Khirganga – A Heavenly hideout in mystic woods.
Written by sreedev
It was the third day of our trip and we were getting ready for the Khirganga trek packing our rucksacks. Since we were waiting for this trek from last two days, we were filled with wonder and excitement. Khirganga trek is about 14-16 km approx. crossing two huge mountains from Barshani. It will take around 5-6 hours in foot to reach the top of Khirganga. The trek has steep climbs, waterfalls, rough pathways and many equivalent hurdles. Initially we enquired our host for a guide, but they were charging high rates(4000 for a guide). Our host confirmed that there is only 5% chances to go astray, mostly people reach there very easily. His words strengthened our beliefs and we set out for the trek ourselves. We reached Barshani dam around 7:30 am from where the trek starts. The climate was favourable and the time was perfect to start the climb.
The stairs of Barshani dam lead us down to Parvathy River and we crossed the hanging bridge to reach the foot of the first mountain. From here the steep climb(trek) starts. We were going breathless after completing first 15 minutes of trek, embarrassingly we were forced to take the first halt. Resting there, restraining our breaths in rhythm, I was thinking of my lazy lifestyle I have been following all these years. We resumed through the side paths of the cliff and on the other side we could see exhilarating view mighty and milky Parvathy River flowing down between the two strips of giant mountains. Apple farmers were passing by very easily with big bucket of apples on their back which confirms that it was their daily exercise. I asked one of them about the kilometres left to reach Khirganga, he replied 3-4 km. We were pretty sure that he misunderstood the unit which we asked. We reached main apple plantations and red apples were all around us. Farmers wont allow travellers to pluck apples from their plantation. If they catch anyone plucking, they will charge them with a hefty amount. Since Red bull and Snickers were the only diet we were having.
|Plucking apples :-p
We decided to buffer some apples in all the rucksacks we have. We started plucking apples restlessly. As soon as we heard some noise we stopped and continued to walk. We reached the first village, we sat there and relaxed for sometime. One Dada was asking us randomly about Delhi and the political happenings there. We resumed and on the way we met some really cool mountain dogs. They are very burly and extremely friendly to humans. When we walk they follow us and when we take breaks they will wait till we resume.They gave us company interchanging between them till the top. Then we reached next point where there was another mighty waterfall and a bridge which was the entrance to next mountain. We entered the next mountain and surroundings started to change. The whole environs started getting more wilder with dense
forest and tall trees. Steeps where getting more steeper and rocks started becoming slippery. The paths were getting messier and confusing. But travellers had already marked the way to Khirganga in small rocks, these so called sign rocks held us tight on the right path. We were exhausted and the rucksacks were getting too heavier. After 6 hours of trek we reached the entrance of Khirganga where a poster of Lord Shiva welcomed us. We were bang on the target. With almost no energy we all rushed to the top of the valley craving for a dip in sulphur heated water.
A small temple of lord Shiva and a pool attached to it which is made in hot spring. This is the main attraction of Khirganga. Hippies mainly come here to have a bath in this pool with a seventh heaven puff(Malana cream). The water is sulphur heated and villagers believe it has intense medicinal benefits. The pandit always keep an eye on the pool as he wont allow anyone to put waste in it. In huffs and puffs we were climbing the last stretch of steep trek which ends at that hot pool. Pandit ordered us to have a bath outside and then come to pool for keeping the religious purity unshaken. That first dip in pool filled us with a rejuvenating feel wearing off the complete fatigue and tiredness of the whole trek. Huge snow capped mountains were standing heads up in front and back of the pool.
The pandit explained its Kailasa and told us the whole story of the valley which differs from person to person. The top of snow capped mountains where hiding in the clouds. In between the top curves become visible as the clouds become loose. There where no flat grounds, only unevenly spread green lands all around the pool. The chunk of woollen sheep and cows give us vibes of Swiss back drop. Panoramic blue skies, green grass lands, Dense pine trees and giant snow capped mountains trapped us in addictive love which pushed us to stay there for a night.We all were supposed to report next day.
|Quick nap beside pool
Life happens only once, so we decided to spend one night in this eccentric place. This decision of staying was way more worthier than the trek. Now I feel we all could have died with regret if we returned the same day. Khirganga night is the most beautiful night I have ever witnessed. The whole valley will be filled with hauling sound of wind, buzzing sound of insects and the roar of Parvathy River, its spine-chilling ambiance. The twinkling stars brightened the dark blue sky and white snow caps seemed more bluish in moonlight. The moment was making us more human and life seemed better than ever. Stay was surprisingly cheap as it was 100 per head for a room(dormitory) including food.
The wooden walls kept us warm and room
|A morning in Khirganga
was well equipped for having a good sleep. There are many tented restaurants in the valley. Each meal in the restaurant with ambient back drops and trance music will cut us loose from all twisted problems in mind. Honey-ginger-lemon-tea is the best drink you can have in that chilled atmosphere. After enjoying the beauty of night, we had the local dinner(Roti,Rice, Papad and Dal) from the place of stay. The place has no network or power which literary makes it a hide out. We were completely detached from the concrete civilisation and materialism. After having a mind filling heavy diet, we all went blackout in sleep.
Next day morning I woke up at 6, came out and felt light. With much stronger breeze and ice cold weather the morning seemed fantastic. We all again set out to have our second bath in pool to immune our body muscles for trekking down. After having a good swim in sulphur heated water, we went to restaurant and savoured a hefty continental breakfast with a honey ginger lemon tea. Then it was time for us to get down. There was slight rain when we started, but after sometime the rain stopped or intensity decreased as the droplets were not reaching us dodging all those leaves of tall trees shading us. Our body and muscles were pretty much used to the unpaved paths and steep climbs. I then realised how pragmatic human bodies are, as our stamina got increased by a great extend. We were trekking down pretty fast. We reached back in Barshani after 4 hours of rushing down with necessary breaks. We relaxed in front of dam for fifteen mnutes feeling the joy of conquering the heights of freedom and peace.
Now I am as addictive to trekking as to bike rides. From my experiences there are two thing which both the sport have in common, the more you do, the more your body and soul get connected to nature. I have decided to trek more often specifically to the Himalayas. Khirganga is a refreshing trek and I strongly recommend it for the beginners. Khirganga is a place where you can visit infinite times and you wont get bored. The absence of the tourism and the unreachability of civilised crowd makes this place a refreshing paradise. Well, Amidst the hustle and bustle of commercialised cities who wont like to take a heavenly hide out in this mystic woods.