Jibhi: Picturesque Hamlet of Banjar Valley

Thanks Paul for sharing your list of exotic destinations in Himalayas. The Majestic mountain series of Himalayas had always been the prime attraction for the travelers around the globe. I also traveled there significantly but I always returned back with a frowning curiosity and a desire to return back. This year, I was more inclined to explore some less traveled, lazy, laid-back, calm and pleasant destinations of Indian Himalayas. Trekking in higher ranges is always inspiring but not very suitable for solo independent travelers.  I am up to high altitude trekking but affording a guide, trekking equipment for my solo trip is quite heavy on my budget. Anyway, my friend Paul had traveled India extensively and even wrote a book about his travels so I counted on him to figure out my bucket list…dropped an email to Paul…
Himalayan Oak Forest Near Jalori Pass
                                Himalayan Oak Forest Near Jalori Pass
Paul returned back with a comprehensive mail about various destinations he has been to but His love towards Jibhi was quite evident in that message. I can’t count how many times he recommended me Jibhi and even drafted the entire route, public transport etc. It took me a while to absorb such an elucidated reply.  ….Long thing short… Jibhi became my first destination from that list…
 

Jibhi is a scenic hamlet in Banjar Valley of Himachal Pradesh. Jibhi can be approached from Chandigarh-Manali Highway. There is a small detour in right just before the tunnel at AUT. You need to take that road following the river and head further till Bajnar. Banjar is some 27 km from AUT and well connected with private busses. Jibhi is another 8 km from Banjar town towards Jalori Pass.
Beas River near AUT
                                   Beas River near AUT

 

How to reach Jibhi: You need to take a bus to AUT (All the busses going towards Kullu/Manali can drop you at AUT). There are overnight busses from Delhi to AUT. After AUT, You need to catch one of the private busses to Banjar. You can also get a direct bus to Jibhi from AUT but those are seldom.
 

Jibhi is situated on one of the popular and shortest route connecting Manali to Shimla. This route passes through Banjar Valley (through Jalori Pass).
 

** Tell the bus conductor that you want to get down at Jaipur (Often misunderstood by the capital of Rajasthan).  Lower Jibhi is known as Jaipur and offers you river side accommodation and cottages.

Banjar Valley Himachal Pradesh
                                   Banjar Valley Himachal Pradesh

 

 

Important Distances from Jibhi:
Banjar (8 km), Kullu (58 km), Manali (98 km), Rohtang Pass (148 km), Jalori Pass (10 km),  Sainj (75 km), Rampur (115 km), Shimla (174 km)

 

 

An overnight journey in a semi-deluxe bus from Delhi took me to AUT. The small town of AUT lies just after a long tunnel on the highway. After getting down at AUT, I caught the connecting private bus to Banjar. Banjar is some 27 km from AUT and took me an hour to reach there. During day time, you can also get direct bus to Jibhi from AUT. Banjar is a typical Himalayan town grown in the middle of lush green valley surrounded by alpine meadows.  Small water streams merge into a bigger stream flowing beneath the valley. Quite lazy, serene and picturesque settings it offers.
Chaihni Village Banjar Valley Himachal Pradesh
                                   Chaini Village Banjar Valley

Later after one hour, I caught another bus from Banjar to Jibhi. Bus was so badly packed that I had to climb up to the roof to get myself a place. It was a remarkable job by bus driver to ply uphill on the narrow road passing through the Banjar town which only accommodates one vehicle at the time.From Banjar onwards, the route is quite steep and greener. I enjoyed the every bit of my journey on the roof top of the bus.
Sightseeing and day treks from Jibhi
                                Sightseeing and day treks from Jibhi

Larger version of the map: http://thinkingparticle.com/image/sightseeing-and-day-treks-jibhi
 

