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Tirthan Valley Trek Story Part I



TIRTHAN VALLEY TREK

Part I

I wanted to try any trek, where I did not have to run behind officials to get permission and where not many people were moving on the trail but at the same time it was easy to organise. Without wasting much time I decided to do another trek in GHNP and nothing better then the Tirthan valley trek which takes one to the very source of the river. As it happens, I believe with most of the trekkers, someone joins the trek and then at the last moment drops out, assigning problems back home. I was committed to the trek and so decided to move alone. However, as luck would have it, Dewan joined at the last moment and so there was company.

We decided to meet at Aut which is on the main road from Mandi to Manali, just after the climb from Pandho dam, as one emerges out of the gorge. I reached first and half an hour latter Dewan alighted from the Volvo coming from Delhi. Five minutes latter we were in the bus going to Banjar and another bus took us to Sai Ropa Tourist Complex. Tekram our guide for the trek and his two men team was waiting for us and were relieved to see us. Immediately we changed into our trekking clothes and got the permit for entering the park issued from the GHNP Office located in the complex after paying the park fee. Gushaini village, which is the road head was still 6 km from Sai Ropa and so again we waited for the bus. A group of children attending the adventure camp came and sat nearby. All seemed to be quite exited and thrilled. They were also in awe of the instructors who were accompanying them and explaining the surroundings to them. A short break and some intake of juice brought back the energy lost during the morning activity and happily they moved behind their instructors. We sat watching the group vanish as the road turned around a bend and hoped that the bus came quickly. Well, bus came at the scheduled time and the short ride brought us to the village by lunch time. We decided to eat something before hitting the trail which today was for only 3 hrs. Some chowmin and tea satisfied our hunger and we set off on the wide dirt road on which jeeps can ply upto 2 km or so. The trail climbed towards the first village and then the second village. The Tirthan river flowed down in the valley to our left. Walking slowly in the hot sun and sweating profusely we reached the high point from where the trail moved down. As we approached the nala coming from right side, three big dogs came barking towards us and made us stop in our path. All our efforts to move ahead were futile and as we stood thinking what to do all three lied down on the trail so that we could not move ahead. We had no option but to wait for Tekram and party to arrive. Ten minutes latter help arrived and the dogs which were defiant to us moved aside meekly with the shooing of Tekram. Moving ahead we crossed the nala over the wooden bridge and continued towards the park. We arrived at the gate of the GHNP and the chowkidar was waiting for us, as he had got the information about our arrival. The register was placed for us to make the entries, which were made and the permit shown to him. Saying our byes to him we moved into the park where there are no villages, only various trails. I was relieved to find good bridge across the river, as last time I had to cross it over a log. Now the trail moved along the right bank of the river and was easy. Half an hour walk brought us to the only hut in the region, where an old couple are staying and grow beans and potatoes in their field apart from keeping some cattle. The house seemed to be closed, but Tekram went in to get some of his camping stuff and to chat with the residents and share news.

We continued on our way and ten minutes latter Rolla huts were in site. I moved forward in hurry to see the condition of the place. Well this was my second visit to the place and I was excited to see it again. The place was clean and I lowered my rucksack and rushed to see the other huts. The kitchen was as it was three years back and the adjoining room did not have any flooring. A tap near the small hut and a water tank from which fresh water came down to the tap were the additions. A bit down the Tirthan flowed in all its might. Tekram and party reached the huts after their chat at the old man's house and immediately started the kitchen. Both of us had been traveling since the previous evening and so wanted to hit the sack at the earliest. Good dinner was prepared and served in style to which we were not accustomed and found it quite amusing. But Tekram was quite comfortable doing so which he has been doing while moving with foreigners.

The night passed off without any problem and I got up by 0530 hr as the alarm in the mobile went on. Slowly others were also up and about. Breakfast was prepared of Aloo parathas and two each were packed for lunch. By 0730 we hit the trail which slowly climbed up at an easy gradient. The path was repaired and had bridges over the difficult sections. After sometime a trail branched off to our right and moved to the bridge on the river from where it goes to Khorli poli, which is on the other side of the river and leads to many meadows on the hill across the river. Another trail branched off to our left and this was the trail we had taken to go up to Shilt hut and onwards to Rakhundi top. Our trail continued straight till we reached the washed off section and had to move down to the river and then took the log bridges on the river to reach the other side of the slide and then again we were on the regular trail. The jungle was thick but we were moving over a good trail and it was easy walking. Two hours of walk over this trail brought us to a nala coming from our left, which we crossed over a bridge and immediately after the bridge was a hut. We had reached Chalocha hut, which was not in very good shape and after having some water we moved off to reach a big tree which had lots of metal implements struck in the trunk. Tekram took off his bag and lighted the agarbatti and did puja. As he did puja we sat there watching him and thinking about the trail ahead. On finishing his puja, Tekram intimated that the climb to Nada thach was to begin from here. So what we have been doing for the last two hours. Well enjoying a good trail and now was the time to do some hard work for the easy time spent on the trail. The rucksacks were again on the back and we moved on slowly. Five minutes climb made us breathless and we again stopped to regain breath and again moved. This continued and each time I lifted my ahead I saw rest of the party high above me, indicating the steepness of the trail. I had no choice but to continue ahead at what ever pace I could move. After a lot of steep climbing we reached a level place which is called Chhaitor. Then we reached Pandvo ki Bawadi. This was halfway to Nada thach and so we decided to have tea at this place. Far down the valley gave us the hint of our climb and towards our left we could see the Shilt thach more or so level to us. So climb to Nada thach was definitely more than climb to Shilt. Tea was prepared on the small stove with fuel tablets and nearly one tablet got consumed in preparing three glasses of tea. This was quite amusing to Tekram and his team. After tea we again moved on the steep trail and at one place, Tekram told us that we had reached the point where we could get mobile signal, so what else, the rucksacks were again down and we sat there trying to get signal. One bar is seen, no here two bars are coming and so on. Finally everyone was able to speak and satisfied again the trail was regained. Some more steep climbing and we were at Prap darup. The trail now eased and without much problem we were at the top point of the trail where the height of the place was mentioned. To our relief it was declared that it was all the way down to the Nada thach from this point. The trail entered the dense jungle and enjoying the trail we reached the Nada Thach. The hut was located nearer to the side from were we reached the thach and once out of the jungle we were at the hut. A small water source located next to the hut was sufficient to meet our requirements.

