There are certain experiences in life which creates a lasting memory. My experience in one of my vacation 5 years back still makes me feel nostalgic as if I have been there a couple of days back.
In May 2012, we had a family function to attend in Bikaner(https://www.ghumakkar.com/part-1-delhi-to-bikaner-2-days-a-memorable-trip/), Rajasthan so decided to club our summer vacation with this visit. Bikaner is famous for its culture, history and food and being my native place I had fond memories of my earlier visits. It was not a bad deal.
Zeroed on visiting Rohtang Pass so Manali became an obvious choice but didn’t want to do the “Shimla-Kullu-Manali” route as I had already been there. There has to be something off beat but “What and where…”
The destination –
“TIRTHAN VALLEY”…at Himachal Pradesh was the destination……!! It took me long to discover this untouched and mystic valley in the Kullu district, where I could simply soak myself in its beauty, my husband could try his hands on photography and we can have some adventurous fun. Positive travel reviews further increased my excitement to visit this place.
Lots of google search and phone calls were made for the availability of rooms at various guesthouses. Luckily, we managed to get one room at Tirthan Valley Riverside Resort for 3 nights. I had to skip last day of my family function to accommodate this availability. Thereafter, we booked our tickets from Bikaner to Chandigarh. It was already March and being peak season our AC tickets were on wait list for Chandigarh. To be safe, I booked the confirmed sleeper class tickets also. Travellers – Myself, my husband and my kids aged 9 and 5.
The train journey (Bikaner to Chandigarh)-
Alas ! our tickets were still on wait list till the last minute. It was scorching hot 45 degrees at Rajasthan and our departure was at 4.30 in the afternoon. Left with no choice our journey to mountains began with a despair. The experience was similar to a Mumbai local train, in spite of having a reserved compartment. We met the local travelers, the Jats of Rajasthan and Punjabi Haryanvi of Punjab. Their interesting conversation brought a smile on our face whereas the heated arguments brought shiver down our nerves. Next day morning we reached Chandigarh at around 6.30 and finally breathed a sigh of relief.
Day 1 – Chandigarh to Tirthan –
We had hired a car for our onward journey. After freshening up and breakfast we were ready to leave by 9 but my husband had ordered a new DSLR whose pickup was arranged from Chandigarh store (last minute call) so finally we could leave at 11, which was quite late, considered it was an eight-hour journey. We took the Bilaspur-Mandi-Kullu route. People travelling from Delhi can take the route via Shimla. Faced huge traffic before Bilaspur due to “to and fro” of trucks at cement factories which further delayed us. One needs to factor in this traffic. Post Mandi, the weather was pleasant and journey very scenic with river following the road and different shades of vegetation on the way.
On the Kullu route, before reaching Aut, one has to take a right towards Banjar. From Banjar 15 minutes uphill is the resort. It was quite dark by the time we reached so the resort staff came with torches and lanterns to guide us. We parked our car near the river bank but the resort was on the other side and there was no sign of roads which was quite surprising. Interestingly the manned trolleys, which can accommodate two people at a time, took us to the other side of the river.
In spite of being tired after a long journey, a very warm and hospitable welcome by the owner, Bhupinder Singhji, and caretaker cum cook Bhuvan infused energy in us.
The pleasant surprise
Next morning what we saw is beyond words to describe. Tirthan Valley Riverside resort is situated on the bank of gushing and chilling river Tirthan, encircling the resort from three sides. One side has hill which has a walking pathway to the nearest village. The resort is a ground plus one floor building with 6 rooms, one room for the owner. It has beautiful natural landscaping with some beautiful flowers all over. The rooms either have a porch or a balcony overlooking the river. The ground floor rooms have an easy access to the banks and the garden. We opted for it for the convenience of our kids.
The chirping sound of birds and soothing sound of water flowing over the rocks were the wake up alarm for us. The weather was very pleasant throughout our stay with light woolen required early morning or late evening.
Bhuvan used to cook sumptuous homely food for us be it breakfast, lunch or dinner. Breakfast comprised of tasty parathas, pickle and curd apart from other savories. The cabbage paratha was so tasty that it has become a part of my breakfast back home. Lunch and dinner used to be delicious Indian food with desserts in the evening. We had a luxury for choice of venues for the meal, be it on the river bank, near the bonfire or on the porch. Riverbank was my favorite as I could spend hours sitting there simply looking at the river.
