Looking for an offbeat weekend getaway! Visit Gattadhar valley, a perfect weekend destination in offbeat Himachal. This is what I did on one of the weekends in September 2021. Go through this article where I have shared my travel experience of travelling there and crucial information about stay, food and transportation.
I can honestly recommend Gattadhar valley to those looking for an offbeat place in Himachal Pradesh. The credit goes to the virgin natural landscapes and the pure hospitality of the locals.
Gattadhar valley is located in the District Sirmaur of Himachal Pradesh. Sirmaur is the Southernmost district of the state, bordering Haryana, Uttar Pradesh & Uttarakhand. That is why the travel time to reach Sirmaur from the plains is lesser than the other districts of Himachal. To reach Gattadhar valley, one has to reach Gattadhar, a small village that is approachable by a narrow hilly road but surrounded by beautiful scenic landscapes and forests.
Coming from Delhi or Ambala, you will have to go through Nahan, the district headquarters of Sirmaur. Then a right turn from Sangrah (pronounced Sangdaah) – Haripurdhar road will take you to Gattadhar valley.
Why you should visit Gattadhar Valley?
- One of the most unknown places for tourism in Himachal. I didn’t see any outsiders/tourists when I was there
- Beautiful natural landscapes
- Stay with locals in their mud houses, called ‘Dogri’ and experience the authentic culture of Sirmaur
- Relish local cuisines like Chilte, Sidkoo and Khinda
- A moderate Trek from Gattadhar to Juinidhar top
GATTADHAR VALLEY - TRAVEL GUIDE
Delhi – Karnal – Shahbad Markanda – Naraingarh – Kalamb – Nahan – Jamta
I started my road trip from Delhi at around 10 AM. I took NH 44 which is the shortest route but have tolls. However, the toll gates in Haryana and Punjab were free due to the ‘Kisan Andolan. I had langar at the Gurudwara on the highway in Karnal. Taking a few halts for CNG and petrol refills, I reached the Himachal border (Kala Amb, District Sirmaur) after 6 hours.
By the time I reached Nahan (the district headquarters of Sirmaur), it was already close to 5 pm. So I stopped for a night halt in a village called Jamta. There are a few homestays and resorts in this village.
You can also take a night halt in Renuka Ji lake, which is a prominent touristic attraction of Himachal. It takes around 8 hours from Delhi and 2 hours from Nahan to reach Renuka lake.
Jamta – Renuka lake – Sangrah – Gattadhar – Juinidhar
I took a short halt at Renuka ji while on the way to Gattadhar valley from Jamta village. In total it took me around 3 hours to reach Gattadhar village, which is the base point for the Juinidhar trek. I had lunch at a local’s invitation in Gattadhar village.
I started the trek around 3 pm from Gattadhar. According to the locals, a normal tourist or an inexperienced trekker can take upto 3 hours to reach the Juinidhar peak. However, as I was creating content to promote this place as a tourist destination, it took me longer. Also, it was raining badly. It was dark when I reached Juinidhar. I stayed at a Dogri house (mudhouse). If you also want to stay in such Dogri house, contact the people listed here. They can offer you a stay with full meals. However, the availability of toilets can be an issue.
I was offered ‘Khinda’, the delicious sweet cuisine of Sirmaur by my host in Juinidhar. Also, another host in Gattadhar offered me ‘Sidkoo’.
Juinidhar – Juinidhar Peak – Gattadhar – Nahan
The night stay in Juinidhar was not comfortable, as it was raining heavily the whole night. The Dogri house though looked tempting to me as an outsider needs basic repairs. I had to defecate in the open as there was no house in the vicinity available with a toilet.
After having breakfast (Aaloo paratha with chhach/buttermilk) I started the trek with my guide and a few locals at 10 am. We could have started early, but couldn’t because of incessant rain. It took 1 and a half hours to reach the top of Juinidhar. Locals offered prayers at the small temple. According to them snow-capped peaks of the higher Himalayas can be seen on a clear day. However, due to clouds, visibility was restricted during my visit.
It took almost 3 hours to reach Gattadhar from Juinidhar with almost an hour-long break at Deepak’s place. After having a late lunch at a local roadside Dhaba, I started my return journey around 4 pm. Reached Nahan around 8 pm and halted for the night.
Nahan – Karnal – Delhi
As my objective of this trip was to promote this place as an offbeat tourist place in Himachal, everything took longer. So it took me the 4th day to reach Delhi, otherwise, it is easily possible to wrap this trip on the 3rd day itself. In other words, Gattadhar is perfectly a weekend destination. It took around 6-7 hours from Nahan to Delhi with a very comfortable speed. This was a perfect trip to a weekend destination in offbeat Himachal.
If you also want to plan a trip to Gattadhar valley, please go through the ‘Gattadhar Valley Travel Guide‘ which includes the contact numbers of a few locals, stay options and information about the local buses to reach Gattadhar.