Panjain Thachi Village
As aptly said by American Poet Ralph Emerson, “Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail”. These twin villages are gems of the hidden Himalaya trail. Located around 50 km from Tirthan valley, these villages are approached through Tirthan , Khundan Bridge and to Bali Chauki from where you would take a detour from the main road to the villages of Panjain & Thachi. Once in Panjain one can have a packed lunch at the heritage Forest Rest house which is located at a vantage point looking over the lofty Himalayas. One can also take a walk to the temple of the Rishi located in the deep jungles of Panjain. Thachi is another 5 km where the road comes to a halt and one can trek to Gara Goshaini or the Jalori Pass from here. The people of these villages are famous for the wood carvings they make which decorate almost all temples of the Kullu Valleys.
Jalori Pass is a two hour ( 22 KM ) uphill drive from Tirthan crossing the Banjar market and famous tourist spots of Jibhi, Ghyagi and Shojha ! At 10,800 ft, Jalori is the nearest mountain pass from Delhi, approximately 600 km away, and features on every adventure tourist’s map. From Tirthan you go towards Banjar which is a cloistered local market After a few turn from Banjar we drop suddenly into wide scenic vistas of rolling mountains and rich terrace farms, each a different shade of green, as if the signature of the farmer tending the soil. Nature seems to be in harmony with a happy people. One can see a glimpse of Jalori pass from here and it does not take too long to reach the top as well. This small loop of a road, at over 10,000 ft, was in the British Raj a key link between Shimla and Kulu. As a connecting corridor, it is not devoid of human intervention. A temple and about a dozen small shops providing refreshments line up the ridge, one even deciding to rename the pass with its carpet green meadows and wandering herdsmen as the mini Switzerland of India.
This is one of the most amazing getaways from Tirthan and is ideal for a camping nightout as the beauty of Parashar does not allow people to come back easily. It is a six hour drive from Tirthan through Larji, Aut, Bajaura from where you take the road to Kandi Katola. After crossing the Kandi Pass we take a detour from the main road to Parashar. From here on, each small turn on the mountain road takes us higher and higher. On the near empty roads, we are occasionally met by young herders, tending their flocks of sheep and children returning after a day well spent in school. As the name suggests, this temple and the lake is dedicated to Rishi Prashar who meditated here on this place. It’s a 3 storey pagoda styled temple constructed by King Bansen in 14th century. The temple near Parashar Lake was built in the 13th century and legend has it was built by a baby from a single tree. The lake has a floating island in it and it is said to be unclear how deep it is, with a diver not being able to determine its depth.
Chaini Kothi Village
In between Banjar and Jibhi, a small drive takes us to Chehni Kothi, a towering 1,500-year old castle built with stone slabs and wooden beams.It was once the fortified residence of Rana Dhadhia, the erstwhile king of Kulu. It used to be 15 storeys high but after the earthquake of 1905 only 10 floors remain. The ground floor has a bigger spread than the upper floors which recede a little with each level to look like a conical temple spire. It may look sturdy but given its age it is quite fragile, especially the balconies. But it sure makes for a spectacle, one that you feel great about discovering. Locals tell us that the Chehni fort even has a 400-metre escape tunnel, which is now closed and a Krishna temple. However, it is the Shringa Rishi temple at Bagi which is most visited for its intricate woodwork and pagoda style. Rishi Shringa is considered the patron deity of the Banjar Valley, which locals say, is his tapa bhoomi. He was the chief priest at the Putreshtiyajna of Raja Dasratha, a ritual for the birth of a son, after which Lord Rama was born. Legend has it that his retreat was so tranquil that sages and hermits from all over made the valley their own.
A visit to Pekhri Village on your four wheels is the perfect getaway for tired souls looking to spend some time cut off from the world, in the lap of nature and away from the jarring sounds and hustle bustle of the city. The tranquility and untouched natural bounty of the Pekhri drive unfailingly captures the heart of every visitor, leaving them mesmerized with a promise to return and relive the magic. One can trek to Naddar village from where , enjoy a packed lunch or a hot lunch prvided by the homestay owner and then trek down to Goshaini , the center point of the Tirthan Valley !
Read more about the culture of Tirthan Valley on our blogpost - Top Drives to take near Tirthan Valley