The very first time I heard the name Kheerganga, I had a very oblivious assumption. I thought It must be a ritual where people gather at the bank of Ganga to have some Kheer (Rice Pudding). I know my assumption was pathetic and illogical but definitely not this trek.
Kheerganga is one of the most beautiful and satisfying treks I have been to. And the best part is, you don’t need to spend 4-5 days to complete this trek. If one will start early it can be completed in a day itself. But the ideal itinerary would be two days, ascending on the first day and descending on second.
First thing comes in our mind when we heard the name of this trek, why actually it is called Kheerganga? Some say due to milky white water flows through almost the entire trail. It also has a mythological essence, It is believed that Karthikey, elder son of Lord Shiva meditated here. Later Shiva and Parvati came here to take their son home. Out of love for his son, Goddess Parvati made Kheer(Rice pudding) from the flowing water.
How will you reach this place?
This trek starts from a village called Barsheni . To reach Barsheni , You have to first reach Bhuntar(Kullu) in Himachal Pradesh. You will find tons of buses from Delhi to Bhuntar. Almost all the buses which go to Manali pass via Bhunter. It also has a small Airport, But the ticket is quite costly so better avoid it if you are on a budget trip.
After reaching Bhuntar, You will find Himachal roadways buses going towards Barsheni. The cost of a ticket is around 100 INR per person and it will take you around 3 hours to reach Barsheni . Please don’t get intimidated by the duration of the journey, it won’t be boring as you will get to see breathtaking views and mighty Himalaya during your entire journey. The bus will pass through Kasol and Manikaran which are also quite famous places in Kullu district.
Barsheni is not a city, it is just a village where you will find few hotels and restaurants which have been built to accommodate tourists going to Kheerganga or Tosh. You will find a few grocery shops there too. My suggestion would be, buy some eateries from here itself to save some bucks.
Kheerganga trek distance is almost 12 km which is quite a lot, trust me. It will take you around 5-6 hours to ascend if you are an occasional trekker. it is always advisable to have some time in your hand. So start as early as possible from Barsheni.
When you will start moving from Barsheni, you will find two roads. the upside road will take you to Tosh and the road towards down will take you to Kheerganga. The trail to Kheerganga is well built and you won’t find any difficulty while climbing except when any heavy rail fall happens. So better avoid going on this trek in monsoon.
You will find a plethora of eateries shops in between. You will also pass through a few villages where you will get to experience the life of people living in the mountains.
There are many great things about this trek but what I liked the most was you will get to see so many mighty and eye-catching waterfalls. There is a waterfall every 1 km. This trek is also quite famous so you will find lots of fellow trekkers trekking with you.
After reaching the top, the view is quite breathtaking and serene. You will find plenty of accommodation options on the top in the form of tents. I booked a tent for two people for a night in 500 INR. It was cheap because I visited this place in offseason. You might have to spend a few extra bucks depending on the season in which you are visiting. Food is quite costly on the top and it is justified too because they carry grocery items on porters for 12 km. If you want to save some money then please purchase extra eateries from Barsheni itself.
On the top, there is a hot water spring where you can take a dip. Trust me it is damn hot. For a few minutes your body will burn then it will get adjusted to the temperature.
Descending always takes less time than ascending. So it won’t take you 6 hours to descend. 3-4 hours is more than enough.
I found Kheerganga trek beautiful as well as challenging. People say it is an easy trek but according to me, it is moderate. Trekking for 12 km in a day doesn’t come under an easy category. But you will get to experience the vastness and tranquility of Himalaya for sure which makes this trek worth going on.