For countless, weary city folks, the Chandigarh-Manali NH21 serves as the perfect escape route from the humdrum of daily existence into the rejuvenating lap of nature. Sadly, the crowds follow suit! What if we told you that there is a hidden treasure – with pristine oak and pine forests, hanging bridges, apple orchids, and crystal clear waterfalls – not too far from the maddening crowds?
Tirthan valley, located 50 km south of Kullu at an altitude of 3500 feet, is barely a 35-km drive from Aut on NH21. The scenic locale derives its name from the river Tirthan, a tributary of Beas river in Himachal. Best known as a ‘buffer zone’ of The Great Himalayan National Park (GHNP), a UNESCO site, the valley resembles a picture-perfect painting that is sure to appeal to nature lovers, trekkers, bird watchers, adventure enthusiasts, and just about anyone who wishes to disconnect from the mundane.
If you ever wanted to try your hand at fishing with rod and line, Tirthan Valley – known for its brown and rainbow trouts – is the place. The best season is March to October. But for those who fancy snow, winters here can be fascinating, too.
A two-three day stay at Tirthan Valley Homestay or Tirthan Valley Himalayan Trout House is sure to be a memorable one. Perfect for a short break from Delhi (little over 500 km), Tirthan valley is surrounded by little-known, picturesque hamlets and homestays. Get ready for some village hopping.
Located en route to Manali and Shimla (eight km from Banjar town towards Jalori Pass), Jibhi is a stunning village with modest wooden houses, an impressive fort, and cosy riverside cottages. For a rendezvous with nature, we recommend a stay at the Tirthan Jibhi camp. Fun fact: Lower Jibhi is called Jaipur.
Head to Chaini village, a short trek from Jibhi, to experience a slice of Chinese art and archeology. It’s worth taking a little detour at Sharingi Bagi temple. At 3120 m, Jalori is hardly the highest pass in Himachal, but the place has a charm of its own, making it to the list of best places to visit in Himachal. A scenic walk further down can take you to Sarehul Lake, where time stands still.
Situated on the banks of Tirthan river, Gushaini offers an endless treat to one’s eyes and ears. The lush greenery and chirping of birds, along with its strategic location near the entrance of the GHNP, make this tranquil hamlet a preferred stay option for travellers.
Offering the perfect base for a Himalayan trek, Gushaini not only lets you explore the rich flora and fauna inside the famed national park, but also the splendour of exquisitely carved temples and deodar forests in the region. Fancy cycling in the woods?
For a spectacular view of Tirthan valley, trek to Sojha (also spelled as Shoja) in the Seraj region, about five km short of Jalori Pass. You don’t have to be an avid trekker or bird watcher to love in fall with this speck of green. It’s the ideal place to do nothing and just soak in the natural grandeur.
Want to feel on top of the world? Trek up to the Raghupur Fort and feel the magic. On the way back, don’t forget to stop by at the waterfall point. It’ll make you forget all your worldly worries!
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