For those of us who love trekking in the Himalayas, but are apprehensive about the unfamiliar terrains, Hampta pass is an easy and convenient trekking trail to begin with.
Having trekked some rocky terrains in the past, I hadn't had a chance to explore a snow-filled trail yet. With summer holidays already upon us and a bunch of bored cousins ready to take off, an exciting 5-day trip to the snowy Hampta pass was just what we needed!
PC : mkasiak
Hampta pass is situated at an altitude of approximately 14,100 ft in the Himalayas and consists of scenic landscapes and meadows, glacial valleys and green pastures.
Summers, between May and June, are the best times to visit; and so is between August to October. But what really made us feel excited about it is the huge amount of snow that the region receives in summer and the beautiful Chandratal Lake, or Moon Lake, which is said to be of the deepest shade of blue! Yes, it's the most mesmerizing sight you'd ever experience.
Trekking Essentials You'd Require
As a rule with any Himalayan trek, we planned it with an experienced tour operator. Apart from what was suggested by the tour operator, we carried ankle support shoes/socks, band aids, and basic medicines for some of us who experience dizziness at high altitudes. Jobra was another point that we came across during our trek, from where we could purchase these essentials.
How To Reach
PC : Vineet Timble
The trek to Hampta pass begins from Manali, which is well connected to Delhi by road and takes nearly 12 to 13 hours of an overnight journey. However, to save time and our energy for the trek, we took a flight from Delhi to Bhuntar. It is the nearest airport to Manali at about 52 km away and can be reached by taxi.
Trekking Journey - Day 1
PC : Anuj Bhargava7
Upon reaching Manali, we refreshed ourselves and spent some time there to get acclimatized to the high altitude. Thereafter, the trekking expedition started from Manali to Jobra in a vehicle. It took us an hour and quite a few hairpin bends to reach Jobra, which is at an altitude of 9800 ft.
From here we started our trek on foot and after 2-3 hours of walk, we reached a height of 10,400 ft. After trekking through the forest of pine, deodar, and other varieties of trees, we reached a bend that overlooked a lush green meadow with small rocks and the river Rani Nallah flowing between the greenery.
The refreshing sight seemed straight out of some picture postcard. After spending some time here, we climbed over a hill and descended towards Chika, which was our camp site. With Rani Nallah nearby and a small bonfire, it was the perfect place to end our day.
PC : Sair18791
Our next destination was Balu ka Ghera, which simply means "mound of sand", as it is believed that the place was formed by sand deposits of the river. But the place is anything but that.
It was an easy path with beautiful blushing Rhododendron dwarf trees lining it along with silver birch trees, snow-clad peaks of Dhauladhar, and a sparkling white stream.
After crossing the stream, we reached Jwara, which is a scenic-sheltered valley with snow-clad rocks and mountains, behind which lies the Hampta pass. After Jwara, we trekked a snow-covered path to reach the end of Balu ka Ghera and set up our camp site here.
PC : Raphael Affentranger
Our trek for this day was a long one, we were informed however, consisting of a moderate ascent and a sharp descent. We started with our steady ascent to Hampta pass after completing a flower-filled river-side trail trek. After walking further for an hour or so, we reached a snow-covered plateau, which was filled with thick fresh snow, true to its reputation.
We resisted the urge to play in the snow and continued our trek further to reach another plateau. After crossing a few ridges and completing a short but arduous climb, we reached the highest point of our trek, the Hampta pass.
PC : Raja Selvaraj
Obviously exhausted, the stunning view of the Hampta pass had an embalming effect on our tired souls. After a sumptuous lunch surrounded by the beauty of the valley, we started our descent towards the Shea Goru. The descent proved far more daunting than the ascent.
It was a steep and meandering slope, which we trekked at a careful, slow pace before finally reaching Shea Goru. We camped here for the night and retired to our tents with a sense of achievement.
PC : Raphael Affentranger
Comparatively easier than the previous day, we started from Shea Goru towards our destination, Chatru, by foot. What was initially a gentle downhill trail later became a tad tricky with some slippery mountain edges and ridges, but with careful navigation, we made it through to reach the Chandra River.
After crossing the road close to the river, we came across two glaciers. After crossing over to the other side of the glacier, we reached the Chatru camping zone. The beauty of Chatru is that it is a confluence of three passes: Hampta, Rohtang and Spiti. We chose to camp here and call it a day.
We woke up to a refreshing morning. After a steaming hot breakfast and tea, we were all excited to visit the beautiful Chandratal lake. The lake was about 70 km from our campsite and a vehicle was arranged for us from our campsite. Weather plays a major role for this drive and we were glad that it was a pleasant day.
Though some of the roads on the way were rough, by and large it was an enjoyable journey. Once we reached the Chandratal lake, we were left spell bound. The mirror-like clear water of the lake magically reflects back the mountains surrounding it, which is simply stunning! As the sun changes its position, so does the colour of the lake. After clicking a dozen pictures here, we left Chandratal lake for Manali.
Before heading to the Bhuntar Airport, we shopped for souvenirs at Manali and left with a bagful of amazing memories and a sense of achievement!