Exploring Kugti & Holi Valleys near Bharmour, HP ... and a trek to Kugti Village and  to Karthik Swamy Temple, along the Manimahesh Parikrama Circuit.

Google Earth Image, with our GPS Tracks, along the Kugti (N) & Holi (S) Valleys, beyond Bharmour HP 
The GPS paths were recorded on a Samsung Android smartphone using 'My Tracks' App.

I have been to Chamba, on the banks of the Ravi river, in Himachal Pradesh, several times. Each time I had wanted to travel up the valley to another town Bharmour in that area; but somehow that never worked out. 

In March 2012 my Trekking friend Sadanand (SK) Kamath was asking what trek we should to do this year. I said I may not be having time or inclination to do a typical long trek this year; but game for a exploration of any unvisited areas especially in HP. Then he mentioned that he has been wanting to explore the Bharmour area, where the Gaddi sheperds of HP did a annual summer migration with their flocks of sheep to high grazing areas over Kugti Pass and down into the slopes of Chenab River in Lahaul. 

So based on my tentative return date from US, SK booked some train tickets to Delhi & Chakki Bank, in late May, if we decide to go to the Kugti area. And for the first time, he agreed to my suggestion, of keeping the day-to-day details of the trip unplanned! 

When I got back to Mumbai on 15th May my jet-lag was so bad that it seemed unlikely we will go to Kugti; but by 23rd I was feeling Ok and so we left as planned.

23-April-2012: Sadananad (SK and I) boarded a summer special Rajdhani Express at Borivali 10 minutes before midnight and slept off. 

24-April-2012: We reached New Delhi next day at 5:50PM and discovered that our onward wait-listed berths to Chakki Bank were not confirmed. So we rushed out of the station and found a travel agent shop outside the Railway  Station to see how we can go to Pathankot. He dialled some Bus companies and found that a few berths were available on a AC Sleeper Volvo Bus to Katra Via Jammu, Pathankot at a premium price! 

We had no choice and so took 2 berths on the 7PM bus, that actually left only around 7:30PM. The cramped berth space on that Bus was claustrophobic. Plus there was a group of noisy youngsters who were talking loudly and creating a racket, till way past midnight in the nearby berths. I hardly slept.
25-April-2012: Around 5:30AM about 30 mins before reaching Pathankot Bye-Pass our bus broke down and we knew it was not going to start anytime soon. We took a lift in another bus and reached Pathankot bus-stand by 7:30AM. There was an earlier HPRTC bus going to Chamba but we skipped that and took the 8:45AM bus to Bharmour. Of course, that too would go via Chamba, but we would be assured seats till Bharmour this way.


Our actual schedule is in the footer below. 

During the Treks & Taxi-drives, I recorded 4 segments of GPS tracks on my smartphone: 

1) 28/05/2012 Trek Dharol to Kugti Village
2) 29/05/2012 Trek Kugti Vill to Kartik Temple
3) 30/05/2012 Taxi Dharol to Bharmour
4) 31/05/2012 Taxi Bharmour to Holi Village

You can get the Google Earth KMZ file of these 4 GPS Tracks from the Download Page of this blog here: Files D/L   

Sadanand has written a  fine account of this trip in his blog. You may read that, to get another perspective of this trip, here: SK-Blog

The day-wise diary narration along with pictures follows in the sub-pages.