Sar Pass is a perfect trek for beginners. It’s apt for those who want to experience all kinds of terrain. Forests, meadows, quaint villages, or snow-covered mountains, this trail offers a gamut of experiences to trekkers. Prashant Jha, a post-graduate from BITS Pilani shares details of this well-explored trek, which lies in the Parvati valley of Himachal Pradesh.
The trek starts from Kasol, which is a haven for backpackers from around the globe, and attracts large weekend crowds; many of which are the city youth, eager for a slice of the bohemian lifestyle. To cater to the tourists, the shops are well-stocked with both, necessities and luxuries.
There are plenty of stay options – both, pocket-friendly and high-end, and one can choose from Israeli, Continental, Indian, and Chinese cuisines.
An ideal trek for beginners
- Trek through forests, meadows and quaint villages.
- Climb to the summit of Sar Pass at 13,799 feet for stunning views of snow-capped mountains.
- The trek starts from Kasol, which is a haven for backpackers from around the globe.
- This trail attracts large weekend crowds.
Basic information :
- Dificulty - Easy-Moderate
- Duration - 5 Days
- Max Altitude :13779 ft
- Base Camp - Kasol
- Best time to visit - May - October
Trek type - Forests, meadows & snow-covered mountains
- Day 01: Kasol to Grahan Village (2347m)
- Day 02: Grahan Village to Min Thatch (11,150ft)
- Day 03: Min Thatch to Nagaru (3810m)
- Day 04: Nagaru to Biskeri Thatch (3353m) via Sar Pass
- Day 05: Biskeri Thatch to Kasol via Barshaini
- Kasol - Kasol : 5,999/-
- Delhi - Delhi : 8,999/-
Note : Please keep a buffer day for your retrun journey .
- April - 9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,23,24,26,29,30
- May - Daily Departure
- June - Daily Departure
- July - 2,9,16,23,30
- August- 6,7,13,14.15,16,17,18,19,20,21,27,28,
- Sept - 3,4,10,11,17,18,24,25
- Oct - 2,3,4
Day 1: Kasol to Grahan village
- Altitude: 1,700 m to 2,350 m
- Distance: 10 km
- Time taken: 4-5 hours
- The trail from Kasol to Grahan is a marked one through forests, following the Grahan nalah. It starts from the centre of Kasol and keeps to the true left of the nalah. The trail is easy to navigate and is frequently used by villagers. The gradient being gentle, one can effortlessly cover much distance in a matter of hours.
- The trail crosses the nalah and continues, before abruptly becoming rocky and climbing uphill, away from the right bank of the river. One may be led to believe that this is not the right path, but one must not go astray.
- Soon, the trees give way to grass and shrubs. One can see some fields as well and can spot bright coloured tarpaulins. These are makeshift stalls with the vendors selling refreshments like tea, omelettes and rhododendron syrup! Rhododendrons (locally known as buras) grow in forests that receive snowfall. Their bright red flowers bloom in spring and are collected to make syrup. Rhododendron petals can be eaten whole and the syrup can be mixed with water to make a refreshing drink (I discovered the benefits of rhododendron on my Har-ki-dun trip, where I happily chewed on a liberal amount of the tangy petals and felt energized immediately).
- After a steep climb of about an hour, look out for the village of Grahan, situated on the top of a hill. Camp there for the night. Accommodation is available in guest houses and there is a camping ground after crossing the village. There is a satellite phone in the village, and one may also get network coverage on cell phones.
Day 2: Grahan to Min Thach
- Altitude: 2,350 m to 3,400 m
- Distance: 7 km
- Time taken: 4-5 hours
- From the camping ground at Grahan, a trail goes north, climbing up gently. Villagers use this path often in the morning. This is the way to Min Thach.
- After walking for a while, the view opens up and a guide can point to you Min Thach, Nagaru, and Sar Top on the mountain to the right. The trail also becomes steeper and leads into the woods.
- After some time, you enter a dense forest; the thick canopy lets in very little sunlight. The slope becomes steeper still and the path is confusing in places.
- After toiling for a few hours, the forest opens up to a grassy patch on a ridge. This is Min Thach (“Thach“ means meadow in the local language; much like ‘Kanda’ or ‘Bughyal;’ it is where the villagers bring their cattle to graze).
- To the north-west, across the horizon, stretch Chanderkhani and other ranges. The ridge-line continues to the east and rises up to a cliff covered in snow, on which sits the camp site of Nagaru (a guide can point it out).
- To the south-east of the ridge, lie forests. There is some cleared space to pitch a tent. A seasonal vendor’s hut may be found here; it sells tea, coffee and omelettes. Nearby is also a tap that supplies potable water. One can camp here for the night; the ridge will protect you from strong winds. A trench should be dug around the tents so as to allow the natural drainage of water in the event of rain, hail, or snow.
