Scaling the heights of Shrikhand Mahadev – one of the most challenging religious Himalayan treks in India.
The whole experience is like an access to stairway to heaven.
It is a magical moment as one reaches the top. It enchants the devotee with divine waves of emotions. Thrills and chills move you inside out, also as one can feel the effusion scenic of mountains all around.
Legend behind Srikhand Mahadev Yatra
According to Hindu mythology, Bhasamasur meditated for several years. Lord Shiva got pleased and gave him bhasama kangan. Due to pride and ego Bhasamasur tried to use the bhasama kangan (the invisible powder) on Lord Shiva , Mahadev vanished into a cave and later appeared on a hill top that is presently known as the Srikhand Mahadev Peak and the cave into which he had vanished is known as Devdhank and is situated near Nirmand.
Legend also reveals that the Pandavas had undertaken this pilgrimage.
The giant mountains of the Indian Himalayas are home to exotic flora and fauna. Lofty snow-clad peaks, arresting panorama, and serenity of environs make the Himalayas a great destination for nature admirers, pilgrims, adventure enthusiasts, and almost all kind of tourists.
For adventure junkies, Trekking especially is one of the most sought after adventure activities in the Indian Himalayas. The perfect settings of these mountains create ideal trails for trekkers. There are treks available in the Indian Himalayas comprising of all three difficulty levels i.e. easy, medium and tough.
Tough treks like Shirkhand Mahadev  in the Indian Himalaya offer the real test of endurance for a trekking lover.  It provide the trekkers a once-in-a-lifetime experience that remains etched in their minds forever.
Trek Facts:
Altitude: 5562 meters (18000 feet approx.)
Trail Type: Difficult gradients. Steep incline trek going through dense forest , rough glacier covers, rocky moraine path.
Base Camp: Jaun Village or Singhaarh.
Trek Itinerary:
Day 1: Jaun to Thaacharu. 15 Kms, 8 – 9 hrs.
Day 2: Thaacharu to Bheem Duar, 13.5 Kms 9-10 hrs.
Day 3: Bheem Duar to Shrikhand and back Bheem Duar, 14 Kms 9-10 hrs
Day 4: Bheem Duar to Jaon, 28.5 km 15-17 hrs.
After hearing about this place from my friend Rohit Rana, we planned the trek of Shrikhand Mahadev. I searched and enquired about this holy place through various blogs n traveling sites.
Shrikhand Mahadev is a pilgrimage as well as Extreme Adventurous Trek for people of all Faith. It is believed that Shrikhand Mahadev is one of the abode of Lord Shiva. It is part of the Great Himalaya National Park.
The 71 odd  km to and fro , Shrikhand Mahadev Yatra pilgrimage, one of the toughest Trek/Pilgrimage in the world ascending through himalayan meadows beyond the snow line to a 72-ft high pinnacle of rock, dubbed as the Shivling, at 18,000 feet above sea level.
Pilgrimage begin the yatra at Jaon village in kullu district, 170 km from Shimla. A 3-km trek leads to the base camp at Singhaard, the last habitation. From here the trekking starts that completes in atleast 4 days. The journey requires periodic stops for rest and acclimatization.
Through out the journey up and down the pilgrims enchanted and greeted each other with the various names of lord shiva inorder to motivate each other.. the words “bam shankar”, “ohm namo shiva” , “har har mahadev”,  “jai bholenath” still echoes in ears giving divine feeling..
So dates were finalized and finally on 16th of july around 2 pm Me and Sukhi my partner in various other expeditions set out our journey.. first halt was chandigarh reached around 7 pm and  did some essential shoping like trekking shoes.. gloves.. rain coats and bag covers.. at decthalon zirakpur..
( 265 KM, 1053 ft to 5171 ft, Temp 18 to 38 degree).
On 17th after some personal work finally we were in Naya Gaoan to pick Mr Rohit Rana.. the whole and soul of this lovely divine refreshing  trek.. he was eagarly waiting for his on his main gate.. with no sparing time we hit the road to shimla..
