Under October Sky: Drive to Jibhi and Gushaini, Himachal Pradesh

October sky was twinkling with full moon, taking the lead role and throwing mild light on otherwise darker road to Manali. As sun went down, we made to Mandi and still were way behind to our schedule. It was a crazy day of meticulously driving till Ambala on National Highway one where we had been penalized in the past for over speeding. Whiling away in Chandigarh, we missed the lunch entirely and underestimated the remaining distance. Over prized omelet at road side Dabba was the only intake of the day and Chevy also could not get the promised rest. Most of the times, I had taken this route during night so could not really appreciate the beauty of winding roads till Mandi. This time around I got the chance to drive during sun time however not worth repeating experience it is.
Banjar Valley Himachal Pradesh
                                       Banjar Valley Himachal Pradesh
Anyway coming back to road ahead, we kept driving towards Manali till AUT tunnel from where road bifurcates in right towards Banjar Valley. It was already eleven and we still had nearly 30 km to cover through absolute silence of Banjar valley which went to sleep long before we entered. It’s a narrow tar road with towering deodar on one side and daunting valleys on another. Sheer darkness of the night suppressed that sudden awe which I used to feel while taking a peek down to the valley. With limited vision ahead, it looked an even road of Northern plains of India…. Quite like life, if you stop caring about farfetched vision then every day is same…  Anyway, Chevy was indicating low fuel which we could not get at Larji, only fuel station of Banjar valley.
Good Morning Jibhi
                                                Good Morning Jibhi
In an hour we made to Jibhi, a scenic hamlet before Jalori pass and one of my favorite villages in Himachal. This time around it was purely for vegetation with moderate day hikes for routine stamina check. With rippling of river and breeze through the pine lines, Night became a perfect setting for smooth slumbering. Next morning, my friends were amazed with a serene backdrop of Jibhi which definitely uplift the senses no matter how many times you visited here before. Intricate wooden houses of the villages were tucked precariously on slopes fringed with deodar and terraced gardens. In the month of October, Lonely orchards of apples, apricots etc were waiting for another frosting winter ahead.  Away from usual commotion, Jibhi had always been a delight for me and a chance to catch up with friends in countryside and chit-Chatting over current affairs to highly tangled local legends.
Waterfall Jibhi
                                                      Waterfall Jibhi
After catching up with acquaintances, I guided my friends to the water fall which is one of known tourist attractions of the village. Banjar Valley is the place of hidden treasures…you arrive…stay for a while…stroll along… do adventure on your own… make your own mistakes (Don’t regret on them)… and If you encounter any natural wonder then relish it with your own pace….. Never talk about this experience with anyone…. Start in reverse again…. The freedom of the valley will never trigger the urge of visiting any tourist attraction. The waterfall was not roaring as it usually does during Monsoon. It’s not a high or wide waterfall…. Just a waterfall hidden inside a valley covered with slush green forest. Adventure lovers can try their hands on water rappelling under the waterfall. The lesser visitation in this region is keeping the flora and fauna intact and most importantly it’s yet to be piled up with plastic which is a complement with heavy visitation. In the afternoon, we also made two visits to Banjar town for getting fuel for Chevy. All the ATMs in Banjar went kaput which led to sudden dwindling of cash supply. Hansh who is a local friend of mine shown us around Jibhi and took us to some sites he recently discovered. Slanted rock jutting out towards the valley is new rappelling/rock climbing site which is not very far from the Jibhi.
Shoja Village before Jalori Pass
                                             Shoja Village before Jalori Pass
In my previous blogs about Jibhi, I have already covered about all the major attractions of the valley so will evade those details this time. Road to Jalori pass is dotted with many scenic villages in the middle of apple orchards. Most of these villages are now home to high-end homestays offering a gateway to Jalori and nearby attraction. Not as high as other mountain passes of Himachal, Jalori is the nearest pass from Delhi. We also headed to Jalori just for an elevated view and gracing our appetite with mouth-watering maggy. During winters, when Jalori gets snow-covered, it became a perfect site for skiing and snow-boarding. The oak forest (Also the state tree of Himachal) near Jalori pass is an enthralling aspect of Himachal flora which largely gets unnoticed by visitors. In a short while it started to rain heavily and mist impeded the entire view and made road slippery…. Hansh said that witnessing early winter rain is auspicious… something good might happen with you guys… we chuckled..
Silhouette of hills
                                                   Silhouette of hills
Evening mist made sun to disappear long before its actual settings and we receded back to the sleepy village yet again. Relentless desire to quench the crafty thirst made Chetan to rush towards the only liquor shop of the village and arranging other parts. Wind across the lonely gardens of apples were becoming colder and colder every hour. Vehicular movement seized soon after the dark, leaving the thin water streams to take over the acoustic of the valley. While taking a stroll in mid night…a blink less gaze to the star filled sky occupied me for a moment…or may be more than that… moon was shining innocuously on the other side of the peak… stars were playing hide and seek by flashing on each other’s eyes making them blind for an instance….Life in the outer space never intrigued me so I allowed that much awaited blink….I knew in some days sky will be laden with seasonal clouds which subsequently fall snow over the mountains of Banjar Valley…  Green will be covered with white… Frost…Slush...Water….. Green will be back again in the due time…
Tirthan River near Gushaini
                                             Tirthan River near Gushaini
Next morning, we drove to Banjar…withdrew cash, refueled chevy and then drove further to Gushaini, prime village of Tirthan valley. Tirthan had been in my radar for long but every time missed it by a whisker, albeit my frequent travel to Banjar side. Tirthan valley is the most preferred gateway to Great Himalayan National Park and offers laid-back experience similar to Jibhi. For readers interesting in travel guide of Tirthan valley, I have posted an elaborated article on Tirthan valley. Road to Gushaini runs along the bank of River Tirthan which shrank significantly from monsoon time. To our surprise, there were not many visitors in the valley. River bank was also devoid of tourists and anglers which is a usual sight in Tirthan. We passed Gushaini to drive further till the entrance of GHNP but road was unpaved so we retraced. Unlike Jibhi, Tirthan valley is much wider and might be having sun for longer time during winters. Loose rocks and gigantic boulders on the river bed were impeding water flow. Once laden with fruits, apple orchards were deserted with fallen leaves over the ground… leaves turning red..
Bridge on River Tirthan
                                                  Bridge on River Tirthan
Lesser visitation, vista and placid environs make Tirthan one of the best river side destinations of Himalayas. You can spend days hopping remote villages of the valley, crossing precarious bridges on the rivulets or just kick back over the warm sand of Tirthan’s bank. Freedom of the valley is an absolute upside of the valley thus became a favorite of long term travelers. After visiting friends in nearby villages and Gushaini, we turned to river bank which looked quite tempting for taking a dip. It was the beginning to winters and water was chillier than we expected.  An hour went futile in touching and retracting from River Surface but finally we jumped in a small pool between the boulders.  I think there is no need to emphasis how we felt just after that. It quivered to the core and indeed triggered a mild headache.  October is infact one of the best season to venture Tirthan Valley. We enjoyed our stay while doing moderate hikes and enjoying dinner around the river bed.

