Why trekking in Kheerganga is incomplete without Buni Buni Pass
Trekking in Kheerganga seems to be the first Himalayan experience for many. Everyone is captivated by the swaying pine trees, the bubbling Parvati river and the shaded trek to the hot springs at Kheerganga.
Yet, this is only a precursor to a great trek that lies beyond Kheerganga.
Trekking to Buni Buni pass, which is a day’s distance from Kheerganga is where real trekking around Kheerganga begins. You leave behind the crowded pilgrim’s trail to enter a dense oak forest. A brown carpet of leaves lines the forest floor. There is no one trekking there except you.
Suddenly the forest gives away to spectacular views of big snow capped mountains. Below, the superb Parvati valley stretches till far away. Right below the pass, we set up camp in the meadows. The next day, along another superb forest route, we descend down to Barsheni.
For those trekking to Kheerganga, Buni Buni pass is a natural, more beautiful extension.
Day 1: Reach Barshaini. Trek to Kheerganga
Barshaini is the base camp for the Buni Buni pass trek. The best way to reach here is to drive from Bhuntar, 3 hours away. Bhuntar falls on the Delhi – Manali road before Kullu. Get off here if you’re taking a bus. Plan to reach Bhuntar by 8.00 am
A good way to acclimatise is to arrive a day early and stay at Kasol or Manikaran, both very beautiful places. Barshaini is a small village. The highlight of this village is a small dam under construction on the Parvati river. You will spot a village named Pulga on the opposite bank of the river. You can walk around Barshaini and explore the village.
- Altitude: 7,261 ft to 9,222 ft
- Time taken: 3 hours drive to Barshaini; 5-6 hours trek to Kheerganga
- Trek gradient: Easy. Initial level walk for 900 m followed by a steep ascent for 600 m. Very gradual ascent all the way to Kheerganga, except for a 300 m steep ascent which occurs 5.4 km from Barshaini.
- Water sources: Carry 2 litres of water. You can refill your water bottle at a stream, 3.55 km into the trek.
The trail from Barshaini to Kheerganga is very popular among trekkers. Kheerganga is known for its hot springs.
Take the trail leading out of Barshaini. Around 900 m from Barshaini you will reach an under construction dam on the Parvati river. The Tosh river meets Parvati close to the dam.
Once you cross the dam, take the trail going uphill on the left. After ascending for around 600 m, you will reach a dhaba. This is a good spot to take a break since the views around are good, and you can hear Parvati and Tosh rivers below you.
The trail changes as you leave the dhaba. It is covered with pine and chestnut trees. The ascent from this point is very gradual. Enjoy the jungle trail with the river flowing by. You will spot several trees fallen on this trail. You can use these as landmarks, if required.
After 2.55 km from Barshaini, you will reach a small stream. Cross over to the other side using the log bridge. There’s another dhaba around 200 m from the stream. Walk past this and continue on the trail. You will reach another stream in about a kilometre. This is a good place to refill your water bottles.
There will be a big rock on the trail around 300 m from the second stream. You will need to bend and negotiate your way around it. Within 5 minutes of trekking past the rock, you will spot a village to your left, on the opposite bank of the Parvati river. This is Natkhan, a beautiful village with a few huts.
After around 700 m on this trail (4.2 km from Barshaini), you will reach another dhaba. Continue past this. In fact, you will cross many dhabas on this trail. They all serve as landmarks and also have decent refreshments in case you wish to eat. You will reach another dhaba within a kilometre of this one.
Around 5.4 km into the trek, you will hear a loud sound made by a waterfall. The trail turns steep from here for about 300 m. This part is also rocky and muddy. You will be greeted at the end of this steep stretch by a huge waterfall. You can stop here to take in the view.
The trail eases off after the waterfall. A kilometre on this trail will bring you to another waterfall. This is a good spot to take a break and eat something.
