A detailed guide for the Kheerganga Trekking
Share the article on
We leave Mcleodganj at 10 pm and head towards Kasol: a small village in the Himachal Pradesh.
We arrive at Bhuntar at 4:30 am (we pay for the bus 700 rupees and we spend about 6 hours). We wait an hour to take a local bus and to head to Kasol (paid 50 rupees, take 1 hour and a half). We arrive at Kasol but our goal is to go to a nearby village called Pulga that has been recommended to us by several travellers. So we catch another bus paid 35 rupees and after another hour and a half, we get to Bershanini. We realize though that with the bus we cannot get to Pulga because there's no road, and we have to reach the village on foot along an uphill path which takes about 1 hour. The way is not that easy if carrying two backpacks of 15 kg and of 5kg! Moreover, we stay at a really horrible homestay: "Nest view" where there is no shower or hot water and the bed is so hard that it seems to sleep on the floor with dirty sheets; in fact, I decided to sleep in the sleeping bag. We eat lunch at a restaurant "Shanti Baba Dhaba" which is just at the beginning of the village near a minimarket. We eat a very good Thali for only 100 rupees. At the "Koala Cafe", however, you will find a wide selection of Israeli delicacies as well as a good coffee. While for dinner we go to where there is also some Italian food and people told me that you can eat the best pizza in the whole area (I guess because is the only place who make pizza!). Driven by curiosity I order pizza Margherita for 180 Rupees or € 2.20 and I must admit that it is not bad!
But back to Pulga, here there is a pleasant walk to do among tall pine trees, also excellent for shelter from the sun during the hottest hours, although here temperatures vary between 24 in the day and 17-18 degrees in the evening. This area is also known for growing marijuana; in fact, it is very common to find plants on the street and so many people come here for this purpose.
The main reason that drove me to visit this village is the Kheerganga trekking. So the next morning we go back to Bershanini; I embarked on this new adventure with an Indian boy, Ranish, met here who has Bunny as nickname, being a name easier to remember. I leave the big backpack in one of the restaurants on the main road paying 50 rupees and start trekking. We walk and walk and arrive at the village called Tosh; here we realize that we are going in the opposite direction. So we have to go back down but luckily the guys with a car give us a ride. So this time we make sure that we are on the right path by asking various people.
At the entrance, you must also register with your details. Next village we reach is Kalga; here we rent a tent and sleeping bag at the "Aunties Place" (you find it on the street, impossible not to see it and pay attention because it is the only one in the village) for 1,000 rupees - about 12 € - and we continue. There are various gazebos for food or Chai (Indian tea with milk). After 3 and a half hours we reach the Kheerganga (km done: 15). The landscape that we see is fantastic with a bright green accompanied by waterfalls. The last hour is quite hard because of the several climbs and many rocks. But in general, it is a trek for everyone. Once you get to the top, the natural spas await you: there's nothing more beautiful after all the effort in order to rest a bit. There are hotspings for men (outdoors) and those for women (covered and separated from those of men). The water is very hot but it is nice for a few minutes and there are also showers in the same room.
We then have lunch with Dal (lentils) with rice for 200 rupees. Here the prices are a bit higher than the average but it is understandable as people transport food, drinks and gas bottles on foot, thus making a huge effort. It is really moving to meet these people during the trek. But unfortunately it is their job and they are willing to do everything to earn some money. In the mountains people are different; here live the Pahari (which literally means people coming from the mountain) in fact they also dress differently: the males wear a hat typical of this area and the women a handkerchief. Some have features that recall the Chinese because of Tibetan influences. Returning to the campsite, after eating and assembling the tent we enjoy the scenery and make friends with the various Indians who are our neighbors.
It is interesting to see that I am the only European tourist and there are many people who want to take pictures with me (typical of India); plus they are very happy to know that my name is Sonia because it is a typical Indian name. We observe a very beautiful sunset with various shades of red. And after drinking a Chai we go to bed. The next morning we fix everything and at 7 we leave. We arrive at Kalga at 10 am so it takes us half an hour less than the climb. Once arrived at the village Bershanini at 12 we take a bus to Jari; we intended to visit the Malana village but the bus makes many stops and stops and we realize that we do not have much time. Melana is known as the magical village: here is the best hashish in the world and there live people with their own rules. For example, you can not touch these people, it is not allowed to make videos but only photos asking for consent. It is not easy to get there: you must first reach Jari, then take a taxi that takes you to the village of Narang and from there do a 1-hour trek (4-5 km). It must be interesting to visit it. If any of you have visited it, I'm really curious to know your impression!
In the end I decided to continue with the bus and get directly to Manali (total bus cost 150 rupees-less than 2 €); we arrive in Manali at 7 pm, the local buses are not very comfortable but it is the cheapest option and among other things it is a way to make a local experience. Obviously, every time you take a bus there are several stops: sometimes to eat and sometimes to get on or off the people. Ps. If you look at distances on Google maps or on maps.me they never correspond to reality. Do not forget that you are in the Himalayas and the roads are not in very good condition and above all full of bends. More or less you make 25 km in 1 hour or so. Good luck with your adventures in Himachal Pradesh.