We bring to you yet another exciting journey from Bagi Village to Tirthan Valley.
Day 1: 24th Jan 2021
After having lunch at Kishna Café in Bagi Village, we started at 3:15 PM towards Gushaini, our next destination – The Tirthan Valley. Gushaini is a small village in Tirthan Valley which derives it’s beauty and life from Tirthan River. It is a gateway for the trekkers in the valley and is located at a distance of 10kms from Banjar.
We had planned our stay at Raju Negi’s homestay. The journey is quite beautiful as we descend from mountain ranges of Bagi towards valley of mountains, better known as ‘Tirthan Valley’:
Tirthan Valley from the homestay
By the time we reached Tirthan Valley, it was already very dark and scary! The homestay was at a secluded place and to top it all, there was a major power cut in the entire area for the whole day. There were no vehicles during this hour, the only things that accompanied us were the sounds of the river below and the darkness of the hills above! We contacted Mr. Raju, the owner who helped us find his place and park safely on the highway next to his homestay.
Raju’s homestay is located at a mountain and you need to take a 5 to 10 min(max) angled climb uphill (walking) to be here. He was kind enough to carry our bags all the way up. Luckily, as soon as we reached here, the power supply was back and all we could see were the hills wrapped around in a blanket of blue night with shadows of silvery stars pouring in the valley river. Inside, all the rooms are very aesthetically carpeted with Deodhar wood entirely. Not just the rooms were nice and cosy, but the washrooms were quite big, spacious and very clean with availability of hot water on the 24*7.
After a tiring trekking expedition in Prashar Lake, we were in a mood to have an early dinner and dash straight into the bed. In dinner, we had vegetable, dal, chappati & chawal; and everything was freshly cooked and served with love!
Day 2: 25th Jan 2021
We woke up to the amazing view of the mountain valley:
Today, we had planned to visit Chhoie Waterfall. Chhoie waterfall is one of the major attractions in the Tirthan Valley. The waterfall lies in the Great Himalayan National Park and is a very steep trek particularly for 6-year-old kids! Another important thing, what may seem to be just waterfall for the tourists, is in fact the place of worship for the locals. So, one must avoid littering at these places.
A search on the Google maps doesn’t really give you an exact idea of the route to the waterfall:
Chhoie Waterfall trek is very steep and will take you somewhere between 45 mins to 90 mins to reach here. It starts from Mata Buddi Nagin Temple at the foothill. There isn’t a well laid out path and is quite rough and uneven. This place is literally a no-man’s land, and you wouldn’t fine any eating joints/shops/washrooms here all the way.
Do carry your snacks/food, water bottles if you would like to sit by the waterfall and have a meal.
During the trek, the only point of confusion is a fork midway. Here one path would slope downwards and the other would go up. We learnt the lesson the hard way by taking the slope upwards. This route is difficult, challenging and time taking and to be avoided! Do not forget to move downwards and keep trekking along the path.
There are very few visitors to this place, so you may end up being all alone in the winters! The waterfall is beautiful and a sight to behold:
Important point: We do not recommend going very near to the fall as the surfaces are very slippery, slimy, and precarious. One fall would really hurt and water is ice cold.
After having spent nearly 45 minutes here, we trekked back, and Sara was quite tired and hungry by now. We decided to sit by the Tirthan river and enjoy the moment. We played and threw stones in the water, stone balancing games by when it started to become quite cold. We came back to our homestay.
Another tip: We could not find a proper place to have lunch here(most of the places in Gushaini are homestays and so they provide food along with stay). We ended up buying bread and butter (the shopkeeper didn’t know what cheese was!) and returned back to our place. As the lunch time was over by then, we requested to Raju’s family if we could cook bread, butter and tea and they very happily obliged and helped as well. We spent rest of the day here in total admiration of the valley view and connected our minds and soul to the sounds of Mountain calling!!!
The best thing after Chhoie waterfall was that Sara was gelling up well with Raju’s family and kids. Two kids in particular, Divanshu (6 years old) and Dimple (7 years old) became Sara’s good friends during the stay. Sara got excited and was playing with them for the rest of the day. We had no idea where all they were playing in the homestay, sometimes in the attic, at times playing with the little puppies (Bhagmati and Kanchana) or at times in our room playing with puzzles and Dobble games!
