Mandi, Himachal Pradesh is fast becoming a popular tourist place and places like Parashar lake have become known for short weekend trips and quick treks. But there’s still a valley that’s hidden still not so visited by the crowds and is worth visiting at all seasons.
Located at a height of 2150 meters above sea level, Janjheli Valley lies at a distance of 86 kms from the town of Mandi and offers breathtaking lush green forests, surround by deodar trees, natural springs and is popular for its numerous historical temples. Janjehli has abundance fruit orchards and includes Apple, plume, nashpati and khumani. Everyone is sure to find their soul in this magnificent valley.
Did you know that the Britishers wanted Janjheli to be the summer capital instead of Shimla, but the Raja of Janjheli declined the offer.
Janjheli is a trekkers paradise and one gets to choose different trekking zones up to 3300 meters.Trekking in these dense forests offering plenty of scenic views is truly a mesmerizing experience. Even for a short picnic or weekend getway, Janjheli offers so much fun.
Visit Maa Baglamukhi Temple, located just 2 kms from the main road. The temple is in the middle of thick jungle forests and quite peaceful.
Next day, travel to Shikari Devi temple and be ready to climb up about 602 steps that leads to the main temple. It’s a simple climb and trust me, the 360 degree panoramic views en-route and from the top won’t disappoint you! What’s fascinating about this temple is that it has no roof and also during winter snow, when the entire valley is covered, the temple remains snow free!
Legends tell that during the exile period, the pandava’s went hunting for food and on one of these hinting trips, Arjun failed to catch a deer as it ran towards the ridge everytime he came close. So Arjun, felt that it was some divine power in disguise of a deer and prayed for it to reveal its true power. Navdurga appeared before him and asked the brothers to install her at an appropriate place and since then this temple is famous as the Shikari Devi Temple.
During the Navratras, there is a fair held that attracts locals and lots of devotees from nearby cities. I’ll say go experience this place before it too gets swallowed by the tourism.
Near to Janjelhi Valley is Bulah, an open, Green ground with lush green meadows and full of natural beauty. The place is famous for Shikari Devi Temple and many other historical temples. This place would remind you of Gulmarg or Pahalgam. Bulah has a natural nala with fresh clean water and a great place for a family picnic too. There’s a small temple that may be visited.
Also stop at Pandav Shila enroute Shikari Devi for some refreshing water splash and wonder at the natural stone here. It is believed to have been placed here by Bhima, one of the 5 pandav’s and one can easily move it with a finger. Can’t believe it, go try it for yourself.
Janjheli is still not a tourist hotspot and that makes it special. So be prepared to eat whatever the locals offer. There are not many places to be recommended besides your own place of stay but do stop over for a simple heart lunch at nominal charges at Danchy dhaba, Bagsyad.
Visit Trail Hikers for more details on the treks that can be done via Shikari Devi Temple.
Budah Kedar: is perched up at 9000 meters and a trekker’s delight. It is a one trek from Janjheli and Bulah.
Local tell about the legend that it was here at Budha Kedar that Shiva’s Nandi has jumped down the big rock while attempting to save himself from Bhima and reached straight to Pashupatinath Temple in Nepal. Even to this day, there is a big hole in the rock where prayers are offered by entering inside. The place is sacred and people may take a bath in the nearby spring.
Magru Gala: is a high mountain pass and one can view the Pandoh Dam and the Mandi Town from up here.
Other Valleys to visit nearby:
Karsog Valley Trek: is a 16 km trek and takes about 8 hours from Janjheli. The route itinerary is as follows: about 6-km from Janjehli you come across Bulah, an open ground with lush green meadows, also the starting point to Shikara Devi Temple Climb and then the next stop is Rajgarh followed by Gurah and finally reaching Karsog. Karsog is famous for Kamaksha Devi and Mahunag temples. Karsog is situated at a distance of 125 km from Mandi and is also accessible from Shimla (100 km) via Tattapani.
Chindi: Chindi is an apple orchard surrounded by lush green and quiet meadows. Its a place to relax and unwind in a camping tent and just be you. For accomodation you can book the HP PWD rest house (outstanding location and has an old world charm about it) or stay at Mamleshwar Hotel run by HPTDC (good local cuisine on the menu). There are a few other guest houses amongst them Gopal being a good one as recommended on one of the blogs I read. This place can be planned for a weekend off with family.
Gadah Gushaini: Now there is a Gushaini (on the vestiges of Great Himalayan National Park) in Tirthan valley, and then there’s a Gadah Gushaini, definitely a thicker version of the Gushaini we might know. Rolling meadows, gentle flowing mountain streams, shepherds, pot, trails, and it takes more than just a road to get there! Intention, Destiny, Willingness. A winding road of about 33kms from Jibi (in Seraj Valley, reached from Aut 35kms on Manali Highway) gets you to this marvel in Mandi district of Himachal Pradesh. There is but one guest house and a HP PWD rest house here for accommodation. Before Gadah Gushaini is Bahu another gem in the area. Awesome walks lead one to Chach Galu (Galu means pass in Mandi dialect) and from there to Jalori pass or Magru Gala (near Janjehli). Now a road connects Gadah Gushaini to Chattri and Janjehli. Be here for a weekend and you will understand what escape means.
Kamrunag Valley, Keolidhar Valley, Bagsaid Valley and Bheemshil. I’ll add the details in my future posts.
Book the Forest Guest House located at Shikari Devi Temple, else stay at Janjheli that has a few decent accommodation options available from 300- 700 INR. But be prepared to live in tents in-case you are too tired to walk back!
- Sharma Guest House: Jenjahli Road, Thunag, Near Bus Stand, Mandi +(91)-9817383077 +(91)-1905-256526
- Thakur home Stay: Vpo Janjehli teh Thunag, Main Bazar, Thunag, Near PNB bank, Mandi – Mob: +(91)-9805251951
- Rest House at Bajahi, Gohar is a well furnushed place and is located at a distance of 32 Kms from Janjheli and offers a beautiful view.
- Hotel Rama at Badhu is just an hour away from chail chowk and is open 24 hours. It offers good accommodation
Kamru Shikari Yatra by Tarun Goel
Trek to Shikari Devi, The Hunter Goddess by Vipin GaurDistance to Reach Janjheli
From Bhuntar, Kullu Airport: 39 kms
From Mandi Town: 86 Kms
From Sundernagar: 100 Kms
From Chandigarh: 236 Kms via Mandi
From New Delhi: 481 Kms via Mandi
From Shimla: 124 Kms via Naldehra & Tatapani
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