After arriving at Jibhi, It was not very difficult to find Rana. Paul strongly suggested me to contact Rana and mentioned him as an early explorer of Banjar Valley. Guest house run by Rana was fully occupied with a Russian group but still he accommodated me in one of the basic room. Despite of the sleepless night, I was very eager to interview Rana and to get myself drenched with his knowledge about this part of Himalayas. Just after taking bathe in the water stream flowing behind the guest house, I spent some 2 hours interviewing Rana. He did an incredible job of exploring Banjar valley, setting up guest houses, compiling the history of Banjar valley, outlining the trekking trails, exploring unknown villages, ancient temples etc. most importantly he had been doing this since last 20 years. He was also involved in various initiatives for saving environments against dam constructions etc. …truly an unknown hero of Himalayas… Finally he gifted me a self compiled map of the treks around Jibhi…. These treks are moderate and can be done independently….
Sharingi Bagi Temple
                                        Sharingi Bagi Temple

Chaini Fort Trek/Sharingi Bagi Temple trek:  Chaini Village is popular for some ancient structures those are inspired from Chinese art and archeology. Chaini Village can be reached as a 3-4 hour trek from Jibhi. The trek starts from a point called Chiladhar which is some 4 km from Jibhi on the way to Banjar. There is a little diversion to Sharingi Bagi temple from Chiladhar so you can easily notice that.  Sharingi Bagi temple is another major attraction which lies on the mid way. There is a well outlined trail till the temple so I could easily make it to the temple without inquiring to anyone. The trail passes through small villages, cedar forest, apple plantations, and thin waterfalls etc. After spending an hour at temple, I started to trek further towards Chaini Village. Despite of the priest’s directions, I followed the wrong trail uphill and reached to another hill. However I got the first glimpse of Chaini village from that neighboring hill….. Declined back and then hiked again…. Finally after passing through apple gardens and wheat fields, I made it to Chaini Village.
Chaihni Fort
                                          Chaini Fort

It is impossible to imagine such stupendous buildings in a small village like Chaini which lies on an inaccessible hill and not well connected from any town.  Out of 4-5 ancient structures, the five storeys Jibhi fort is the most impressive building. Indigenous people also reported that top 2 storeys fall down in an earth quake. I can imagine how tall it would have been before that calamity.
Ancient Buildings at Chaihni Village

                                Ancient Buildings at Chaini Village
Everyone in the village was surprised to see me taking photographs of those abandoned yet spectacular architectures.  Rocks used in the foundation of this fort are not found in this region hence its early development is still a mystery for archeologists.  I roamed around the village, talked with locals, climbed uphill to take some clicks. It was a delight to visit Chaini and I enjoyed every bit of it……an unknown settlement in the middle of rich nature, culture and archeology...
Chaihni Village from Top

