A hidden gem of Himachal – Barot
If you are reading about Barot, you would have already covered most of the popular places of Himachal Pradesh and got bored with all those commercialized, crowded hill stations. Yes, that is how I found Barot. After traveling to Manali, McLeodganj, Dalhousie, Kasol, Chail, Kasauli, and almost every other popular places in Himachal, I started looking for a place that is easy to approach but hardly touched by tourists. A hill station, where hills still breathe not succumb to concrete jungle like Shimla.
Did you ever wonder, what if we remove all the hotels and fancy cafes of Manali and silence the unwanted noise of live Punjabi rap and rock n roll music? How will it appear and feel to be there? Close your eyes and imagine. Yes, you are right, a beautiful, serene and peaceful town of Himalayas, where trees are more than humans, where your eardrums are touched by only the sound of a river, where your brain is as peaceful as a monastery in Spiti or Ladakh. Well, that’s exactly how being in Barot feels like.
A small village hidden among the mountains and lost in a valley. You don’t see Barot on its way unless you are just single digit kilometer away. Keep driving on a narrow road along with a river for an hour, at one bend you suddenly see this Himalayan gem.
Barot is the last village on motorable road along with UHL River in Mandi district of Himachal Pradesh. Barot is 65 km from Mandi with a drive time of 2.5hrs.
There are three more villages in this valley where one needs to hike to reach :
Barot is also a base camp for several popular trek routes in Himachal :
- Dehnsar Lake Trek
- Barot-Kullu Trek
- Badaa Bhangaal Trek
How to reach
Self Drive Routes
Route 1 (Recommended) – Delhi – UNA – Palampur – Baijnath – Ghatasani – Barot
Route 2 – Delhi – Bilaspur – Mandi – Joginder Nagar – Barot
The Route2 is shorter than Route1 in terms of distance but the bad road and Trucks’ traffic near Bilaspur makes it lengthier and tiring.
Route1 is as easy as driving in plains up to Baijnath and more scenic.
Roads are good and wide except the last stretch of 30km which is narrow
Delhi – Mandi – Joginder Nagar – Barot
(For timings you can contact HPRTC or the local contacts given in blog later)
Places to visit around Barot
- Baijnath Temple (Enroute Barot via Palampur) – A marvel of ancient architecture of Lord Shiva temples in India built in built in 1204 A.D. (800 years and still intact)
- Bir Paragliding landing site (Enroute Barot via Palampur) at least 1 day stay recommended
- Barot Reservoir (within village)
- Barot Waterfall (30mins hike from village)
- Trout Fish Farm (5mins drive and 10 mins descend from approaching road for village)
Since Barot is still not commercialized much, hence there are limited options of stay in this tiny Himalayan village. There are 8-10 homestays around the Barot river with a beautiful view of the river and jungle. There are also camping options that local villagers have pitched in for tourists. There are luxurious camping tents as well as small dome tents options available as per budget. These campings stay only in the peak tourist season and shut down once snowfall starts and reopen post-May-June
Homestays options start from 800INR and go up to 2000 depending on the tourist flow and stay luxuries
Camping options are a bit cheaper but one has to walk with own bags/luggage for 15-20 minutes.
Local Home stay contact in Barot : 08091742043 (Sanjay Bhaiyya)
If you are non vegetarian and sweet water fish is what always hook you in, Barot is a paradise for you. Thanks to the Dam and slow flow of Barot river, it is an ideal space for fish farming. The trout fish farm in Barot located 2 km before the village is an ideal place to hang out as well as satisfy cravings of your taste buds.
You can buy fresh Trout fish from farm and can ask your host at home stay or hotel kitchen to cook it for you. The steam fish with sweet lemon sauce or Fish curry in pahaadi style with steam rice will bound you to visit this place again and again.
For Vegetarians, farm grown fresh vegetables are waiting for you in Barot as the villagers grow lots of seasonal vegetables.
The village has 2-3 dhabas at the beginning when you cross the bridge and they serve a range of food from Himachali Maggie to Chinese Momos and Fish Curry.
So in case you plan to carry your own tent and pitch in somewhere, you won’t die hungry (though pitching own tent is not advisable due to security reasons)
Summer :- Surrounded by mountains from 3 sides and hidden deep inside the valley of Chuhar, Sunlight stays in the village only for some time even on a sunny day. This keeps the temperature at moderate degrees even on a peak summer afternoon.
Winters – Barot receives heavy snowfall in winters and one needs to put on snow jackets, warmers, gloves and snow boots are handy to walk around. Roads remain open but on heavy snowfall day, it may be shut down for a day or two.
Monsoon – Like any other Himachal village, Barot too experiences heavy rainfall. The last 30km stretch to reach Barot is narrow and rocky. The steep mountains make it prone to landslides but overall it is safer than other districts of Himachal like Chamba and Kinnaur.
Things to do in Barot
- Waterfall – Hike for 30-40 minutes and you will come across a 10m high waterfall with a splash of tonnes of water washing away all your pain and tiredness. If you know swimming and cold water doesn’t scare you, you found a perfect spot to flex your muscles.
- Village walk – A morning or evening stroll on village road is highly recommended if you love peace and want to see the Himachali Culture
- Photography Tour – If you are nature lover and flowers fills you with happiness, pack your lenses. Barot valley is full of flowers and you would love to stroll and click them
- Laid back afternoon in Barot river – River has less water due to reservoir and has huge boulders to serve as a picnic spot but be cautious about the water release timing. If you dare to enter the river, don’t miss the refreshing dip and sighting astonishing marble stones
- Local Treks – As Barot is located amid the forest area and locked with hills, a short hiking afternoon trip with packed lunch will lead you to an out of the box experience. And if you visit in winters, snow trek will add to your experience
All villages of Himalayas are plastic-free.
I request you to keep the Himalayas clean and green.
Some easy steps to keep Himalayas plastic-free :
- Reusable Water bottle/thermos – Freshwater is available in abundance and better than any packed mineral water bottle
- No Chips and Cold Drinks Please – These are the luxuries of cities, so let’s keep it in cities only. With the fresh air, enjoy the fresh snacks – fruits, salads, eggs, paneer snacks, pakodas.
Note: The garbage you throw in dustbins are not recycled on mountains but burnt due to fewer resources which anyways harm the ecology.
Let’s Leave only memories behind not garbage
Some of the clicks from my Barot Trip
For any other information, you can leave a message on my Instagram account : @Himalyandrives