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Solang Valley is a must see on the itinerary of anyone doing Beas Kund trek or visiting Manali. Its ski slopes attract winter sports enthusiasts while others settle for joy rides on snow scooters. In summer, horse rides on the flower-bedecked slopes, and para sailing, beckons tourists. In season, Solang bears a festive look with chaatwallahs, ice-cream and popcorn stalls, Kullu souvenir sellers and photographers catering to the tourists. It is also a favoured locale for outdoor film shoots.
Despite this, Solang is far from being an overcrowded tourist destination, and has always enthralled travellers from different places. In fact, a walk through the woods in Solang is as refreshing as it was years ago. About 2 1/2 km from the Mountaineering Institute of Skiing at Solang, a natural Shivalingam of ice forms every winter and becomes a place of pilgrimage. The height of the lingam varies from year to year (10-18 ft).
Village Palchan (10 km / 15 mins from Manali)
Kalka Railway Station
Both topography and local belief favour camping some distance away from the Beas Kund lake. Locals believe that it is a bad omen to camp by the Beas Kund. In general, camping or living close to rivers or lakes is not favoured in the hills, possibly because of the havoc that flash floods or a sudden rise in water levels can cause.
It’s also possible that these myths have arisen to prevent shepherds camping near the lake with their flock, and polluting the water source. Observe the sentiment, and camp away from the lake so that the lake’s pristine condition endures. This way, the place will be well conserved for the future trekkers who come for the Beas Kund trek.
Camping tents can be pitched on the western or northern side of the lake. Water is available on both sides.
Getting There and Out
FROM MANALI TO Palchan, it’s 10 km / 15 mins by car (Rs 300) and 20 mins by bus (Rs 10). There’s a bus every 30 mins in summer when Rohtang Pass is open. When the pass is closed, there are three buses, at 8 am, 2 pm and 4 pm.
RETURN Take the same route back.
Beas Kund is the source of the River Beas, although the main rivulet rising from the Beas kund is called Solang Nallah, till it joins the stream flowing down from Rohtang Pass. The trek to Beas Kund is along the Solang Nallah.
Beas Kund trek starts from Palchan, near the confluence of the Rohtang and Solang streams where a road branches off to the left (west) to cross the Beas (a little downstream from the confluence). It heads up the Solang Nallah to where the Mountaineering and Allied Sports’ Ski Centre (2,480 m /7 km) is located. Along the motor road, it is a leisurely walk through a forest with the Solang Nallah flowing down on one’s right. On both sides of the road, a large number of hotels have mushroomed in the last decade.
From the car parking area (near the ski centre) a well-trodden path heads north-west to Dhundi (2,800 m / 8 km). The trek passes through a mixed forest of blue pine, deodar, spruce, fir and wild walnut trees. The path ascends gradually over a stone strewn trail before descending to cross to the Solang Nallah left bank over a temporary wooden bridge. Thereafter, the track climbs up still heading north-west to reach Dhundi camping ground.
The Hanuman Tibba Peak dominates the horizon to the west during this climb. A jeep road also goes up to Dhundi where the Snow and Avalanche Study Establishment (SASE), Manali, has a study unit.
One can camp anywhere near the abandoned Border Roads Organisation camp or SASE’s study unit. Enough water is available nearby.
The trek from Dhundi starts along the left bank (north side) of Solang Nallah. It climbs up, turns right, or north, and descends to ford a side stream. The Solang Valley narrows down in this stretch. The trail ascends due west to a ridge, turns right and climbs steeply for about 2 km before crossing a log bridge to reach Bakkar Thatch pastures, surrounded by birch trees. Splendid views of the Dhauladhar and Pir Panjal ranges can be seen from here.
After Bakkar Thatch, the trail continues on the right (south side) of Solang Nallah, and winding up, turns round a ridge to the north before dropping down to Beas Kund (3,540 m), a small lake at the edge of a ground. The terrain around Beas Kund suggests that the area was once filled with glaciers that have receded over the years.
Throughout the Beas Kund trek, Hanuman Tibba (5,930 m) has a towering presence on the west. From Beas Kund, apart from Hanuman Tibba, one can see Ladakhi Peak, Shiti Dhar and Manali Peak.
A difficult 10 hour trek to the south west can enable a trip to the base camp established by climbers attempting to scale Hanuman Tibba.
Return by the same route. Take a taxi from Solang Nallah to Manali.
Yes, it is absolutely essential to take a guide for this trek whether you are trekking solo or in a group.
The best season for Beas Kund trek is from June to mid October.
It is ideally recommended for 10+ age. Beas Kund is a high altitude trek which is not suitable for children below 10 years.
Yes, in fact all the Himalayan trails which start from small villages like Palchan are quite safe for women & solo travelers. People of the region are very warm, caring & hospitable in nature.
Camping tent accommodation (2-3 per tent).
Guides & porters in the region will never demand any tip money from you. They just need their daily wages paid by the trek operator. However, it is always encouraging if one can give a little tip to them if they provide good services.
Indian currency is accepted