In 2016, we went on our first trek which was the Kheerganga trek. Little did we know that trekking is not as easy as it sounds, especially without any preparation or a guide. However, in the end, we were able to successfully complete this trek and enjoyed our time here.
This was also the first time we camped in the mountains and made so many friends on the way. Frankly, I was scared the entire time because I am scared of heights. But I know that if given a chance to do it again, I would definitely repeat the whole experience. Because the feeling of waking up in the morning and admiring the mountains around you is indescribable.
We can’t tell you when we first heard about the Kheerganga trek and how we decided to do this trek really. All we remember is that we decided to visit Kasol and then the rest is history.
If you asked us then if we knew how hard the Kheerganga trek was going to be, well we would have just looked at you clueless. We admit that we were complete and utter fools with no idea of what awaited us. But in the end, those are the memories we still cherish. And now when we look back, Kheerganga trek seems one of the easier ones that we did.
But if you are planning to do this as a first trek, be warned that it will be slightly difficult. More so if you are not properly equipped for trekking. But don’t worry, because on the way you meet many people who are very kind and helpful.
In this Kheerganga trekking guide, we have mentioned all the information to help you plan your trip. This includes stay, transportation, and the costs and all the tips to make it a memorable trek.
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A small village located in the Parvati Valley, Kheerganga is situated at an altitude of approximately 3050 m. One of the best trekking sites in Himachal, Kheerganga is famous for its hot water springs. And there is also a temple here dedicated to Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati.
Kheerganga was named after the milky water of Parvati river which flows beside the Parvati valley. And according to the legends, Kartikeya who was the younger son of Shiva and Parvati used to meditate here which made it an important religious site.
From here, you can see the snow-capped mountains in the distance. And you can also enjoy a dip the hot springs here! This 13 km trek is definitely all the pain and will leave you speechless at the end of it. So, if you want to be blown away then make sure you go on this trek.
Also Read: Kasol, Tosh and Malana Travel Guide
Kheerganga Trek Route Details
There are two trekking routes for Kheerganga from Barshaini for you to choose from. While one route is through the jungle, the other route involves a rocky terrain and a couple of village on the way.
On the forest route, you would be doing a lot of climbing and sliding but you will be in a shaded area. On the village path, you will be walking on mainly plain ground but without any shade protection. So, you can choose your route depending on the weather and time of the day.
You might think that one path would be easier than the other. However, there is no such thing as an easy path. Both are equally hard, although you certainly don’t have to worry about falling down from the mountains in the village path.
We tried both and we really can’t choose one as our favorite. But we are glad that we decided to try both the paths because both routes lent us a completely different experience.
If you are planning to take the forest route then you will need to take a right from Barshaini village. There is a fork point here, the left route will take you to Tosh while the straight and the right route will take you to Kheerganga
The forest route is quite simple and straightforward. And you won’t find any difficulty in following the trail here. Walk on the path till the road ends and then you would need to climb. The first climb will be a little steep but there will be rocks as steps to help you out.
After 5-10 minutes of climbing, you will come to a small hut where you can rest for a while. Another 10 minutes walk from this spot and you will find your first shop to buy snacks and beverages.
After that, it is a vigorous climb and descent. Also, some paths are too narrow and just on the edge so be careful. And if the route is muddy, then you are in for a nightmare.
After further 2-4 km, you will come across a small waterfall. Here, there will be a couple of food stalls where you can rest and eat. But most of the time these stalls are empty as many people frequently embark this trek. So, don’t keep high hopes for food here.
Once you trek another 3-4 km from here, you will come across a steep climb. This is going to be a little harder than what you have encountered till now. But once you cross it, you will come across a big waterfall and finally a cafe. Here, you can enjoy a cup of tea and a hot bowl of Maggi.
From here on, it is going to be a difficult journey for the next 2 km as the path is quite narrow. Once you have completed this 2 km patch, you will come across another small waterfall and a cafe. This is where the other trek route will join and you will have a single path to follow to the summit. The summit is just another 2-3 km from this cafe and will take around 40-50 minutes to complete.
After this cafe, there would be two more obstacles and then the route is pretty smooth and straightforward. These obstacles would come in the form of waterfalls which you would need to cross.
Once you have crossed these two waterfalls, it just takes another 20-30 minutes to reach your destination. The final steps are a little steep but the worst is over.
If you are looking for a simpler route and if the weather permits then take the village trail to reach Kheerganga. This trail starts from the Tosh side, where you will need to cross the Pulga river. The initial 2-3 km will be covered with rocks which can be a little cumbersome to cross, but rest of it is okay.
After crossing the rocky terrain, you will come across a village, And after another 1 to 2 km, you will see the first resting stop here. From here, another 2 km walk and then you will come to another resting stop and a small waterfall.
Here you will find a few stalls to eat. Then, you will need to cross a bridge and the biggest waterfall in this area. This waterfall often displays rainbow colors when the sun rays fall on it so it looks quite magical.
From here, it is another 2-3 km before you reach the cafe point which adjoins the two routes to Kheerganga. And then the path is the same as we described above. Frankly, although this one is not as difficult as the other path, it is more draining if you are trekking during the daytime. This is because you get no cover from the sun, unlike the forest path.
Make sure you start your trek early morning around 6 a.m if you want to complete the trek on time. On average, it takes everyone 4-6 hours to climb and around 3-5 hours to descent so plan well.
ATMs and Network Availability in Kheerganga
ATMs in Kheerganga
There are no ATMs near Kheerganga so make sure you withdraw sufficient cash. There is a single ATM in Kasol and a couple of ATMs in Manikaran. However, during the weekends, these ATMs are usually out of cash.
