Gushaini - Himachal Pradesh (India)

                             

A wise man once said "Not all those who wander are lost". I realized the meaning of this quote while planning this trip. It was summer of 2008 and we needed a break from the hectic office life. My office colleagues and me started planning a vacation a month in advance. We wanted to get out of busy life of Delhi and needed some peace. After lot of discussions, we still were not able to finalize our destination. Few colleagues ditched and few started avoiding the topic as the days passed and the hope of enjoying the vacation started to fade. Five of us including my boss kept our spirits high and made sure that vacation goes as per the plan. We were yet not sure where to go but we had to go somewhere. Finally, the date arrived and we reached office with our packed bags with no destination in mind. Everyone started to question about our destination and our plans. I had no answer but excitement on my face was enough. I could not concentrate on my work out of excitement and still doubt if others did. Though I pretended to work hard everytime my boss looked at me. During break, five of us started to search and consult each other that where should we go? We bookmarked few destinations and started to read about them. Finally, by the end of our shift we had a place to go. So it was Gushaini, Himachal Pradesh. None of us had ever heard about it and I guess that's the beauty.



Out of 15 team members, now as only 5 were going, my boss decided to take his car for this road trip. We left from our office at 3am in the morning with soft drinks and chips stuffed in our bags to cover a distance of approx 550 kms (16 hours drive) from New Delhi. The route suggested by Google was Delhi-Panipat-Karnal-Ambala-Chandigarh-Ropar-Bilaspur-Mandi-Pandho Dam-Kanda-Gushaini. Roads were quite empty and soon we reached NH-1 and continued our journey. We stopped in Karnal at round 6am in the morning for breakfast on highway Dhaba (restaurant). We crossed Bilaspur, Punjab and entered Himachal Pradesh. I felt great as we looked at great mountain ranges and as we drove uphill, the valley looked just amazing. I was feeling quite fresh and as always, hills made me happy. It was 2 in the noon and we tried to rush and reach Gushaini before the sunset so we avoided any further stoppages. On this trip, we decided to pin down the places who are going to overcharge. We pinned down the restaurant where we had bread-omelette in the breakfast as they charged way too much. At one point of time it appeared like we had eaten Ostrich's eggs. Later we pinned down the gas station and a woman shopkeeper who sold Lay's packets at more that MRP. Not that we had any plan to expose them like Tehlka, but just for fun.

View from our camps
Surviving on chips and soft drinks, we reached Gushaini by 5:30 in the evening. We had booked a camp at Trans Himalayan camp, Tirthan and it was located just by the river Tirthan. The place was majestic and sound of river flowing nearby felt so relaxing. 


Our camps
We grabbed few snacks and got ready for night safari which was arranged by the Trans Himalayan Camp. We walked in the moon light and climbed the hill while the camping guy told us about some legends of the valley. Frankly, I was horrified climbing the hill in the moonlight and I can guarantee, everyone else was. The camping guy told us that their Goddess has blessings over this place and nothing bad can happen. We trusted him and followed him hearing tales from him. At last we reached back to our camp safely and Thanked God. We were quite hungry and we ordered food which we enjoyed having in candle light at the river bank.

Tirthan river
The next day, I woke by the sound of rain. I looked outside my camp and it was raining quite heavily. It was 5 in the morning and everyone else was asleep and I cherished looking outside peacefully. Around 8 in the morning, everyone was up and it was not raining anymore. We got to know at the breakfast from the owner of the camp that it usually rains during night but remains sunny during the day. We also got to know that we were the 11th group of tourists who have come to this place. Before us, Discovery channel and National Geographic channel's group had been there to work upon the glaciers located nearby. We felt good about our decision of choosing this place. After breakfast, we left for trekking towards the waterfall. The waterfall was located 3 kms away and we thought it would be a cakewalk for us, but, it wasn't. After 1 km, we were huffing and puffing and thought to gave up the idea of going further, but, we didn't.

