Route and Distance Info
Fixed route and Distance
The trek has many snow fed rivulets, brooks and streams with major river (Pabbar) as its main depository.
The trails used as major adventurous treks were frequently used by shepherds, traders and travellers in historical era and have many caves in between where they used to stay at night but they are off trek and not used as tent camping at a comfortable place are a great option today.
Forts or Palaces
The region has no forts to boast of but it can rightly brag of two royal palaces at Kotkhai and Local Culture and tradition: People have deep faith in Local DeviDevta. Women wear suits, Jubbal. Though not open for common public, the present palace are an impressive structure. The one at Kotkhai has a sturdy, typically indigenous and unmistakably prominent structure which can be seen while travelling to Jubbal. It stands on a narrow spur formed by two rivulets that run on three sides. The other at Jubbal has a massive wooden door as the main entrance; about 18 ft. high and 7 ft. wide covered with copper and studded with coins- an ancient practice in region which you can see on the wooden doors of every temple. Old furniture, ancient artefacts and a rich Sanskrit and Persian books library with enhance its grandeur.
After Rohru you will cross Samoli, Seema, Badiyara, Mandli, Chirgaun, Sandhasu, Tikri,Kharshali,Ghatsari, Shiladesh, Larot. Chirgaun is the last place to have a health centre. You can get some basic medicines in Larot too.
According to 2011 census, the sub district Rohru is home to more than 49 thousand people, among them about 26 thousand (52%) are male and about 24 thousand (48%) are female of whom 70% are from general caste, 30% from schedule caste and 1% consists of schedule tribes. 10% of the children are under the age of 6 have 52% boys and 48% girls. There are about 11 thousand households in the sub district with an average 4 persons each.
Hateshwari Temple at Hatkoti and Village god temple in Larot and Durga temple in Kharshali is a must see as they are in your way though there are many more to see and appreciate.
These are the traditional flour grinding mills which run by the flow of water. You can see one at Tikri,
Fair and Festivals
If you will come in April during Baishaki you may see the color of local culture in Local Festivals, Vishu but if you are planning to tour in early September you may attend Jagra.
Red rice, Siddu(Stuffed Steamed Bread buns), bade (More like Vadda) and Poldu(softer and thicker puri). Dhidhde (Colocasia Fritters) Red Rice of Pejaa is very famous.
Art (Wooden/ Stone)
Traditional Houses and temples are made up of Deodar wood and stone blocks with minute carvings on doors and pillars. They are earthquake resistant(Puri). Dhidhde (ColocasiaFritters) Red Rice of Pejaa is very famous.
The region has many folk tales about the origin and origin places of their God and Goddesses and primitive conflict between different villagers. Every village and their god have many tales to be explored.
People have deep faith in Local Devi-Devta. Women wear suits, Dhatu( a scarf)and Sadri (a Jacket) where as Men Wear Kurta Pajama, Sadri and Pahari Topi.
Public and Private Transport
Till Shimla one can reach by train, bus or plane but to reach Mandli forest rest house or at any other rest house at Rohru, one can take Govt. Buses, private Buses and private tracks are the main modes of transportation but one can hire private taxi also to and from Shimla.
Saur Tal Lake Trek Via Kharshali
Robert Frost in one of his poems wrote that I took the road less travelled by and that made all the difference. Saru Tal lake trek, one of the astonishing Never-lands of Himalayas, is the road less travelled by and it offers an experience of indefinable blend of myth and reality. The astonishing folk tales, charming houses and temple architecture, towering snow covered mountains, glacial ponds, pulse racing trekking, fruit-laden orchards protected by dense forest, picturesque hamlets, traditional culture and innocent inhabitants of Pabbar valley, is hypnotic. Though Shimla in Himachal Pradesh is world renowned tourist destination for its architectural heritage and scenic beauty but the bigger part of this ocean stands unexplored waiting 160 miles away from Shimla for those who wants adventurous treks, the heavenly scenic beauty, the pure and serene culture in align with the untainted and beautiful nature. So this year pack your bags and be an explorer to taste the genuine and soul satisfying nature. The cliff road remains open from May to October and is covered with snow for the rest of the year but best time is May-June and September-October.
