The Himalayas is where spirituality and science converge. The Himalayas is where the silence speaks. We often look for places to rejuvenate our mind, body and spirit. Well, what better way can there be than travelling to offbeat tranquil Himalayan Villages. Tirthan Valley, in the Kullu district, is a hidden gem of Himachal Pradesh.
Bestowed with nature’s gifts, this secluded place is an excellent offbeat destination. Besides solitude for nature lovers, there’s also much for adventure seekers. Tirthan Valley is a seat of eco-tourism and experiential travel. It is a part of Banjar region with Banjar town being the main marketplace. There are numerous villages where a few homestays, cottages and eco camps are available. Tirthan River of Banjar along with the tributary Pushpabhad flow from Jalori pass through Jibhi. It is located at the confluence of these two rivers. River Tirthan finally flows into River Beas. Camping under the starry skies, on the open meadows and trekking through the Great Himalayan National Park are experiences for a lifetime.
Tirthan River is the chief attraction of the valley. The Tirthan River meanders through lush green meadows, rich orchards of apples and apricots, hills with step farming and stunning Himalayan peaks. Fishing is a popular activity here. Tirthan Valley is known as the Trout Fish Valley. However, to have a control on fishing, the anglers are generally requested to release their catch back to the river. Zip-line across the river is something the adventure seekers should try.
Great Himalayan National Park (GHNP)
Great Himalayan National Park (GHNP), a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is popular for its exotic flora and fauna. Trekking through the mesmerizing woods, along the gurgling Tirthan River, is extremely thrilling. There are multiple treks being organized inside the GHNP by the certified eco-tourism companies. Gushaini is the starting point of almost all treks. At Gushaini, the confluence of Rivers Tirthan and Flachan exist. Gushaini has a Durga temple with the typical Himachali architecture and wood carvings.
The area is a bird lover’s paradise. Leopards have been spotted too. The GHNP is inhibited by Himalayan blue ship, black bear, brown bear, leopards and even elusive snow leopards towards the extreme north. Besides camping in the wild there are other adventurous things to do like rock climbing and rappelling, under the guidance of professional instructors. The Community Centre and Tourist Centre is at Sairopa, Gushaini, where tourists can learn about ecotourism and be a part of Forest Learning Programs.
For non-adventure junkies, Tirthan Valley is an epitome of tranquillity. The natural trails through the dense forest of age-old oaks, cedars and deodars, the alpine meadows and the conifers make you feel one with nature. The youthful Tirthan River, the unknown streams and waterfalls, weave magic. The intoxicating rhododendron blooms in spring and the majestic snow-clad Himalayan range at the backdrop set the perfect scene for an idyllic holiday.
Chhoie Waterfall and Ancient Village of Sharchi
These two are the places you cannot miss in Tirthan Valley. Chhoie waterfall is rustic and gorgeous. This place has managed to escape being exploited and abused by tourists to date. It is 3 kilometres away from Gushaini and 7 kilometres from Banjar Town. The waterfall is considered holy. Drinking from the waterfall and littering is absolutely prohibited. 7 kilometres from the waterfall is the remote hamlet Sharchi. The simple villagers are almost unaffected by the world outside. Those interested in community living or community-based eco-tourism must visit this tiny village to have a beautiful experience.
Jibhi, 8 kilometres from Banjar town, is another area which is still untouched by urbanization. It is a mesmerizing valley and a perfect destination for an undisturbed vacation to a remote location. There are a few Victorian cottages and waterfalls. From Jibhi one should go to Chenhi known for the iconic 17th-century wood and stone tower of the ancient fort called Chehni Kothi. This is one of the best examples of typical Himachali ‘Kath Kuni’ architecture.
Jalori Pass is a mountain pass at more than 10000 feet, popular for experiencing snow all around the year. There are glaciers and snow bridges. It is a winter wonderland for snow lovers. The Jalori Mata Temple and magi-tea joints breathe in more life. Jalori Pass is also a point from where numerous treks start.
Serloskar Lake and Raghupur Fort
The Lake and the Fort are spots of heavenly beauty. Serloskar Lake, a crystal clear small lake with an old temple (Buddi Nagin Temple) besides, is serenity at its best. One has to trek 6 kilometres from Jalori. It is difficult to trek in the winters when it receives heavy snowfall. The ruins of Raghupur Fort are perched on a meadow 5 kilometres from the lake. Raghupur offers breathtaking panoramic views of the snow-clad Dhauladhar Range.
The pristine Tirthan Valley definitely will heal our urban souls with its rustic simplicity. In return, we should promise to be responsible while visiting the Tirthan Valley. We should make sure that the serenity of the place remains intact.
How to Reach Tirthan Valley
Bhuntar/Kullu Airport is 43 kilometers from Banjar Town, Tirthan Valley.
Chandigarh Junction (246 kilometres) and Pathankot (263 kilometres) from Banjar Town are the nearest railway stations. It takes around 7.5 hours to reach by road from Chandigarh or Pathankot.
A versatile writer and travel freak, discovering the world in her own casual way. Loves to immerse into the core of Mother Nature and extract her inherent beauty.