Shreekhand Mahadev Yatra
Shreekhand Mahadev is a difficult trek but offers magnificent views of the mountains and glaciers. Like Amarnath yatra, this is also considered a sacred pilgrim trail and lots of people from nearby places in himachal visit this every year. This year, I also took the challenge and went on an adventure trek…
Shreekhand Mahadev is a sacred pilgrim trail taking the devotees of Shiva to a magnificent journey full of breathtaking views and adventures.
The peak is at an altitude of 17,150 feets and has a 75 feet tall Shivlinga at the summit.
Located in between the himalayan ranges from Kullu and Kinnaur side, the base of this trek is Jaun village. It’s 5 hours drive from Shimla.
July - August is the time when weather conditions are favourable and hence it is best to visit during this time. The official yatra with proper registrations and medical facilities is provided by local authorities during this 15 days window and its crowded during that time so better visit couple of weeks before or after the yatra.
However, on the other days you are on your own. Locals do setup camps along the path during this time period, so it’s easy to get food and shelter. In other seasons you may have to carry tent and food stuff with you.
On an average it’s a 5-6 days trek and 4 days if you stretch up a little. It is around 70km round trip from the base Jaon. We finished it up in 4 days. With my walking pace I felt it was a bit hectic and better to make it 5 days so that we get more time to enjoy the beauty, click lifetime memorable pics/vids and enjoy the natural beauty.
Day 1: Up (exhausting) | 16-18 km
Day 2: Up (easy going, take rest to prepare for summit) | 6-8 km
Day 3: Up-down (summit day) | 24-26 km
Day 4: Down | 20-22 km
Friday night we left from Chandigarh and reach Narkanda for overnight stay. Then started early morning from Narkanda and reached the base village Jaon around 11:00. Quickly got ready and started our trek.
First few km was fun, there is a water stream going down and we walk up alongside it as if we are trying to find its origin. After 2 km we reach Sinhgad. Usually during the yatra we find langars here where people offer you food.
The way ahead from here is highly steep and exhausting. It also started to rain which made it difficult for us. We managed to reach Thachdu by 18:00 and it was getting dark.
We wanted to cover more distance so we did not stop here and kept going up even in dark. Fortunately, it was around full Moon night and once we crossed the forest area it was clear sky and Moon light was so bright that we did not use our torches.
We Reached Kali ghati aka Kali top by 20:00 and I was feeling exhausted, still we decided to continue to Bhim-talai as Kali ghati was open area and winds were blowing heavily. So rather than spending the night battling this chilling winds better go downwards and stay at Bhim-talai.
We reached Bhim-talai around 21:30 and I did not have any energy left. It was exhausting day. Those initial climbs of Thachdu and Kali ghati are steep and endless.
It was pre-planned to take pains on day 1 so that day 2 can be a relaxed day and can be used to prepare for the upcoming big day 3. Unlike rains on the previous day, weather was clear today and we get to see beautiful views of the mountains throughout the route.
I enjoyed this relaxed day for the beautiful views it has to offer. There were semi-frozen glaciers with water flowing underneath them. Some glaciers were half broken so that we had to walk on the stones under the flowing water.
Evening was even more beautiful at the time of sunset. We played ludo, cards for a while, had dinner and slept early. Because tomorrow is a big day.
Monday is considered auspious for visiting Shiva and our plan was perfect to make sure summit climb comes on Monday. Its toughest journey from here to summit and hence we got up around 4:00 and started our journey by 4:30. Soon by 5:00 am sunlight started to take over and now I get to see that the views around me are astonishing. Soon we reached Parvati Bagh but it was mist around so could not see at distant. From here, it was a steep 5km non stop climb on the glacier to reach directly at summit. This was challenging as its slippery on snow and we need to make sure our first step is firm before taking the next step. Mist and sunlight kept on playing hide and seek with us. When the sun was shining brightly then the light getting reflected was too bright that it was getting tough for me to completely open my eyes. I was so excited today that I forgot to wear sunglasses.
Reaching peak was an amazing feeling. There were tears of happiness rolling out of eyes and I was just lost in the moment. The magnificent 75 feet tall Shivlinga was in front of me and I could touch and feel it. This feeling of accomplishment is hard to describe in words. Many people turned around from mid way, couple of hours ago I was also in dual minds if I can make it or not but here I am at the top, chanting Jai Shri Mahakaal at 17,150 feets.
It was crowded at the top as it was Monday and there’s isn’t much space to accomodate many people. I clicked some pics in the mist and once weather was clear I clicked some more. I did not get to sit and rest since morning as the rocks were usually occupied and sitting on snow isn’t a smart choice, so mostly I was resting by taking support on trekking pole. Finally, I came down a bit to find a plane area to sit and eat some dry fruits.
The job was half done. Going down safely was the next challenge.
I had some paranthe to eat but did not feel like eating. At high altitude all your activities consume much more energy and even simple tasks like eating, tying lace of shoes seems like a big task.
We decided to come down from the Nain-Sarovar side which was long but safer route as compared to the steep glacier route which we used on our way up. There were beautiful scenes on the way down and there were also some moments where it was narrow path involving high risks.
First 2 hour on the way down were trickier and I was glad that we didn’t pick this path on our way up. Later when the slope wasn’t steep then I slided on the snow so as to save energy and quickly come down. That was amazing experience. By this time my camera battery was dead but I was enjoying the view. Also my confidence was high and that boosted my speed.
We reached Bhim-Dwari camp from where we started by 17:00. I ate maggi, took the rest of my luggage which I left in the camp and kept on going down towards Kuncha. Once again, taking more pains on this day so that tomorrow is easier.
Last few miles towards Kuncha were exhausting and we were walking in the dark. Crossing a broken glacier using torch was something I will always remember.
There wasn’t any hurry today but still by 7:00 am we were ready to leave towards Jaon. Which was the starting point of this trek. It’s hard to sleep for long hours when you are sharing your tent with other fellows and you miss the cosy comfort bed of your home. First 2 hours we had to climb up to Kali Ghati and then from there it was all down.
I was high on confidence and was giving advices to the fellows crossing me on their way up. It was raining on Kali-Ghati and hence the vision was limited. I wasn’t lucky to see panorama views from here.
Rain continued on the way down towards Thachdu. This actually sped me up because there was no point taking rest and getting wet in rain. We stopped in Singhad to eat something. Around 16:00 we were back to Jaon and trek was over. Finally we can drive car and no more pain of walking.
We drove towards Rampur and reached there by 19:00 and then booked a hotel for the night. Taking shower in warm water was such a relaxing experience since we did not bath from last 4 days. Had a sound sleep that night so that tomorrow I am ready for the next part of this trip towards Chitkul and Kalpa.
How was your trekking experience on Shrikhand Mahadev trek and if you have some feedback on my blog, please do let me know in the comments.
Happy travelling and lots of love,
- Ayush 🙂