Hiking - Destination

Sar Pass Trek: Discover the Dramatic Terrain of Parvati Valley

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Trekking in the Himalayan range is always a delight and a lifetime experience! The memories created while you trek in this region stay with you forever and are always cherished! So many stories are built with each minute that passes as you walk into the dense forests, quaint villages, and lush green meadows. The Sar Pass Trek is an example of something just like this. An ideal trek for beginners, it is a potpourri of adventures. It is the passion that you have which will make you fall in love with this simple yet exuberating trek. The Sar Pass trek is an offering of adventure, peace, and beauty all at the same time.

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Starting at Kasol and taking you to the Grahan village through enchanting forests is a trail you will never forget. The enthralling views of Parvati Valley will leave you breathless. An early morning trek via Biskeri Thatch will take you to the magical Sar pass!

Sar Pass Trek: Overview

Sar Pass trek
A Piece of Heaven on Earth(Source)
  • Where it is Located: Himachal Pradesh
  • Number of Trekking Days: 5 Days
  • Trekking Grade: Easy to Moderate
  • Max Altitude: 13,800 ft
  • Trekking Distance: 48 km
  • Livingit Rank: Beginners - Enthusiast

Sar Pass Trek: Details

This is a trek that gives you a glimpse of all kinds of terrain and is therefore considered to an ideal trek for beginners. The Sar Pass Trek is easy to moderate trek in terms of difficulty. The trail type consists of forests, meadows and snow-clad mountains in the Parvati Valley of Himachal Pradesh as you reach the summit of Sar Pass which is at an altitude of 13,800 feet. The base camp of this trek is Kasol which is considered as a heaven not just for trekkers but a lot of tourists from around the world! This 48 km trek requires 5 days to be completed but some consider it as a good weekend trek as well.

Etymology of Sar Pass

The word “Sar” means “Lake” in the native language. When you trek here from Tila Lotni to Biskeri ridge, you cross a small frozen lake, which is why this place is called “Sar” Pass.

Best Time to Visit

The best time for this trek is between May – October. Not only is the weather around this time is the most ideal, even for a beginner to endure, but it also offers the best view once you reach the summit. Obviously, you will have to acclimatize yourself to the atmosphere and low temperatures.

Average Temperatures of Sar Pass

  • Maximum: 12 degree Celsius
  • Minimum: 8 degree Celsius

How to Reach

Kasol is the base camp for the Sar Pass trek. As Kasol is a well-known tourist spot, there are lots of ways to get here.

Sar Pass trek
Too Pretty to Be Real

Roadways

You can reach Bhunter via Delhi and then Kasol. The distance of Kasol to Bhunter is 30 km. If you are driving from Delhi to Bhunter you can take the NH1 to Ambala and then the NH 22 to Chandigarh and then the NH 21 that goes through the twins of through Bilaspur, Sundernagar, Mandi, and Kullu.

Also, there are buses available from all the major bus terminals that cover this distance.

Railways

You can reach Kasol via trains as well. The closest broad-gauge railheads are at Pathankot, Chandigarh, and Kalka. You will also find a narrow-gauge train line here at Joginder Nagar.

Airway

The Bhuntar Airport is located in Bhuntar town which is on NH 21 and is located 32 km from Rumsu and 10 km from Kullu. This is also called as the Kullu Manali Airport. Himalayan Bulls and Deccan Charters have collaborated to start flights on the Kullu – Chandigarh – Kullu route three times a day. Some private airlines also have regular flights here.

Sar Pass Trek: Detailed Itinerary You'll Need

Journey from Kasol to Grahan Village

Altitude: 1,700 m. to 2,350 m.
Distance: 10 km.

This trail begins at Kasol and runs through dense forests and the famous ‘Grahan Nala’. This trail starts from the centre of Kasol and the Nalah will always be to the left as you walk up. This is a common trail used by the villagers and is fairly easy to navigate. This isn’t a difficult climb and can be completed in some hours itself.

