Whenever I travel I always question myself, why is it that I am travelling? While there are so many answers to it, there is one which remains constant throughout. It’s plain and it’s simple. I travel to peace out, to find comfort and to find an escape from bustling city life.
It makes my heart drops low when I say this, but Parvati Valley isn’t the same now as it was when I first visited it. I remember how much I fell in love with that place with the clean streets, the gushing sound of Parvati river, the chirping of birds on the trekking trails and the echo of soothing sounds in the mountains. But it has now been replaced by crowded streets, honking cars and too many people with their beer bottles and worst choice of music. (We all know who we are talking about).
So this time when I was planning my trip to Parvati, a sudden change of plan lead me to Tirthan Valley and that was probably the best coincidence ever.
It’s no hidden fact that Parvati Valley is fast becoming the hot spot tourist destination. While it has all come down to one thing, the ‘recreational stuff”, that leads the people there, I wasn’t the one drooling over it. I knew I would find mostly that I am looking forward to in Parvati Valley so when I came across the idea of travelling to Tirthan Valley it didn’t take me long to change my destination. Like it’s said ‘some things are best unplanned’.
That is how I met the newest love of my life ‘The Tirthan Valley'.
What about it?
So if you know about the beauty of Parvati Valley, it won’t take you long to make a picture in your mind if you follow the lead. Imagine the same mountains, but they so closer. Imagine the flowing river, but now it always flows by your side. Imagine the same roads, but they are less crowded. Imagine the resorts and homestays, they are much cheaper, and the eye-pleasing views never leave their site. Imagine the trekking trails, but you might be among the rare ones to be on it. Imagine the waterfalls, but they are much more majestic here. I am sure you are amazed by your imagination right now and that's Tirthan for you. The beauty of Tirthan is paralleled to Parvati, but I guess it is still unexploited and so much fresh that it makes you feel as if you have discovered new heaven!
Here are few more reasons why anybody would fall in love with Tirthan Valley at the first site.
For a long time now, Kheerganga has become a first step for the newbie trekkers. If you want to start afresh from a place which hasn’t been touched, Tirthan could be a haven for you. There are so many treks to go for in the valley, that a lifetime would fall short to discover them all. There are easy, to moderate, to difficult treks in the valley that will satiate all kinds of tourists. And don’t ask about the views that you will come across. While some treks might lead you to an unnamed waterfall, others will lead to the beautiful lakes or a ruined fort. It’s simply amazing how one trek differs from another one so much but each one has its own spellbinding beauty.
Suggested treks- Trek to Chhoi waterfall
Trek to Sarloskar Lake from Jibhi
Trek to Chehni Kothi (that probably took my heart away)
These are just a few of them that we could discover on your short trip. You can go for as many treks as you want here.
2. Water bodies are everywhere
If you a water baby (like me), then this place will steal your heart away. The Tirthan valley flows through the major villages in the valley. There wasn’t a time when we couldn’t see the river or hear its fierce water flowing no matter where we went. The number of waterfalls is uncountable. You keep walking, and it won’t be a surprise that you come across water flowing amidst the two giant mountains. And let’s talk about the lakes. While Sarloskar lake trek remains one of the most famous treks in the valley, the other treks leading you to different lakes won’t disappoint you either. With the river comes the bridges. I don’t have a count of bridges, big or small we travelled through during our trip. Some old and so vintage that you would find it so hard to keep your camera aside.
3. It’s undisturbed and raw
Let’s not forget how Parvati Valley has become so commercialised that it’s catching up on the urban culture. I mean, that’s not what I come looking for in the mountains. Sure, luxury is good, but when you sit by an old wooden cafe sipping the most delicious cup of tea, you realise how overrated the Starbucks is. A lot of villages are still to get on the tourist’s list, so while you still have time, explore the uninterrupted views and small chai shops, and warm homestays, because there is nothing like it.
4. Camping destinations, on spot!
Tirthan has become a new campsite of Himachal. Several resorts and camps are located on the banks of Tirthan Valley. But, if you have your tent and you want to find a location for it, you will get a lot of options around the valley to pitch your tent and spend your night by the river or by the lake. Depends on what you can get for yourself. Any which way, there are already a lot of set camp resorts in a village called Nagini. The little hamlet situated along the river has an array of resorts, campsite and home stays. Choose what you like!
5. Homestays and some more homestays.
Like I said, tourists still haven’t discovered most part of this valley. Homestay culture is building up and you would find lots of homestays all around the valley. They are much affordable, and as always mountain people are a delight to stay with. Food is basic and you won’t find fancy places or dishes around the valley. But the delicious local food tastes so much better when it is served with warmth and amazing views.
6. Let me reveal one last secret to you!
Can you imagine a ruined fort at a hill top? You don’t need to when you can see the wonder yourself. We were lucky enough to find this trek to the old fort called Chehni Kothi which was perched at a mountaintop. Trust me when I say this, I have never seen nature and history merging at one place so beautifully. I didn’t take long to have my attention disturbed by what was in front of you. It was layers of mountains and white puffs of clouds making love to them. I was awe gaped to see the views from there and there I stood frozen by the beauty of nature. Trek to Chehni Fort is my personal recommendation. It’s a trek of approximately 2 km from the Shiringa Rishi temple, which lies a few kilometres away from both Jibhi and Banjar. You can also start this trek from Banjar if you want to trek for the whole day. I won’t say the trek is easy, as it has steep climbs, unmarked paths, and you are literally walking amidst the dense jungle but everything comes to ease once you reach the fort.
It didn’t take me long to decide that Tirthan is my new favourite spot in Himachal.
Things to keep in mind
Unlike Parvati valley, the weed and marijuana aren’t abundant here. If that’s your purpose don’t come down running here.
A huge part of the valley lies under ‘Great Himalayan National Park’. You will be travelling in the Eco Zone for most of the part. It is a preserved area, make sure you avoid any activities that might lead you in trouble.
If you are planning you set your own camp, be careful with the location and bonfire, as lighting fires attract attention and also it is illegal to light a fire in a protected forest area.