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The Complete Guide to Bhubhu Pass Trek

The Bhubhu Pass Trek (2,900 metres) is an ancient trail connecting the Chuhar Valley (Mandi) to the Lagh Valley (Kullu) in the state of Himachal Pradesh. The trek is a rejuvenating one, through a thick forest on one side and rocky terrain on the other. And if you happen to be one of those adventurous wanderers, you can always continue your walk across the Himri Pass from lagh Valley over to Manali town. Although these passes are not on the principal axis of the Dhauladhars, they give all the feel and thrill of the Dhauladhars.

Just before taking off on this trek, I had walked to Triund and the Himalayan spirit was kicking in. Being a newbie trekker, I chose Bhubhu, a lower mountain pass, and imagined it to be an easy walk. It was not. Dhauladhars are never easy. The backbreaking hike from the Mandi side is too much for a newbie. Secondly, road connectivity has rendered these passes obsolete. The trail marks are nowhere to be seen on the Kullu side and often, you have to be on your fours to negotiate tricky terrains.

➤ Highlights

A versatile trek close to Manali

  • The Bhubhu Pass (2,900 metres) is an ancient trail connecting the Chuhar Valley (Mandi) to the Lagh Valley (Kullu) in the state of Himachal Pradesh.
  • The trek is a rejuvenating one, through a thick forest on one side and rocky terrain on the other. And if you happen to be one of those adventurous wanderers, you can always continue your walk across the Himri Pass from lagh Valley over to Manali town.
  • Although these passes are not on the principal axis of the Dhauladhars, they give all the feel and thrill of the Dhauladhars.

➤ Short Itinerary

Altitude: 2,900 metres (9,280 feet approx.)

Trail Type: Moderate Trail. Steep gradient during the last one kilometre from both sides. Steep slope towards Lagg Valley. Few trail marks towards Lagg Valley. Stay options are available at Devgarh, Dharmed, Hurang Village, and Silh FRH.

Railhead: Pathankot is the nearest rail-head (175 km approx.).

Road head: Buses are available from Jogindernagar/Palampur/Mandi bus stand. Buses going towards Barot from J’Nagar /Mandi drop you at Tikken Bridge and the trek starts from there.

Day 1: Tikken Bridge to Silh-Budhani FRH – 10-12 km on foot, 5km by bus/cab – 8-10 hours

Day 2: FRH to Hurang to Lagg Valley – 15-16 km – 8-10 hours

Best Season: Early May to  July to late September.

Weather: Moderately cold weather. Rainfall is highly likely. Might as well snow during April or September.

➤ Trail Information

The Bhubhu Pass Trek (2,900 metres) is an ancient trail connecting the Chuhar Valley (Mandi) to the Lagh Valley (Kullu) in the state of Himachal Pradesh. The trek is a rejuvenating one, through a thick forest on one side and rocky terrain on the other. And if you happen to be one of those adventurous wanderers, you can always continue your walk across the Himri Pass from lagh Valley over to Manali town. Although these passes are not on the principal axis of the Dhauladhars, they give all the feel and thrill of the Dhauladhars.

Just before taking off on this trek, I had walked to Triund and the Himalayan spirit was kicking in. Being a newbie trekker, I chose Bhubhu, a lower mountain pass, and imagined it to be an easy walk. It was not. Dhauladhars are never easy. The backbreaking hike from the Mandi side is too much for a newbie. Secondly, road connectivity has rendered these passes obsolete. The trail marks are nowhere to be seen on the Kullu side and often, you have to be on your fours to negotiate tricky terrains.

Tikken Bridge at Start of Trek

Tikken Bridge at Start of Trek

The journey starts from Tikken, from where a road bifurcates to Barot, a popular tourist destination in Himachal Pradesh. From Tikken, a short walk of 5 km takes you to Devgarh Village, where resides an ancient temple of Dev Pashakot, the theocratic King of the Chuhar Valley.

Dev Pashakot Temple At Tikken

Dev Pashakot Temple At Tikken

A new Pagoda-style temple was being built there in the year 2012. Some certain rules and regulations are followed strictly in these villages, so one must take utmost care while entering the temples or clicking photographs.

Chukar Valley View

Chukar Valley View

From Devgarh, it’s a 5-6 km descent that takes you to the village of Dharmed, connected by the road. From Dharmed, another trail leads you to one of the seven lakes of the Dhauladhar Himalayas, Dan Sar. It is hidden between the Dhauladhars and the Bada Bhangal Ranges. You can find a cab or a bus from Dharmed to reach Silh-Budhani, which is the last village connected to the road (as of 2012).

