Shimla - Manali - Parvati valley - Kheerganga

by - January 06, 2018

Paragliding at Solang the adventure valley amidst snow covered mountains

Day 1
I flew to Delhi from Hyderabad in the morning. After spending some time going around the city, I took a train to Kalka. It took about 5 hours to reach Kalka, where I stayed the night.

Day 2
I took the toy train from Kalka to Shimla. Even though this takes longer to reach than by road, this is probably the better way to reach Shimla, thanks to the experience. After reaching Shimla in the evening, I just took a walk to my hotel from the station and checked in.

Day 3
After a quick early morning visit to the Mall road and the Ridge, I left for Kufri, one of the popular destinations near Shimla. It offers brilliant distant views of some of the famous Himalayan peaks such as Kailash Parvat, Badrinath, Kedarnath and also some adventure activities, so one can easily spend half a day over there, after which I came back to spend a lively evening at the Ridge.

Day 4
I visited the Indian Institute of Advanced Study and the Himalayan bird park in the morning. The IIAS easily takes at least a couple of hours to explore, and is closed on Mondays, so plan accordingly. I then took a bus to Manali. It took a total of about 9 hours to reach Old Manali from Shimla.

Day 5
There is a beautiful trekking trail from Old Manali that took me to Solang valley in about 3 hours. This is an easy hike, mostly involving walks through a few villages, with very little steep portions. In case you are not up for this, Solang is also reachable by road. As popularly known, this is an adventure destination. Even though the activities available may vary with seasons, you will always find something to do here. After I was done, I took a taxi back to Old Manali.

Day 6
After a visit to Vashisht and Manali mall road, I took a bus to Bhuntar, where I spent the night, thereby ending the first leg of my trip after which I was planning to proceed towards the Parvati valley.

Day 7
I took a taxi from Bhuntar to Barshaini in Parvati valley. Thereafter, a short trek led me to a quaint little village called Kalga, which serves as a base camp for the Kheerganga trek that I was planning to do the next day. It only has a few home stays and cafes, so load up on anything else you will need before leaving Barshaini. There are also a couple of other villages in the vicinity such as Pulga, Nakthan (reachable by a short trek) that you can choose from, to serve as your base camp.

Day 8
I started the trek from Kalga to Kheerganga. It is a 11-12 km long trek, involving an ascent of about 2000 feet and it took a total of about 4.5 hours to reach the top. The trail is pretty clear and you will find refreshments along the way. There are accommodations available at the top, varying from rooms, tents and dorms. Based on the rush, you may need to make prior arrangements.

Day 9
I trekked back down to Kalga from Kheerganga. One may also trek back the same day without staying at the top, but I'd suggest that you stay there to enjoy better. Also, during winters, it gets dark pretty early and the trail has some extremely skiddy ice patches towards the top, which can be risky to manoeuvre in the dark. After a short stop at Kalga, I proceeded to trek towards Barshaini, found a room there and stayed the night.

Day 10
Took a bus to Manikaran from the local bus stand. Again, a quaint little town with beautiful views, where the best thing to do is just to take a stroll around, which is what I did. This place is famous for hot springs, where even many of the hotels have piped connections for the water from the hot springs (yes, you read that right). So, if you are bored of just taking a stroll, you can make a visit to the hot springs and spend some time.

Day 11
I took a taxi to Kasol. After spending some time taking a walk along the Parvati river, I proceeded towards Bhuntar by bus, to catch another overnight bus to Delhi. Bhuntar is the nearest big town to Parvati valley and most buses to other major cities go via it, and it is accessible from Kasol by a 2 hour bus ride.

Day 12
It took about 12 hours to reach Delhi. After going around the city a little, I took a flight back to Hyderabad.

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