Around 7.55 km from Barhsaini, you will hit a rocky section. Be careful as you navigate this since it is a little tricky. The ascent is very gradual. In about half a kilometre from here, you will reach a big patch of an earlier landslide. Around 30-45 minutes of trek from here will bring you to Kheerganga.
Kheerganga has a lot of dhabas, hotels and camping spots spread all over. Cross Kheerganga and trek for about 800 m. This place is secluded from the crowd of Kheerganga. It is a beautiful and quiet place to set up camp.
Day 2: Kheerganga to Buni Buni Pass
- Altitude: 9,222 ft to 10,987 ft
- Time taken: 5-6 hours, 4.8 km
- Trek gradient: Easy-moderate. Steep ascent for 1.3 km followed by descent for 1.5 km. 700 m of ascent which eases off into a gradual walk till the Pass
- Water sources: Carry 2 litres of water. You can refill your water bottles from a couple of streams around 2.5 km into the trek.
Start from Kheerganga by 8.00 am. The trail today is a delight – you have dense jungles, beautiful clearings, and snow clad mountain view. It has everything you could ask for in a trek.
The trail begins with a steep ascent in a dense forest. Maple and pine trees are predominant here. You will also see some flora such as cobra lilies and zeromium. There a lot of monkeys in the jungle. You will need to be careful while trekking in this section. The trail is steep and is laden with leaves and roots.
After 1.3 km in the jungle, the trail suddenly opens into a clearing. Views of snow clad mountains open up before you. To the west is Ali Ratni Tibba (5,682 m). You can also spot some glaciers in this direction. If you look towards the south west, you will spot Buni Buni pass. This clearing is called Kungti Thach. It is a popular place for shepherds who bring their sheep here to graze. You will find some channi or shepherds’ tents pitched here.
From Kungti Thach, the trail descends for about 1.5 km. Juniper, birch and rhododendrons grow here in plenty. Rhododendron is the state flower of Himachal Pradesh.
Be careful here since the terrain is rocky. A trekking pole will be very helpful here. You will soon cross a stream. In 1.5 km, you will reach another stream. Cross this using bridge of stones.
The trail begins to ascend after the stream. This stretch is rocky and muddy. After 700 m of ascent, you will reach a beautiful meadow. Buni Buni Pass is a 10-15 minutes trek from here, on a gradually ascending trail.
Buni Buni Pass is at an altitude of 10, 987 ft. The views from here are majestic. You can spot Tosh village from here. Walk ahead of the pass for around 500 m to pitch your tents. There are a few shepherds’ tents around. You will also find a water source here. Rest and enjoy the views. The sunset here is beautiful – this is a good spot to capture it through a time lapse.
Day 3: Buni Buni Pass to Barshaini
- Altitude: 10, 987 ft to 7,261 ft
- Time taken: 3 hours, 7.46 km
- Trek gradient: Easy. Descending trail all the way.
- Water sources: Two litres of water should last the entire trek. There is one source on the trail to refill your water bottles.
Start by 8.00 am from Buni Buni Pass. The trail to Barshaini is through Kalga village. The trail descends all the way through forests.
In about 500 m from the Pass, you will reach a channi (shepherds’ tent) alongside a green coloured pond. Continue past this for another 1.2 km till you reach another channi. This one is next to a stream. Another kilometre down this trail brings you to a beautiful meadow. There’s a channi here as well. You can spot Kalga and Barshaini villages from here.
Once you cross the channi in the meadow, the trail enters a forest again. It is muddy, moist and strewn with leaves. Be careful since there will be parts that are slippery. 1.5 km of trek through this forest will bring you to a beautiful clearing. You can spot a village ahead – this is Kalga. There are a few huts and apple orchards around. Do not pluck apples from the trees – you will have to pay a fine of Rs.5,000, if caught.
Trek past Kalga village. In 200 m, the trail merges with the one you took on Day 2, on the way to Kheerganga. Barshaini is 1.6 km from here. It’ll take you 15-20 minutes to reach.
Indiahikes will arrange for a drop to Bhuntar from Barshaini. You will reach Barshaini by 3.00 pm.
