Tirthan Valley, a hidden gem in Himachal Pradesh is what I call my home in the Himalayas. I had planned to slow travel in this valley for 2-3 weeks when I had quit my job to take a break and give myself a chance to work towards my passions. The unparalleled beauty and simplicity of this place wooed me so much that I ended up living in Tirthan Valley for 8 months. I continue going back to the valley, as I find myself the most peaceful when I'm home. The pristine valley around Tirthan River has just enough basic facilities for travellers looking for local Himachali experience. The valley has impressed many and is now becoming a popular destination offering simple experiences to the travellers:
1. Trek in the Great Himalayan National Park
2. Reconnect with yourself on the banks of Tirthan River
3. Drive to Pekhri village / Sharchi village in Tirthan Valley
4. Hike up to small hamlets in Tirthan Valley to learn the basic lifestyle of the locals
5. Birding in Tirthan Valley
6. Relish fresh local food in Tirthan Valley
Must Try local dish in Tirthan Valley - Siddu (Local steamed croissants, filled with mashed potatoes, onions, walnuts and served with melted ghee and walnut chutney)
7. Angling / Fishing for Rainbow Trouts in Tirthan River
8. Hike to Chehni Kothi in Jibhi Valley
9. Drive to Jalori pass and Hike to Serolsar lake
10. Trek to Bashleo Pass
11. Hike to Chhoie waterfall in Tirthan Valley
12. Buy homemade products from locals in Tirthan Valley
Things NOT to do in Tirthan Valley:
1. Bonfires in summers
Bonfire means burning lot of firewood and producing unnecessary smoke. Fire is actually a way of survival for the locals in the chilly nights. We should much rather respect the purpose and let the firewood be used when really required, instead of burning it for us to booze and dance around it. Bonfires can be avoided in summers - the peak tourist season.
2. Taking pictures of locals without their permission
Travelers are quite fascinated to take the pictures of locals. They either find them cute or beautiful in their traditional wear. We need to respect the fact that they are humans and not puppets or objects. Nobody likes you sticking your camera on their faces for pictures. If need be, either ask for their permission before taking a picture or the best option is to take distant pictures of them without making them conscious or asking them to pose for you.
3. Playing loud music on the banks of river
The valley is known to be serene and many travellers come to the valley to enjoy the peace that it has to offer. Even the locals have a tough lifestyle where they wake up in the wee hours of the day and go to bed early as well. We should respect the privacy of others.
4. Boozing and throwing bottles on the banks of river or throwing any waste in the valley
Before you pick up that bottle of alcohol, don’t forget the purpose of travel - to broaden your mind with different cultures and traditions, rejuvenate your soul and not boozing. Also, don’t dirty the beautiful places by dumping garbage in the naturally beautiful palces. It destroys the very reason of visiting the beautiful places for its beauty.
5. Asking for room service in the homestays
The government of Himachal Pradesh had introduced the scheme of homestay for locals to help them earn their basic living. Many people have opened up their homes to travellers. Please don’t treat the owners of the homestay as room attendants. Treat the homestay as your home and the owners as your family. Travel should be a beautiful experience for both the hosts and the traveler.
How to reach Tirthan Valley
You can take a flight to Kullu (Bhuntar Airport) and take a taxi to Tirthan Valley.
I strongly recommend Bisht Niwas Homestay (Mahendra Bisht +91-9816650262) for local homestay experience.