En route Kullu, lies the snow sieved paradise of Jalori Pass. 73 Kilometers from Himachal Pradesh’s Kullu, this high mountain pass is located at an elevation of around 10,800 ft above sea level. For biking and trekking enthusiasts this pass would be a silver lining. Dividing the Beas and Satluj watersheds, the Jalori Pass creates a boundary of spectacles right in between the water bodies.
Why Jalori pass?
Himachal is home to several high altitude passes and so much a question, for all the right reasons, didn’t fail to cross my mind. Jalori pass or Jalori Jot is an offbeat destination the perfect for not just solo travelers, but also for a family vacation.
The starting point for two easy treks, the Pass you can explore with your entire family and that’s what struck me about this place. Usually, trekking becomes a tedious task for children and the elderly. Along, with it is the concern of breathing at high altitudes where oxygen levels decrease gradually.
This is so not the case at Jalori pass where the trials for trekking are an easy climb along with occasional pit-stops for relaxing.
Treks in Jalori Pass
1. Sareolsar Lake Trek
Sareolsar Lake Trek is barely a 5 km trek to the sapphire lake. There are no other means of transportation to this place and trekking is the only mode of reaching this untouched spot of Kullu.
The place is said to be blessed by the local goddess Budhi Nagin. And, after the lake became a commonly visited spot temple was built. Earlier the lake in itself was said to be the abode of the goddess.
One of the interesting facts I learned on my trek to the Lake was that the localities believed that the Goddess regulated the rainfall around the Kullu region, which is why many of them still refer to the rainbows here as Budhi Nagin.
2. Raghupur Fort Trek
Raghupur Fort Trek is the second trail which is at a lesser distance of 3 km from the Pass. The thing about these treks is that it is more or less like following breadcrumbs scattered around the path.
I was exploring most of the route by myself and so it was a little more exciting asking the people on the way to show me the way and follow the trail through dense pine lines. The Kulu king built the fort and the royal touch is reflected through the fortifications.
When I reached the Fort I spotted several sheep grazing around the lush lands, and shepherd’s smile welcomed the trekkers. Standing at the foot of the fort, you will be amazed by the 360° view of the entire valley from up there. The view stretches to the Dhauladhar ranges. Most of the spectacles here are natural and I could not help but admire the work of art.
There’s an incomparable beauty to it as none of it is polluted or reworked upon by man’s ideas. Walking amidst the seasonal blossoms and the highland wildlife, I was feeling closer to nature like never before.
Climate of Jalori Pass
Jalori pass is accessible only around the months between April to November. The winters can get a little too harsh and even the motorable roads are pretty uneven and receive as much as 20 ft of snow during winters. Around mid-March the routes open and closes around December depending on the amount of snow received.
I had arrived at Jalori around the last week of March and saw jeeps getting stuck halfway through in the snow. None of this was tiring to the riders though as they shoveled their way out and kept moving. The climate is also such that, in the summers the snow melts and flows across the colored spectacle of flowers. It’s like this mapwork of rivers running gracefully through the alpine lands.
Staying around Jalori pass
If it’s your first time to Jalori Jot and especially if you are traveling with family, the rest houses operated by the PWD and Forest department of Jalori could be your go-to for a stay.
There’s no risk in going around Jalori all on your own, but when it comes to staying options, we double-check everything. And why wouldn’t we? we wanted a stay to be a piece of our home in a land we’ve never been to. The houses handled and operated by the PWD is less than 5 km’s from Jalori.
Camping would not be the best of the ideas if you’re not a fan of the cold. Even during summers, without proper equipment or experience, the idea of camping would go in vain. This is why houses are set by the officials to ensure the stay is safe and comfortable at the same time.
Route Map of Jalori Pass
Any route taken to the Jalori pass would guarantee you the scenic view of what Himachal Pradesh has to offer. Shimla is a more commonly taken route to reach Jalori. I had made deviations on the route and taken the map from Kullu to Jalori.
Starting from Kullu, I couldn’t help but make several stops and click pictures of the picturesque spots in between. Along with the sounds of the bikes revving and the fluttering prayer flags tied around bridges, I felt like I was floating around with the breeze.