How to get fit for the Kheerganga Buni Buni Pass trek
The Buni Buni Pass trek is classified as an easy trek. However, there are several sections that are rocky or slippery. Navigating these sections safely requires that you be fit and strong.
Cardiovascular endurance – Target 4 km in 30 minutes
The trail from Kheerganga to Buni Buni Pass has a couple of very steep ascents. This requires a good amount of endurance. You can begin your fitness regime by jogging everyday. Jog at a slow pace to start with and slowly keep increasing your pace day to day. You should be able to jog 4 km in 30 minutes before the start of the trek. It takes time to be able to cover this distance in the given time. Swimming, cycling and stair climbing without too many breaks in between can help too.
Strength – Target 3 sets of squats with 20 in each
This is another area you should work on. You may have to walk through snow depending on the months you go in and this could be taxing for your legs. For this, strengthening your legs will help. You can do some squats to strengthen them. Start with 3 sets of squats, with 8 squats in each set and work towards reaching your target in 3 weeks.
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. On your trek, it is important that you arrive on the slopes with your muscles relaxed. 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.
Here’s a guide to help you get fit for the trek in 4 weeks.
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 Kheerganga Buni Buni Pass trek
- Trekking shoes: The terrain may be rough and you will need trekking shoes with good grip. Regular sports shoes will not be comfortable enough. You can watch this video to learn how to choose the right trekking shoes.
- Backpack (20-30 litres): A backpack with sturdy straps and a supporting frame. Rain cover for backpack is essential.
It is likely to rain when you do the Buni Buni Pass trek. Make sure you carry a poncho.
- Three warm layers (Winter): The highest altitude you reach in this trek is 10,987 ft and the climate may require you to have more warm clothes. You will need at least three warm layers (two lights layers such as fleece and woolen and one padded jacket) for this trek. In non winter months, two warm layers should suffice.
- One trek pant: One pair of pants should suffice for this trek. Wear one pair and carry an extra pair just in case it rains.
- Two collared t-shirts: Carry light, full sleeved t-shirts that prevent sun burns on the neck and arms. Again, wear one and carry one.
- Thermals (Optional): Those who are more susceptible to cold can carry thermals to wear at night.
- Sunglasses: Sunglasses are to prevent snow blindness. There might be snow closer to the lake, so carry a pair of sunglasses.
- Suncap: The sun is more
- Synthetic hand gloves: One pair of fleece or woolen hand gloves which is water resistant.
- Balaclava or a woolen cap
- Socks (2 pairs): Apart from two sports socks, you can take a pair of woolen socks for the night.
- Headlamp/LED torch: Mandatory
- Trekking pole: Watch this video to understand why you need a trekking pole.
- Toiletries: Sunscreen, moisturizer, light towel, lip balm, toilet paper, toothbrush, toothpaste, hand sanitiser. If you plan to use wet wipes to clean up after a trek, make sure you do not leave the used wipes/tissues back in the mountains since these are not biodegradable. The same holds for used sanitary napkins. Carry a zip lock bag to put used tissues and napkins. Bring this ziplock bag back with you to the city and do not dispose wet tissues and sanitary napkins in the mountains.
- Cutlery: Carry a spoon, coffee mug and a lunch box. Lunch bo is a mandatory since there will be packed lunch provided during We insist on trekkers getting their own cutlery for hygiene reasons.
- Two water bottles: 1 liter each
- Plastic covers: While packing, use Ziploc covers to compartmentalization of things and carry few extra plastic bags for wet clothes.