One can start their journey by using Rohru or Mandli forest rest house as a base. Rohru is 110 km away from Shimla and is quite famous for its trout fishing and apple orchards. It is used as a base for several treks across the Himalayas. It provides lots of facilities to stay and eat. One can reach Rohru from shimla by a bus or taxi in three to four hours. The place is a small town with lots of people in traditional attires and leisurely life. During the journey from Shimla to Rohru, especially after Kotkhai one can see the beautiful stretch of forest area like Nhyari and Khadapathar and historical temples of local devi-devtas like Hateswari Mata at Hatkoti (11 Km prior to Rohru). The road from Hatkoti to Rohru runs by the river Pabbar and compel people to stop their vehicles and see around. The forest guest house at Mandli can also boast as a great alternate to stay as it offer an evening bonfire by the riverside to be one with the ecstatic sound of nature.
The Saru Tal Lake is a high altitude trek and need some trekking skills to reach the Chashal Pass and Lake, so in the morning gear up and have some acclimatization and physical activities to warm up for the trek. Fill your water bottles well as after the training session the group drives towards next destination Chanshal Pass passing Chirgaun, Sandhasu and Tikri. After crossing the river Pabbar the group heads towards Kharshali, 5 km away. Take a halt at Kharshali as it provides you an opportunity to experience the local culture of the region. The village is smaller one with a population of 588 people. It is 27 km away from Rohru, the nearest town to the place. The wooden houses and temples with carving and slate roof are unique and resembles to that of Kinnauri architecture. Roam around the village once and see the fields, meet villagers and experience the mystic and serene aura at the Devi Durga Temple nearby. Devour the local food at home-stay for the dinner
Buckle up as early as possible and witness the fresh and pure life of villagers in Pabbar valley. Stock up clear water bottles with you as the trek does not offer clear water sources for you. Start the trek of five to six hours with moderate ascends towards Saru Lake. As you climb500 meters, you leave behind the apple orchards to lovely woods and then the dense forest turns into the Mix vegetation. The three hours climb will take you the diversion of Chashal Pass and Saru Tal Lake. Take the mount from the diversion trails to barren and rock strewn flank to be at the exotic Saru Tal Lake, saucer-lake atop the hill in next three hours. The mountains around are looking as if you can touch them. Take a seat, and applaud yourself for your hard earned presence there and eyewitness the lake and other beautiful spots where nature is giving its best shots. Don’t miss the sunset from the Lake. Descend the trail little to camp nearby Lake and call it a day to relax in a flowery Green thach and ponder upon the scene you captured to be remembered lifelong like Wordsworth’s daffodils.
Start the trek with a moderate ascends towards the diversion on the well marked shepherd trail. Take the 3 hours trail leading to Chanshal and see the western slopes of the Chanshal massif covered with dense forests narrowing off to velvet-smooth pastures Thach on top with beautiful flowers and green grass. Explore, a snowy gorgeousness at a high altitude of 3,755 (12,467ft) above the sea level. Named after the valley, the pass sits atop Chanshal Peak, which at 4,520 meters (14,830 ft) and the scenic view of valleys and mountains in Uttarakhand valley to the right and in Himachal to the left is pristine. Visit the temple (Deothi) made of stone and wood carving at the gateway to Chanshal with a deeply revered meter high idol of an eight armed goddess made from rich alloy metal. The lakes and nearby areas of the forest are believed to be abode of Kali and thus it is quite different from the deothis you may see at Village god Sandar Bharedi Naag Devta Mandir at Shiladesh, Vyansar Temple at Chirgaun, Banashira mander Larot and many more. Talking of picturesque setting, the sunset in snow-covered mountains, forests and valley with its streams, houses and forest are ecstatic. Enjoy the snow patches and play in it. Take an off and enjoy a night in your camp watching star so bright and near. It assures you to mesmerize you with its natural settings. Chanshal pass is hot spot now as recently, it has also been recognized as one of the best spots for skiing in Himachal Pradesh as it has ideal slope stretches up to 12 kilometers. Moreover the government is also drawing a plan for a ski resort in the valley.
Descend and reach the road to take the waiting vehicles for your next destination at Shimla or you may walk down by the trees to reach Larot and see the deothi at Larot before heading back to Shimla. In next five hours you will be at Shimla with a sense of achievement.
Day 00: Reaching Shimla to Acclimatization
- Altitude: 7,967 ft (2,276 m)
- Mode of travelling: Train/ Bus/ Taxi/ Airplane
We advise you to reach Shimla a day before the expedition to adjust yourself to the climate and altitude. Roam around leisurely and explore the trees, market and sunset in the mountains. Relax and get ready for the thrill.
