Himachal Ad

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).

Will I reach Manali (Via

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

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...

dear Vishnu Thanks for

dear Vishnu
Thanks for helpfull information.
Right now I am in Kullu heading to Rampur for Lavi Fair. Leaving tomorrow and have a night stay in Gushaini. I have some questions you might be able to answer.
1) driving in a car is gushaini a lot out of the way - heading towards Rampur ?
How long does it take to go from Gushaini in a car- to Rampur ?
We are passing the Jalori pass- is it without snow right now ?

Hope you are able to help answer my Questions
Br Lisbet

Hi Lisbet... I

Hi Lisbet...
I have been to Gushaini recently with my average car... Roads are motorable...no problem at all...

I am not sure how much time will it take to drive to Rampur from Gushaini.... Considering distance, it should be 3 hours journey....

Heard that there was mild snow fall but I think route is wide open...

Regards
Vishnu Kumar

Dear Vishnu fantastic that

Dear Vishnu
fantastic that you just answered my quetions right away. Thank you very much.
Br Lisbet

you are welcome...

you are welcome...

Dear Vishnu, Very nice

Dear Vishnu,

Very nice information of Banjar valley. I am planning to visit Jibhi & banjar valley in September mid. Please advise me if it is a good time to travel, as i m travelling in my own car. Is it safe to park car at road side. Please mail me the website of rana guest house.

Thnkx

September mid is good time to

September mid is good time to explore Banjar Valley, Sainj, Thirthan etc... Traveling by car is also fine as roads are not that treacherous like other part of Himalayas... Rana's website is included in a comment from Paul...please check

Hi Vishnu , Very nice

Hi Vishnu ,

Very nice information of Banjar valley , I am planning to visit Jibhi & Surrounding in December last week ,

As i have 10 to 11 days with us can we club Sangla & kalpa for 4 to 5days with this , As we really dont want to go Shimla or Manali

is the Roads are accesible in the region of Sangla & kalpa ,
The jalori pass will be open at december end so i can travel Sarhan rampur to Banjar(jibhi)

Regards,

Diwakar Datar

Sangla and Kalpa in december

Sangla and Kalpa in december is quite an ambitious trip... I have heard that Jalori gets blocked intermittently due to heavy snow during winters.....but mostly it remains open....

Rekong Peo is accessible through out the year... Kalpa should also be reachable...

Sangal may be accessible but Chitkul won't be possible...

11 days are sufficient for the circuit you are planning...

==== Vishnu

Hi Vishnu - this is Paul who

Hi Vishnu - this is Paul who you refer to in opening paragraphs. A great rendition indeed of your Banjar Valley visit. I am headed back there this September to just lay back at Rana's for maybe 2 or three months. My brother and sister (from Australia) who have never visited India are thinking of coming over for a week or so and your account was great to send them to give them the "ins" and "outs" of a Jibhi stay. Of course I would also recommend Rana's new website to your readers. :

http://www.kshatra.com/

ciao
Paul (Mahadev)

Hi Paul... Thanks for

Hi Paul... Thanks for dropping by and mentioning link of Rana's website... Good to hear about your arrival in India... looking forward to catch you someday...

=== Vishnu

Hi, Great to go through your

Hi,

Great to go through your notes. I am planning to spend two days in Gushaini and then carry on to Jibhi for two days and then Shoja for two days. I will be travelling with two other girls. It would be great if you could share with me the contact details of Mr. Rana so that I can speak to him about accommodation in Jibhi. Any inputs on Shoja? We would be on an absolutely shoe-string budget have have 6 days in hand to spend in Banjar Valley before we move on to Manali/Naggar for 2-3 days. Eagerly waiting to hear from you.

Gushaini has to

Gushaini has to homestays...Shoja also got couple of accommodation options... I am dropping you Rana's number on your email...

I am planning to visit jalori

I am planning to visit jalori region in june. I am interested in exploring the interior regions especially the ones depicted by you in the map by rana.

I specifically want to ask about the cave and the waterfall.

Could you please provide me with rana's number.

Thank you

There is a lot in and around

There is a lot in and around Banjar Valley.... You will have an awesome time traveling around Jalori...

Hi Vishnu, I'm Chandni from

Hi Vishnu,
I'm Chandni from mumbai looking at traveling to Jibhi next month with my hubby and a few close friends....Since u have explored jibhi I would wish to seek ur advise on a few things.

