Oct
11

Kheerganga Trek for the First-Timers – A Complete Guide

Never trekked before? Planning to trek with children? Kheerganga trek is one of the best Himalayan treks for beginners and children. Here’s our story and a complete guide to Kheerganga trek in Parvati Valley to plan yours judiciously 馃檪

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A beautiful Himalayan trek from Barshani to Kheerganga in Parvati Valley, Himachal Pradesh in India takes you to a stunning natural thermal pool and Shiva temple. Read our detailed guide to kasol kheerganga trek for beginners to plan this easy yet exquisite trek.
A beautiful Himalayan trek from Barshani to Kheerganga in Parvati Valley, Himachal Pradesh in India takes you to a stunning natural thermal pool and Shiva temple. Read our detailed guide to kasol kheerganga trek for beginners to plan this easy yet exquisite trek.

How I wish my parents had introduced me to trekking when I was young.

Anyhow, I didn’t want to repeat the mistake and thus, introduced my daughter to the trekking world as soon as she felt comfortable about the whole concept.

I believe trekking or hiking is a great way to develop confidence, patience, perseverance, and a sense of responsibility in children. It’s magical the way even one trekking experience changes and shapes the kids.

Introduce your children to this unparallel sport and watch as my words become your reality.

Read More – Why Should You Travel the World With Kids?

A Complete Guide to Kheerganga Trek for the Beginners

I enjoyed my first trek to Kheeganga with hubby and daughter so much so that thought of sharing my experience plus some tips to inspire people to trek with kids.

Read on to know how we managed to trek Kheerganga in one day with our 8-year-old daughter and how you can do it too.

Parvati Valley

Located in Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh, Parvati Valley starts above Bhunter where the Parvati River meets the River Beas and goes eastwards all the way up to Mantalai Lake (source of Parvati River.)

The valley is utterly beautiful that it moves your soul.

Kasol, Manikaran, Malana, Chalal, Tosh, Rasol, Katagala, Pulga, and, Kalga are some of the lovely villages in Parvati Valley.

Kasol – Mini-Israel of Himachal Pradesh

I had been reading about Kasol a lot and the place attracted me for its varied culture, cuisine and abundant natural beauty.

Kasol is famous among backpackers and people who love to stay high (Charas or Marijuana).

The place offers a fabulous blend of Israeli culture, quaint landscapes, and unspoiled nature.

Though Kasol is not a great destination for a family holiday, however, you can’t deny the gratification you get in doing something out of the ordinary.

There’s a beauty in the unusual!

How to Reach Kasol from Delhi

Kasol is best traveled by road because who wants to miss the exquisite views.

One can self-drive or hire a cab. Catching a private bus or Volvo from Majnu Ka Tila or Rama Krishna Ashram Metro Station in Delhi or HRTC Himsuta Volvo from ISBT Kashmiri Gate is also a good option, however, you need to get down at Bhuntar if you are coming by bus and catch another one to Kasol or Manikaran or Barshaini depending upon where you have booked your stay.

The Volvos depart in the late evening mostly.

Read More – If You Read Only One Post About Delhi, Read This One!

Delhi to Kasol – A Beautiful Drive

I planned the 4 days itinerary covering Kasol, Katagala, Manikaran, Malana, Chalal, Tosh and Barshiani (Watch out for my next blog post about these places).

Kheerganga trek was out of the question. I and hubby didn’t have any trekking experience and we were sure that it’s next to impossible with our little daughter who can’t even walk up to nearby market without complaining about her leg pain.

We drove to Kasol from Delhi via Chandigarh. It’s around 530 km and took us 14 hours via NH44.

beas river parvati valley

Almost 14-hour journey from Delhi to Kasol was incredible wherein we witnessed two prodigious rivers (Beas and Parvati) snuggled between the Himalayas.

Beas River accompanied us all through the journey from Mandi to Aut tunnel and once we crossed the Aut tunnel, Parvati River became our constant companion.

The highlight of our road journey was driving through the 3 km long Aut tunnel, which is one of the longest road tunnels in India.

