As aptly said by American Poet Ralph Emerson, “Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail”.
If you are also dreaming of a magical escape on the lesser trodden path, Tirthan Valley is the perfect nature-carved destination. A trip to this unbelievably tranquil valley confirms that nature has been more than kind to this region. At an altitude of 1600 m, Tirthan valley is still sparsely populated and a relatively untouched location. The valley is located in a protected conservation zone and provides access to the Great Himalayan National Park (GHNP) which has been recently declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The pristine Tirthan river flows through the valley before merging into River Beas at Pundoh Dam. Richly landscaped with golden fields, orchards of apple, apricot, pear, cherry, dense forests of Pine, Oak, fir and Spurs, a few days in this beautifully serene valley is a sure shot way to reboot your soul and leave you yearning for more.
A visit to Tirthan valley is the perfect getaway if you wish to spend some time cut off from the world, in the lap of nature and away from the jarring sounds and hustle bustle of the city. The valley has numerous activity options from nature walks in rugged woods and sleepy little hamlets, trekking, camping, sighting rare birds, river crossing, angling to merry bonfires and BBQ evenings. It transforms into another world with nightfall when the skies lightly up brilliantly with a million stars. The tranquility and untouched natural bounty of Tirthan Valley unfailingly captures the heart of every visitor, leaving them mesmerized with a promise to return to relive the magic.
Trekking and Camping
Things To Do in Tirthan Valley:
Half Day Treks:
- Trek from Nagini village uphill to a majestic waterfall. It’s a 1.5 kms, 30 minutes trek one way.
- Trek along a beautiful trail lined with orchards and colourful wild blooms to the GHNP entrance (8kms).
Short Overnight Treks: Trek to and camp in tents at camping sites like Rolla (2100m) and Rangthal in the Ecozone.
Cross-Valley Treks: There are many moderate to difficult treks in the GNHP valleys ranging from 1 to 8 days and climbing to altitudes of 4000+ meters.
For details about 1-3 day treks in GHNP contact the Interpretation Center, Manali or Van Vihar Ticket window, Manali or GHNP authorities in Shamshi: Phone: +91-1902-265320
For camping and trekking itineraries: http://www.greathimalayannationalpark.com.
Angling: Best months for Trout fishing season is March to October. A Non-Transferable Fishing License costing Rs. 100/person per fishing rod has to be obtained from the local Department of Fisheries. So go ahead and spend a lazy afternoon by the gurgling river fishing for your dinner and taste a perfectly grilled Himalayan trout!
River Crossing: Many local guesthouses and local companies conduct river crossing activities across the Tirthan River. It is safe and a thrilling experience for youngsters across all ages. A safety harness is tied at the waist and the participant then pulls himself and slides on rope across the river to the other bank. He/she returns the same way. The rope can be moved up and down mid way if one desires a dip in the gushing waters! This is a favourite with the kids.
Local Trolley Ride: Taking a ride across the river in one of the manually operated primitive trolleys is indeed an unique experience. Though it is completely safe, it is advisable to do it under the supervision of a local villager. Though it looks simple, the ropes could get tangled mid way and it takes an enormous amount of strength and technique to untangle it and pull oneself back.
Bird Watching: The Great Himalayan National park is home 180 species of birds (many endangered) like the Western Tragopan, Monal Pheasant, Himalayan Griffon, Lammergeier, Slaty Headed Parakeet, Great Himalayan Barbet and Golden Eagles. Take an experienced guide with you to help with sightings.
Orchard Visit and Fruit Plucking: The valley is dotted with apple, apricot, cheery and pear orchards. Spend some time walking around these orchards, admire the blooms and the butterflies and relish handpicked fruits. Most of the guesthouse/ homestay owners have orchards of their own and will be able to organize a tour.
Simply relax: Isn’t that what a getaway is all about. Find a perfect corner to sit and admire mother nature, listen to the chirping of the birds and rhythm of the river or cuddle up in a comfy chair under the apple trees with your favourite book.
Places to visit around Tirthan Valley
Shoja: Enjoy a spectacular drive through deodar, pine and fir forests t0 Shoja. This 20 km drive takes you via Banjar and Jibhi to this small quaint hamlet. It lies 5 kms before Jalori Pass and connects Tirthan valley to Kinnaur and Shimla. Jalori Pass is located at an altitude of 8000 feet asl.
Accomodation: There are a few budget guesthouses with basic but clean rooms like Raja’s guest house or one can stay at the Banjara Camps (Premium) in Shoja. The PWD rest house is also good budget option if available and can be booked through the SDM office at Kullu or Shimla.
Enjoy the 23 kms slow drive from Tirthan valley up the steep slope via Banjar and Shoja to Jalori Pass (3140m). Jalori Pass lies just 5 kms ahead of Shoja but the road is steep and winding upto the pass.
Travelers are rewarded with jaw dropping views of the magnificent snow-capped Himalayan ranges on one side and lush green rolling meadows on the other dotted with thousands of grazing sheep.
A few tea stalls offer tea and snacks. There is a small temple at the Pass. It can get windy and cold at this altitude so travelers are advised to carry warm clothing.
Trek To Serolsar Lake
The Trek to Serolsar Lake starts a few meters off Jalori Pass. Take the mud road going from the right of the temple into the woods. This road leads upto the Eco Camp site run by the Forest Department. Vehicles can go no further and have to be parked here.
