Tirthan Valley India Travel Guide

The moon peeps from mountain tops, only to elevate the atmosphere of a pitch-black night anticipating a sound. The sound of bears coming out of the rugged jungles of Great Himalayan National Park. The cornfields lure the bears to civilization.

Tirthan Valley India Travel Guide

Tirthan Valley India Travel Guide

That’s Tirthan Valley, a mesmerizing green landscape, still dodging the over-tourism of Himachal. Therein flows the Tirthan River, where all the local deities are carried for Visarjan, a Hindu ritual of drowning the idol, signifying goodbye.

In the Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh, Tirthan Valley opens the door to Great Himalayan National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site for ‘outstanding significance for biodiversity conservation’. Believe it or not, in the deep-seated interiors of the forest, Himalayan brown bears, blue sheep, Himalayan Tahr, snow leopards, and musk deer patrol their habitat.

Tirthan is snow-white, and fresh green, with the turn of the season. From atop mountains, look down as the entire valley unbuckles, and look up for mind-numbing sunsets.

Things to See And Do in Tirthan Valley India

The hushed valley of Tirthan is growing in trekking, birdwatching, and in the discovery of the unexplored rural Himachal. Several generations down the line, the locals count on this patch of land, and now they are carrying it to the outsiders. Here is everything you can do in Tirthan Valley for a lasting experience in Himachal India.

Nature Walks around Tirthan River

Home to more than 375 faunal species, the National Park supports a varied diversity of plant life due to its high elevation range and undisturbed habitats. Western Tragopan, Himalayan Monal, Cheer, Kokla, and Khaleej Pheasant, an unfamiliar occurrence to have all five pheasants in one geographical confines of Tirthan Valley.

Tirthan Valley India Travel Guide

The elders tell the story of the Tirthan River. The river emanates from the glaciers of Tirth Top at about 4000 m above sea level, where the holy Spring of Hunskund is the genesis. The water of the Tirthan River was revered to be pure and unpolluted. It no longer is.

All of Tirthan Valley is surrounded by a network of perennial and seasonal tributaries, streams, waterfalls, and springs that mingle in the mighty Tirthan River.

Trekking in the Great Himalayan National Park

Wildlife trekking and camping under a mystical starbound sky lie in the heart of Tirthan. Trails are dispersed across pine forests around uncharted terrains. Trekking is very much ingrained in local livelihoods and tourism.

Here are some treks if you have only two or three days to spare.

  • Rolla Trek – 2 Days
  • Rangthar Trek – 2 Days
  • Chalocha Trek – 3 Days
  • Barchi Top Trek – 2 Days
  • Shilt Hut Trek – 3 Days

Longer treks for a wholesome trekking journey in Tirthan Valley.

  • Lambri Top Trek – 4 Days
  • Choodwar Trek – 4 Days
  • Kundri Top Trek – 4 Days

For an ethereal and otherworldly wildlife experience, the 7-day-long Tirath Trek would take you to the source of Tirthan River.

Taste the Local Himachali Dish Siddu

Tirthan Valley India siddu

Siddu is a Himachali dish often served with Homemade Ghee. Flour-doughs (mixed with yeast) are shaped in thick puffs, and a spoonful of Chutney (Beri) or the batter is stuffed inside. Then you fold the thick crescent doughs in a criss-cross design to seal the deal. And there you go, your Siddu is ready! 

The locals will make Siddu for you, or Paturu (a thick chapati). You can also taste a different version of Siddu with rice & curry. Here in Tirthan Valley, they mix rice, curry, and small chunks of Siddu, making it more like Himachali Khichdi. It’s called Siru Phimra.

Roam Around Himachali Villages and Explore Unknown Waterfalls

Gushaini, Kulthi, Manhar, Pekhri – the villages are small congregations of mud-and-wooden houses symbolizing Kathkuni style of architecture. Only 700m away from Kulthi is the cool shadow of a twin waterfall. A secret only the local villagers pass by. Two waterfalls fall off the main road to Pekhri, where landslides often scrape off the evenness.

