). We decided to stay at Kalga for the Night, being a 45 min trek from Barshaini, as reaching KheerGanga in one-go is not advisable. The 45 Min trek in itself proved to be quite a challenge for most of us but the place had an eye popping view, and we quickly forgot the slight pains of our trek. Staying at Kalga in itself makes up for a quite mesmerising experience. We stayed at the "Blue Sky Guest House". The runner boy’s name was OM – who kept on repeating “Paaji, kadi hass bi lia karo” to our Director, whenever he asked him to do anything  We also met 2 Israelis – Ben & Neel, during our stay there. The night was full of conversation on the similarities and differences in the culture of Indians & Israelis, which is the actual essence of Travelling  – meeting & conversing with new people & making new friends.

Day 3

Day 3 → Woke up around 9AM, had a light breakfast and we checked out from Kalga to start the Trek to KheerGanga. The trek distance is approx 15 Kms (Difficult, Gruelling, Risky 15Kms) and takes around 5 hours. We were told by the locals that there is no Electricity, no Signals, no Medic Shops in KheerGanga. So, the advisable thing is to put your Mobile phones on Flight Mode to use them as Torch during the Night (ofcourse, you can shut them down if you are not going to click pictures). One Very Interesting thing we were told about was that if you give some eatables to the Dogs there, they will show you the way to KheerGanga through the woods. We thought of putting it to test and gave Biscuits to one of the Dogs near Kalga. Surprisingly, he just started walking in the direction we were initially going, stopped when we took rest & started again as soon as we used to lift our Trekking Bags - Unusual but True. The Trek has rightfully been included in the Most Difficult Treks in India as it took loads out of us to reach the place, after 5.30 hours around 4PM. The First Sight of the Board – “Welcome to KheerGanga” was a candy to the eye. The place is truly a heaven on Earth. Mesmerizing view of the mountains, the environment of the place, the Cold (temperatures drop below 0 degree in the evening). We booked our room at Dharamshala Guest House at an astonishing price of Rs. 100 per person which included the Dinner as well (though there are many Café’s in KheerGanga where you can relax, enjoy good food, dance, sing and thoroughly enjoy yourself). We immediately went for a Bath in the Hot Springs to relax ourselves from the Gruesome Trek. Later, had our Dinner at our nearby Café named Lotus Café. At Night, it becomes extremely cold in KheerGanga. We 5 were given 21 blankets for the night (This Can give you an idea of the atmosphere there during night). The night was uncomfortable because of the Cold and our awful cramps, but we somehow slept.

(I need to give special credit to our Director – as except the Locals, we were not able to see a single tourist even near to his age. We can only applaud his accomplishment)

Day 4

Day 4 → We woke around 9 AM, had ‘Kadha’ (Local Tea), then took another bath in the Springs before heading to a Café for Breakfast. After having a heavy but mouth-watering breakfast, we started our Trek to Barshaini, through Tosh (We could have stayed in Tosh as well for a night, but the time restraint had to be taken into account). The only thing we had in our minds was “THE WAY 15KMS BACK” but the Wanderlust prevailed and we started the trek with excitement. We met many groups on our way back whom we met the last night @ KheerGanga, which made the trek even more fun. We reached Tosh after trekking for around 3 Hours.

(Tosh is a busy village situated in the Parvati Village. KheerGanga being in another league, Kalga is a more advisable place to stay than Tosh for the simple reason that it is less crowded and has a beautiful scenic beauty – but at the end – it depends from person to person).

We took a short break for some snacks and Tea in a Café @ Tosh. Rejuvenating ourselves from it, we continued on our journey back. After trekking and experiencing the Beauty of the Place, the trek etc. we reached Barshaini.

After relaxing our legs in the Car for about 30 mins – we realised the Circled Trek that we have undergone in the past 3 days. There was a min long Silence in the Car as our minds were pre-occupied with → the experience, the place, the people, the trek, the cramps, the enjoyment, the hot springs, the temple, OM, NEEL, BEN, Lotus Café, Gurudwara, Kalga, Tosh, the Cold, 21 Blankets, Kadha and much much much more in our hearts. Such was the experience we had lived.

We stayed in Manikaran Sahib Gurudwara for about 2 hours, did some Shopping in Kasol and started our journey back to Delhi around 7 PM. Again driving through the night, we reached Delhi in the morning @ 8AM. Spent the day relaxing re-living the experience of a Lifetime ((getting ready to go to the office tomorrow :( )).