From Banjar to Shojha, many milestones are marking the destinations. Those were among the few days my feed was flooded with my check-in details. The mobile network on the way to Jalori was pretty stable and apart from BSNL, even Airtel and Idea networks have a decent accessible range. The roads are single-laned and pretty even till Jalori. Roads around the pass go in the form of a loop and are among the steepest motorable passes in Himachal.
A four-wheeler is the most convenient vehicle on the bumpy roads of the pass. I also thought of the roads as a biker’s rite of tests. Riding through the off-roads and slushy snow is sure one hell of an adventure. There’s public transport available on these lines as well.
The route through Shimla goes till Mandi, and a trip can be taken other way round also, starting from Mandi to Shimla. Both pathways are just equally beautiful and have the same distance. Reaching Shimla from Delhi, you can follow the map through Narkanda and Anni to reach Jalori Jot.
Facilities at Jalori Pass
To spot amenities like ATM’s and Petrol Bunks around off-beat tourist destinations like Jalori Pass was something that was least expected. Since it was a common spot, the numbers of such installations increased and now you can find petrol and ATM stations at regular intervals.
Fill a full tank from Mandi or Anni, and you’d be good to go for the trip to Tirthan. We were lucky enough to come across several localities that offered rides till Tirthan. They always carry some extra amount of petrol just in case.
You can find mechanics and garages abundantly in all towns in Tirthan valley and Mandi. Mandi has garages for fixing any sort of problem with the vehicles. Tirthan valley does not have a huge setup such as those in Mandi but can clear out minor fixes.
Right around every corner, the valley also has ATM or Banking facilities. In case of shortage make sure you have sufficient cash withdrawn from Banjar or Gushaini.
Things To Do Around Jalori Pass
While Jalori Pass itself sets forth a carpet of snowy wonder for the people, there are places around it that would leave you just equally mesmerized. Trekking up to these spots would be a challenging but surely rewarding sight.
1. Walk around Tirthan Valley
Named after the river flowing through it. Tirthan Valley is located in the Southeast of Kullu within the Great Himalayan National Park. Stretching between the Banjar to Bathed the valley is rich in its alpine grooves and deciduous forest ranges. The water which nourishes these green belts come from the glacial Tirthan lake flowing from the Hanskund Peak.
A walk around the valley and I can bet my life on the fact that you’d never want to leave the place. It was beyond enchanting to watch the light pass through the canopies and create a natural spotlight effect.
2. Trek to Shringa Rishi Temple
People around the valley protect their beliefs and traditions staunchly, and this temple is a narration of this characteristic. Located in the Banjar valley, the temple has remarkable architectural structures. Since it was built for their chief deity, Rishi Syringa, a lot of dedication and respect went behind its creation.
The temple is barely 19 kilometers from the Pass and 4 kilometers from the main highway that leads to Jalori Pass. Similar to Jalori Joy’s climatic conditions, one cannot visit the temple during the months between December – March due to the extreme snowfall.
The road to the temple connects the highway and is easily motorable. From the base camp points, trekking to the temple is also an option. It wouldn’t even take half an hour to reach.
3. Visit/ Trek to Chehni Kothi
Few more minutes of trekking from the temple, a highly fortified Chehni Kothi will receive you. Home to several towering temples of Kullu, a walk around this Kothi is more or less like a walk through Kullu’s rich historical culture. Initially built to serve the purpose as defensive forts. As time passed their purpose switched from being a storage facility to that of a common tourist attraction.
Standing tall in all its glory, the towers are at a charming height of 45 meters. Himalaya is considered as the highest built structures in the western counterpart.
4. Visit Great Himalayan National Park
The UNESCO World Heritage Site is an exemplar in terms of in-situ conservation and protection of the Western Himalayan biodiversity. The Park covers around 754 sq km of natural habitat. When it had received the title of a National park (1999).
If you thought Jalori Pass was a challenging drive through, you’d be tested more at the steeper roads of the Park. Since it remains an untouched spot meant for the preservation of a variety of species. The roads are uneven and quite tough.
Keeping the vehicle engaged on the first gear helped us to keep moving. One can not stay on the same spot for a long while as per the authorities. Some patrollers move people away from potential crowding and traffic.
While trekking here to spot the magnificent wildlife. One should keep certain precautions. Carry a bag with essentials, and keep in mind that eating and littering the park is not permissible. Jalori Pass is one of those trips that will for sure remain etched in your mind.