1. Is June end a good time to travel to jibhi? Hope the rain won't block the road by landslides and cause any problems. We r going to be traveling by road. How r the roads? Good? Decent? Bumpy? Horrible?

2. Since not many people visit is the place safe enough. We are going to be 2guys and 3girls.

3. Does jibhi have decent and safe accommodation with hygienic bathrooms.

4. We also would like to know what other place can we combine with jibhi.

5. Also if someone has to join us from Mumbai...would it be advisable they join us from Chandigarh or Delhi?

These r the points I can think off for now. Will bug u a bit more as and when the thoughts come in.

Thanx a ton.
Me!!!

Hi Chandni, Here is

Hi Chandni,
Here is my take on your queries...

Is June end a good time to travel to jibhi? Hope the rain won't block the road by landslides and cause any problems. We r going to be traveling by road. How r the roads? Good? Decent? Bumpy? Horrible?

--- June is perfect time to visit Jibhi.. Chances of getting stuck between landslides are bleak.... Roads are good...some part are bumpy but not as bad as you might have imagined about Himalayas...

2. Since not many people visit is the place safe enough. We are going to be 2guys and 3girls.

Very Safe in my opinion.

3. Does jibhi have decent and safe accommodation with hygienic bathrooms.

These guest houses and homestays are really good...clean place..

4. We also would like to know what other place can we combine with jibhi.

There is a lot you can do in and around Jibhi... I will suggest you to include Great Himalayan National Park which is not very far... but trekking is generally many days activity.

5. Also if someone has to join us from Mumbai...would it be advisable they join us from Chandigarh or Delhi?

They can join at Chandigarh....

Regards

Thank you for such a detailed

Thank you for such a detailed piece of hard work & making it easy for other travellers. Plz pass me your email id ive a few things to ask.
Thank u.

Thanks for commenting... look

Thanks for commenting... look forward to see you more often...

Dear Vishnu what a

Dear Vishnu
what a delightful piece of work! thank you very much for the presentation. I hope Jibhi sustain its beauty and tranquility for longer period of time, as development will play its role as well.I believe that this kind of work will spread right massage to the right people. I'm a native of Jibhi, thank you and your work is much appreciated. Regards

Thanks for dropping by

Thanks for dropping by Lalit... I am truly in love in Jibhi and I know there are so many unknown treasure in Himachal which are not known to tourists and that too is good in a sense.... will look forward to see you more often...

=== Vishnu

Great article ! detailed and

Great article ! detailed and useful that's the way we like it ( it will be getting a link right a way).
Totally agree that Banjar valley is far of being just 'touch -an'- go' kind of place. With loads of hidden places in the forests it defiantly a place discover thoroughly. I would have mentioned the amazing ( and ancient) Shiva temple above Bahu as well.
lastly, I got stuck in Jalori pass due to the snow.. for one day though.

Thanks for dropping by and

Thanks for dropping by and saying words of appreciation...I agree Banjar Valley is quite a place for long term travelers...

=== Vishnu

can someone quote price for

can someone quote price for this journey..

What exactly you wanted to

What exactly you wanted to know in terms of price...stay...food...fare.. It's a cheap place...

Great Place i have been there

Great Place i have been there three times.. Rana cottages are very great one should stay atleat for night there..

Jibhi was a delight... so

Jibhi was a delight... so laid back... certainly one of my recommendations for the travelers to Himachal...

Jibhi is becoming a major

Jibhi is becoming a major stop between Shimla and Manali... exquisite valley...

Vijay... Jibhi is not just an

Vijay... Jibhi is not just an overnight stay between Shimla and Manali... Banjar valley has too much to offer... Have a look at the map...

very well detailed page on

very well detailed page on jibhi. would it be ok for you to share rana (ji's) contact. i(with family) am going to be in Great Himalayan national park and have 2 days to spend at jolori pass. what has been your experience between the two kids and to do some short day hikes.

Mailed you his contact

Mailed you his contact details... Say Hi from my side if you are staying there...

allright... Do we find snow

allright... Do we find snow at Jalori pass during Winters...

Jalori witness mild snowfall

Jalori witness mild snowfall during winters but does not get closed....but peaks around Jalori remains snow covered...

Jibhi is simply amazing...

Jibhi is simply amazing...

heading to Jibhi...your

heading to Jibhi...your review will be very helpful

Thanks Ragini....

Thanks Ragini....

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