Had some clicks at the place known for Shimla view point..  again we were on board to our next destination Rampur.. jst at short distance from shimla jst before Narkanda we had a halt for refreshment at small make shift hut.. rana had half a dozen glasses of desi cow’s milk.. sukhi his addiction n me  apple.. host was humble guy.. luking up the hill behind him he said the cherry orchards  above are of Maharaja Amrinder Singh .. he often cmes here .. had two lavish banglows one of him and other of Maharani Parneet Kaur.. n smiling he further said the apple orchards he owns in chail too have banglow and that belongs to his another wife Aroosa from pakistan.. we were taken by surprise they way he narrated this.. well after rana had his last glass of milk we proceded further discusing about Caption Saab and finally we were at level with river Satluj.. had sme clicks again.. then crossed the river for our first night halt of the journey at Baghipul.. a small place jst after Nirmand..
One could say journey from biggest city (SHIMLA)to biggest village (NIRMAND)of himachal..
Had dinner at bandhara .. did sme chit chatting about trek ahead with locals and people who already done with the trek.. then retired at hotel by river side..
(17 km, 5171 ft to 11318 ft, temp 10 to 18 degree)
On 18th around 6 am we checked out and set out for Jaon village few kms ahead.. the last stretch of road.. the base camp for treking to Shrikhand peak..
Jaun is a small villagein the midst of  great himalayan range. One can admire the beauty of mother nature sitting amid mountains, rivulets, small houses, temples , most important apple orchards & rajma fields.
Parked the car .. back packs wer on.. and things wer checked.. pics wer clicked.. we were fortunate enough to get the glance of holy Shri khand peak from the parking space itself.. it was so motivating..
Finally trek was on with full enthusiasm.. some uphill and downs and through scores of lovely houses and apples orchids.. with lovely stream flowing along.. finally we reached Singhaard at 6873 ft. Jaon to Singhaard is a trek of 3 Kms besides the right bank of Kurpan. It takes one hour to reach there.. govt officials done with registration .. had sme refreshment at langer..  and again set for next destination.. The next step is to proceed to Barathi Nalah at 7283 ft, which is the place of the confluence of two small rivulets that make Kurpan.  The trek to Barathi nala is smooth 3 kms and takes 1.5 hrs..
Crossed the bridge and started climbing hills from Barahati to Thachru. This was most difficult strech of the whole trek. This 10km stretch of 80 degree climb is known as Danda Dhaar. it requires good strength and stamina. This climb is through the dense deodhar forest..When we looked up, the hill was soaring into the skies. We were completely exhausted when we reached Thacharu.
Thachru at 11318 ft is a place where tree line ends and herbs and shrubs remain for the next patch of the trek. Day one trek stops at Thachru. Tharchu looks like a perfect place for night stay after the vertical climb of 10 Kms. Overnight in Thachru camp.. arranged a spacious tent for us.. soon another group joined us in tent.. bunch of young spoilt brats.. chain smokers.. we requested them not to smoke but they didnt listen.. had to shift tent to avoid any altercation with them.. had langar with rajma , curry n rice and prantha’s at the tent we stayed for overnight..
(13.5 Kms, 11318ft to 13622 ft, Temp – 2 to 15 Degree)
After a complete rest at beautiful warm tented accomdation of young vibrant Mr Rajesh .. we woke up early around 4 am and started our trek to Bheem Dwar along  beautiful flower valleys,  From Thachru to Kali Ghati there is a straight climb of 3 Kms. It takes 1.5 hours to complete this. The way to Kali Ghati from Tharchu is straight north facing and one side has a deep ditch.  After spending about 1 hour on trek you reach an open place full of big rocks.  It provides a close view of surrounding mountains.. stayed here for capturing the beauty around.. From here it takes 15 minutes to Kali Ghati. Kali Ghati is the top of Danda Dhaar. It is at 12778 ft. The vertical climb started from Barathi Nala ends at here. From Kali Ghati you can get 360 degree view of the Himalayas. You’ll get a chance see some very rare Himalayan flowers on the way.
This place makes one feel close to Lord already. The panoramic view of Himalayas captivates the spectators with its jaw-dropping beauty. There is also a small temple dedicated to kali on Kali-Top.
