Kheer Ganga enveloped with clouds
Let me again Thank Paul for unraveling the hippie trail of Himachal Pradesh which is a series of strikingly distinctive destinations, mostly villages though. In the south of Kullu lies Parvati valley which is known for various reasons and mostly for the wrong ones. Pin-Parvati pass trek was the first thing I heard about Parvati valley and later I got to know how it became a major hideout for hippies in India. Needless to mention that Parvati valley produces the best marijuana of the country which in itself draws a large number of travelers seeking contemplation in sheer isolation. After researching a bit, I decided to trek till Kheer Ganga and Tosh to get a glimpse of hippie culture and making new connections. So here goes my account of hippie days. Please forgive me if I offend anyone.
Alpine Meadows Kheer Ganga
Kheer Ganga (2960 meter) lies in the extreme end of Parvati valley and the last inhibited village while trekking to pin valley via Pin-Parvati pass. Kheer Ganga remains snow-covered during winters and only get temporary settlement during summers which make is a perfect hide-out for those who want to smoke weed, hash etc etc without any concern…… Cheap and safer staircase to heaven… Well anyway, caught an overnight bus to Kullu and got down at Bhuntar circle to catch the connecting bus to Barshani.
Map of Parvati Valley
Accommodation in Kheer Ganga
Alpine forest in Parvati Valley
Parvati valley lies at the periphery of Great Himalayan National Park and mostly covered with dense forest of alpines and oaks with apple orchards in between. Road to Barshani goes parallel to the Parvati river and passes through Kasol (Major hippie town of Parvati valley) and Manikaran (Famous Gurudwara). Barshani is the last village connected with road (However road now goes up till Tosh) and lies on the bank of Parvati river.
Soon after reaching Barshani, I found myself in the midst of hippie culture with stoned freaks dominating the streets and staring at something unknown. And of course there were some gorgeous chicks as well seeking something within. I started to Kheer-Ganga just after reaching Barshani to buy myself enough time. There are few things you should know about hippies
- Hippies acknowledge you and ignore you at the same time. If you are soft hearted, your chances will diminish.
- Hippies worship those who can arrange them something to get intoxicated. If you don’t smoke then you are not welcome.
- Hippies don’t mind much if you are flirting with their girls but if you don’t go by their rules, there are least chances to get their girls.
- Start learning Hebrew to strengthen your chances. Forget about bragging about your possessions or knowledge, it won’t be any help.
- Remember not everyone in Parvati is hippie.
Delicious Apricot on the way
Anyway for the first time I was trekking with some weight so initial stretch became really taxing till I get adjusted to the situation. Trail passes through beautiful alpine meadows following the river Parvati uphill. En route I came across to many villages and surprisingly Hippies were staying everywhere. I also get chance to pluck apples and apricots from the orchards adjoining the trail. Following the roaring parvati river and crossing some breath-taking wooden bridges, I made it to Kheer Ganga after 3-4 hours of trekking. While trekking I was greeted by many fellow travelers and I weighted my chances every time.
Tableland Kheer Ganga
Kheer Ganga is a tableland surrounded by thick forest of alpine meadows. It was a mesmerizing view when clouds started enveloping the forest and the snow-clad mountains. Kheer Ganga is known for hot water stream which flows beneath the temple of Lord Shiva. Temple is highly revered hence alcohol is not permitted in Kheer Ganga however other kind of Intoxication are in surplus. There is well made pool to bathe in the hot water stream and water is really hot.
Kheer Ganga Trek
Sadly, the day I reached Kheer Ganga was also the start of some freak gathering in Kasol so most of the long term travelers were receding down to Kasol. You will only get basic tent kind of accommodation in Kheer Ganga. I browsed all the available options and evaluated the possibility. Finally lodged myself in a tent situated at one corner of the table land. Soon after it started raining heavily and spoiled the whole scenery so I surrendered to sleep to rejuvenate myself.
Clouds enveloping the peak
In the evening when I woke up, views of the forest and the peaks were simply spectacular. Heavy mist was enclosing the valley but the peaks were shining while sun was setting down at a distant horizon. In addition to that, the melody of Parvati River was soothing the entirety of that moment. It was too much to absorb and appreciate for a nature lover. Later I realized that I am accompanied by a hippie couple in the same guest house. They were much interested to explore the beauty within and smoke weed. My chances were completely shattered as there were just 3 travelers at Kheer Ganga that evening.
Apricot Tree in trekking trail
As it was dawned and night approached, clouds disappeared completely to offer us the crystal clear view of sky and the stars.. a view of sky which we hardly feel in towns or cities…. I roamed around the plateau, climbed small rocks, barged into the grooves, listened to the sound of silence and I realized the very freedom of this place which makes it so special. Being in Kheer Ganga is a different feeling than what you feel while accomplishing a challenging peak or high altitude trekking or defeating harsh terrain or exploring untraveled. There is nothing to feel special about…nothing to brag about… no feeling of home or homelessness….it was just thoughtlessness…. That evening was a conditioning to the mind and the soul or to the existence.. So relaxing and laid-back… and if you want to reach the state of thoughtlessness, Kheer Ganga is your destination.
Hot water Spring Kheer Ganga
Next morning, I woke up and headed straight to the hot springs to take a bath and brush my teeth. Believe me it was really hot water and it scared me for the first time. Later I overcame the fear and dipped in the hot water spring. It was a refreshing pool in the midst of nature. Although there was no problem of food or accommodation but in the absence of the tourists, Kheer Ganga was quite deserted and I was not seeking isolation those days so I decided to pack my stuff and recede back to the valley in the search of new destinations. I was fortunate not to witness rainfall while descending to Barshani else it would have not been 2 hours descend.