Trails and paths covered with pebbles
hard rocks cutting through your feat like sharp edges
You follow them to reach somewhere heaven like
And what you find then all white and pure above the skies
It’s already written who reaches to find these roads
It’s already decided who will re institute the safeguards
People often ask me what is in these voyages
Do they quench your wonderment or are you stupidly bygone by the need to end this life
I say we are all scared to leave our fates unto nature
maybe because we resist to live in the most natural ways of survival …………
Location of Shrikhand Mahadev
State– Himachal Pradesh
District – Kullu
Near to – Kartikey Peak (which is untouched from human intervention because of the level of difficulty of this trek)
What is special about Shrikhand?
There are some places which I believe are kept aloof by nature itself from the normal messy world. These places reside in the most difficult terrains of the world . Similarly Shrikhand trek is considered as one of the most difficult ‘yatra’ in Asia, posing an unpredictable risk to one’s life. Besides this, it is a trek comprising of every scenic pleasure in the world. From waterfalls, to dense forests, to glaciers, to rocky mountains and lakes. Everything miraculous in this world has its glimpses here in Shrikhand. Moreover, the mountain top with an astounding height of 5660 meters, is recorded as one of the highest altitude points in Himachal. When you reach at the top, a sense of achievement besieges your mind and soul. Whatever you feel after reaching here is priceless. Thus Shrikhand is like a path through adventure, a lot of thrill and also through so many breath taking sceneries.
Folklore about Shrikhand
Shrikhand is a pilgrimage site and is believed to be the abode of Lord Shiva while he was trying to escape a demon named Bhasmasur. He recieved a boon from Lord Shiva in the form of a ‘bhasma kangan’ (bracelet) as a result of his hard penance. Just after Bhasmasur realised that with this boon he could turn anything he touches into mere ashes, he set to tesitify the authenticity of it. He ran after Shiva ji and the Lord scared by the call of Bhasmasur’s attack, fled to the mountains. The first place where he found his refuge was at Deodhank. Realising that Bhasmasur was still on his chase, Lord Shiva went further carving out a cave and took ‘samadhi’ into a gigantic shivlinga on the mountain top. He hid here for months. But after a hard penance of Lord Kartike, Ganesh and Goddess Parvati, he came out spiliting the Shivlinga. This left a breach on the Shivlinga which is noticeable even today. Thus this laid the trail for Shrikhand Mahadev. People also say that King Ravana used to come here everyday and used to offer his head to Lord Shiva in reverence. Because of this the place was earlier named as Sir Khandan which gradually changed to Shrikhand.
How to reach?
Enroute = Shimla – Dattnagar – Nirmand – Baghipul- Jaon – on foot journey starts to Shrikhand
The route between Shimla and Nirmand is not a straight one. You have to get down at Dattnagar which lies 12 kms before Rampur and from here you can go to Deodhank. This is the place from where Yatra originally starts and from here you can further take the Nirmand – Baghipul …….. route.
Motorable road – Shimla to Jaon
Transport means – Bus/ Personal vehicle
Day 1 : Shimla – Jaon (via devdhank) – Bharati Nala
- Stay at Bharati Nala. Here you can find lodging facilities and also LANGAR is available.
Day 2 : Bharati Nala – Thachdu – Kalighati – Bheemdwar
- Breakfast at Bharati Nala ; Lunch at Thachdu ; Dinner at Bheemdwar
- Stay at Bheemdwar ( tent on rent for Rs. 150/person)
Day 3 : Bheemdwar – Nainsarovar – Shrikhand – Bheemdwar – Thachdu
- Started from Bheemdwar at 4:00 AM.
- Immersed in the holy waters of Nainsarovar Lake.
- Reached Shrikhand peak around 9:00 AM.
- Started the journey way back around 11:00 AM.
- Lunch at Bheemdwar.
- Reached Thachdu. Stay and Dinner at Thachdu
Day 4 : Thachdu – Jaon – Deodhank – Dattnagar – Shimla
- Took a shortcut to Dattnagar from Deodhank
Special places and their significance
1. Deodhank –
It’s both the starting and ending point for the yatra. Lord Shiva laid trail for Shrikhand from this point in order to escape Bhasmasur. While he was moving further, a cave like formation came into being. People say that anyone who entered this cave never returned back and for now the cave has shrunken into inhospitable dimensions.
2. Kalighati –
It is believed to be an abode of Goddess Kali. The stretch is entirely steep from Bharati Nala to Kalighati. And as soon as you reach here a sense of relief and satisfaction soothes all the troubles you faced to get on the top of this peak. The goddess is worshiped here in order to initiate the further yatra to Shrikhand.