Well what a place. The hut is located on the left of the thach just a bit out of the jungle. A little ahead is an old shepherd's hut besides a big stone and then the thach slopes down to the other side and again the jungle takes over. Quite a big area which is sloping down and has jungle behind and on the sides and the front is open to the views towards Tirath. On the right side the snow covered mountain slopes are visible if one is visiting during spring/ summer. There was open space in front of the hut and so dead wood was collected for camp fire. The kitchen was established in the small kitchen room besides the main room in the hut and we had our late packed lunch in the scenic Nada thach. Preparations for the dinner were started without wasting much time and as evening approached the place started to transform into a mysteries place with jungle all around and various types of birds calling out. In the safety of the hut and good fire we were actually enjoying the place with a cup of soup in hand. Dinner was a good and we ate to our satisfaction. Slowly the cold took over and we moved in to sleep.

The place was bright as we got up in the morning and shortly afterwards the sun rays were at the hut warming us. It was the earliest, I had come across sun light in a camp, because of the location of the hut. We had a long day ahead and so got ready as early as possible, but the heart wanted more of the place and did not want to leave it. Somehow we shouldered the rucksacks and moved away with the thought to staying at the hut again on our return. The trail immediately moved down across the meadow to the jungle on the other side. There was a good trail in the jungle for some time and from one opening we got the view of green Nada thach brightly shining in the sun light. Shortly thereafter we moved into more thick jungle where the trail vanished and but for Tekram we would not have found the right way easily. The trail kept moving down and down and as we went, Tekram kept marking the trees with the axe he was carrying, so that we do not face problems in finding the way on our way back. Finally, we reached the spot where the trail reached the edge of the slope and moved down quite steeply to the nala coming from our left. Moving slowly we reached the nala to be confronted with a bare foot foreigner. Well we were told that there was a she bear around the nala and so we should take extra precautions and move together. Here we had a lone foreigner who had spent time in the jungle all alone and was walking bare foot enjoying the trail. So ignorance is also bliss. It came out that he had intended to go to Sainj valley from Tirthan valley, but instead of climbing up the Shilt hut route, he had followed this trail and had reached Majhoni from where the dirty black snow started. As he had run out of food he had turned back. Giving him some chocolates and telling him to return back the way he had come as the chowkidar was waiting for him at the parks entrance since he had not paid the park fee, we crossed the nala and climbed across the ridge on the other side and reached another nala where the log bridge was lying broken. Again we entered the jungle and were once again with the Tirthan flowing on our right. As we had the awareness of the bear movement in the area we moved slowly with caution. At few places the bear shit on the trail made us walk with more caution. We crossed the huge landslide without any problem, and reached the Shankha thach where a small cave is located beside the trail and can be used for staying. We had decided to camp at Majhoni and so stopped at this place only for tea. After half an hour break for tea and enjoying the good views we were once again on the trail. Slowly we moved out of the jungle and reached an open place where the remains of an old hut can still be seen. A nala coming from our left was crossed and we reached the Majhoni thach where a number of caves are located. We took shelter in the cave nearest to the river from where the snow started. Yes it was the black dirty snow upto which the foreigner had come, before turning back. Half the cave was partitioned by a wooden plank and used for kitchen and the other half for sleeping. The remaining time was passed by drinking tea, soup and eating food and making the cave more wind proof. The night passed off peacefully.

Tirthan Valley Trek Second Part

Tirthan Valley Trek Photos Part I

Tirthan Valley Trek Photos Part II

Tirthan Valley Trek Photos Part III

Tirthan Valley Flower Photos

Tirthan Valley Trek Plan

KEEP THE MOUNTAINS CLEAN










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Published on: 2008-08-17 (3141 reads)

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