“When something good happens, travel to celebrate.
If something bad happens, travel to forget it.
If nothing happens, travel to make something happen.”
As 2017 started, I set a goal of one trek per month for myself .Though it didn’t turn out as I thought , but I still managed to take up 5 treks in the Sahyadris in 7 months. That’s when I decided , the time has come for me to take a trek in the Himalayas.
As I had read a lot about YHAI (Youth Hostels Association Of India), I started looking for beginners treks on their website. It was a tough choice between Valley of Flowers and Hampta Pass in which Hampta Pass managed to win due to its more varied terrains to offer. I booked the batch for 3rd September- 10th September for me and my mother and couldn't wait for it to start.
Hampta Pass is a beautiful and a manageable trek for beginners set in the majestic mountains of Himachal Pradesh. This is a tailor-made trek for even middle aged people who have no experience of trekking whatsoever! It is a 6 days trek with paths winding through lush green forests in Kullu Valley to barren and rocky Mountains in Spiti Valley. You get to see two valleys at the cost of one. Not a bad deal, I suppose.
Though the site says it’s a beginners trek, I think you need to have a basic level of fitness to enjoy the trek. I mean, nobody ever said, my legs are paining unbearably but I am enjoying it!! It’s advisable that you start walking or do some easy home workouts to help you increase your stamina. I myself, did one month work out and I think all those running sessions and stair work outs helped me a lot. The transition from a person panting like a dog after climbing 2 floors to doing stair workout- 10 floors 10 times a day seems unbelievable but it’s not impossible.
Since, the reporting date for the trek was 3rd September, I decided to fly to Chandigarh on 2nd September. The base camp for this trek is International Youth Hostels, Prini Village, Manali. You can both take a flight to Chandigarh or Delhi and then board an overnight bus to Manali.
2nd September: Pune to Mumbai by Pragati Express. Do not take this train if you have a lot of luggage.
Mumbai to Chandigarh: It is a 2.5 hours flight. We reached Chandigarh at 6.30 p.m. There are buses to commute to the city from Chandigarh Airport or you can take a taxi to the city from the airport. We decided to stay the night in Chandigarh.
3rd September: Chandigarh to Manali 8.30 a.m:
We boarded the bus for Manali from Sector 43.It takes 12 hours to reach (The HRTC site shows 7 hours but it’s a sheer lie!). The frequency of buses is pretty good but I suggest you make the bookings beforehand if you are looking for AC Himsuta HRTC buses. You can also take a shared taxi to Manali.
Chandigarh HRTC Helpline number: +91 1722668943
Fares: Himsuta HRTC bus: Rs 900/- Shared taxi: Rs 6000
We started very early from Chandigarh .With Beas flowing on one side and mountains looking as if ready to slide, the road is treacherous in some parts of this route .The YHAI Hostel in Manali is very famous and you can easily take an auto from the bus stand.