When I thought about Lahaul , memories of tiring long journeys over Rohtang Pass haunted me most. Yet never had I stopped in the valley to explore like I had done to other Trans-Himalayan region of Spiti , Ladakh or even remote Johar valley.
As it was written , finally in March 2021 , I did take my time out to visit Lahaul and explore a bit parts of it.
Overshadowed by the popularity of Ladakh and Spiti , the valley of Lahaul nestled between this two held on to it's beauty and secrets for long. The rough and long ride over Rohtang and inaccessibility in the winter's due to high snow made it a affair only chosen by few.
While posts on social media is filled with Spiti and Ladakh, and it's popularity surging everyday, Lahaul remains the exclusive place.
The offbeat small villages with some of the head turning views all around from your drive , surely etches a long-term unforgettable memory in the heart.
With time obviously , Lahaul will gain it's popularity , which is why I would recommend, if you want to visit it's authenticity, this is the time.
The expenses in Lahaul are a bit higher due to it's harsh weather and climate making it hard for people to operate hospitality business. Yet it doesn't boil a hole in your pocket.
Worth it if you ask me the views you see. Prime centres of attraction and stat are Keylong and Sissu.
Keylong is like the regional capital of the valley with a stretched town in the laps of ragged green less mountains of Lahaul. Almost all facilities can be found here and there are monasteries to visit around making it a perfect destination to stop.
The religion of Lahaul is primarily Tibetan Buddhism , so such similarities with Spiti and Ladakh is easy to discover and find.
The most attractive village and travel hotspot of Lahual Currently will be Sissu. Nestled in one corner of a huge valley where Chandrabhaga flows breaking the mountains , this small village is perfectly positioned as a painting in the huge canvas that Lahaul landscape provides.
Honestly speaking , you can't stop clicking pictures while being here. Hotels , guest houses and homestay are available , but less in number for best service it is advisable to prebook. But if it's not weekend , one can find a good deal while being there.
Sissu has Beautiful forests that look entirely alien to the general landscapes of India, and are often compared to exotic foreing destinations. It is sad , that half of us have such trouble to believe that India itself in it's various forms could be so beautiful that we don't need to compare.
All in all Sissu is a must if you're in Lahaul.
The road from Manali to Lahaul is another Adventure altogether , as we go through a very talked about Atal Tunnel in Solang valley. One can see what man and his machines can achieve when they see such a creation. The journey to Sissu which took around 7 hours over Rohtang now takes only 3 hours roughly. All thanks to the massive tunnel that cuts through the Dhauladhar range and opens to other side of the valley.
The road in Lahaul is smooth for now , as has been created recently , and the drive is one of the prettiest road trip you will ever take.
People like us would just walk long on the road, to click some great shots of the terrain. Hitchhiking is possible as the people of Lahaul are kind and warm from heart.
I would definitely need to go back and explore more of it's exclusivity, with time and energy. For now I just let's say , read the preface of the book that awaits my arrival.
But knowing my travelers how would they so want to discover this hidden sides of Lahaul I am already running road trips here.
3 Night 4 Days Roadtrip is at 5000 INR per person. For more information on that, you can directly message me.
To imagine what to expect from the road trip, you can check out my full video of Lahaul in my YouTube channel TOUR GUIDE JOURNAL.
Ganges is the most holy river of India. This river gives life to a billion population from ancient times.
The walk towards Gangotri glacier always has a guardian mountain overlooking travelers. That is the Bhagirathi Massif that is seen in the above picture. Trekkers make their way through boulders towards the glacier, in supervision of the great mountain that is standing tall.
First light on Bhagirathi 2 Peak. It is one of the moments that no human who witnessed can ever forget. One of my favourite picture taken at 4.30 a.m in morning at Bhojwasa camp 3800 meters.
A moment freezed in time literally. A morning hot tea before we head out from Bhojwasa to Tapovan via Gangotri glacier. The chill was so much even in April end that you could see water droplets frozen on the tents outer cover.
The entry to Tapovan and the legendary Shivling peak in the background. For those who walk this trail, can never forget Mount Shivling. Its existence is ethreal.
At Tapovan there is this small shrine of Shiva Lingam at 4300 meters. Far one can see the backdrop of Bhagirathi Massif and in middle is the great Gangotri glacier. One of the best places for a shrine indeed. For if God is omnipotent, it would definately choose this place as its home.
Last light on Bhagirathi 2 Peak. Taken by trekker Shrabandi Poddar. I was too busy witnessing this rather capturing it. Hopefully this picture freezes that moment in time.
The climb to Tapovan from Gangotri glacier is one of the most thrilling and hard. In the background you can see giant waves of crevices in the Gangotri glacier.
The beginning of the trail from Gangotri Dham, a small town where pilgrims reach by road to worship Ganges. And from this town you take this trail to Gangotri glacier which is almost 14 kms. On the right is Mt. Sudarshan and on the left is Bhagirathi just peeping.
The Bhagirathi Massif in Dusk. Taken by trekker And amazing photographer Swapnil Kambli. I was witnessing it and you can see rhat black dot on the picture. That is me ofcourse. Look how insignificant we are in this universe.
First light on Legendary Shivling peak. You can never forget this moment if you had the opportunity to witness this. Its like your first kiss, always to be engraved in your memory till death takes you. It is this moments that makes us feel , a life well Lived.
A group of porters carry trekking equipments in the trek with Bhagirathi massif on background. These guys are the real heroes in any trekking or expeditions. If you can do talk to them , about how they live. Its a humbling experience and often takes away the complaints we have from life.
The Shivling massif from foot to head shot. Isn't it one of the most beautiful things you will see ? Taken by me in dusk as we were coming back from the Gangotri glacier.
Thats Gaumukh , meaning like a mouth of a cow. That is the snout of Gangotri Glacier , i.e the point where Ganges begin from the glacier. Its a divine experience to see this place. The most important birth place of the most important river in India. Tell me who does not want to witness this ?
That's me , in the Bhojwasa camp of the trek. I hope all of you enjoyed photostory and this does inspire you to visit the place.
Note from the Author,
" Travel made me rich and free. Magic and miracles are true , once you wander on the roads to places different and divine. I have collected so many thoughts and stories while being a Tour & Trek guide for last seven years. Sharing with you all, those memories and stories , and wishing you all , that someday you guys travel far and wide too. I am not a great writer , so ignore my grammar and spellings, read it with feelings, and you might just be affected with the wanderlust to hit the road"