Duration – 4 days
Budget – INR 4,500/-
Delhi – Mandi – Ghatasani – Barot – Winch Camp – Barot – Delhi
Lying in the Mandi district, Barot is a small village that lies beside the Uhl River. If you are looking for a secluded and a less touristy hill station in India, then Barot is the perfect heaven to go to. It is famous for its trout fish, trekking and camping activities.
Furthermore, it is also known as the “trekker’s paradise”.
Below, I have provided a step-by-step guide to both Barot and Winch Camp that can be covered together. I have also listed down the cost and accommodation facilities, along with other trekking destinations that you can explore near Barot!
Best Time to Visit Barot
Tourists can visit this village anytime, however, do avoid travelling to this side during the rainy seasons. Even though the village will be at its greenest, but landslides can become a huge problem while reaching here.
If you want to experience snow laden lands, visit this place between November to February.
Day 0 – Delhi to Barot
Delhi – Mandi – Ghatasni – Barot
Sadly, there are no direct buses to Barot from Delhi.
We took an overnight bus from ISBT Kashmiri Gate to Mandi that took about 9 hours to reach the Mandi bus stand. We waited for a while in the bus stand itself to catch another bus to Ghatasni which took another 2 hours. The first bus starts around 8 AM from the Mandi Bus stand and the last bus leaves at 2 PM.
We reached Ghatasni at 11 AM and here we waited to catch another bus to Barot. However, we got a bit lucky and someone gave us a lift all the way to Barot itself.
You can also opt for a shared cab till Barot.
Day 1 – In Barot
Since we reached Barot somewhere around noon, we relaxed and took rest in our hotel today which was right next to the Uhl river. We soaked in the green and walked around the village which relieved us of all the stress. During the night, we sat beside the bonfire near the river stream and watched star trails creating magic above.
Further, the homestay we stayed in served us food – both lunch and dinner. So we had to do nothing but relax. Also, the food was mouthwatering and delicious.
Day 2 – Winch Camp
Well, Winch Camp can be reached from Joginder Nagar as well, and most of the travellers travel through the Joginder Nagar route itself. However, if you want the best of both the places, try reaching Winch Camp from Barot and follow the route that I followed.
About Winch Camp
To tell you a little about the Winch Camp, it is the highest settlement in the Joginder Nagar at 2,400 meters. While trekking to the camp you will cross the ‘Khooni Ghati’ (yep!). This Killer Valley used to take people from Headgear Camp to the Barot village through its steep gradient. The slope is actually 90 degrees at some of the places. But back in the days, in one of the incidents, the car got overloaded with people and the ropes broke down. Everyone in the car died, except for just one lucky soul.
We had breakfast in Barot and bought some snacks and water bottles for our little adventure. So, if you are planning for the trek, do carry food along with you because there are no shops on the way to Winch Camp.
It took about 3-4 hours to reach Winch Camp from Barot. The hike was not difficult. It took us more time because we were trying to find a way to reach Winch Camp on our own.
After almost 4 hours of struggle, we reached Winch Camp somewhere around 4 PM and decided to stay here itself! It would have been better if we carried our own tents, as it would have helped to reduce the cost.
But, if you do not want to carry your own tents, there is another option to stay here. There are many trekking communities who organize a hiking tour from Joginder Nagar to Winch Camp. You can contact them instead so that they can make arrangements for you for the stay. (More details below)
I would highly recommend you to camp in the Winch Camp since both sunrise and sunset are really beautiful from up here. Do not miss it! Imagine reaching a height from where you can see the entire Joginder Nagar and Mandi as well as watching the sunset while sipping away your warm tea.
Day 3 – Exploring Barot
We left early in the morning from Winch camp since we had other activities planned ahead of us in Barot. One can either go to Bir Billing (the highest paragliding spot in India) or instead, like us, reach Barot itself to try fishing and other activities.
Day 4 – The Journey Back
Today, we took a bus that leaves for Ghatasani from Barot and then headed to Mandi from here. From Mandi, you can find several buses till Delhi. Best would be to pre-book it on MakeMyTrip.com or RedBus.com, especially if you are travelling over the weekend. Bus seats fill up really fast especially on Sundays, so it would be better if you pre-book it.
How to Reach
The path to Barot is not direct. You have to change twice to reach this beautiful village. The route that follows is – ISBT Kashmiri Gate, Delhi – Mandi Bus stand – Ghatasni – Barot.
The buses, both ordinary and Volvo for Mandi, are easily available at ISBT Kashmiri Gate. From Mandi bus stand, take a bus till Ghatasni and from Ghatasni you again can take a bus to Barot.
