What To Know Before Going To Kheerganga
As the new year progresses and we are acquainted with the upcoming long weekends, travel plans are being made. Kasol ranks pretty high, among the most in demand destinations in 2020, especially for budget travelers.
The small mountain village offers everything a young budget traveler may look for- cheap but delicious food, pocket-friendly accommodation, proximity to major cities, and a laid back vibe that stimulates inner peace and memorable conversations.
Another reason behind the immense popularity of Kasol is that it is at the base of some of the most stunning hiking and trekking trails in all of HImachal Pradesh. One such trail is the one leading to the temple of Kheerganga.
The trail is becoming increasingly popular among adventure enthusiasts visiting Parvati Valley, and for good reason. Superb views, hidden waterfalls, a steady gradient, and the presence of a natural hot spring at the summit make Kheerganga one of the most desirable and rewarding hiking trails in the country.
While it may be a beginner trail, a visit to Kheerganga demands proper research. We noticed that the web is filled to the brim with “detailed guides” to Kheerganga so we decided to do something different.
Here’s a list of things we wish we knew before our first visit to Kheerganga:
The Trek Starting Point Is A 60 Minute Drive From Kasol
This essential piece of information is critical to management of time and budget during your trip. The ride to Kalga Village, which is the starting point of the Kheerganga hike, is neither short nor cheap. Moreover, the bad condition of the road makes the journey a tedious and tiring one.
While a cab may take only 60 minutes, if you want to travel by more pocket friendly modes of transport, like the local bus, make sure you account for at least another 60 minutes. A cab ride to Kalga will set you back by Rs. 800-1200, depending on the vehicle you choose. On the other hand, a bus ride will cost less than 100 bucks and will drop you to a village called Barshaini.
From Barshaini, your best bet is to get a cab, which will cost you anywhere between 300 and 500 bucks.
No Matter What Anyone Says, You Need A Guide
For a beginner trail, investment into a guide may seem like a waste. For most trails, it would be true but Kheerganga is an exception. While relatively easy, the trail goes through thick forests and difficult-to-locate pathways at a few points.
If you are visiting the trail during peak season (between March and June), you will find a lot of people walking the same path, and it may seem like a good idea to simply follow them.
It’s a great plan to do so. However, it’s better to have paid for a guide and not need them than to need one and not find one.
It’s A Shiva Temple, And There Are Rules
Many people visiting Kheerganga are only aware about the hos spring they are about to visit. The reality, however, is that the hot spring is located inside a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva.
As a result, there are a number of rules that one must adhere to, while visiting the temple. The foremost rule bans anyone under the influence of alcohol from entering the temple or the hot spring premises. Next, dipping into the pool of warm water is strictly prohibited during the nighttime.
Finally, anyone entering the small pool of warm water is required to rinse themselves, instructions to which, are described on a notice board near the pool.
Regardless of whether you’re religious or not, it is best to respect the rules laid down by the authorities that manage and maintain the temple.
No ATMs After Manikaran
If you find yourself sitting in the bus and thinking you’ll withdraw cash once you reach Kalga, you may find yourself surprised, and not in a good way.
If you couldn’t withdraw cash in an ATM in Kasol, a good alternative is to seek help from the travel agent offices in the Kasol market. These folks will swipe your card in their machines and give you cash after charging 5% of the total transaction amount. If you want to avoid paying this amount, make sure you make a halt in the next town, Manikaran, and withdraw plenty of cash before you continue your journey.
Finding yourself strapped for cash at the summit is not a good feeling, and should be avoided at all possible costs.
In conclusion, your journey to Kheerganga will be a pleasant one as long as you make sure you start your journey to Kalga early in the morning, hire a guide, carry enough cash, and respect the rules and boundaries of the temple at the summit.