You live in cities surrounded by tall buildings, jostling with the crowd, inhaling toxic air and fighting your stressful job every day. The city life chokes you but responsibilities hold you back. You often take a break from this hectic life and visit hills to fill your lungs with fresh air and your mind with peace. Gradually, mountains turn into magnets and start pulling you more often than before. Your motive of travel shifts from holidays to exploring places. You ask your friends or google about places to visit in the Himalayas but the places you get are the same as millions of others have heard of. After a long week, you head for the mountains for some peace but you find yourself amid the same crowd which you were running away from. The life you were escaping is chasing you evading your peace. The traffic you ran out from is standing ahead of you in the narrow lanes of hill towns and mocking at you. It worsens in Summers and Snowfall which is the peak tourist season for North India.
No, mountains haven’t lost their charm. There are hundreds of places that haven’t seen crowds or noise yet. These places are as beautiful as Manali, Mcleodganj, Kasol, Mussourie used to be decades ago. Others will ask you to travel deeper into the Himalayas and explore places visited by travel influencers like Spiti and Ladakh but You can’t afford to visit a place 18-20 hours drive away. Your job prevents you from that freedom. You have only a weekend of 2 days or maybe a long weekend of 3-4 days.
I present you with another solution. Move away from the highway and travel on unexplored roads. These roads lead you to the hidden paradise of mountains. Due to distance from main highways, these places remained unexplored from usual tourists.
I have been doing this for the last 3 years and came across several such places. My blogs are about such hidden paradise of Himachal and Uttrakhand. In my previous blogs, I shared information about Barot Village (10hours from Delhi) & Renuka Ji Lake (6hours drive from Delhi). In this blog, I will introduce you to a new village of Himachal – Kareri Village.
Kareri village is in the western Himachal which is known for its hues of sunsets. In the evenings, the sky turns into a pool of colours like Mathura in holi season.
Kareri is a tribal village that remained close to outsiders till a few years ago. This Gaddi town (shepherds village) has preserved its ancestral tradition of the Gaddi community. It used to be a halting point for the Gaddis (local word for shepherds) who travelled through the Dhauladhar range and followed this route to reach the plains of Punjab and sell their harvest of wool. The town of nomads slowly developed into a village and started thriving. Their clothing, food, perspective towards life still reflect that nomads culture in this village.
Though situated in well connected Kangra district and only 1.5km from Dharamshala, this village remained disconnected from the outer world for decades. You will be surprised to know that a motor road could reach this village only in 2019. Maybe that is why this village is still untouched and waiting to be explored by peace lovers.
Note: You may still find thousands of mountains goats/sheeps crossing the village during April & November when these Gaddis ascend or descend from the mighty meadows of Dhauladhar.
What will you experience in Kareri village?
Sluggish village life: Fewer needs, satisfaction with what you have and traditional ways of earning help the residents of this village, live a peaceful, leisure life. After finishing their daily chores, people sit together for gossiping or games of cards & Carrom board. The afternoons here are slow and relaxed.
Evergreen Mountains : Nestled in the lap of Dhauladhar that acts as the first high range of Himalayas in the northern plains of India, Kareri village experiences plenty of rain and boast of the dense forests and evergreen mountains
Nature’s painting: Apart from sheep, farming is another occupation for the people living here. There are fewer houses and more farms of mustard and corns in this village. From a distance, it looks like a painting on a canvas with hues of yellow & green
Grassy trails for a long walk: If you are a morning person, Kareri offers you natural grass carpet all around to enjoy the mornings in mountains. This is therapeutic to your physical and mental health both
Rare Himalayan birds: If you are a bird lover, Kareri village is a paradise for you. Being the foothills of Himalayas, this region attracts lots of rare birds especially in winters
Pool of clouds : If you are a morning person and rise before the Sun, you will meet the clouds which are lazy enough to wake up unless Sun scolds them. You can spot these clouds in the adjacent valley, spread like a sea of milk.
Kareri village is located on the borderline of two contrasting districts of Himachal – Kangra & Chamba.
Kangra is settled in the lap of a popular Himalayan range called the Dhauladhar range. The Dhauladhar is also known as the outer Himalayas as it is the last range of the Himalayas before the northern plains. Dhauladhar range touches Dalhousie in Chamba district at one end and Beas river in Kullu District at the other end. This dark grey granite rocky formation mountain range rises steeply from the plains of Punjab and reaches as high as 5980metres. Hauman tibba is its highest peak and remains covered with snow throughout the year.
Though Dhauladhar is spread in almost half of the Himachal and reaches up to the Garhwal region of Uttrakhand, you will get its best view from Kangra Valley as here it rises vertically and looks like the actual northern wall. Kangra valley is home to some popular hill stations like Dharmshala(home of the most scenic cricket stadium in the world). Other popular towns in Kangra are Palampur & Mcleodganj.
