Tirthan Valley is easily one of the most breathtaking places in all of Himachal Pradesh.
Tirthan Valley is easily one of the most breathtaking places in all of Himachal Pradesh.Surrounded by the Great Himalayan National Park (GHNP), this untouched valley is located right next to the Tirthan river. Spring is the best time to go, with flowers all around.
THINGS TO SEE AND DO
For an escape from the city, but also an escape from the more-crowded Himachali getaways, it doesn’t get better than Tirthan. You will hardly meet anyone during your two to three days here, not counting the hospitable locals of course. People usually stay one night in the valley before going off on a trek in the GHNP, since Tirthan falls in the so-called buffer zone of the Park.
The Great Himalayan National Park
A place for trekkers, hikers and nature lovers alike, the Great Himalayan National Park provides one of the finest trekking opportunities in the country. Note that it takes a minimum of two days’ trekking from Tirthan Valley to even enter the park; an overnight two-day trek is therefore the minimum, and it is mandatory to hire a professional guide.
One incredible thing about the park is that not a single person is said to reside within it; even the villagers who live at the border are not allowed inside, presumably to retain the delicate ecological conditions of the park. Only some trails have been carved out and are maintained by Park management.
TIP Permits are needed to enter the park. To get permits, contact the Tirthan Wildlife Range Office at Sai Ropa (Cell: 09882607000), which is about 5 km from Gushaini, or from the Jiwa Nal Wildlife Range Office at Larji (Cell: 09816534991)
You need to carry your own tents, sleeping bags, stove and utensils. Guides and porters are essential. Biodiversity Tourism and Community Advancement, GHNP, Sai Ropa (Contact: Gopal Krishna, Cell: 09418282148, W bcta.org.in), a local NGO, can arrange guides and equipment
Entry Indians ₹ 50 per day; Foreigners ₹ 200 per day
Tirthan Valley is also a great starting point for one-day treks in its verdant surrounds, through small, quaint villages and to beautiful vistas.
The Dingcha and Tinder Hike starts from Gushaini, and goes up till the local village of Tinder. The trek to Dingcha is slightly steep and can take about two hours. But it is worth the effort, as Dingcha offers a fantastic panoramic view of the valley. On the way back, you can cross the village of Ropa, and stop by for lunch in Tinder.
The Nohanda-West Hike, also called the Himalayan Villages Hike, starts from the village of Pekhari, and the trail goes through several other villages, including Lakcha and Nahin, with spectacular views of the GHNP.
The hike to the Park gate goes along the Tirthan River, crossing a few villages and deep forests, and can last up to five hours, so it is best to head out early. At the park gate, there is a campsite where you can have lunch.
Serolsar Lake is feasible via Jalori Pass. Hence, for this one-day trek, you will first need to take a jeep to Jalori Pass, and then walk for two-three hours till you reach the mountain lake with its gorgeous crystal-clear waters.
Tirthan Valley also offers plenty of activities such as rafting, river crossing rappelling, rock climbing and trout fishing. These activities are organised by the Himalayan Ecotourism association, and they also provide the equipment.
WHERE TO STAY AND EAT
You can set up your tents at the camping sites close to the streams. Outside the GHNP are the Ropa Forest Complex with five rooms and Forest Rest Houses in Shangher and Shakti village, with two rooms each. Or, else stay at the Sai Ropa Forest Rest House (Tariff: ₹500-1,500). All these can be booked at the Park Office (Tel: 01902-265320).
For Sainj treks, there are PWD rest houses at Banjar and Larji. Or try the Sainj Forest Rest House (DFO Banjar Tel: 01903-221226; Tariff: ₹480) or Bandal Rest House (Tel: 01902-222486; Tariff: ₹480).
Mungla has two hotels: Trishla Homestay (Cell: 09418149155, 09418703820; Tariff: ₹1,000-2,000) and Resort. If you visit here during the peak season (public holidays, May-June), it is a good idea to book in advance.
Your other stay alternative is Raju’s Cottage (Cell: 09459227375, 09418149808; Tariff: ₹1,800 per person with meals), in Gushaini.
Anglers can stay at charming The Himalayan Trout House (Tel: 01903225112, Cell: 09418128383; Tariff: ₹4,000) at Nagini. They have eco-cabins, mud huts, and a variety of activities and indoor games.
When to go March-June and September-November Location The entry point to the Great Himalayan National Park, Tirthan Valley is located 50 km S of Kullu Air Nearest airport: Bhuntar Rail Nearest rail: Chandigarh, Kalka