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Miyar Valley Trek

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Out in the wilderness there is a land with wild grasses growing, the river flowing with uncontrolled wild glee, the horses and sheep run wild and there is a wild side of you also that comes out to play, to gaze, to explore, to think and to sigh.

If somehow that strikes a chord with you then maybe Himachal’s Miyar Valley is where you need to head. Scenic hamlets and untroubled lands lay in their untouched beauty, showcasing to you the best of Himachal and Lahaul.

How to reach: You can fly down to Bhuntar which is the closest airport to Manali but there are limited flights to this airport which makes them pretty expensive as well. So, you can fly down to Delhi and travel to Manali by road. Halt for a day and then travel by road from Manali to reach Udaipur in Lahaul Valley.

Best time to trek/visit: May to June, September to October

Duration: 8 days

Difficulty: Moderate

Trek route: The route will of course depend on what you decide with your local trekking guide, but possible options include:

  • Manali – Udaipur – Changut – Thanpattan via Shukto – Yolithang – Zardung – Kesar Yon Chhaap – Gompa – Changut – Udaipur – Manal

Day 1: Manali to Changut via Udaipur

Altitude – 10,500 ft

Approximate Distance – 180 kms drive

Start early in the morning from Manali, the town that has been on display in so many movies to make way to a town that probably most haven’t even heard of! While the name Udaipur would have us all thinking of the lake city in Rajasthan, we are actually talking about a quiet little town in Himachal Pradesh. Your road journey will take you through Rohtang pass and you will start to pass by more peaks. As you approach Udaipur, your entry into Lahaul Spiti is marked by seeing Chandrabhaga river on whose banks the town is perched. Incidentally, it was originally called Margul or Markul but renamed by Raja Udai Singh of Camba as Udaipur. From here you will reach the small but charming Changut. After having made an approximately 180 kms long drive, rest up to get set for the next days to come. As for the ones who want to explore each place they visit, how about wandering about on foot?

Day 2: Changut – Thanpattan via Shukto

Altitude – 11,800 ft

Approximate Distance – 4kms

On the second day you will start off with a short drive to a village called Shukto. From Shukto your trek kicks off! You will cross by walking upon rickety old wooden bridges with streams bustling below them. Trekkers will also glimpse Khanjer, the last village of Miyar. What is it about last villages that gets our eyes alight with curiosity? Let your eyes gingerly gaze upon this village to see what is and what probably isn’t left behind. Walk through farmlands and meadows to make your way. And as you reach your first campsite, Thanpattan, you will even be treated to a chorten! Chorten loosely translates to stupa in Tibetan. After all you are trekking in Spiti Valley, home to Buddhism in all its grace, so, how could you not witness one of its signature monuments?!

Shukto Village
Source: http://www.natgeotraveller.in/tag/miyar-valley/

Day 3 – Thanpattan to Yolithang

Altitude – 12,300 ft

Approximate Distance – 6kms

Throw on those trekking shoes and get, set, climbing! First up, pay a visit to the chorten on Thanpattan when you can see it glowing under the morning Sun. The path up to and a little beyond the chorten is somewhat steep so prepare yourself. As you mount higher up, you will find massive rocks surrounding you on all sides. This is where the hills up close show you that they are made of rock and ice, a true Spiti touch unlike other green mountains. Yolithang is where the valley opens up wider to welcome you. Local crops, herbs and fleece grow and sway lazily in the winds.

Day 4 – Yolithang to Zardung

Altitude – 12,800 ft

Approximate Distance – 10kms

Don’t let the distance scare you off! One of the biggest attractions of the Miyar Valley trek is that while you cover good ground, the trail isn’t a daunting one. The path is flatter than most treks in the area and allows you to make gradual ascents to reach picturesque heights. Speaking of things that are picturesque, you are sure to love Zardung. With caves, rocky pillars and outcroppings you will feel as if you have walked into a fascinating sci-fi movie’s set. In fact, there is one rock that appears to have a face engraved on it. The locals tell a gripping tale of how once upon a time there was a troll that roamed the valley but the forces of good froze him…and it is his face in the said rock! Tell me, are you going to be craning your neck to spot that rock or are you going to set camp as far away from it as possible? ?

zardung
Source: https://thetravellertrails.in/roaming-the-wild-lands-of-miyar-valley/

Day 5 – Zardung to Kesar Yon Chhaap

Altitude – 13,100 ft

Approximate Distance – 10kms

This will probably be one of the most exciting days of the trek! Why you ask? Well, you have made friends with the Miyar river (also called Miyar nala) by this point of your trek and today you are getting closer to visiting your friend’s place, i.e., you shall be approaching the source of the Miyar river. The name “Kesar Von Chhaap” actually signifies seven holy waters. There are seven emerald green lakes gurgling about near your campsite. So, say no to rest time when you reach the place where your tents are pitched and first try spotting each of those lakes, after all this could be your own 007 moment – traveller’s edition. ? Run around in glee, take a picture for your heart to feel this moment over and over and smile at all that you see. Who knows, maybe Miyar has left you smitten more than you know, so, make the most of your night here.

Day 6 – Kesar Yon Chhaap to Gompa

Altitude – 12,800 ft

Approximate Distance – 16kms

With a heavy heart you must bid adieu to Kesar Von Chhaap. But don’t be bummed as you have the memories to bring that merry pep in your step! Make your way back to the Gompa and wave at the shepherds and sheep you cross along the way. If you’re game build up a bonfire, get a cup of steaming hot chai and do some charcha over all that you experienced this week.

gompa
Source: https://pbase.com/asianodyssey/image/18824867

Day 7 – Gompa to Changut

Altitude – 10,500 ft

Approximate Distance – 14kms

Once again travel back to the charming little Changut. First you will of course pass through Shukto, say a little prayer to thank all of Miyar Valley for all the vistas it opened up for you. From Shukto you will drive back to Changut and stay there overnight.

Day 8 – Changut to Manali via Udaipur

Approximate Distance – 180kms drive

As you head back to Manali, rest up, explore the hippie trails of Old Manali, visit one of its quirky cafes and treat yourself to a fun filled night!

For those looking to explore the breath-taking Spiti Valley on foot, Miyar is a great option because it isn’t as demanding as other Himalayan treks in the region. And yet, it is equally packed in its stellar beauty.

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