Day 2 – Trek to Serlosar Lake
Our stay would have been incomplete without the trek to lake Serlosar. On day 2, we joined the other guests for this trek. We started at around 8 am post breakfast for the trek which starts from Jalori Pass. It took us an hour and half to reach Jalori pass, the drive to Jalori Pass is winding and steep, one has to drive on first gear. Jalori Pass is the entry point to Tirthan and Kullu valley, at 10,500 feet high, from the Shimla side. There is a small temple at Jalori Pass, it’s a belief to worship the goddess before embarking ahead.
There are few dhabas at Jalori Pass beyond that no eatables and drinks are available. Bhuvan had packed lunch for us and a local guide cum porter was arranged for our group to carry food. It’s a 4-5 km one-way narrow trail through woods with beautiful meadows with grazing horses and sheep and hills on the way. At few places where it was rocky the climb was difficult else it was moderate. Down the hills there were few camp sites on the way, probably for overnight trekkers. It took us around 2 hours to reach Serlosar lake with few breaks in between. We hired a godi wala (porter) for my 5-year-old daughter.
Finally, when we reached, what was lying in front of us was absolutely serene. A blue and green circular lake (reflection of blue sky and green meadows and pine trees) circled with mountains on all four sides. There is a small temple of “budhi nagin” (old snake goddess) next to the lake which is a holy spot for the locals. This lake is supposed to be dedicated to this goddess.
On the way around 500 meters before the lake we had seen some old ruined huts, inhabitant now, possibly the caretakers of the temple stayed there. After relaxing for some time and enjoying the surroundings of the lake with few photography, it was time for lunch. We were extremely hungry. Had food near the lake, it felt as if we are having a lakeside picnic. To keep the place clean it becomes our moral duty to not leave any litter behind and we made sure we did it. After spending some good time, it was time to return.
The return trek was comparatively easy and in one and a half hour we were at back at Jalori Pass. We thought we will reach resort before it gets dark but due to some technical problem in the car, it took us two and half hours to reach back. After a tiring but joyful day, we had a relaxed evening enjoying the bonfire, had dinner and retired early for the day.
Day 3 – A date with self
It was a relaxing day for us. We spent the day lazing around, resting on hammock, playing different outdoor and indoor games. It was a blissful experience to observe the nature from so close and was a delightful experience for my husband to capture our moments. We did some adventure activities like rock climbing and river crossing (it’s better than Manali). Kids enjoyed going to and fro in the trolley whenever they felt like. It was a very amazing and adventurous experience for them. We adults also enjoyed it, not just the ride but also pulling the trolley.
The most amazing experience was the dip in the spine chilling river Tirthan, which froze our butts. We had a competition amongst ourselves of sitting in the cold water with heads down and my 9-year-old son was the winner.
Apart from these activities, people come here for angling and fishing as Tirthan river is very famous for trout fishes. Close by a small trek takes to the waterfall point in the midst of forest to enjoy and bathe in the natural fall. Great Himalayan National Park in whose periphery Tirthan valley is located is famous for trekking and camping. http://www.greathimalayannationalpark.org/. Tirthan valley has a lot to offer.
After our pleasant stay for 3 nights, next day morning it was time to abide goodbye to a beautiful place with equally hospitable people which has embellished a lasting memory on me. I wish I could have stayed here longer. My next visit is confirmed but this time with my bunch of friends.
The Contacts –
The resort can be booked by contacting Aniruddh Singh at 9810008808 or 9810093925. For further details visit the website tirthanvalley.co.in. The charges were Rs.1800 per day per couple inclusive of all meals for vegetarians and 2100 for non-vegetarians. Our first preference was the famous “Raju Bharti Guest house” which is 15 minutes ahead of Riverside resort at village Gushiani, which can be booked by contacting Karan Bharti at 9625211848.
Would love to read your comments and feedbacks. Do write if you need any assistance in visiting this place in the comment box. Share your experience if you have visited it.