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Jalori Pass Trek
01 Night 02 Days, Himachal Pradesh, India
On the Jalori Pass trek, the beauty of the ridge line separating the Inner and Outer Seraj was first extolled by Penelope Chetwode, daughter of the Commander in Chief of the British Army in India in 1931. She accompanied her mother on foot and horseback from Shimla to Rohtang Pass via the Jalori Pass. She returned to India in 1963 to trek the entire distance once again.
Jalori Pass is a day’s walk for a regular trekker but it can be extended to even three to four days for those with time and inclination to camp out. We have described it as a 2-3 day walk here.
The starting point of this trek, Jhibi, has a small rest house, and Ghyagi boasts of both a rest house and a few private guest houses. Saryolsar Lake and the fort of Raghupur near Jalori Pass are still relatively unknown.
Village Jhibi / Gyagi
Chandigarh Railway Station
Bhuntar airport near Mandi
The motor road from Jhibi to Ghyagi climbs gently south through exquisite forests of blue pine and deodar. Beyond Ghyagi there are two options for Jalori Pass trek: one is to follow the motor road (8 km) till Shoja. The other is to climb up a steep footpath (4 km) that winds its way up south, through the forest, along the Ghyagi Nallah.
With the increase in altitude, the mixture of rhododendron, ban oak, horse-chestnut, blue pine and deodar becomes interspersed with spruce, moru and then fir, as the Shoja rest house is reached. Shoja is a picturesque village with a few modest hotels offering basic facilities.
The real adventure is to be able to get bookings (from the PWD or Forest Department in Kullu) in the ideally located rest houses above the village. The old PWD Rest House located higher up offers better views.
A climb to the south from Shoja takes one to the top of the Jalori Pass, 5 km away. The route is along the motor road past a mixed forest of spruce, fir, kharsu oak and rakhal trees. Grassy meadows characterise the pass. After May, irises literally carpet these grasslands. Wild rose and larkspur also abound on the hill slopes between Shoja and Jalori Pass. The Pass itself is not very wide but the surrounding heights offer panoramic views of the Dhauladhar and Pir Panjal ranges. There are many small dhabas at the top of the pass that provide food and even a place to stay.
A gentle, almost level walk of 6 km through forest dominated by kharsu oak leads eastwards from Jalori to Sarylosar Lake (3,120 m). The small lake is revered on both sides of the ridge and numerous pilgrims trek up in the summer months from the surrounding villages. There is a route even to Baithad, the starting point of the climb to the adjoining Bashleo Pass. A couple of tea shops at the northern end of the Saryolsar Lake offer refreshment through the summer season.
About a third of the way back towards Jalori, a steep, well defined path heads down south through oak meadows to Khanag, about 4 km away on the motor road to Ani. Jalori Pass trek ends at village Khanag. Khanag has a pretty PWD Rest House for a night stay or, one can take a bus or taxi to Ani.
An option from Jalori Pass is to visit the ruins of Raghupur Garh Fort (3,297 m), located about 4 km to the right (south-west) of the pass. The fort walls are visible from the pass. It takes a short descent and then a steep climb to reach the fort.
Occupied by the Gorkhas in their great foray accross the Western Himalayas in the early 19th century, the fort was abandoned when the British Army routed them.
The hill top location commands great views. From Raghupur, it is possible to descend south through the oak forest to the village of Takrasi (5 km), where an old forest house still stands amidst the dense tree cover. From Takrasi, a 7 km motor road leads to Khanag.
Getting There & Out
FROM MANDI to Banjar, it’s a 79 km / 2 hrs by car (Rs 1000) and 2 1/2 hrs by bus (Rs 65). Regular bus service 7 am onwards. It is best to start walking from Jhibi or Ghyagi, 6 and 8 km away respectively, on the road to Jalori from Banjar.
RETURN from Khanag, come to Ani (25 km), by taxi (1 hr / Rs 700) or bus (11/2 hrs / Rs 30). Buses run between 10am and 6pm. Ani to Shimla is 119 km / 6 hrs. Taxi charges around Rs 3,000 and bus fare is Rs 120
KHANAG – TARAL – MARGI – SHILLA – KULLU – SARAHAN – BAGI PUL
This old bridle path passes through tiny hill villages existing in a beautiful time warp. It was the route on which forest dak runners’ carried official and personal letters regularly in the old days during the British rule. Trekkers can embark on this exciting journey after Khanag instead of going down to Ani. The old route had eight stages from Khanag to Rampur. It’s gentle walk along the forest paths from Khanag to Taral, Taral to Margi, Margi to Shilla and Shilla to Kullu Sarahan (4 days). It revolves staying at altitudes of over 2,000 m throughout, with rest houses at every nine odd kilometres.
FOREST REST HOUSES (Rs 100-750) at Taral, Margi and Shilla are booked by the DFO, Ani Forest Division at Luhri (Tel: 01904-243874), approximately 100 km from Shimla, on the right bank of Sutlej River. These rest houses are not well maintained and trekkers may have to camp in the rest house compound. But all of them are located in idyllic surroundings.
However, the PWD rest houses at Kullu Sarahan and Khanag are well maintained and booked by the Executive Engineer, PWD Nirmand.
From Kullu Sarahan, you can trek to Bagi Pul (4 to 5 hrs / approx. 8 km descent), connected by a motor road. Bagi Pul offers an exit to Shimla via NH 22 across the Sutlej.
GETTING OUT from Bagi Pul
There is a regular bus service from here to Shimla (152 km / 7 hrs / Rs 150). Last bus leaves at 6 pm. Local buses available for tehsil headquarters at Nirmand (17 km / 1 hr / Rs 20). At Nirmand, buses and taxis are available for Rampur (19 km / 1 hr / Rs 25 by bus). The Nirmand-Rampur stretch is in rough path to cross.
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 Bali Pass trek is from July to mid October.
It is ideally recommended for 10+ age kids.
Yes, in fact all the Himalayan trails 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