Kheerganga is located amidst the astounding Parvati Valley in the Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh. Parvati Valley is considered the trekker’s paradise. Kheerganga is the most popular trek in Kasol 14 kilometres uphill from base camp. If you are a novice trekker, this is where you want to start.
Even for pros, the trek is an exhilarating experience, filled with tricky trails and enchanting views of the valley. Tosh & Kasol in Parvati Valley is famous for their surreal and multi-nationality party culture. The area abounds in travelling hippies and Israeli settlers.
- Location: Parvati Valley, Kullu District, Himachal Pradesh
- Altitude: Approximately 3000 metres
- Trek Time: 5 to 6 hours
- Difficulty Level: Easy to Moderate
Best Time For Kheerganga Trek
Although Parvati Valley is pleasant throughout the year, the best time to undertake the Kheerganga Trek is between October and June. Trekking is not recommended during monsoons as it becomes risky and overly difficult during rains. October is generally considered a good month for the trek and you will find many avid trekkers on the Kheerganga expedition from August to October. April, May are good months too. The temperature will average from 15 degrees to 25 degrees Celsius.
How To Get There
The trek starts from Barshaini after Kasol. To get to Kasol, you will first have to cross Bhuntar.
Getting to Bhuntar:
You can easily reach Bhuntar via Delhi-Manali Highway. You can take a private AC bus or Volvo from Delhi to reach Bhuntar. However, all such buses will leave in the evening after 6 pm and will land in Bhuntar in the morning. You can also opt for HRTC buses that leave from Kashmere Gate. Alternatively, you can hire a private taxi from Delhi and reach Bhuntar.
Bhuntar to Barshaini:
Bhuntar is a small town from where you can take a bus to reach Barshaini. You can also take a cab to reach Barshaini, which comes after Kasol and Manikaran. This is where Parvati and Tosh rivers meet. Tosh is hardly 5 kilometres away from Barshaini. After your descent, you can walk to Tosh for your overnight stay.
Trekking Routes To Kheerganga
There are two main trekking routes from Barshaini – Rudra Nag and Nakhtan. This is a two-day trek (including trek time and travel time) and it’s not advisable to finish the expedition in a day.
1. Rudra Nag (Kalga-Pulga)
This is a moderately difficult climb filled with stunning sights. Stop to admire the snake-shaped waterfall, you’ll encounter many waterfalls on the trek. You will also cross tiny wooden bridges.
This route will also take you through the villages of Kalga and Pulga where you can halt for a while and take pictures. You can walk around and befriend the hospitable locals of these villages. If you keep good pace, you can finish this route in 4 hours. If you like to slow trek, you can finish it in 5 to 6 hours.
2. Nakhtan Village
This is also a well-marked route. If you take a left after the bridge near Barshaini and ask for the village of Nakthan, you will easily find this route. You will cross beautiful apple orchards on this route. The trekking level is medium with some difficult stretches. This route will take you three to four hours.
Descent & Return
There is a small Shiva temple on the trek. Lord Shiva is said to have meditated in Parvati Valley for thousands of years. At the highest point, there is a pool with waters from a hot spring. It’s called Parvati Kund. All throughout the trek routes, you will see beautiful pine forests, gushing waterfalls and views you have never seen before. On both the routes, you will find cafes and dhabas for refreshment.
The descent should take you around 3 hours. You can proceed to stay at Tosh if you do not wish to camp overnight at Kheerganga.
Catch the last bus from Barshaini To Bhuntar at around 2 pm.
- Travel: A private taxi from Bhuntar to Barshaini will cost around Rs. 1200. Buses from Bhuntar to Barshaini can cost anywhere from Rs. 150 to Rs. 500. Shared taxis from Manikaran are available too, which can cost around Rs. 200.
- Accommodation: Room fare per night is around Rs. 500 at lodges and cottages. However, at the Ashram in Kheerganga, you can rent shared rooms for as low as Rs. 150. You can also set up your own tent for a small fee.
- Food: Rs. 500 per day
Overall, you may end up spending Rs. 4000 to 5000 on the Kheerganga Trek.
Places To Stay
You won’t find hotels here but there are lots of affordable shared/private cottages (hut-style) and rooms that you can rent without advance booking in Kheerganga. Trekkers can stay at Ashram built on the hill top managed by monks and sadhus. Here you can rent a shared accommodation for Rs. 150 per night (including meals!).
Tosh, Barshaini and Kalga offer a good range of homestays starting from Rs. 200 to Rs. 500 per night. If you prefer more amenities, you can stay at Pink Floyd, The Hill Top Cafe, Blue Diamond Cafe or Snow View Cafe. Rooms here may start from Rs. 1500 onwards. Group trekking organizers to Kheerganga have their own staying arrangements, as part of the whole trek package. The entire package may start from Rs. 7000 and above.
You will find many open air cafes in Kheerganga serving Chinese, German and Israeli cuisines. The cafes have pre-installed ‘tandoors’ too. Ice and Fire en route Kheerganga is a good place to pig out. Cocoon Cafe and Goldstar Cafe are good too. Even though, as believed by many, making Maggi on treks is a common practice, you will find that little mountain-top cafes are plenty. Homestays offer delicious meals too.
Places Of Interest
Located 5 kilometres away from Barshaini, Tosh is a pit stop for all backpackers exploring Kasol and Parvati valley, Tosh is famous for its EDM parties and a thriving hippie culture. If you’re visiting in January or February, you can check out Jamdagni Rishi temple. Pink Floyd Cafe in Tosh is famous for its trippy ambience.
Around 17 kilometres from Kheerganga base camp, this small holy town of Manikaran is famous for its Sikh Gurudwara and its refreshing hot springs, aside from its gorgeous mountain and valley views, of course.
22 kilometres away from Kheerganga, Kasol is mainly known for its breathtaking views and several minor treks and rock climbing opportunities. You can visit the famous village of Malana or relax at Jim Morrison Cafe. Also, check out the pristine & pure Parvati River and Kasol bridge and Shiva Temple.
Safety & Travel Tips:
- Do not overpack, you’ll be backpacking. But do wear woollens or jackets.
- Carry a comfortable backpack with adjustable straps.
- Pack/wear sturdy trekking shoes and extra pairs of socks.
- Carry phone chargers and a power bank.
- Carry a water bottle.
- Carry a few sweets that you can eat during your trek. Sugar provides energy.
- Pack moisturising lotion, pain-relieving spray & mosquito repellent.
- Carry extra cash. Digital payments are not accepted everywhere.
- Do not litter.
If you’ve been thinking of trekking in an exotic natural landscape, Kheerganga should be your first choice. It will be a trek to remember for the rest of your life. Feel free to leave comments below.