Fateh Veer Singh Guram, Travel@ The Hush Post: Imagine a place which offers you pure and blissful mountain air. Imagine a place which offers breathtaking views wherever you look. Imagine a day where a lazy Sunday does not involve binging on Netflix, but fishing from a river, whose water is as clear as crystal! Mesmerised, aren’t you? No, this place is not a figment of anyone’s imagination, but exists in reality. This place is located in the Mandi district of Himachal Pradesh.
This place is Barot.
A small village, Barot is situated in the Uhl river valley. Barot was initially developed in the 1920s for the Shanan Hydro Power Project, but has now become a must visit spot on the list of backpackers and those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of cities.
Nestled at a comfortable height of 6000 feet, Barot is a nature lover’s paradise. Boasting of splendid views of snow capped peaks and a comfortable temperature during summers, Barot is quiet, peaceful place where nature lovers can fulfil multiple interests.
Places to See:
The Uhl River originates from the Thamsar Glacier in the Dhauladhar Range of the Himalayas. The banks of the river serve as a serene place for outdoor camping. The river is also popular for fishing, as people generally fish for trout in the waters of the river. However, prior permission needs to be taken from the Trout Farm Office, after paying a nominal amount of Rs. 100 before one can enjoy this activity.
Nargu Wildlife Sanctuary:
The Sanctuary is a must visit for wildlife lovers, as animals like the Himalayan Black Bear, , leopard, kasturi deer, wild cat, nilgai, kakkar and Ghoral are commonly found in the forests of the sanctuary. Birds like the Himalayan Monal can also been seen in the here. The trekking route to Kullu also passes through the sanctuary. The Sanctuary consists largely of oak and deodar trees, and the sweet scent of the deodars is a welcome change from the noxious fumes of cities.
At a distance of 6 kilometres from Barot lies Luhardi village. A trek to this village can be done in around two hours and the trek offers wonderful vistas of the Uhl and Lamba Dug rivers. Magnificent views of the mighty, snow clad, cloud kissed Dhauladhars can also been sighted on this trek.
Dev Pashkot Temple:
Also known as the Barot Temple, it is dedicated to the local deity of rain. Dev Pashkot is also seen as the ‘king of the valley’ and people generally rely on the deity for justice in small matters. A trek of 15 minutes is required to reach this temple, which is situated at the bottom of the hill.
Shanan Hydel Power Project:
The Shanan Project was created by the king of Joginernagar, in collaboration with the Britishers. It is a quiet and peaceful place, and boats of three artificial lakes that greatly enhance the beauty of Barot its surroundings.
Situated at a height of nearly 15,800 feet lies Thamsar Pass. The trek to Thamsar Pass takes around 3 days and is of a slightly difficult level. However, the trek offers amazing views of the Dhauladhars and is the source of the Uhl River. Thamsar connects the Chotha Bhangal Region with the Bara Bhangal Region. The Bara Bhangal Region is a beautiful and relatively unexplored region in the lap of Dhauladhar Range.
Blessed by Lord Hanuman, Dianasur Lake is a high altitude lake located at a height of nearly 14000 feet. Holy journeys to this lake start in the month of August and September.
How to Reach:
The nearest railhead to Barot is in Jogindernagar, which is 14 kms away. Buses to Barot leave every half an hour from Jogindernagar. Jogindernagar has a narrow gauge track, which is connected to Pathankot. Pathankot has a broad gauge track and is well connected to major cities of the country.
Barot lies at a distance of 296 kilometres from Chandigarh, 455 kilometres from Delhi and 192 kilometres from Pathankot. The distance between Mandi and Barot is 83 kilometers.
The nearest airport is Gaggal Airport in Dharamshala, which lies nearly 90 kilometers away.
Time to Visit:
Barot is quite pleasant during the months of May and June, when temperatures remain between 20-30 degrees Celsius. The flowers around Barot are in full bloom during the summers, and the place attracts a larger number of tourists in these months as compared to the winter months.
However, the temperature dips to near freezing point in the winter months of December and January. Thus, those looking to enjoy the Himalayan winters, while avoiding the tourist rush should visit the place during these months.