Places to Stay in Kasol

Parvati Kuteer on the bank of Parvati River was our home for the next 4 days in Kasol.

A wooden cottage covered by Cedar trees and lovely garden, offering the views of the snow-covered Himalayas and overlooking the gushing Parvati river – Ah! Imagine what happens when the sound of the river becomes the alarm clock!

You won’t ever snooze!

We found Parvati Kuteer to be one of the lovely stay options in Kasol.

Book your stay at Parvati Kuteer here.

Parvati Kuteer is expensive? Kasol has a lot of the budget stay options as well. Check here.

Kheerganga Trek – A Trek to Remember

It was not planned. How can it be?

I mean with an 8-year-old child, nobody would want to trek 13-15 km one-sided and certainly not to a place like Kheerganga infamous (or famous) for its own reasons.

But it happened!

We trekked up to Kheerganga and trekked down to Barshaini on the same day with our little daughter.

Rest is history!

Kheerganga Trek in Parvati Valley – How We Planned the Unplanned

All the places in our itinerary were covered in 3 days and 4th day was left free intentionally because what better way to enjoy nature than just sitting by the river surrounded by the mountains and tall Deodar trees.

But destiny had its own plans that didn’t match with ours.

My daughter curiously questioned,” why can’t we take on Kheerganga trek?”

I explained the difficulty level to her and how it’s inappropriate for her age. She announced that she wants to experience it, maybe 2-3 km trek and then come back.

I was apprehensive and scared. We enquired about the trek with the natives and they felt that it’s pretty conceivable. It was, of course, their version based on their own stamina and experience.

Kasol to Barshaini

Barshaini, the starting point of Kheerganga trek is around 17 km from Kasol.

We had our own car and driver. One can either take a taxi or cab from Kasol to Barshaini or opt for a budget-friendly bus ride.

So, our plan was to trek up to Kalga village, relax, have tea and snacks and come down.

barshaini temple parvati valley kheerganga trek
We met in Tosh and became friends in Barshaini 馃檪

Places to Stay in Barshaini

Barshaini is quite a small village with no or few stay options.

You might be able to find a few homestays in Barshaini. Tosh is just 3 km uphill from Barshaini and can be chosen as a base for the night as it offers all kinds of accommodations ranging from homestay, guesthouses to hotels.

Kheerganga Trek Distance

The distance from Barshaini to Kheerganga is around 13-15 km depending upon the route you take.

Best Time to Take on Kheerganga Trek

The best time to visit Kheerganga is during the summer or autumn season. The best months include May, June, September, and October.

Kheerganga Trek Difficulty Level

As I said it’s a relatively easy trek and can be easily done with kids.

2960m above sea level, Kheerganga is the best trek for beginners.

Barshaini to Kheerganga – Route Options

There are two routes to reach Kheerganga from Barshaini:

1. Through Nakthan and Rudranag (13 km) – Difficult to climb, easier to come down and offers ravishing views (ideal for photography enthusiasts). It has fewer trees and vegetation; more of tiny hamlets on the way so a bit exhaustive during bright sunny days.

2. Through Kalga (15 km) – Easier to climb, difficult to descend. Thick vegetation and dense forests make it best suited for bright sunny days. This is a lesser-known route and people generally avoid it for there are chances of losing way due to dense forests. Ideal for first-timers and low on stamina trekkers like us 馃檪

Tosh to Kheerganga – Yes, That’s Also an Option!

Tosh is a beautiful hamlet which is known to be the last village in Parvati Valley.

A narrow road from Barshaini near the Parvati Hydel Project diverges to Tosh village. One can drive up to the village which is utterly bumpy or can opt to walk which takes around 45 minutes to reach the village of Tosh.

You are rewarded with some amazing views of the Parvati Valley once you reach Tosh. You can spend a day in Tosh relaxing while admiring the stunning views of glittering snow-capped peaks as the first and last rays of sun fall on them.

The mountains look vivacious in moonlight too. There are decent guesthouses and homestays in Tosh.

