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Sunday, March 29, 2020

Kheerganga: A trek to remember

The first time I heard about Kheerganga was almost three years back when I first went to Kasol with a gang of girls.

Written by Suman Doogar | New Delhi | Updated: April 21, 2015 3:03:22 pm
kheerganga-main A TREK TO REMEMBER: Kheerganga (Source: Suman Doogar)

The first time I heard about Kheerganga was almost three years back when I first went to Kasol with a gang of girls. People said it’s quite a beautiful trek but not something which can be done easily. Since then I have been curious and was looking for company to go to Kheerganga.

It was only last year that I managed to find like-minded people to go on that trek.

Day I
We all met at Shivaji Stadium as it was the meeting point from where we boarded our Tempo Traveler bus. After the initial introductions, we began to enjoy the music and the blue lights inside the bus that set the perfect mood for all of us. We took a pit stop at Murthal for dinner and after a yummy dose of aalo peeyaz ke parathe and dahi with mixed pickle, we headed for the road again. Hardly anyone slept in the bus including myself and the reason for this was the constant chatter of my fellow traveler.

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Day II
Our driver was a little laidback and drove at a leisurely pace. At 5.30 am, we had just crossed Chandigarh. The morning started with a stopover at a local dhaba where we savoured tea and bread toasts; after the sleepless night it seemed a welcome break. It was a day of many breaks because we almost stopped at least 3 times on our way to Barsaini. First at Bilaspur, then after Aut for some bread omelet, and finally at Kasol where we all got fresh and shopped for some necessary things for our night camp at Kheerganga. By the time we reached Barsaini it was 5 pm.

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The roads from Manikaran to Barsaini are bumpy and it took us almost 1 ½ hours to reach there. Some of us were initially reluctant in continuing with the initial plan of trekking to Kheerganga as it was going to be dark and trekking at night was something that almost scared all of us. But let me admit, we had a really enthusiastic group with us. We all decided to take the risk with two solar lamps and three flash lights we had in our backpacks. We took blessings from the nearby temple and started with the trek at 5.30 pm. We had good trek guides with us with 8 years of experience in leading expeditions on various mountain tops, these two guys were our role models. They knew exactly who needed motivation, who needed a hand while going up hill and also they were everywhere trying to push all the lazy bones. Our target was to reach Kheerganga in about 4.30 hours. The first batch reached exactly at 10.30 pm and the last batch managed to reach the mountain top at 11:05 pm. So I would say we were bang on target. On our way to the top, we could only hear the mighty river and the frequent buzzing of insects. Personally it scared the hell out of me, after Rudranaag I was ready to give up, my right foot was paining because of an earlier ligament injury I had a year back. All thanks to our trek leaders who literally dragged me and motivated me throughout the way. Finally we all reached our lodge called Lonely Planet Guest House and stretched our legs but no one was in a mood to sleep, it was like we were ‘happy high’ from our recent achievement of trekking at night to Kheerganga. Guitar, music, playing cards and some good time set the tone right for the night.

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Day III 

I woke up to a view which was so beautiful that it sent me in a trance. Huge mountains surrounded our lodge, the chilly morning breeze was welcoming, there was no trace of sun and one could see lush green landscape all around. After ordering our breakfast, we all went for a bath to the nearby hot water spring. The hot water spring has separate bathing areas for males and females. A hot water bath was something that we all were craving for after a five hour trek last night. It was so relaxing and had a calming effect on the body as well as on the soul. Some of us went to the nearby temple for customary blessings from the local deity there. We started our trek back to Barsaini after breakfast at 11:30 am. A word of advise the food available in Kheerganga is very average, try to avoid parathas here and the Maggi is so oily that one could reuse it in making another dish. It took us 3.30 hours to reach back to Barsaini as we took a stopover at Rudranaag where we clicked our first group photo and interacted with Sadhus who kept on asking us for money. We were ready to come back to Delhi as soon as possible, as our hectic lives were ringing our alarm clocks for work the next day, but who could be mightier than the nature. The moment we reached Barsaini and started off to Kasol, just a 3kms away, we were stopped by a landslide. We got delayed by almost two hours but couldn’t do much. So we relished the egg omelette and bread at a nearby cafe.

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The wait seemed alright after that. After the road block was removed, we started again towards Delhi. Most of us slept throughout our way with a melodious playlist playing at the background.

Day IV
We reached Delhi around 10:30 am, I had to miss work that day but had no regrets. I was still basking in the glory of my Kheerganga trek. By the time we all departed and said our goodbyes, life took a different turn. I made some really good friends, it was a truly amazing experience.

Things to keep in mind while trekking to Kheerganga:
* Respect Nature
* Do not take a short cut in the mountains
* Do not pluck apples on your way to Kheerganga
* Watch your steps at the Hot water spring as its very slippery
* Carry a pair of slippers, water bottle, good pair of trekking shoes, sun block, sun glasses, torch and basic medicines

Distance:
Delhi to Kasol: 520 Kms
Kasol to barsaini: 40 Kms
Barsaini to Kheerganga: 12 Kms trek

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