                                  Chaini Village from Top
While descending back, I could not restrain myself following my usual instinct and I fall in for a girl weaving in her balcony.  Like always we passed glances… followed by a cryptic expression… a moment of thoughtlessness and a sudden burst of serendipity…
Transcript at Chaihni Fort
                                    Transcript at Chaini Fort
The same route in reverse and I was back to Jibhi after some 5-6 hours of trekking back and forth. You will rarely get to see snow-capped Himalayas from Jibhi. It’s at a moderate altitude so generally pleasant through-out the year which makes it one of those places where you extend your stay and desperately hopes it as forever. Jaipur (lower Jibhi) is blessed with 3-4 guest houses, couple of provisional stores, wine shop and vegetable stalls.  These guest houses offer high end Swiss cottages to very basic cheap accommodations affordable for backpackers. If you are carrying your own tent then just pitch in anywhere along the river bank.
Unripe Apple near Chaihni Village
                           Unripe Apple near Chaini Village
It was dusked already and everyone was shutting down for the day. There are no restaurants in Jibhi so you will be completely dependent on the guest house’s kitchen for your meals. Like any other hippie’s settlement, all of these guest houses serve orthodox Chinese, Mexican, Italian dishes (Pizza, burgers etc). It was a setback when I ordered an Indian Thali with Chapati and I never repeated this order during my entire stay at Jibhi… Finally a rigorous day was concluded with a bit of scribbling and contemplation…
Jalori Pass Banjar Valley
                                    Jalori Pass Banjar Valley
Next morning (Jalori pass and Sarehul lake): Though Jalori (3120 meter) is not among high passes of Himachal Pradesh still it is quite significant as it connects Shimla to Manali via Banjar Valley. Jalori does not witness heavy snow fall so it is generally open through-out the year. To be honest, Jalori was the only attraction of my visit to Jibhi but later I got to know about so many hidden treasures of Banjar Valley. From Jibhi, the first bus to Jalori departs at around 9:00 AM in the morning and takes around 2 hour to reach Jalori pass. Traveling in a bus carrying passengers double to its capacity and plying on such a steep road was indeed an exciting and profound experience.
Sarehul Lake and Temple
                                  Sarehul Lake and Temple
Sarehul Lake trek:  Sarehul Lake is some 6 km from Jalori Pass. Sarehul Lake and temple are highly revered among locals of Banjar Valley. Hundreds of pilgrims follow this trail to offer their prayers to the main deity. Pilgrims circle around the lake and drops Pure Desi Ghee on its periphery. Trek to Sarehul Lake is majorly flat with some steep patches in between. It takes around 2 hour to make it to Lake from Jalori Pass. I never anticipated this number of trekkers along the route. Most of those were from neighboring villages and were visiting the temple to celebrate a festival.
First view of Sarehul Lake
                                   First view of Sarehul Lake
Trail passes through dense patch of Himalayan Oak forest dotted with small segments of grassland.  Hillocks around the lake offer incredible view of the valley and snow capped Himalayas (though peaks were barren during summers). Most of the pilgrims pitch in their tents around the lake for overnight stay. Basic accommodation facilities are available at Sarehul Lake. Surrounded by thick forest, Sarehul Lake is relatively small but blessed with picturesque settings.
View of Banjar Valley from Sarehul Lake
                                View of Banjar Valley from Sarehul Lake

Last bus from Jalori Pass to Jibhi departs at around 2:45 PM so I started back after spending less than an hour around the lake. Frequency is so sparse that you will rarely get a seat in the bus while traveling on this route. After returning back from Jalori, I directed headed to the river and take a refreshing dip. In my personal opinion, the thirst quenching riverbed is one reason to visit and revisit Jibhi. Rana suggested me many other treks around Jibhi those can be done independently. I have included a detailed map of those treks. I made up my mind to extend my stay at Jibhi as long as I can and I did….but finally the day came and I had to return back to the pseudo reality from the paradise of my own…  With heavy heart I said goodbye to Jibhi to continue my journey of life….
On the way to Sarehul Lake
                                  On the way to Sarehul Lake
 

 

Tourist Attractions around Jibhi:
Sharingi Bagi temple, Chaini Fort (Trek from Sharingi Bagi Temple), Jalori Pass (3225m), Sarehul lake (5 km gentle walk from Jalori), Raghupur Garh fort (3297 m, 4 km right from Jalori pass, short descend and then the steep climb)

Trek (Forest Guest houses are available in all of these villages and can be done in 5-6 days): Jibhi-Ghiyali-Shoja-Jalori pass-Khanag-Taral-Margi-Shilla-Kullu Sarahan-Bagi pul (Bagi pul offers exit to Shimla via NH 22 across Satluj). Trek is also known as Dak Runner's trail.

Travel Tips:
* One should try to book Government busses from Delhi to Manali. These busses can be booked through HRTC website. There are options for booking AC Volvo, Semi Deluxe and ordinary busses. These busses are much punctual than their counterparts run by private operators. Even the cancelation charges are way less (10 %) than what you pay with private operators. However Semi-deluxe busses are not recommended for tourists seeking high-end travel experience. For budget and solo travelers, Government busses are the best pick on this route.
* If you have time then Banjar valley can easily consume 10 days (Including trekking in Great Himalayan National Park).
* First bus from Jibhi to Jalori Pass (9:00 AM), Last bus Jalori Pass to Jibhi (02:45 PM).

