The Kheer Ganga trail is the most hidden, and least explored trek out of the bedlam of Himalayan treks. Why? – It’s not because the route is particularly difficult, or dangerous, but simply because it hasn’t been publicised much (or at all). But this is just the perfect trek for you, if you want to find ethereal, untouched beauty smack in the middle of the mountains.
Know Your Travel
The term Kheerganga or Kheer Ganga is symbolic of the Ganges that appears as white as the traditional dessert ‘kheer’ in this area. It is amazing to watch as the milky waters flow into the Parvati valley from all sides of the mountain in a manner quite like a milk churn.
Getting There: Kasol to Kheer ganga
The first lap of the trek starts from the village of Barshaini which is motorable from the popular religious place of Sikhs – Manikaran. Manikaran is only 4-5 kilometres away from Kasol, and the Parvati valley is about 25 kilometres away from Manikaran. This trek can be accomplished in a car only till Barshaini, because beyond this,explorers need to complete the trek on foot. Barshaini is small village where people live a very simple lifestyle. From here, the actual trek to Kheerganga begins.
Expert Advice: Try making it to Kheer ganga before the sun sets as it becomes very exhausting and mildly dangerous to walk all the way in the darkness.
The Actual Trek
Kheer ganga is a teeny-tiny village flanked by the mountain slopes. The other side of the mountain opens to the beautiful Lahaul-Spiti valley. The trek is very appealing visually and it would be a shame if one missed the beautifully shifting vegetation scenario all around. The best part of the trek is that you get to pass beautiful forests and the icy-cold Parvati River on the way.
The first stop of the trek is the Rudra-Nag waterfall and as one keeps trekking, they reach the flatland of Kheerganga. The beautiful flatland at Kheer ganga has a few guest houses and a large camping site to offer. Also, a trek up to the Glacier Lahaul-Spiti is nothing short of a delight.
Expert Advice: Make sure that you choose your travel partners wisely as one needs a lot of grit to keep going in the cold weather and lack of modern amenities. But once, you conquer this stunning route, you can definitely feel the amazement in your bones.
The hot spring at Kheer ganga is definitely a retreat and once you get there, forget everything else in favour of just jumping in. All pain and exhaustion simply washes away in this spring in no time.
Thankfully, there are separate bathing areas for men and women here, which ensure everyone’s enjoyment of the calming sulphur springs.(No need to worry about the creeps.) And after the much needed rejuvenation, one is ready to resume the trek once more.
The localites are friendly and warm and even help carry your luggage up to the camping site, since there are no proper roads. This village is literally untouched by concrete which is how it manages to retain some old-world charm.Talking to the villagers will also give you a fair idea about the places you need to visit and if you’re nice, you might get free bowls of steaming hot hill noodles as well!
This quiet and unboastful trek has a tons to offer to travellers. A visit to the Shiv Mandir at dawn is essential. Here, the locals will gladly tell you that Kheer ganga is the meadow which the Great Lord Shiva chose as a meditation spot for thirty centuries.
Expert Advice: The waterfall popularly known as Rudra-Nag is totally worth a visit too. It gets its name because it uncannily resembles a water snake.
What Else? –
One can find a variety of unique, distinctive rock formations in Kheerganga.
Plus, this valley is famous for the fresh Charas which is believed to have been consumed by Lord Shiva and his devotees in large amounts. There was once a time when this place was popular amongst hippies for the same reason!
This less discovered and less visited place is just flawless for those backpackers and travellers who want to get lost in the serenity and satiate the wanderlust in their nerves by basking in the abundance of nature.