Kheerganga experience post Covid-19
Kheerganga hike in Parvati Valley has changed a lot since Covid-19 it’s become a lot safer. Since the trail is well made with fencing in places which were dangerous along the Kalga route and with the number of food stalls along the hike you will never end up going hungry on the hike.
- Pack light
Make sure you don’t over pack for the hike to Kheerganga since whatever you carry will triple in weight along the hike. Stick to the basics of having just one extra shirt and undergarments wrapped in a plastic bag to avoid them getting wet in case it rains along the hike. Don’t carry anything which isn’t necessary and the best is to split the essentials with your group members (toothpaste, toilet roll) so it becomes easier to carry along.
- Hike up via Nakthan
Hiking via Nakthan is the best way to reach the top of Kheerganga. It’s ideal to make the village of Tosh your base before you start. The reason being that via Nakthan the climb up is much easier as compared to via Kalga.
- Hiking pole or wooden stick
Don’t do this hike without a hiking pole or a wooden stick. The latter is sold at the start of the hike for a nominal cost. Having a stick along the hike will help maintain body balance better than what you will without one. Make sure that you don’t lose the stick along the hike. You will need the stick while hiking back down more than what you will need while hiking up.
- Rudra Nag temple
While hiking via Nakthan village you will pass the holy temple of Rudra Nag where you will be offered either prasad or tea (chai) based on the time of the day that you have reached the holy place. The dharamshala at Rudra Nag also offers travellers free lunch and a place to stay for the night.
- Forest pit stop
You’ll literally find food stalls every 2kms along the hike. So make sure you stop at one along the way to rest and refill your water bottle. Just be careful of where you off load your backpack while sitting so it does not fall off the cliff into the valley.
- Hot sulphur spring
The reason we all hike to Kheerganga is the hot bath and it’s still the same like what it was before Covid-19. Just that now they are very strict about the timings and it will shut at 7pm daily. The best time to go for a hot bath is in the afternoon after lunch. That’s when the bath is the least crowded.
- Camping and cafe chilling
At Kheerganga top, you’ll find unlimited camping options. But not all of them are the same. The best are Gold star and fire & ice along with Than Baba which have been there since the last 30 odd years. So if experience really matters to you, then pick one from the above three for your night stay.
- Star gazing
The night sky is the best if it’s a clear sky. You’ll find over a million stars in the sky. If you actually sit and focus on the sky you, will definitely end up seeing over 10+ shooting stars in that one night. Just make sure that you have your woolens on since it’s extremely cold at night.
- Don’t score any #
Gone are the days when Kheerganga was a safe haven for stoners. It’s changed and a lot, you’ll find police officers along the hike, all the way till the top. So unless you want to turn your hike into a nightmare, don’t even think about buying any kind of marijuana while on the trail to Kheerganga.
- Keep the place clean
While hiking, you will by default see plastic waste all over the trail and heaps of this waste. Please don’t add to this by throwing things along the trail. Carry a garbage bag along and dispose of your trash in a place where you know it won’t add to the environmental damage.
- No network
Kheerganga top still does not have any cell phone network. Make sure to use this no network time to realise your priorities in life. Social media and the rest of technology has only helped to scramble our mind. So take this 12-18 hours of no network to unscramble the mess.
- Morning meditation
What better way to start your morning at Kheerganga than with a hot sulphur bath and meditation which will definitely help bring a lot of positive and proactive energy needed for the hike back down.
- Hike down via the Kalga route.
While returning back to civilization, it’s always better to take the Kalga route back, since the hike is through the forest and a much easier and simpler hike. It’s around 80% down hill and 20% uphill which makes it a very pleasant descend.