Silh Bhudani

Silh Bhudani

Silh Budhani was our first pit stop for the day. We walked 10-12 km that day. Finding an FRH made us forget all our worries. A glimpse of the mighty Pir-Panjals in the backdrop, on a full moon night, was the icing on the cake.

Diversion to Hurang Village, left to Trail

Diversion to Hurang Village, left to Trail

An early start on Day 2 means you can visit the Hurang Village, which is a couple of kilometres off the trek route. Fortunately, the moment we arrived in the village, the deity was about to embark on a long journey to meet another deity from across the valley. This happened with a grand procession.

The festivities lasted for some time and we were greeted as special guests by the villagers. A short walk back to the diversion point and you get on the trek trail again. A small village named Silh-Budhani is the last village of district Mandi and from there, you enter into the world of pink blooming rhododendrons. As I have said earlier, the trail is not used much these days; you need to be sure of the right trail to follow.

Hurang Narayan Temple

Hurang Narayan Temple

We walked a few hundred meters in the wrong direction, but we found a guiding angel in the form of a young woman in the forest, who was out there with her cattle.

The last leg of this journey is a vertical walk of two hours to the top of the pass. There is a rivulet flowing along the trail, so there is no dearth of drinking water en route. The only trouble is with the sun. The sun shines bright in and it burns your back. Do not forget to carry your sunscreens. While the Mandi side is all sunny and bright, the other side is all dark and shady. I think the snow never melts on the other side because it probably never receives the sunlight.

And the descent is really risky. At least it appeared so when we crossed because it was all full of snow and it was just my second trek. When we crossed this pass in April, the descent looked even more difficult to me because I hadn’t seen anything like it before.

While I had made up my point, my partner was already manoeuvring his way down. And I had no option but to follow him. If you are not used to walking on unmarked trails, this trail is not meant for you, because it is risky to make your way down through this pass. You have to make your way through thick dry beds of pine leaves that could give away at any moment. And before that, you have to negotiate a 500 metre stretch of a steep slope covered with hard snow.

Deo Tibba Indrasan From Top

Deo Tibba Indrasan From Top

This pass offers a spectacular view of the Pir Panjals and the Dhauladhars. On a sunny day, you get to see the colossal beauty of the Deo Tibba (6,001 metres) and Indrasan (6,221 metres). And if you could fly or even jump as high as Charles Austin or even manage to jump half as much as him, you can touch these two mountains. That close.

On our way down, at 4 pm, we met a guy making his way up to the Churah Valley. He was going back home from Kullu and he told us that he would make it to the top of the pass in 45 minutes flat. 30 minutes if it was a little less snowy.

Lagg Valley View

Lagg Valley View

The name of the first village in the Lagg Valley is Kadon. It is just a small village with not more than 5-6 houses. In front of you lies a giant mountain and the pathway to Manali over the Himri Pass. To your left, the road leads to the beautiful Tiun Village that serves as the gateway to another of the passes of the Dhauladhars; the Sari Pass. The Kullu town is 11 km from this village. You can either walk or hire a private vehicle from the village.

You can find more by Tarun Goel on his website, Loop Whole.

➤ How to get fit for the Bhubhu Pass trek

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The Bhubhu Pass trek is classified as a trek of moderate difficulty

Cardiovascular Endurance

For two days, you will cover a distance of 28 km and you will be trekking up to an altitude of 9,280 feet. The secret to covering this distance comfortably lies in building your cardiovascular endurance. You can begin by jogging every day. Ideally, you should be able to jog 4 km in 20 minutes before the start of the trek. It takes time to be able to cover this distance in the given time. Start slow and increase your pace every day. Swimming, cycling and stair climbing without too many breaks in between can help too. 

Strength

This is another area you should work on. You will need to build strength in your muscles and your core body. You can do some squats to strengthen your leg muscles. Do around 3 sets of squats, with 8 squats in each set. Apart from this, you can add planks and crunches to your workout.

Flexibility

Another aspect that will help you trek comfortably is flexibility. For this, you can do some stretching exercises – stretch your hamstrings, quadriceps, hip flexors, lower back muscles and shoulders regularly. Carrying a backpack, however, light can become a strain after a while. These exercises will help you to be in good shape before the trek.

Working out indoors

If you can’t go out and jog because of time and space constraints, here’s a video you can use to work out indoors.

