I had just started with photography and had taken in the intern/ assistant. It was an interesting realisation that it had almost been 10 long years since I myself did my first internship from NIFT. So long story short, after wrapping up a couple of shoots packed months, we decided to trek to Kheerganga, an approx, 10 kms torturous hike from Kasol. I say so because after delivering my first baby, i didn’t bother to move around a lot, let alone build the stemina. So if you are not a regular hiker, be prepared for the worst. The trek is long and steep. I realized it the moment I, with loaded backpack, stepped on the first couple of steps at the start. When you start the trek, there is a small but surely testing series of uneven steps that clearly determine the course of the trek. Mine was going to be tough. I often say that I am lucky or comfort travels with me. So, just after my initial steps test, I failed miserable and our guide, whom by the end of the trip we fondly address as Khan Saab offered to carry my backpack for a fee. Guilty as charged, I did negotiate the asked amount, but ended up paying more.
Kheer Ganga lies at the extreme end of Parvati valley, at 3050 meters above the sea level and is the last inhibited village while trekking to pin valley via Pin-Parvati pass. Trek to Kheerganga is utmost gorgeous, with lush green pines, flora and forest foliage. once in a while, when you take your site off the unpredictable path you’d witness some of the most gorgeous panoramic skies. Vast greenery is a delight to the trekker’s eyes and especially the tired legs.
In the backpack, keep mostly liquid as you are bound to feel thirsty. Don’t buy water bottles, carry your own and refill it at the various local cafe and chai shops along the way. I saw a few people throwing chips/ snacks packets along the way. I was furious, but before I decided to say something, Khan saab or someone from the group corrected the wrong does. Do not pollute, it’s raw, untouched and as pure as it can possibly be given the human existence.
There are many dhabas along the way. I found them perfect to grab a hot cup of tea and to relax my untrained tired legs. Since I wasn’t travelling solo, I was a bit relaxed. These spots are great to socialise and probably join in a small group for remaining trek. Slowly, as the trek progresses, people automatically form their groups, faster ones in one and slower ones, walking along, motivating and empathizing with other slow bees. I made a few friends, with whom I hung around with for rest of the trip (and they were all faster than me ;)) Mayank, Ruchi, Ravi, T (addressed me as mother), Khaan Saab and fabulous Ipsita(the intern) who made me go thorough it. If it weren’t for these people, especially Khaan Saab, I am not sure I would have even completed it.
Kheerganga is a holy place with a hot water spring, a small temple of Lord Shiva and a bathing tank. there are separate tanks for men and women. The pool for women is a covered enclosure. because of all the natural gasses, it gets tough to stay long in the hot spring.But a dip in it is a must even if you are not the religious kinds. its just refreshing for the tired aching body.
Make sure to carry 2 fleeces, a pair of warm trek pants, a pair of undergarments, an easy drying towel and something to take bath in (note: its a public pool at a holy place).
T started the conversation with Ipsita and I about wanting to eat Kheer in Kheer Ganga. We thought of it as a brilliant idea, that needed to be fleshed out over some vodka and whiskey and some music ;). Yes, its a holy place, yes alcohol is not allowed, but when you body is killing you, all is justified in the name of survival. Ravi and Mayank joined in and later that evening, we were the fortunate ones to devour special kheer made only for us at Kheer ganga.
Nights get cold. If you are like me, who feel a tad bit more cold than others, make sure to ask for an extra blanket and/or take the tent near the meeting point. Mine was at the end of the valley. Night was pitch dark and cold, so I couldn’t step out to ask for help. Best option is to be prepared with your own supplies.
Sunrise from behind those gigantic mountain peaks, is breathtaking. Sun’s brilliant, piercing rays fills the valley with gleaming light and sets the mood for photography, maal and hot piping food. When trekking in hills, chai is the potion that gives back some life and is usually free flowing at the breakfast time. So after hearty breakfast and chai, we head back to the gorgeous, green trail. I found the trek to be much more scenic and beautiful than the actual destination. So, I highly recommend to absorb in all the beauty as you can without slowing down much to reach Kheerganga.
Below is the small picture story of some of the gorgeousness that I managed to eternalise.
Mountain rocks covered with luscious moss. giving the feel as if its reclaiming life one stone at a time
Have you trekked to Kheerganga? How was your experience, share it with me as a comment or with other travel enthusiasts on GypsyFly FB Group