Giri Ganga and Kuppar is located in the Pabbar valley, which is in Himachal’s southeast corner. Although none of us were aware of the track or even the location where we were headed but we had heard a lot about this location, so we thought of giving it a shot.
After a short planning among ourselves we took along 2 more people for this trek. Ashish and Arjun had already accompanied us on one trek earlier to Churdhar Peak. We took off at 3 AM in the morning towards Shimla from Delhi. While maintaining a steady speed and enjoying the drive we headed towards Chandigarh to pick Madan (a.k.a Maddy), one of our expedition partner. We managed to reach Chandigarh only at 7 AM and after a short halt we continued towards Shimla, our next stop for collecting our food supplies and tents.
Himachal has always been my favourite destination because it allows you a to pitch your tent anywhere without restrictions or without need of a permit. Although sometimes you just have to ask the locals to permit use of their land but that’s not a problem as they are really accommodating until you do not spoil their surroundings. So, having tents and food supplies of our own made us overlook the need of hotel and just focus on scenic drive on well maintained State Highway to Rohru.
In order to reach Giri Ganga one has to drive towards Kharapatthar a small town around 80 kms from Shimla. On the way to Kharapatthar you have to cross places like Mashobra, Kufri, Theog (one of the oldest Riyasats of HP) and Kotkhai. The drive is really beautiful as the road is well maintained and lined with high treeline.
After a drive of 2-2.5 hours we reached Kharapatthar and stopped for a while to enquire about the place we were heading towards. Believe, locals will tell you things that you won’t find even on Google and once again local dhaba guy gave us all necessary details of Giri Ganga.
It was already 8 PM and we decided to trek to Kuppad the next day so our next and final step was supposed to be Giri Ganga Temple. We were told that just after a KM on Kharapathar-Rohru highway there is a small link road towards Giri Ganga Mandir however the road is in ill condition and there have been many instances where vehicles plying on the road has been grounded due to rocks hitting the floor bed and damaging some vital components. But we thought of plying on the road as we have drove on some of the worst roads in the Himalayas and I was confident because of navigation skills of Madan and Susheel on these roads.
When we started to drive on this link road we were relieved to see that it was a wide track with a very gradual gradient. But as we trudged up the road was less of a road and more of a puddle because of the heavy downpour for last 2 days. It was a mix of mud and rock pointing upwards. But what a trail it was! Mostly shaded by large Deodar trees and lined with green meadows with views of the valley below (which we realized while driving down after the trek), it was completely dark. We carefully maneuvered our car to reach the Giri Ganga Temple but it wasn’t our day at all. We realized it when our car was stuck in a deep puddle. Although I was able to drive it out with sheer help of all my fellow travelers but we decided to pitch our tent there itself as our body was really strained due to long drive and the condition of the road was not good to drive (specially if you have a hatchback).
It was 9 PM already and after parking my car at a safe place (by safe place I mean a place where it doesn’t disrupt any traffic because any which way your car is safe in Himachal from burglary and theft) we set up our camp in the nearby jungle, lit fire and relaxed for the night. We dozed off as soon as we settled in our camp.