The largest settlement along the Tirthan is Gushaini, a place that has become a bit too popular for my liking. Anyone who says they’re “going to Tirthan” usually ends up in one of the resorts around Gushaini, but there’s a lot more to see if you’re willing to explore. So that’s the whole point of writing this post. While fishing in these turquoise streams can be a wonderful activity, Tirthan is NOT limited to that. That’s why I’m trying to answer some burning questions through this little guide.
Top places to visit in Tirthan Valley:-
There are dozens of villages in Tirthan valley. Some are by the roadside while others are tucked away in the mountains. Here are the main villages you need to know.
Banjar is not exactly part of Tirthan. But it is the entry point and the largest town in the area with a large market with many shops and restaurants along with ATMs.
Gushaini is the main village in the Tirthan Valley, almost like a town with a few shops and restaurants. Here the road diverges to Sarchi, Batahad and Pekhri.
Batahad (Phalachan Valley)
Batahad or Bathad is the main village and road in the Phalachan valley, a small sub-valley of Tirthan, about 10 km from Gushaini. The Phalachan or Flaccan is a small tributary of the Tirthan River and meets it near Gushaini. Many Gushaini buses go to Batahand and roads are being built to other villages. It is also the starting point for the Bashleo Pass Trek.
Pekhri is about 9-10 km from Gushaini. The motorable road is new here, which is probably why it doesn’t show up on Google Maps. However, the road does exist and there are also buses, although they may not be very frequent. Ask the locals in Gushaini for timings. This is the starting point for the Rangthar Trek.
Best time to visit:-
Unlike other places in the region, Gushaini is a perfect visit in the winter season. With hills blanketed in white and beautiful trees poking through – there’s nothing more soothing than the views. You can also go on many winter routes and enjoy the region in its full beauty.
How to get there:-
The most common way to reach Gushaini is by road. I recommend using the Delhi – Manali route. You can also choose to travel via Shimla side – though the route is longer. However, you can also use the comfort of air or rail transport. Details as below –
While Bhuntar Airport is just 50 km from Gushaini, I suggest you fly to Chandigarh. I say this because Chandigarh is very well connected to the rest of India and you can travel through a lot of beautiful scenery!
Chandigarh is the nearest and most connected railway station at a distance of about 250 km. From there you can hire a taxi, drive a car or even take a bus to your destination!
On the road
The total driving distance from Delhi is about 500 km and the journey will take you about 12 hours. The route remains the same as when you are heading to Manali till Mandi. After Mandi you will cover a distance of 38 km and instead of the Aut tunnel you will take the road towards the small settlement of Larji. The road to Gushaini is pleasant and along the river – it takes you to the small settlement of Gushaini.
Tirthan Valley Bus Service and Timings:-
Banjar is well connected from all sides and buses usually run every hour throughout the day to Gushani from Banjar. But it can be difficult to get a bus after dark. So try to get where you need to go during the day.
Telephone and data connection in Tirthan Valley:-
Most major networks operate up to Gushaini. Anywhere between Banjar and Gushaini you should have no problems accessing the internet or making calls. However, after Gushaini you are unlikely to find data connectivity and calling may not be easy if you don’t have a BSNL SIM. The Banjar-Jibhi-Jalori route is also well connected and there should be no problems.