3 mins read

9 Things to do in Shangarh

9 Things to do in Shangarh
OFFBEAT

By Ruchi Joshi

17 Mar, 2023

Shangarh, a quaint little town famous for its gorgeous meadows, is nestled within the heart of Himachal Pradesh's Sainj Valley. Shangarh meadows as far as your eyes can go! A place so mesmerising it seems plucked from the realm of dreams, yet its existence is as real as the air you breathe. This haven boasts dense forests and waterfalls that pulse with life; it houses a kaleidoscope of flora and fauna. It’s offbeat, pocket-friendly to get around, and hands down is the best place to experience the best of the Himachali lifestyle.

In the embrace of the Sainj Valley, spanning an impressive 90 square kilometres, the Sainj River gracefully winds its way to join the Beas River. Along its gentle journey, it caresses sleepy towns such as Shangarh, stands sentinel among towering deodar trees, and cradles lush pastures that are scenic marvels and vessels of local lore and mystique.

Read along to discover the top 9 things to do in Shangarh and why it should be on your 2024 bucket list.
 

Shangarh's breathtaking skyline

Shangarh's breathtaking skyline

What to do: Top 9 things to do in Shangarh  

1. Discover local legends: Ties to the Mahabharata

Before you start exploring this beautiful little town, we highly recommend knowing the stories associated with the town to fully cherish the experience. Shrouded in a sense of calm, Shangarh has a tinge of mystic energy to it; you’ll feel it as soon as you get there. If you get a chance to converse with the locals of Shangarh, you must ask them about the anecdotes from Mahabharata. They are very affable and love to talk. It is believed that when the Pandavas were exiled and made to spend time in Agyatvas (residing at a new place without anyone recognizing their real identity), they stopped at Shangarh. They cleared the land off pebbles and stones to prepare it for farming. They toiled to produce crops during their stay. When Kauravas came to Shangarh in search of Pandavas, Shangchul Mahadev (the lord of Shangarh) made them return empty-handed and protected the Pandavas. To date, it is considered that anyone who comes to Shangarh in search of refuge is protected by Shangchul Mahadev. Interesting, isn’t it? 

Shangarh Valley, surrounded by flora

Shangarh Valley, surrounded by flora (Picture - Unsplash)

2. Visit the popular Shangchul Mahadev temple

Of the many things to do in Shangarh, visiting the Shangchul Mahadev (Lord Shiva) temple is a must. This temple is revered by the people of Shangarh and the villages around. The locals considered him the lord and saviour of the town. The minutely intricate design, architecture and wood carvings are beautiful beyond words. The fine-tuned finishing and craftsmanship are applause-worthy. Nothing wrong can happen to anybody in Shangarh; it’s this feeling that makes travelling to Shangarh a step above other such towns,

There are many equally beautiful and peaceful temples across the town and one of them is Manu Rishi Temple near Shangarh. Whether you are a believer or not, we highly recommend visiting these places to worship to find a sense of calm and reconnect with yourself.  

Shangarh's wonderfully designed Shangchul Mahadev temple

Shangarh's wonderfully designed Shangchul Mahadev temple (Picture - Unsplash)

3. The Barshangarh waterfalls and beyond

Shangarh is home to the lovely Barshangarh waterfalls. Just a short walk from The Hosteller, Shangarh, traversing through Shangarh meadows and forests, you can reach the waterfall cascading down the rocks. A friendly tip: Wear your trekking shoes and socks as a hike through the rocky terrain will be more comfortable.

On the way to Manu temple lies a secret waterfall, not very well known to tourists. There, you can take a quick dip with your friends if the flow is gentle. We suggest checking with the locals or our guides at the hostel to see if the weather is conducive for a dip. While you’re here, the most melodious music of the jungle and birds encapsulate you into a whole different world.

Raila waterfall, a popular local attraction just half a kilometre hike from the Raila Fort, is also a great spot to spend your day. This hidden gem is comparatively lesser known and is perfect for a quick dip in the lap of nature.

