Two night stay in barot Himachal Pradesh
“If we were meant to stay in one place, we’d have roots instead of feet.” So true right!! That’s why I never stay at one place for a long time.
4th most awaited weekend was approaching soon. Being in Dharamshala, I never wasted any holiday or any weekend sitting in my room. Hence, one evening, after my office, I was having a casual discussion with our house owner about the places to go around Dharamshala. He suggested visiting Barot and spend one night there to enjoy it fully. We, as tourists, always hear of famous places, but locals know much more beautiful and less explored places. While searching about Barot on google, I got to know about a beautiful waterfall there and a Rajgundha trek which is very long and it takes 2-3 days to complete. So, the place was decided, and for stay, we preferred to do offline booking only once we reach there.
Barot is 110kms away from Dharamshala. So, we rented our gorgeous Dhanno (Thunderbird Royal Enfield) for 3 days starting Friday night, packed some clothes, some eatables on Friday night. The next morning, 9th January 2021, we started from Gamru at 9.00 am sharp because, it takes at least 4 hours(mind it, I am saying at least) to cover 110kms with a bike on mountain roads.
On our way to Barot, we crossed Palampur, Baijnath, and Joginder Nagar. Even we were very close to Bir Billing but decided to visit there while returning. We aren’t professional bike riders so it was a pain in the ass and we took short breaks to stretch our legs and have some tapas tea! Around 11 am, I got a very important call related to my office, so we had to stop somewhere on a beautiful farm for 1hour! Imagine, having a formal conversation on phone, on a wonderful farm with snow mountains just in front of you…the best zoom meeting ever!!
So by 12.15 pm, we resumed for Barot. The roads were luckily straight, broad, and well maintained, hence we were able to pass quickly. Plus the serene views didn’t bore me at all. Even at some points, I stopped in the middle to capture the view too! Obviously, we followed Google Maps; as my mobile battery was draining hence I turned off the Maps for some time because the roads were pretty straight. After Joginder Nagar, I turned on the map so as not to miss any turn and it showed 23kms more to go! Phew!! It was such a relief to see that, as it was around 3 pm and we were riding since 9 am, you know, on a bike.
So we kept on going; I saw the Map again and now it showed 30km to Barot! Oh, Man! We thought there would be network issues and kept on moving forward. But the distance kept increasing to 34km now…Finally, we decided not to trust Google Map anymore, stopped by a shop to ask whether we were heading in the right direction. Guess what..he said “Bhaiya aap bht aage aa gaye , ye raasta to Manali k taraf jata hai.4km wapas jaiye!” We banged our heads as it was 3.30 pm, we were exhausted. But, this is what traveling is right…good things don’t come easy buddy. The shopkeeper properly guided us to go back and take the other route, which goes straight up. This time, we looked carefully, came back to the told place, and realized that we missed a turn, which was very small.
So now again Google Map showed 23km to Barot. We hoped to cover this distance soon, but NO! Another challenge was waiting there!! The 23kms are really bad after Joginder Nagar till Barot. So the speed of the bike couldn’t go beyond 30-40kmph. The roads aren’t created, it’s all muddy, with big rocks on one side and a steep valley on the other. It felt scary looking down at the valley!
But I must say the scenes I saw on entering Barot were literally jaw-dropping!.. Down, I could see the river flowing with green mountains beside it. While my poor friend was busy dealing with bad roads and driving carefully. I kept staring and grasping the scenery on my side and taking videos!
It was around 4.30 pm when we finally saw some luxury camps downside and decided to stay there. There is a very steep road to go down to the camp. The reason to stay in the camp was obvious; just behind the camp, the mighty Uhl river flowed! We booked the beautiful camp for Rs.2200 for two days; all the camps were empty so we had the freedom to choose any tent.
It was freezing in Barot as the sun was about to set and it was an open campus and the river was flowing just behind. We had no idea what would we be doing the next two days. We were told by the workers there that 6 people were arriving by 8 pm. We decided to explore the market of Barot and have dinner out. Had a normal homemade dinner consisting of Rajma chapati and rice for Rs.80 per thali. After returning to the tent, we joined the camp workers who had lit a bonfire. It all started with a small HI and then we were chit-chatting like friends. There was basically 1 caretaker and the rest of the 3 boys were teenagers. They all told their thrilling life experiences which made us laugh and lightened our mood completely.
Around 9.00 pm a car arrived; they were 6 family members. A middle aged lady came near the bonfire, holding a cute little puppy, covered with a blanket. She said HELLO with a warm smile and we reverted with the same. The conversation started and it took just a few minutes for us to become a part of their family. The lady had come with their two sons (who were the same age as me), her brother and his son, and her elder son’s future wife. Everyone was so generous and of jolly nature, that we didn’t feel an outsider for a minute also. It was a Punjabi family from Chandigarh who had come to have a get-together. All our disappointment was gone when we met these beautiful souls in Barot. They offered us dinner but we already had it and it was already 11.30 pm, we decided to go and sleep (moving away from the bonfire was a heavy task man).
