Barot valley – a gem in Himachal

Last weekend, visited Barot valley in Himachal Pradesh. Barot is a small town away from the hustle bustle of other touristy “hill stations” in Himachal. There isn’t much mention of this place over the internet and based on the handful of posts I could find about this, it was clear that this was a place to spend the weekend at.

On sharing my weekend plan with the colleagues in office, the trip which was originally supposed to be a solo trip quickly turned into a group trip and we decided to just rent a taxi instead of using public transport owing to no direct bus connectivity between Delhi and Barot.

To reach Barot valley, one can follow Delhi-Manali route till Mandi. From Mandi take the road to Joginder Nagar. About 20 kms before JoginderNagar there is a place called Ghatasani where you turn right to Barot. Barot itself is part of the Mandi district. It took us 14-15 hours to reach Barot from Delhi/NCR but some of the delay during the night was because of the dense fog we encountered at several places, the densest being near Ambala.

Nestled between the Dhauladhar ranges, along the river Uhl, Barot valley is a picturesque one.  

Barot valley

Lamba dug which is a tributary of the river Uhl, joins Uhl at Barot. This makes Barot a good base for trekking activities around. Following Uhl upstream takes you to Kothi Kohr and Badgarm. There is a good road till Badgarm. After Badgarm there is a trekking route which takes you to Thamsar glacier. This route, after crossing thamsar glacier takes you to Bada bhangal. In the other side of the valley from Barot, moving along lamba dug one can trek to Luhardi and further up.

Depending on the time of year you visit Barot, the weather could vary a lot. On the first day of our two day visit (the time was first week of Feb), the weather was pleasant. Sunny during the day, getting chilly at night. First day we just relaxed walking through the town, sitting on the boulders at river bank and collecting local info to plan next day.

On the second day, it started raining in Barot. This was expected as per the weather report and we weren’t sure whether Barot would receive any snowfall. We talked to the locals and looked like our best bet was to take the car (Innova) to Bada gram which is at much higher elevation. As we started gaining height the rain magically started falling slower and slower. The transition from rain to snowfall as you gain height is so gradual that if you haven’t seen this before it would definitely surprise you in a good way 🙂

As the snow layer on road started getting thicker we parked the car at a safe place on that narrow road. Beyond this point we started trekking to badgarm. We went higher and the snow flakes became bigger. It was a dream come true for all of us. I had previously seen such a rain to snow transition while riding bike from Manali to Rohtang, and had trekked in a thick layer of snow at Chopta-Chandrashila, but this – trekking in snowfall – was a different experience altogether.

The whole place was covered in a thick layer of snow. We saw a tea stall on the road side at Kothi Kohr and sipped hot tea which was much-needed after the long walks. We had stocked dozens of chocolates which being a good source of quick energy, replenished some of our lost energy.

Snow cover in Barot valley

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Snowed out river bank, Barot valley

After Barot, Kothi Kohr is where you’re again at the river level and the snow cover had made the views surreal. Spending sometime idling at the river bank, playing with snow, we started getting a bit tired and taking into consideration that we wanted to move out of the Barot valley before sunset (the road is really narrow in the valley and we could notice the driver being uncomfortable at times here), we walked back to where we had the car parked. Reached Barot, had a sumptuous meal and it was time to bid goodbye to the mountains for now, and head back home.

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