3. Bheemdwar –
Pandavas, during their exile, spent most of their time in Himachal. In Himachal, one of the places they visited was Bheemdwar. It is believed that Bheem slayed a demon named Bankasur here and people say that his blood still runs in the mystical red waters of a stream at Bheemdwar. Bheemdwar is majorly known for its scenic beauty in form of waterfalls, snow capped mountains and picturesque view. It replicates the idea of landscape beauty showcased in films and paintings.
4. Nainsarovar –
It’s sanctity is believed to be equivalent to the waters of river Ganges. Mythology has it that Goddess Parvati bathe in this lake and thus the lake is trusted to be sacred and healing.
5. Bheembahai (Bheem stairs) –
Bheem entrusted with the task to construct a path to heaven, laid some stones at Bheembahai. The hand prints on these rocks are believed to be originally of Bheem.
6. Shrikhand –
This houses a huge Shivalingam about 75 feet in height. The initial sight of the lingam is hindsight and you have to cover an ambulatory path to reach to the foresight for ‘darshan’. The view here is astonishing and totally heaven like. It’s a matter of pride for anyone who reaches this top and completes this trek.
How does it feel like to be at the top?
We all have once in our lives wished to fly above the sky like those free birds. We all have wished wings for our dreams.
In the beginning as I mentioned the path is rough to the top but the view above is heaven like and amazing unlike anything else. The vibes of the place are totally pure and serene. They let you experience the close proximity with god. These vibes have a tendency to penetrate deep inside you and make you forget about everything in this world. Imagine how would one feel sitting above the white clouds and watching down the teeny tiny world. It’s the same feeling up here. The time comes to a standstill and so does your heartbeats. So Trust me when I say this I haven’t felt so alive ever before.
What are the food and stay options?
- Camping sites are available at almost every major stop like Bharati Nala, Thachdu and Bheemdwar. There are no stay options available after Parvati Bagh. Also camps at Parvati Bagh are limited, thus the stay becomes available only for real emergencies. For the entire trek, stays at some places, are free of cost, pretty easy to get and for the paid ones, the rent goes around Rs. 100-200/per person.
- You can also carry your tent but with unpredictable climatic conditions, camping on your own can get a bit difficult. So, it is advisable to not carry unnecessary burdens.
Lodging type available – Sharing tents (only at Bheemdwar you can get personal tents).
- Since Shrikhand Mahadeva is a pilgrimage site, LANGARS (OPEN KITCHENS FREE OF COST) are available on trek till Bheemdwar. The food at Langar was unexpectedly delicious and hygienic. Also there are small shops available throughout the trek for tea, maggie, paranthas, chips etc.
- The stretch from Bharati Nala to Kalighati has scarce water resources. So, it is advisable that you should carry enough water with you.
Are Medical facilities available?
Medical camps are available at : Singhad, Tachdu, Bheemdwar.
- The medical team conducts an entire medical check up for the pilgrims at Singhad . Before the Yatra starts, pilgrims undergo a complete health check up and are registered under government authorities, which costs around Rs. 100. In case of any deviation from kept parameters, the pilgrim are not allowed to continue the yatra.
- The facilities are good enough and are free of cost.
Hacks to make the trek easy.
- CAMPHOR –
Carry Camphor with you, it helps to cater Oxygen deficiency in your body. All you need to do is inhale camphor in case you feel nauseous due to oxygen deficiency.
2. STAY CAUTIOUS OF WILD HERBS.
A lot of medicinal herbs are found on the trek which can make one nauseous and give headaches. It’s important that you remain cautious and avoid smelling them. Eg. Brahmkamal, Bhojpatra, etc.
3. POLYTHENE BAGS –
This is to avoid the affect of unpredictable rains. You can use these bags for the drenched clothes, shoes and to protect your electronics.
4. ‘LATHI YATRA’
Use a firm wooden stick to help you climbing the steep trails.
5. FIRST AID KIT –
Carry all basic medications for vomiting, digestion, headaches and pain killers.
6. WATERPROOF SHOES, RAINCOATS, UMBRELLA AND WATERPROOF BAG –
In case if you are thinking that umbrella won’t be a necessary item as against a raincoat then believe me you are wrong. Umbrella is a necessity to help you through heavy rains because for this place raincoats are not enough. Also they help you to climb up the terrain.
7. GLUCOSE AND ENERGY BARS –
The trek is extremely difficult so as your body gets really tired. It is advisable to carry along some energy supplements with you.
- All this information is valid only during official declaration of opening up of yatra in the month of July.
- The yatra opens only for 10-15 days in a year.
- Since the difficulty level of trek is high, all aspirants are advised to consider the official parameters declared by government, in relation to physical health and fitness before going on the trek.
- Every year, people die on the pilgrimage to Shrikhand and just to avoid any mishap, we request everyone to be extremely careful and take good care of their own selves and others along.