En route waterfall
At last, going through the picturesque view, deserted forest areas, small lanes with nobody in sight to ask directions for, we reached the waterfall. It was heavenly, just out of the world. The water flowing was directly from the glacier (located 2 days trek away) and it was so cold that we had to think twice before going in. We were the only five there and we cant miss the chance of enjoying the lovely waterfall. Despite the chilled water, we all went in and had fun. The water was so fresh that we even drank it as it was the most purest form of water.

The waterfall
Refreshed, we headed back to our camps and clicked beautiful pictures of the valley. Later in the evening, we enjoyed the local trout fish sitting by the river. For dinner, we ordered chicken and and trust me, it was so big that I couldn't even finish a single leg piece. My other two friends started to drink along with the camp owner and one continued to do so till late night as we all slept. Later in the morning camp owner told us that our friend kept him awake till 3 in the morning. I am quite sure that was a complaint and I can guarantee he still must be haunting him in his dreams.

The next morning, we planned to go to Jalori pass. The way to Jalori pass is beautiful as we noticed several waterfalls en route and oak trees all over. Fortunately, weather was nice and we could see clouds just on level with us as we drove uphill. 

En route Jalori pass
                          
View down the valley
Located at 10,800 feet above sea level, it offers scenic view of the valley and green meadows spread all over. Nearby Jalori, Sareul is a small lake located at about 3,050m. This lake is tranquil and known for being the seat of local goddess Budhi Nagin. Pilgrims walk around the lake, pouring an unbroken line of ghee. This is good camping ground with small caves to explore. The area is surrounded by dense forests interspersed with meadows of wild flowers.

Jalori Pass
We all planned to walk up to this lake and as we started our trekking but it started to rain heavily. To avoid getting drenched, my boss and me  ran downwards, and three of my friends ran upwards. While running downwards, I slipped due to wet grass and covered few meters sliding downhill. Fortunately, I didn't get hurt but my light shaded lowers looked green and brown from behind. We sat in one of the restaurants there and waited for others and meanwhile ordered breakfast enjoying the view of the valley in rain.

                               

We left Jalori pass as the rain stopped. Quietly, we enjoyed the scenic views to capture them forever in our memory. How often does one gets to see such majestic views? I wish I could experience the common and simpler life rather than JUST being a traveler. We returned to our city, New Delhi, with peace in our mind and memories to cherish forever in our hearts.

20 comments:

  1. oyeee.............It was one of the best trips we had and I still remember the new breed of monkey man. Do you remember the biggest leg piece you had?

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    1. Totally, I ate that.. how can I forget. And yes, it was one of the best trips we had. :)

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  2. Too good Himanshu.... :) I have added all the places for vacations in my list after reading your blogs.... You rock! Keep writing :)

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    1. Thanks Surbhi for the appreciation!

      Cheers!
      Himanshu

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  3. Indeed it was one of the best trips I have ever been to...
    It was so calm & peaceful over there.
    Gorging on pakoras & Trout fish sitting next to Tirthan river is still one of the most cherished memories of mine.

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  4. I never heard of this place chopta before but after reading this , my next trip is going to be for chopta, Amazing place

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  5. Very nice! Having been to this area 3 times this year, I would say it is must visit particularly for a peaceful, non-touristy experience - away from maddening crowd.

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    1. It is indeed one of the the most peaceful places I have been to. Loved it and will visit soon. :) Thanks.

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  6. Beautiful beautiful snaps!! Reminds me of the time we went up to Gomukh and camped at Dharali :)

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    1. Hills are totally mesmerizing... Thanks :)

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  7. I totally agreed that Gushaini is the best place in distt Kullu, even I am not given a chance to visit there but my friends always make me crazy to visit there. They usually told me to have a trip there. And these pictures are desperately forced me to go there.

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  8. Sounds like a great trip. The place is beautiful.

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  9. This place looks great. How far is it from Manali?

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