India is a diverse land, filled with mountains, plains, forests and beautiful beaches.
It would, in all honesty, take up a lifetime to cover all the amazing places and experiences that India has to offer.
With more people moving into the busy metros of India, slowly but surely they are losing touch with nature and what it has to offer.
Hampta Pass Trek is one of those experiences where the myriad of the stunning
and sheer expanse of nature combined with challenges test the ability to conquer our limits and set new ones.
Like most plans, it all started on a Whatsapp group.
The Hampta Pass Trek
Known to be one of the most beautiful treks in India, Hampta Pass Trek in Manali,
Himachal Pradesh will entertain even the most seasoned mountaineers and trekkers.
Stretching across a set of diverse landscapes, it is easily best accessible from Manali.
The trek crosses from Kullu valley all the way to Chhatru on the Keylong Spiti road in Lahauls Chandra valley.
There are two amateur glacier crossings, and the trek starts from Jobri where the Jobri and Hampta stream converges.
Situated at around 4370m the Hampta pass is an intermediate level trek
with two days of easy and one day of tough ascend towards the summit and another day of descending.
I have always wanted to experience the mountains more specifically the Himalayas in its most grandiose form.
With a few local mountain treks under my belt, I’ve known for a while that I was becoming restless.
The daily circle of life was taking a toll and I desperately needed a change of scenery
So one Friday evening as I was sifting through the messages of a Whatsapp group, my old comrade KP commented that he wanted to experience snow and then it dawned on me.
As Independence Day and Eid were on the same week, a set of three leaves from office could give me a 10 daybreak. It was perfect!
The next step was to find a location that can be beginner trekking friendly as well as has snow.
When you are from the south of India, snow is a big deal.
As I was searching I came across Hampta pass trek, and after browsing a few images of the place I was sold.
The Hampta pass trek takes us beyond Manali to the most authentic Himalayan experience you can find in India.
The photos showed promise and by then I had offered all of my close friends to tag along.
But ultimately I, KP and Suhail was the ones who were set to go.
I then applied for a Three-day leave, booked the flights through Vishu Money, the trek and got the essentials for the journey that lied ahead.
The decision was made and all three of us nodded in unison as we confirmed our plan for the Hampta pass trek.
But, as always a last-minute cash crunch from Suhail and disapproval of leaves made me think twice about the success of the plan.
But by then my heart was set on the trek that I would have attempted it alone if I had to.
But luckily, the boys managed to work out leaves and cash and soon joined me on the plan.
To get to Manali from Bangalore we had to catch a flight booked on Vishu Money from Bangalore to Delhi and then take an overnight Bus to Manali.
The Journey was to be a nonstop one as the trek was set to commence an hour after our arrival in Manali.
We cleverly planned out the trip in such a way that we had no delays or stopover in tour transit towards Manali and beyond.
As I woke up on the bus, I was greeted to an amazing view of the rocky snow-capped mountains and especially because,
in August, the landscapes are clear of snow.
Upon reaching Manali, freshening up and grabbing some good carbs we set for the trek from the town of Manali.
Just like the calm before the storm we had gathered at the starting point of the trip, a place called Manali adventure.
While we had packed all our belongings into the rucksack, I had little idea of the road that laid ahead.
As more people gathered, it was clear that we were a group of 20 who has signed up for the Trek.
After a brief overview, team meeting and lunch, we were guided to the cars that were to take us to the starting point of the trek.
It was an exhilarating off-road track to Jobri.
As I scanned the area, there was a dam and a beautiful view to greet us at the start of the trek at Jobri.
The trek started into the hilly forest, the tracks were muddy and minutes felt like an hour.
After a while, my shoulder started hurting from the 8KG rucksack but to my surprise, I was not complaining, no.
I was enjoying every bit of it.
The hilly forest took us around two hours to clear and were closer to the clearing as we progressed.
But the most important astonishment was that there was no network coverage.
It was going to be a long 5-day journey and the only contact would be the 20 people on the trek. And then it started raining.
The clearings were open and picturesque with a stream running right down its centre.