- Keeping one day to cover the distance from Grahan to Min Thach. It allows time for the body to acclimatise and warm-up for the trek ahead. However, seasoned trekkers can also start early from Kasol, break for an early lunch at Grahan, and reach Min Thach post-noon.
Day 3: Min Thach to Nagaru
- Altitude: 3,400 m to 3,800 m
- Distance: 8 km
- Time taken: 4-6 hours
- From Min Thach, as the crow flies, Nagaru seems not far, but the route doesn’t go straight up the ridge-line; instead, it veers up to the south (looking up at the cliffs, towards the right) and goes into the woods. Depending on the weather, one may find snow here. It is always advisable to start early, for the weather is generally favourable before noon and the snow becomes more slippery later into the day.
- After walking for a while, one comes to another ridge-line – a rocky one overlooking a grassy meadow down in the distance. The ridge goes steeply up to the left (eastward), to the cliffs, atop which Nagaru sits. The path to Nagaru goes up this ridge and is well-marked for some hundred metres, after which the tree-line ends and gives way to patches of grass and shrubs.
- If there is snow, then great caution has to be exercised, for this is the trickiest and riskiest part of the trek – the slope falls steeply to the valley below and may be slippery! The trail, even if marked, may not be visible in snow. Here, having a guide and a trekking pole is of paramount importance; waterproof gloves will also come in handy. An ice-axe may be used by the guide to chisel away snow for getting a foothold. The trekker would also need to employ proper technique – digging into the snow with his toes, and only once firm foothold is established, putting the other foot ahead in the same fashion.
- After a couple of hours, you finally reach a welcoming patch of flatland on top of the hill – this is Nagaru camp site. It feels like a different world! Facing north, one can see magnificent mountains rising steeply across the Parvati valley – with the town of Manikaran also visible. In the di stance, to the north-west lie Chanderkhani and the ranges of the Beas valley. Down below, to the left, one can spot the campsite of Min Thach and the village of Grahan. To the south is a vast expanse of snow rolling up the hill. It is in this direction that one has to continue to reach Sar Pass. However, neither the pass nor the top of the mountain is visible yet.
- Though erratic, network coverage is available in some spots. A water tap can be seen near the western edge of the cliff and it may or may not be running, which is why water has to be carried from Min Thach. Camp must be established soon as the winds are very strong and the temperature dips very quickly after sunset.
- It gets very cold at night due to the wind chill factor and sometimes the winds are so strong that tents get blown away! It is advisable to retire early, to protect yourself from the cold. Besides, the next day involves an early start.
Day 4: Nagaru – Sar Pass – Biskeri Thach
- Altitude: 3,800 m – 4,200 m – 3,350 m
- Distance: 14 km
- Time taken: 6-8 hours
- Wake up before dawn. The previous day’s trek would have acclimatised you for today’s long trek – the same techniques need to be employed. The climb to Sar Pass follows the ridge-line in a southward direction and is steep in some stretches. Feel free to keep up a slow but steady pace as you climb through snow at high altitude.
- The snow is easier to walk on and the heavenly surroundings keep one’s spirits high. After climbing up the hill seen from Nagaru, a higher hill that has to be climbed comes into view. A third of the distance to Sar Pass has been covered. To one’s right falls the cliff steeply to the valley below, the ridge is sharper and the climb steeper; so one must be careful. If there has been good snow recently, the climb is similar to what mountaineers are shown doing using ice-axes and crampons!
- After climbing for what seems like a long time, one reaches the top of the hill and a sigh of relief and joy escapes as one beholds the view ahead. From the image searches on the web, one would know that this is Sar Pass! Sar Pass derives its name from ‘Sar,’ which means ‘pond,’ but the ‘Sar’ is mostly frozen till late in summer. The pass is not the kind one would have in mind – there is no saddle in the mountain range to cross.
- The view opens up eastward – the lofty peaks of the Tosh valley are now visible as well. To the south extends the white blanket of snow, flanked by snow-capped mountains – the highest of which seems to be within reach. However, it would take a couple of hours to summit and much distance has to be covered before the next camp.
- The onward route moves away from high ground, to the south-east, following the contours of the hill. With deep valleys on the left, one has to walk carefully. After some time, the path climbs up to a ridge running across, and one can see a flag tied to a ‘Trishul’ at the top. The slope is very steep in the last stretch and buried in the snow, one may find a rope, which can be held on to while climbing. This is a pass in the truer sense.
- As one reaches the top, the view is exhilarating. After a sharp drop of some hundred feet, unfolds a beautiful valley ahead (This was the highlight of my trek – I had braved snowfall and poor visibility, and my excitement reached a zenith when I reached the top and saw the surreal sight before me!). As one is soaking in the heavenly beauty of the place, a realisation suddenly hits – there is no way to get down the hundred feet drop but by sliding!
- The slide is the most fun and completely harmless as long as some precautions are taken – loose belongings (phones, goggles) should be kept inside the bag and the legs should be kept tight together and not be dug in the snow if one wishes to slow down speed; for this, elbows kept firmly by the side of the trunk can be pushed back into the snow.