Hi Vishnu, A great article.I

Hi Vishnu,

A great article.I am planning to go to Jhilbi next week. could you please share with me the contact details of the homestays and acoomodation details in jhilbi

sure. i will email you those

sure. i will email you those details.

Hello,  Could you suggest a

Hello, 

Could you suggest a few budget places for Stay in Jibhi for a duration of 5 Nights. Along with their contact number. 

 

Sure. I will send you

Sure. I will send you details.

Hi Vishnu,   Please suggest a

Hi Vishnu,

 

Please suggest a low budget place . We would be 3-4 family members. I am on a shoe string budget so please help with regard to stay options as well as food options. Kindly mail me the name of places along with the price. It would be of great help . Anyways thanks man for all this hardwork. I planned this trip after reading your blogs only so cheers to you :) 

Hi Abhishek, I can not help

Hi Abhishek,

I can not help you much with the pricing but can give you a local contact. I hope that wouuld help.

+- Vishnu

Hi Vishnu,   I am visiting

Hi Vishnu,

 

I am visiting Jibhi and tirthan valley in 3-4 days time with my mom and sister. Kindly suggest some budget stay options. In the forums i found mention of some trishla homestay and trout hotel but unlike what was mentioned on blogs they are charging to the tune of 3-3.5 k. I am tight on budget so please suggest someplace cheap with just basic amenities. Kindly mail me names and contact number of few places alaong with their price details at - abhi.garhwal@gmail.com. It would be a great help. Thanks in advance Smile

Sent you few contacts which

Sent you few contacts which might be useful

H vishnu ,       I'm from

H vishnu ,

 

    I'm from Andhra Pradesh and want to visit jibhi in the first week of April for approximately 10 days. I want a homestay with the villagers in their homes , i mean not some small lodges but authentic rural home stay. We are family of Three including a kid. Basic amenities are more than enoug for us. Can you suggest any budget stay for Us.. Your post is very very informative. Thanks.

 

 

 

Sure.. i will drop you a

Sure.. i will drop you a number which will be helpful.. there are handful of homestays available in this part. truly authentic.

Can i stay outside in wild

Can i stay outside in wild and not be worried about animals?

You can camp outside near the

You can camp outside near the villages but if you are camping remotely in the wild then beware of Himalayan bears. very common

And would you recommend doing

And would you recommend doing that? Do you know any other places where i can camp without fearing animals? 

I do not think there is any

I do not think there is any reason to fear with animals. I would suggest to go with a local guide. you would not like to camp in a place where there is no fear of animals.

Hi Vishnu, Need some info for

Hi Vishnu,

Need some info for 2-3 days trip.

We are 6 guys and planning to visit from 24-26th Jan. Can you provide some info/details if any1 provides the camping facilities. If not then details who provide cottages or sort of anything like that.

What places should we cover given we have 2 days to spent. I have heard the sky looks very pretty at night gaxing with full of stars, is ther anyway to get accomodation to watch this. I know it sounds little bit weird Smile

Rest you can suggest us what best to do for 2-3 days. Awaiting for your reply.

Thanks.

 

for 2-3 days, you can

for 2-3 days, you can sit-back and relax in Jibhi. as a day trip, you can go to Jalori pass and hike to smaller villages nearby.

+- Vishnu

Can you help me to purchase a

Can you help me to purchase a pcs of Land in HIMACHAL PRADESH   MOB  9810635403, altenativly you can provide me your cell no so that  I can call you  

regadrds

Hi Pramod.. I do not have any

Hi Pramod.. I do not have any information in this regard.. Sorry.. Good luck with your objective..

+- Vishnu

HI vishu, Great article..very

HI vishu,

Great article..very articlulated.

I need your help. we will be driving our own vehicle from Chandigarh and booked the homestay at Jibhi.. but how are the roads.

as we will leave only at 6 pm in evening and it will be night travel.

