In the arms of Himalayas SAR PASS is 13,800 ft. above sea level in Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh (India). It is situated in Parvati mountain ranges; on the banks of Parvati River. Here SAR means lake & PASS means the path; so the path which is going through a lake is SAR PASS. Generally, the lake is frozen. The breathtaking views of SAR PASS will take you to the heavenly ride; not only the scenery but its flora will also astound you. One can experience the absolute beauty of Gods spectacular creation. Vivid types of flowers which you have never seen before as well as the scarce reptiles are also seen on the way to SAR PASS.
So, now the question is how to reach SAR PASS!! Well, one can trek to SAR PASS.
Many associations are there which are providing the trek to Sar pass.
The center of attraction of the whole trek is the 100 ft. snow slide which is most adventurous.
TREK: SAR PASS
LOCATION: Kullu district (Himachal)
Base Camp: Kasol
DIFFICULTY LEVEL: Easy-Moderate
BEST SEASON TO GO: May – October. I will recommend you: Mid May-Mid June
DAYS: Max 7-8 days, depending upon the association through which you are going
How to reach Kasol Base Camp?
In order to reach Kasol, one has to reach Bhuntar. You can book a direct train from Delhi to Bhuntar or else reach Chandigarh railway station and take a bus to Bhuntar. The nearest airport is Kullu airport, also known as Bhuntar airport.
After reaching Bhuntar you can bus which is going from Bhuntar to Manikaran or book a personal cab which will charge 250-300 rupees. Kasol is approx. 30 km. away from Bhuntar.
The journey till Kasol is spectacular. One can enjoy sites of valleys and Parvati River flowing along will be a treat to watch.
After reaching Kasol Base Camp
- Go to the market area, you can get woolens at a very reasonable price.
- You will find a number of sweet items and can also enjoy Israel food. Falafel is quite famous there.
- Take bath in hot water spring. You can find these springs near Gurudwara. Some of the localities also provide hot water bath in their house. They run it as their side business.
- One can trek to challah village which is on the opposite side of the river Parvati.
- Take a visit to Manikaran, 5 km. away from Kasol. There is a beautiful temple of Lord Shiva. You can also see well of natural hot water. The market of Manikaran is big as compared to that of Kasol. One can get all their essentials there.
Let’s start our journey to SAR PASS
DAY-1: Kasol Base Camp (6500 feet) to Grahan camp (7700 feet) – 9 km.
Finally, the day was here when we would start ascending for SAR Pass. Post-exercise and stretching we had breakfast and with a roar, we marched for Sar Pass.
Soon we were in Jungle where I saw a huge tree was broken making a bridge on the river. I saw 2-3 people sitting on it, I could control no more and started walking on it with my heavy backpack behind me, after few steps it was wet and the peel broke, the chances of slipping increased so I sat down on the middle of the log.
Few guys were fainting on the very first day, I had no idea what to do with them, they said they can’t walk even one more step and when I tried to motivate them they sat on the ground asking for water and mercy. Seeing their helpless state, I wondered who the hell suggested them to go for a trek. I will knock those people if I ever find out.
After all day walk in Jungle amid greenery we reached the campsite of Grahan. It was a beautiful place, a small stream of water nearby where we sat for hours. Manipulating a 10-year-old local boy who owned a ball we played volleyball. It was relaxing after such a day.
DAY-2: Grahan (7700 feet) to Padri (9300 feet) – 9 Kms.
Woke up at 5, we had to travel very less so no one was in any hurry. Before we began we cheered for team India for their match against Pakistan though there was no network to know any update of the world left behind. No network for the next 6 days we were told. At lunch point itself, we halted for 2 and a half hours.
We were welcomed at campsite of Padri by camp lead Arpit Agarwal. Climbed a small hill, found a disappointing waterfall, the view was awesome but the wild mules and cows were in abundance. They go crazy as nightfall. Legs pained a lot today for some unknown reason. Had tea, soup, welcome drink, not in the same order and finally sat peacefully.
DAY-3: Padri (9300 feet) to Mingthach (11200 feet) – 10 km.
Wake up time 5 am, no problem in that, waking up everyone on time, huge problem. It was the toughest day of the whole trek we were told due to the highest altitude gain.
