Region: Dharamsala, Dhauladhar.
Season: First Week Of June to End of November.
Max. altitude: 4710m.
No. of days: 09 days.
High passes: Thamsar (4710m.).
Kangra- Cultural Continuity since Infinity
The Trigartha of the ancient times, Kangra is a continuity of culture from the infinity! Notwithstanding the grandeur of the Dhauladhar, this is the land of Hindu temples-Shiva at Baijnath, Brajeshwari at Kanga, Chamunda Devi at Chamunda, Jawalaji (Fire Temple), Chintpurni, Bhagsu at Dharamsala, Aghanjur Mahadev and many more. Masroor, the rock-cut temple, now in a poor state, is an archeological wonder, the counterpart of Khajurao and Ajanta-Ellora. Dharamsala is the cultural and political centre for Tibetans in exile. His Holiness the Dalai Lama resides here at McLeodganj, Dharamsala. Kanga is also famous for its paintings, green-tea gardens, art gallery and pottery & craft training centre at Andretta.
Dharamsala is a gateway to five wonderful treks cross the Dhauladhar that lead to the cultural wonderlands. The continuity of transhumance, the Chaurasia temple (84 temples) of Bharmour and the tribal Bara Bhangal offer some of the most intriguing insights into the ancient cultures across the Dhauladhar. The longest running monarchy, Lakshminarayan temple and the Bhuri Singh museum are the special attractions of Chamba once you cross the Dhauladhar.
This small town is a favourite tourist resort of Kangra district and remains flooded with foreign tourist round the year. McLeod Ganj has shot into prominence due to the presence of His Holiness the Dalai Lama who has his residence in this small, isolated and peaceful town. He arrived along with thousands of his followers from Tibet in 1959 to take refuge in India. This town is populated chiefly by Tibetans and in the adjoining hills are situated the gaddi villages.
Palampur is known for its Kangra tea. Situated to the left of the Neugal stream, it affords a panoramic view of the Dhauladhar. It is seat of an agriculture university spread over a vast campus.
One of the most remarkable monuments of the Kangra valley is the temple of Baijnath. Baijnath is situated East of Dharamsala on the main road that leads from the Dharmsala to Mandi. Baijnath is in reality the appellation of the chief temple dedicated to Siva Vaidyanatha ("Lord of Physicians") by which the town itself has become known. The original name of the town was Kiragrama. This we learn from the two extensive Sarada inscriptions incised on stone slabs, which in elegant and florid Sanskrit verse give the history of the foundation of a temple, by two local merchants. "There is in Trigarata," we read in the inscription, "the pleasent village of Kiragrama, the home of numerous virtues where the river called Binduka, leaping from the lap of the mountain, with glittering wide-waves resembling playing-balls, merrily plays, like a bright maiden in the first bloom of youth. That village is protected by the strong-armed Rajanaka Lakshmana."
Day to day description:
Day 01: Dharamshala - Billing (2600m.). By jeep you drive through the green tea garden, in the beautiful Kangra valley. Billing is known as one of the best venues in the world for hang-gliding and paragliding. It provides a most scenic panorama of the Shivalik ranges.
Day 02: Billing - Palachak (2770m.). The track goes to the north of Billing along a spur above the Uhl River with an easy two hours trail to Rajgundal which is mostly occupied in summer. There are potato farms and a forest bungalow in this village for an overnight stay.
Day 03: Palachak to Panihardu (3693m.). It takes about four hours to reach Panihardu over some snowfields and meadows during May and June during the post monsoon there may not be snow on this trail. The track is across rock fields and has a moderate ascent. Mostly trekkers, gaddis and Gujjars camp at this place.
Day 04: Panihardu - Marhu (3690m.) over the Thamsar pass (4710m.). This is a long haul to Marhu after crossing over the lofty Thamsar Pass. An early crossing of the pass is recommended to avoid fierce winds and inclement weather. One must reach the next early to avoid a night march, which is very dangerous. It is a five hours of unhurried pace to the ridge with cairn, and then over the snow field to a sharp rocky rise leads to Thamsar Pass. There is a beautiful small glacial lake a little below the massive expanse of the snow pass in which the shadows of the peaks are reflected.
Day 05: Marhu - Barabhangal (2541m.). It is two and half an hour's downhill trek to Barabhangal village, which has sixty to seventy houses and a small dhaba. It is situated above the confluence of the Ravi and Halihen nullah. Barabangal was once a princely state and has been a focal point for the Rajas of Kullu, Mandi, Kangra and Chamba states; who, from time to time, invaded this state. Finally, it fell under the influence of the Kangra state. The village is connected, by trekking trails, with Kullu & Manali, Lahaul & Spiti, Chamba, Kangra and Mandi and is commonly known as the ‘sangam' or confluence of various treks. The residents are simple and of migratory nature and worship Lord Shiva with utmost reverence, and consider Him their Protector and Preserver; strange since in the Holy trinity, he is the destroyer.
Day 06: Barabhangal to Dhardi (2550m.). This is a long trek over a very strenuous and different terrain involving steep vertical rock cliffs, which look rather impassable. One has to negotiate them with great balance and patience. The trek heads down the river and enters immediately into deep gorges.
Day 07: Dhardi - Nayagraon (2245m.). One can descend along the river at an easy pace and after three to four hours arrive at a dhaba in the canyon; much of the path is across meadows with no shady trees. The bridge, once washed away, has been rebuilt by the public works department providing a direct trail to Jalsu Pass. The path goes through high meadows where the river turns from south to west and again towards Bajouli village located high above the trail and river.
Day 08: Nayagraon to Bramani (3310m.). From Nayagraon we will take a jeep to Bhamour where 84 temples of Shiva are situated in one big courtyard. From here on it will be a two hours walk to reach the Bramani temple (Durga temple).
Day 09: Bramani - Chamba. You will take the same path down as you followed on day 6 to Bhamour. There a jeep is waiting for you to take you to Chamba. Here you can see different Laxminayaran temples and the Bhurisingh museum.
Day 10: Departure from Chamba to Delhi.