Want to know if you can still camp at Kheerganga? Is camping banned? Are you looking for a complete guide to the Kheerganga Trek in Parvati Valley? We have compiled all the information you will need to help you on your Kheerganga Adventure in 2019.
The Kheerganga Trek is an experience that you will surely want to keep all for yourself, a truly off the beaten path place, adorned by awe-inspiring vistas, that will stay in your memories for a lifetime. Situated at an altitude of 2960m, the Kheerganga Trek in Parvati Valley is a picture perfect adventure with rushing turquoise rivers, lush forest and stunning himalayan mountain peaks.
The journey to Kheerganga is the real adventure, but the prize at the top is definitely worth the four hour trek! A holy pilgrimage site awaits you, where it is said Lord Shiva meditated for over 3000 years. A peaceful natural hot spring with a million dollar view of stunning snow capped mountains in the beautiful Himachal Pradesh.
Bathing in the sacred waters of the Kheerganga hot spring was definitely our most memorable hot spring experience ever! We want you to have the same experience so we have developed this full travel guide to the Kheerganga Trek for you!
You can also watch our adventure in our Kheerganga Travel Video here:
Is Camping Banned at Kheerganga?
When we did the Kheerganga trek in March 2018 and at the time, the camps at the top were in full swing. Since then, there has been many reports that the high courts of India have shut down all camps in the area.
The main reason for this ban is to preserve the nature and stop pollution in the area, which we think is a great idea. However, it makes things a little more difficult for adventure travellers wanting to visit the beautiful hot springs. So I have spent hours researching to find the latest up to date information for you. The good news is, all is not lost!
Recent Updates on the Kheerganga Camping Ban:
How to reach Kheerganga?
Kasol is a great base for your Kheerganga trip. A small picturesque town that deserves a couple days stay if you have the time (go to the bottom of this post for places to stay in Kasol). The best way to reach Kasol from Delhi or Chandigarh is to take a volvo sleeper bus. The buses usually depart around 6-7pm and arrive at around 7am.
Do be careful when booking a direct bus to Kasol. We booked a bus from Ambala to Kasol with RedBus, but the bus actually dropped us in Manali. It took us a whole day of catching multiple local buses to eventually reach Kasol. We were not happy at the time, but hey….it added to the adventure in the end. You can actually see our journey in our Kasol travel video here.
I predict most buses promising a direct link to Kasol, would actually drop you at the intersection in Bhuntar. So double check with the ticketing agency before you assume they will drop you in Kasol.
If your bus does drop you in Bhuntar then you can catch a local bus to Kasol which will take you about 2-3 hours and will costs you from memory about Rs150. Or you can hire a taxi which will be slightly faster and will costs you around Rs2000. Bonus tip: Make sure your bus driver knows you need to get down at Bhuntar, otherwise you might end up in Manali like we did!
From Kasol, you can jump on a local bus to Barsheni which is very close to the start of the Kheerganga Trek. The bus ride from Kasol will be crowded and slow and will take approximately 2 hours and cost no more than Rs150. Alternatively you can hire a private taxi that will take about 1 hour and costs you about Rs1000.
For your journey home there are night buses that depart Kasol around 6pm in the evening and arrive early morning in Delhi. You can book these tickets online or at a tour shop in Kasol.
How much time do you need to do the Kheerganga Trek?
If you have plenty of time I would suggest to stay 7-10days in the Parvati Valley region. This gives you time to visit Kheerganga and explore other amazing treks and sites in the area.
However, if you are short on time and just want to see Kheerganga, then I would say you would need about 3-4days including travel from Dehli, below are a couple of itinerary options for people with very limited time.
3 Day Itinerary:
Day1: 7pm depart Delhi on overnight sleeper bus to Bhuntar
Day2: 7am arrive to Bhuntar taxi to Bharseni and reach the start of the start of the trek by 12pm. Hike to Kheerganga - overnight in Kheerganga
Day3: Depart Kheerganga at 8am, reach Bharseni by 1pm and taxi from Bharseni to Kasol. Catch 6pm sleeper bus from Kasol to Delhi.
4 Day Itinerary:
Day1: 7pm depart Delhi on overnight sleeper bus
Day2: 7am arrive to Bhuntar & travel to Kasol - overnight in Kasol
Day3: Travel to Bharseni & begin hike to Kheerganga before 12pm - overnight in Kheerganga
Day4: Depart Kheerganga at 8am, reach Bharseni by 1pm. Taxi from Bharseni to Kasol. Catch 6pm sleeper bus from Kasol to Delhi.
