Planning a trip at an outstanding and offbeat location enriched with natural beauty away from crowded places, pollution, urban lifestyle, and your daily routine stress and tension? Then Barot Valley will fulfil all your needs.
After experiencing the beauty of the valley, one will absolutely fall in love with this valley. This eye-pleasing valley is famous for its various adventure activities such as trekking, camping, picnic, rock climbing, river crossing, and trout-fishing.
There are several trekking routes within the valley which makes it one of the most favorable trekking destinations in Himachal Pradesh. On whole, if one wants to have a peaceful interaction with nature and wildlife, then Barot is the right choice.
A Glimpse of the Valley
Located in the mid-Himalayan region in the Mandi district of Himachal Pradesh, Barot is a small and mesmerizing valley formed by the Uhl river. It is about 40km from Joginder-Nagar and 65km from the district headquarter Mandi.
It was initially developed for Shanan Hydel Project by Britishers in 1920, but now this place has become a tourist destination due to its scenic beauty and a lot of other factors for tourist attraction. The Barot Valley is surrounded on both sides by the Dhauladhar mountain range and is located at an elevation of 1835 meters above sea level.
Barot also forms the gateway to the Nargu Wildlife Sanctuary which lies across the Uhl river covering an area of 278 sq. km. The sanctuary is home to many species such as Monal, musk deer, wild cats, snow leopard, golden eagle, Himalayan black bear, and Himalayan Goral.
Most of the forest around the valley is dominated by Deodar and oak trees which grow in abundance and a variety of flora and fauna. Trekking within the forest routes, one can feel the calmness of the valley and a lot of positive vibes.
The beauty of scenic landscapes along with the river is fascinating. The three artificial lakes here along with the Uhl reservoir are a major geographical feature of the valley which enhances the beauty of this magnificent valley.
Population & livelihood
The population of Barot consists mainly of local Bhangaliyas (an agro-pastoral community). The people here live a simple life where the primary source for their income is a variety of agricultural activities and fishing. The techniques of living here are traditional, in fact, the maximum of the houses here are wooden houses made up of Himalayan cedar, spruce, and a variety of other raw materials.
People here communicate using the local Pahari language. In fact, they can understand the Hindi language too as well as there are few locals in the area that can even converse in decent English.
The major crops grown here are cabbage, broccoli, rajma, potatoes, and a variety of other vegetables and pulses. There are several other things that one can easily find here in the backyards of the local people such as gourds, cucumber, mustard, capsicum, and coriander, etc.
Also, there are a few trout farms in the region where trout fish is produced. From recent years, mushroom cultivation and selling of wild mushrooms here had gained a hike when people came to know that oyster mushroom that grows on elm trees are not dangerous and can be consumed.
Best time to visit
Here, the weather is quite moderate, and the average temperature is quite close to 13°C. The beauty of the village never fades, and this wonderful village can be visited any time throughout the year except for rainy seasons.
The village receives heavy rainfall during this season and the road operating to this village gets blocked for some time due to landslides. The experiences here in different seasons are described below:
Summer season here starts in April and lasts till the month of June. The weather during this season is quite pleasant and cool and the temperature varies from 17-35°C. It is that time of the year when the rivers here are in full flow and adds the next level of beauty to this majestic valley.
The flowers here during summer blooms with a burst of colours. Several pulses and vegetable crops are planted during the season. One can attract a variety of reptiles, animals, and birds during this season. You can do a variety of activities during this season such as camping and trekking to various trails such as Rajgundha, Bir Billing, Hanumangarh, Bada Bhangal, Kullu, Manali, and Kothi.
The main advantage of this season is that you can easily enjoy trout fishing here by just paying a small amount for the equipment. The tourist rush during this season is maximum. Even it becomes difficult to find homestays during the period.
Monsoon season here marks its presence from mid of July and ends till the September end. Here, the fields are full of lush green grass and after a rain shower, the smell and aura of the valley are pleasuring and can’t be described with just a few words.
Many wild mushrooms grow in this season after a continuous heavy rain along with the thunderstorm. The dishes made from these wild mushrooms are yummy and delivers a unique taste and flavour.
There is heavy rain during this season resulting in landslides and blockage of the road. During the monsoon season, only a few amounts of tourists visit the place. Someone’s planning a trip to this location in the monsoon season must check the weather and road conditions before visiting.
Here, the winter season starts from the end of October and lasts till February. However, the main months of the winter season are December, January, and February. During these months, the climate here gets quite cold with a temperature up to 4°C.
There is heavy snowfall during this season which fully covers the valley with snow. The valley looks snowy and untouched covered with snow all around. Some people visit here during winters to experience snow trekking to various trails.
People who have a desire to visit this valley during winters and enjoy the snow-covered landscapes should first check the road conditions. One must carry enough surplus with them, so in any case, if the road gets blocked due to snowfall you can easily deal with that situation.
How to Reach
Barot Valley is accessible from major Indian cities such as Delhi, Chandigarh, Pathankot and many others. To reach Barot, firstly you should visit Ghatasni, a place where the NH-20 highway road branches off to Barot. The valley can be reached via all modes of transportation, i.e., road, air, and railway. A brief description of all the transportation modes to the valley has been described below:
In order to reach this beautiful village, you have to change buses two times. First, you must take a bus up to Mandi. There are several private and HRTC buses from ISBT Kashmiri Gate, Delhi to reach Mandi. Both ordinary and Volvo buses are available for Mandi which takes about 10 to 12 hours.
Once you reach Mandi, take a bus and head up towards Ghatasni which would take time around 2 to 3 hours. There are a frequent number of buses leaving from Mandi to Ghatasni. After reaching Ghatasni you again have to take a bus directly heading to Barot or else hire a taxi.
If you are at Bir Billing and want to have a trip of Barot, then simply hire a taxi which cost you around 1200-1500. Traveling via road is the best way to travel here as you can enjoy the beauty of the Himalayas during your journey while reaching the valley.
The nearest railway terminal to Barot is Joginder Nagar, which is around 40km from Barot. The Joginder Nagar railway terminal is connected to Pathankot station. As Pathankot railway terminal is well connected to all the major railway stations of the country, which means one can easily find the route for their trip via train. After reaching Joginder Nagar, you can take a bus directly up to Barot.
The airport nearest to Barot is Kullu Manali Airport located at Bhuntar. The airport is around 105 km from Barot and will take 3-4 hours to reach here. After reaching the airport you can directly hire a cab up to Barot or else travel in a bus up to Mandi from where you can find several buses departing toward Ghatasni from where you can hire a taxi for Barot.
What to do here?
There are a couple of exciting things that one can do in Barot. You can perform many adventure activities such as trout fishing, camping near the Uhl river, and trekking to various majestic destinations. Also, there are a few places you can visit from Barot such as Nargu Wildlife Sanctuary, Barot Temple, Shanan Hydel Project, Rajgundha, Daina Sar Lake, and many more.
ATM & Cash Availability
The nearest ATM here is Punjab National Bank ATM at Tikkan which is approximately 12km away from Barot. Also, the lifestyle of people here is quite simple which means most of the shops and services here prefer cash only. So, we recommend you carry enough cash during the journey.
All the service providers have their network coverage at Barot. The strength of the network of all providers is appropriate here. If you have an Airtel or BSNL sim card, then there is no need to worry about as these telecom companies provide excellent services in this valley. Also, you can find a few STD/ISD telephone booths within the valley.