Manhar is distinctively I-shaped. Pekhri is where the apples get packed for the market. Except in the winters, red and green apples adorn the orchards all over Himachal.

A Short Hike to Chhoie Waterfall 

Gushaini is the base of most treks in Tirthan. Walk for 4 km towards Banjar from Gushaini, and a signboard will reveal itself, ‘Chhoie Waterfall’ in Village Nagni, named after a local Goddess Chhoi Mata. The trail moves to the innermost jungle for 3 km, to the mammoth waterfall cascading in solitude.

Rejoice in Faguli – A Mask Festival in Himachal 

Faguli is an 800-year-old festival celebrated to mark the end of winters and the beginning of spring for the ‘Victory of good over evil’. Himachali men wear a skirt made of brass, put on colorful headgear with yellow flowers and a wooden mask. Some say that people shout names behind those masks to scare away the evil energy. 

In between mid-February and mid-March, Tirthan and the surrounding Himachal reconnect with their history, traditions and people through Faguli.

When to Visit Tirthan Valley

The best time to visit the valley of Tirthan is between March and June in the spring/summer season. There is a wee nip in the air, a cool breeze to familiarise with the flora and fauna, especially the lush green meadows and the apple orchards.

The winter season, between November and February, could also be a favorable time to visit the valley if snowfall and icy terrain are what you have set your heart on.

The monsoon season begins in June and lasts till August. The region gets intermediate to heavy rainfall, and certainly not a preferred time for traveling.

Where Can You Stay in Tirthan Valley?

Before visiting Tirthan Valley, you should know that locally-run homestays are everywhere! Even if you don’t book online beforehand, you are sure to find a Homestay!

Tirthan Valley India Travel Guide

Dormitories for Budget Travelers 

If you are on a smaller budget and in search of a hostel, the dormitories in Tirthan are few and far between. There are only 3-4 backpackers’ hostels in Banjar, but none in Gushaini.

Mazel Tov Hostel Tirthan is closest to Chhoie Waterfall on the Banjar Road. A few more have also popped up! For $6-7 per night, it doesn’t get any better!

Accommodations in Tirthan Valley, India

Search here for great deals on accommodations in Tirthan Valley.

Homestay for Private Rooms

Tirthan Ecostay

Tirthan Ecostay, run by the local Negi family is where comfort meets local life and traditions. Virender Negi, a humble man in his early 30s, cooks delectable fresh food and his elder brother runs a parallel trekking enterprise, Trek with Mountain Man. The Negi brothers are the most experienced people have been inhabiting the wild for ages.

King-size bed and all the modern amenities in a traditional Himachali cottage. Spend your mornings on innumerable hiking trails from Tirthan Ecostay! And streamline the money directly to the locals. Only for $15-$20 a night!

How to Reach Tirthan Valley India

Getting to Tirthan Valley by flight 

The nearest airport to Tirthan Valley is Bhuntar (domestic), located at a distance of around 48 km. Indian Airlines and Deccan Airways operate flights in this region.

Nearest International Airport: Chandigarh Airport (IXC) – 134 km away from Tirthan Valley 

Getting to Tirthan Valley by Road 

The HPTDC operates regular bus services from neighboring states like Delhi, Punjab, and Haryana. While coming from Delhi or Chandigarh via roadways, get down at Aut (which is 19 km before Bhuntar and 3 hours from Manali) and take a local bus (or a cab) to Banjar. A local bus from Aut to Banjar (25 km) will charge you INR 40-50. From Banjar scheduled buses run to Gushaini (the last bus being at 5 pm) which is only 10 km away.

Getting to Tirthan Valley by train 

Remember that Himachal is not very well connected via railways. The nearest rail station is Kiratpur which is 7 hours away or Ambala which is 8 hours away. 

It’s highly advisable to travel by road or flight, and avoid depending on railways. Buses run day and night, always at your disposal.

Getting around Tirthan Valley 

Private and shared cabs are the only way to travel around Gushaini and other villages accessible by road. Short-distance buses also run, but you have to know the timings beforehand. The interiors are trail-bound. Hiking is the only way to explore Tirthan Valley.

Tirthan Valley India Travel Guide

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