We were on our way to our first pitstop of the Hampta pass trek
and as we marched on up the hill along the stream for another two hours,
we could see tents at the far end of the valley.
It was our final stop for the day.
As we unpacked, had dinner the cold had begun to set in and the valley had the most enchanting view surrounding as the sunset in Chika.
The second day of the Trek was supposed to be a long one stretching more than 9 Km and in such terrain,
it may take up to 8-10 hours to cross if the conditions are perfect.
The extensive realities of the nonstop trek had set in but I was unhinged as we were in pure nature bliss.
Everywhere to all directions the landscape was vast and expansive and the team soon realized that there was no point in clicking photos as there was too much to see.
We got acclimatized to the raising altitude that we were climbing fast.
As lunch was pre-prepared and packed along with breakfast, we indulged in the best of lunch in the wilderness.
As the entire course was parallel to the stream, we had enough water to drink.
Yes, you can drink the stream water as they are basically melted glaciers, very clean.
After around 10 hours of trekking through valleys, narrow trails, cliffs, and streams we arrived at a valley with some flat land.
On the far reaches of the valley was the camp for the day. The valley was called Balu Ka Ghera and it was beautiful from every angle.
As I settled into our tents beside the raging stream of water
I could see that the snow-capped mountains were not so far away
and the guide briefed us about the trek for the next day.
That night sleep was instant as we lay in our tents.
The Hampta Pass – An Immense, Wild Wild Land –
The third day was the day of the summit, meaning we were crossing Hampta Pass.
The excitement was overwhelming and the understanding that it was the most difficult leg of the journey added to the excitement.
By now, as we walked towards Hampta pass we started seeing snow on our trail.
Soon we were trekking on sheets of snow and the river running from under it.
The water was freezing cold as we crossed the river and since sheets of ice were very slippery we had to take a few falls.
The climb was a challenge, with freezing temperatures, winds and the changing weather.
It wasn’t a surprise the entire team moved slower on this day and as we battled the cold and the treacherous terrain to the Summit.
Between two mountains covered in snow was an opening, and trekking almost vertically we had finally reached the Hampta Pass
It was a gorgeous landscape covered in snow and rocks with mountains on all sides.
As we took pictures and posed with the team, I felt an extreme sense of accomplishment.
To comprehend that a week ago I was in the busy streets of Bangalore and
today I’ve just climbed Hampta pass was overwhelming.
As we left the pass we were stunned to see the barren valley with no ice on the other side of the Hampta pass.
At the bottom of the valley stood our campsite called Sheagoru.
The night was uneventful and everyone retired early after the long day.
Sheagoru was extremely cold in the night.
Hope – Final Day and lazybones
The final day saw us make our way to the final pitstop of the journey, Chattru.
The trek to Chattru was a beautiful one with mountains streams and landscapes all arrange perfectly just like the painting on a canvas.
The trek was just 3 hours long and I felt like I understood the terrain well enough to give tips and suggestions
descended from the rocky mountains was connected by a rough river and the final campsite stood on the banks of it.
Chattru village is a dry cold desert with very little vegetation.
The vast valley was surrounded by sky-high mountains that had started illuminating.
The full moonlight reflected off the peaks as we took it all in, every bit of it.
The only regret was that the journey from Chattru to Chandratal lake was cancelled as the roads were blocked due to landslides.
On the final day, we were dropped from Chattru village to Manali marking the end of the trek.
The Rebirth – A new door to open every door
Upon reaching Bangalore the memories were fresh and alive as the mountains kept calling.
The experiences that I gathered from the Hampta Pass trek was one for a lifetime.
The frustrations and anxiety were no more and I felt like a new man.
I didn’t know how long this euphoria would stay but I can finally say that I’ve felt serendipity every point of the Journey.
Maybe, I may just have figured out the remedy to the distress of life, who knows! As they say “go where you felt the most alive”, and I would answer them the mountains. ’.
Planning my next conquest in a country other than ours but in budget. Check out my top picks & suggest which according to you would be worth it.
Vishnu – Aim to serve a bit of experience, imagination, improvisation and some spicy bit of creativity from the corners of my brain. Bon appétit.