Mandatory Personal Medical Kit
- Diamox – 6 tablets (to prevent AMS)
- Crocin – 3 tablets (fever)
- Avomine – 3 ablets (motion sickness)
- Avil 25mg – 4 tablets (allergies)
- Combiflam – 4 tablets (Pain killer)
- Disprin – 6 tablets (headache)
- Norflox TZ & Lomofen– 6 tablets each (diarrhea)
- Digene – 10 tablets (acidity)
- Omez/ Rantadine – 3 tablets (antacids)
- Crepe bandage – 3 to 5 meters
- Gauze – 1 small roll
- Band aid –5 strips
- Cotton – 1 small roll
- ORS – 10 packets
- Betadine or any antiseptic cream
- Moov spray (aches, & sprains)
Since its not a very high altitude trek we do not need LSD’s ( Life saving drugs like diamox, Dexamethasone and Nife
dipine). The number of other tablets can also be reduced.
- Original and photocopy of government photo identity card- (driving license, voters ID, etc.)
- Disclaimer- Download PDF
- Medical certificate – Download PDF
Here’s a guide to help you pack for the trek –
What you need to know about the trek fee
The trek fee of Rs. 3,990 + 5% GST covers all costs of the trek from Bhuntar to Bhuntar.
Here is what the trek fee includes:
- Accommodation – Stay is included from Day 1 to Day 3 (Kheerganga and Buni Buni Pass). You will be camping on both days of the trek (3 per tent).
- Meals – All meals from lunch on Day 1 to lunch on Day 3 are included. We provide simple, nutritious vegetarian food on all days of the trek.
- Transport – We will pick you up from Bhuntar by 8.00 am on Day 1 and drop you back to Bhuntar by 3.00 pm on Day 3.
- Camping charges – All trekking permits and forest camping charges are included.
- Trekking equipment – You will stay in high quality tents and sleeping bags in all the camps. Our high altitude sleeping bags can withstand temperatures as low as -10 ºC. We provide ice axes, roped, micro spikes, gaiters etc. as required.
- Safety equipment – First aid, medical kit, oxygen cylinders, stretchers etc. will be available at all campsites to deal with emergencies.
- Services of an expert Trek Leader – All our trek leaders are qualified in basic / advanced mountaineering courses.
- Services of an expert Trek Team – The mountain staff on this trek consists of well trained guides, cooks, helpers and porters.
Here is what the trek fee excludes:
- Transport to and from Bhuntar – You will need to arrange to reach Bhuntar on your own. See here for how to reach Bhuntar.
- Food during transit to and from the base camp – The trek fee does not include meals purchased during the journey to Bhuntar and return.
- Backpack offloading charges – If you wish to offload your backpack, there will be an additional charge of Rs. 600 + 5% GST. The backpack cannot weigh more than 9 kgs. Suitcases/strolleys/duffel bags will not be allowed. Please note that charges will vary for last minute offloading in case you decide to offload your bag after reaching Bhuntar (Rs.335 per day).
- Personal expenses of any kind
- Anything apart from inclusions
Terms & Conditions
1. Cancellation: If a trek is called off at the last moment due to a natural calamity/unforseen circumstances (like rains, earthquake, landslides, strike, bandh etc), Indiahikes will issue a trek voucher for the full amount. The voucher can be redeemed for the same trek or another trek in the next one year.
In case, you wish to cancel your trek, please login to your account and cancel. Cancellation requests will not be taken over phone or email.
The cancellation charges are as under:
- Cancellations prior to 7 days from the start of the trek — full refund.
- Cancellations less than 7 days from the start of the trek — no refund.
Please note: In case of refund, there will be a deduction of 4% (bank charges) from the total fee you have paid.
2. The trek fee includes all costs of the trek from the start at the Bhuntar to the end at Bhuntar.
3. Pick up: Trekkers will be picked up from Bhuntar at 8.00 am. You will travel to Bhuntar together as a group.
4. Transport: Transport from Bhuntar to Barshaini and return from Barshaini to Bhuntar will be arranged by us in shared vehicles.
5. Backpack offloading: Indiahikes expects all trekkers to carry their own backpacks. All common gear will be carried by the support team. If for some reason a trekker is unable to carry his or her backpack, he/she can offload the same by paying an additional charge.