The entire journey will be of 12-14 hours. Buses from Mandi for Ghatasni leaves frequently, however, for Barot you might need to wait. You can also take a shared taxi or hitchhike from Ghatasni to Barot which will help you to reach Barot quicker.
If you remember from the above details of Winch Camp, in Barot there is the ‘Khooni Ghati.’ We climbed all the way up the ‘Khooni Ghati’, by trekking through the dense forest areas. We were without any trekking guide so with the help of haulage of the Khooni Ghati that ran all the way up to the Headgear Camp we climbed up, leveraging it as our direction.
Once you climb all the way up the haulage, you will arrive at the Headgear camp. Towards the left of it, a 3 KM long horizontal rail track has been laid out that stretches all the way to the Winch Camp.
Even though I took this path, I will highly recommend NOT to follow this path. Sure it was fun and adventurous, but the climb is really difficult since the gradient of the slope is sometimes 90 degrees.
Alternatively, you can hire a guide, or ask the locals from where the trek to Winch Camp starts. There is an easier route to reach Winch Camp with a proper trekking pathway. This trekking path is not steep, although it is longer as compared to the ‘Khooni Ghati’ route.
It will take about 3-4 hours to reach Winch Camp, hence start early. I will also recommend carrying a few extra clothes with you since it gets really cold at the Winch camp during the night.
Where to Stay
There are many homestays and hotels that you can check right on the spot. In fact, we went in the month of March and at that time only a handful of tourists were there in the village. Thus, you can take your chances and can find a hotel as soon as you reach Barot.
However, I stayed at the River View Homestay which faces the Uhl River. The family is really sweet and homely. Their food is marvellous. Also, the stay is really comfortable and cheap.
You can contact Mr. Amichand Thakur at 09418763841, 09736550312 to check for availability.
Since there is no accommodation available here, carry your tents along with you. You can either take your tents or can rent them from Mandi itself. Tents on rent at Mandi is easily available, along with sleeping bags.
If you are not comfortable in camping alone in this place, contact a trekking organization who can arrange camps for you here.
What you can do is, search for a tour that is going to the Winch Camp from Joginder Nagar and contact them to ask the cost for just the stay instead of opting for their whole package. This will be cheaper and you won’t have to skip on Barot as well.
River View Homestay will cost you less than INR 500/- and their meals will cost another INR 100-200/-.
If you are taking your own tent to the Winch Camp, this cuts the cost further.
Depending on your preference, you can either take an ordinary HRTC bus till Mandi which costs INR 500/- or if you want your journey to be comfortable, take a Volvo bus that will cost about INR 1,000/-.
Buses to the rest of the places are fairly cheaper. The total bus cost to reach Barot won’t cost more than INR 500/-.
Places in Barot to Visit
Barot is right next to the Uhl river. You can actually enjoy your meals sitting beside the river itself
Nargu Wildlife Sanctuary
Nargu Wildlife Sanctuary is situated across the Uhl river and if you are lucky you can spot the Himalayan Monal, Black Bear, and Ghoral
The temple is located at the banks of the river that can be visited after trekking down the hill for about 10 minutes
Shanan Hydel Project
This Hydel project is the main reason for the Barot’s existence. Its history dates back to 1924 and was built by a Britisher Col. Betty
Things to do in Barot
You can easily get a license for trout fish for INR 100/-. You can either visit the trout fish farms or take prior permission for fishing here
Barot is a paradise for the trekkers. Many treks start from this place and if you have a handful number of days in your hand consider trekking to these places as well.
The trekking trails include treks to Bada Bhangal, Kullu, Manali, Billing, and Kothi.
In Barot, instead of staying in a homestay, you can camp next to the Uhl River as well. It feels really peaceful while camping and lying right next to the river and listening to the peaceful melodies of the river.
ATMs: Please take out cash from Mandi itself because ATMs are not available in Barot
Petrol Pumps: Mandi again is the nearest place to find a petrol pump. So do not forget to fill your tanks if you have your own vehicle
Network: You will get the network in Barot of all the service providers, but none in the Winch Camp
To wrap things up, I will highly recommend you to trek to Winch Camp from Barot itself. Not only you will get to see two places at the same time but it is more picturesque and beautiful. You will also get to see the Khooni Ghati as well.
Barot is a really quaint and peaceful place and one can never return from here without experiencing these. It is a must go to place for all the travellers and with the help of this guide, you can as well plan it within a budget.
I hope this helped you and you are eager enough to explore both the places together. Do comment below if you have any queries about the trip!