Snow-filled Landscape in Kharapathar, Himachal

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Kharapathar, Shimla Overview

When it comes down to rugged mountainous views, free-spirited nature and an overall enchanting and wild trip, the Himalayan village of Khara Pathar takes the cake. The small village may not seem often be chosen in favour of its famous neighbour, Shimla and due to the extremely off track road that leads to Kharapathar, but the place's charm is never dimmed. Kharapathar is located at the height of 8770 feet above sea level, making it the highest point on the Shimla route. The staggering height of the village makes the view here a thing of the legends, especially at night when all the scattered houses on the hill are lit up like specks. The cloud-piercing height also gives rise to clear cloudless nights which give individuals an absolutely stunning view of the millions of stars, which is a sight as rare as a shooting star in big cities or towns.

Aside from its surroundings, Khara Pathar is best known as a base for several trekking and hiking routes amongst which the most famous one is the Giri Ganga River Trek. This trek is the reason Khara Pathar receives as much as tourism as it does today. The village and the area surrounding it are also often referred to as the 'apple belt of Himachal Pradesh' due to sprawling apple plantations dotting the hills with the reds and greens. Camping and fishing are activities that are also often taken up by individuals visiting the area.                                                       

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Giri Ganga River Trek

The Giri Ganga River Trek is one of the more famous treks around the Himalayas that attracts religious societies as well as nature enthusiasts or outdoor explorers. The trek sets up its base at Khara Pathar and stretches all the way up to the source of the river. The river is also used a place for pilgrims to visit during their pilgrimage. The trek begins at Khara Pathar and has exactly two alternative routes to reach the final destination or the source. One way of reaching the source is through a hired car while the other leads to a six-kilometre hike through the dense forests and lush greenery that surrounds Kharapathar.

The start of the hike is approximately 400 metres from the hotel located on the highway to Rohu. While hiking the terrain, individuals are sure to see varying varieties of flora such as an abundance of deodar trees or pine trees as well as apple plantations. Clear streams and brooks also make an appearance. As far as the terrain itself goes, most of the path is consistently muddy except for the end which is a rocky path that forms approximately 15% of the end.

Once you complete the Giri Ganga River Trek and reach your destination, individuals can walk amongst the beautiful surroundings and enjoy the spectacular view of the Giri Ganga River and its surroundings. An ancient, withering temple complex is also present at the top and attracts many tourists and locals alike. The temple is made up of ruins, a cottage, and a traditional age-old dharamshala made of wood and stone. Along with this, the temple proper has three main shrines which worship separate deities. The main shrine is placed on a stone platform which is raised and surrounded by a large water tank. The shrine is dedicated to Goddess Durga, and local legends say that taking a round around the temple, in the water, is a sure fire way to wash away all your sins and wrongdoings. This is often seen in practice by several locals. Along with this, the other two shrines that face each other are dedicated to Lord Ram, Laxman and Sita and a dark and dank marble Shivlinga enclave respectively.

How To Reach Kharapathar

The Village of Khara Pathar is at a distance of 77 kilometres from Shimla. The best way to reach the village is through renting a private car or taxi that is sturdy enough to handle the bumpy un-kept roads that adorn the last 40 kilometres to the destination.

Bus services are cheap and easily affordable and also provide transport to the village. However, it is not advisable to take a bus as the roads are extremely rough towards the end and it takes at least twice the time to reach Khara Pathar.

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