The route to Kheerganga from Tosh joins the same Rudranag route once you cross the village of Nakthan.

Places to Stay in Tosh

Tosh treats you with the best views of Parvati Valley. You are sure to get a room with a view here.

You look out of your window and view of the snow-clad mountain peaks enveloped by green pine trees fill your senses.

Though the stay options in Tosh are not many so better book in advance.

Check here the list of properties in Tosh for availability and prices.

Kalga Village – A Breath of Fresh Air

We obviously took the Kalga route.

Around 30 minutes trek lead us to Kalga and we were stunned by the beauty of this quaint little village emitting the serenity every one of us craves these days.

We sat at the local cafe and sipped on hot tea while our daughter enjoyed Maggi with breathtaking views. People of Kalga were welcoming and cheerful.

They encouraged us to trek to Kheerganga with our daughter as according to them it was not wise to leave such a beautiful place unexplored when you are so close to it.

kalga village in parvati valley kasol kheerganga trek
Ah! The rustic charm of the Himalayan hamlet.

Places to Stay in Kalga or Kalgha (Sosan)

If you are looking for a much quieter place than Kasol or Tosh to stay, you can find many beautiful stay options in Kalga.

Kalga is one of the most beautiful villages sprinkled across Parvati Valley. It’s actually a dope!

A sleepy hamlet where time stands still. The Himalayas, apple orchards, lush meadows, and vibrant flowers – do you need any other thing to be happy?

Holy Cow Caf茅 And Beds, Sacred Garden, Brahma Homestay, and, Red Apple Cottage Homestay are some of the places to stay in Kalga.

They are perfect for solo-travelers though they can be good for family travelers who love mountains more than comfort and luxury.

Airbnb has some of the lovely places to stay in Kalga.

With so many homestays coming up in Kalga, I doubt it will remain as clean or offbeat as it is now.

I guess then travelers will head to Pulga and Tulga for much-needed peace.

rock markings kheerganga trek
The markings during Kheerganga trek helped us to find the right way, all thanks to the fellow travelers!

With no arrangement for the journey ahead and little kid with us, it was eerie.

We only had a light backpack with a bottle of water and an extra pair of clothes for our daughter. Water, food, and accommodation weren’t a problem though because there were plenty of cafes on the way to Kheerganga and numerous places to stay at Kheerganga.

The problem was the journey. With so many questions unanswered, we resigned to our daughter’s will and continued our journey to Kheerganga from Kalga.

It seemed easy at the start with open grounds and lush green forests until we crossed a bridge made of wood logs.

The Kheerganga trek became more demanding after 5 km walk. We made it a point to ask for the right way at every cafe on the way so that we don’t lose our way.

There were fallen trees and rocks on the way and it became scary as we proceeded further.

And then came this warning! It scared the hell out of us! We were more cautious.

kasol kheerganga trek in parvati valley warning signboard

Rain Gods Added to Our Venture – (Add)venture

As if that wasn’t enough, it started raining heavily.

Tracks became muddy and increasingly difficult creating slippery walking conditions. We regretted and blamed ourselves for bringing our daughter here unprepared (no raincoats or ponchos).

There were no kids, no families on the way; Only boys’ gangs (typical backpackers and seasoned trekkers) and sadhus (saints).

I’m still getting goosebumps while I’m writing about it. Few boys on the way warned us not to go further as it’s not safe in this kind of weather and there are only hippies at the Kheerganga.

But it was too late to move back as we had already trekked more than half the distance.

We took shelter in a tent on the way and waited until the rain eased off. A British couple waited with us in the same tent and having a chit-chat with them relaxed us.

We started again while it was drizzling continuously. It took us 5 hours to complete the trek, however, locals and cafe owners whom we met on the way reached Kheerganga in less than 2 hours.

Imagine the stamina these Himalayan guys have. They trek up and down every other day without any exhaustion and fuss.

kasol kheerganga trek parvati valley bridges
And this is how we crossed narrow bridges made of wood logs during Kheerganga trek!