Sar Pass trek
Kasol to Grahan Village: Rocky Road Ahead! (Source)

As soon as you cross the Nala, the trail is rocky and the climb becomes slightly steep. You may think that this isn’t the correct route, but keep calm and carry on! Till now the path will be covered in dense forests and suddenly you will come across a path which has shrubs and grass on both the sides. You will also find vibrant Tarpaulins here which have extremely bright colours and hard to miss.

Here, you will find stalls set up by the locals selling omelettes, tea, and the unique Rhododendron syrup. Rhododendron, called ‘Buras’ by the locals, is a very famous shrub you will find when you trek in the north especially in the region which receives snowfall. These shrubs bloom with red flowers in the spring which are collected by the locals and are used in making the syrup. You must try it as it is extremely refreshing and natural. You can also eat the tangy petals if you find them at any stall.

After resting a bit, you will come across a steep climb which will be close to an hour and you will reach the Grahan Village. This is a small place located on the top of the hill. As it will be evening, you can put up your tent here and camp for tonight. You can also take up accommodation which is available at a guesthouse in the village. This village also has a satellite phone and a few mobile networks also get some connectivity here!

Journey from Grahan Village to Min Thach

Altitude: 2,350 m. to 3,400 m.
Distance: 7 km

An easy trek awaits you as you begin your second-day trek! This trail goes north and is well defined as the villagers use this path very often on their way to Min Thach. ‘Thach’ means meadow in the local language. The other names to this are ‘Kanda’ or ‘Bugyal’.

After walking for a while, you will be able to see the views of Sar Top, Min Thach, and Nagaru. From this point, the trail gets steeper as you move forward and the dense forests are to be seen.

As you walk ahead the sunlight gets dimmer because of the density of the trees. The path could get confusing now as the climb gets steeper and the light is low. This walk will be for a couple of hours till you reach lush green grasslands of Min Thach. This is a beautiful sight and you will be in awe because of the greenery seen here. On the west, you will see the Chanderkhani and other ranges. On the east, you will see a cliff which will be covered with snow, this is Nagaru - your next campsite.

Sar Pass trek
Welcome to Min Thach (Source)

You can rest here for the day and find a clear spot for the tent. There is a vendor (seasonal) who sells hot beverages and omelettes in a hut and a tap close by which can be used for getting water refilled. This place gets windy in the evening and remains that way through the night! It is necessary to trek here so that you can get acclimatized as the temperature becomes cooler moving forward. But if you are veteran you can start from Kasol, lunch at Grahan village and reach Min Thach for your first break.

Journey from Min Thach to Nagaru

Altitude: 3,400 mts. to 3,800 mts.
Distance: 8 km

The distance might be just of 8 km to reach Nagaru but the climb isn’t easy and straight. You first need to go south, enter the woods and then reach this village. If you are trekking here in early winters, you will get snow on this trail. Remember to start early in the day so that the weather is favourable and there is no rainfall when you trek.

After walking for a while, you will come across another ridge line which will be rocky and you will be able to see grasslands on the other side of it. Keep to your left on this steep climb and walk ahead to reach Nagaru. This is a well-defined trail of about 100 m. Once you reach Nagaru the tree line will end and you will welcome shrubs and patchy grasslands.

You need to be careful when you trek here because this is the riskiest region of the entire trek. If there is snow around you need to be extra cautious as this trail can be very slippery. If there is snow the trail isn’t visible in spite of being well marked. Just for trekking in this region, you should always have a guide with you. To get a foothold you may want to use an ice axe on the snow to carve the path and you may want to wear waterproof gloves for a good grip.

Sar Pass trek
A Peek of Parvati Valley

Here walking with technique is important! After walking for a while you will reach a flat land, this is Nagaru and your campsite. You can see the Parvati Valley from here surrounded by mountains of the north. The Manikaran village is also seen from here and so is the Beas Valley range. When you see south, you will see a lot of snow that is your way to reach Sar Pass.

But, the pass isn’t visible from here it is just the route that you can see. You will find a water tap at the edge of the cliff. But mostly this doesn’t work efficiently and it is advised to carry water for Min Thach. Make sure you set up your tent as soon as you reach here. Post sunset the temperature drops very fast and the winds get very furious here (if your tent isn’t put up well it can get blown away as well!) Make sure you get good and enough sleep because the next day is an early start.

