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Kheerganga Trek - A Slice Of Paradise
It's me - Chahat! Back again with another informative blog about one of the places that is very close to my heart. As a community manager, I go to many places on treks but there are definitely some places that capture a piece of my heart like no other. The Kheerganga Trek is something that I have a soft corner for.
I have been to Kheerganga a lot many times now - alone many times, with friends, and even with groups of more than 50 travellers! And every single time I go, I never fail to get mind-boggled by the sheer beauty and majestic vibes of that place.
View of Himalayan mountain and camping at Kheerganga
In this blog, I will attempt to guide you through the entire Kheeranga trek. This trek is not exactly classified as easy. Even though the elevation is not more than 10,000 feet; the trek is quite a challenging one. During the spring-summer months, it is the easiest to approach. But one must look out for the scorching heat while climbing. Remember to keep yourself replenished during the trek.
Snow landscape of the morning sunlight falling on the huge snowy mountain of Kheerganga
In the rainy season, the muddy and sleety ways make the trail quite perilous at certain twists and bends; especially near the waterfalls. I do not recommend doing this trek during monsoon. During the early winter season, it is possible to complete the trek too. Make sure to carry a lot of warm woolens and a pair of good trekking shoes during the winter season. When the snowfall becomes intense, the route for the Kheerganga trek closes as do the camps on top. So plan your itinerary accordingly.
A stone house on the Kheerganga trail
Here are a few important details you should know before starting the Kheerganga Trek:
- The maximum elevation of Kheerganga trek top is 2960 meters which is equal to 9711 feet.
- The trek does not start from Kasol. This is a mistake many people make. It starts at Barshaini, which is about 7 km away from Kasol.
- You can reach Barshaini on local transport. The rest of the way till the top can be reached only on foot. We take our guests to Barshaini via cab from the hostel.
- There are two paths that you can take to reach the top. One goes through the village of Rudranag and the other goes through Kalga.
- There is no cell phone service in Kheerganga. Very rarely, you might get a bar or two of BSNL or Jio, but nothing apart from that.
Shops on the way to Kheerganga trek
- All small dhabas and shops close at 6.30 - 7.00 pm in the evening. You shall not find anything to eat on the way after that. You can carry some snacks in your backpack but please do not litter in the area. There are dustbins in the camping ground so save it till then.
- I highly recommend that you complete the trek before sundown. The trek is quite steep and crumbly in many parts and trying to do this with torch lights at night might prove to be fatal.
- Accommodation in Kheerganga is available only in the form of shared tents. You can also carry your own camping equipment, but you might not be able to find a decent pitching spot in the main campground.
Tip: Carry some eatables on the trip, especially sweet things like biscuits and chocolates. That can give you instant energy.
Day 0 of the Kheerganga Trek
Scenic view of local houses by the Parvati River in Manikaran village
This way will mostly be spent in a form of transport if you aren’t in Kasol or Barshaini already. Kasol to Barshaini is a 1.5 - 2 hour ride via a local bus. You can also take a shared taxi. Both of these options are quite cheap and wouldn’t be hard on the pocket at all. Alternatively, you can also debark at Bhunter. This is some 5 km before one reaches Kasol. It is possible to reach Barshaini via Bhunter too.
If you reach early in the morning then it is possible to undertake the trek on the same day. But it is advisable to spend a night in Kasol or Barshaini to get acclimatized. I recommend reserving the first day to explore Kasol. There is a lot to see in and around like:
- Manikaran Gurudwara
- Shopping in Kasol market
- German Bakery
- Walk near Parvati river
View of The Hosteller Kasol
Stay at for the night, enjoy a bonfire, smores and song circle with fellow travellers and start the Kheerganga trek the next day early morning. When we take groups from the hostel, it is always in the morning after everyone has had a day of rest and acclimatization.
Tip 1: Don't carry too much luggage on the Kheerganga trek. Leave all your extra baggage at the hostel and take an overnight bag.
