Why Go To Barot:
Picnic Spot, Trout Breeding, Uhl River, Power Project, Haulage Trolley, Trek to Bada Bhangal
How to Reach: 25 km from Ghatasani (via Jhatingri-Tikan), Ghatasani is 14 km from Jogindernagar and 35 km from Mandi on NH 20…From Tikan, road is along Uhl River. Buses for Kothikodh, Bada Gran, Lohardi pass through Barot.
Date of Drive: 19th March 2012
Woke up to a beautiful morning at a hotel in Sungal (Palampur). Had tea, washed the car and drove towards Barot.
Drive from Palampur to Barot is amazing. It passes through some of the most beautiful mountain scenery, snow clad Dhauladhar range on the left and vast beautiful Kangra valley on the right.
Palampur itself is famous for Kangra tea, pleasant whether and number of water streams flowing from Dhauladhars into Kangra valley. The road passes through Baijnath, famous for ancient Shiva temple.
Crisscrossing Kangra valley rail is a another interesting sight from the road.
Around 10 km from Baijnath at Ahju there is a turn to the left for Bir, Upper Bir and Billing. While Bir is famous for its large, well established Tibetan community and landing ground, Billing is a world famous Paragliding takeoff site.
Joginder Nagar is terminal point of 163 km long Kangra Valley Rail and is also famous for 3 hydroelectric power stations, and is popularly known as ‘The Electric City’ or ‘The City of Powerhouses’.
Enjoyed himachali thali at a dhaba just before Jogindernagar. All over himachal dhabas serve veg or non veg thali at around Rs.40/60- respectively. Veg thali comprised dal/rajma, kadhi, sabzi, rice, chutney and salad…till your tummy is full, Non veg has chicken curry in place of sabzi.
This place Ghatasani is 14 km from Jogindernagar on NH 20. The 25 kilometer road to Barot branches of to the left from here and passes through small towns of Jhatingri and Tikan.
The road from Ghatasni is a single, lonely, adventurous road. It meets Uhl river at Tikan and runs along it till Barot.Mountain scenery around is beautiful.
Sarso ke khet (mustard fields) and the village…..on the way to Barot
Suddenly I noticed difference in the behaviour of the people. They were simple, honest and beautiful. These children offered flowers in exchange for money.
I was awestruck at the very first sight of Barot. It was so beautiful. I was wondering how I missed this place so far. It is just 25 km from NH 20 and I have been on this highway on so many times. Maybe it is not very popular and not promoted so well. Good for people like me who are more attracted to the beauty of Nature instead of the crowd.
This little wooden bridge on the Uhl river connects Barot to Multhan and is used by pedestrians in routine. I also used it on a number of times while commuting from my homestay to market in Multhan.
Barot is a charming little sleepy place with abundant natural beauty. Gushing waters from Uhl river full of trout flows right through the valley into Uhl barrage and reservoir for the Shanan Power House.
This was really unique. The market on the other side of Uhl was Multhan (Kangra district) and this side from where this picture is taken, is Barot (Mandi district).
A haulage trolley of the British times connects Barot to Jogindernagar. The trolley and the land on which it is used is still owned by Punjab State Electricity Board and is the property of state of Punjab.
Since I have served for 28 years in Punjab National Bank (The Name You Can Bank Upon)….its sight is very soothing to the eyes. It gives a nice feeling that someone will be there who can recognise me. Went up to the branch, met the staff and told them that I have come here to see the place….solo.
They were kind of surprised. Surprised to see a branch manager getting VRS at the age of 48 for traveling and that they never considered Barot as a tourist destination. And also that I was solo in the car.
There are a number of homestay in Barot. I roamed about in the market and enquired about them. Everybody seemed to suggest KK Negi home stay. On checking, I found it to be suitable for me so decided to stay for the night at the place. There was ample parking for the car. The KK Negi home is on the left bank of Uhl river, in Barot. Food is not available but tea can be provided on request. The rooms are on the first floor and a shop on the ground floor. The family also stays on the ground floor.
Ms Kamlesh Kumari Negi, the owner of the place, belongs to Kinnaur. She was married many many years ago into a Gaddi family living in Bir. Her husband has worked with animal husbandry department and is retired now.