➤ What to take on the Bhubhu Pass trek

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Bare necessities

  1. Trekking shoes: There will be several slippery patches on the trail, and you will need trekking shoes with a good grip. Sports shoes will not be comfortable enough. You can watch this video to learn to choose the right trekking shoes
  2. Backpack (40-60 litres): A backpack with sturdy straps and a supporting frame. Rain cover for the backpack is essential.

Clothes

  1. Two warm layers: At the campsites, especially the higher ones, the temperature after sundown will drop to around 2-6 degrees. You will need at least three warm layers (two lights layers such as fleece and woollen and one padded jacket) for this trek.
  2. Two trek pants: One pair of pants should suffice for this trek. But you can carry one spare pair in case the first one gets wet. Wear one pair and carry one pair. 
  3. Two collared t-shirts: Carry light, full sleeved t-shirts that prevent sunburns on the neck and arms. Again, wear one and carry one.
  4. Thermals (Optional): Those who are more susceptible to cold can carry thermals to wear at night.

Accessories

  1. Sunglasses: Sunglasses are to prevent snow blindness. There might be snow closer to the lake, so carry a pair of sunglasses. 
  2. SuncapThe sun is more 
  3. Synthetic hand gloves: One pair of fleece or woollen hand gloves. One pair of waterproof/resistant, windproof gloves.
  4. Balaclava: You may use woollen scarves instead as well.
  5. Socks (2 pairs): Apart from two sports socks, you can take a pair of woollen socks for the night.
  6. Headlamp/LED torch: Mandatory
  7. Trekking pole: Watch this video to understand why you need a trekking pole.

Others

  1. Daypack (20 litres): If you are offloading your backpack, you will need a smaller backpack to carry water, a medical kit and some light snacks. 
  2. Toiletries (Sunscreen, moisturiser, light towel, lip balm, toilet paper, toothbrush, toothpaste)
  3. Cutlery: Carry a spoon, coffee mug and a lunch box. We insist on trekkers getting their cutlery for hygiene reasons. 
  4. Two water bottles: 1 litre each
  5. Plastic covers: While packing, use plastic bags to compartmentalise things and carry a few extra plastic bags for wet clothes.

Mandatory Personal Medical Kit 

  1. Diamox – 10 tablets (to prevent AMS)
  2. Crocin – 6 tablets (fever)
  3. Avomine – 4 tablets (motion sickness)
  4. Avil 25mg – 4 tablets (allergies)
  5. Combiflam – 4 tablets (Pain killer)
  6. Disprin – 6 tablets (headache)
  7. Norflox TZ & Lomofen– 6 tablets each (diarrhoea)
  8. Digene – 10 tablets (acidity)
  9. Omez/ Rantadine – 10 tablets (antacids)
  10. Crepe bandage – 3 to 5 meters
  11. Gauze – 1 small roll
  12. Band-aid – 10 strips
  13. Cotton – 1 small roll
  14. ORS – 10 packets
  15. Betadine or any antiseptic cream
  16. Moov spray (aches, & sprains)

If you’re shopping or packing for the trek, you can download this quick and simple checklist for offline use.

➤ Frequently Asked Questions

Guides and Porters: Guides/Porters are available at Barot.

Maximum Elevation: 2900 meters – Bhubhu Pass Top

Permits: No permits are to be obtained. Only police registration is to be done at Tindi Police Post for Non-Himachali.

➤ Alternative Treks

Bhubhu Pass is a great trek. No doubt about it. But if you’re a first-time trekker, the process of organizing a trek by yourself might get a bit overwhelming. If you want to trek with your family or friend then you might not want the hassle of doing it. In such cases, we have a couple of great treks for you.

If you have a couple of days more in hand, Beas Kund is a great option. The starting point of the trek is Solang, just an hour’s drive from Manali. That makes it very easy to access. If you’re a beginner, it is the perfect trek with great views of the biggest mountains of Manali. Moreover, you get to stand right at the base of the Pir Panjal Range.

View of Hanuman Tibba on the way

View of Hanuman Tibba on the way

Read more about Beas Kund Trek here

If you don’t have as much time though, the Pundrik Lake trek is just perfect for the weekend.

Surrounded by giant pine and fir trees, Pundrik lake is a hidden treasure in Himachal Pradesh. The thick forests through which the trail winds are a bird watcher’s paradise

Views on the Pundrik Lake Trek

Views on the Pundrik Lake Trek

The dense forests on this trek are filled with pine, fir, spruce and a variety of other trees. Pundrik lake, covered by tall grasses runs for 400 metres and is surrounded by forests on three sides.

Read more about Pundrik Lake here

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