By sunset, Sara was so tired that we decided to cut-short the trip and come back to Delhi the next day. We informed Raju about the same and he sensed our unhappiness about the sudden change in plan. Fortunately, he was kind enough and offered to come along with his kids for few treks the next day. He wanted to make sure that the time we spend here is worth every moment and forever etched in our memories. Sara was very happy and consented to go for hiking the next day when she got to know that both Dimple and Divanshu would be coming along.
Information: Main places to stay in Tirthan Valley are
Banjar (pronounced as Banjaar)
It is a mainstream town here with lots of shops. You would end up finding almost everything here, and there are lots of homestays here.
This is a village in the Banjar town and is 4 kms away if you take left from Banjar. The shops here are limited to small grocery shops and we saw only one café in the whole area. This place is remote, and you can opt for a homestay either by the river side or on the mountains. We went ahead with second option considering our love for mountains undoubtedly. There are many homestays and hostels here even for solo travellers.
This is a village in the Banjar town and is 8 kms away. The shops here are limited to small grocery shops. This place is remote and most of the homestays have beautiful mountain views surrounded by pine trees. This place is on the way to Jalori Pass.
While we took the day easy, if you are young and energetic and want to explore more, I would suggest you go for
- Chhoie Waterfall
- Cheeni Kothi
- Sri Ranga Temple
- Jibhi Waterfall
- Jalori Pass
- Trek to Serloskar Lake/Raghupur Fort
Day 3: 26th Jan 2021
Among other things, one area that stood out for us in Raju’s homestay was his attic where everyone would sit together next to the Chulha and have hot food. Today, we had our breakfast (check-out the video of the attic below) and started for hiking at 10 in the morning.
Jalori Pass is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 3134m (10,282ft). On top, there is a temple known as Mahakali temple known as Jalori Mata temple, visited by devotees from the nearby villages. The road to the summit is NH305. It is a narrow, steep and very curvy road. The last 5 kms to the Jalori Pass gain a lot of ascent and one must drive carefully. There are Dhabas/eating joints available to take lunch, with local food like rajma/rice(Rs 80) , dal/rice and Maggie(Rs 40), all at reasonable rates/charges.
If one is interested in trekking, there are 2 options from here:
- Trek to Serloskar Lake (5-6 kms easy trek) – shall take 3-4 hours to reach.
- Trek to Raghupur Fort (2-3 kms Moderate Level) – shall take 1.5–2 hours to reach.
We opted for the second one.
There weren’t many people/tourists on this side of the trek. We could manage to see a total of 10 tourists on the way to the fort. While the initial part of the trek is levelled, the later part is a steep climb and made us breathless on a few occasions. Sara loved the company of her new friends. Though she did struggle to match their speed, but she learnt the tricks with Dimple’s help in her own little ways. Dimple was particularly careful to hold her during difficult crevasses and gaps. Dimple & Divanshu even with sneakers demonstrated authority over the mountains like a pro!
The views on the way to the fort were overwhelming and we could see the whole Dhauladhar range once we reached at the top (it took us 1.45 hours to finally reach). We stopped here for an hour and enjoyed the views, played in snow and kids enjoyed making snowmen. The fort was still 20 mins away, but we decided to go back from here, considering we were hungry and there wasn’t much left of the fort (as told by Raju Negi). The way back was very challenging, but Raju made sure that Sara comes back without any hassle or trouble. We were back at the start in just about 40 mins.
We had food at Johnny`s place, ‘The Tribe Cafe’. Both of us had daal rice first and then ordered a plate of delicious vegetable Maggie. Kids and Raju chose to eat Masala Maggie here. Food was a treat for one and all. Add to top it further, it was very warm talking to Johnny, the owner of the café. He told us he’s coming up with his very own Igloos and would be launching them soon.
Finally, we drove back and were glad that we decided to stay back. All kids slept on the way and by sunset, they were all charged up and went about playing in entire homestay with puppies.
Day 4: 27th Jan 2021
We left for Ropar early in morning and reached at 1:30 PM. On the way back, make sure that the final leg is from Kiratpur Sahib towards Ropar. Our plan was to drive back to Delhi but on parents’ insistence decided to stay back with them for another day before returning.
In case you would like to read about trekking trip with our 6-year-old daughter to Prashar Lake, please follow the link here:
And here’s the Youtube Video: