Maximum Altitude: 15682 ft
Duration: 6 days
There is something about these glorious mountains that will keep you coming back again, and again, and again. And the explorer in you gets more excited whenever there is a talk about the trail less trekked on. The Gwaru Pass Trek is a well-kept secret of the Kullu Valley with one of the least traversed but very scenic passes of Himachal Pradesh. This virgin route has remained elusive for years, thus promising a never-seen before combination of terrain and experiences in Kullu Valley.
Starting from Chikka, following the lovely trail to Deo Tibba base Camp that is Seri and then deviates to crossover Gwaru Pass to Malana in Parvati Valley. The trek features two beautiful mountain pass-crossings at Tentu Pass and Gwaru Pass. The sense of accomplishment you derive from ascending a mountain pass is as good as the feeling you get when you scale a summit. You get to experience it twice in this trail. Walk along the riverside and cross dense forest sections and get treated by the delicious views of Pir Panjal Range. You get o experience meandering rivers and streams, stunning grasslands, picturesque campsites, moraines, glaciers and snow. You will also experience the beauty of the famous Chandratal Lake on the way. And while the mesmerizing and scenic views of Himalayas will keep you on your toes, the trail will also offer some of the best campsites in Himachal. For those who love offbeat incredible trekking trails, with minimal human life around, this trek offers some of the most quaint and blissful experiences.
Day 1: Manali to Chikka
From Manali, board a taxi for Khanol, the last village by road. You will reach Khanol in 1.5 hours. The trek starts from here and follows a gradual ascent through the thick pine forest which opens at Chikka. Chikka lies on the foot of a mountain range. Spot some huts and the temple of Shiva and Takshak Nag. Prepare yourself for your first night in the tents.
Day 2: Chikka to Seri
The trek starts with a walk along the Jagatsukh river bank and ascend gradually for the next couple hours.You will pass through grasslands and would cross rocky paths. The trail then enter the thick forests giving way to boulders and carpet of wildflowers. You will reach Ocheri campsite en route. It’s believed that Pandavas rested there before their journey to heaven. Now, the trail turns demanding and you’d have to cross the steep slope from Ocheri to Chorgan. With increasing elevation and declining tree line, you will be introduced to the meadows of Seri which was once a glacial lake. The camping site has many small and big streams along with Tainta waterfall in the background. As the evening approaches, and the camps are perched the view looks more and more magical.
Day 3: Seri to Chandratal and back
The day is dedicated to admire to trek to the beautiful crescent-shaped Chandratal Lake. The initial trek is a steep climb till Tentu Pass from where you go through grasslands and reach the top. Get breath-taking views of Dhuongon River’s tributary. After a bit of rest, cross the river and reach the Advance Base Camp of Deo Tibba. Hike for half an hour and reach a leveled meadow and spot Gwaru Nala which is a tributary of the Dhuongon River. From here you’ll have to ascend on a steep slope and reach Chota Chadratal. Continue ascending to the top and cross a scree section. En route lies a pond from where Chandratal Lake is just 10 minutes hike away.
The lake is a photographer’s delight. It is deliciously blue and the crystal clear waters of the lake shine in many shades of blue depending upon its depth and with the sunlight. The lake got its name due to its crescent shape. The name Chandratal translates to ‘The Moon Lake’ in Hindi. This freshwater lake is also the source of the Chandra River. Surrounded by snowcapped peaks on three sides, the lake encircles a vast meadow that is covered with different kind of flowers. The entire setting feels unreal as if you have entered a painting. After capturing the lake in your eyes and cameras, return to the Seri campsite.
Day 4: Seri to Gwaru Thach
It’s a short trek from Seri to Gwaru Thach. Keep following the Gwaru Nala and enjoy trekking along the bank of the river. You’ll go through a variety of terrain today; meadows, boulder zone, and snow. The campsite is located in the midst of towering mountains and colorful wildflowers. You will get amazing views of Gwaru Pass, Gwaru Top, Mt. Deo Tibba and more.
Day 5: Gwaru Thach to Bareh
You are looking forward for an arduous day of pass crossing and therefore need to start early. The trek starts with a steep climb and cross a moraine section. Ahead go through ridgelines, moraine and the icy area which will pump some adrenaline in you. From Gwaru Pass get magnificent views of Norbu, Bansi, Alirati Tibba, Deo Tibba, and KR range. The snow covered mountains look spectacular. After spending some time here, descend down alongside Malana Nala. You will be crossing the boulder section and some shepherd huts to reach the campsite of Bareh.
Day 6: Bareh to Malana
It’s the last day of the trek. Start with a steep descent and pass through varying terrain, grasslands, forests and old villages. After a 2 km descend you will come across Bukhare campsite, and you will find some shepherd’s huts and a temple here. Another campsite lies a km away which is Ringer Rather. From here cross a stream and enter the dense forest section. Continue walking until you reach Malana village. The village is popular as the locals claim that they are descendants of Alexander the Great. They considered the race to be pure and don’t like to mingle with the outsiders. They can’t even be touched, so no handshake – only namaste. You can explore the village by a designated path. Apart from the interesting local beliefs, Malana is also famous for a particular kind of cream 😉
You can decide to spend some more days in the villages around Parvati valley or can drive back to your home.
Best Time To Visit
The best time to do the Gwaru Pass Trek is between the months of June to September. Weather is pleasant during this time. There are chances of rain in August.
How To Reach
Manali has a very good connectivity. The nearest airport is in Bhuntar approx. 50 km away from Manali. You can always take an overnight bus from Delhi or drive down to Manali.