Backpack offloading charges will be Rs.600 + 5% GST. Charges for last minute offloading during the trek will be Rs. 335 per day. The backpack cannot weigh more than 9 kg. No suitcases/strolleys/duffel bags will be allowed.
6. Emergency during trek: In a trek a medical emergency or any other emergency may arise. If for any reason you are sent down from the trek then Indiahikes will make arrangements for your return to the base camp or nearest road head. A staff will accompany you. He may not be a trained personnel.
Evacuation or dealing with emergencies is extremely difficult in the mountains. It is time consuming as well. A normal trek of 2 hours may take 6 hours in an emergency (a sick person is not easy to evacuate). Doctors do not go along with a team. Doctors are not available at the base camp or nearest road head either. Indiahikes trek leaders are trained to administer first aid and know how to deal with issues related to the mountains. However, they are not doctors.
Registering for this trek is an understanding that you have read up on the difficulties of high altitude trekking and understand the risks. You have also understood what AMS, HAPE and HACE are. You have taken efforts to educate yourself and you are in a position to manage your own altitude related emergency.
7. Fitness: A high altitude trek in the Himalayas requires considerable fitness. Your body needs to train itself to process more work with lower levels of oxygen. Therefore, on treks, cardiovascular training is critically important. You need to be able to jog a distance of 4.5 km in 30 mins before start of the trek. Unable to do so can make your trek difficult. In addition, preparation of trek needs to include strength and flexibility training. Registering for the trek is an understanding that you will undertake the mandated fitness training. Trekkers who have not adequately prepared may be asked to discontinue the trek at any point. Indiahikes has the right to reject candidates who do not meet our eligibility requirement at the base camp.
8. Non-liability: Indiahikes is not responsible for any loss/damage of your gears/equipment or other belongings on the trek.
9. Payment: Payment for the trek can be done online through credit/debit card or net banking. Cheque/draft or cash is not accepted.
10. Drinking and smoking during the trek is strictly prohibited. If found flouting the rules, your participation on the trek will be cancelled with immediate effect.
11. Safety Protocol
a. While our itineraries are designed to allow for adequate acclimatisation, most treks in Indian Himalayas climb quickly, which is called forced accents. Unavailability of camp sites and the Indian Himalayan terrain are the reason for this. There are chances that you will feel the effects of altitude sickness and oxygen deprivation while on this trek. Please be aware that your trek leader may deem it unsafe for you to continue trekking at any time, and arrange for you to descend to a lower attitude.
b. Our trek leaders will conduct routine health checks at all camps to measure oxygen saturation, pulse and blood pressure. Indiahikes reserves the right to exclude any trekker from climbing higher on the trek without refund if the trekker’s vital readings are below accepted norms for that altitude. These norms are available with Indiahikes trek leaders.
c. This is a high altitude trek with rough, rocky and snowy terrain. It is important that you are a fit and confident walker in mountain terrain, able to manage ascents and descents by yourself within a reasonable time. Indiahikes reserves the right to turn around a trekker if in the opinion of our trek leader they are unable to complete the itinerary without requiring exclusive assistance. Please realistically self-assess your fitness and suitability for this trek before registering.
How safe is the Kheerganga Buni Buni Pass trek?
The Bniu Buni Pass trek is an easy one. However, there are certain things that you must be aware of. While there are a lot of forest trails on the trek, you also pass through meadows and clearnings. Dehydration is something that is really common if you don’t have enough fluids to hydrate yourself.
At Indiahikes, safety of a trekker comes first. You will experience it first hand on the slope. Your team is accompanied by experienced trek leaders, safety gears, high end trek equipment, high altitude first aid kits and most importantly the right information.
If there is a medical emergency on the trek, your trek leaders are trained to handle crisis, especially related to altitude and medical emergencies. Indiahikes team carries high altitude medical equipment, oxygen cylinders, and other emergency kits.
