Guest Post by Aashi Arun
In the early summer of 2022, I was backpacking across Himachal Pradesh, trying to explore some hidden gems with my brother. With our camp, sleeping bags, and an unplanned destination we went where the road took us. After exploring Old Manali and its adjacent valleys, we camped beside the Parvati River in Kasol.
After spending 2 days, relaxing and gazing at the majestic Parvati Valley, we decided to go on a trek. I had already completed the Kheerganga and tosh visit, so I wanted to explore new territory. A friend of mine suggested that I check out the Sar pass trek, 4 days and 48 km long trek that is rather less crowded and has a moderate difficulty level. After doing minimal research we decided to go for it as we were in awe after looking at the pictures online.
The trek is divided into 4 parts or base points, hence 1 day for each part. For beginner or novice trekkers, it is advised to travel by pre-booked accommodation and service providers, because of the lack of resources available. For advanced trekkers, it is a must to research well about the trail and the required equipment. This might sound expensive but you can use coupons and deals to make your purchase pocket-friendly.
1st Base: Grahan Village
The trail starts from Kasol, passing through the vibrant market, full of hustle, cafes, and bakeries. In no time you will be walking through the woods with a small river running along the trail. The first half of the trail is very pleasant and very similar to the Kheerganga trail. As the sound of the river in the background soothes you while you gaze at the beauty of the forest.
After an hour of walking, the river disappears and a ascend starts towards the village. There are very few refreshment spots on the trail and hardly any spots to get fresh water. The trail gets a bit steep in the middle but overall, it is pleasant and will take around 6 to 7 hours to reach the village.
Grahan is one of the most beautiful villages, a secluded community that is surrounded by mountains from all sides. Grahan is very isolated and no cellular devices work there. There is only 1 landline phone available in the whole village and is the only line of communication to the outer world.
The village produces its own food and you will get the authentic Himachal food essence. There are not many cafes or guest houses available in the village. Grahan has maintained its sanctity well by preserving its culture.
2nd Base: Mung Thach
The journey towards the second base camp is rather a steep one, even though the distance is quite small but the steepness of the Hill exhausts you rather quickly, and it becomes very hard to carry any equipment. The trail goes through a very dense forest and yet it is rocky.
Unfortunately the second stretch It’s not that much visually appealing, but going to the dense forest provides you with a quaint feel. It would take around seven to eight hours to reach the top. The camping spots overlook the Grahan village and the valley, while you can see the glaciers behind you.
3rd Base: Nagaru
Moving from Mung Thach to Nagaru you will start seeing the first sign of snow and at the camping site of Nagaru, if the weather worsens, the whole campsite will be covered in snow.
Nagaru is the perfect snow-covered campsite, irrespective of the season, light to dense snowfall is guaranteed here. The spellbinding views and snow-covered mountains will consummate any urges that you might feel bubbling. It is best to take a good rest and get well accustomed to the altitude and low pressure as the next and final stretch is quite challenging.
4th Base: Biskeri Through Sar Pass
For the final stretch, it is crucial to leave early in the morning and avoid the soft and dense snow, so it is best to leave early in the morning. It would take around 5-6 hours to reach the top. It is best to listen carefully to the guide while walking on the snow and the rocky terrain.
Finally, when you reach the top, the sight from Sar Pass is something to behold, the snow-capped mountains, the forceful winds, and the snow storms give you a feel of going beyond the walls of Winterfell. The valleys of Tosh and Kasol are all visible from the top.
From Sar Pass, there is a steep ascended and then a pleasant descent towards Biskeri. The exhaustion from walking on the snow will make you pass out as soon as you hit the sleeping bags. But all you would dream of, are the beautiful and mesmerizing glimpses of the sights that you just foresaw. Sar Pass is certainly one of the best treks that will flare up the spirit of travel and leave you feeling accomplished after completing such a rough and demanding journey.