In the land of Parvati and Shiva: Shrikhand Mahadev trek, July 2017


Active Member
I am back to this forum probably after 2 years! I definitely kept reading the posts but in terms of contributing, i have been a defaulter :-#

So, let me try and make up for that with stories from my latest trek to this amazing world.

Shrikhand Mahadev...a journey of whatnot! of rain and cloud soaked ghostly trees, of vibrant flowers, of friendly dogs, of helpful fellow yatris, of glacier and boulders, of unending climbs, of brooks and pristine waterfalls, of faith and determination. The last ones are of crucial importance. Without faith and determination, i believe, the thousands of pilgrims who embark on this trail with nil to minimum resources and preparations wouldn't have been able to complete it. We (i and my trek-mates) were perhaps the odd ones out, who took it as any other trek, but for most of the other trekkers, it is a journey to the land of Shiva, to get a darshan and his blessings. And i was, to say the least, moved by the power of devotion and faith when i saw many of the yatris do this trek barefoot, with a mere carry bag as their only resource. But more on that later :)

Let us quickly have few glimpses of the trail:

Village house

The tents of Bhimdwar/Bhimdwari from Parvati Bag

One of the many falls from Parvati Bag

Rolling meadows...

The ray of hope :)

The climb...


Shrikhand as seen from Kalighati/ Kali top

The idea of doing Shrikhand Mahadev first emerged almost 2 years back when we shifted to Himachal Pradesh and when Sarahan became our common weekend gate-away. Seating on the terrace of Shrikhand HPTDC hotel, and looking at the Srikhand peak from there we used to wishfully think that someday! Someday we would go there. But, at least i was not serious about it. Then last year my friend Priyanka, went on to do the yatra with Bhimakali mata's (in Sarahan) chadi and came back even more enthusiastic (now, i wonder how!) to convince me to go for the yatra this year. Listening to her experiences and stories from the trail, i feel even more doubtful to do this trek and i told myself, not in this life, no way am going to go on this difficult trail. The fact that it rains for most of the part and limited chances of having a clear window to enjoy the vista further added to my determination of not embarking on this journey.

Then i do not know for sure what happened. What made me change my mind. One of our friends from Chadar trek showed his interest to do Shrikhand this year, and Priyanka was of course ready to join him, and kept looking forward to me for accompanying them. She encouraged me in all possible ways and probably the words that i can return back from wherever i feel it's becoming too difficult for me, finally convinced me to join them for the trek. And since the beginning, i was very sure that i am going to return or stop/ stay wherever i would feel like. That finally happened when i was merely 200-300 mtrs from the Shrikhand peak and no, Priyanka did not keep her words, she stood there with me like a rock saying if i do not move, nor will she. And i cannot thank her enough for that. Else it would have been a life-long regret that i was so near and yet out of frustration i just forgo such a golden opportunity.

The route...from Parvati Bag

The above picture shows the various popular stops for the trek from Parvati Bag, which is the last place to stay for the final push to Shrikhand. Shrikhand Mahadev is one of the five Kailash and is said to be the toughest pilgrimage among the likes. It starts from a tiny hamlet, Jaon (6,500ft approximately) and climbs all the way to Shrikhand peak, crossing Singhgad, Barati Nala, Thachru, Kali ghati, Bhim Talai, Kunsa, Bhimdwar, Parvati Bag, Naiser, with the Shrikhand Mahadev rock/ling being the final destination. Though the official height is mentioned as 18,560ft, other sources state it to be at 16000ft. The way meanders through dense forest and rocky trails to reach the first hurdle of Kali ghati/ Kali top with a constant steep climb over Danda dhar indicating the climb over a danda like inclination. Many people return from here, as the forward trail again climbs down from the danda to reach Bhimdwar, a magnificent valley with multiple waterfalls. The view of Shrikhand peak from Kali ghati can evoke both amazement and fear, for the peak seems to be distant, remote and other-worldly. From Bhimdwar, one has to climb up to Parvati bag, which boasts meadows covered with uncountable colourful flowers. Brahmakamal can also be seen among these beauties. From Parvati bag, the trail is a constant climb to first reach Nainser (also called Nain sarovar), a glacial lake over moraines and boulders. From Nainser, it's a vertical climb through a gully to reach the top of the ridge, which then traverse through seven smaller peaks over boulders and rocks strewn all over the place and glaciers with eternal fall. And finally, when all your patience, grit and strength start giving up, the Shrikhand, shrouded in mist and cloud greets you. Countless pilgrims make this journey barefoot and without much ado, making one wonder about the power of faith.

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Active Member
It was 13th of July when my trek-friend from Chadar (from here onwards i would refer to him as Milind Sir) flew down from Pune to Delhi, to join Priyanka and me for trek. He was accompanied by two of his trek-friends from Bangaluru and Delhi respectively. All of these people are hard-core trekkers, while i am someone who do trekking leisurely and not-so-frequently. I was, since beginning, a bit unsure about my chances to meet their pace and fitness, but then these generous souls kept on boosting my confidence all throughout. All of them drove to Simla overnight and we reached Sarahan to get Priyanka from there. All throughout the weather was super-cloudy and not a glimpse of the entire range was to be viewed from Sarahan. We had a day's break at Sarahan and on 15th July we started for Jaon, the village from where the trek starts.