Regards,

 

 

 

Roads are good except few

Roads are good except few patches on Chandigarh-Manali highway. be careful while driving in night, its mountaineous terrain.

Dear Vishnu, First of all

Dear Vishnu,

First of all thanks for this wonderful and informative travelogue. Helps a lot. Can you help me with few of the queries? I have also tweeted to you today.

I have 3 days in hand 14-16 Jul from Delhi and want to visit Jibhi and Shoja in these 3 days. I can start travelling by bus to Aut from Delhi on 13th aug midnight.  This means I can reach Aut by next day 14th aug noon and from there to Jibhi another 4-5 hrs I guess. I can spend rest of 14th in Jibhi and 15th second half/evening I can leave for Shoja. we can spend 15th evening and 16th full day in Shoja (visit Jalori pass and come back may be?). 17th morning I can get start my travel back to Delhi and plan to reach Delhi bus stand by midnight.

Questions: 

1. Where to stay in Jibhi and Shoja? We are 2 people looking for budget options only.

2. Any suggestion which you waant to give to enjoy good scenic places, waterfalls if any, in the available time as per the itinerary above?

Awaiting for your reply! 

Thanks a lot.

Rahul

From AUT to Jibhi would take

From AUT to Jibhi would take 2 hours. It will not take 4 hours.

1) There are plenty of homestays and guest houses in Jibhi and Shoja. Finding an accommodation will not be a problem. There are some budget options as well. you should be able to get a room in 600-800 or even cheaper.

2) There is a waterfall near Jibhi. It is walkable. Jalori pass is scenic. Entire valley is nice to sit-back and relax. make your own little walks and you would enjoy.

Cheers
Vishnu Kumar

Thanks a lot Vishnu, this

Thanks a lot Vishnu, this helps a lot! I hope I get a bus on the spot towards Manali (Aut) at midnight from Delhi.

No. Most of the buses to

No. Most of the buses to leave Delhi between 5 PM to 9 PM evening. you would not get direct buses after that.

+- Vishnu

Hi vishnu bhai, I have

Hi vishnu bhai,

I have written to you before for spiti valley. Tfs. Now on shoja which is around 8 -10 kms from jibbhi, wat time are the private buses available from aut as i would be reaching in morning incaae i catch a bus from chandigarh. And secondly are there any public transport from ahoja to recongpeo? Please provide timings and information as it wold be of great help sir.

Yes. there are private and

Yes. there are private and HRTC buses on this route. you can get a bus from Banjar or Aut. from Shoja, you should get a bus to Rampur and then another bus to Rekong peo. i hope it answers your queries.

+- Vishnu

First of all let me thank you

First of all let me thank you for this wonderful travelogue. I was in Jibhi last week. Before going there I had gone thru your blog and was enthuasuastic about the 5 day trip. Must say, Jibhi did not disappointed me. I am already planning for my next visit.

One thing though...
I had spent a lot of time near streams all around Jibhi and also at one of the beautiful waterfall in a cosy nook. While near water I was bitten by some kind of bugs in both my legs. I haven't seen any bug though...I just noticed only some random tiny spot with a spec of blood on them. No sign of bug. Then I would simply wash the place and carry on. Now it has been more than five days now. Those spots look dark. But they do itches a lot. I am worried, has some weird bug entered thru skin? Or it's the bug poison...what should I do now? Has it happened to anyone else? What kind of bug causes this...I think they can't be leeches. Leeches don't disappear.

It is not leech for sure. It

It is not leech for sure. It might have been some other bug. If you want then i can connect you with some locals who can give some pointers. I hope it is not serious however i will not suggest to overlook the bite.

You were surely bitten by

You were surely bitten by blood blister flies common in evergreen forests. Locals often mistake them for mosquitoes. The bite causes a blister which itches a lot and the wound can last nearly 3 weeks. Best to use mosquito repellant when you are in the open. Locals are happy to use mustard oil. The blister heals much faster if you squeeze out the blood/watery stuff by squeezing the wound between the two thumb nails. Ealier you do that better it is.