She is a very gutsy lady and drives her own alto car to ferry her guests around. She loves trekking and has trekked to Bada Bhangal area with her family. The trek involves staying in temporary stone caves, using wood fire to keep the animals away, eating dried food and water from natural streams for many many days together.
She has also been to Kaza, tabo and Kunzum pass.
The Uhl river supports breeding of trout fish. The trout is bred and pushed into Uhl river here, making it a good angling destination.
There is a beautiful PWD rest house and a forest rest house available here. Rooms can be booked in advance.
The area, the surroundings, the environment, the people, everything was in harmony. I spent most of the time walking around the market, nearby forest and along the Uhl river. Also spent some time with Negis and PNB parivar.
In the evening I had wonderful time sitting quietly near the river sipping whiskey thinking about how life had been so far and how It’s shaping after retirement. Missed my better half, children and some of my close friends. How in the din of the cities, we are missing on these amazing moments.
…it is the time away from the world that allows us to lead a fulfilling life.
20th March 2012
Woke up to a bright sunny morning at KK Negi home stay, Barot. Came out of my room and saw this beautiful scene. Ms Negi chatting with a friend on the bank of Uhl river sitting besides her Alto and my Lalpari.
Ms Bhamri Devi, devrani of Ms Negi brought me a cup of tea. Sipped at tea while basking in the morning Sun of Barot.
Went out for a little walk along the Uhl on this beautiful path.
Cricket is a religion in India and boys of Barot were not to be left behind.
I had breakfast at Taj restaurant across the river in Multhan market. Last night they served me delicious trout fish curry for dinner.
There was a beautiful waterfall on the way to bada gran.
This gaddi women was knitting in lunch time. She along with her many friends from a nearby village were working on road repair under MNREGA scheme.
Lalpari just after crossing a water stream on the way to bada gran.
Dirt trek leading to Bada gran also known as chhota bhangal…..last village before fabled bada bhangal.
The shopkeeper at Bada Gran told me that I could stay for the night in his shop. He had arranged one or two beds inside the shop. He would cook food for me and also arrange for local drinks if I so desired. There is a waterfall nearby and I could use it for bathing.
Besides this, he told me that he could also guide me for a small trek to Bada Gran and nearby areas. I was tempted by the serene landscape of the area even then decided otherwise.
On return journey a jeep got punctured and was stranded in the middle of the road. There was no way for crossing of any other vehicle. The driver was toiling to replace the tyre and passengers were watching intensely as if they were themselves doing so.
Tyre replaced, road cleared and soon I was in Barot. Went to PNB branch to say hello to my colleagues. On learning that I was going to Lohardi, a 6 km diversion on the right side of Barot, some of them decided to come with me.
With PNB parivar at Lohardi
At Lohardi mobile network is vee bit weak and this gentleman used punjabi style jugaad by placing his mobile phone above the entrance door to his house to catch network.
Weather and setting of Lohardi was very romantic, I felt like staying there but did not. The company of my banker colleagues, however, was as usual very dry.
It was already 5pm and I decided to head back home. Dropped my colleagues at Barot and turned left towards Jogindernagar. Night had fallen and it got pitch dark. Just before Jogindernagar I noticed a board ‘Trekker’s Nest’ and stopped the car.
‘Trekkers Nest’ is a nice place. It has large rooms with good views and nice restaurant. Good facilities for trekkers and backpackers. The place is owned by Dr Singla who himself is a nature lover and has passion for trekking. Luckily Dr Singla was available and we had a nice chat.
It was around 9pm and was not sure what to do next. Rang up home and got to know that my better half was in Amritsar with her father. She wanted me to drive to Amritsar instead of our home in Ludhiana. Amritsar was still 260 km from Jogindernagar.
Since I love night driving, decided to drive to Amritsar. Got tandoori chicken packed from Subhash Chowk, Palampur and was on my way. Listening to hindi songs on fm radio, munching at tandoori chicken….Lalpari was gliding on that beautiful traffic free Himachal road in the shadows of gleaming white Dhauladhars….
At 3am….I was in Amritsar and in bed!!!