Mountains overwhelm me every single time and this time too it amazed me much with the scintillating beauty, warmth of conversations with locals and remote self sustaining villages. I took a trip to Tirthan Valley and it was entirely about my mom, mountains and me this time. Having heard of Tirthan valley from a lot of fellow travellers, it had always been on my mind. So, during my trip to north India, I sneaked out for a few days to visit the best kept secret of Himachal Pradesh – Tirthan Valley.
About Tirthan Valley
With plethora of delights, Tirthan valley lies around 3 km from the entrance of Great Himalayan National Park and at a driving distance of about 70 kms from Kullu in Himachal Pradesh. The valley is best known for trout fishing, adventure activities and for being a paradise for nature believers. With quaint valley and terrific hamlets, Tirthan valley boasts great weather all around the year.
How I reached Tirthan Valley
From the time we started off from Delhi, I decided to take mom on a travel date. The over night Volvo bus towards Kullu was a smooth drive where we talked endlessly about our lives and eventually slept off cozily on each other’s shoulders. Next morning, the rolling hills, the serpentine roads, the lazily flowing river and my favorite tall mountains had gotten mumma excited enough to keep calling my name aloud until I opened my eyes to the mystical views from the huge window of the bus. With my nose pressed against the window, I already wanted to breathe and smell the clear fresh mountain air. I was immediately knocked away by the sheer beauty outside and instantly hugged mumma tight, out of immense joy and excitement of being in the mountains. We crossed a tunnel just before Aut and got down at Aut to hop on the bus towards Banjar. From Banjar, our resort Trishla Riverside Resort was a 10km drive on not so buttery roads with potholes here and there. But who cares when your eyes are glued to the enticing views throughout the way.
About Trishla Riverside Resort, Tirthan Valley
Upon crossing a number of homestays on the way, my eyes were on the lookout for my stay in Tirthan valley. And then, it appeared. A red colored resort standing aloof , situated right by the river side was seen through the trees. A slight descend off the hills led to Trishla riverside resort. On the first sight of it, I had already imagined my next three days which were going to be spent chilling by the river and walking around the valley.
One of the staff member quickly settled us in our room and served us my favorite welcome drink. The drink made of rhododendron flowers is usually served in mountains. We had a huge balcony to ourselves which was going to be our morning tea spot for the duration we were there. After a long journey to Tirthan valley, hunger pangs had started setting in and we walked towards the dining place for some breakfast. It was an open place overlooking the river and the valley. The breakfast order was taken and delicious sandwiches and omlette were served in no time. The food had the local flavours which made it scrumptuous to say the least. Infact, all the meals at the resort were lip smacking.
The owner of the resort talked about the resort being around eight years old. They had been running Trishla homestay (located few metres from Trishla river side resort) from a very long time and they realized the need to expand and build a resort on their ancestral land. They have recently added few more rooms constructed in typical Tirthan style. The owner emphasized on renting out the property to families only and thus don’t market themselves on online platforms.
Meeting Locals in Tirthan Valley
Social media has definitely connected nature lovers for good. Over facebook, I have been in touch with one such nature lover, Panki Sood who calls Tirthan valley heaven. Tirthan has been his home for over twenty years and he is immensely passionate about promoting the valley but retaining its charm at the same time. He immediately got over to Trishla as soon as he got to know that I have arrived. It had a hearty conversation with him about Tirthan valley, going for a trek in Great Himalayan National Park, promoting local homestays and keeping the valley’s old world charm.
Panki also introduced me to the locals who are running their homestays in Tirthan valley. From the oldest homestay owner to the new homestay owners, I met a lot of locals and heard them talk about how they have been running their lovely homestays. While people from metros have started to come in and build luxury properties, yet all of them wanted to retain the original charm of Tirthan valley and show the world the real culture and traditions of Tirthan. I am overwhelmed with the conversations I had with the locals there and plan to write a separate post on the same.
Spending time by the river in Tirthan Valley
Most often when I travel to mountains, I travel to soak all of it without any agenda. And with mom on my side, I had planned to absolutely do nothing and pamper her with relaxing time and great food. Little did I know that she will love meeting locals and hearing their stories about the place, festivals they celebrate and beliefs they keep. While I was visiting locals with Panki, she accompanied and appreciated the stunning homestays located in the lap of nature with lush greenery around and amidst the only sound of river, tunes of birds and warm conversations.
Of almost three days in Tirthan Valley, mom and I spent two days absolutely by the river. We would wake up, gaze at the luring landscape from our room’s huge window, come out for breakfast and sit as close to the river as we can. Spending hours sipping tea while watching the river meander its way through pebbles of all sizes, hoping off to walk to the burbling river over its bed of rocks, staring at the idyllic hills as far as our eyes could stretch would soothe our soul from within. Mumma would wear my shades, click selfies, run to the river, pose, ask me to click her and would record plenty of videos to show those to my dad. Oh how delighted I was to watch her playful self!
Visiting Sarchi, a self sustaining village in Tirthan Valley
Sometimes I think if it’s mountains or the humble locals which summon me so often. This time, Aman Negi, owner of Trishla vounteered to show me the most beautiful village I would have ever seen. We hopped on to his bullet and snaked through the newly constructed road towards Sarchi village. The dense pines, deodars and oaks gave company throughout the route with a constant view of snow clad mountain ranges of Tirath. I would feel like stopping every few minutes to immerse in the prolific surroundings. The last stretch through the orchards didn’t have a road and a make shift roads of stones is laid down for convenience.
It was a magical place straight out of my dreams. I almost started jumping around out of utter joy and excitement. It took me quite a few minutes to believe what I was seeing. I gathered myself and started walking around the village. A few shops, a small pond, vegetable farms, an ornated temple, mud houses with thatched roofs and a few gorgeously built bowled me over yet again. I was smiling ear to ear on seeing the snow clad mountains and bird’s eye view of entire Tirthan valley from Sarchi village. The local ladies busy in their daily chores spoke about their village when I asked them. The lovely ladies posed for me and guided me the way further. The kids waved and I waved back. This village undoubtedly took my breath away. After taking a quick tour of the village, I still wouldn’t rely on my eyes and really had to pinch myself to find it all to be true. I can’t wish more to be able to spend atleast a few days in the pristine Sarchi village.
If you have to plan one trip this summers, go and see Tirthan valley – a heaven on earth. Break the monotony of being active on cell phone and make yourself listen to the chirping of birds, blurbing of river; breathe the clear fresh air of mountains and fall in love with the affectionate and warm hearted locals.
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