“Dreams do come true if you dare to pursue them!”.
The second thought which came after visiting any hill station is “what if I grew up here?”. The next thought would be how is living here every day. The first thought of course is “What a beauty”.
I was always curious to know the livelihood condition of families staying in unorthodox locations. Also, I heard the fancy word “Solo Trip” and wanted to take a solo trekking experience, meeting random people on the way. It was April of 2019 when I got the opportunity to pursue my dream when an acquaintance of mine suggested to me of a place called “Kheerganga”. Kheerganga is located deep inside the Parvati valley, an abode of Lord Shiva, in the Kullu valley of Himachal Pradesh.
It took me a couple of days to plan the itinerary, book tickets, pack bags, and arrange the financials. The next Saturday embarked on my journey to Kasol when I boarded the Volvo bus from the Majnu Ka Tila bus stand in New Delhi. Traveling solo for the first time boosted my excitement to such levels that I barely slept that night.
The overnight journey was via Chandigarh & Murthal. The carved mountains of Himalayas was merely a beginning of the series of mesmerizing experience that was waiting for me. Early morning, I reached Bhuntoor, where people parted their ways for Manali and Kasol. I took a local bus from Bhuntoor to Kasol, a two-hour journey amidst the lush green hills covered with alpine and coniferous trees. Kasol, also known as mini Isreal due to the Israeli influence situated in parallel to the Parvati river, will amaze you with its diverse markets, mouth-watering cuisine, Hebrew signboards, and congenial people, all in tandem with the awe-inspiring landscapes. After staying for a few hours in Kasol, trying the cuisine at Moondance Café, I decided to march onto my next destination, Chalaal. Chalaal is a 4-km trek alongside the Parvati river. From hilly terrains, pleasing greenery to affectionate home-stay services, Chalaal is a must-visit for people who prefer calmness and serenity.
The next morning, I decided to visit Tosh, a gorgeous village 18-km away from Kasol at around 8000 ft. By that time, I made enough foreign friends and we decided to take a local cab to Tosh, a 2-hour journey. The frustration of a 2-hour long hectic & tiring journey through bumpy, rutted roads turns to excitement, the moment I saw the majestic Himalayas gazing into my eyes. I checked in to a hotel after visiting Tosh. I was hopping through the cafes trying hard to maintain a balance between the scenery and the financials. I took some snacks and came downstairs from my hotel room when a piece of familiar music hit my ears. I spent all night partying with the friends I made during the journey. That was probably one of the best nights of my life.
The next morning, I packed my bags, parted ways with the foreigners, and commenced the journey to my final destination, Kheerganga, an 11-km trek from Barshaini. There are 3 ways to reach Kheerganga, via Nathan village, Kalga village, and Tosh. The one from Tosh was probably the toughest, but I had no choice as the earlier two were shut down due to recent landslides. The 11-km trek will offer you a once-in-a-lifetime experience along with various life lessons. The journey will be filled with treacherous pathways, limited shops, fewer people, Coldplay, 21 Pilots & Nucleya music, and a random dog who’ll accompany you throughout the journey. You will find fewer shops as you’ll keep nearing the destination. The trip taught me not to give up in life, even in the toughest of situations. After trekking for around 7 hours, hustling throughout the journey, keeping me motivated, I reached Kheerganga at around 6 in the evening, the place I always wanted to visit. I selected a camp, changed my clothes, and found a corner near the in-house Tandoor (an arrangement to keep the ambience warmer, as the temperature outside was -4 degree Celsius). I dozed off after having my dinner, unaware of the reward Kheerganga had preserved for my efforts. The next morning as I stepped out of the camp, I saw a rainbow floating in front of the panoramic skies, just above the vast greenery. That very moment, I realized that the journey might seem challenging, but once you overcome them, the destination is worth the effort. I took a bath in the warm water spring situated beside the camping location.
After witnessing the beautiful sunrise and freshening up, I decided to visit the historic Shiva temple to seek blessings before beginning my return journey. Honestly speaking, the return journey was much smoother with familiar faces and soothing music accompanying us throughout the journey. I returned to Barshaini, took a cab to reach Kasol, stayed there for the night, and the next morning, caught my returning bus to New Delhi.
I can proudly say that the experience made me a better person in life. I made friends with whom I am still in contact, I learned life lessons & understood that great things need efforts. On top of it, I got stories to share for life and a better profile picture for Facebook all of it within a budget of 6K.