Giriganga trek – Woods & Apple Orchards

If you dream about spending some time in peaceful himalayan valleys, if you look for a road less traveled, if you want to experience an indefinable blend of myth and reality, fact and fiction, if ancient and towering temples, legends, charming architecture and soaring mountains excite you, if trekking sets your pulse racing, if you plan your vacation in the scrutiny of picturesque hamlets, fruit-laden orchards, and if you want to experience a place where man and nature live on, Experience the bewitching spell of Pabbar valley. 

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Himachal has always been my favorite place to escape from the hustle bustle of city life. The fresh crisp air detoxing your body, the warmth of the locals and the starry sky always allure me. While I was thinking of going solo this time as Joban was quite busy when Paras, my colleague at office asked me to take him along. So we chalked out a plan to explore the Pabbar valley, which is in Himachal’s southeast corner. We decided to hike till the source of river Giriganga and the temple complex. The base village to reach the river source is Kharapathar which is around 77 kms from Shimla. 

Day 1: 10.08.2018

We started our journey from Chandigarh at 11:39 PM. As I prefer to travel by HRTC buses I and Paras boarded the bus from sector 43 ISBT for Shimla. We reached Shimla at 5:15 AM in the morning. There was no bus available for Kharapathar at that time so we rested for sometime. At about 7:15 AM we boarded a HRTC bus for Kharapathar. The journey was going on quite well until we reached  a point 11 kms before Kharapathar. The land slide had occurred and it blocked the entire route. We were literally struck for 2 hours. While travelling to Kharapathar one should be mentally prepared to be stuck in at least one road block. Seeing no hope we decided to cover the left over stretch on foot. After walking few meters we saw a beautiful waterfall. A beautiful serenity-pool at the bottom of the water fall added to its natural elegance. It was veneer clear. It gave us a hope that something really beautiful is waiting for us ahead.  

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After crossing the landslide portion we decided to hitch-hike and luckily we got some awesome people  who dropped us at Kharapathar. We reached Kharapathar by 2:50 PM. Kharapathar is located quite scenically in a forest of Deodar trees and apple orchards at a height of about 2500 m. Wide views, excellent walk and hike trails and the charm of apple orchards make this a perfect leisure destination. Lies at 77 km from Shimla, it is connected by regular Bus/Taxi services. Nearest Railway Station and Airport (108 km) is at Shimla.

The main attraction of the place is the 7 km trail that starts from the village and leads uphill to the source of the river Giriganga and a temple dedicated to Goddess Durga. There is a beautiful resort which us being run by Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (HPTDC). The Hotel Giri Ganga Resort is a budget accommodation. This property offers its guest 24-hour front desk assistance. The Hotel has well furnished rooms with basic amenities like bedside table, night lamp, wardrobe and telephone. Hotel Giri Ganga Resort offers additional facilities like breakfast, laundry, luggage storage, medical, newspaper, parking and room service. The food however seemed to be much costlier as compared to other restaurants out there. 

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The hotel offers marvellous views of the surrounding hills. We got a room for Rs. 1524/- including 20% off season discount. The Resort is designed to give every room a view of the magnificent valley and each room has a private balcony.

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After having lunch and resting a while we took a leisure walk uphill till Chunjar Village. The view from the top was so picturesque. Lush green forests, fruit-laden orchards, misty cloud formations just enlivened us.

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After having dinner we decided to do some astro-photography. Looking at the starry sky we thought to capture the milky way. We waited for the lights to get off to get a clear view and after some trial and error we got some pretty good shots of the milky way. I was feeling so accomplished as it is very difficult to shoot the milky way in such light pollution. Such a dazzling sight that make you forget your worries and inspire you to dream. 

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Day 2: 11:08.2018

After getting a good sleep we woke up early set out to conquer the trail at 7:15 AM. The trail to Giri Ganga starts about 1 km west of the resort on the state highway to Rohru. It’s a dirt track pitched with rocky patches that forks right off the road. There are two concrete pillars, the entry gate is yet to be completed. The trail is wide with a very gradual gradient.

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Vehicle can also be hired to reach Giriganga and back. The trail is beautiful with lush green deodar trees and lined with green meadows.

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The hike was very easy, quite pleasant and not strenuous at all. En-route we took plenty of pictures of the prevalent flora and fauna. It was absolutely blissful.

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There was no one on the trail and it was so peaceful. We found some rare fungi species known as yellow stagshorn, mushrooms, insects such as leeches, snails, beetles, etc.  

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After covering about 5 kms we saw two huts. Families were staying there and they guided us to take a shorter route as the weather seemed to changing to an overcast. This shorter route was the only portion of the trail which was a bit steep and lasted for only 10-15 minutes.

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You won’t find any eatery in the entire trail. Finally we reached Giriganga at 9:37 AM.  The River Giriganga flows along the temple complex and is the only source of fresh water available there We saw some local children carrying cans filled water from the river itself. 

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The temple complex consists of a couple of unused, almost-in-ruins structures, a relatively newly built cottage, a traditional, stone-and-wood cottage with a thatched roof and three shrines. The main shrine faces the traditional cottage and is built on a stone foundation, which is in the center of a large sacred water pool. It’s a simple, square, stone structure with a curving, conical roof.

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This shrine is dedicated to Goddess Durga. The interiors are dark except for the dim light of the diya that looks like it’s kept burning at all times. The other two shrines are placed above the pool, facing each other. One of them has the idols of Lord Ram, Laxman and Sita, while the other has a large, marble Shiv-ling. We accepted the Prasad offered by the Panditji in the Durga temple and we then captured some shots of the temple complex.

