Tirthan Valley: When I Welcomed the New Year in the Hidden Paradise of Himachal Pradesh!
For numerous city folks, the Chandigarh-Manali NH-21 performs as the perfect escape from the daily mundane into the revitalizing laps of nature. Sadly this common knowledge leads the crowds to flock the trail. What if you are told that there is a hidden gem- with pristine and flawless oak and pine trees, hanging bridges, apple orchids, and glaring waterfalls- not far away from the irksome crowds?
Tirthan valley, located 50 km south of Kullu, Himachal Pradesh, at an altitude of 3500 feet, is barely a 35-km drive from Aut tunnel. It takes around 13 hours to reach Tirthan valley from Delhi. The scenic locale derives its name from the river Tirthan, a tributary of Beas River in Himachal. Best known as a ‘gateway’ of The Great Himalayan National Park (GHNP), a UNESCO world heritage site, the Tirthan valley is sure to appeal the nature lovers, trekkers, bird watchers, adventure enthusiasts, and just about anyone who wishes to disconnect from the monotone.
Day 0: Heading to Tirthan Valley From Delhi
I went to Tirthan Valley on the New Year’s Eve with WanderOn and that was the best possible way to celebrate the occasion. Our journey started from the Vidhansabha Metro Station which was the pickup point. This was the first time I was traveling alone and when I saw that most of the people were traveling in a group of 4-5, I was thrown in a state of paranoia. But as soon as the bus headed towards our destiny, the paranoia started fading away, all thanks to the sublime WanderOn captains accompanying us.
They briefed us about the itinerary of Tirthan Valley, the places we were going to visit and introduced us to one another. This proved out to be an ice-breaking session & kept us indulged for the next 2 hours until we halted for dinner at 70th Milestone Restaurant. The food and vibes of the place were just awesome. After the 45-minutes halt, we resumed our journey.
Now that I was out of paranoia, my tummy filled with delicious food and lying on the comfy seat, I thought nothing could be better than sleeping now but proving me wrong was what followed. The lights were switched off for a few seconds and a different set of lights, UV lights were switched on which completely changed the vibes inside the bus and not giving me and my fellow travellers much time of anticipation, the WanderOn Captains occupied the walking space and initiated a singing session which everyone participated in.
Day 1: The First Glimpse of Tirthan River
After some time of soulful music everyone slept and when we woke up, we were in a world totally different from the one we were in before we drifted off last night. Much awaited mountains were all around us. We had a 30-minute halt for breakfast in Mandi and soon after that, we reached Aut tunnel from whereon the remaining distance was to be covered in local cabs.
During this two-hour drive from the Aut tunnel to the Jibhi village, we glanced upon the Tirthan River for the first time. Encircling us from all ends once we entered its trail, Tirthan’s glassy waters tore through colossal rocks. She’s fierce and gushes through all ends of the valley, almost whispering stories that she brings down from the glaciers.
After this long, tiresome yet beautiful journey, we finally reached our accommodation, Nature’s Lap Resort. It was an alluring resort right in the center of nature’s explosion. Nature’s Lap is the best place to stay in Jibhi, Tirthan Valley. While we were lost in the dazzle of that place, the WanderOn Captains had already made the arrangements and we were all given the keys for our rooms and welcome snacks were served. We were given 2 hours for freshening up and resting.
After resting for a bit, we headed for Jibhi Waterfall. A short walk of 10 minutes through the woods filled with bird chirps, we were right below the waterfall. It was like a treasure hidden deep below the greens. We spent some time there clicking photos and doing some group activities and headed back to our resort. The weather was extremely cold, the temperature had fallen to the freezing point and the high paced wind made sure that everyone shivers as we followed the trail back.
We reached the resort and within the next five minutes some delicious, piping hot food reached our tables in the cafe. The food gave us some relief but everyone was still feeling cold but no one wanted to head back to their rooms.
The need for the hour was a bonfire, and the setup was already done and as everyone got over with the dinner, the fire was lit. Everyone gathered around the fire for the relief, but the WanderOn captains were still busy in their chores. A chilling night with the comforting fire amidst the beautiful Tirthan valley and below the sky cheered by the stars needed just one missing element for it to be the perfect night- some soulful music. And that was what the chores were about!
The WanderOn Captains then sang and played their instruments giving our ears what was needed for the next 2 hours and everyone seemed lost in the vibes that this all arrangement had created. After the music session and a bit of prattling, we decided to call it a day.
