Barot valley : The unparalleled and veiled beauty of earth

 

picture courtesy- Sparsh Sehdev

                                 “On earth there is no heaven but there are pieces of it.”

Featured in ‘’Must visit off-beat places in Himachal Pradesh’’ published by a very few travel websites and magazines, Barot valley is located at a distance of 66 Kilometer from Mandi town, which is located on Chandigarh-Manali highway (NH-20). The valley is a beautiful destination surrounded by thick forests of Deodar trees. The valley was originally developed in 1920s for Shanan Hydel Project. Being one of the approachable yet hidden from the world kind of destination, Barot valley has often not received due encouragement and credit on the tourism map of the state.

 The untouched and serene beauty of the place, mouthwatering food served hot from the stove, and the quiet warmth of the locals is what makes Barot an offbeat yet a must visit destination on a Himachal tour.

Landscape view of Barot valley (credits-wikipedia)

 

 A short yet significant itinerary at Barot has a lot to offer when it comes to local sightseeing.

A major feature of the Barot Village is the two reservoirs under Shanan Power Project. The Uhl River is the only natural water body of the valley which originates at the Thamsar Glacier in the Dhauladhar range of the Himalayas. The gushing water of Uhl River, apart from adding all the charm to this hamlet, also allows locals for trout breeding and camping to tourists. There is also a trout breeding centre from where the fishes are released into the river. You can, however, can get involved in activities like angling / fishing, hiking, trekking, picnic, etc. There is wooden bridge on k Uhl River. Sitting nearby river and listening to the gushing sound of water and embracing the beauty of the village is something we won’t find in our city lives. On the other side of the Uhl river is another major attraction of the valley, Nargu Wildlife Sanctuary. It is a habitat of various animal species like the Himalayan Monal, Black Bear, and Ghoral. The route for the trek to Kullu passes through the dense forests of this wildlife sanctuary. Spend a day in the sanctuary, exploring a photographer in you and discovering several of birds and animals.

Barot across the Uhl resevoir (source- wikipedia)

 

The other major attraction of the place Shanan Hydel project which is the first ever hydro project in India in Megawatt capacity. It was created by the Britishers in collaboration with the king of Jogindernagar and is now under the control of Punjab State Electricity Board. It is situated at a distance of 2 km from the main city. The project utilizes the hydroelectric potential between Uhl River at Barot and Jogindernagar that are separated by a crow fly distance of 7.3 km.

 

Some other attractions include Trout fishing and angling , another major outdoor activity which tourists can indulge into is outdoor camping. Thandi Golai camping site is situated 1.5 kilometers away from the main market of Barot. It feels like the most tranquil and undisturbed place where one feels like resting in the arms of nature away from the muddles of the world. Barot is also a backpacker’s dream destination because of numerous trekking trails. Themost famous one Is the Trek to Billing. First 15 km in taxi upto Bara Gram village and after that on foot.

Lake view of Barot village (source- traveltriangle.com)

One can also visit the ancient temple in the Devgarh Village. A road branches off from Tikken and takes to Devgarh. Here there is an old Pagoda Style temple, and a newly constructed temple. Also,Luhardi is a village in the Chota Bhangal region of Kangra district. It is seven kilometers from Barot. Chota Bhangal is one of the remotest areas in Himachal Pradesh. After your day scouting, a village walk willallow you to know more about the rich culture of Himachal. The shy and innocent villagers will tell you about their simple lifestyles. Listening to such stories will make you realize that how even with soo less, these villagers are more than happy in their lives. They grow organic vegetables, fruits, pulses and more then that they are weaving warm clothes in the houses with sheep wool. They have small units at home to prepare shawls and local pattu’s. You can buy all this stuff by paying to them and this is the true help for them, Villagers are very honest and hardworking.

The best time to visit Barot Valley-

 This lovely valley can be visited during any time of the year except for rainy seasons because the condition of the roads may degrade due to heavy rains. Landslides can also contribute in blocking the roads for an uncertain period. During the months of November to February, climate is quite cold and heavy snowfall can be expected during January. However, the village looks ethereal covered with white sheet of snow. People who are fond of witnessing snow can visit during winters.

How to reach-

Barot valley is easily accessible by road. Barot is 25 km’s from National highway 21. In NH 21 diversion to Barot at Ghatasni which is situated 40 km from Mandi and 55 kms from Palampur in Pathankot Manali Highway 21.

Hence, spending a weekend at Barot valley on your next visit to Himachal Pradesh can be one of the ethereal yet enchanting experiences of your life.

Happy travelling J

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