A two hour relatively easy trek takes the hiking enthusiasts to the beautiful mirror-like Serolsar Lake. The shaded trail through dense Pine, Oak, Deodar and Fir forests is a trekkers delight. Travelers are rewarded with great views of the Seraj valley. It is a mesmerizing sight as one reaches the lake. The still clear waters of the lake reflect the blue of the skies and greens of the bordering trees. There is a small temple near the lake.
Summer: 10 °C – 23 10 °C, May to July. Sunny mornings and pleasant evenings. Cottons and light woollen clothing recommended.
Winter: -5 °C – 9 °C, December to February with occasional snowfall. Heavy woollens recommended. The valley also has visitors from the wild during winters when Leopards, Bears etc. inhabit the area due heavy snow in the upper Himalayas. Wild animals descend to the valley I search of food. Hence visitors must take extreme caution and not venture out for walks after dark.
Spring: 7 °C – 19 °C, March-April. Light woollens recommended.
Best Time to Visit: April to June, October.
Cherry Season: May-July
Apple Season: August-October
Tirthan Valley Hotels:
Forest Rest House (FRH), Sairopa: A good and affordable option. Rooms cost Rs 500 per night. For bookings call 01902-265320.
Raju Bharti’s Guest House, Gushaini: This idyllic wooden Himalayan cottage next to the Tirthan River and amidst apple and apricot orchards is straight out of a picture postcard. Owner, Raju Bharti and his family ensure every guest experiences great comfort, hospitality and the best the mountain experience the region has to offer. Access to the homestay is via an iron trolley used to cross the Tirthan River. There is ample parking space. They also arrange for treks and camping. Tariff – Rs 1500-1800 per person per day including all meals. Phone Number: +91-9418149808, +91-1903-201108.
White Stone Cottages, Sairopa: Comfortable cottages made of local white stone with the River Tirthan flowing at the back and a lawn in front. Contact: 91-8988228207; 91-9779359664. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WhitestoneCottages
Himalayan Trout House, Nagini: This is a nice stay option but slightly expensive. Contact Christopher/ Shefali: +91-9418128383, +91-1903225112
Camp Chrysalid: Riverside tented accommodation with dining facilities. Summer camps are conducted here for all age groups and are very popular. Tariff: Rs 2500-4000/person/day including accommodation, all meals, indoor and outdoor activities.
Camp Himalayan, Gushaini: Contact +91 9811039900, +91 8130766399
Trishla Homestay: A Himalayan house right on the riverside with lush fields around. . Contact: 09418703820
Riverside Resort & Adventures (Dehuri): Comfortable rooms with all meals package at Rs.1000-1200 per head. Adventure activities like river crossing, rock climbing, rappelling etc are charged extra at 300-500 per activity per person. Contact: 9810008808, 9810093925, 98100932925 (Anirudh Singh)
Delhi – Tirthan Route:
Route 1: Delhi (NH1) – Ambala (218 kms; 4 hrs) – Take the Chandigarh bypass – Kharar – Ropar – Kiratpur (Turn right, 320 kms; 6 hrs) – Swarghat – Bilaspur (374 kms; 7.5 Hrs) – Sundernagar – Ner Chowk – Mandi (439 kms; 9 Hrs) – Pandoh (457 kms; 9.5Hrs) – Aut (479 kms; 10 Hrs) – Turn right before the tunnel – Larji (Turn right at T-point) – Sairopa – U-turn – Gushaini (Tirthan – 505 kms; 11 Hours)
If you plan to take a halt mid-way, HPTDC hotels at Swarghat (Hotel Hilltop, 7 Hrs from Delhi) and Bilaspur (Hotel Lakeview, 8 Hrs from Delhi) are good budget options. Haveli, a premium hotel at Ropar is another option.
Route 2: Delhi (NH1) – Ambala (218 kms; 4 hrs) – Kalka – Shimla (NH22; 360 kms; 8 Hrs) – Narkanda (427 kms; 9 Hours) – 35 kms ahead turn left from Atul Regency – Ani – Khanag – Jalori Pass (520 kms; 10.5 hrs) – Shoja (524 kms) – Banjar (538 kms) – Tirthan (505 kms)
Comfortable Volvo Buses ply from Himachal Bhavan and ISBT, Delhi every evening and reach Aut early next morning. Taxis are available from Aut to Gushaini for around Rs. 600-800. Most guesthouses/ homestays/ hotels in Tirthan valley also arrange pickups and drops at extra cost.
Manali – Tirthan Route: 99 kms, 3 Hours
Manali – Kullu Bypass – Bhuntar – Aut Tunnel (Turn left after tunnel) – Banjar (U turn) – Sairopa – Gushaini.
Aut – Tirthan Route: 31 kms, 1.5 Hours
Aut – Turn right before the tunnel – Larji (Turn right at T-point) – Banjar (U turn) – Sairopa – Gushaini
Bhuntar (52 kms, 1 Hour 30 minutes), Dharamshala (193 kms; 6 Hours), Chandigarh (248 kms; 7 Hours).
Nearest Railway Station
Kalka (NH21A; 240 kms; 6.5hrs), Chandigarh (248 kms; 7 Hour).