Day 2: Trek to Serolsar Lake
Our next day schedule was the trek to Serolsar Lake so everyone woke up on time and got ready. After having the breakfast we got into the cabs and headed towards Jalori Pass from where the trek was supposed to start. The 40-minute ride showed more of the astounding Tirthan valley. At Jalori Pass, there was a temple and a few dhabas, where we had some tea and after that, the WanderOn Captains briefed us about the trek. They handed us all a cloth bag. Then they announced that no one would litter the place, all the waste was to be put inside the bags and was to be brought back to be disposed at a proper place. This was an initiative to keep the trek clean and beautiful which they follow on all the treks. Great initiative WanderOn! the world.
We set off for the 6 Km long trek which is considered to be one of the easy treks in Himachal. In the beginning, the path is straight, the slope goes down, but what goes down must come up and so the last part of the trek is upwards sloped.
An almost complete stretch of the trek is covered in snow and at some places the path is slippery. But the view throughout the trek is just insane. The trek offers a view of 2 valleys, Sutlej and Tirthan and most part of the trek is covered by tall, majestic trees which feel to be your companion throughout. There were a few dhabas in the way and we stopped on one of those to have snacks.
After about 2 hours of walking, the WanderOn Captain shouted that the lake is just 5 minutes away, and soon the half-frozen Serolsar lake was visible and seemed to expand as we walked towards it.
The Serolsar lake was half frozen and had a tint of green, but it seemed to change its shade, every time the clouds changed shape. There was a small temple dedicated to Buddhi Nagin Devi and the whole place was covered in thick snow. Soon everyone got busy in playing in the snowfield, but I and some other companions opted to enjoy the peace and beauty of the lake. The surrounding seemed to extract a bit of me and I was kind of lost after some time, and you will know why when you visit this alluring place.
After some leisure time, it was time to head back because our Captains told that it would get extremely cold as soon as the sun sets. On our way back we saw the beautiful sunset, the sky was filled with infinite colors at that moment. But after the sunset, the temperature was unbearable. Soon we got back to Jalori Pass and set off for our resort in the cabs.
Dinner was served as soon as we reached our resort and then we had some time to rest as it had to a long night of 31st December. At around 10 p.m. everyone had gathered around the bonfire, and like the previous night, the WanderOn Captains changed the entire ambience into a cosy one with their music.
Soon it was time to enter the New Year and to celebrate, the captains had arranged a music system. As soon as music played on the system, everyone went crazy and started dancing around the bonfire. As the clock turned 12, the valley went insane, everyone was dancing and the sky was filled with fireworks. This was the best New Years’ Eve and to increase the pleasure the WanderOn Captains had brought a cake for us. The cake was a simple one but getting a cake at that place was nothing sort of magic and at that point, it seemed to be the best cake in the world.
Day 3: Exploring The Local Markets & Bidding Goodbye To Tirthan Valley
The next day we had to set back for Delhi, but before that, we went to the Banjar market for some shopping. After spending about 2 hours in the market, we started our journey, we had cabs till Aut tunnel, where our bus waited for us. On the way back we only stopped once for the dinner in Sundernagar except for a few washroom breaks. Everyone was asleep most of the time. We reached Delhi early morning, giving everyone enough time to reach their offices/colleges.
I went on the trip, all alone and without any expectations but I came back with a lot of friends and memories. I would recommend everyone to visit Tirthan Valley and would also recommend traveling with WanderOn.
Why Tirthan Valley?
Tirthan Valley is truly one of the hidden gems of Himachal. It is very different from other places that Himachal has to offer, it is quiet, pious and beautiful all the way and also the locals at this place are very friendly and welcoming. Also, if you wish to explore other tourist destinations of Himachal Pradesh, Tirthan valley serves as a spot with good connectivity. For instance, the distance from Tirthan Valley to Manali is just 98 km and one can easily reach there within 3 hours.
Why prefer WanderOn for your next trip to Tirthan Valley?
Their management is at another level, right from the time you get in the bus till the time you reach back to Delhi. They never seem to rest and are always there for you. Their captains are very dedicated and always ensure you are entertained.
Depending on the availability, they also send professional photographers who keep on clicking your photos so you can enjoy the beauty of the place without wasting your time in clicking the photos. Their work is at another level. Finally, they cherry-pick like-minded people, which makes the group traveling marvelous. In fact, if you have your own group to travel with, they can also prepare custom packages to Tirthan Valley for you.
So this was all from my first trip with WanderOn and from then on I’ve always shared my travel experience with many people I’ve met. I can’t wait to add more such stories to my travel book and I guess that would be happening really soon!!!