Journey from Nagaru to Sar Pass to Biskeri Thach

Altitude: 3,800 mts. – 4,200 mts. – 3,350 mts.
Distance: 14 km

This is a long trek so it will be great if you wake up early. You need to start walking south to get on the Sar Pass route. It is ok if your climb is slow but be sure to stay steady in the snow climb.

The surroundings are a booster and as you walk further the views get prettier. This is a high-altitude climb. On your right, you will see a steep valley. It is a sharp ridge and the climb will get steeper. When you reach the top of the hill after a tough climb what you see will get rid of all the tiredness you have! The view is extremely pristine and it is a calendar image. This is not like any usual pass that you have in your mind!

Sar Pass trek
A View like No Other

You can also see the Tosh Valley to the east. You can see many snow covered mountains here and it is more like a blanket of snow from this point.

You need to continue moving south east from here. Be careful while you walk as there are many deep valleys to the left. You will see a red flag tied up to a ‘Trishul’ as you move ahead. This is a ridge and the slope here is very steep. You can find a rope here which is used for climbing.

As you reach the top, you will take a minute to get hold of the excellent view this place offers. The beautiful valley can now be seen!

It is a complete thrill and the most adventurous moment of the trek unfolds now – THE SLIDE! There is a 100 ft. drop that one has to do to reach this valley and this can only be done by sliding down. It is easy, harmless and a whole lot of fun; but make sure you don’t go all out and be cautious.

Keep all your belongings inside the bag and tuck your legs together. Don’t dig them in the snow; this way you can control the speed as and when you want. Keep your elbows by your side firmly and push the trunk back into the snow. This slide is close to 1 km. and then comes a gentle slope which can be walked on.

After a small walk, you will again reach a steep slope. You can choose to slide if there is enough snow or take a longer route by a kilometre and reach the ground level. Once you reach here walking further will lead you to the third slope which can be walked on or you can slide on this one too if there is enough snow here as well. This is a narrow slope with snow – clad trees on both the sides. Once this is done you will reach a meadow to your left. This is your next campsite of Biskeri Thach.

Biskeri is a mix of pine forests, mountains and grasslands. In the valley below, you can see the villages of Bursheni, Tosh, Nakthan and Pulga-Tulga. In the North east side, you will see the grassland of Bun-Buni. You will also get some network coverage here and see a waterfall from the mountain ranges here.

Journey from Biskeri Thach to Bursheni

Altitude: 3,350 mts. to 2,400 mts.
Distance: 10 km

Keep to the left of the stream and walk south. You will see a land with fencing across the stream, you will have to get there as that is the end of the trail.

There are a lot of trails here and only a professional guide can help choose the correct one. The right trail is the one that keeps to north – east. As the dense forests come to an end you will see a crossing near the stream across which is your camp site. Getting there is a bit tricky; you will have to rappel down with the help of a rock. Once you cross the stream, you will have to make you r way upwards where you see a few vendor huts. That is your campsite and the path defined to the left is the route to Pulga village.

After walking ahead, you will see grasslands decorated by trees, this by far is the prettiest part of the trek. Moving ahead you will again entry a dry land covered with woods and a steep descent. As you go further you will reach a lumber yard which the property of the forest department. You will see a water pipeline on your way and that will lead you to the village of Pulga.

Sar Pass trek
Separated by Mother Nature!

The villages of Pulga and Tulga are twin villages and are separated by streams.

From Tulga, you will cross an over bridge built on the river Parvati. This has been dammed for a hydroelectric power project, to reach the village of Bursheni. Bursheni is the last village connected by a bumpy road in the Parvati valley. and is used as the road head for treks to Kheerganga, Mantalai Lake, Pin Parvati Pass and for treks in the Tosh valley. You can get buses or taxis to Kasol, Bhuntar and other places from here.