We drank water from the waterfalls on the way to Kheerganga and believe me, I have never tasted the water with such a sweet and delicate flavor, full of oxygen, naturally cold and digestible.

It felt heavenly. We have traveled in India and abroad; experienced so many things but for the first time in my life, I literally realized that journey is more important and beautiful than the destination.

It’s absolutely a beautiful trek where physical pain or exhaustion feels like a breeze.

Once we were at Kheerganga, we forgot the stress of the journey and soaked in the other-worldly views of the dream-like surroundings. Lush green meadows, clouds descending down to the valley, natural hot water spring surrounded by the snow-covered Himalayas.

Would you ask for more?

How one feels?

Serendipity. Euphoria. Virgin nature makes you high, yeah, high on happiness and Shiva temple at the top makes you high on spirituality.

Felt close to mother nature and to God at the same time. I was speechless as I entered the temple of Lord Shiva which holds a great religious significance.

Legends of Kheerganga

There are two different legends that explain the origin of Kheerganga – One says that Lord Shiva meditated here for thousands of years and another says that Kartikeya, son of Lord Shiva and Parvati meditated here and the natural spring emerged when Shiva struck the ground with His Trishul on Parvati’s request as she was worried that her son wouldn’t get anything to eat here.

This spring was kheer (Indian sweet dish made of milk and rice) in Satyuga (Golden Age) which was later turned into the water during Kalyuga (Iron Age) by Shiva on Parshuram’s insistence.

shiva temple at kheerganga parvati valley
Shiva Temple at Kheerganga

Whatever it is, Kheerganga is certainly a miracle, water as white as milk, flowing in all its glory and its streams gushing into Parvati valley.

Bath in the sulfur-rich hot water spring is so relaxing and healing.

hot thermal bath spring kasol kheerganga trek parvati valley
Boys taking bath in the natural hot water spring.

There are two sub-sections of the pool – one for the men and the other for the women.

It’s believed that drinking the water from the spring cures all kinds of gastric diseases and taking bath in it washes all your sins.

We, like everyone, filled our bottles with the holy water to bring it back home.

camping kasol kheerganga trek parvati valley
People relaxing in tents at Kheerganga during rain-pour.

Kheerganga Trek – How We Unplan the Planned

The original plan was to book a camp or room and stay overnight at Kheerganga which changed later on taking into account certain factors not suitable for kids.

There were no decent and clean places to stay and eat with kids and the weather was really bad. And remember, we weren’t prepared! We had to take a leap of faith.

It was 3:40 pm. Calculations indicated that if we walk continuously without taking longer breaks, we would reach Barshaini by 8 p.m. It takes comparatively lesser time to trek down.

Places to Stay in Kheerganga

The stay options aren’t many for families traveling with kids. There are private rooms, tented accommodations, common spaces like dormitories for a group of travelers and a Dharamshala or ashram at cheap prices but I didn’t find them good enough to stay with kids.

They are fine for backpackers though. There’s also an option to pitch your own tent by renting a space at Kheerganga after paying a minimal amount of fee.

Shared toilets and washrooms are available but not hygienic for obvious reasons.

Places to Eat in Kheerganga

Kheerganga has cafes and small restaurants with basic food options.

The food is over-priced because well you are sitting and eating at the height of 2960m. You know, how does the food get to the top!

Update on Kheerganga Trek*

According to the latest news update; the cafes, restaurants and accommodation facilities (commercial activities) including camping have been banned in Kheerganga.

You can still trek up to Kheerganga after getting a permit from the forest department.

The permission will be granted if you fulfill certain conditions – No camping allowed so you need to complete the trek the same day and No littering.

Please carry your garbage along. The step is really appreciated owing to the damage caused to the ecologically sensitive region. It’s high time we as travelers choose responsible and sustainable travel practices.

How We Trekked Down to Barshaini from Kheerganga

We started trekking down with our fingers crossed. We took the Rudranag route while coming down because it was told that the route is shorter and less steep than the Kalga one.