These three waterfalls are just the ones we know of. Shangarh, like another hidden town in Himachal, is full of surprises. As you explore this little town, you might discover a hidden gem that has been around all along.

Beautiful picture of Bharshang waterfall

 Raila waterfall cascading amidst the green surroundings (Picture - Unsplash) 

4. Shangarh meadows: A walk through time

One of the reasons why you must visit this town is to rest your eyes and mind and find calm amidst the Shangarh meadows. Away from the usual hustle and bustle, Shangarh will take you on a journey of self-discovery. The wide open sky and the Himalayan ranges work as the backdrop on your stroll past the lush Shangarh meadows, letting the grass caress heal your fatigue. Please note that the locals revere the meadows (nature), so be mindful of the local customs and beliefs while enjoying your holiday. Littering on the go is a big no-no. Take lengthy strolls and lose yourself to the calmness of the Shangarh meadows.  

5. Day out to Raila: The twin towers of Dhaliara Kothi and hike to Bhatkanda meadows

Raila, a village about an hour away from Shangarh , is popular amongst travellers for Raila Fort. It was constructed by the erstwhile king or ruler of Raila. The twin towers are one of the highest points in the village, ensuring to be a vantage point for the soldiers and guards in ancient times. During your visit, you'll discover the best view of the Sainj valley from the watchtowers of the fort. If you have a keen interest in archaeology, history and architecture then the small and cramped rooms and hallways will pique your interest even more. A short hike from the Twin towers, you can head to the Bhatkanda meadows, a vast stretch of greens to watch the most bewitching sunset ever.

The roads are well-connected by HRTC buses; getting around is a piece of cake! The last bus from Raila to Sainj runs at 4 pm; ask the locals for exact timings. If you miss the bus, no worries. The walk from Raila to Shangarh is pleasant and not that energy-consuming.
 

twin towers of raila

  Twin towers of Raila

6. Hop across neighbouring villages

We’d save at least an entire day to explore Shangarh and the nearby villages without a rigid plan. Take a detour and hit spots like Maidana and Tandi, both peaceful retreats near Shangarh. Check out the local Dhabas for authentic, home-cooked food. The locals are super friendly and it wouldn’t be tough to mingle. Their simple yet deeply rooted lifestyle will leave you in awe! You’ll be lucky to visit Shangarh during Holi (Fagli festival), Diwali or the Sajja Sehri mela, a festival that happens only once a year. The deity is brought from a temple located in the Shangarh meadows for a procession around the town; the locals dance, celebrate and rejoice with their friends and loved ones. 

A traditional rally by the locals of Himachal Pradesh

A traditional rally by the locals of Himachal Pradesh (Picture - Unsplash)

7. Wander around the Great Himalayan National Park

Explore The Great Himalayan National Park (GHNP) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site owing to its unique biodiversity. It lies in the Western Himalayan ecozone. Typically, an ecozone is a geographically distinct area with specific features. Trekking in an eco zone could be rewarding for the unique biodiversity, scenic beauty and cultural immersion. This ecozone has a wide variety of wildlife thriving in its natural habitat, from sweet chirping birds to rare plants and wild animals. The rich flora and fauna are mesmerising, to say the least. You can even enrol yourself for trekking expeditions inside the Great Himalayan National Park (you will need a permit for that from the authorities). At The Hosteller, Shangarh, we can arrange a guided all-inclusive trek for you in the National Park so that you can easily sail through the wonders of nature. The friendly staff at our hostel’s front desk are always eager to answer all your questions. 

8. Discover new passions and skills in Shangarh

Its stunning beauty and abundant landscapes make Shangarh a great photography destination. Even budding iPhone photographers are welcome to click away! The landscape is so pretty that you can’t go wrong, irrespective of the skill level or lighting. The Great Himalayan National Park is a great spot for birdwatching. Carry your binoculars and let us know if you spot the Himalayan Monal or the Snow Pigeon. With vast landscapes and unobstructed skies, Shangarh is also an excellent place for stargazing!

