Manali is home to many attractions that can take your breath away, but some of the most fascinating ones lie in the folds of the Parvati Valley, Manali’s hidden treasure.
Kheerganga (Khir Ganga) is a gorgeous destination in Himachal Pradesh, deep inside the Parvati Valley. The Kheerganga Trek is also a fan favourite of many trekkers. It is an easy two-day trek, suitable for beginners and avid trekkers alike.
Kheerganga is known for its beautiful snow-capped mountains, beautifully white and foggy through most of the year, and for the Ganga itself. As the name suggests, the Ganga as it flows through this region is a gorgeous milky white, resembling the colour of kheer.
The Kheerganga Trek is well-loved because it offers so much to take in, experience and enjoy. The weather in Kheerganga can vary across the seasons.
It can get extremely cold, the temperature dropping into the negatives and making snowfall a common thing, if not a certainty. On the other hand, the weather can also go up to about 45° Celsius in the Summer months. This means that the Kheerganga Trek is suitable for all times of the year.
If you want the perfect, chilly, trek-through-the-snow experience, then consider visiting there between November to February. If the cold weather isn’t really your thing and you’re looking for warmer climatic conditions, then you might want to make this trek in the Summer months.
Between May and November, the weather is nice and pleasant, making the trek nice and comfortable.
Since it is only a 2-day trek across easy to manoeuvre terrain, the Kheerganga Trek is perfect for beginners as well as seasoned trekkers. Moreover, this trip is a very economical trek for backpackers. The base of the trip – Barshaini – is a quick 3 hours’ drive from Manali, at an altitude of 1189m.
On the Kheerganga Trek, there are three different routes that can be taken from Barshaini to Kheerganga. To make sure that the trekkers have the best possible experience on this trip, the trip taken from Barshaini to Kheerganga will be a different route than the one taken on the way back.
The Kheerganga Trek starts from Barshaini, at the dam over River Parvati. Trekkers will trek Nakhtan village and Rudra Nag village and will reach Rudra Nag temple after a while.
This Shiva temple is a very popular pilgrimage spot. From here, they will then head to Rudra Nag waterfalls, before the path takes them to Kheerganga, where they will set up camp and spend the night in tents and sleeping bags, underneath a gorgeous blanket of clear skies and twinkling stars.
After a hearty breakfast, the return trek towards Barshaini will begin, trekking through Tosh.
Kheerganga, and by extension, this Kheerganga Trek, is a destination that offers so much to people with varied interests.
For the trek enthusiasts, it guarantees stunning views of snow-capped mountain peaks and exotic flora and fauna.
For the more spiritual-minded, or those with an avid fascination for history, Kheerganga is an oasis of culture. It is local lore that Kheerganga is the spot that lord Karthikey chose for his deep meditation.
In an attempt to soothe her son and bring him back home, Goddess Parvati made his favourite dish – kheer (rice pudding) – flow from the mountain top in a river.
Later on, Lord Shiva stopped the flow of kheer, and what remained was the hot water that Kheerganga is now known worldwide for.
The route taken for this trek is breathtaking in its own right, but the destination is something else entirely. The Kheerganga trek reaches its highest before the trek back at the natural Hot Springs.
Kheerganga is located rather close to Manikaran and has natural hot water springs that remain heated throughout the year. Creamy white flakes can be seen floating around the water.
These hot springs – or Parvati Kund – are a meditation point for many, and is a frequently visited tourist attraction. Of course, this is not all there is to this lush valley.
The Parvati valley itself – where Kheerganga is located – is home to some of the most breathtaking terrains and flora and fauna in all of India.
With gurgling rivers and glistening greenery, sprawling meadows and natural springs and lakes, all ringed with an awe-inspiring view of the Himalayan peaks, Parvati Valley – the secret valley of Manali – is not something to be easily passed on.
Many people travel from far and wide just for the cleansing nature of the crisp, clean air, and the cold climate. The scent of honeydew as you explore the various trails and paths, and the aroma of all the delicious food being cooked at quaint cafes and eateries along the way all drag you there by your nose.
Parvati Valley is rich not only in nature but also in culture. The local culture in the region is so specific and unlike anything in the rest of India.
You can see the impact of this in their food, architecture, and even the little curios and souvenirs around. There is quite the impact of Iranian culture in the cuisine of this region, giving rise to some truly mouth-watering food.
All in all, the Parvati Valley is an experience of a lifetime – introducing you to a new culture, old mythology, rich food and richer history – it promises something to everyone, and guarantees a good time.