For the first time in my life, I woke up to the sound of real chirping of birds and the heavenly sound of the river flowing in Barot! It was around 7.40am in the morning ; going washroom is a difficult task in cold places ,right? Anyways, we had a washroom in our tent but the water was too cold to brush teeth. There was another common bathroom outside which had a hot water tap. I came out with my brush, went by the side of the river, thanking God for letting me travel to such beautiful heavenly place Barot. I met Mamaji and aunty and they were taking a morning walk. The caretaker is also the cook, so while he was preparing the breakfast, we had a lots and lots of fun at the riverside, took photos, sat there and rode a bicycle at the campus. We decided to visit the Lapas waterfall which is just 6km away from Barot after breakfast. I must say the caretaker made the best Aloo paranthas I ever had. If my tummy is happy, I am double happy! We told about the waterfall to the family and readily agreed to join us after breakfast .
If you remember, I told you the way to the campus is really steep; going up isn’t easy at all with the bike. To my horror, our Dhanno stopped in the middle of the road while going up and started going reverse! My friend couldn’t handle it and so he dropped the bike so as to make it stop. Luckily nobody got hurt and Dhanno was fine too. I was too scared and decided to walk up till the main road. Panting heavily, I reached up, sat on the bike, and got to know one footrest missing. I ran back to the spot where it fell, took the footrest and kept it in my bag.
To reach the waterfall, you can go till Lapas village with your vehicle, beyond it its just a 1km easy trek. But , the road is much worse than that of Barot. At one point, I was so scared that I thought of walking till the village. Also , we weren’t able to see proper road. But fortunately, a local came with his car and guided us till Lapas village. Himachal local are skillful Khatro k Khiladi ! I couldn’t spot the road and he casually drove away through the muddy road in front of us.
Finally we reached the village, parked the bike and started walking. The locals guided us to the way through a huge green land and I forgot all the scary stuff when I looked the view. The boys were playing cricket in that huge green land and that made me realize how the village people find happiness in all the situation. That was the best playground I ever saw in my life, all surrounded by pine trees and mountains at the back.
We proceeded for the waterfall and seeing the views ,my adrenaline pumped and I was literally hopping like a kid there. The trail was hardly 800m and we could hear the sound of the waterfall. I was beyond happy to see the waterfall and absolutely clean water flowing through the rocks.
We clicked photos, sat there quietly for quite long , just watching the river. All those scenes.. I had just seen them in the mobile wallpapers ,and couldn’t believe the beauty of that place. Unwillignly , I had to leave the place and proceeded to go back. I urged my friends to sit and watch the cricket match of the local people, because, I wanted to spend some more time there, just sitting and doing nothing. The fours and sixes made the match interesting; more than that I was amused to see their strength while they climbed up and down to catch the ball. With a peaceful mind, we began to move and had no idea where to go next as it was just 3.30pm. On our way back, we met Mamaji and the family. To guide them, we decided to go again ,till the playground.
I was hungry and so after guiding the family till half way, we left for Barot. We had a nice mix veg and chapati at a small restaurant (it was more like a cafe). Then we went for a walk to a beautiful small Mata temple located near to the market place. And then by 5.30pm we were back to our camp, fully satisfied and not exhausted at all.
The camp workers were enjoying karaoke on their own, playing guitar and sing over the mic. This taught me again that we should enjoy every moment and cherish what we have. I just sat quietly, watching the sun go down slowly and then the family arrived.
The bonfire was lit again; the caretaker played some nice songs and I felt like dancing . So me and the girl from that family, we both were dancing like nobody was watching ; I enjoyed it to the fullest. Just then, one camp worker entered with a guitar. He was the silent and youngest among all. As he began playing and singing, I got goosebumps. There was a pin drop silence; everyone was watching him play.
He sang so well that the atmosphere completely changed at the campus. Everyone just left their work and listened to his voice. Just imagine , the chilly night, the bonfire and a guitar with a sweet voice.. what else would you want to call it a perfect Camping!!
The guitar was the best surprise for us in Barot. Initially we were disappointed, but those moments were worth every hurdle we faced while coming to Barot! The next day we started early by 7.40am and bid goodbye to the beautiful place and the beautiful people that we met there.
As decided, we took the Bir Billing route for another fascinating experience of Para gliding. Upon reaching there, we came to know that a professional glider was missing since 3 days ! He had gone paragliding one evening but the strong winds carried him away to some unknown mountain .Hence the rescue mission was going on and the police had stopped all the paragliding activities for the time being. We sat on the landing site of paragliding in Billing for some time and then left from there.
At the end, I would only quote the saying, “Travel makes you realize that no matter how much you know, there’s always more to learn.”