Costs of a 4 day Kheerganga Adventure?
Below is a list of the basic costs you will encounter for a budget 4day trip to Kheerganga.
Below is a list of the basic costs you will encounter for a midrange 4day trip to Kheerganga.
What to expect on the trek?
The trek to Kheerganga is a natural wonder, and you will see mother nature in her full glory. Expect cascading waterfalls, green forest, snow capped mountains, the occasional goat or donkey and fresh mountain air. As for the trek itself, there are two main routes on opposite sides of the Parvati River that begin in Barsheni.
Route 1: Via Kalga Village, this route follows through the forest, with more waterfalls and shaded areas. You might also see some wildlife on this route. We spotted a group of large white furry monkeys, no idea the name of these monkeys but they were epic to watch running through the valley! (This route is not on google maps, but it is very well sign posted and you definitely won't get lost.)
Route 2: Via Nakthan Village, this route follows a cliff side with less shade but has beautiful views of the river and surrounding mountains. It also passes through some lovely villages. (This route is clearly marked on google maps.)
We enjoyed both routes and would suggest heading up through Kalga and coming back down through Nakthan to enjoy the beauty of both.
How long is the trek?
The Trek one way from Barsheni to the top is 12km and can take between 4-6hours depending on fitness and how many breaks you take. This sounds like a lot, but it is really is worth the walk! Plus, the trek is actually the highlight of the adventure. So considering the time-frame, I would not depart on the trek after 12pm, unless you have really strong reliable flashlights. You can always spend a night in beautiful Kalga if you arrive too late in the afternoon.
How difficult is the trek?
The trek is moderately difficult, there are many steep sections and remember you will be trekking for 12km! However if you are not an avid hiker or fitness guru just go at your own pace. Although physically challenging, most able bodied people will be able compete this hike. I myself was not very fit at the time and managed to get up within 5hours with about 4 breaks.
What to expect at the top of the Kheerganga trek?
At the top of the Kheerganga trek you will be greeted by towering snow capped mountains that will take your breath away. When we arrived in March 2018, there was quite a bit of infrastructure including restaurants, guest houses and tents, but the beauty of kheerganga was still shinning through.
Since the recent ban on permanent structures, I have seen youtube videos and the place looks much more peaceful and natural, with no concrete guest-houses and restaurants and just few tent scattered around. I actually think the ban will make this a much more wild and natural experience.
The pools are separated into male and female sections, if you are a lady you will have a small private pool with the best of both worlds, privacy & the incredible view. Everyone is expected to have a shower before hopping into the pools and there are facilities with hot running water to do so.
It is best to take a bath in the morning when the air is still calm and cool. We woke up at about 5am to take a bath and I had the entire ladies pool to myself. The natural sulphur particles in the water are white making the water a milky blue colour and the water temperature is nearly perfect, not too hot….just right!
Food & Water on the Kheerganga Trek?
Recent reports say there is still simple food such as maggie etc available to buy at the top of the Kheerganga Trek. It a good idea to pack snacks such as biscuits and fruit to keep you going during your trek.
You do not need to buy bottle water, this just adds to the pollution of this beautiful natural environment. Instead take a drink bottle and fill your water bottle at the many natural clean water sources along the way. Drinking fresh mountain water from a flowing waterfall is the best water you will ever taste, promise!
Leave only footsteps
Please respect the natural environment and take all your rubbish with you and only dispose of it when you have found a proper rubbish bin. The very classic saying rings true, leave only footsteps and take only photographs.
What to Pack for the Kheerganga Trek?
It is best to keep your pack as light as possible as you have to carry it 12km up a mountain! So here is a simple packing list for your 1 night 2 day trek to Kheerganga.
Wear on the trek:
Extra Items to pack:
(Please note: if you re trekking in the Winter Season you will need clothing suitable for snowy weather.)
When is the best time of year to do the Kheerganga trek?
This is really dependant on your personal travel style and what you want to get out of your trip to Kheerganga, so I have listed the details for all season and you can choose what's best for you.
Disclaimer: Please do note that mountainous areas can have unpredictable weather all year round.
WINTER SEASON, Nov-Feb: The winter months in Parvati Valley will be considerably colder and you may even get snowfall. This might not be the best time for camping and trekking as you would have to carry very heavy clothes to keep warm. Slippery ice has been reported from other trekkers as a major hazard and you might find limited accommodation available at the top, so taking your own tent might be advisable. There is also a risk of road blockages due to heavy snowfall and some cafes might be closed. However there will be fewer tourist and you will get the snowy winter wonderland beauty, so this could be an option for the real adventure seekers or those who are more experienced trekkers.
