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The Complete Guide To Nohra Jot Trek

Nohra Jot or Chota Bhangal is one of the many passes in the Dhauladhar range, connecting the Chota Bhangal villages with each other. Unlike the other passes of Dhauladhar, this pass is rarely used, which makes it an unblemished trail to trek on. This pass connects the Kothi Kohar village to Kothi Swar and Luhardi Villages of Chota Bhangal, all now connected through a kutchha road. The majority of the people from Chota and Bada Bhangal have land holdings and businesses in the Bir-Billing region and most of them own vehicles these days. Moreover, buses run frequently between Barot – Luhardi – Kothi Kohar and that are the reason these trails are obsolete now.

Short Itinerary

An untrodden path in Dhauladhar

  • Nohra Jot or Chota Bhangal is one of the many passes in the Dhauladhar range, connecting the Chota Bhangal villages with each other.
  • Unlike the other passes of Dhauladhar, this pass is rarely used, which makes it an unblemished trail to trek on. Tarun Goel writes about the trek here.

Detailed Trail Information

Nohra Jot Trek Guide

Nohra Jot or Chota Bhangal is one of the many passes in the Dhauladhar range, connecting the Chota Bhangal villages with each other. Unlike the other passes of Dhauladhar, this pass is rarely used, which makes it an unblemished trail to trek on. Tarun Goel writes about the trek here.  This pass connects the Kothi Kohar village to Kothi Swar and Luhardi Villages of Chota Bhangal, all now connected through a kutchha road. Majority of the people from Chota and Bada Bhangal have land holdings and businesses in Bir-Billing region and most of them own vehicles these days. Moreover, buses run frequently between Barot – Luhardi – Kothi Kohar and that’s the reason these trails are obsolete now.

This was my second experience of walking in the snow. First one walking on fresh snow. And this journey always finds special mention because I survived a really bad fall during this trek. And then we had to walk in the muddy waters of River Uhl for an hour on a completely lost trail. And that’s when I realized the importance of carrying a torchlight during a trek expedition because a camera flash doesn’t always serve the purpose. The trek starts from Luhardi Village across the Lama Dagh stream that emerges somewhere near the Nikora Pass of the Bada Bhangal ranges. Across the river, there is a bridge that has to be crossed and from there the trail to the Nohra/Nahru pass starts. The Chota Bhangal region is divided into seven panchayats and the biggest of them all is the Poling Village. After crossing the bridge, the first village that comes is Cherna and is a little off the track. Cherna and Poling are facing each other, divided by the Lama Dagh stream.

Nohra Jot

Luhardi Village Bridge Across Lama Dagh

The trail passes by another small village namely Kothi Swar that has a primary school as well as a community center (panchayat ghar) where travelers can stay for a night. Across the river you see the beautiful Poling Village basking in the bright sunlight. The trail then gets lost into the wilderness and gradient increases gradually. The trail passes through rhododendron trees and there are Himalayan herbs all around. The base of the pass has a small temple where shepherds have made makeshift arrangements for emergency stay. We had to hide in that hutment because of unexpected and heavy snowfall that came our way.

Nohra Jot trek

Poling Village Seen from Kothi Swar

It was already 3 P.M. in the afternoon and the only way for us was in the upward direction. However, without any guide and on an unmarked trail that was not the best thing to do. From here onward, the trek becomes difficult until you get down to the other side. It’s not the altitude but unmarked trail and heavy snow that cause trouble. When we crossed this pass in April’2012, there was as much as 4-6 feet of snow at the top and finding the way to the top was very difficult. And the same is true for the other side. You have to make your way down by glissading against your will. There is a glacial field on the other side that makes the traverse long and tiring. After that a ground full of boulders and grass follows and leads you to the banks of River Uhl.

Nohra Jot trek

To the Top at 5 pm Live Snowfall

Uhl originates from Thamsar Pass (4745 meters) and makes its way down to the Beas basin. Beas and Lama Dagh meet in Barot and our destination, Kothi Kohar is located on the banks of River Uhl. However, the last leg of the journey, for us, was scary and taxing. It was already past 9 P.M. and we had no place to stay. We used our camera flashlight as a torch to find our way to the village. By the time we reached the village, it was already 10 P.M. and we had lost all our hopes of finding any food or accommodation.

