When it comes to Hill Stations in Himachal Pradesh you will quickly list down Shimla, Dalhousie, Mcleodganj, Dharmshala, Spiti etc, but places like Barot will not come in that list. It's good in one way, but bad for people who like True Natural Beauty with least commercialization and quite peaceful. Nature Lovers want such places to be isolated from tourists more interested in commercial hill-stations with hustle-busstle all around. Let's check out some of the landscapes from Barot Town, which is in Mandi District of Himachal Pradesh (India).
Barot is a small town and a popular picnic spot along with a famous tourist location in Mandi district in Himalayan State of India. It is situated 40 km from Jogindernagar, which is one of the big towns in Mandi having historical importance and 66 km from Mandi, which is district headquarters. The road to Barot branches off at Jogindernagar-Mandi highway... The road to Barot branches off from Ghatasni before JoginderNagar while coming from Mandi leading to Jatingri. Further ahead of Jatingri lies Barot at a distance of 14 km. (Info Courtsey - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barot_%28Himachal_Pradesh%29)
It is sometimes possible to use the trolley from Jogindernagar which reduces the distance to 13 kilometers, but we were going via car and during that time Trolley was not working due to some technical problem. The route includes terraced fields and thick cedar(Deodar) forests, rising to Jhatingri at the hilltop. The remains of the summer palace of the former rulers of Mandi are located at this place. Through the little village of Tikkan, the road carries on to Barot Town with some hydro plants with beautiful dams under high security. The town has a range of outdoor activities, including a trout breeding center from where fish are released into the Uhl.
One can have license to do fishing in this water stream by paying 100 Rs for one day. Tourt Fish of Barot is very popular and there are various places you can get it. There is a Trout Farm and some local folks also sale it in small market of Barot. There are some decent Home-Stay options who have different cooking styles of Trout and we tried some of them during two days stay. Trout Fish of Patli-Kuhl/Preeni in Kullu is also very popular where former Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee used to go for enjoying fish with wonderful weather all around. It seems Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee is staying around Manali only.
Barot Town also forms the gateway to the Nargu Wildlife Sanctuary which lies across the Uhl. The sanctuary is home to the monal, black bear and ghoral. Within this are forest rest houses at Thaltuckhod and Silbandhwari. One Guest House is controlled by DFO Jogindernagar and other by DFO Hamirpur, but be cautious about bookings there. Because high Political pressure may lead to cancellation any time, which happened with us as well :) . Through woods of cedar and pine a trek route cuts across the sanctuary to Kullu.
Historically Barot region formed part of the Mandi riyasat before and during British times & was governed by the King of Mandi. Pre-Independence, Barot was also on the mule trail connecting Kullu valley to Kangra valley. The importance of this route declined once Kullu was connected to a road from Mandi. There is decent habitat now, but it seems some part of Barot comes in Mandi and other in Kangra.
Barot Town is a frequent backpacker and day tourist destination now. Many trekking trails pass through Barot town, including trails to Bada Bhangal, Manali and Kullu etc. Most of the day tourists are attracted by the serene surroundings and cheap availability of accommodation. Although the place can be boring for some folks who also want to do some shopping...
The Uhl river, which flows through Barot Town, supports Trout breeding and Barot has a few fish farms as well. Across the river Uhl is the Nargu Wildlife Sanctuary, home to Ghoral, Himalayan Black Bear and a variety of pheasants. While coming back many of pheasants crossed our car from hill-side towards water streams on right.
Here is a photograph of HPPWD Guest House of Barot, which is quite decent with 5 rooms in good condition.
The adventurous can also make a part of this journey by the PSEB (Punjab State Electricity Board) run haulage trolley, which may not be functioning all the times. So ensure that you have prior information about it for better planning. This trolley was originally used to haul material upwards for the power houses but is now used to transport people.
If you planning one day trip to Barot, there is a better option to stay in Jogindernagar town. It's a HPTDC Hotel on main highway - UHL. if you plan to stay at Barot only, there are few decent Homestay at nominal charges apart from three government guest houses - HPPWD & 2 Forest Guest Houses.
Here is another nice blog about Barot with crisp & useful information about the place - http://www.himachaltravelblog.com/2009/07/22/barot/
If you liked this post and found it helpful, I would request you to follow these things when traveling -
- Manage your waste well and don’t litter
- Use dustbins. Tell us if you went to a place and found it hard to locate a dustbin.
- Avoid bottle waters in hills. Usually you get clean water in hills and water bottles create lot of mess in our ecosystem.
- Say big no to plastic and avoid those unhealthy snacks packed in plastic bags. Rather buy fruits.
- Don't play loud blaring music in forests of jungle camps. You are a guest in that ecosystem and disturbing the locals (humans and animals) is not polite