In 2016, we went on our first trek which was the Kheerganga trek. It is a perfect trek for beginners.
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.
If you are planning to do the Kheerganga trek as your first trek, it is an easy trek however, you need a lot of stamina at times to climb. 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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About Kheerganga Trek
Difficulty Level of Kheerganga trek: Easy
The Highest Point of the Trek: 10,065 ft.
Start time: Make sure you start your trek early morning around 6 a.m
Duration of the trek: On average, it takes everyone 4-6 hours to climb and around 3-5 hours to descent
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.
At the Top of Kheerganga Trek
HOT SPRINGS! Yes, that is what Kheerganga is famous for. Apart from towering snow capped mountains that will take your breath away, you can dip your feet in the hot spring and enjoy the peace. further, since the permanent camps have now been banned the view is even more surreal and peaceful.
The pools are separated into male and female sections, giving a private pool area for the ladies.
Also Read: Kasol, Tosh and Malana Travel Guide
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.
Reaching Kasol First
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.
Cost – 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.
Cost – A taxi to Kasol will cost around 2500 – 3000 INR while a bus will cost around 150-200 INR.
Time – 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.
Also Read: 54 Top Hill Stations of India
Reaching Barshaini from Kasol
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 and it takes close to 1.5 hours to reach here. You will get both taxis and locals buses to Barshaini from Kasol.
Cost – 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 Trek Route Details
There are two trekking routes for Kheerganga from Barshaini for you to choose from. While one route is through the jungle after crossing the Kalga Village, the other route involves a rocky terrain and a couple of villages on the way, which is the Tosh and Nakthan Village. To read more on how to reach Barshaini, read our Kasol, Tosh, and Malana guide.
- Kalga Village: On the forest route, you would be doing a lot of climbing and sliding but the area is a shaded one which helps to block the harsh sun.
- Tosh and Nakthan Village: On the village path, you will be walking mainly on the plain ground but without any tree shade as protection. So, you can choose your route depending on the weather and time of the day.
I am summarising both the routs in detail below, so read on.
Difficulty Level – The difficulty level of both paths is the same. We have tried both of them 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.
There are a few difficult patches and at times the path gets narrower. It can be treacherous if one is not careful. So be cautious!
Through Kalga Village – Forest Path
The trail goes something like –
- There will come across a fork point from where you will need to take a right from Barshaini village
- 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
- The next 2-4 km: You will come across a small waterfall where you will find food stalls. But most of the time these stalls are empty as many people frequently embark this trek
- The next 3-4 km: A steep climb. But once you cross it, you will come across a big waterfall and a cafe. Here, you can enjoy a cup of tea and a hot bowl of Maggi
- The next 2 km: The path becomes quite narrow and slightly difficult compared to the rest of the trail
- Summit: Once you have completed this 2 km patch, you will come across another small waterfall and a cafe. The summit is just another 2-3 km from this cafe and will take around 40-50 minutes to complete
- The final steps are a little steep but the worst is over.
Note: This trail is usually taken by those trekkers who are slightly low on stamina. The trail does not offer any view though however, the plus point is you will be away from the harsh heat during the warm weather.
Through Nakthan Village and Tosh – Village Path
If you are looking for exquisite panoramic views 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 trail goes something like –
- The initial 2-3 km will be covered with rocks
- After crossing the rocky terrain, you will come across a village. After another 1 to 2 km, you will see the first resting stop
- After another 2 km walk, you will come to another resting stop and a small waterfall
- 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 is the meeting point of the two routes to Kheerganga
- The rest of the path is the same as we described above
Frankly, although this path is more picturesque, however, it is more draining if you are trekking during the daytime. This is because you get no cover from the sun, unlike the Kalga village path.
Also, please make sure to take back your plastics and do not dump your plastic bottles and food on the trail. Let’s travel responsibly, keep our environment and mountains clean. 🙂
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 maggie, 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
- The water is fresh and good, however, please ensure to not throw your plastic bottles and waste while on the trail. Let’s ensure that we are leaving only our footprints behind 🙂
Where to Stay in the Kheerganga Region
Previously, you could camp in Kheerganga and spend a night here. But since 2018, there have been several notices that Kheerganga camping has been banned now. So, you need to return back on the same day and cannot stay the night at the meadow here.
Is Camping Banned at Kheerganga?
In 2016, the camps were at a full swing, however, since 2018 there have been few news and notices that now the camping has been banned. And for good reason only because the trail and camping ground is dying due to excessive waste generation.
It is essential to preserve the trail and nature. Before leaving for the trek here are few of the things you can do to keep yourself updated with the camping situation –
- It is possible to pitch your own tent after getting a permit from Shamshi Forest Department located just 2km From Bhuntar
- If you do not want to pitch a tent, then you can trek down to Kalga or Tosh and stay there. You will be able to find homestays easily
Cost – Forest Entry Charge INR 50 extra
Accommodation 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.
Our Recommendation – 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.
Our Recommendation – There are many hostels, guesthouses, etc. in Kasol. So, you won’t find it hard to find suitable accommodation here.
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
Things To Carry
What to Wear
- Trekking shoes with socks
Extra Items to Pack
- Mobile charger and power bank
- Water bottle
- Extra pair of socks
- Swimwear item
- Travel towel
- Warm jacket
- Rain and Windproof Jacket
- Water bottle and snacks
- Toothbrush & paste
- Warm hat
- Small bag to keep your essentials
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