At night we were playing cards till 11 and were laughing like idiots when the temporary lead came to scold us and threatened us that now he will see we would not go to next camp. Everyone slept peacefully. Who was he kidding? School kids?
DAY-4: Mingthach (11200 feet) to Nagaru (12500 feet) – 5 Kms.
It was easy to walk till lunchtime until we faced rain first and hail storm later. We started again and reached Nagaru where I watched the most picturesque view of my life, everywhere my eyes went I could see snowcapped mountains. The wind was blowing very fast. We had to sleep early as we had to start the next morning around 3 am. There was some mismanagement about tent accommodation but then only a few more hours to pass so I asked everyone to adjust for once. I myself got some different tent, all new guys soon became friends and we all held our tent in full blowing winds. Our tent might have flown away. We arranged backpacks on it when it started raining. We started singing songs, from Prayers to Bollywood songs, from washing powder Nirma to Noddy, we sang it all.
It was a day when the first time I wanted to run away and reach the next campsite as soon as possible. Next day was going to be the longest, 14 Km.
DAY-5: Nagaru (12500 feet) to Sar Pass (13800 feet) to Beskari (11000 feet) – 14 Kms.
The alarm woke me up at 2 am. It was raining outside. There was no whistle from the tent lead. I kept lying in the sleeping bag until 3 am continuously checking my watch and waiting for the whistle. Finally, the whistle rang and in the night coming out of my tent on all slippery mud, watched snow accumulated at the corner of our tents. Helped with the collection of sleeping bags, everything was a mess, those who kept sandals outside the tent before sleeping; the sandals looked as if found in a garbage can. The camp lead was mad at the slowness of group but he had no idea of the chaos each trekker was facing personally. The weather was foul; we had breakfast and at 5 am marched to our next destination.
It started to rain even before we could start our journey but we carried on. We were already 2 hours late from the scheduled time. We hardly moved half a kilometer of the total 14 kilometers to be covered for the day when the weather became too bad. The wind was blowing too fast. Every step against the storming wind was an effort plus the rainfall. Everyone was shivering.
The 4 guides came in front and asked what to do as the condition was not good, and if the weather remained the same way then we will not be able to reach the next camp. I asked if we went back and the weather cleared after half an hour then can we continue again? They said no, once we were back we were to go down to base camp from a short route and the trek would be finished.
There was no way of going back. When slow walkers agreed to proceed I didn’t find it necessary to ask the fast walkers. The bravery of these guys saved our trek.
I don’t know what exactly worked in our favor, half an hour later the weather cleared. Finally and yes finally we reached to the top of Sar Pass at 13,800 Feet. Everyone was so happy, shouting with joy, jumping, cheering, the place converted to the hilly-billy carnival. All of sudden all the tired souls were jumping up and down.
The snowfall the night before was something that only our batch experienced, the whole mountain was covered with fresh snow. We were the luckiest batch of the season.
Finally, I found a peaceful spot, kept my backpack at the side and slept in the snow looking at the snow-capped mountain chain right in front of me. It was a dream to sleep in snow and watch the mountains, the beauty was so serene that tears came out of my eyes. It was surreal. I knew such beauty existed and today I was witnessing it. It was heaven right there.
DAY-6: Beskari (11000 feet) to Bhandak Thatch (8000 feet) – 12 Kms.
Started the trek, it all descended for most of the way, had plenty of time to rest at the lunch point. Descending the rock without a rope was fun, if only there were many more rocks to climb and descend. At the end of the day on a steep climb when we were about to reach the base camp of Bhandak Thatch.
Camp Lead Narendra Sir, old and energetic beyond our wildest dreams welcomed us with an open heart. We had dal Khichdi and kheer at dinner. Had plenty of time to sit and relax, we were surrounded by landscapes that were more breathtaking than wallpapers. Walked on the grass with no shoes, it felt like a luxury.
BHANDAK THATCH CAMP
Some more glimpse of the trek
VIEW FROM KASOL VILLAGE
WAY TO MANIKARAN
WAY TO SUMMIT
100 FT. SLIDE
By: Urja Pandya
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