Yet again it was time to explore the offbeat destination and this time chose a 4 day trip to few remote villages in Himachal side. Popularly known as Tirthan Valley (derives its name from the Tirthan river), its the main gateway to the Great Himalayan National Park (GHNP) which is a UNESCO world heritage site. Perched at an altitude of over 4000 feet, this quiet valley offers rustic river side homes to village hopping to trekking and bird watching. There’s also the option of doing absolutely nothing but relax (which will never be in my agenda).
I had in mind two locations one towards Gushaini side and another towards Jibhi side. Take an overnight bus from Delhi to Manali or Chandigarh to Manali. Get down at a place called Aut (before the tunnel which is 3 km long one). From there most of the home stays offers a pick up which is around 1 hour journey to either of these sides (Gushaini or Jibhi). Refer the google map location.
Day 1 and Day 2
We stayed at the famous Gone fishing cottages on the Gushaini side. With a class leading hospitality and a splendid cottage with mouth watering dishes being served, you cannot go wrong with this place. Surrounded by Pine forest and river side, the ambiance is what the doctor ordered for. The river side provides a great peace of mind. This place has its own charm as its bit away from the main center.
Next day, we decided to go for a drive to Sharchi and Bathad village. Both are pretty villages which offers some great views of Himalayas. There is nothing much to do here rather than a lazy walk and i like the Sharchi one better.
Day 3 and Day 4
Now it was time to go to the second destination, Tandi a remote hamlet in the Jibhi side. Chose this place through Airbnb and i was totally awe struck by this location, the mud house setting and their hospitality. This was my first airbnb experience and I absolutely loved it. The views outside the cottage is just awesome, just open the window curtains and there you go.
On Day 4, it was time for my favourite activity, trekking. We had two options Saryolsar Lake hike (which would take ~5 hours to cover) or Raghupur Fort (~2 hours but with some reasonable steep climb). Family preferred the Fort one. Both the treks starts from Jalori Pass.
The walk to Raghupur Fort passes through a lovely forest and has spectacular views of the mountains. Raghupur Fort that offers 360 degree valley views. We reached the top by around 12 noon and by the time i took out my camera, within no time the weather worsened, and it began drizzling followed by a heavy hail storm. We had our hot cup of tea and Maggie in the top hut there and the locals asked us to climb down fast. With a super cold wind, our hands started freezing and walk down was not that easy as the visibility was too low. It took almost 2 hours to reach the base and we were all shivering and couldn't feel our fingers. Even opening up the zipper of pants was nearly impossible :). My whole hope of capturing the stunning beauty of that place in camera was completely ruined by weather. And thats all part of landscape photography in the mountains, luck plays a huge part. It was a real adventure though with the family and i am sure my kids will never forget this.
But my disappointment turned into a true delight when we reached back to our home stay. That place came alive after the rain and the clouds and mist adds a special charm and beauty to this. Check out the pics to believe it. The place is something straight out of fairy tale setting. The cherry on top for this experience was ‘Nabako’, their dog. Finally I had a great sleep after a long long time.
There is no second thought on my mind for recommending these places and stays. The peace and tranquility it offered was beyond words and needs to be experienced. I doubt there is any better feeling in this world than being amidst the nature surrounded by gorgeous wooden buildings and pine forest which offers some stunning views along with some yummy home made food. What a way to fall in love with Nature and unwind in natural beauty.