Hey,   I am planning atrip



I am planning atrip early in march and i want to visit jibhi and gushaini can you suggest how i can reach here with public transport

would be driving to tirthan

would be driving to tirthan valley on 17th june and stay put till in Jibhi till 21st June, with wife and two sons ( 9 & 15 years old) can you recommend an itinerary/ plan for the 4 days we would spend in tirthan & Jibhi.. regards vishal



I would suggest to stay 2

I would suggest to stay 2 nights in Jibhi and 2 nights in Tirthan. There is no such thing as itinerary. you can go for walk around the villages. while in Jibhi, you can go to Jalori pass and trek to nearby Lake.

hi,  i am planning for a solo


i am planning for a solo trip to tirthan. One day I am planning for jalori pass and serloskar lake and would love to visit the waterfalls. Can you please guide me, that how far the waterfalls are from jalori pass and what all other activities can be done there




Waterfall is near Jibhi which

Waterfall is near Jibhi which is 20km down from Jalori pass.

I had an amazing stay in

I had an amazing stay in jibhi..Your blog was really helpful in planning my itinerary .. I had an amazing stay at rana's cottages.. Thanks again for wing such good stuff Wink

Happy to hear you found it

Happy to hear you found it helpful and enjoyed stay in Jibhi...

+- Vishnu

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