My Quirky Trip To Kheer Ganga
How to reach KheerGanga?
Take a bus from Delhi (Kashmiri Gate) to Bhuntar, I would suggest taking Himachal Transport Government Bus, in case you are unable to get the bus then you can book one from online websites like www.makemytrip.com, www.redbus.com, etc.
From Bhuntar, you need to take a bus to Barshaini, from where the trek starts. Remember that the frequency of direct buses from Bhuntar to Barshaini is pretty less. So, you may take a bus from Bhuntar to Manikaran and then from Manikaran to Barshaini.
The Eid long weekend was around the corner and I had no plans. I heard two of my colleagues talking about the ‘KheerGanga’ trek that was avoiding for a long time. I believed, it more of a commercial trek rather than an actual thing. With no plans in hand, I asked them to include me in this trip. They heartily agreed.
Two days before the trip, I got to know that one of them won’t be able to join in. Now, two of us were in a dilemma if we should proceed with the plan or quit the whole thing. We couldn’t come up with a good reason to cancel the plan. Therefore, we proceeded with the online bus booking – www.paytm.com (bad decision).
Our scheduled departure was at 9 PM from Kashmiri Gate. But, it was preponed to 8.30 PM and the location was changed to Ramakrishna Ashram Metro Station – Piller # 8.
We somehow managed to reach the spot at the right time. But, we found that the bus had not arrived and we were taken to a different location from where the bus departed at 10 PM. We were extremely upset, to add more to it we were starving.
By looking at the traffic, we realized that there were too many people heading in the direction same as ours. Our bus was moving at a pace slower than of a snail. Our driver did his best to cover the distance but the circumstance was not in his hands. He made peace with the situation and so did we.
Eventually, we took a stop at some Dhaba in Punjab around 5 AM. All of us knew that we were far behind our schedule. Now we did not expect much from the day. But, there were things already planned for us. After driving a few miles the bus broke down and we completely lost hope.
We reached Bhuntar around 6.30 PM which meant that we covered this 10-hour journey in 20 hours. At the bus station, we met a lot of travellers narrating their story, which was similar to ours. Most of us wanted to reach Barshaini, which is the starting point of the ‘KheerGanga‘ Trek.
None of us was sure if we would stay at Bhuntar for the night or take a bus to Kasol or Manikaran. Barshaini was not even an option. Around 7.30 PM a bus came heading for Manikaran. We made our way through the crowd and grabbed seats for ourselves.
It took another 4 hours for us to reach some place near Manikaran. Traffic was really bad, so we got off the bus and walked till Manikaran. The Gurudwara looked beautiful.
The place was immensely crowded of the pilgrims. Again, we had a competition with all these people to get a place in the Gurudwara to sleep. We headed towards the ‘Darbar’, bowed on our knees, did the prayer and ran towards the ‘Langar‘. We were starving.
After having a hefty meal. We headed towards the ‘Darbar’ again. Earlier, we saw some people sleeping there. So, we also made a place for ourselves and laid down at the feet of the Lord.
Around 4 AM, we were asked to get up as the prayers were about to begin. We were in need of rest, so we picked the blankets and headed towards the open hall of the Gurudwara and continued our slumber.
After regaining some strength, we got up, freshened. Took a bath at the ‘Manikaran Kund‘ and headed for Barshaini.
After reaching Manikaran Bus Stand, we got upset that we won’t be able to make to Barshaini, as the whole road was blocked by this massive traffic jam. While we were figuring out a way to handle this mess. We met this kid, 15-16 years of age. He suggested that he would drop us to Barshaini for 200INR each. We agreed to the deal and reached our destination in no time.
We did not eat anything in the morning, therefore we purchased some dry ration – some packets of biscuit, bananas, protein bars, etc. And, headed towards ‘KheerGanga‘.
The good part of the day was, though this trek is commercial and the route remains crowded. To our luck, we did not find many people, maybe because most individuals were still stuck in the traffic jam at Manikaran.
We made our way to the summit enjoying the flora and fauna, which the path had to offer. We sat near the beautiful waterfalls that made their way through the woods.
We began around 8.30AM and reached the summit at 12.30PM. I would say we did fairly well in covering the distance. However, we were not very excited as the hill top had mushroomed with tents. The cacophony from the whole area disappointed us.
We spotted few discrete tents at the extreme corner of the hill, we started walking towards that direction. Again, we were in luck. The caretaker told us that the tent was available and we can rent it for a night. Post which, he made an awesome ‘bun-omelette’ for us and relished and dozed off for few hours.
Later in the evening, we got up and headed towards the hot water spring. By that time, most of the travellers had reached the top. And, the place got crowded. Anyhow, we took a dip and return to our tent.
After getting dressed, we found a spot for ourselves from where we could appreciate the charm of the cliffs. Within no time, fluffy clouds enveloped us. The view was majestic.
It called for a small treat. So, we asked the caretaker, to fry a plate of potato and onion chips. We opened a bottle of whiskey and appreciated what nature provided us.
Once it got dark, we could hear loud music coming from the proliferated land of the tents. In the meanwhile, we had our dinner at the bonfire. And, later went off to sleep since we had to catch an early morning bus to Bhuntar, dodging the traffic.
Next morning, we took a different path, a beautiful one. We walked on this mud trail, with misty green trees all along, dark clouds hovering above our head. At one point, we reached a small village and lost our way. But, the humble people of this petite establishment guided us in the right direction.
In no time, we reached Barshaini. From here, we took a cab to Manikaran. As we reached Manikaran, we saw a bus leaving the Bus Stand to Bhuntar, we ran towards it and boarded it.
This bus was packed, fortunately, we got seats. As the day was moving, it got hot and we grew tired. We would have lost it completely if we’d continued our journey in that bus. But conclusively, we reached Bhuntar.
As we were starving and needed rest. We headed towards the ‘Bhuntar Gurudwara‘. There we had a hefty meal, after which we were headed to a room provided to rest.
We got up around 5 PM and headed to a restaurant to grab a bit. We found this popular Tibetan place – OMNI’z, they served some awesome Momos (Dim Sum) and Thukpa. Then we headed towards the bus station as our bus was scheduled to depart at 7 PM.
We waited for good 4 hours to arrive. But due to traffic jams, it reached the pickup point at 10 PM. We were the last to be picked from Bhuntar, everyone else had left for their destination.
On an all, it was a great weekend 🙂