Day 01: Shimla to Mandli Forest Rest House
- Altitude: 7,967 ft (2,276 m) / 5,003 ft (1,525 m)
- Duration: Drive 120 km, 4-5 hours Drive
- Mode of travelling: Car/ Bus/Traveller
A pickup will be arranged on sharing bases from Shimla. The first stop will be at Kufri, a beautiful place with higher altitude. Kufri offers an open view of the valley with mountains all around. The journey will be resumed after a hot breakfast. The road by the Giri-Ganga will lead you to the spell bounding dense forest and apple orchards all around. At KharaPather you will see the Jubal Valley full of Apple orchards. The road descends leading you to the Historical Temple of Hateshwari Mata at Hatkoti. The temple has an Ashtadhatu idol of deviDurga to be worshipped as Mahisashurmardini. The stone temple of Shiva nearby Pandavas toy houses is very unique. The temple has a small cave and many stories to tell. Later the Group will head towards the Mandli Forest rest house passing Rohru, Samoli, Seema, Badiyara and Mandli. In evening, a bon fire will be arranged by the riverside to enjoy soul satisfying music of nature.
Mandli Forest Rest House to Kharshali
- Altitude: 5,003 ft (1,525 m) / 9,000 ft (2,743 m)
- Duration: Drive 18 km for 2 hours.
- Mode of travelling: Car/ Bus/Traveller and Trek
The morning session of the Day2 starts with some technical training activities making you accustomed to the hurdles you face during the Trek. It is followed by some adventurous activities to warm up before the challenge. Buckle up and refill you water bottles as after the technical training group drives towards next destination Kharshali passing Chirgaun, Sandhasu, Tikri by crossing the river Pabbar to Kharshali. Take a break and explore the cultural Heritage of Himalyan village as you will not get to stay in any village in this trek. The village is a smaller one with a population of 588 people. The wooden houses and temples with carving and slate roof are unique and resembles to that of Kinnauri architecture. Take a stay, see the wooden houses and its architecture, talk to the people and listen to their stories. Roam around the village to see the fields, meet villagers and experience the mystic and serene aura at the Devi Durga Temple nearby.
Day 03: Kharshali to Saru Tal Lake
- Altitude: 9,000 ft (2,743 m) / 11,865 ft (3,316 m)
- Duration: Moderate Trek of 9 km for 3-4 hours.
- Mode of traveling: Trekking
Start the day early with moderate ascends towards Saru Tal Lake. As you trek more you will leave houses, fields and apple orchards—the last prints of civilization behind for the forests claiming the landscape but the right turn from the diversion at 3 hour trek takes you to a barren and rock strewn mix vegetation with green and flowery meadows. Climb the trail for 2 more hours and you are at exotic Saru Tal Lake, saucer-lake atop the hill. The mountains around are looking as if you can touch them. Settle down and fall in the love with the mesmerizing sunset, the lake and other beautiful spots where nature is giving its best shots. Descend the trail little nearby Lake to camp and call it a day to stay in a flowery Green thach under the sky. Relax and ponder upon the memories you collected to recapitulate like Wordsworth’s daffodils.
Day 04: Saru Tal Lake to Chanshal Pass
- Altitude: 11,865 ft (3,316 m)/ 12,303ft (3,749 m)
- Duration: Moderate Trek of 11 km for 4-5 hours.
- Mode of traveling: Trekking
Start the day with capturing some more beautiful moments with the stunning sunrise and descend to see a new surprise of nature. Take the well marked shepherd trail and see the western slopes of the Chanshal massif covered with dense forests expansion to downy pastures Thach .The trek leads you to a snowy gorgeousness at a high altitude of 3,755 (12,467ft) above the sea level. Not only will you have the chance to stop and soak in the amazing view of the sky-reaching peaks near the pass, you’ll also get a chance to play in snow with your friends. Captures the moments with beautiful Sunset and call it a day and stay under the sky at one of the best camping site in Himalyas to witness the bright starry night.
Day 05: Chanshal Pass to Shimla
- Altitude: 12,303 ft (3,749 m) / 7,967 ft (2,276 m)
- Duration: Drive 150 km, 5 -6 hours Drive
- Mode of traveling: Trekking
The stay at Chanshal Pass also put forwards the luxury of watching spectacular sunrise its delicate aura spreading all around the valleys and mountains just from one place. The pass has a 360 degree view as it sits atop Chanshal Peak. Descend down the trail to Larot and see the art and architecture of a pent roof style temple of Chirgaun banashiramander Larot, a revered devtabefore climbing your vehicle taking you back to Shimla. You will reach Shimla by the evening so make your booking accordingly.