I was just done with Hampta Pass trek which starts from Manali going upto the pass connecting the lush Kullu valley and a relatively barren Spiti. Starting from Manali early morning, we got lucky to catch up a direct bus to Barshaini which is the base to trek up to Kheerganga. Or else, there are very frequent buses to reach Bhuntar from where the road splits up for Barshaini and Delhi. From Bhuntar bus stand, local buses can be boarded to reach the base. The total travel time from Manali- Barshaini was approximately 5 hours.
After having a light lunch in a local dhaba (one finds all the fancy items on the menu from nutella sandwiches to falafels, hummus) we start the trek. Throughout the trail one constantly feels the gush of the Parvati river which keeps you moving further only to get awestruck to see the might of the river. The thunderous sound and the turbulent scene can make your feet shiver while standing on the bridge below the river.
Parvati river (rush & gush)
The trek is a total of 12 kms which we managed in about 4 hours. There are several cafes on the way where one can take a quick break. It was sad to see the trail being littered by a few who perhaps lacked the sense of basic cleanliness. Anyway, apart from plastics and cans around, the trail was fully lush, mostly comprising of marijuana plantations.
One can start the trek early morning and return back to Barshaini by evening. We decide to stay on the top for the night. Many cafes, tents, cover the top of kheerganga costing about INR 300-500 / day. We chose to stay at Dharamshala/Saray which is the topmost point here just close to the natural hot water pool :D . The owners were friendly, and the place has its calm and serenity at just INR 150/ day including meals and the locally famed mint tea.
Reaching the top at around 6 pm, first thing first, dip in the hot pool. It was probably the most relaxing experience for me till now. The water is very hot and makes one stay for as long as possible. (Pool timings: 6 am- 8 pm)
Kheerganga : A myth says that there used to flow kheer (a sweet milk preparation) here as a result of blessings from lord Shiva. But as Kalyug approached, lord Parshuram made the kheer disappear to avoid battles over it. The hot pool still has a lot of white particles which are believed to be the cream of the milk.. :p
Hot pool and the Temple
Simple Indian food followed by a good night sleep before gazing at the clear night sky, we made sure to take another dip in the morning before the descent.
DAY 2 (Descent And Back To DELHI)
We reached back to Barshaini inside 3 hours without taking any break and managed to board the bus taking us to Bhuntar. From here, many private buses head towards Delhi starting from evening 1830 hours costing around INR 1000. Reached Delhi the next morning as I had a train to board back to Mumbai.
Trust me, after the 6 day Hampta Pass trek, Kheerganga was the cherry on the cake. The hot pool at the top just makes all the hard walk count. If near Manali-Kullu, make sure to explore Kheer- Ganga.