Most situations are resolved by the trek leader’s intervention. If, however, evacuation is required, it is carried out by the Indiahikes team. There are plenty of exit points throughout the trek so any evacuation needed is taken care of. The affected participant is moved down to the nearest emergency medical centre as soon as possible. This can take time, even 1-2 days, especially from high camps. Medical expenses, if required, at the medical centre are to be borne by the participant.
What Indiahikes does to ensure your safety
Our philosophy is simple. We ingrain safety aspects in the people we work with, in the processes that we follow, and in the equipment we carry. All our trek leaders are trained repeatedly on safety issues and protocols. Most issues are resolved with their intervention.
Right from the time you decide to register for the trek till the last day of the trek, these safety procedures will be running in the background. We have listed a few of them below:
1. Fitness criteria before registration
Over years of organising high altitude treks, we have found that safety issues thrive amongst those who are unfit and unprepared for the trek. So we have introduced an eligibility criteria for the Buni Buni Pass trek. Anyone who wants to register for the Buni Buni Pass trek has to meet the fitness requirements, with the ideal BMI. The BMI and fitness regime will require proof. A high altitude trek is not to be taken casually.
2. Monitoring health on a trek
On the Buni Buni Pass trek, your Trek Leader will be monitoring two aspects thrice a day.
- Oxygen Level
- Pulse Rate
Your Blood Pressure levels will be checked once a day.
This will help us ensure that your body is acclimatising as required.
Every trekker will be given a Health Card at the beginning of the trek. The Health Card is issued to monitor the trekker’s daily health, wherein they will be entering details about their health everyday. It also contains details of what symptoms one should look out for and what action should be taken during emergencies. These Health Cards will be collected back at the end of the trek.
3. High Altitude Medical Kit
Your trek leader will be carrying a full-fledged high altitude medical kit. This will include basic medicines and specific medicines catering to altitude sickness – Diamox, Dexamethasone (tablets and injections) and Nifedipine. Your Trek Leader will also be carrying a portable oxygen cylinder throughout the trek. In addition to that, there are oxygen cylinders installed at all high altitude campsites for any emergency situations.
4. High Altitude Trek Equipment
To ensure safe trekking on snowy terrain, Indiahikes will provide you with micro-spikes to attach to your shoes. This will give you good traction on hard snow. To avoid snow from entering your shoes, Indiahikes will provide you with gaiters that you can put on over your shoes. You will have qualified technical guides with you, who will lead the way on difficult terrain.
All our sleeping bags and tents are custom-made for high altitude. If it is cold outside, it will be around 10 degrees warmer inside the tent. The sleeping bags can withstand temperatures up to -10 degree Celsius.
With all these processes and equipment in place, you can be rest assured that you will have a safe trek with Indiahikes.
Nevertheless, you will need to be cautious and report the slightest of symptoms to your trek leader as soon as you feel them.
5. Being hydrated and well nourished on the trek
You need to drink a minimum of 4 litres of water every day during the trek to ensure that you’re well hydrated. De-hydration on a trek can make you lose energy very quickly. Your trek leader will brief you about the amount of water that you need to carry with you at the start of each day as well as water sources on the trail.
We provide trekkers with nutritious meals to ensure that they are energized to complete the trail each day. Apart from this, snacks or packed lunch is provided wherever the trail before a meal break is likely to be long. Make sure that you do not skip any meal as this can lead to serious health emergencies on high altitudes.
Getting to Barshaini
Barshaini is the base camp for the Buni Buni Pass trek. Indiahikes will arrange transport from Bhuntar to Barshaini. Pick up will be from the bus stop at 8.00 am. Transport from Bhuntar to Barshaini is included in the trek fee.
Bhuntar falls on the Delhi – Manali road, before Kullu. Board a Manali bound bus from Delhi or Chandigarh and get off at Bhuntar. Bhuntar also has an airport.
The trek ends at Barshaini. Indiahikes will arrange transport form Barshaini to Bhuntar. You will reach Bhuntar by 3.00 pm. Please plan you onward journey after according. Transport from Barshaini to Bhuntar is included in the trek fee.