Ever dreamed of taking a Five Star Sauna experience in an open valley, surrounded by mountains covered with Snow? There is a place at the lap of Himalayas, where you can take such an experience. Yes, I am talking about Kheerganga – the place for which, it is said that Lord Shiva and Lordess Parvati with their elder son Lord Kartike reside here. This trail is full of adventure and would even give you chills and thrills throughout the way.
To get this enthralling experience! and observe the Holiness of this place you will have to visit surreal Parvati Valley. KheerGanga is a serene meadow situated at 2960 m altitude. It takes about 4–5 hours of trekking to reach the Kheerganga Top, which is approx. 12 km from the starting point near Barshaini. It all depends upon your speed.
How to reach Barshaini :
To reach here you first need to reach Bhunter. You can reach Bhunter by road (Chandigarh – Mandi – Bhunter) which would take you nearly 8-10 hours.
From Bhunter you can take a regular bus or paid cab service direct to Barshaini via Kasol, Manikaran (56 km in 3 hours). If you have time, avoid a cab as the cab would take around 1200INR to drop you at Barshaini.
Kheerganga Trek Route:
Barshaini – Naktham – Rudranag – Kheerganga top
As there are two routes which lead you to Kheerganga. One is via Kalga village and the other is that one which I am mentioning via Nakthan village. Both of the routes join after crossing the Nakthan village. It is up to you to choose the route best suitable for you.
Taking the route via Nakthan.
Nakhtham is an old traditional Himachali village. The trek is surrounded by apple orchards, deodar trees all around. It is a steep climb from Barshaini to Nakhtam. Alongside the village is the Parwati River, which begins at the Manatalai Lake within Parvati Valley. Once you reach here, the Rudranag temple is on a short walk on your way to Kheerganga.
From here on the trail enters a thick forest cover as you start the trek for Kheerganga. The ascent from this point is very gradual. Enjoy the trail with the Parvati river flowing by. You will also spot several trees fallen on this trail. These can be used as landmarks.
Since Kheerganga is a popular trail, you will find dhabas on your way up. There will also be a couple of streams running down the mountains on your right. You can use these small streams for filling up your water bottles if needed.
A Natural Waterfall just before Kheerganga
After coming 8 km from Tosh and just before an hour trek to Kheerganga you will cross a makeshift bridge over River Parvati one last time – and Parvati is a gushing. There are generally very scenic cafés with gorgeous views here. Most trekkers take a break here and have some snacks, tea or Maggi and enjoy the beauty of this place.
This region experiences a lot of rainfall so always expect the trail to be filled with excess mud on a rainy day. Since this is going to be steep ascend, remain alert as the trail can get slippery at times. So it also advised avoiding shortcuts for this small part of the trail.
After a short walk for an hour, you would come across some tents with the music playing in cafes. This is the start of this holy place Kheerganga. There are many cafes near the temple and a hot water spring. The hot springs here at Kheerganga are extremely important for Hindu as well as Sikh pilgrims and many others who believe the waters have sacred healing properties.
Welcome to the “Adobe Of Shiva”
It is also believed that Lord Shiva meditated here for thousands of years. The temple here is also dedicated to him. Near this temple, there is a cave where Lord Kartike meditated and from here he used to go to Maantalai to take a bath.
“Milky White Sacred Water” – Kheerganga
The experience of being here will leave you startled during the first few minutes, but later you would be all happy to be in the arms of nature. This place offers the most exhilarating views of the Parvati Valley that you would not have seen before, very magical!
Rejuvenate yourself by taking a bath in the hot spring and you will be rewarded with release from all your pains during the day-long trek. The biting cold is forgotten once your body is in that water heated with sulphur.
Holy Water Spring at Kheerganga
There are no Guesthouses and Hotels here. The only option for an overnight stay is to stay in cafes or restaurants. Accommodation of these restaurants is around 50-60 people, and they charge around 200INR per head including food, or maybe even costlier than that.
Important Things about the Kheerganga Trek:
1. Location: Parvati Valley, Himachal Pradesh, India.
2. Best time to visit: May-August.
3. Important things to carry: A pair of woollen clothes, trekking shoes, water bottle, Flashlight, raincoat and some generic medicines.
4. Grade: moderate
5. And just “Keep calm and maintain the cleanliness”
The adventure doesn’t end here, the trek further would lead you to Pin Parvati Pass. This pass is the place where Pin Valley of Spiti and Parvati Valley of Kullu meets. You could even plan your trip further if you want to.
In short, this adventure trek is an invigorating journey, which not only divulges the stunning terrain of the Himalayas. But also gives a chance to learn about the interesting culture of the people living in this area of Himachal Pradesh.
Planning your trip to Kheerganga?. Do share your experience with us in the comment section below. Also follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Linkedin