Barot Valley- Little known Paradise in Himachal Pradesh
Explore your own self around the place
The liquid sound of cold river water hitting the stone rocks. Bright sunshine playing hide and seek with cotton candy clouds. The feeling of quietness, being silent and feeling the union with the surroundings. Majestic deodhar trees standing tall surrounding you from all directions giving you comfort.
This is not a fable but a reality sketched by nature itself in a small place known as Barot in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh.
Barot is a classic case of mixed identity. On one hand, the place feels like heaven with deodhars surrounding the valley accompanied by multi-hued terraced fields. On the other hand, during the summer season, the place gets crowded by families from neighboring Punjab state and nearby districts of Himachal Pradesh. Barot has everything for everyone, outdoor activity enthusiast, trekkers, family, laid-back personality. You can find few shops selling groceries and essentials. There are also a few medical shops, a couple of eateries, and a cooperative bank.
Despite the influx of foreign impression with tourism boom, locals are still keeping their culture intact. One can easily come across men and women in their traditional clothes. Do not feel shocked when you see a mountain woman holding her child behind her back, tied with a shawl.
Villagers still prefer to stay in their traditional skillfully crafted wooden homes. Domestication of animals is integral to village life. Villagers design their house in such a way that ground level shelter is for the animals. Experiencing such home took me back to the old world charm.
Activities to do:
There are activities that one can do but the real charm is in doing nothing and soak in the surroundings. We are so used to working all the time that we forget that doing nothing sometimes is also an exercise, for the mind and the body.
Trout fishing: Very popular in the region. Fishing is legal with pre-conditions. A popular trout breeding center in the region.
Trek to nearby villages: Want to enjoy more deep-rooted cultural traditions of the mountain people? Just use your two legs and walk around. Lohardi, Chota naya gaon, bada naya gaon are some of the villages nearby.
Register yourself at the Trout Farm Office Barot has turned into an attractive destination for anglers since the clear waters of the rivers are great for trout fishing.
Feel the water: Nothing else, then just sit by the riverside. Do nothing or read a book, or just simply close your eyes. Don’t worry you will not get drowned if you respect the river. There are few spots on the riverside to engage in such activities. One of my favorite spot on the river side can be seen below. Yes, I have spent a countless number of hours on this river side. Sometimes reading a book, just taking a nap or playing with small stones nearby.
*Mind you, swimming in the river is not safe given the water current.
Watch and play with school kids:
You will find govt schools on your way as you trek and explore the place. No entry barriers, interact with the kids, laugh with them, play with them. Be a child again.
Paragliding: Not really in Barot but to be experienced in Bir Billing. Bir is 2 hours from Barot en route to Joginder Nagar. The place is popularly known as “Paragliding Capital of India”. Bir Billing is also home to several Buddhist monasteries
Random Hikes: Barot is a perfect place to unwind and doing nothing. Just immerse yourself with the elements of nature around you.Go on a hike, explore local villages and if lucky tag along with the shepherds.
Place to Stay
Paul Home Stay. Although there are many homestays available in Barot. But I personally prefer
PAUL’S HOMESTAY. Run by a retired man accompanied by his wife. Accommodation is clean, hygienic and has a fantastic view of river Uhl. The place is a little away from hustle bustle of the small town. and mention my name to get personalized treatment
*Always book in advance, difficult to get on the spot booking especially in peak season
Owner: Jagannath Paul: 9418011980
Future of Barot:
Popular hill stations are getting crowded year after year. Popular hill stations are under a lot of stress due to excess load of tourism. Come the weekends and the traffic rush is a sight to see, much to the amusement of the local. But it’s a double edged sword. Locals are earning money in peak tourist season and tourists, in general, are spoiling the place they go to.
Barot presents a rapidly changing landscape. More and more cottage like modern houses are coming up. Local youth prefers to wear tight jeans and tends to avoid wearing the traditional Himachali cap as much as possible. During functions, one can easily listen to Punjabi or Bollywood soundtracks. Earlier it was only local folk songs. Barot is standing on the cusp of getting all touristy, signs are not ominous.
How to Reach
Barot is well connected with Delhi, Chandigarh, Palampur. A plethora of options when it comes to buses.
Two types of buses ply from Delhi. Normal, VOLVO A.C buses. Every 30 minutes there is a Haryana state roadways bus from New Delhi ISBT. A.C Volvo buses are also there but less frequency and much in demand. Normal buses are as good as any, seats are wide enough with good leg room space. This coming from a person with long legs. I personally prefer normal buses with an overnight journey (saves you on traffic)
Example: Board the bus at 4 pm from New Delhi ISBT, reach Baijnath early morning 4 am. From there take a local bus to Barot, else hire a cab. Cabs are easily available just outside the bus stand. Yes even at 4 am.
Car/Taxi: If money is not a constraint, then you can easily hire a cab or take your own car with you.
Whichever mode of transportation you choose, the journey will be worthwhile given the picturesque locations en route.
Narrow gauge railway line. Joginder Nagar is the closest station. From Joginder Nagar you need to take local bus till barot
The closest airport is Gaggal near Dharamshala. 90km approx. from Barot. Dharamshala, headquarter of H.H Dalai Lama is well-connected to Delhi, Chandigarh.
Summers in Barot is pleasantly cool with temperatures in the range of 18-25°C. You can feel life in every element of nature in Barot during the summer season. The music of river Uhl is mesmerizing enough to take your heart away.
Winters can be quite cold and the mercury often dips to a negative degree making it uncomfortable for those unused to cold weather.
|Best Time to Visit||Summer. Changing weather pattern, no definite months of Summer|
|Place to Stay||Paul HomeStay (Refer my name and enjoy extra service filled with love)|
|Activities||Angling, Trekking, enjoy river Uhl. The important thing is Wandering and interacting with locals.|
|The best way to Reach||Road: 15-17 hours from Delhi. Enjoy the scenic route.|