Nestled deep within the Parvati Valley in the lap of the Himalayas lies a mystical trek that is known for its natural hot springs and breathtaking views – the Kheerganga Trek. Covering a distance of approximately 12 km one way, this moderate trek takes you through pine forests, across gushing streams and past towering mountains to reach the ancient Shiva temple and hot springs of Kheerganga.
The trek begins from Barshaini, the last motorable point in Parvati Valley. From here, you cross a bridge over the river Parvati and start walking along a gradually ascending trail into the forests. Lush green trees provide you company and cool shade as you make your way up. Within the first 2 km itself, the sound of the river fades away and you are enveloped by the stillness of the woods. The chirping of birds and the whisper of the wind through the trees is all you hear now.
From Nakthan to Kheerganga: A Scenic Trek through the Himalayan Terrain
After about an hour and a half of walking, you reach the village of Nakthan. This is a great place to take a short break, have some tea or snacks before continuing your journey. Local women sell chips, biscuits and instant noodles here. There are also a few local houses where you can rest for some time.
The next stretch of the trek from Nakthan to Kheerganga is approximately 4 km long. The incline gets steeper here and you have to trek uphill most of the way. The landscape also changes from pine forest to more rocky terrain. Lush green meadows start making an appearance amidst the rugged mountains. You might feel tired but the fantastic valley views will re-energize you.
After continuous uphill walking for about 2 and a half hours, the sound of gushing water reaches your ears. This indicates your arrival at the mystical Rudra Nag waterfall. Cascading down from an impressive height, the water is ice-cold and pure. After resting for some time at the falls, the climb to the Kheerganga hot springs begins.
Kheerganga’s Tranquil Oasis: Nature’s Healing Retreat
Through a final 30-45 mins ascend, you will reach the open green meadows of Kheerganga. The moment you set foot here, the tiredness of the journey will vanish. You are suddenly filled with a sense of calm and positivity. The panoramic vistas of the surrounding mountain peaks are simply spectacular from here.
In the middle of this meadow lie the ancient Shiva temple and the natural hot springs of Kheerganga. The temple is small but exudes a spiritual aura. Next to it are two hot water pools built with stones. After putting your bags in any of the nearby wooden cottages, change into comfortable clothes and soak your tired bodies in the relaxing waters of the hot spring. The average temperatures here range from 35 to 45 degree Celsius. The natural thermal waters are known to have healing properties and medicinal benefits.
Evening Magic and Culinary Delights at Kheerganga
As the sun starts to set, the temperature drops rapidly in the mountains. The villagers light small bonfires around which trekkers sit, warm themselves and chat away the evening. Sitting under a sky full of stars and soaking in the tranquility is a surreal experience.
Make sure you try the simple but delicious vegetarian fare served by the local cafes here. Rajma-chawal, maggi, parathas, poha and Israeli food are some of the lip-smacking dishes on offer. There are no ATMs in Kheerganga so make sure you carry enough cash.
The next morning, you can go on short hikes around the area to enjoy the sunrise views and scenic beauty. The way back is all downhill and much easier. Stop at Rudra Nag waterfall again for a snack break and cool off your tired feet in the water. You will be back in Barshaini by late afternoon where you can collect your luggage and head back home with a bag full of incredible memories.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to do the Kheerganga trek is in the summer months between April and June. The weather is pleasant and perfect for trekking at this time. Winters can get extremely cold with the temperatures even dropping below zero degrees Celsius. The temple and hot springs remain closed during this season. Monsoon months see lesser tourists but the route becomes slippery and unsafe due to rain.
Make sure you are physically fit before attempting this trek. There are no major steep ascents but you need to walk uphill for long hours. Wear comfortable trekking shoes and carry warm plus waterproof jackets. Thermal inners come in handy especially at night and early morning. Other essentials like torch, first aid and toiletries must be packed too.
While Kheerganga can be done as a weekend getaway from nearby cities like Delhi, Chandigarh or Manali, it is better experienced over 3-4 days. The first day can be used to reach Barshaini and trek till Rudra Nag falls. You can enjoy the natural hot spring and explore the area on Day 2 before returning on Day 3. An extra day allows you to take it slow, acclimatise better and truly immerse in the tranquil atmosphere.
The Kheerganga trek is the perfect blend of nature, adventure and spirituality. The meadows look straight out of a fairytale, surrounded by snow-capped mountains and cotton wool clouds. There is a spiritual aura in the air and you feel rejuvenated mentally and physically. As you sit by the hot spring gazing at endless peaks, there is a sense of dissolution – of oneness with yourself and nature. For anyone looking to go on a life altering journey, discover stunning landscapes or just find some quiet me-time, the Kheerganga trek comes highly recommended. The natural beauty and serenity of this place will leave you spellbound, wanting to return again!