Day 1 of the Kheerganga Trek
The starting point of the trek to Kheerganga
Everyone always wakes up excited on the day of the trek. Adrenaline is high and spirits are soaring upon the thought of undertaking the Kheerganga trek. The trek starts from Barshaini. Like I mentioned before, there are two routes one can take to reach the top. The one we take goes via Rudgranag.
The Kheerganga trek does not offer much room for acclimatization. In about 30 minutes of starting the climb, the trail becomes rocky, uneven and quite steep. These routes are narrow and you have to be careful where you put your feet.
Midway point RudraNag waterfall on Kheerganga trek
After hiking for about 1.5 hours you will reach Rudranag. There are quite a few places to eat here and a guesthouse. Sometimes we choose to stop at Rudrangag for the night at the request of fellow companions but it is certainly not a necessity.
After crossing Rudranag, we reach a big glistening waterfall. There is a cafe next to it. On this part of the Kheerganga trek, you have to cross the waterfall to get to the other side. The stones placed on it are pretty slippery and during the monsoons, rain can also affect your visibility make sure you are very careful while doing this.
Green pine and deodhar forests on the way to Kheerganga
After this, the rest of the trail is pretty much an incline. You shall observe large forests of birch, pine and deodar trees around you. The route remains pretty shaded by the large trees and you do not have to worry about overheating. After about 1.5 hours more of a walk from the waterfall, we finally reach the climax of the Kheerganga trek.
Once we reach the top, we settle into our camps and have dinner. The stars are very beautiful from this height. If you have reached Kheerganga earlier in the day, you can choose to do smaller hikes around the area and visit the Shiva temple.
A view of the mountains from Kheerganga
Tip: There is a huge tree that faces the cliff after the crossing of the waterfall. This tree has a natural seat on its lap which can easily fit 2-3 people. It's a natural marvel and you can click some memorable photographs here.
Day 2 of the Kheerganga Trek
View of the famous Hot Water Spring of Kheerganga
Wake up in the mesmerizing Kheerganga. You will see yourself flanked by huge mountains that make you realize how small we actually are in comparison to nature. Their snow-capped peaks shine with splendour and the breeze makes my heart beat faster. Such is the beauty of this place.
Of course, the Kheerganga trek is famous for its hot water springs. I recommend you wake up early to go enjoy the hot water and soak in all its natural mineral benefits. Going early will ensure you have to share the springs with the least amount of people. The sulphurated water makes all your aches and pains go away and allows you to relax in the bosom of Mother Nature. I recommend carrying a change of clothes to use while you are in the hot water springs.
Hindu temple on the way to Kheerganga trek
If you haven’t yesterday, you can also visit the local Shiva temple. There are many small shacks to eat in Kheerganga and you can have a hearty meal of maggi, paranthas, dal - chawal, rajma, puri - aloo, etc. During the peak months of April-October, the campsites tend to run full so make sure you are pre-booked. If you are traveling with us, that won’t be a problem.
After having a hearty breakfast and enjoying the splendid views of this tabletop mountain, we make our way back to Kasol.
Tip: Don't forget to try the yummy homemade kheer (rice pudding) that the locals prepare. It is cooked on an open fire and tastes out of this world!
Trek to Kheerganga (Source - Majestic Journey)
The Kheerganga trek is a blessed experience. The sweet waters of the falls, the chilly mountain breeze, the friendly dogs, the kind and hospitable people and the stark natural sceneries of the area make it a trek worth living. Another unique thing about this trek is its difficulty.
Locals and all expert trek leaders are of the opinion that if you can complete the Kheerganga trek successfully, you will have no problems completing any of the other trek passages that leave from Kasol or Tosh. So in that way - it is definitely a landmark in your travel diary.
I hope to see you all guys on a Kheerganga trek with The Hosteller soon!
Till then adios and happy travels!!