- The slide takes one as far as a kilometre (depending on the snow conditions) to a gentler slope of the valley. After walking for some time, you come across another slope in the valley (not as steep as the first one) and depending upon the snow conditions, you can choose to slide again, for longer than a kilometre, till you reach a level ground. The third change in slope (steeper than the second) comes not long after, and can be covered by sliding again (if there is snow).
- The slide will take you past snow covered trees, through a valley that has now narrowed, and bring into view to the left, a lovely meadow. This is the camp site of Biskeri Thach, which is reached after crossing a few streams.
- Biskeri presents a sublime view of the pine forests, the majestic mountains and lovely grasslands. The villages of Tosh, Pulga-Tulga, Bursheni, and Nakthan can be seen in the valley below. The grassland of Bun-Buni lies atop a ridge to the north-east. Nearby is a waterfall that comes down from the mountains that form a backdrop behind Biskeri. There is no dearth of water as a stream runs beside the camp site and there also is a water tap. Network coverage is also available.
Day 5: Biskeri Thach to Bursheni
- Altitude: 3,350 m to 2,400 m
- Distance: 10 km
- Time taken: 4-5 hours
- From Biskeri, a steep path goes down, keeping to the left of the stream. After some time, cross the stream and walk across a plot of land with fencing. The trail ends here, so one has to go through the plot (search for a breach in the fence) to find the trail again, which leads into the dense forest.
- There are many trails here and only a guide can tell the right one, which keeps to the north-east. After descending in the dense forest for a good time, spot a crossing on a stream, with a camp site across. However, to get to the crossing is tricky! You have to rappel down twenty feet of rock with the help of a rope. After crossing the stream on wooden planks, climb up to the camp site that has a few vendor tents. The path to the village of Pulga goes to the left of the camp site.
- Soon after, one comes to grassland fringed by trees, which is one of the most beautiful places in the entire trek. The path continues through a dry channel into the woods, the descent becoming steep again. In some time, one reaches a clearing in the forest where trees have been felled. The path continues to go down past a fenced property, and reaches a lumber yard belonging to the forest department. The track goes past, following a water pipeline that takes you to the village of Pulga.
- The twin villages of Pulga and Tulga are separated by a stream. From Tulga, one crosses a bridge on the river Parvati, which has been dammed ahead for a hydroelectric power project, to reach the village of Bursheni. Bursheni is the last village in the Parvati valley connected by road (a bumpy one) and is used as the road head for treks to Kheerganga, Mantalai Lake, Pin Parvati Pass and for treks in the Tosh valley. You can get buses or taxis to Kasol, Bhuntar and other places from here.
- Thus comes to end a trek, the memories of which would be cherished for long.
- Meals will be all veg Hot and delicious food will be served at Breakfast and Dinner.
- During trek packed food will be provided.
- On Day 1- Lunch to Day 5- Breakfast only.
- Forest Permits/Camping Charges, if any (Up to the amount charged for Indian nationals)
- Tented accommodation throughout the trek and guest houses
- Rent for camping equipment.
- Stay will be in tents on sharing basis i.e Double Sharing/ Triple Sharing
- Sleeping Bags and other necessities will be provided
- Personal expenses.
- Any Airfare / Rail fare.
- Other meals not mentioned in package inclusions
- Parking and monument entry fees during sightseeing.
- Additional accommodation.
- Extra luggage.
- Applicable GST
- Charges apply to all exclusive activities.
Things to Carry:
- Woolen Sweater (carry 5 layers during winter trek)
- Fleece Jacket
- Padded Jacket
- T-shirts (3)
- Trekking pants (2)
- Undergarments (4 pair)
- Woolen Cap
- Socks (both cotton and woolen)
- Trekking pole
- Medical Kit.
Payment Details :
UPI ID : 7387523876@upi
Net banking :
- Name- RAJBALA YADAV
Bank name - HDFC BANK
ACC No.- 50100308491863
IFSC code- HDFC0002501
- Name- NITIN YADAV
Bank name - PUNJAB NATIONAL BANK
ACC No.- 0530001500002688
IFSC code- PUNB0053000
Please send a screenshot of the payment on WhatsApp 8850043643 for confirmation , we will then share a form for final booking procedure .
- 100% amount to be paid in advance to book the trip.
- If the booking is canceled 30 days or before the event date then 50% of the booking amount will be refunded.
- If the booking is canceled 30 days before the event date then no refunds will be given.
- No show = No refund.
TREKHIEVERS POLICIES :
- Seats will be reserved only after full payment.
- Detailed schedule of the trek will be given later to registered participants on WhatsApp group.
- Organizers have all the right to modify or change the schedule if required.
- Organizers hold the rights to cancel any event and refund with prior notice.
- We strictly follow no alcohol, no drugs and no litter policy.
Contact details :
Mrunali - 8591837526 | Nitin - 7387523876