Bara Bhangal Trek
Trip Type: Trekking
Region: Kullu and Kangra Valley - Himachal
Grade: Moderately Challenging
Duration: 10 days
Max Altitude: 4800m
Batch Dates: Custom Trips only
Bara Bhangal Trek Overview
The Bara Bhangal trek, also known as the Shepherds trail trek takes you over two high passes - the Kalihani and Thamsar and is limited to trekkers experienced in the rugged backcountry with long walking hours.
Bara Bhangal is a remote ancient village that grew in prosperity over centuries due to the protection provided by the surrounding mountains (the Bara Bhangal Range). Though politically a part of Kangra now, it is uniquely placed at the conjunction of three districts - Kullu, Kangra and Chamba. The waters from the Kalihani and Minkiani passes meet at Bara Bhangal to create the Ravi river which then flows west to Chamba.
The Bara Bhangal trek is a classic Himalayan traverse that take you from Manali in the Kullu valley to Billing in Kangra valley. The trek starts from right above Manali but it soon leaves the crowded town behind and gains quick altitude to reach secluded glades, ridges with panoramic views, rolling green meadows studded with wildflowers and views of Deo Tibba, Indrasan, Inderkila, Rohtang Pass and the many peaks of the Bara Shigri glacier.
We cross Kalihani pass over glaciated terrain and enter the Bara Bhangal range and continue onward traversing through multiple shepherd camps and meadows to reach the mystical Bara Bhangal village. From the village, we start the ascent to the second pass on the trek - Thamsar and pass several glacial ponds on our way to the top. From Thamsar pass, we again enter lush green landscapes - this time of the Kangra valley.
The trek, though not very high has multiple ascents and descents. But for the trouble, it is a very fruitful trek that people looking for an isolated, intune-with-nature route would revel in.
This is a custom departure tour and so please write to us for prices and more info on this trek.
Day 01: The participants arrive in Manali.
Day 02: Manali - Lama Dugh (3017m)
Duration: 4 - 5 hours
The climb is through thick forests but there is no water point after departing from Manali. As one gains height in this steep climb, the distinct views of different faces of Indrasan, Deo Tibba and peaks of Bara Shigri glacier open up. In the last lag, the path turns to the right and one traverses the ridge horizontally and enters the campsite on an alpine plateau studded with a thick growth of alpine flowers.
Day 03: Lama Dugh - Riyali Thach (3400m)
Duration: 6 - 7 hours
The height gain on this day is approximately 1 km. The trek is through steep a ridge below Khand Pari Tibba (4000m). From this point, one can have a magnificent glimpse of Manali, situated on the left bank of River Beas and the whole upper Kullu valley, which appears swathed in the different colors of the season.
Day 04: Riyali Thach - Base of Kalihani Pass (4010m)
Duration: 6 hours
A longish day. The trail proceeds over open meadows initially followed by a steep descent to a stream. Crossing it, the path continues in a steep climb for about three hours till you arrive at the camp at the base of the Kalihani Pass. Make sure you catch the views of Deo Tibba and Indrasan peaks from the campsite.
Day 05: Base of Kalihani - Devi ki Marhi (3850m) via Kalihani Pass (4725m)
Duration: 8 hours
Today will be a long, arduous day with a steep climb to the pass crossing a stretch of scree, a moraine, and the Kalihani glacier. Take time off at the pass to get a splendid 360 degree view of hanging glaciers, the Pir Panjal and Dhauladhar ranges. A steep descent across another glacier and four beautiful glacial lakes will bring you to the camp at the gaddi (shepherd) campsite of Devi ki Marhi.
Day 06: Devi Ki Marhi - Dal Marhi (3900m)
Duration: 6 hours
The trail first crosses over the Kalihani Nullah and descends into oak and birch forests. Most of the path then is flat with few ups and downs. Just before the end of day though is a steep climb before you arrive at the Dal Marhi campsite.
Day 07: Dal Marhi - Bara Bhangal (2882m)
Duration: 6 hours
The trail now continues down the Ravi river into the deodar forest, to the only large village in the valley, Bara Bhangal.
