Recently one of my fellow-trekkers shared this article form Times of India, which say that Shrikhand Mahadev Trek is one of the most difficult Pilgrimage routes. And soon this trek is going to open for everyone. Although I have shared about the trek multiple times, but this post is dedicated to trekkers or pilgrims, who are planning to go to Shrikhand Mahadev this year. This PHOTO JOURNEY would try to share some of the tips for planning it better, because a better plan can make your experience much better.
First let's talk about the location of this trek and how to reach there? If you are coming from outside Himachal, you need to hit Shimla. Check this post to know various options to reach Shimla. If you are driving till the base, even then you need to come to Shimla first. Let's talk about the bus route from Shimla to Jaon village, which is the base of Shrikhand Mahadev trek. From Shimla, you can take a bus to Baghipul (find out more details & routes at HRTC website). If not Baghipul, you can take any bus going towards Kinnaur and get off at the place from where the route cuts towards Baghipul. There's a bridge that comes before Rampur. I know it is not too helpful to tell a place which comes before a known milestone :). But this information can be shared with fellow passengers or the bus conductor, so that they can help you get down at the right place. During Trekking season, everyone knows that people get down at this bridge to catch the next bus towards Baghipul. The road on the left side after crossing the bridge goes towards Baghipul. From Baghipul either you can wait for the next bus to Jaon or take the shared cabs. There is a good probability of finding shared cabs till Jaon village. If you don't find a shared cab, try to hire a cab from Baghipul only. Car drivers at Nirmand usually charge a lot more. If you are in a group of more than 4, I suggest you hire a cab from Shimla till Jaon village. Below is the map from Shimla to Nirmand.
When you know the route, it's time to plan your travel. If you plan to go by your own like we did, you need to find a good place to park your car for 5 days. We parked our car at Nirmand. We knew someone there. And from Nirmand we hired a cab to drop us at Jaon village.
Since it's a difficult trek and you need to spend few nights on the hills on your way, it's important to understand the stay arrangements and what you need to do to ensure that you take proper rest during the nights. It will be bone chilling weather on the hills. During the day it will be fine and most of the times you will feel comfortable with single layer of clothes, because of bright sun on these mountains. But during evenings you would need 3-4 layers of cloths and a cozy tent to spend the night. The good part is that you can find tents on rent at various places on the way. So you need not carry tents with you. The only condition is to figure out places where you can rent tents and then ensure that you reach that place by 4pm to reserve your place. Usually everyone starts the day trek early in the morning by 4-5am and concludes the day by 4-5pm. The first half of the day is most productive and usually there is high probability of rains in the second half, when clouds cover the sky.
Ensure that you don't carry too much stuff with you, but ensure that you have enough to eat. Eatables and basic medicine are extremely important. Food would also be available on your way, but don't expect tasty food options. And spending 5 days with tasteless food would be very unpleasant. So ensure that you have enough to eat. We carried some cup noodles, biscuits, dry-fruits with us. Good amount of glucose would be very helpful. On the way, it's important to consume water. You won't feel the need of water because of nice weather, but make sure you keep taking water at regular intervals. Put some glucose when you refill the water bottles. You get enough water through fresh water streams till the second last day, but during the last stretch you will go through snow covered hills and will not have access to water. So usually people get clean snow and put in the bottles.
Be extremely careful about carrying enough food material. Because of a bad plan, 2 of us were down with bad health. One of us was not eating well and other person got very tired. It's equally important to plan your days, so that you don't stretch unnecessarily. It's ok to spend 1-2 extra days, but move at a pace which suits your body. Because if you get stuck halfway because of bad health, that would be an extremely bad situation.
One good thing which we did during our trek was to hire a porter from Jaon village, who was carrying 3 of our bags. So 4 of us were only sharing 2 bags. And believe me, carrying a small bag on these hills is a big deal. So try if you can simply trek without any baggage. If you have baggage, plan your days well in terms of distance to be covered per day. Fortunately we got a nice guy, who was very helpful throughout the trek.
If you are in a good group of 6-8 people, I recommend you carry your own stuff and hire 3 porters. Have tents, sleeping bags & some basic utensils to make food. That will give you lots of flexibility to trek. You need not set targets for the day to reach a camping site. Wherever you find a good place around water, you can put your tents and enjoy the relaxing trek. And at times, it would be ok to not use the infrastructure and get rented shelter.
Shrikhand Mahadev trek starts during the time when it's rainy around these hills. Clouds play hide and seek with you. So be prepared with following things - A good rain suit, nice trekking shoes (should not be slippery), avoid shorts (there can be dangerous insects or even snakes on your way), a cap or a hat to ensure that your head is covered. Something to tie around your head would be very helpful to save your head from windy weather in late evenings.
It would be a good idea to have a sense of weather through forecasts. Also be informed about the state of terrains for the year when you are planning to trek. Situations are different every year.
Keep some of the basic things with you - a torch, a Swiss knife, a first-aid box, a lighter (match-boxes as backup, but wrap them well to avoid moisture), paper soaps etc. Comfortable socks and gloves are equally important.
Don't forget your camera and extra batteries. Try to avoid using LCD of your camera because that consumes a lot of energy. If your batteries are giving problems, take them out and rub against dry cloths. Put them again in camera and this trick should work 2-3 times or more. Keep some garbage bags to ensure that you don't make these beautiful hills dirty and there would no one to clean them if you leave the remains lying unattended.
If you are also a trekker and want to add more tips to this post, please leave a comment here.
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