Sunday, June 21, 2015

Trekking up to Kheer-Ganga along the Parbati River


Trekking! I love it. At Kheer Ganga there is a hot water spring, whose running water is momentarily captured in a water pool, to provide an amazing bathing experience to the pilgrims and adventurers alike. 

About the Trek

A trek goes from Bershaini along the Parbati river to reach Kheer-Ganga at a distance of about 13-14 kilometers. At the initial stages of about 3-5 kilometers, it is exposed to the sun-rays.  After the last village on the trek, the trek starts to merge with the Deodar jungle.

At Rudra-naala, the trek gets engulfed by the jungle and takes a very steep stand.  This is the last 7 kilometers that makes one tired. 

Some people say that there is another trek that runs along the left bank of the Parbati, and is more dangerous, because in its total length the trek would be surrounded by trees and also one meets very few houses or population.

Kheer-Ganga, Kullu

Best Time to visit

Snow turned ice gets melted for months of July to September, and therefore those are the best months to trek to Man-Talai, however to reach up to Kheer-Ganga, the best months are April and May. Kheer-Ganga place is a quite large meadow, elevated to 2960 metres of height and therefore gets snow free at the end of the month of March itself.

Snow peaks surrounding the trek can be spotted throughout the year. Kheer Ganga provides a halting spot for those who embark on further difficult trek to cross the Pin-Parvati Pass. 

My hamstrings, quadriceps, calf and every other muscles below my waist still pained. Visiting the Jalori pass and Sareolsar lake definitely was a prize though.

Reaching Barshani

Still, I enjoyed the bike ride from Bajaura to Pulaga. Reaching Manikaran was comparably  comfortable, but the last eight to ten kilometers of road to Barshaini was damaged at many long stretches, however new layers were being laid.
Bhunter Runway as seen from Beas- on the way to Manikaran, Kullu

Hero Honda CBZ was not a bad choice to ride along such roads, but a bullet would have been more stable and comfortable. Well! trek to Kheer Ganga is a kind of child's job to those, who have the experience of trekking to mild elevations up to 3500 metres.

 On the other hand, the people who come to the trek routes, dressed in party wears, those which would suite in a bar party, might have a different say, provided they complete the trek.

Why do I even bother to mention those people here? The reason is that on the trek, I got startled to see a boy followed by a girl dressed in mini skirt and wearing high heels, and in the name of backpack, she had a party bag hung over her shoulder.

Kheerganga on Google Map

I could not resist to imagine all the ugly things that could have happened to that girl on that steep slippery trek, which everyone has to climb up after crossing the Rudra-nag stream. This trek surely is  not a child's play. 

Bershaini to Rudranaag Naala via Nakthan Village

The initial gentleness of this trek can be deceiving, so please come prepared, they say many have lost their lives here.The written directions and some others say that it is a 13 kilometres long trek, but to me it seemed only about nine kilometres.

Confluence of Parbati and Tosh

From Barshaini to Rudra-nag via the Nakthan village, it would not be more than five kilometres to reach Rudra-nag. After that, it could not be more than four kilometres steep ascent to reach Kheer-Ganga. 

The gentleness of the trek is only up to Rudra-nag, then starts the steep climb through the thick Deodar forest.
Cricket at Nakthan village on the trek to Kheer Ganga

Tea, food, water and shelter are available at Nakhthan and Kheer-Ganga, however not so promising one is available at the Rudra-nag too. 

The babbling Parbati river accompanies you throughout the trek. Directions are painted on the rocks and stones, so even if one is alone, they can easily reach the holy place. The trek was more busier than the Triund Trek, which I had climbed only three days earlier.

Following Parbati on the trek to Kheerganga

While you would be climbing the trek, you are bound to inquire, the retreaters or the victorious ones, about the remaining length. 

At Rudra-Naag, trek to Kheer-Ganga, Kullu

Rudranaag Naala to Kheer Ganga via Pulga

After Rudranaag started the real test. The forest is quite dense, and I am not sure about the kind of animals that one can encounter. We didn't met any though, but better would it would be to not go alone.

Flower Cafe- the last halt before Kheer-Ganga, Kullu

Sweater is necessary even in June sometimes, Trek to Kheergamga, Kullu

Kheer Ganga - a meadow amidst the white peaks

Kheer Ganga is used to specify the place itself, which is nothing but a green meadow amidst the high mountain ranges. However it can be used to specify the warm water spring which has its white color due to the sulphur. The place is worshipped by the Hindus as the abode of Shiva and Parbati. 
Peaks surrounding Kheer-Ganga, Kullu

The moment when we stepped onto the meadow, partly I was disappointed to know that we already had reached the Kheer-Ganga. I had expected it to be longer and tougher.

 It was sprinkling when we reached there, and temperature was lower than that at Bhunter.

Kartik Gufa(Cave), Kheer-Ganga, Kullu

If you plan to go in this season of July and August, better keep an umbrella to cover yourself in this fickle weather. Night stay can be a good idea, tents are available at the place itself for rent, or you can carry your own as well. 

Dharmshala or Saray rooms are also available. The water pool was fenced from all around, and closed for the night, so I could see some lines scribbled on the stones or the column and beam posts of the temporary shed.

The meadow of Kheerganga, Kullu as seen from Kartik Gufa(Cave) - 14th June, 2015

The caretaker said that they might be written by the foreigners, who come in couples and try to enjoy the hot bath in the other manner, so they complain about the fence.They must remember that this place is mainly a holy Hindu pilgrimage, so better to take the romantic bath in some other place, and let the religious sentiments not be hurt.
 Another thing that people need to understand is the meaning and importance of the word 'pristine,' which is highly linked with the beauty of the pine forest and mountains.

Plastic and its Horror

The only disappointment - the litter spread by some non-senses - Trek to Kheerganga
The warnings and advisory statements are written along the trek, but some non sense people still do not understand them. If they can carry a water filled bottle to those heights, then they surely can carry the empty ones to back below, or put them into a dustbin. Those people do not understand the joy of the trekking and love of the mountains and they can never get it, until they learn to respect it.

Way Back: 

I would surely post some pictures of their ugly work, the littering! Our back journey was quite fluent, with no halt at any intermediate spot, but I clicked few more photos. 

Deep and roaring Parbati, on the trek to Kheerganga, Kullu

The Parbati valley, Trek to Kheer-Ganga - 14th June 2015

Clicked on back-way from Nakthan to Barshaini, Kheer-Ganga, Kullu  - 14th June, 2015

Thank You!