Day 08: Bara Bhangal - Mardh (3830m)
Duration: 5 hours
Today we will start climbing towards the next big pass, Thamsar. The trail winds up through pine, deodar and birch forests with mountain streams to break the monotony. The campsite at Mardh is near the base of the Thamsar glacier.
Day 09: Mardh - Plachak (2721m) via Thamsar Pass (4878m)
Duration: 7 hours
Another day of steep ascent over moraine, scree and glacier. The climb is broken by a small lake just below the pass. From on top of Thamsar, you will get your first glimpse of the lush Kangra valley. On the other side of the pass, it's a steep, long descent till you reach the campsite at Plachak, well below the tree line.
Day 10: Plachak - Rajgundha (2440m) - Billing (2310m)
Duration: 6 hours
The easiest day of the trek so far. The path is flat and easy, passing through pine forests with many mountain streams. The valley widens and you get great views of the open Kangra valley. A vehicle will pick you up at Billing and drop you to Bir or Dharamshala. Or you can choose to fly from Billing to Bir on a tandem paraglider.
- Camping Tents, Kitchen tents, Sleeping bags (Holofill) and Carry mats.
- Nutritious, high calorie vegetarian food will be served for the whole trek.
- Guide, cook and camp helpers.
- Porters/ Horses to carry loads on the whole route.
- Participants are not expected to carry any loads other than a small daypack with camera, some trail layers and some trail food.
- Two people will be accommodated in one tent.
- Transport Manali hotel to Road Head and Billing to Dharamshala.
- Hotel accommodations in Manali for 1 day before the trek and in Dharamshala for one day after the trek.
- All expenses of personal nature like drinks, tips, telephone calls, mineral water etc.
- Sleeping Bags. (We recommend to get bags which are comfort rated to - 5 to - 8 deg C)
- Accommodation and food in Manali.
- Medical and evacuation expenses, we strongly recommend purchasing a suitable insurance cover.
- Backpack 40 - 50 Lts with rain cover.This you will need in case you choose to offload your larger pack onto a horse/porter
- Day Pack 15 - 20 lts - You will use this to carry your camera, water bottle, Trail layers, trail food etc.
-Trekking Shoes: Please do not wear sports shoes as on most treks as we go higher it gets harder to use the sports shoes. We recommend shoes with a good hard sole and also ankle support preferable water proof. While we do not subscribe to any particular brand you can try the Quechua forclaz 100, 500 or 600.
- 2 -3 pairs of cotton socks.
- 2 pairs of woolen socks ( these are ideal to sleep in and best to use when in camp. We do not recommend them while trekking).
- Pants: 3 pairs (including the ones you wear) - Ideal are the quick dry light weight synthetic pants. Alternatively track pants are also comfortable to trek in. We do not recommend you get Denims or Jeans as they get hard to trek in.
- Tshirts 3 pairs (including the ones you are wearing) - Preferable cotton t-shirts that are full sleeves. You can also choose to get T-shirts with collars, they offer extra protection for the neck from sun burns.
- Synthetic Fleece Jacket - 1 pair.
- Wind proof/ Water proof Jacket - 1 pair.
- Down filled / Hollow fiber fill insulated Jacket - 1 -pair ( optional - get this if you want to stay extra warm at camps.)
- Thermal liners - 1 pair upper and lower (optional).
- Raincoat/ Poncho - what ever you get make sure it is something that will cover your daypack and camera too.
- Warm Beanie - make sure it is something that covers your ears. You can also use buffs, scarfs etc in addition to your beanie.
- Gloves - Lightweight synthetic gloves made of Fleece or you can also use woollen gloves.
- Sun Cap- 1 no
- Sun Glasses with good UV protection.
Other necessary things that we recommend you get:
- Toiletries - Sunscreen SPF 40+, Moisturizer, Lip balm, Soap, Toilet paper.
- Repair Kit (needle and thread).
- Headlamp/ Torch.
- Water Bottle- Ideally keep two bottle 1 litre each.
- Trekking Pole - Optional.
- Plastic Packing covers. (Please pack all your gear in waterproof plastic bags so that your clothes etc do not get wet while on horses or porters. Also carry extra plastic bags in case you need to pack wet clothes.)