Nohra Jot trek

Trail to Bir Billing Over Chinna Pass

But the Himalayas have their own ways. An old uncle spotted us and invited us to his home. And while we slept in his bedroom, he slept on the floor, to ensure our comfort. That’s what these Himalayas teach - love, compassion, and servitude. One can go back to Barot from Kothi Kohar by following the road. The other option is going to Bir-Billing Valley over the Chinna Pass. And if you seek more adventure, the Thamsar Pass is just a day (or two) away from Kothi Kohar. It takes one day to reach Phalachak (temporary summer settlement) and one more day from there to reach Bada Bhangal over the Thamsar Pass. Bada Bhangal, the land of high altitude passes. Fascinating, isn’t it?

Nohra Jot trek

Thamsar Pass to Bada Bhangal

How To Get Fit For The Trek

Cardiovascular endurance

The secret to ascending any trail lies in building your cardiovascular endurance. You can begin by jogging everyday. 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 everyday. 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 in 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 work out.

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 Pack For The Trek

Backpack

Backpack

No, stuffing it all in isn’t the right way to do it Packing a backpack correctly saves precious time that you might waste trying to find your things later. It is wise to spend some time on learning what really goes into packing a backpack.

What should I pack?

On a trek, you only get what you take. Something as simple as a forgotten matchbox can cripple your cooking plans throughout the trek. So, it’s essential to prepare early and prepare well. To begin with, make a checklist. While shopping, remember this thumb rule - keep it light. “Every item needs to be light. This ensures that your backpack, on the whole, stays light,” says Sandhya UC, co-founder of Indiahikes. Balancing out heavy items with light ones isn’t going to have the same effect as having all light items. “Always opt for good quality, light items,” says Sandhya.

How much should my bag weigh?

“Your backpack for a weekend trek should weigh between 8 and 10 kg,” explains Arjun Majumdar, co-founder of Indiahikes, “To break it down, your tent should weigh around 2.5 kg, your sleeping bag, around 1.5 kg, and the ration, stove and clothes should constitute the other 5 kg.” The best way to plan is by concentrating on the basic necessities – food, shelter and clothes. Gather only those things that you’ll need to survive. Do not pack for ‘if’ situations. “That’s one of the common mistakes that people make – packing for ‘if situations’. It only adds to the baggage that you can do without on a trek,” says Sandhya.

One good way to go about it is to prepare a list of absolute essentials. Start with the most essential and end with the least essential. That way, when you feel you are overshooting the limit, you can start eliminating from the bottom. Another tip is to be smart while packing clothes. Invest in light. wash and wear fabrics. "Replace a sweater with two t-shirts," adds Sandhya. Layering is the mantra when it comes to trekking. Refer to Sandhya’s clothes list to pack smart.

Trekking hack

Trekking hack

How to pack

The thumb rule for this one is to eliminate air spaces. Make sure that everything is packed tightly, especially clothes and jackets, as they tend to take up maximum air space. Put in all the large items first. Then squeeze in the smaller ones in the gaps. This ensures minimum air space. A good way to pack clothes is by using the Ranger Roll method.

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Where to pack

BottomSleeping bag: Make this your base layer. Sleeping bags tend to be voluminous, but do not weigh much. They’re perfect for the bottom of the bag. Tent: Just like the sleeping bag, even tents are voluminous and light. Keep the tent poles separately and place the fabric at the bottom of the backpack.

MiddleHeavy jacket: Roll up the jacket in a tight ball and place it in the middle of the backpack, close to your back. The middle region of the backpack should always have the heaviest items. You can store other things like rations or mini stoves in the middle. Other clothes: Roll other clothes and place them in the remaining space, to fill air gaps.

TopWater: Water, although heavy, needs to be easily accessible. So put it in the top most region of your backpack. Medicine box: This is another component that you wouldn’t want to be scavenging for when in need. Poncho: It could rain at any time in the mountains. So, ponchos should be accessible easily. Also, having a waterproof poncho at the top of the backpack provides additional waterproofing to items in the bag.

Trek backpack essentials

Trek backpack essentials

Trek Contribution

Author: Tarun Goel

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