Saturday, June 24, 2017

Panarasa to Tunga Mata - Single Day Trekking


Here I come after a gap of almost eight months to write another short trek story. In september of 2016, I told you about our four day trip to Manimahesh Kailash in Chamba district of Himachal Pradesh. The story of Manimahesh Yatra was told in four parts, you can visit all parts by going through the part 1 link given here

Recently, I visited few new places in Kullu and Mandi district, and in this post I will tell you about a single day trekking from near Panarasa to Tunga temple in Mandi district. Last time I had heard about Tunga mata temple was from my friend and avid traveller Mr. Tarun Goel, who had written about his trekking from Parashar to Tunga

Reaching Panarasa. 

Parashar to Tunga trek looks like a gentle walk to me, but the one that I and my friend Mr.Vinod Sharma took was a very steep one. Reaching Panarsa is very much easy. I reached there on my motorcycle via the national highway, which connects it with Manali and Chandigarh at its two far ends. 

One can also opt for the airways as its distance from Bhunter, the place with one of the only three airports that Himachal has, is less than ten kilometers. After reaching Panarsa, take a road that diverges upwards to reach a village named Sharan. 

Please ask the locals, they will guide you very well along this single lane 8-10 kilometers road.
This is the last village that road can reach. From here starts the trek. 

Trekking up to Tunga Mata temple.

As we reached Sharan, we parked the motorcycle under the shed of an apple tree at the edge of the apple orchard which lie at the bottom of the village. There are plenty of orchards to see if one wants to see along the road.

Apple Orchard at Sharan village, Himachal Pradesh.


Perhaps the most famous in the area is that of Sukh Ram- the former union communication minister of India.
Sukh Ram's farm house surrounded by his apple orchards in Panarsa

The apple orchard and the farmhouse of Sukh Ram has a very good road connectivity. Recently Salman Khan is said to have visited this farmhouse. After coming back from Tunga we would  also reach the farmhouse to overlook the house and apple trees which were guarded by a 5 feet fence. 

Trek from Sharan village starts in a steep manner. After crossing the houses, apple orchard and lastly a govt. primary school building, one would embark on a wild trek. There is this oak trees' jungle between Sharan and other village at higher altitude along the trek. 

Children of Khalwash village have to walk down along this jungle to reach the primary school at Sharan. I shot a short video at Khalwash to show you the whole scenery around the village. Please have a look.

The serpentine beas river and the white Pir Panjal peaks, both are visible in this video. After witnessing a very fine craftsmanship of two craftsmen, who were carving out the images of Hindu Gods on the wooden doors and pillars that were to be erected in the nearby under-construction-temple, we climbed on to the remaining trek, more steep 6-8 kilometers of Deodar surrounded dangerous trek. 

Sitting on the Roots
Reason I call it dangerous is that the path is not much defined at places and can be slippery if it rains. The last one kilometers through this jungle is very much steep and the dense jungle makes it a bit scary if you are alone. One has to be careful of the snakes, we spotted two snakes along the trek.

Jwalapur - view from Tunga Mata Temple trek.

We had started our trek from Sharan at 10:30 AM, and at 2:00 PM our trek merged with the trek that comes from the Jwalapur. After the merge, only one more kilometer was left, and we were welcomed by a herd of goats and three dogs. They were harmless, and walking by them, we sat under the tree shadow to eat the paranthas that we carried in our bag, since the morning. 

At Tunga Mata temple.

Now that we had regained some energy, after short climb we reached the top of the mountain where resides the abode of the goddess Tunga. 
The gate was made of woods. Watch the video for complete view: 

Toilets are next to gate. At top four stone-wood-slate huts with no man were standing. We visited them after visiting the main temple. Two of them are shelters for night stay. One at the centre was locked and the next to it was empty except it contained the musical instruments called Karnal and Dhantura. Also hanging on the wall was the hairy outer goat skin. 

Tunga Mata temple. 

The main temple is very small, large enough only to let two people sit in a lotus posture. Black colored(painted perhaps) stone idols(statues) stood supported by the wall. Take a look in the video itself. 

One can look over ridge like trek that goes to Parashar lake. The Parashar lake ridge which carries green grass with no trees is very well visible from the temple. Apart from this, one can have a good look at the Pir Panjal peaks. 

Buy some trekking Gears:

From here one can opt for another trek up to Parashar, which will be a gentle walk of about 8-10 kilometers. Or can walk down along half an hour trek to a road that extends itself from Jwalapur to the village nearest to the temple. 

When Vinod tried to converse with the temple priest, I tried to make another video of them.  

Soon after, clouds started pouring, and we took our bodies into the shelter inside the hut. It stopped after about half an hour and it was already 4:15 PM. We started back, but stopped at the tent made by the Gaddi(Shepherd), one who owned the goats and dogs. 

Sahil, his name, made the tea for us. He used the goat milk, which was available to him in abundance, as the number of the goats was near to 50. He was from the Jwalapur region, but he would stay with the goats in this jungle.  

He talked very high about the goddess Tunga, claimed that his goats are safe when the goddess is happy with him.  We thanked him for the tea and took the leave, walked the same way back to Khalwash and Sharan. 

This was a wonderful one day trek, easy for people with good fitness, but can be tough for people with bellies. 

Have a look at some inspiring travel books:

Thanks for kind visit!