Trek starts with walking through the thick pine forests and then suddenly landscapes change into fields and villages once you cross an iron bridge over the raging stream.

rudranag kheerganga trek
Rudranag

One of the fascinating, exhilarating and worth-mentioning features of Kheerganga trek is that the rumbling water stream and mighty waterfalls flow all through the trek.

We crossed several streams on foot. The thunderous sound of the water reveals the dangerously beautiful side of nature.

It was scary and soothing at the same time. We really felt small in the face of nature. The trail gets narrower as one progresses further.

We stopped at Rudranag temple to offer our prayers. A waterfall was coming down from the mountaintop with evident snake-like shape and thus the name, Rudranag.

People were taking a dip in the water near the waterfall but it was too cold to handle for us. We moved further as it was getting dark.

rural woman from a himalayan village of nakthan kheerganga trek
A cheerful and helpful woman from Himalayan village.

Small villages on the way attract you to stop and admire the beauty in simplicity. Villagers are so simple, helpful and cheery.

One of the ladies at Nakthan village greeted and offered us to rest in her house for some time when she saw our tired little daughter but we politely turned down the offer saying we can’t afford to take a break. She blessed and applauded our daughter.

Kids coming back from the school, women bringing wood in a basket on their shoulders, people chit-chatting randomly; I felt like spending my life here!

That’s how life’s supposed to be! A life so uncomplicated, bereft of the harshness of the modern world.

Kheerganga Trek – The Final Phase

4 km left, dog-tired, legs refused to move, almost vanquished, a mountain kid boosted our spirits. He moved gracefully from one stone to the other, swinging on the narrow paths, singing Himachali songs, no trace of panic; obviously, it was a routine thing for him.

We were re-energized by the positive assurance,Bas thoda sa aur chalna hai! Bas 20 minute aur aap neeche pahunch jayenge.” (it’s just 20 more minutes and you’ll be down) and carefree attitude of the boy. We happily followed him.

It was dark when we reached Barshiani. Our driver was waiting for us. Amazed at what we have accomplished (technically, we walked more than 25 km in a day), we retired and slept in the car while coming back to our resort in Kasol.

What had we gained?

Well. We rediscovered ourselves. We really felt true intimacy with God. The trek rekindled our connection with nature.

You never know what you are capable of until you have no choice.

If given an option, I wouldn’t want to return to this false world of self-gratification and remorseful judgments. The trek left me with a lot to reflect on.

Know Before You Go

1. It’s better to start a trek early in the morning maybe 6 am or so because it normally rains after 2 making it difficult to walk.

2. Carry light backpacks with a pair of flip-flops, torch or headlight, light towel, poncho or raincoat, warm jacket, swimwear, travel soap, toilet paper, tissues, snacks, eco-friendly water bottle, and cash.

3. I would have recommended to not trek up and down from Kheerganga on the same day as I found it pretty risky and tiring especially with a kid. One would better chill and enjoy the fairy-tale-like surroundings for a day but as per new update, you can’t stay up there. So, come back to Tosh and stay there. Head to Kasol the next morning.

4. Last but not least, Respect nature. Act responsibly. Be a responsible traveler and tourist. Don’t throw your trash anywhere. You’ll find dustbins at all the cafes on the way. Carry all the disposable waste in your bag and dump it into a dustbin later. Don’t spoil the serenity of nature by being a glamorous tourist.

Pin the post 馃檪

A beautiful Himalayan trek from Barshani to Kheerganga in Parvati Valley, Himachal Pradesh in India takes you to a stunning natural thermal pool and Shiva temple. Read our detailed guide to kasol kheerganga trek for beginners to plan this easy yet exquisite trek.
A beautiful Himalayan trek from Barshani to Kheerganga in Parvati Valley, Himachal Pradesh in India takes you to a stunning natural thermal pool and Shiva temple. Read our detailed guide to kasol kheerganga trek for beginners to plan this easy yet exquisite trek.

This was our first ever trekking experience. Have you ever tried trekking with kids? How was your experience?