Thanks for dropping by and

Thanks for dropping by and adding an insightful comment.. very useful information...

Hi Vishnu, That is an amazing

Hi Vishnu,

That is an amazing itenary you just shared.I am planning to go with my family ( including parents) to Jibhi in Mid july. I am looking for a nyc long stay cottage at a reasonable price for around a week or 10 days.Like a home away home experience wherein we as a family could spend some good time.Could you suggest me a place wherein we can have such an experience. Place built completely like home. With good comfort and all the basic amenities.Any Suggestions and Views would be Highly appreciated

 

Cheers,

Rishabh

Sure. I will drop you an

Sure. I will drop you an email with details. I have stayed that place for long and personally vouch for it.

+- Vishnu

Just Great Snaps & amazing

Just Great Snaps & amazing info !!!

i like small styres in one pic.....

Thanks.. keep dropping by..

Thanks.. keep dropping by..

+- Vishnu

Dear Vishnu, Really very

Dear Vishnu,

Really very imformative and very helpful. can you pls provide me the contact details of Rana jee. i am planning to go to jibbi along with my family

 

 

Mailed you the same.

Mailed you the same.

hello sir, m from delhi. i

hello sir, m from delhi. i want to visit jibhi with my friend during may. we are students and dont have that much money Tongue. we want to stay there for 3-5 days and our budget is 2500/- per head. So is it ok to go to jibhi with this budget or not (we also want to do the trekking you mentioned in your article) ?? any suggestion and advice ?

Hi Harsh, You can get a

Hi Harsh,

You can get a basic room in Jibhi around 300-400 INR per night. it can accommodate 2-3 people. Food is little expensive and options are limited. Trekking is not expensive. i would suggest you guys to take buses till Jalori pass and trek. 2500 per head is a decent amount for 3-5 days. if the group size is bigger than expenses would be less.  Unfortunately Jibhi does not have dormitories etc. Does

2500 also include the ticket fare to/from Delhi ?. In that case 2500 would be little tight.

+- Vishnu

Great article Vishnu. Helped

Great article Vishnu. Helped me a lot planning my itinerary. I'm not able to locate Bahu Temple. Could you please guide me how to reach there. exact location and kms. bus/trek route. Thanks

Now, there are buses to Bahu

Now, there are buses to Bahu Temple... you can see it in the map, please see it on left-bottom..

+- Vishnu

Hey vishnu. thanks for the

Hey vishnu. thanks for the reply. i checked up with the guest houses, BS Rana, Shringi Vatika, and the Latoda guest house. BS rana's cottage is already full and the prices(>1000rs/night) in all these guest houses is way too steep, given that I might be traveling alone. Would you suggest any staying options in Chaini Village. I'm assuming it might have some cheap staying options (200-300rs/night) and fooding.. Awaiting your response.! 

Yes, Rana cottages are

Yes, Rana cottages are generally full. There are many other accommodation options in Jibhi and i think you can something below 400 INR. In Chaini village, there is no accommodation facilities except staying with locals in the village.

Dear Vishnu Nice pics &

Dear Vishnu Nice pics & information. Its a motivating information for travelers to move their feets. Regards

Thanks.. Keep dropping by.

Thanks.. Keep dropping by.

Will I reach Manali (Via

Will I reach Manali (Via Jalori pass) in winter???

Jalori remains open

Jalori remains open through-out the year usually but it gets closed intermittently if it snows a lot... Which month are you planning?

What a heart touching

What a heart touching article. When, I first visited Jibhi, my heart told me this is your future residence. Finally, I have leased a land on the river bank and making 15 Log huts for my bread and butter, I plan to stay there during the summers and run my retreat named " Ambrosia"

 

Cheers

Deepak
DD 

Coool... quite a story... i

Coool... quite a story... i also want to build a wooden house somewhere in Himalayas...

Great We will visit soon and

Great We will visit soon and share our expereience

 

looking forward to read your

looking forward to read your experience...

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