I have tried doing this trek 2wice in the past but was prevented by landslides and unenthusiastic friends :)
This time, however, it worked out well. While there are guided treks and stay options available online, i decided on an unassisted trek (since I have already done Triund and knew what to expect)
I hadn't decided whether to stay the night or not, but i carried enough warm clothes in case we decided to (a learnig from Triund).
So we started from Manali at 6.30. we had our own car and so we reached Barshaini by 10, after taking a break for breakfast at a waterfall en route and a drive to Tosh.
Point to note: the road after Manikaran is under construction and in very poor state so u will need to go slow. Plus its a 2 lane road.
We started the trek at 10.30 and the 1st leg itself was a steep downward climb to the bridge across the gushing Parvati river.
This one is a difficult trek, especially if u dont plan to camp overnight. You have to be mindful of the time u take to reach because that will decide the time u take to start ur journey back.
The trail has some beautiful views to stop and stare (don't try to look around while u are walking :D)
The weather in October was cool so the body cools down rapidly when you take a break.
This trek doesn't have a proper path cut out. You are mostly climbing over rocks and sturdy roots, so ensure u are traveling light.
Once we got to the top at 3pm, the sense of achievement was superb. In Oct, the surrounding mountains were not snow clad, but the leaves were changing colour so it was quite pretty. The highlight for me was the hot springs. There is a separate kund for women, and i was pleasantly surprised to see the women skinny dipping. Turns out, they were the locals working at the camps and this was a daily bath for them. Anyway, i was lucky to have got there when I did, because that meant I could follow suit and go all in. The water waa super refreshing and rejuvenated me completely.
After a lunch of aloo gobi, dal makhani, rice and roti I was all set to start the journey back.
We started back at 4.30 pm. My worry was that we would lose light and since the trek is completely rocky, it would be difficult and risky.
To add to this, it had rained and the path was slippery because of the muck and slush.
There were a lot of ppl climbing up, that slowed us down further.
Anyway, we covered the toughest parts by 6.15 and as the light started fading we had to use our camera torches for the last 30 mins. It was scary as hell and not the kind of adventure i desire, but i had complete faith in my partner and we did alright.
Remember the bridge we had to take right at the start, it was so dark that we couldn't see the bridge till we came to it.
We were back to our car by 7.15pm and then directly drove out to Manali and reached back by 10 pm
All in all:
1. Start the trek early if u want to return the same day.
2. Stay hydrated, there are a lot of natural springs on the way, so u can keep refilling ur bottles.
3. don't carry anything u don't need.
4. Carry an extra pair of socks and a towel and change of clothes.
5. Definitely take a dip in the hot spring. Girls u know what to do, it's the norm there.
6. Take plenty of breaks, don't stress on the destination, the beauty is on the way
7. Avoid smoking and drinking as u need complete focus for this one
8. Smile at ur fellow travelers, encourage them to keep going, laugh when u slip and just have a good time
By the way, i didn't stay the night because i found the place too crowded, too many ppl talking too loudly and all kind of nasty music blaring.
The accomodation was clean tho and costs 1350 for a 2 ppl tent. There are common toilets available (tho doing it in the open would be a much better idea)