Kali Ghati to Bhim Talai

Next journey starts here after worshipping Kali. From kali Ghati trek extend towards Bhim Talai which is just 1.5 Kms. It takes only 30 minutes to cover this distance because trek is gentle and steep down hill.. bit risky at some spots though.. got to see himalayan rat here. Bhim Talai is a place where according to legends Bhim one of the Pandava brothers used to take bath. This is a place surrounded by high peaks, and tiny waterfalls. One can see shepherds here at Bhim Talai. Bheem Talai is at 11279 ft. stayed here for a while and had parantha’s.
Bhim Talai to Kunsa
From Bhim Talai to Kunsa is 3 Kms smooth trek. It takes 1.5 hrs to cover this patch. Just after crossing the Grass Ground, you have to cross a glacier around 500 meters long and 80 meter wide..  luckily the glacier was half gone.. From this glacier to Kunsa there is a vertical climb with rocks.. Kunsa at 12746 ft is a place surrounded by big waterfalls. It is a place of breathtaking  scenery.
Kunsa Valley to Bheem Dwar

From Kunsa to Bheem Dwar there is a level walk . It is a strench of 3 Kms, with few risky patches one among them is Naag dhaar. On this very stretch we met group of yatri’s who belongs to Chandigarh but native of Nirmand village.. same sector where once Mr Rana used to stay..  we came across them several times till Shrikhand peak.. we became sort of good companions .. motivating each other during harsh climbs throughout the journey..
The route to Bheem Dwar is filled with rare Himalayan flowers and different shrubs. This place is wide and it provides a panoramic view of deep valleys, deep gorges, big waterfalls and some small streams flowing on the way. After spending 2 hours, you reach  Bheem Dwar. This place is at an altitude of 12175 ft. It is said that during there exile Pandavas stayed here, that’s why its called Bheem Dwar.. This is a Large Grassy land surrounded by big waterfalls.
During the Shrikhand Mahdev Yatra  this place Bheem Dwar provides the base for the pilgrims. Shepherds’ use this place to graze their sheep and goats. One can stay at Bheem Dwar in nature cave here. Most of the pilgrims use these for rest purpose. The beauty of this place is terrifying. One can easily spend hours here admiring the beauty of mother nature.
Reached there around 5 pm.. its adviseable to get a last tented accomdation in Bheem Dwar inorder to save time for next trek to Paarvati Bagh.. the tents are pitched in area around  1km . we got the tent in last stretch jst after crossing the stream.. host Baldev was nice guy.. had lovly dinner .. Overnight at Bheem Dwar.
(14 Kms, 10622 ft to 18195ft, Temp- 2 to 10 Degree
Next day we woke up at 4:00 am and started climbing the last stretch with the help of torch lights.. by the morning light we reached parvati baagh with birds chirpings , mesmerizing sound of small streams and beautiful Brahm Kamal flowers all around.. a rare himalayan flower.. nevr had such a lovly morning experience.. parvati bagh is the last place where you can find Grass and some high altitude shrubs and herbs. Paarvati  Baag at 13622 ft is just 3 Kms from Bheem Dwar. It takes 2 hrs to reach Parvati Baag. Up to the big waterfall the trek is gentle. Just after crossing the waterfall there is a vertical climb of 2.5 Kms up to Parvati Baag. According to legends it is said that Mata Parvati used this place for their stay. So it is called Parvati Baag. This place is full of rare flowers of higher himalayas and famous for rarest Brahma Kamal.  This place is just below the Holy Shrikhand Mountain.
After paarvati bagh we took our first break after 2 kilometers at Nain Sarovar. First part of the trek upto Nainser Lake is gentle with streams and boulders. Nainser is a high altitude lake at 14527 ft  surrounded by an area of about two football fields. It takes 2.5 hours to reach at Nainser. The whole trek to Shrikhand Mahdev is associated with Lord Shiva and Nainser Lake, it is said that this lake was created with the tears of Maa Parvati when she was worshipping lord Shiva.  People take a holy dip and carry the sacred water with them. This water lake between hills  mostly remain frozen.. had sme water from lake .. considered auspicious.. Temperature was very less here.
Next area was full of big rocks with different kind of marking on them. This was much more tiresome than the last day’s trek and hence we had frequent water breaks. There was no water source after Nain Sarovar so one needs to pack water for journey after Nain-Sarovar.. and do carry gulocose and dry fruits for energy.. we were without them and faced low energy effects..