IMG_20180812_095115There is also a another temple uphill towards west side of this temple complex. 

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We got some pictures of the goats kept by the locals. Few of them gave some poses too.

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We then decided to call the day off an started our descent at 11:00 AM. We managed to get to the base of the trail at 12:48 PM. 

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We then had our lunch and boarded the bus to Shimla at around 2:15 PM. We reached Shimla at about 7:00 PM. We then boarded the bus to Chandigarh. The rain had started and it didn’t stopped till Chandigarh. Finally we manged to reach our home by 12:45 AM and rested for the day. 

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Looking back, Giriganga is surely an offbeat destination and offers a lot to the nature lovers. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

49 Comments Add yours

  1. Sevya Sharma says:

    WOW! Nature never goes out of style!

    Like

  2. The pictures are breathtaking for sure, the stars are unreal for sure! the trees look so healthy and full of life. Great job for sure!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hiking Singh says:

    Thanks!!! The stars are real !

    Like

  4. I love this travel blogpost, it looks like a beautiful place! Also, your photos are pretty good, I’m interested to know what equipment you use? I’m a photographer so I love learning from others and their experiences! Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hiking Singh says:

    Yes, it is a beautiful and a serene place. I shot them using my phone, one plus 5t.
    Thanks for so much inspiring words !!!

    Like

  6. Nain says:

    So beautiful pictures, you have stayed very close to nature.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hiking Singh says:

    Thanks for appreciating !!!

    Like

  8. Val Breeze says:

    Wow great photos, especially at might. Love them. I love to post photos of our travels too. Here is a link to our trip to Monemvasia Greece https://followinglifesbreezes.com/a-piece-of-history-monemvasia-greece/

    Liked by 1 person

  9. The photos are stunning! Makes me definitely want to check out Pabbar Valley!!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Ketki Gadre says:

    Wow i have never heard of Pabbar valley before and it looks amazing just like it other Himachal counterparts. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I have never heard of Pabbar Valley, I would love to go there really soon. That starry sky, that’s just mesmerizing. All the pics are so breathtaking, it seems a great place to go out of the city lights and enjoy some quality time with nature. Loving it.!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Hiking Singh says:

    Thanks ! You must go there. It is very peaceful and a serene place.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Hiking Singh says:

    Yes it is !. Do try some other treks also in this valley.

    Like

  14. I love traveling! The photos are stunning! Nature is so amazing! There are so many places I want to go, I’ll never have enough time, lol!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Nina says:

    The place looks awesome! Definitely worth checking when we visit there. My husband just loves the woods.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Your adventure felt like getting me alongside.. I can feel such a beautiful outbound escape back to nature. I like many more activities like this!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Wow, great capture of nature’s best. It’s a magical ancient place which reminds me of English countryside i saw on movies.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Thanks for sharing this lovely piece. Sigh….I had a bad day today & feel much better after viewing your beautiful captures here 😀 Cheers,siennylovesdrawing

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Your photos look so magical! It’s like you have stepped into the fairytale world. Such a wonderful family escapade. The view is not only picturesque but also instragammable! Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Hiking Singh says:

    Thanks for appreciating 👍

    Like

  21. Hiking Singh says:

    Nice to hear that !!! Thanks for appreciating !!!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Hiking Singh says:

    Thanks for so much recognition !!

    Like

  23. Hiking Singh says:

    Thanks!!! I appreciate you noticed that !!! 🙂

    Like

  24. Wow these pictures are stunning! Wow thank you for sharing this. It really reminds you of the beauty of the natural world, from the small to the cosmic! Wow!

    Liked by 1 person

  25. I like how you see the beauty of the small things and make it a big picture. the mushrooms and the snail, you have given a sense of appreciation to mother earth from ur pics

    Liked by 1 person

  26. These are some great pictures of a beautiful place. Amazing

    Liked by 1 person

  27. amayszingblogs says:

    I love the place looks like a great of nature 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Neil Alvin Nicerio says:

    Great photos. It made me reminisce on my hiking days. Great job.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Hiking Singh says:

    It hardly take 2 days do such trek. You must go and experience !!!

    Like

  30. panushwari says:

    The photos and the description – both were magical!

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Hiking Singh says:

    🙂 Thanks for appreciating !!!

    Like

  32. Charu Sharma says:

    Wow! It looks like an amazing trek. All the views are beautiful and breath-taking. I wish to experience an adventure like this at least once in my lifetime.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Everything On A Plate says:

    We are in Love with this blog post! Love! What did you click these pics with? They are incredible

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Hiking Singh says:

    My phone !!😀

    Like

  35. This can definitely connect one with mother nature. So lovely

    Liked by 1 person

  36. Hiking Singh says:

    Yes, it will !!

    Like

  37. Nathan Tran says:

    That is an amazing post about such great experience! Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  38. Wow, what an amazing adventure you had! I am as well a lover a nature so reading this made my heart melt in an instant. I would love to trek here soon!

    Liked by 1 person

  39. Hiking Singh says:

    Thanks for the appreciation !!! You must try it once !!

    Like

  40. joleisa says:

    Awesome. I used to love looking up at the starry sky. But it’s true, with so much light pollution now, it is really difficult. Your photographs are stunning by the way. Thanks for sharing

    Liked by 1 person

  41. Hiking Singh says:

    Thanks. Yes it has really become difficult bto find places which very less light pollution.

    Like

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