Day 1: Reach Barshaini. Trek to Kheerganga
Barshaini is the base camp for the Buni Buni pass trek. The best way to reach here is to drive from Bhuntar, 3 hours away. Bhuntar falls on the Delhi – Manali road before Kullu. Get off here if you’re taking a bus. Plan to reach Bhuntar by 7.00 am
A good way to acclimatise is to arrive a day early and stay at Kasol or Manikaran, both very beautiful places. Barshaini is a small village. The highlight of this village is a small dam under construction on the Parvati river. You will spot a village named Pulga on the opposite bank of the river. You can walk around Barshaini and explore the village.
Altitude: 7,261 ft (2,213 m) to 9,222 ft (2,811 m)
Time taken: 3 hours drive to Barshaini; 5-6 hours trek to Kheerganga
Trek gradient: Easy. Initial level walk for 900 m followed by a steep ascent for 600 m. Very gradual ascent all the way to Kheerganga, except for a 300 m steep ascent which occurs 5.4 km from Barshaini.
Water sources: Carry 2 litres of water. You can refill your water bottle at a stream, 3.55 km into the trek.
The campsite at Kheerganga, at the edge of a forest. PC: Tanmay Bain
The trail from Barshaini to Kheerganga is very popular among trekkers. Kheerganga is known for its hot springs.
Take the trail leading out of Barshaini. Around 900 m from Barshaini you will reach an under construction dam on the Parvati river. The Tosh river meets Parvati close to the dam.
Once you cross the dam, take the trail going uphill on the left. After ascending for around 600 m, you will reach a dhaba. This is a good spot to take a break since the views around are good, and you can hear Parvati and Tosh rivers below you.
The trail changes as you leave the dhaba. It is covered with pine and chestnut trees. The ascent from this point is very gradual. Enjoy the jungle trail with the river flowing by. You will spot several trees fallen on this trail. You can use these as landmarks, if required.
After 2.55 km from Barshaini, you will reach a small stream. Cross over to the other side using the log bridge. There’s another dhaba around 200 m from the stream. Walk past this and continue on the trail. You will reach another stream in about a kilometre. This is a good place to refill your water bottles.
Forest trail to Kheerganga. PC: Tanmay Bain
There will be a big rock on the trail around 300 m from the second stream. You will need to bend and negotiate your way around it. Within 5 minutes of trekking past the rock, you will spot a village to your left, on the opposite bank of the Parvati river. This is Natkhan, a beautiful village with a few huts.
After around 700 m on this trail (4.2 km from Barshaini), you will reach another dhaba. Continue past this. In fact, you will cross many dhabas on this trail. They all serve as landmarks and also have decent refreshments in case you wish to eat. You will reach another dhaba within a kilometre of this one.
Around 5.4 km into the trek, you will hear a loud sound made by a waterfall. The trail turns steep from here for about 300 m. This part is also rocky and muddy. You will be greeted at the end of this steep stretch by a huge waterfall. You can stop here to take in the view.
The trail eases off after the waterfall. A kilometre on this trail will bring you to another waterfall. This is a good spot to take a break and eat something.
Around 7.55 km from Barhsaini, you will hit a rocky section. Be careful as you navigate this since it is a little tricky. The ascent is very gradual. In about half a kilometre from here, you will reach a big patch of an earlier landslide. Around 30-45 minutes of trek from here will bring you to Kheerganga.
Kheerganga has a lot of dhabas, hotels and camping spots spread all over. Cross Kheerganga and trek for about 800 m. This place is secluded from the crowd of Kheerganga. It is a beautiful and quiet place to set up camp.