Fancy an unusual mountain holiday soon? Sainj Valley promises to be a perfect fit. Here is a complete guide. By Karan Kaushik
Immediately bookmark this travel guide for the Sainj Valley
Four valleys make up the Great Himalayan National Park: Sainj Valley, Tirthan Valley, Parvati Valley and Jiwa Nala Valley. Due to their high altitude, most of the Parvati and Jiwa Nala valleys are only accessible to advanced hikers and climbers. On the other hand, Tirthan valley has become very popular. But the Sainj Valley remains largely untouched. Far from the city of Sainj, at the foot of the national park, there are many sites worth exploring: a mountain called Deohari, Lake Pundrik Rishi, the twin towers of Raila, the hills of Shangarh and many waterfalls. Pack your bags for a weekend hike and venture deep into the heart of the national park.
Things to do in Sainj Valley
Shangcul Mahadev Temple
One of the most popular attractions in the Sainj Valley, the Shangcul Mahadev Temple stands in the middle of a beautiful meadow. Notice the intricate wooden carvings here. The temple is known to house married couples. Surrounding the temple are other smaller shrines, all steeped in myth and legend.
Pundrik Rishi Lake
Pundrik Rishi Lake is not your quintessential mountain lake with shadows of snowcapped peaks adorning its sparkling waters. It is a dry lake covered with lush grass. Still, it makes for an incredible journey. You must cross dense forests dotted with deodars, firs, rhododendrons and spruces. You will also cross the Sainj River before heading to the scenic lake. At the edge of the lake, let yourself be seduced by the breathtaking view of the Raktisar glacier and the Sainj valley.
Most travelers visit Shanshar, 10-15 km from Neahi, for the centuries-old Manu temple. The temple is dedicated to sage Manu, who wrote the Manusmriti, and is considered the originator of the human race. Located on the Jangla-Shanshar road, the temple will remind you of the Hidimba temple of Manali, thanks to its typical Himachali architecture. Also visit the nearby Ashapuri and Budha Narayan temples.
Deori or Dehuri or Deohari is another important village in the Sainj Valley. Located in the Banogi Gramp Panchayat, Deori is utterly scenic and restorative. Hike to the village from Pundrik Lake via lush apple orchards and narrow forest trails. The main attraction in Deori is the Devi Temple. From there you can walk further to the village of Manyashi.
Jiwa Nala Hike
Where to stay
The Inn, Shangarh
Hosteler Shangarh will impress you with its dormitories overlooking the valley and its good food. This chic hostel has a garden, private parking and free Wi-Fi. The rooms in the hostel are equipped with a private bathroom with a shower. They also offer a la carte breakfast. While the dorms here have six bedrooms, there are also Deluxe Double Rooms. From there you can plan a trip to Kasol (29 km) and Tosh (30 km).
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Zostel Shangarh offers an ideal environment for artists, digital nomads and creators. The hostel offers several options. There are 4 bed female dorms, 4 bed mixed dorms, deluxe mud wall rooms, standard mud wall rooms, deluxe rooms and standard rooms. They do not recommend families.
Best time to go
While the Sainj Valley enjoys a pleasant climate throughout the year, the months of January and February promise incredible views of the snow-capped Himalayas. If you want to see the valley in all its monsoon glory, visit it between July and September.
How to reach
By plane: Bhuntar is the nearest airport, 37 km away. Shimla airport is 200 km from Sainj. Taxis and buses are available for the valley.
By rail: There are no direct trains to the Sainj Valley. Joginder Nagar station is the nearest railhead. However, it is best to book a train to Chandigarh (233 km) and then hire a private or shared taxi to Sainj Valley.
By the road: The best way to reach the Sainj Valley is by bus. Take the bus from Delhi to Aut. From Aut, you can take shared taxis to Shangarh. It is on the Delhi-Chandigarh-Mandi-Kullu-Manali road, which makes it easily accessible to everyone. This is the same route you should take if traveling with your own vehicle.
Feature and Hero Image Courtesy: Shutterstock
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