Highlights of the Trek

This is a trek which needs to be done to get its first-hand experience. One cannot write in words and justify the beauty of this famous and loved trek. But here are a few highlights of the Sar Pass Trek which will make you want to plan for it right away:

  • Walking on the frozen Sar (Lake)
  • Sliding down a kilometre long stretch on the snow
  • Reaching up to an altitude of 13,800 feet
  • Walking across dense forests to reach the various campsite
  • Sipping on the delicious drinks made from the Rhododendron syrup

Your Packing List for Sar Pass Trek

Sar Pass trek
Pack Up the Essentials

Essentials

  • Two of the most important things that you need to carry in this trek are a sturdy backpack (50 – 60 litres) and trekking shoes that have a good grip. The Sar Pass trek is a 5-day trek and both these things are of utmost importance.

Clothing

  • Carry a pair of warm clothes and thermals for this trek. This place gets cold in the evenings and hence it is necessary to keep some jackets or sweaters handy.
  • Comfortable pairs of track pants preferably trek pants are recommended on this trek as they are lightweight and help you move faster more comfortably throughout the walk.
  • You should carry around 3 tees and one full sleeve t-shirt in this trek. The full sleeve t shirt is for you to avoid any kind of sunburn when you are trekking here.

Accessories

  • Cap and sunglasses should be carried when you trek. Sunglasses are necessary to avoid snow blindness. A good pair of UV protected sunglasses will help you move across the paths swiftly.
  • Pairs of cotton and woollen socks are necessary because you need to keep your feet warm and dry as you trek. The nights get cold here and it is always important to keep them warm so that you don’t suffer from any soreness when you walk.
  • Hand gloves are also important in this trek because you will reach an altitude which is very cold. You Hand gloves also help in getting a better grip when you move forward.
  • A good quality torch with extra batteries should always be a part of every trek that you do. It will help you navigate through the dark regions and at night when you move around the hills.

Other Essentials

  • Don’t forget to carry a towel, sunscreen, toothpaste, toothbrush, lip balm, moisturizers, hand sanitizers and toilet paper when you do this trek. These are toiletries which will be required in this 5-day long Sar Pass Trek.
  • You will also need to carry your own plate, spoon, bowls, glass and water bottle when you trek here.

Mandatory Personal Medical Kit

  • Moov or Relispray for sprains and common aches
  • Avil 25mg for allergies
  • A pack of small cotton balls
  • Crocin for fever
  • Diamox for prevention of AMS
  • A pack of small gauze rolls
  • Crepe Bandage
  • Combiflam
  • Avomine for prevention of motion sickness
  • Omez for prevention of acidity
  • Band Aids

Mandatory Documents

  • ID proof – original and photocopy (2 copies)
  • Medical certificate by the doctor
  • Fitness certificate

Prepping for the Trek

  • The minimum age limit to be on this trek is of 10 years
  • Past trekking experience will be useful but is not mandatory
  • If you are planning a winter camp here you need to be fit and in a good physical condition
  • Start by jogging and as your trek is nearing you should be able to jog 4 kms. in less than 30 minutes
  • You should have strong lungs to be able to complete this trek
  • You can do a mix of the following exercises to stay fit and strong during the trek
    • Jogging – 20 minutes
    • Uphill Training – 2 minutes
    • Squats – 10 reps
    • Side Leg Raises – 10 reps
    • Back Leg Raises – 10 reps
    • Crunches – 10 reps
  • You can also practice Yoga or meditation for gaining flexibility
  • Regular stretches and planks also help in becoming flexible and strong

Summing Up

Kasol is a very well-known hill station and the sights and beauty of this region cannot be stated in words. Refreshing mountain air, snow fall and building memories with your favourite people around is an ideal getaway for so many of us. The Sar Pass Trek is a very popular trek for beginners as well as veterans because of the trail it offers and the connectivity this place has from most of the major destinations in India.

Isn’t that just a good enough reason to make a plan?

Sar Pass trek
The Sar Pass: No Wi-Fi, Great Connections

Just a 5-day trek and you will come closer to find beauty and calmness in the simplicity that this trek offers. Surrounded by so many well-known and beautiful peaks, this is no less than heaven on earth, or maybe that is just an understatement for this amazing and adventurous trek!

Make sure that you do this trip soon with your trekking buddies of even travel enthusiasts who love nature and its being! This is a trek which will not disappoint you and when you come back to the city life you will thank yourself for investing your time in this mind capturing and enthralling trek.

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