Sar Pass Trek has created its own space in the trekking dreams of the Youth Hostelers all over the world. The experience of trekking through the ancient Himalayan villages like Grahan and the stoners’ town Kasol adds to the elusive high altitude Himalayan experience. The trail is designed to give you the experience of bustling towns of Himachal to the windy lake pass where no life exists except that of fresh white snowflakes. And before you proceed for this tedious but refreshing trek, know what you should carry for this trek.
I have been on this trek twice in the year 2014 and 2016 respectively and both the times I have felt a unique thrill.
Here is your guide to enjoy the best of Sar Pass Trek.
Kasol – The Best Town of the Magic Valley
The main town is no more like you dream about it to be. Especially on weekends, half the population of Delhi and Chandigarh create traffic jams, ruckus and hotel tariff hike. So, if you wish to really enjoy it, consider either the days before or after your trek that are not weekends.
Enjoying a walk in the Bazaars of Kasol or a short trek to the nearest town of Manikaran should be at the top of your must do things in Kasol. Other experiences to be enjoyed may include:
-Make your exploration more thrilling by hitchhiking in a truck or tempo going towards Manikaran.
-Feeling blessed at Manikarn Gurudwara by serving food to the people and enjoying the most delicious meal yourself. (All for Free) Every time I mention it, my salivary glands get excited by just the thought of the tasty Punjabi Daal and Sabji. So, you can imagine how mouth-watering the meal would be.
-Feel the warmth of the natural hot water spring at Manikaran. Personal bath is available for 30 INR/ half an hour.
-Take a trail up towards the hills (Take the trail moving up from beside the Moon Dance Café)
-Enjoy the scrumptious Lebanese and Italian cuisines with Ginger Lemon Honey Tea.
-Take a tipsy ride with Lugadi (The local Rice beer) with thukpa and Momos.
The town has an ancient connection to boast about and is certainly a stoner’s and painter’s paradise with the least number of tourists visiting it due to its secluded location. This mountain hamlet would be your first camp after the base. The village is well connected with electricity and has numerous green fields and plum orchards. The Jamdagni Rishi and his wife’s temple at the centre will give you the glimpse of beautiful Himalayan Architecture. (The Temple opens only for the rituals).
I have the best memories playing football with the school children in the village and pulling their chubby cheeks which get a rosy glow in the summers. (Obviously!! They get to eat the fresh and organic fruits growing around the village). The women of the village are usually engaged in woollen works that are supplied to Kasol and Kullu Markets. So if you don’t wish to buy expensive things from Kasol, Grahan is the best place for the same.
If you are lucky enough, you might experience the snowfall right from Grahan. But, do not go with too much expectation. This camp is famous for the hailstones and windy weather. So be prepared for the surprise of nature and consider it as a welcome call from the mountains. 😉
-Locals would help you with everything from Himachali Home Cooked Food to Hot water bath in the nearby cottages.
-Try Momos at the hut near the JT Camp. They are unbelievably yummy.
-You can always decide to spend your evening at the camp sitting around the bonfire at the Momo stall arranged by a local lady.
-spoiler Alert: Don’t get too excited by entering the village. Your Campsite is across the village after crossing a stream by walking on just half a metre wide tree trunk.
This campsite is a part of the Great Himalayan National Park and is totally a secluded place miles away from human habitation. Consider yourself fortunate enough as only YHAI gets the permission to set up tents in this area. Otherwise, only the locals have access to this part of the forest. All the other private trek organisers will make you tile directly up to RataPani from Grahan.
The Summit @13,800 ft
The final summit to sar pass starts as early as 4 in the morning. On this stretch, you would trek in the snow. You will reach the summit by the time the Sun wakes and says ‘hi’ from behind the mountain. Enjoy every bit at this juncture and explore the lake (Sar in local language) if the weather is fine.
The most exhilarating part of the trek starts after this summit. All the pain, hard work, tiredness will vanish just with a push on your first snow slide to Biskeri Thatch. Trust me, this is the best part of the trek. I have been seeing people coming for the third or fourth time just for the snow slides. You would rush through at least 5 slides before you reach the lunch point in the valley.
This campsite is exclusively meant for nature lovers. You can imagine yourself sitting near a stream of flowing water, sipping on the hot tea (probably with some pakoras or fried nuts) with a picturesque view of the sprawling mountains wrapped in the white cloak protected by lush green cedar and deodar trees.
The campsite also had big rocks to be seated on and chit-chat or just to devour the divine beauty of the blessed land of Himalayas.
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