How to Reach
Self Drive Routes
Distance from Delhi – 500km
Drive Time – 10 Hrs
Route: Delhi-Ambala-Anantpur Sahib-Una-Amb-Kangra-Kareri
Road condition: The first 400km is a 4-lane highway. The road after Amb is hilly but not too steep or narrow except for the last 15km.
Bus Routes (12 Hrs)
- Delhi – Dharamshala
- Dharamshala-Ghera Village
- Ghera-Kareri Village (3km) by jeep
Buses’ schedule for these can be accessed on the HRTC website.
Call the Dharamshala Depot on 01892-222855
Dharamshala Airport – 1.5 hours drive away from Kareri
Places to visit around Kareri
- Kareri Lake Trek (A hike of 6 hours)
- Dharamkot Waterfall ( 8km)
- The famous Tibetan colony – Mcleodganj (30km)
- Most picturesque cricket stadium of India – Dharamshala Cricket ground
Let me know in comments if you want to know about this trek in upcoming blogs
Summer: Located at the height of around 2000 Mt, this village is not very high in elevation but sitting in the lap of Dhauladhar, it enjoys the pleasant atmosphere even in summers. The day temperature here usually varies between 15 to 25 degrees celsius but starts to drop as the evening approaches and goes to as low as 10 degrees Celsius at night.
Winter: if you love mountains but hate the extreme cold, this is the place for you. The snow-covered, white Dhauladhar range in winters looks majestic from Kareri. There is a reason that it is called the abode of Lord shiva. The day temperature in winters usually varies between 8 to 15 degrees celsius but starts to drop as the evening approaches and goes to as low as 5 degrees Celsius at night.
Monsoon: Kangra district enjoys the maximum rainfall density in Himachal and Kareri is no exception. The clouds step down on village road and swing into the misty air. The Dhauladhar peaks play hide and seek in clouds; forests become mysteriously beautiful.
Things to do in Kareri Village
- Village walk – the traditional Himachali houses with the slate roof will take your experience of this village to the heights
- Watch Sunset – Being in the western Himachal, Kareri village is one of the best viewpoints for Sunsets in the Himalayas. Dusks here are like Holi celebrations with clouds on the horizon
- Hike in the forest – Kareri is the base point for some of the most popular treks in Himachal. Kareri lake, Milkyani Pass, Lam dal trek are some of those. If you aren’t a trekking person or you are here only to relax for a day or two, the forest around the village is interesting enough to go for a hike. Pack your lunch, choose your favourite book and tune in your playlist and head towards the forest
- Talk to villagers – Whether you are extrovert or introvert, the conversation with the villagers (most of which were shepherds earlier) will be your favourite takeaway from this village
- Bird watching
- Glimpse of Kashmir – Remember those old bollywood movies in which actors posed with the cute lambs? Well get one of those clicks for you too in Kareri and hang that frame at your home wall
Kareri is still like a toddler in the tourism world. The big hotels & resorts haven’t popped up here yet (thankfully). The village has only a few homestays, campsites and a hostel named Backpackers. I stayed in the backpackers and was super impressed by their hospitality.
This hostel has one dorm for six people, two separate rooms and an open lawn in front for your cosy mornings. I believe that if you are not traveling for leisure, hostels are the best option to stay. We share not just rooms but travel stories and experiences too. If you are a solo traveller, this place will be best suitable for you. Inexpensive, cozy, at the end of the village so complete silence.
The owner, Mahender Bhaiyya is a very kind person and full of stories. His family will treat you like a part of your own family. The food served by the family mixed with Desi ghee and love will make you eat more than usual. There is a belief that people in Himachal love to serve food to their guests as they treat them as God. This tradition is the best part of any homestay in Himachal; you will enjoy it in backpackers hostel as well. The traditional dal, homegrown vegetables, chapati cooked on choolha (wood stove connected to the chimney) will tinkle your food buds and you will end up eating more than usual.
If you are skeptical about staying in homestays, you can also book camping tents ( equivalent to cottages) through travel portals.
Backpackers homestay Contact: Mahender bhaiiya – 9418393871
Pictures in this blog are contributed by a travelling soul Ayushi Singh who visited Kareri village on my insistence
If you visit Kareri village, share your experience in comments/email/ my instagram account
Some easy steps to keep the 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 keep it in cities only. With the fresh air, enjoy the fresh snacks – fruits, salads, eggs, paneer snacks, pakoras and local dishes
Note: The garbage you throw in dustbins is not recycled on mountains but burnt due to fewer resources. So, please take your plastic/liquor bottles, plastic wrappers or any other kind of garbage back to city.
Leave only memories behind, not the garbage!