So, make sure you withdraw cash from Bhuntar or your starting point.
Network Availability in Kheerganga
There is no network on the trek and you will barely get any signal after Barshaini. BSNL might work intermittently on the trek but at the top, you won’t get any signal.
So, make the important calls before you reach Barshaini or start the trek.
Best Time to Visit Kheerganga
One of the best things about this trek is that it can be done throughout the year, even in monsoons and winters. Here is a breakdown of what you can expect in Kheerganga in different months.
Summer Season (March – June)
Most people tend to visit this beautiful place from May-July which is a great time to escape the summer heat. This is the best time to visit Kheerganga as the weather is cool and pleasant. So, you can enjoy yourself without shivering with cold.
Do keep in mind that since Kheerganga is at a high altitude, the temperature here tends to remain slightly cold, even in summers. So, make sure you pack warm clothes for the top of the mountain.
Monsoon (July – September)
If you want to see the mountains covered with lush greenery, then go after monsoons. The temperature in Kheerganga stays pleasant and cool but it can be slightly hot and humid. But once you reach the top, you will be freezing so make sure you pack enough warm clothes for yourself.
Monsoons can make the trek path quite muddy and slippery so be careful while trekking. Also, wear proper trekking shoes if you are attempting Kheerganga during the monsoons.
Winter Season (October – February)
A lot of people also attempt the Kheerganga trek during the winter months when the mountain is covered with snow. While it will be slightly difficult to trek, it is not exactly impossible.
Make sure that you hire a guide for attempting this winter trek though as the route becomes unrecognizable.
Also Read: Prashar Lake Trek Guide
What to Eat in Kheerganga
There are no food stalls at the Kheerganga summit anymore. However, you will find a couple of food stalls on the trekking routes. Here, you can get maggi, chips, fruits, etc. But if it is a long weekend, most of these food stalls will be out of stock by the time you reach.
So, be sure to pack enough snacks and fluids to keep yourself fed and hydrated. One good thing about this trek is that you don’t have to worry about the water. You can always fill your bottle with the waterfall water on the way.
Don’t worry, this water is pretty fresh and good. It is probably better than your mineral water.
Where to Stay in Kheerganga
Previously, you could camp in Kheerganga and spend a night here. But since 2018, camping has been banned here. So, you need to return back on the same day and cannot stay the night at the meadow here.
Well, thankfully, there are other stay options to consider when going for the Kheerganga trek.
Stay in Tosh
If you are slightly slow in trekking then a good idea would be to stay the night at Tosh. Tosh village is at a distance of 7.5 km from Kheerganga. So, you can start early from here and then reach back to your camp or hostel by evening.
You will find both camping and hostel options here. Check out the prices of the camps and hostels in Tosh by clicking here.
Stay in Kasol
Another option would be to spend the night at Kasol and start early the next day. But this means that you will need to start around 6 a.m. from Kasol so that you can descent to Barshaini village by 7 p.m.
There are many hostels, guesthouses, etc. in Kasol. So, you won’t find it hard to find suitable accommodation here.
How to Reach Kheerganga Trek Starting Point
For the Kheerganga trek, you will first need to reach Kasol which is the closest major town in Himachal. Then, you can make your way to Tosh or Barshaini which is the starting point of Kheerganga trek.
The closest airport to Kasol is the Bhuntar airport at a distance of 32 km. You will get flights from Delhi and Chandigarh to Bhuntar. After which, you can take a taxi or a bus to reach Kasol.
A local bus will cost around 50-80 INR and will take 3-3.5 hours to reach Kasol. And a taxi will charge you around 1000 – 1500 INR depending on the seats.
For people coming from nearby cities like Chandigarh, Shimla, Delhi, etc. taking roadways is also a good option. You can choose to drive to Kasol which can take anywhere between 7-14 hours.
Another option is to take a bus to Bhuntar and then take a local bus or taxi to Kasol. You will get both private and HRTC buses to Kasol which will charge anywhere between 550 – 1200 INR.
The closest major railway station to Kasol is Pathankot Railway Station which is around 300 km from Kasol. From here, you can take the passenger train to Joginder Nagar which is 145 km from Kasol. You will get both private taxis and local buses from here for Kasol.
A taxi to Kasol will cost around 2500 – 3000 INR while a bus will cost around 150-200 INR. And it will take you around 4-6 hours to reach Kasol.
However, the passenger train takes 10 hours to complete the Pathankot to Joginder Nagar journey. So, if you are short on time, this is not the right choice for you.
Kasol to Barshaini
Once you have reached Kasol, you need to reach Barshaini which is the starting point of Kheerganga trek. Kasol is around 16 km from Barshaini village but it takes close to 1.5 hours to reach here. You will get both taxis and locals buses to Barshaini from Kasol.
A taxi will cost you around 800 INR and will drop you quickly at the starting point. On the other hand, the bus will cost you around 50 INR. But there is only 1 bus every hour so you will have to wait a lot. After reaching Barshaini, it is a 13 km trek to the Kheerganga summit which will take around 3-4 hours for the ascent.
Kheerganga was difficult as a first trek but it was so much fun. We huffed and puffed on the way but met so many amazing people too. Slipping and sweating, we reached the top. But watching the night sky and the early morning views from Kheerganga were definitely the highlight.
Plus, the sunset from the top looked completely magical. So, we would definitely recommend you to try this trek and make the most of your time here.
Also Read: Rajgundha Valley Trek Guide