Seeing the mountains tunneled and highways carved out of these gigantic rocky mountains, one tends to appreciate the National Highway Authority Of India (NHAI) initiatives to build such infrastructure.

All this is for tourism, for tourists & for their comfort.

It’s all happening before the point of diversion for Jibhi in Tirthan Valley, which is now a popular tourist destination.

I had spent my childhood in Banjar, on the way to Jibhi. I fell a number of times from the stairs in the rented quarter where we lived, thanks to God -it was always a repairable damage. I still remember waving ‘bye-bye’ to a particular HRTC driver from the second floor of the house, levelling so well to establish easy communication with this driver. His bus had a red color crown on the front top, therefore easily identifiable.

Those days, the Tirthan valley was more beautiful, untouched – tourism in this sector was not even thought of. I am just making a wild guess, though the Great Himalayan National Park(GHNP) was already set up in the year 1964.

Tirthan & Sainj Valleys

Tirthan and Sainj are two valleys that bound the Great Himalayan National Park(GHNP). Both the valleys are sparsely populated. People from Sainj valley were fortunate enough to find found work in the Parvati hydroelectric project from 2000 onwards ,whereas those from Tirthan valley ,still relied on the forest until tourism picked up in this region. The source of sustenance was guchhi (Morchella Esculenta), a herb much in demand. Traders in Delhi buy it for Rs 6,500-7,000 per kilogram. 

Simplified map to understand Tirthan & Sainj Valleys

Unlike the other tourist destinations in Kullu Valley, Tirthan Valley is very virgin or raw to be very precise. Away from the hustle & bustle of the crowded Kasol or Manali, flooded with cafes, live music in most ofthe cafes – Tirthan Valley is calm and not that lavish amenities-wise.

Tirthan valley is famous for trout fish-angling, campsite experiences and rustic homestays set in traditional Himachali fashion. The rainbow trouts are found in abundance in the Tirthan river in Gushiani village.

A word of caution: 

Before you indulge in fish-angling and touch that fishing rod, make sure you get the fishing permit from the office of the HP department of fisheries for a fee of INR 100.

Gateway to Sainj & Tirthan Valleys

Tirthan valley is home to beautiful villages, for instance, Sarchi, and Jamala. Sarchi village is set on vast flatland, huge houses painted green, blue, and brown covered with slates to have a roof on the top. There are a number of villages in this beautiful valley that are still not fathomed.But that is what the trekkers are doing – finding new hidden gems!

Imagine the smoke rising up from ‘Chulha’ through the gaps in the slates on the roof in the morning and birds chirping in a village setting. Smoke rising through the fog,what a morning!

Don’t miss to set the bonfire ablaze and take some villagers along to sing folk songs to enjoy your stay in the most effective way.

Jibhi

Jibhi is a small village in Tirthan Valley that now is hugely popular among tourists. Dotted with homestays, and guest houses; it’s easy to find accommodation for your long or short stay. Longer – the better!

Opt for rooms with a balcony so that as you open the doors there is a beautiful landscape, mountains & river to welcome you. I am sure you will develop a feeling of guilt about having paid less to experience all this serenity & solace.

The road to Jibhi might seem narrow if you are driving yourself and not used to hill driving. Suddenly, just before 15 kilometer from Jibhi a steep elevation to Jibhi might pose a challenge.

Who doesn’t harbor a love for mountains vacations? Jibhi is one such place where you could sit in a flowing stream, feet relaxing in the stream, with breakfast spread on a table. How exciting does it sound?

Another attraction in Jibhi is Kulhi Katandi( Mini Thailand).

Well, experiencing such a setting is going to be the next level. Jibhi has secret waterfalls, dense forests, and treks to make your vacations worth it.

Ask your homestay guys & the tour guide to arrange a permit for trout angling. This is another experience to indulge in Jibhi. 

Apart from the conventional Volvo ride from Delhi, an option of reaching Jibhi by air too is available using the nearest airport – Bhunter.

Treks in Jibhi

Sarolskar Lake Trek

Raghupur Fort Trek

Tandi Village Trek- This is an alternate route to reach village Tandi through the forest and the trek’s difficulty level is medium.

Home Stays & Tree Houses

The village Tandi is about 6-7 Km from Jibhi. This village is also known as the Tree House Village. Tandi village has a number of tree houses. The road from Jibhi to Tandi is narrow and it is advisable to travel on this road during daylight. Especially during winters, it’s recommended to use a 4X4 vehicle.

Here is the list of homestays and tree houses-

  • Mudhouse Hostel
  • Heritage House
  • Hotel Cedar view
  • Nirvana, Tandi Contact Number: 6230262606
  • Jhony’s Tree House, Contact Number: 8219249560,7624850149
  • Whispering Pines Cottages, Contact Number: 7018328687

Twin Towers Of Raila

What catches your attention is the watch tower-like structures on the hills. It is a village of Raila which is a 30km drive from Sangrah (roughly 1.5h). These two watch towers are standing tall on the top of the village, still intact.

The local residents said there were two more towers, which could not withstand the tremors of the earthquake in the past and got dashed to the ground. According to them, the existing two have also lost the top stories.

These two towers are engineering marvels for a reason that constructing something of this scale on hills is not an easy job.

Place to stay

The RabbitHouse Homestay. Here is the link –

https://goo.gl/maps/aXh1govJZH8EmMLH6

Sangrah

To reach Sangrah, take a diversion from the Aut tunnel towards the Great Himalayan National Park(GHNP). Sangrah is 30 Km from this diversion point.

This diversion point is the gateway to now popular tourist destinations like Jibhi, Jalori Jot, Sojha, Daliraya Kothi, Sainj, and Thirthan Valley.

Sainj Valley is dotted with small villages and the commercial hotspot is village Sainj. Sainj is famous for its handicrafts popular being the Kullu Shawl & cap.

Sangarh Meadows
(Credits:www.booking.com)

Sangrah is a holy place and has a connection with the Mahabharat era when Pandavas were in exile. Shangarh has huge meadows which has a huge spread. Shangrah Meadows is a vast grassland with a backdrop of snowcapped mountains. Shangchul Mahadev temple on one side of the meadows is a great piece of vernacular architecture. You must catch hold of some localite to experience the culture of village Sangrah.

The village committee has set up rules to keep the meadows clean. They say Shangchul Mahadev has dictated these rules.

No doubt the meadow has a spectacular picture-perfect view with mountains of pin Parvati pass. The present village Sangrah is set around the meadow.

While at Sangrah do plan to visit Barshangarh Waterfall which is 3km from Sangrah. Snow white water falling off the cliff looks magnificent.

Place to stay

THE HOUSE OF OWN STORIES

https://www.google.com/travel/hotels/s/CCMwAQ3TJC8vt81w5

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