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39 thoughts on “Kheerganga Trek for the First-Timers – A Complete Guide”

  1. This is just amazing, Anjali! And your daughter is so brave. Hope she enjoyed the trek.

    This place has been on my bucket list for quite some time. Now I feel bad for not being able to trek there despite being from Himachal. 馃榾

    • Thank you, Tushar! This happens, we never really explore our own city or state like we explore other ones. I’m from Delhi and I haven’t seen famous Red Fort yet 馃檪 Kheerganga is a beautiful, relatively easy trek for beginners. If you are a seasoned trekker, there are many exquisite and challenging treks in Himachal Pradesh which I plan to do once my daughter grows up!

  2. Wow that’s amazing and so wonderful to trek with 8 year..,Blog is really informative..I always wanted to go to northern side for trek,ill definitely check my schedule and plan this..!!!

  3. This looks amazing, i love travelling new places, i live in Uttarakhand so i’m familiar with this kind of places, i always wanted to travel HP, how much did you spend for this trip, especially for camps ?

    • Thanks for reading, Kailash! It was a self-drive trip. We spent around 30,000/- in total. We didn’t stay at Kheerganga but came back the same day. The cost of camp depends on the occupancy. It was 1500/- for double occupancy with kid.

  4. You have done something very great with your 8 year old by taking her to trek to Himalayas. This is a lifetime memory gifted by you. Trekking around the Himalayan rustic scenery with hamlets, trees, streams and hills is really a wonderful moment spent by a mother and child.

  5. Thanks for reading, Kailash! It was a self-drive trip. We spent around 30,000/- in total. We didn’t stay at Kheerganga but came back the same day. The cost of camp depends on the occupancy. It was 1500/- for double occupancy with kid.

  6. It looks amazing! it is wonderful that your daughter was able to experience this with you. She is very brave!
    I understand that you where worried but if you are careful and take your time it is possible to do a short trek with a child. Your daughter has a beautiful trek experience now.

    • Yeah, she really cherishes the experience and is keen to take another trek now 馃檪 I’m proud of her! Thank you so much for taking time to read my blog and for your words of appreciation.

  7. This sounds so exciting. I know things can get tiring with kids, kudos to your daughter for initiating to do this. 馃檪 I don’t have kids so I can’t share a similar experience but I did trek Mt. Fuji in Japan (highest mountain of Japan); it was worth all the pain, sweat, chill, excitement and above all the experience.

  8. That’s so awesome that you were able to make that trek with a child in tow. I am sure it must have been difficult. And I am sure it was scary with that sign they put up there. But it did look beautiful and the end result was worth it I am sure.

    • Thanks for reading and appreciating 馃檪 It seemed scary with child but yeah, at the end we were rewarded with beautiful memories to cherish and that sweet feeling of achievement, you know!

  9. What an amazing experience and a fantastic story. This is just type of trip I love: unplanned, unorganised and unhinged. Well done for taking your daughter with you too – as I’m sure she will remember the trip forever, cherishing the memories x

  10. We must train our children in early age and make sure to meet them the nature. Now everything is so easy download digital map , read people’s comment and directions. and take your cild with you. Go a trekking togethe even Do a camp in the forrest. Your article is very helpful for everyone! Thank you so much

  11. Thank you so much for sharing your journey. And how awesome to share it with your little one. I love the fearlessness of the young, yet greatly admire a parent’s will to protect their young and also share with them life’s great adventures. My mom and dad’s are still very protective of me and worry for example when I travel alone as a female. I also enjoyed your photos. They are beautiful. And love also, “You never know what you are capable of until you have no choice.” So true.

    • Thank you so much for your words of appreciation. We really want our daughter to learn life by experiencing it. Being protective while giving our kids enough freedom to explore and learn is the key. I’m glad you liked the pictures. Thank you again for dropping by, it means a lot!

  12. Thank you so much for your words of appreciation. We really want our daughter to learn life by experiencing it. Being protective while giving our kids enough freedom to explore and learn is the key. I’m glad you liked the pictures. Thank you again for dropping by, it means a lot!

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