The Great Himalayan National Park, Himachal Pradesh
Information About The Great Himalayan National Park
The Great Himalayan National Park is one of The India Most Amazing National Park. The park is Located in City of Kullu in the State of Himachal Pradesh as Called Dev Bhoomi (The Lands of Gods).
Few Years ago, on my way back from Leh Ladakh, I’d stopped to take a moment on the road ascending the Lachulung La because the views were stunning. That high and desolate road then didn’t see the volume of traffic it does now, and it was unwritten road etiquette for one traveler to stop, greet the other and enquire whether things were okay or if help was sought or just to chat for a bit.
This is how I met Shirur, who brought his car to a halt and asked if everything was fine. During the course of conversation, he told me about the Tirthan Valley within the Great Himalayan National Park, which lay between Shimla and Manali, pinnached by the 10,000ft-high Jalori Pass. The Tirthan Valley is one of Himachal Pradesh’s better-kept secrets and it can be approached from either NH21, which is the Chandigarh-Manali road, or from NH22, which is the Shimla-Rampur road or the old Hindustan-Tibet road, Personally, I prefer coming in through NH22 and exiting through NH21, but it depends on whether the grand-daddy of this road, the mighty Jalori Jot, has opened its doors after the winter. If it is snow-bound, the only way in is through NH21. Shoja is the top-most village, just 5km from the Jalori Pass, and with lovely views all the Jalori Pass, and with lovely views all around. Jalori itself has a lovely 5km trek to Serolsar Lake, which is quite easy and a definite must-do. Plus, there is an old fort to walk to. One of the staff at the Banjara Retreat will come along as a guide and will carry a picnic lunch for you. After that, you can drive down towards Banjar, Nagini and Gushaini, little villages by the Tirthan River.
The Tirthan is one of Himachal’s cleanest rivers and is teeming with trout. You do need a licence to fish, but Himalayan Trout House at Nagini will arrange licences as well as rods and bait. They will also cook the fish you catch, as will Raju Bharthi, who runs Raju’s Cottage at Gushaini, a few kilometers down the road. The Tirthan is a lovely river to laze about alongside too. There are fantastic walks around the area and both Raju of Raju’s Cottage and Christopher Mitra of the Himalayan Trout House will enthusiastically show you the way and some wonderful walks.
Make It Happen in The Great Himalayan National Park
Getting there: Shoja is 150 km from Shima if you approach it from Nh22. Drive from Shimla to Narkanda and onwards to a place called Sainj where you turn off NN22 onto SH11 towards Luhri. Stay on Sh11 all the way to Shoja past Ani, Khanag and the Jalori Pass. Shoja is 5km after the Jalori Pass. If you decide approach from NH21, then drive towards Kullu. Aut is 30km short of Kullu. Turn on SH11 from here; this road runs all the way to Shoja past Banjar, jibi and Gyaghi. Both routes are stunning, especially once you get off NH22 or NH21.
Road conditions: NH21 and NH22 are decent enough, but SH11 still has a few broken stretches and the odd stream-crossing. Again nothing drastic – in fact, little Maruti 800 can also tackle these streams with aplomb. If you approach via Shimal you’ll have to cross Jalori and it is a good idea to call up the Banjara Retreat at Shoja (see Make it Happen) to find out if the pass is open. It usually opens in April.
Entry fee for The Great Himalayan National Park:
The entry fees for Indian Citizen 50Rs and Foreigner 200Rs
Loo breaks: Stop at fuel stations.
Nearest airport: Shimla (150km)
Nearest railway station: Kiratpur Sahib in Punjab (230km)
Where to stay In The Great Himalayan National Park :
Bajnara Camps’ Shoja Retreat (banjaracamps.com; Rs. 7,200 with all meals).
Himalayan Trout House has tents and rooms and a riverside location (mountainhighs.com; Rs. 1,500 approx with meals)
Raju’s Cottage (Rs. 2,000 with all meals).