What are some of the things that you just cannot get enough of? Re-watching movies from the 90s? Hot gulaab jamun in the dead silent nights of winter? Reading your favourite book over and over and even getting emotional each time? Hanging out with your friends and going over that same story for more times than you and I can even count? Gosh, there’s a lot that we can’t get enough of. And, for those bitten by the travel bug, one thing they probably cannot get enough of is weekend getaways, right? They’re ideal for when your office doesn’t allow you to take a lot of leaves, for when your pocket’s been feeling the brunt of binge shopping (or binge eating) and when you just dearly need a few days in the midst of the mountains. Quiet the ray of hope! For folks like me who are based in Delhi NCR, I think we’re blessed that our location does give us quite the buffet of such getaways. But for the ones who are seeking one that’s offbeat too and not frequented by big crowds, may I propose a cosy and quaint little place? In the Seraj region falling in the Mandi district, there breathes a shy, sweet and oh so scenic valley by the name of “Thachi”.
This is a remotely located destination that is adorned by a wildly cascading blanket of thick forests and trees made up of pine and deodar trees. With its simplicity and charm, it also welcomes you to see the temples as well as treks all of whom call Thachi their home. For a walk into the slow life take a trek through its lands for a time with its green pastures and meadows, its mist that plays with you and its life that leaves you reconnecting to yourself.
How to reach: Fly into Delhi or take a train till the city. From Delhi catch a bus till Aut. Specifically, get off after the Aut tunnel. From there you can catch a local bus till Barchad in Thachi Valley. These can be limited, so, you can alternatively ask your hotel or guesthouse to help you book a taxi from Aut till Barchad directly.
Best time to trek/visit: June to July, mid-December to January
Duration: 2-5 days
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Altitude: 10,498 feet
Trek route: The route will of course depend on what you decide with your local trekking guide, but possible options include:
Delhi – Aut – Barchad – Panala Village – Thachi Bithu Narayan Temple – Hadimba Peak – Chanjwala Peak
Day 1: Delhi to Aut
Approximate Distance – 468 kms by bus, takes roughly 12 hours
To kick things off you will first have to arrive in none other than the capital of our country. Once in Delhi, catch a bus till Aut. Buses to multiple hilly destinations in Himachal Pradesh have to make their journey by crossing via Aut, so, you need not worry about this leg of the journey. It’s going to be a long one so make sure you have everything you need to keep yourself comfortable for the duration of it. In case you are arriving in Delhi in the morning and then taking a bus in the day time, you may reach Aut at night wherein it’s advisable to stay put or get a taxi directly from your guesthouse. Otherwise, if you are making an overnight journey from Delhi to Aut, use the day to reach Barchad and get rest before starting off on your trek tomorrow.
Day 2: Aut to Barchad and then to Panala Village
Depending on the plan you opt for you can either reach Barchad on Day 1 itself or else on Day 2. If you opt for the former, simply enjoy its green views and rest yourself in the mountain air after a long journey. And, if you prefer travelling in the night, then you’ll reach Barchad and be starting your trek the same day. Either way your trek starts from Barchad and has you making your way towards the village of Panala.
This day will have you befriending the very first of the many deodar and pine trees that are going to go ahead and become your partners throughout this trip. Hear their whispers and giggles, smile at them as you move further into their depth. You will even cross a small yet scenic pond called “Ropa”. So, what are you waiting for? Kick off those shoes and dip your feet! Ah yes, this maybe quite a chilly activity in the winter months but hey, where’s the fun otherwise? ? By early evening you shall reach Panala Village where you can stay at a local homestay to enhance your experience even further.
Day 3: Panala Village – Thachi Bithu Narayan Temple – Hadimba Peak – Chanjwala Peak
Time to throw those shoes back on because you are covering quite a bit today! First from Panala Village head to the Thachi Bithu Narayan temple which is perched prettily between a quiet land of flora and fauna. After paying your respects there and maybe even hearing the local history if you can find an eager local for the same, you ought to next go to Hadimba Peak. The peak is blessed with a whole range of trees that just go on to show nature’s own designs and patterns to you.
From there your final point for the day is Chanjwala Peak which is also the highest peak of the trek. Head there so that you may sit at the top and gaze around. The Dhauladhar Range and Pir Panjal Range are now both sprawling right before your eyes. Observe their twists and turns, their formidable structures and their majestic existence. Luckily, you shall have to camp out at this point allowing yourself to admire the view for as long you like. And, of course, a bonfire and good company only make this experience even better!
Day 4: Chanjwala Peak to Saponidhar Grasslands
The next day you could head to Saponidhar Grasslands to admire the spread of gorgeousness here as the grasslands run far and wide. This whole experience to Thachi is all about letting yourself give in to the joy of the laidback life as you observe at nature’s simple and beautiful wonders.
From there you could either get a vehicle to take you to Aut for starting your journey back to Delhi or else you could extend and your stay to explore the other hidden gems in and around Thachi!
Which is the most offbeat place that you have explored so far in Himachal Pradesh?!