Trek to Shrikhand is very steep and almost vertical from Nainser Lake. First patch of this trek from Nainser Lake normally takes 45 minutes just to complete this part of only 0.5 km. After spending 45 minutes you reach the top of a cliff at 14967 ft. From here you can see the beauty of Nainser Lake very clearly. Towards Shrikhand one can see the big boulders and glaciers. for me this steep uneven up hill stretch was not possible without Sukhi.. he pulled me and himself and we did this .5 km stretch in short time with few breaks.. otherwise i wud hav done it in hrs ..After some time sun came up and view was clear when we reached the top of this rock hill, we were overwhelmed with the beauty of the place. On the top we saw a huge store of clouds and we spent approximately 20 minutes here.
After this the next part on the trek is full of Moraines and snow at very few places. There are seven small peaks which you have to climb to reach Shrikhand.
On the way  to Bheem Baiee you have to cross many small stone tunnels,  and moraines. Bheem Baiee is a sacred place dedicated to Bheem at an altitude 15921 ft.
You can find different marks on stone here. It is said that Bheem once constructing the stairs from here to Heaven, but it was not completed due to lack of time. You will find a number of stones one top of another which appears like a stairway.
From Bheem Baiee you can see the holy Shrikhand Shila. It takes half hour to reach Shrikhand. You have to cross a big glacier to reach Shrikhand. we were bit scared before crossing the glacier.. fear of slipping down was doing rounds in mind.. Sukhi was in lead .. me in middle n Rana backing me.. but after crossing few meters of snow.. n geting the glimpse of holy Shrikhand Shivling.. fear vanished n we enjyed the remaing patch of snow.. jst after the glacier was done.. we have another peak to scale of few meters in height.. n finally we were on the top of the world.. the feeling was divine.. touched the holy rock.. prayed for everybody’s welbeing.. thankd almighty .. had sme quick clicks.. spent sme time dere..
Apart this place provides excellent view of Himalayas from three sides and from one side a magical look towards Rampur Sarahan and Shimla hills, Kinnaur Himalaya from one side, Kullu and Shimla mountains from other sides.Shrikhand at 18195 ft is a place where you can feel the fragrance of nature everywhere.
This is the Land of Mighty God Shiva
After paying absence at the holy Shrikhand peak.. capturing the divine monents in camera.. we set our journey back to Bheem Dwar.. it was around 2 pm..  the moment we started to descend the snow flakes covered the entire place.. the scene was treat to the eyes.. but it lasted for few mins.. we hurriedly statred to descend to avoid the hostile weather..
Just after crossing the glacier .. the moment i steped on the boulders of Bheem Baaie .. i came tumbling down.. between the rocks.. but escaped unhurt.. sme hw managed to get up.. n on the next boulder again tumbled.. i think snow was to be blamed.. luking at me Rana yelled at Sukhi.. the persn assigned for me.. he was way ahead instead of being my side as instructed.. this was the first n last time i tumbled.. thankful to god..
There was scarcity of oxygen on the peak.. due to high altitude and no vegetation..  i had sme strange feeling in ears.. Sukhi had head ache.. n Rana was feeling very low.. he felt like his body on one side is losing sense.. but as we descended further down .. everythg normalized..
Slowly n steadly we crossed the big stones on the way between Nain Sarovar and Shrikhand Mahadev.  This small portion was to be walked upon carefully. We reached Naian Sarovar around 5pm . I heaved a sigh of relief. We rested for a while at Naian Sarovar and resumed downward journey.
We walked further. Parvati Baag was barely 3 kms from Naian Sarovar and the path was good. We could see the colorful tents at Parvati Baag, this was the only stretch i crossed the fastest i could..
There is warning sign for the pilgrims going upwards not to proceed after 10 a.m. from Parvati Baag as you have to return to Bheem Dwar for the night stay. There is no provision of any kind of staying arrangement beyond this point. It takes about 5-6 hours from this point to reach Shrikhand so you must plan accordingly so that you reach back in time.
