Do you like a slow paced, lazy holiday with a dash of adventure – trout fishing, hiking, village walks and nature trails? If the answer is Yes, then you’ve got to visit Tirthan Valley in Himachal Pradesh (India). Visit and follow our Instagram page to see photos from Himachal and other destinations we cover.
Spring in Tirthan Valley
Unlike, Kullu and Manali, Tirthan Valley is not very commercial and generally attracts the well traveled / seasoned traveler. Tirthan Valley is a diversion on the right of the main Chandigarh – Manali highway and about 3 hours before Manali. As you make your way towards the Valley you’ll notice fewer cars, lesser people and amazing views. However, in past couple of years a number of homestays have opened up across the valley and slowly but steadily it is getting crowded especially during the peak summer months i.e. May and June.
The Valley is also the gateway for multi-day treks in to the Great Himalayan National Park (GHNP). Designated as a national park in 1999, GHNP is a UNESCO declared World Heritage Site. Some rare species of mammals and birds such as snow leopard, serow, musk deer, western tragopan and the monal bird can be found in the higher altitudes of the Park.
Jamala Village in Tirthan Valley
Hiking along the Tirthan River
The valley is ideal for a long vacations as it takes almost 12 hours to reach if you’re driving from Delhi. You can split the journey in Chandigarh and Bilaspur if a long road-trip is not your cup of tea. You can also fly to Bhuntar airport which has a daily direct flight from Delhi but the flights are very expensive. From the airport we can arrange a taxi to take you to your final destination. Regardless of how you get to Kullu or Tirthan Valley, you should plan to stay for four nights at minimum.
If you’re up for hiking and trekking then you must visit GHNP and en-route the traditional Himachali villages of Sarchi and Jamala besides other. If you have mobility issues, then you can also drive up to these villages. Keep a look out for the richly carved wooden framed houses in these villages.
Hike to Sarchi Village, Tirthan Valley
Sarchi Village Heritage Walk
Houses in both Sarchi and Jamala villages still follow the traditional kath-kuni style of architecture which involves a unique way of using local stone and wood giving the place a rustic finish. Mingle with the locals, see how they live, go for hikes and enjoy the valley’s incredible views.
Jamala village is located on the mountain above Sarchi and we can arrange a guide to take you to these and other villages. On the way pass to Jamala you will see locals engage in terrace farming and if you’re lucky even get to eat some fresh green peas, fruits or roasted wheat kernels – depending on the season you’re there.
Roasted Wheat Kernels on the hike to Sarchi Village
Blue-capped Rock Thrush
For the trekking and hiking enthusiast, various treks can be organized by professional organizations and individuals depending on your goal – medicinal plants and herbs, flowers, wildlife or landscapes, meadows and snow covered Himalayan peaks. We can organize such treks for you as partner with reliable and professional trekking outfits based in the valley.
Trout fishing can also be a great way to kill time here, though it requires a lot of patience. A guide can be arranged to help you with the permits and equipment.
Angling for Trout in the Tirthan River
Himalayan Trout (catch and release)
Normally, if you catch fish that is less than 12 inches long you are supposed to release them back in the river. Due to over fishing and damming of rivers the trout like other species is declining in numbers. As such, we recommend you practice catch and release. You can still get to relish a grilled trout at the end of the day – one that is reared at a fish farm in the valley.
After a long hot day walking around aimlessly or a lazy day having done zero, nothing can beat a relaxing cool dip in one of the natural shallow pools formed by the cascading waters of a near-by stream or the river next to your resort. This, is how you end your day in Tirthan Valley.
Waterfall pool perfect to wind down in
• It is recommended to wear dull color clothes (brown, grey, olive green) during walks in the wilderness.
• There is no guarantee that you will see any wildlife or catch any trout. We will do our best to show you all there is to see.
• Please carry photo identification, camera, binoculars, warm jacket (in the winter), backpack, sun glasses, cap, vizer, sun block, some cash and drinking water.
• Please do not throw trash on the floor even if you don’t see a trash can. Please ask your walk leader to help you dispose the trash properly.
• Neither do we recommend nor do our guides use call playback to bring birds out in the open for photography, feeding or baiting of wildlife.
• Due to the remoteness of the location, you may not have access to the kind of amenities, facilities and services that you typically are used to in big cities. Please ask us if you have any questions about what or what not to bring with you on this trip. Cell phone network, road conditions and power supply in the area may be erratic too, so it is recommended to be patient and keep calm when traveling in the Valley.