For me, a mountain escape is the most secure form of self-therapy! I find utmost comfort while peering at those endless vistas. So hiking these ruthless mountain trails is my way of walking the path to salvation – from the perils of city life! Hence, a trek in the Himalayas is like pushing the reset button once in awhile. However, not to forget how much do I love narrating my experiences.
Of late, Parvati Valley has held my soul captive, the reason being its immense beauty and closeness to Delhi! So I don’t have to apply for lengthy leaves. Though I’d love to, unfortunately, it’s not a luxury! Having heard about Kasol, the adjoining Kheerganga, and the quantum of challenges the Kheerganga Trek poses, I was determined to pull it off during the long weekend near Holi.
About Kheerganga Trek! Why is it an ideal weekend getaway from Delhi?
The grueling 4.5-hour trek spanning over 14 km into thick alpine in the Parvati Valley leads to the scenic Kheerganga Campsite. The trek starts from Pulga village, from where two routes part – one runs through Kalga village and the other through Pulga village. Kalga takes the trail through the challenging alpine and bumpy trail, all concealed in the forest with waterfalls and streams all around. Pulga is the route that traverses Tosh and Rudranag.
This route is longer, mostly flat, and directly exposed to sunlight. Reaching Pulga isn’t a challenge, as overall it’s a 2-hour drive from Kasol via Barshaini. Buses from Kasol to Barshaini ply ever 30 minutes!
Plenty of waterfalls and springs shooting out of the big rocks ensure that your walk is as eventful as it can get. Once you reach the top, the views are surreal. With some stay options, a wonderful campsite, a hot water spring, a temple, some cafes, and huge snow-clad mountains all around, this place appeals to gape at the magical vistas forever.
Stationed at 3000 m in the lap of mighty Himalayas, Kheerganga is popularly known as the sacred place where Lord Shiva meditated for thousands of years. With all the awesomeness, how can this place not be an ideal weekend getaway from NCR!
Best time to take Kheerganga trek
November to January if you are planning to experience snowfall in the region. However, Kheerganga is a year-round destination and can be reached during any time of the year.
Ideal duration for Kheerganga trek: 3 day, Delhi – Kheerganga – Delhi
How to reach Kheerganga from Delhi
The entire journey: Delhi – Bhuntar – Kasol – Manikaran – Barsaini – Kalga – Kheerganga – Rudranag – Tosh – Pulga – Kasol – Bhuntar – Delhi
The Kheerganga trek route
Total Kheerganga trip expense: INR 5000 (all inclusive)
Make sure that you carry your own tent from Kasol. Tents can be rented at a nominal rate from the cafes in Kasol. They charge 250-300 bucks on per day basis for tent, mat, and a sleeping bag. I rented the tent and camping essentials from Freedom Cafeteria some 150 meters behind Kasol bus stop. The other reason why I suggest renting a tent because Kheerganga has grown crowded over the time and now it has become difficult to find an accommodation at the Kheerganga Top easily.
The Kheerganga Trek – an experience
Two routes divert from Pulga that lead to the Kheerganga top. While one route takes to the sprawling mountains and dense forest via Kalga, the other one meanders along the horizontal and exposed route via Pulga and Tosh and is roughly 17 km in length.
I began my trek via Kalga and I started my climb in the mountains. As the journey advanced, steps matched with the rhythm of pine, I sipped on the sweet mountain water shooting from the rock and made it to the campsite in little more than 4.5 hours. While climbing to the top via Kalga, I ensured regular breaks in bits and pieces and loved the sweet pain in muscles as the inflated lungs desperately tried to catch up.
Needless to say, these are the places where you must stop for a while, catch the stunning beauty around and appreciate nature. While returning I chose to descend the other way (Pulga).
Midway, stopping by Rudra Nag – the massive water stream originating from Kheerganga is a good idea. Here, the water gushing with enormous energy makes for a magnificent spectacle and passerby can be found here standing for hours by the water duct, just like that, soaking in the grandeur of enormous nature! I chose to come back to Pulga via Tosh, which enabled me to complete the full circle. Moreover, it gave me an insight into the accessibility and difficulty grade of the two trails.
Camping at the Kheerganga top
After 5-hour of comfortable trek through the lush alpine, I made it to the Kheerganga campsite located at 3000 meters above the sea. The first look of Kheerganga resembles a lush green campsite cuddled by snow-clad mountains and lush alpine from all around. There are plenty of eateries, cafes, and accommodations available at the campsite.
Traveling to Kheerganga during peak season can make things difficult for you as stays there might be pre-booked. Hence, to stay on the safer side, carry your own tent. Kasol is the place from where you can camping essentials.
There is a wonderful temple of the Lord and a hot water spring in the mid of Kheerganga campsite. But, the incredible views of the starry night and magical sunrise completely blew my mind. The fact that Kheerganga is enclosed between nature’s awesomeness makes it a beauty worth beholding.
During summer months it is advisable to commence the trek at the dawn’s break. Not just this one, any trek must be started as early as possible.
As regards the things to pack, make sure that you have basic trekking equipments like right trekking shoes, trekking poles, a rucksack – don’t enage your hands in order to carry bags, sufficient warm clothes, first aid kit, and a few tablets for headache and nausea.
Note: Over the years the influx of the higher number of tourists has led to the commercialization of Kheerganga. Today, the beautiful mountain getaway is choking on the excessive amount of garbage littered by us. The once beautiful place now lies under massive dump of bottles and wrappers that we carry to the mountains and casually throw wherever. Don’t do that.
Meanwhile, the latest news has surfaced that the High Court has banned camping in Kheerganga! As much as it has disappointed passionate travelers, it will also turn out to be a big lesson that messing with nature isn’t something that we are entitled to!