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Underneath the Pine trees- An unforgettable trek to Kheerganga

    

It was a hot May day. The traffic and the monotonous life of Delhi were getting on my nerves. I needed a break from this busy schedule and maddening crowd. Next day, one of my friends told me about her trek to Kheerganga. And, we left to celebrate our long weekend.

Underneath the Pine trees- An unforgettable trek to Kheerganga-1

The Hippie village

Kheer Ganga is a tableland surrounded by thick forest of alpine meadows. Known for hot water stream which flows beneath the temple of Lord Shiva, Kheerganga (3,050 meters) lies at the end of Parvati valley and the last inhabited village while trekking to pin valley via Pin-Parvati pass. Then and there I decided to go on an adventurous trek to Kheerganga. Days before our trip, I started looking for some good travelling packages, checking out all the available options. Then, I came across “Shoes on Loose” that offered excellent off-beat experiential travelling package.

Let the journey begin

With all my bags packed, bookings made, I along with four of my friends started our journey to Kheerganga. We travelled overnight to reach Kasol, our first destination. We all were so excited for our trek that none of us could sleep the whole night. We had a lot of fun playing games and planning what all we will do on our journey.

Early morning, we reached Kasol and went to the hotel. After having breakfast and resting for a while, we left the hotel to explore the beauty of Kasol. Kasol is a lovely place and is famous for its soothing climate and beautiful, elegant pine forests. This place is full of beautiful mountains, Deodar trees, rivers and steep roads. Views of scenic valley, untouched hills were incredible. We also visited the local market offering clothes and western food. The food was really delicious.

The adventures

Then we headed to the Parvati Valley. Situated at the backdrop of scenic landscape, this place is perfect for adventure lovers. We engaged in lots of adventure sports like rappelling, rafting, mountain biking. I must say doing white water rafting in the bone-chilling water was excellent. There were mixed feelings of fear and thrill that I had never experienced before. Initially, I was hesitating whether to do mountain biking or not, but then letting go of all my worries I did it, and it was really amazing. And trust me, SOL made it a whole lot easier.

Next stop: Manikaran

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After this adventurous session, we went to Manikaran. The town is considered sacred by both Hindus and Sikhs. Manikaran is famous for the natural hot springs. A dip in hot water springs after this tiring day was very refreshing and soothing. After the day’s expedition, we returned to the hotel for an overnight stay.

The trek

Next morning, we woke up early to capture some alluring morning shots. Then after having breakfast, we tied up our trekking shoes and left the hotel to begin the ascent to the Kheerganga. We drove up to Barshaini. The Kheerganga trek starts from Barshaini and is a 14 km trek. There is a confluence of Tosh River on left and Parvati River on right at Barsheni.

Underneath the Pine trees- An unforgettable trek to Kheerganga-3 From here, we began our trek to Kheerganga, one of the many treks from Kasol. En route Kheerganga is a small village Tosh. We walked through the village which leads to a pleasant trail through apple fields and green pastures. Then we made a stop at Rudra Nag. Rudra Nag is the serpent-shaped waterfall. It was the most striking waterfall I have ever seen in my life. The trail passes through beautiful alpine meadows following the river Parvati uphill.

Underneath the Pine trees- An unforgettable trek to Kheerganga-4 As we entered the jungle area the view gets more and more beautiful. There was so much peace and natural beauty all around. As we were getting closer to Kheerganga, the path was getting really difficult to travel, it was very slippery, there were frozen waterfalls on the way, slippery frozen ice was on the narrow paths. Following the roaring Parvati river and crossing some breath-taking wooden bridges, we reach Kheerganga after 3-4 hours of trekking. We would have been utterly lost in this new area if SOL hadn’t helped us with understanding the local terrain.

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The trek conquered

The moment we stepped in Kheerganga, we felt like we have entered a different world. We saw a vast ground surrounded by tall and majestic mountains crowned with white snow and dense white clouds were all around us. The stay options at the top are mostly camps and tents. It was totally like heaven on earth, so peaceful and so pure. As we reached atop the whole view and environment changed drastically and opened up into a flat land that is graced by the occasional tent, the few guest houses and cafes and the temple premises which also comprises of the hot water spring.

In the evening, views of the forest and the peaks were simply spectacular. Heavy mist was enclosing the valley but the peaks were shining while the sun was setting down at a distant horizon. As the night approached, clouds disappeared completely to offer us the crystal clear view of the sky and the stars. After spending a fascinating day in Kheerganga we checked into a guest house for an overnight stay.

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Descending down

As the sun rose the next morning, after having tea/chai, we took a dip in the hot water springs of Kheer Ganga to rejuvenate ourselves. Then we started trekking downhill. Descending was easy as compared to trek to the top. On the way back to Kasol, we visited a solitary village of Malana. Situated on a remote plateau by the side of the torrential Malana river, and it is isolated from the rest of the world. Malana is a tribal village and is considered as the oldest Democracy in the World. Cool right? Unaffected by modern civilization, Malana has its own lifestyle and social structure. We interacted with the locals and witnessed their daily activities.

By evening, we reached Kasol and then checked into the hotel for an overnight stay.

Next morning, it was time to say goodbye to this peaceful place of Kasol and to our great trekking experience. I didn’t feel like going back, but we left the place hoping we would definitely revisit the place someday. Trekking to Kheer Ganga was an adventurous journey into the world of nature’s beauty and serenity. It was truly a fantastic experience. The place was pure bliss. I’ll never be able to forget the stunning beauty of the mountains, beautiful wilderness of the pine trees and then snowfall to decorate the place with its whiteness which gives Kheerganga its charm, its beauty and fills this place with serenity. I would love to visit Kheerganga again and definitely with SOL.
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