Beautiful Himalayan Monal

Himalayan Monal (Credits: Wildpulse.in)

9. Hike down from Shangarh to Tirthan Valley

If you’ve come to Shangarh from Manali or Kasol, your next stop downwards could be Tirthan Valley or Jibhi. You could hike from Shangarh to Tirthan whilst enjoying the stunning views of the Sainj and Tirthan Valleys on both sides. Just 1.5 hours away from Tirthan lies Jibhi. Shangarh is well connected to various hike routes offering you multiple options to enjoy whilst on this side of Himachal Pradesh.

picturesque Tirthan Valley

picturesque Tirthan Valley (Credits: mysterioushimachal.wordpress.com)

How to reach:

By air: The closest airport to Shangarh is the Kullu Airport at approximately 47 km. You can get a bus or hire a cab for the further commute.

By train: The closest railway station is Joginder Nagar Railway Station. It is approximately 100 km away so you can opt for a bus or taxi for the second part of the journey.

By bus: Take a bus from Kully, Kasol or Manali and get to Aut. Once you reach Aut, get a bus for Sainj. Once in Sainj, you can take a direct bus to Shangarh. The bus schedules might change depending upon availability and the weather– Enquire with our hostel staff before embarking on your journey.

By car: If you are taking your own vehicle or hiring a cab, you can take one out of the two routes available. Head to Shangarh via Shimla or Kiratpur.
 

Frequently asked questions about Shangarh

1. Where is Shangarh in Himachal Pradesh? Shagarh lies in the Sainj valley in the Kully district of Himachal Pradesh. Shangarh is well-connected to famous destinations like Manali, Kasol, Tirthan valley and Jibhi.

2. How long does it take to get from Shangarh to Jibhi? There are no direct buses from Shangarh to Jibhi. You need to take a bus from Shangarh to Sainj. From Sainj, come to Aut. Then head from Aut to Banjar. Buses and shared taxis are easily available at Banjar. Alternatively, you can choose to hike from Shangarh to Jibhi. It could take you approximately 2-3 days depending on your speed and the number of pitstops along the route.

3. What is the nearest station to Shangarh? Joginder Nagar Railway Station is the closest Railway station which is located about 120 kms away. The nearest major railway station is Chandigarh.

4. How do I get to Shangarh from Delhi? A direct drive from Delhi to Shangarh could take you about 16 hours. The more budget-friendly way to get to Shangarh would be by taking a bus to Aut or Kullu. From both these locations, you can avail HRTC buses to get to Shangarh.

5. Can I club Shangarh with Manali? Absolutely! Manali to Shangarh by car takes about 4 hours depending upon traffic and road conditions.

6. How to reach Shangarh from Chandigarh? Chandigarh is the closest major railway station to Shangarh. Once in Chandigarh, you can rent a car to Shahgarh which takes about 8 hours. Alternatively, you can take local buses which will cost you much lesser.

7. How much is a taxi from Aut to Shangarh? The cost largely depends upon the type of vehicle, the season and the taxi service you choose. Normally, it should cost between Rs. 1500 to Rs. 2000 one way.

8. How many days are enough for Shangarh? We’d recommend staying in Shangarh for at least 3 days to have a complete experience of this beautiful town.

9. Is Shangarh safe for female travellers? Himachal Pradesh is considered very safe for female travellers. Shangarh is well-connected; the locals are friendly and helpful. We welcome solo female travellers to explore Shangarh.
 

The Hosteller Shangarh
Located in the heart of the village, The Hosteller Shangarh is a cosy property that has a wooden Himachali aesthetic mingled with modern amenities. We offer a range of accommodations from dormitories to private rooms, all with stunning views. Work in our cafe or socialise with fellow travellers and backpackers, we assure you of a good time! 

The serene look of The Hosteller Shangarh among Himachal's evergreen forests

The serene look of The Hosteller Shangarh among Himachal's evergreen forests

What to do now?

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