I always considered myself to be a beach person. Given an option between beach and mountains, I'd always choose beach any day. And this was the case till I was introduced to trekking in the Himalayas.
After that, it was always mountains that came first. The feeling of walking on the clouds on snow-capped mountains, with near to no civilization, is amazing. I am always wistfully waiting for a trekking trip. Sadly, my day job that pays for my trips requires high levels of attention and assiduousness.
So when I get a chance to get away, I look forward to it from the day I set out the plan and enjoy every single bit of the trip - even if something doesn't go as per the plan. It is all a part of the learning experience.
The Bara Bhangal trek is considered to be one of the most challenging and demanding treks in the Himalayas. This trek requires high knowledge of trekking and hiking aptitude and techniques. Stretching from an elevation of 2050 metres above sea level to 5000 metres above sea level, the trail goes through risky and narrowing paths containing moraines and glaciers.
Imagine crossing mountain passes with different altitude levels every hour! It can be extreme pressure on a newbie. Therefore, it is advised that trekkers with excellent experience and fitness level only take off on this trekking path.
2. Things To Carry On This Trek:
Sturdy trekking pole, head light, medical kit, compass, trekking shoes, sleeping bag, binoculars, camera, woollen clothes, thermals, cap, water bottle, glares and snacks are some of the things you'd require to carry on this trek.
The trek started from Manali. I flew in a day early to do sight-seeing at Manali. I visited the Hidimba Devi temple, and Mall road. I stuffed my face with plates and plates of hot momos, and washed it down with butter tea. A true bliss!
PC : Sharada Prasad CS
3. Day 1: Manali to Lama Dugh
After having a hearty breakfast, we started our trek and after walking for approximately 4 hours through the thick forest area, we reached Lama Dugh. Located at 3017 metres above sea level, this alpine plateau was to be our campsite for the day. We took in the views of glacier-clad Indrasan, Deo Tibba peaks. I fell asleep within seconds of lying down - it was that exhausting and we hadn't even started the hard part of the journey yet.
PC : Shraddha Chaudhari
4. Day 2: Lama Dugh to Riyali Thach
This was a 3-hour journey from Lama Dugh to Riyali Thach. The trail passes through a vertical ridge below the Khand Pari Tibba glacier. The view of the Beas river and Manali from here is magnificent. We reached Riyali Thach, revelling in the visual delight. At an altitude of 3400 metres above sea level, Riyali Thach was our campsite for the night.
PC : Ramnath Bhat
5. Day 3: Riyali Thach To Kaliheni Pass Base
We started this trail by walking on the meadows and then proceeded to descend down to cross a stream. After crossing the stream and walking for 3 hours, we reached the base of the Kaliheni pass. This was at an altitude of 4010 metres. We camped at the base of Kaliheni pass for the day.
PC : B. Balaji
6. Day 4: Kaliheni Pass Base To Devi Ki Marhi
This was the most strenuous segment of the trek, involving walking for 8 hours in high altitudes. We started the trail with an ascent to Kaliheni pass, at a height of 4725 metres above sea level. We had to cross a stretch of scree and moraines. This led us to Kaliheni glacier.
We broke here for rest and some snacks. We also relished the views of the hanging glaciers. From here, we descended down, and crossed the stunning glacial lakes. We reached the campsite of Devi Ki Marhi, a Gaddi campsite. We stayed here for the night. We were all extremely exhausted from walking all day long.
PC : John Hill
7. Day 5: Devi Ki Marhi To Dal Marhi
We started to Dal Marhi, after a nutritious Indian breakfast. This was a 6-hour journey with ascends and descends. But after trekking on day 4, anything seems easier. We reached Dal Marhi (at 3900 metres above sea level) and camped there for the night, with stars.
PC : Jen
8. Day 6: Dal Marhi To Bara Bhangal
The trail from Dal Marhi continued downwards to the River Ravi. After crossing a dense forest, we entered a village - the one and only one we had seen so far - in Bara Bhangal. We walked for 6 hours to reach Bara Bhangal, which is located at a height of 2882 metres above sea level.
PC : Jen
9. Day 7: Bara Bhangal To Marhi
This is an ascent trail in the direction of the colossal Thamsar glacier. The 5-hour trek took us through pine, deodar and birch forests. We reached Marhi, which is located near the base of the Thamsar glacier. I checked my watch and it showed that we were at a height of 3830 metres above sea level. It was a week since we started this journey and all of us were fatigued, but also raring to go at the same time.
PC : Felix Dance
10. Day 8: Marhi To Plachak
We started ascending towards Plachak, located at a height of 2721 metres above sea level. This trail was to pass through the Thamsar Pass. Once we reached the pinnacle of the pass, the beautiful Kangra Valley opened itself up to us. From here, we descended and reached Plachak. We slept like logs.
PC : Ashish Sharma
11. Day 9: Plachak To Billing
This was the most undemanding stretch of the trek. We started to walk towards Rajgundha, passing through pine forests on the way. After walking for a few more hours, we reached Billing. This was officially the end of the trek. From Billing, we were transported to Manali.
After this trek, I realised how far I had pushed my barriers, both physically and mentally. Isn't that the whole point of activities, like trekking, to discover yourself?
PC : Okorok