Day 1 of the trek, Jaon to somewhere ahead of Barathi Nala

On reaching Jaon, we couldn't find a place to park our vehicle and kept riding upwards, only to discover that we were at Tharla village. There we met a friendly soul who told us that we can park our vehicle near his house. We were carrying our own tents and sleeping bags, so we also inquired with the Tharla-friend about possibility of hiring porters. He arranged for porters too and dropped us to the trek-head. It took us roughly 6 hours to reach Tharla from Sarahan owing to multiple road-blocks. So, at around 3 pm we finally started walking, with the plan that we will stop wherever it gets dark.

We reached Singhaad, the first scheduled stop, approximately 3 kms from Jaon, and started filling up the required medical forms to register ourselves for the Yatra. There are multiple trails from Jaon to Singhaad. The usual one followed by trekkers is the one that runs just beside the stream called Kurpan. But we took the one that though runs parallel to the stream is not beside it, but a little up the slope. The are no many ups and downs on this trail and we reached Singhaad pretty comfortably. The medical form is a joke and the officials just ask you whether you are fit :) A nod is enough! The police officials there scared us about the trail and told us that many people die on this route and hence, we shouldn't try to move beyond Nainser (Nain sarover). What a lovely piece of encouragement, i must add. I mentioned to them that this will be second time for Priyanka, to which they laughed and said i am lying. So be it. We bought prasad from Singhaad to offer if we made it to Shrikhand and started the onward journey.

A sumptuous break-fast at Sutlej view Cafe at Rampur, left to right, Milind sir, his friend Vikas, Priyanka and me...

The trail from Jaon...with Priyanka, me and Amar, Akbar, Antony :)

All three of Amar, Akbar and Antony accompanied us from Jaon till Singhaad. After which a big black furry dog approached them aggressively sighing away Antony and Akbar. Amar, however, negotiated with him, i do not know how and continued to accompany us till we lost him too. I was enjoying his company and felt sad to lose him. But, you know what, there is something about this trip being a wish-fulfilling one, and i again met Amar at the top, where he slept for a while keeping his head on my lap :)


Starting of the trek route at Jaon

Roads of Jaon visible from the trek route

We at Singhaad... to the left our three awesome porters, Mohan Lal, Pooran Lal and Poone Lal

After the police-personnel scared us, i was asking Priyanka, whom should they inform in case i die, my parents or husband ;)

I checked the logs, which said 32 females among 640 yatris who registered that day...

Resting :)

After registering ourselves, we proceeded towards Barathi Nala, which is around 2/3 kms from Singhaad, and bang came the first hike over roughly aligned, uneven, wet, rocky stairs. Kurpan river continued to flow alongside the trail. After a couple of more climbing up and down, we reached Barathi Nalah. On our way, we had tasty kadhi-chawal in one of the langars. At Barathi, we stopped for 5 minutes to decide whether to move ahead or stop here for the day. It was the decided that we will walk for some more time till we find some shops where we can have dinner and will settle there for the day. Since we were carrying our own tents, finding accommodations was not on our to-worry-list. But we were naive to say the least! The trail after Barathi Nalah is all up, and the inclination provides limited scope to find a suitable place to pitch tents. However, wherever there were a flattish patch, there were 3/4 tents to accommodate yatris. So, a kilometer and half after Barathi Nalah, we stopped at one such place, where there was a tent to accommodate the five of us. It was drizzling for most part of the trek and as soon as we got inside the tent, it started to pour-down heavily. The hot food with roti, aloo sabzi, chawal and rajma restored whatever energy we lost that day and sleep was not hard to come by after the long day that stated around 8 am and ended roughly 10/11 hours hence.

The only troubling thought for me was the next days's trek. For it was over Danda dhar, supposedly one of the difficult part of this trail, that starts from Barathi Nalah and ends at Kali ghati crossing Thachru. In my mind i was thinking whether i will be able to reach Kali Ghati? The otherwise agnostic me prayed silently to thee, nature, the god i believe in.

to be continued...
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Gaurav Dutt

हर हर गंगे!
following it closely!
.....was thinking that somebody, sooner or later will post on Shrikhand Mahadev as the Yatra season is going on and there you go, BANG ON! Started the much awaited log of the season! what amazing shots, high ridges and the unending trail. Peace! I was planning for it but couldn't get it implemented, will try in 2018!

Request:- Please include your itinerary as well.

Om Namah Shivaaye!
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Well-Known Member
I am hooked to this!
I am planning to trek the moment I saw the pictures (since last few years). Your recent TL got me restless to visit it as soon as possible. :)
Very nice pictures and details. If possible, please try to mention the various safety concerns and activities (especially where the administration is involved, such as registration etc).

Hoping this in 2018

Har Har Mahadev!!!
Great Shrikhand Mahadev Yatra !
Great Explorers !
Great Pilgrims !
Great Details !
Great Views !
Great Pics !

May I order something ?
You should make this log a Memorable one that I can refer to people who want to go there.
Please complete it with each & every detail !
I also want to go there during Yatra time only.