Parvati Baag has tents but only for rescue teams . As it was not yet dark and as we wanted to cover as much distance as we could till we fell flat to call it a day, we decided to walk. Sukhi was way ahead .. Rana was going strong.. me was lagging behind.. Rana took neumerous halts inorder to keep me along.. in one of his halts  a guy annoyed him to some extent.. asking him to click him in different poses..  titanic postion.. and in 1 click holding rana’s unique walking support  gandasa..  so we kept on moving.. Now we could see a lot many tents in the distance at Bheem Dwar. Though the place seemed close at hand and also as we were now descending down, we thought that we would reach early. I learnt that walking down was much tougher.. lights were on and still hrs journey was left..  and when we finally reached Bheem Dwar Sukhi was busy with Baldev our host making arrangement for dinner.. Rana went straight to baldev’s tent.. i went straight to our tent was dead tired.. the moment i laid down i was fast asleep.. then i heard Sukhi yelling come meal is ready.. sme hw aftr many tries i woke up and went to had meal..  But the aroma of food being served  took away all the tiredness from our bodies.. after meal me and Sukhi had masala tea it was hot, syrupy and sweet. I enjoyed sipping it silently..  and in no time were in sleep mode..
Looking back at all circumstances and hard ship we faced through the journey and how the weather was on our side  unexpectedly, I can see for sure that this was the way of Shiva to show how He is there taking care of us.
We hurriedly got up though it was 7.. were tired from previous day long trek.. Rana as usual was ready before us..  done with his daily chores of Yoga and stroll.. that also geting up early around 5 as he does in routine.. we had lovly breakfast with parantha’s  .. the tent owner Baldev was bit late but yummy parantha’s compensated it.. aftr having breakfast we got ready for the downward journey. We had planned to walk to Jaon village, where we had parked our car, by evening. It was a long distance of 28.5 km.
Some distance from Bheem Dwar the downpour started.. Sukhi’s wish was fulfilled.. through out the way up n down he was reciting if rain comes how we will walk.. n god showed him hw to walk in rain..
Next stoppage was Kunsha and the colorful tents in the green background under the clear blue sky seemed so beautiful. On way we had a brief halt to look at the grazing sheeps..  the moment Mr Rana was waiting for long time.. after some clicks we were on move again.. crossed the tricky Naag Daar stretch smoothly..
Next stoppage was Bheem Talai, another picturesque place.
We walked further and now the next stop was Kali Ghati. But what a stretch of difficult terrain it was! Till now we had been walking quite comfortably but now the steep ascent to reach Kali Ghati was too much for our tired soles and souls! The trek was extremely tough at this point. Somehow we reached Kali Ghati.
This is 12000 feet high from sea level. There were red flags fluttering  before the idol of Kaali Jogini at Kali Ghati. We paid our obeisance to her for having completed the Yatra. This is the spot where pilgrims on way to Shrikhand pay obeisance to Kali Jogini and seek her blessings.
From Kali Ghati Shri khand peak was clearly visible with fresh coat of snow.. the view was too gud.. after spending  some time  n clicks we were on move to Thachru.. We had decided to reach Thachru for lunch. It was still much away and the path was narrow and slippery as it had rained. The branches of the trees provided much needed walking support to us.
We reached Thachru around 3pm..  dere was most sumptuous meal at the langar with yummy luking sweet dish.. Rana was the fortunate 1.. i coudnt .. was bit low.. Sukhi as usual gulped few cups of tea.. and sweet dish..
We resumed our journey to Jaon around 4 .. i was made to lead.. bcoz i was the lagging one.. i did justice to my position.. went way ahead of Sukhi n Rana.. Rana meanwhile  enjoyed Sukhi’s company.. he enjoyed his logical illogical facts.. the one he collected from being fan of channels like discovery n national geography.. on way they came across bunch of guys smoking chilams.. but to dere surprise they turned out to be a gud band and entertained them with lovley song “shimle ni jana kasauli nai jana chamba kitni dur”..  i stopped in between to catch up with them and for cold drink the taste of which i was waiting for 4 days as it was not available on above route..
Soon they both joined me.. But now the almost vertical descent had become very slippery and treacherous.. and our knees were not with helding our weight..It was difficult to hold our foot as the ground was much slippery. I realized that walking downhill was more difficult than walking uphill. The whole path was full of people—going upward and going downward. The pilgrims coming up would ask us, “how far is Shrikhand?” and me asking about Barahti nala .. And common voice would say, “Keep going, not much far!”
Around 8 pm we reached Barathi nala.. totally exausted.. knees jerking.. crying out of pain.. we decided to hang our boots here at bandahra.. had dinner and retired..
