So the Happy Travelling Girls, Krishna and Megha, went on a trip to Tirthan valley in Himachal Pradesh on the insistence of a friend. The friend recommended star gazing at this place while feasting on trout fish. We thought, let’s try it out!
When me and my travel buddy Krishna went to Tirthan we had little clue of the place, people and things to-do in general. I am thankful that we did not know much about the place or else we would be bereft of the magical moments Tirthan surprised us with.
The detour to Banjar, a beautiful town in Kullu district, to reach Tirthan from Kasol was a refreshing local bus journey with views that you can never get tired of.
We booked our stay at Tirth View, a local homestay in Tirthan. The owner, a warm and helpful man, informed us to connect with Deepu at the guest house.
Deepu, the 22-year-old guesthouse caretaker and the cook was our ally there. Deepu cooked basic meals for us comprising of roti (the Indian bread), rice, lentils and vegetables along with salad. With fresh food that was farm to fork, we always ended up over eating!
While on our arrival, Deepu came to pick us up in a cab as the guesthouse was 2 kms uphill from the local market of Banjar. We stopped at a place mid-way where he mentioned to get off which left us wondering what is going on as there was no guesthouse to be seen in the middle of the road at twilight. We moved down a few steps to be able to see the property that we were to stay at for the next two days. There was instant realization that we were literally in the lap of mountains as there was another hamlet 2 kms ahead and the market 2kms below the guesthouse.
Our guesthouse, Tirth View, was facing the Great Himalayan National Park. It was a fantastic room full of simplicity, class and peace; a perfect budget stay which might bring out the writer/ poet in you! The wooden interiors, the all-white upholstery and 24-hour running water made it a comfortable stay.
With mountains on two sides, a river flowing and a trekking route ahead of our stay, it felt like we were in the midst of everything that the mountains had to offer us. Yet, in reality, we were a little aloof from the main market area which gave us our solitude and space.
As our nerves were absorbing the vibe of Tirthan, Deepu knocked enquiring if we wanted tea, to which we readily agreed post the long journey. Sipping flavoursome tea, relishing the view and chatting up amidst the mountains made us fall in love with the place instantly. However, we were concerned as it lacked a safety vibe. Since we had come during dusk, the place was almost dark with just our guesthouse light switched on. Adding to this we were startled by the noise on the roof above us as we were just about to call it a day. Seemed like someone wanted to intrude in our conversation! We dropped the anxiety, relaxed ourselves, ignored the noise and went off to sleep.
Our concerns were put to rest the next day when we became familiar with the place and people a little more. Deepu’s grandmother was our companion and we chatted with her about life, her son, the farm and nature. Her eyes gave away the pain of missing her son who was based in the city of Gurgaon. Yet, her smile was intact and exuded warmth. She was fascinated to know that two girls are travelling to such a remote place and most importantly are not married yet! After the conversation, we set off to explore Tirthan valley.
On our only day to explore this lesser-known valley, we chose to wander in the market and the local area beyond it. On our journey, we were accompanied by two dogs, yet again after our Tosh & Rasol trek and they did the disappearing and appearing act with elan. We met a few locals who offered us the corn from their local farm and smilingly introduced us to their pet rabbit who they had named as ‘Khargosh.’ With the free-flowing Tirthan river, a tributory of Beas river, on our side we sat by it to soak in the silence. Such simplicity of life is what I love experiencing while on my travels!
Towards the end, came the best part of the trip; a reason why we came to Tirthan in the first place.
The highlight for both the nights was the star gazing experience. Magical is the right word to describe the feeling I was experiencing then. It really brought out the kid in me when I looked at the sky. Pitch dark valley with a sky full of countless stars shining upon us, it felt like the universe had conspired to have us witness this heaven on earth. It is something that can only be experienced and not expressed completely in words. On the porch outside our room, we would lie down and just stare at the stars which had a calming effect on our souls. I felt like I was talking to the stars with no spoken words but just the gaze that connected us. Moreover, I could feel that I was having a candid conversation with my dad who was all around me, to guide me and to feel my happiness; a moment that I can never forget.
No wonder, I would want to visit it repeatedly. At the stargazing moment, I felt that maybe solo travel is not something I would like to take up as a long term thing as I always wanted to as I would want to experience such beautiful views that nature had to offer with someone beside me.
The friendliness of the locals, their large-heartedness touched me and I remembered these lines from the Bhagwad Gita Saar –
“Tumne jo liya, yahi se liya,
Jo diya yahi par diya,
Jo aaj tumhaara hai, kal kisi aur ka tha, kal kisi aur ka hoga.”
Your dreams might cost you everything but they will also give you everything!