Tourist Numbers: low
Temperatures: -5℃ to 20℃
SHOULDER SEASON March-April: The shoulder months are a great time to do the Kheerganga trek. We were actually there in mid March and the weather was perfect with just a few other tourist around. It did get a bit chilly at night, but nothing compared to the winter months. You will also have minimal rain and no snowfall during these months. All cafes and accommodations were open.
Tourist Numbers: Medium
Temperatures: 2℃ to 28℃
SUMMER SEASON: May-July: This is a wonderful time to visit Kheerganga as all cafes will be in full swing and the weather will be pleasant. Trekking will be accessible and temperatures will be good for camping. There are also many other things to do this time of year like music festivals including Magica Festival to be held 21 June 2019. However, this is the high season in Kasol, so expect larger tourist numbers
Tourist Numbers: High
Temperatures:13℃ to 35℃
MONSOON SEASON: Aug-Sep: The months of Aug and Sep will see moderate rainfall and potentially frequent landslides. Cloud cover is also a risk, so your mountain views might be blocked for some or all of your trek. Rain will also cause mud making the track slippery and slightly more dangerous. However temperatures will be moderate and you might have the valley to yourself with very few tourist to share the beauty with.
Tourist Numbers: Low
Temperatures:15℃ to 25℃
SHOULDER SEASON: Oct: October, a little sweet spot in between monsoon and winter where you will experience less rain and mild to warm temperatures. With fewer tourist around the Parvati Valley and great weather it seems like October would be the perfect time to do the kheerganga trek!
Tourist Numbers: Medium
Temperatures:15℃ to 25℃
Other things to do Parvati Valley?
Kheerganga is a highlight of Parvati Valley, but the area has so much more to offer. If you have time I would suggest exploring other areas of the Parvati Valley. So below are a few things you can do in and around Parvati Valley.
Visit Manikaran: Manikaran is a small village located in between Kasol and Kheerganga with the mighty Parvati River rushing through its centre. It is a holy pilgrimage site for Hindus and Sikhs and boast bubbling thermal hot springs and beautiful temples.
It’s worth a few hours visit where you can see devotees cooking food in the holy waters of Manikaran, such an interesting site! We actually stopped and spent a couple of hours exploring Manikaran on our way up to Kalga before starting the Kheerganga trek the next day. You can see our Manikaran adventures in our Kasol travel video here.
Trek to Malana: You can enjoy a 5km trek to Malana, a small beautiful village in the hills of the Parvati Valley. Home to the temple of Jamlu Devta, this village has gathered a reputation for its famous cannabis and charas production, but also its distinct culture and beliefs.
The people of Malana believe themselves to be the descendants of Alexander the Great and hold themselves with great prestige. So much so they reserve from touching anyone outside of their lineage.
We spoke to fellow travellers who visited Malana and said that villagers will not pass you an item directly, but instead place it on the ground for you to pick up. Sounds a extreme right? But this is their beliefs. It would certainly be an interesting experience to visit such unique village in such an isolated and stunning location.
Trek to Tosh: Spend a couple of days in Tosh, a small, peaceful village set in the mountains near the river and and lush green valleys. You can either take a taxi to tosh or take an easy trek which is 3km from Barshaini and will take about 2hours. Once you reach tosh there are many accommodation and restaurant options, below are a couple of the best recommended accommodation options in tosh.
Spend a few days in Kasol
Soak up the vibes of Kasol for a few days and enjoy the stunning river views and quaint town life. Relax in this small but lively village and enjoy a spot of shopping and eat at some of the lovely local cafes and restaurants. There are plenty of accommodation options for all budgets and I have listed some of the best rated places to stay in Kasol.
Gypsy hideout: A rustic but charming accomodation set in a beautiful natural setting with stunning mountain views. Bedding options include dorm beds and budget double rooms. Prices range from: Rs800-1200/ $11-16USD
So there you have it, a complete travel guide the Kheerganga trek. We hope you found this guide useful. If you have any recent updates or important information to share with fellow travellers, please leave it in the comments below, your input will help other travellers on their journey.
& if you haven't already, don't forget to check out our trekking adventure in our Kheerganga travel video here.
Cheers, Native Travellers
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We are Reti & Bianca a couple of adventure seekers from Aotearoa New Zealand. Welcome to our travel stories hub, we are super happy you are here! We share our experiences and provide travel guides, tips and inspiration for anyone who wants to get intrepid!
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