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Sunday, January 1, 2017

Khari Mandari – a lesser known trekking destination of Manali

Khari Mandari – a lesser known trekking destination of Manali

Way to Khari Mandari 
I have not been able to write a blog for a long.. long time because of my personal pre-occupation and consequent confinement either in Delhi or at most visiting my home in Ranikhet.  Therefore, I had nothing much to write about.  A few days back a friend of mine working in Delhi Development Authority, where treks for the employees are conducted annually & regularly, which is a healthy practice, informed me about the destination .  While discussing his last trekking trip organized by his office, he mentioned the name of a place called Khari Mandari, which he had visited with the office group and recounted some funny anecdotes that occurred during the said trek.
As I found the place to be of some interest to me, I tried to gather some information from the internet, but to my dismay there was no information available about this destination.  So I contacted my friend again and sought some detailed information from him about the destination along with some photographs and this narration is a third party account of the visit, as informed by my friend.  I am undertaking the same so that this nondescript destination of Manali finds mention in the internet and for benefit of my blog readers.
Heading towards Jogini falls
Almost there at Jogini falls
The famed Jogini falls
The journey had commenced late in the evening from the office premises near INA Market, New Delhi and as it was around the month of September, so all the participants had been instructed to carry some jackets and woolens, as the weather in the mountains can take a turn for worse at any time without any prior indication.  Everyone was in high spirits singing and cracking jokes with their friends & groups, who had managed to get seats next to each other in the bus.  The initial destination was Manali, which is about 550 Kms. from Delhi and takes 12-14 hours to reach.  After initial hullaballoo, everyone settled in for some sleep, which was hard to come by due to constant jumps and jerks of the bus.  The bus took the NH-1 till Chandigarh (about 227 Kms.), which takes about 4-5 hours to reach and thereafter, one has to take NH-21 and it takes about 8-10 hours from Chandigarh to reach Manali, which is about 330 Kms.  By the time most of the participants had woken up, we stopped somewhere beyond Chandigarh in a nondescript place for the morning ablutions & a cup of hot Tea / Chai, as arranged by the tour operator.  Refreshed, we commenced with the journey and by late-morning had reached our destination and immediately checked into the Bahang base camp on the Manali -Leh highway.  After briefing and allotment of tent and freshening up followed by lunch, we all were allowed to rest for the day and everyone had a sound sleep till late evening, tired from the overnight journey.
The tents at Bahang
The tent site at Boggi
Tent site at Sarai - the base camp for Khari Mandari
            The next day i.e. day two of arrival in Manali, although it was bright and sunny, yet there was a nip of cold in the air.  After breakfast, we headed for the famed Jogini falls for acclimatization.  The fall was really spectacular, falling from a height of a hundreds of feet.  Having trekked back to the base camp for the night, we all were provided with some basic hiking equipment and instructions to be followed for the trek that was to commence from the next morning i.e. day three after arrival at Manali.  The next morning i.e. day three of arrival at Manali, we all proceeded for Boggi, after early B’fast we left by Jeep that dropped us at Jagatsukh.  Boggi is situated at an altitude of 2500 meters above MSL and after alighting from the Jeeps, we started for the first leg of the trek of about 10 Kms. and having got past Banara village, camp was setup in a meadow close to alpine forest and everyone provided with packed lunch.  Although the trek gradient was easy, but having walked for 10 Kms., we just tore into our lunch packs.  Evening was free and we all enjoyed the surroundings.  The fourth morning was scheduled for trek from Boggi to Sarai, another 10 Kms. trek passing through some undulating meadows interspersed by some gradual climbs and by late afternoon we managed to reach Sarai, perched at an altitude of 3050 meters above MSL, where camps had been set up in a small clearing.  We retired for the night at this camp, as it was to be our base camp for final assault to Khari Mandari.
As we start our trek towards Khari Mandari - distant view of Pir Panjal ranges under cloud cover - view from below Fa Kanda ridge
View of the camp below from the Fa Kanda ridge
Khari Mandari top - view of the alpine destination
            On the fifth day since our arrival on Manali, after having taken early breakfast, we started our climb towards Khari Mandari.  As we started the climb, we found it to be toughest of the trek.  The trek endures constant climbing and gradual gaining of height upto Fa-Kanda ridge situated at an altitude of 3500 meters above MSL.  The tour guide informed us that we could get spectacular views of Pirpanjal and Chandra Bhaga ranges, but as the sky was overcast, we could not get a glimpse of the same.  We reached the Khari Mandari, which is a meadow perched at considerable height and after taking rest for about half an hour, we started our trek back to the base camp at Sarai for overnight stay at the camp.  Early next morning i.e. the sixth day of arrival, we started our downward trek passing by the same meadows & forest fringes retracing through small hamlets or villages named Tilgan, Suru and reached Priini, wherefrom the Jeep picked us up from near an old bridge and took us to Manali for an afternoon outing in the township.  The next day we returned to Delhi, thus ending our trekking trip.
© S Roy Biswas


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