A tide of fresh air washed across my face, as marvellous sprawling green hills unfolded one by one as the clouds rolled away.
This picturesque town is called the Barot Valley and is said to be one of the best travel destinations in Himachal Pradesh. This wondrous valley is located at the banks of the Uhl river, which is the first river in the country used for the production of hydroelectricity. The town is tiny and is situated at the altitude of 1700 Mts above sea level.
Barot has become a hub of man-made projects which are the paving the way forward for the development of the country. But, what really makes Barot Valley a tourist place, is the sheer natural beauty that it commands. Over the years Barot Valley has developed more and more tourist activities to boost the tourism of the region.
This has made it the perfect vacation spot, to make some fond memories and witness them gorgeous scenic beauty.
Barot Valley has a range of fun-filled tourist-friendly activities which will really give you a tingly sense of fun and a great sense of accomplishment. These experiences will always remain etched into your memory, and you will find yourself often looking back and thinking about it.
There is no dearth of things to do here. Being a tourist-friendly place Barot has really developed some exciting activities which will surely make your adrenaline jump up. Here are a few things that you must indulge in to fully experience the true flavour of Barot Valley:
Barot Valley is famous for its Trout Fish. Most of the locals are engaged in harvesting this fish. In Barot, you too can indulge in some fishing in the Uhl river. Angling or fishing is one of the most popular activities in Barot, and you will find yourself in quite a challenging yet exciting place, as you try to reel in the Rainbow Trout Fish. This is something unique to Barot, and make sure to not miss this. Feel like a local as you cast your fishing rope into the deep blue waters of the Uhl River, and pray that you catch at least one Trout Fish.
The fishing equipment is all readily available by paying a nominal price, and ensure that you take permission from the fishery department before casting your nets.
With hills all around, and dense forests engulfing the town, trekking is a favoured activity in Barot.
The valley is extremely picturesque, which makes trekking here even more pleasurable, as you spot some lovely and rare fauna and flora all through your journey. No matter which trail you take, you will find yourself relishing the majestic views of the gorgeous Himalayas. This valley also falls on the way for many trekking trails, like- to Bada Bhangal, Kullu, Manali, Billing, and Kothi.
As you trek through the Barot Valley, you will find yourself passing through the residential regions of the town. You can witness the lovely little huts and the locals passing their time engaged in different works. You will get a glimpse into the lifestyle and culture of the locals, and how content and happy they are in their simple and humble livelihoods.
If you are interested in Trekking make sure that you trek for, Barot to Kothi Trek. This is the most scenic trek from Barot. The wondrous trek goes through dense aromatic forests of pine and cedar trees. The trail is about 13 km straight into one of the most heavenly areas. As you walk, you will see all the hues and shades of nature, and will absolutely fall in love with the serene and calming surroundings of the trail.
There are so many different kinds of adventure sports here, that one will be spoilt for choice. Another wonderful and exciting activity is Mountain Biking. While, it is certainly not easy to cycle through the rollercoaster-like roads of hill stations, but in Barot Valley, there are several trails and stretches which will take you through the most picturesque areas of the region.
What makes the roads even more suitable for cycling, is the fact that the town is still far away from the greasy hands of commercialisation. The roads are not polluted or congested by cars, and you can easily bike away as much as your heart desires. There are people who even cycle till Bir Billing from here.
The town of Barot has a lovely local culture. The best way to experience this culture is to just walk around the town and talk to the villagers. They are ever ready to strike up a conversation and talk to you about their simple means of living, and what all they do to pass their time. By just strolling for an hour you will be able to get an insight into the local lifestyle and culture of Barot.
As you walk through the village, make sure you visit the famous Uhl river also. This river originates from the Thamsar Glacier, which is located at the Himalayas. The fresh pure and cold water flows calmly down the hills and forms the Uhl river. The river bank provides for the perfect place to camp or fish, or do whatever your heart craves for.
Paragliding in Barot is so popular, that the valley even hosted the Paragliding World Cup in 2015. It comes as no surprise that this amazing paragliding spot in Barot has since then garnered a large number of tourists who come here to unpack their inhibitions and fly into the air. The whole experience of flying into the fresh air as the Himalayas stand tall in the background is mind-blowing. This is one of the most recommended adventure sports to do when you visit Barot.
This valley in India is blessed with several rare and unique species of animals. The beautiful Nargu Wildlife Sanctuary is a major attraction and is a huge crowd puller.
You will have to trek through the majestic and enchanting dense forests to reach this sanctuary. Once you reach here, try and spot rare animals like – Ghoral, the Himalayan Monal or even the more common ones like the Black Bear.
This temple in Barot is the main place of worship for the locals. The temple is the abode of Dev Pashakot, whose deity is worshipped fervour by the locals.
The temple is strategically located at the bottom of a lush green hill, which makes it look even more enchanting that holy than it already is.
To visit this lovely temple, you will have to trek downhill, and finally, when you reach the banks of the Uhl river, you will find the temple radiating with a sacred aura.
Barot Valley was initially developed as the source of Hydroelectricity, in the form of the Shanan Hydel project. The project was started using the Uhl River and was India’s first ever venture into the Hyrdo electric field. The project started way back in the British era when the British decided to experiment with the idea of deriving electricity through the current of naturally occurring water. This project is still functional, and it will be a sin if you choose to skip it.
Barot Valley is very famous for its camping expeditions. The large green meadows and the clean Uhl River makes it a great place to just pitch a nice tent and be out in the wild.
Thandi Golai camping site, which is only 1.5 km from the main market of Barot, is one of the most popular and serene places to camp. Pitch your tent there, and spend a whole night under the starry sky and into the warm hands of nature.
Barot is easily accessible by road, or rail from Delhi. There are regular buses from Delhi to Bajinath, from where you can hire a taxi to Barot.
Pathankot is the nearest railway station to Barot. Barot is about 150 km from Pathankot, and you can hire a cab to ride up there.