After night halt at Barahti Nala , morning was relaxing as we were almost done with our trek.. so at 8 we were again on route to Singhaard the first stoppage of yatra. Rana as usual was awake before us .. done with his yoga n refreshing n was busy chating with yogi of the bandahra we stayed at.. so we started at 8:30.. trek was along the Kurpan river and our entertainer Sukhi n Rana somehow came up with the idea of taking a dip in chilled Kurpan waters.. they were luking for sme pool like stalled water in otherwise  violent stream.. finally in between Barahti nala and Singhaard  we found the perfect spot..Rana and me decided to take bath in frigid water of Shrikhand river. Our senses stopped working after 2 minutes in river water and shivers continued for next 45… the master planer Sukhi backed off..  it was lovly experience ..all fatique was gone.. finally after refreshing dip we reached Singhaard.. We were quite fresh after taking tea and pakoras and jalebis dere.  After releishing treats dere we decided to walk further to reach Jaon where our car was parked..  on route we intereacted with locals regarding wild life n dere livelihood.. the cultivation they do.. jst before Jaon , again i got so tired that my legs had become like robotic legs but i  just kept on walking and walking and finally we reached Jaon.
At Jaon we bought rajmas and apples on route to Nirmand.. next stopage was Nirmand.. the biggest village.. NIRMAND also known as Shoti kaashi bcoz of its brahmin population.. it is also related with great PARSHURAM JI .. as we were strolling around Nirmand streets we happened to meet chandigarh vale uncle again out of sheer coincidence.. he was so happy to c us.. he then asked one of his friend to show us village n various historical sites its famous for..he shared a number of local beliefs and folktales with us.. then uncle arranged a lovly lunch for us .. aftr spending quality time dere we were on were way to shimla around 12.. on route we had a brief visit to  Devdhank as it is here one has to stop for a while to make this Yatra a complete one. Devdhank – The gufa or holy cave near Nirmand where Lord Shiva disappeared after Bhasamasur chased him with the bhasma kangan.
After paying obscience dere we were Again on move .. had dinner around 10 at Barog.. n reached chandigarh around 1 at night.. We slept peacefully throughout the night but not before I had recorded the notes of all the wonderful experiences in my phone diary that I carried throughout the Yatra!
With the Yatra over all that we have with us is a phone diary, some pictures, video’s and inerasable memories of persons and places etched our mind. The blissful moments etched in our mind would remain with us for whole of my life.
When we were facing difficulties on way we thought never to take up this journey again but now looking back at all the wonderful experience I look forward to another chance to pay my obeisance at the feet of Shrikhand Mahadev.
After reaching home we were feeling great to complete this trek and these memories are precious for all of us. We used to discuss the rainy days, high climbs, clouds, waterfalls, restlessness, temperature and other incidents of the trek…
Really Shrikhand Mahadev Trek was an amazing experience for us and I would strongly recommend trekkers to plan the things seriously. This was really a tough trek.
Here ends the memorable Shrikhand Mahadev Trek 2016
No other trek is so replete with mythology as this one. Let me recount just a couple:
* If you noticed, Nain Sarovar is shaped like a human eye. Local legend has it that when Shivji was meditating on Srikhand Mahadev Parvati was waiting for him below, where Nain Sarovar is located. She did ” tapasya” for him for 18000 years, but could not distract him. Out of frustration and grief she started crying, and one tear fell on the ground. This is the Nain Sarovar we see today!
* Parvati ka Bageecha, just below Nain Sarovar, is actually so called because it has a luxuriant growth of the Brahm Kamal, which is Parvati’s favourite flower. Such richness of vegetation at such high altitudes is unusual, and the Brahm Kamal is a rare flower. The local belief is that when Parvati was praying for Shivji in her sad solitude, thousands of these beautiful flowers sprang out of the ground in sympathy with her. That is why this spot is known as Parvati ka Bageecha!
* Some boulders you saw just below the peak. You might have observed that they contain a curious form of markings or  writing. No one has been able to explain them rationally. The mythology, however, is that these flat tablets are what Bhim kept his accounts on- locals call them Bhim Ki Bahi ( registers of Bhim)
Written By:-
Gurbhagwan Singh Brar