Maximum Altitude: 15840 ft
Duration: 6 days
The Himalayas offer some of the most amazing hiking destinations in north India and is a major travellers’ hotspot in the country. Ranging from a weekend, short treks to an extensive advanced mountaineering opportunities, Himalayas has something for everybody. And with a lot of trails being explored by countless people, there are still a few that hidden and undiscovered. Trekkers and adventurers from all across the globe have been visiting the Himalayas to seek out new routes; summit a new and unknown mountain; climb the impossible and this has resulted into exploration of the famous trekking routes.
Let’s talk about one of such rare gems. Located on the Pir Panjal Range in Himachal Pradesh, the Kalicho Pass trek is one of the most unexplored and challenging treks in India. This trek is considered as one of the most difficult to reach Lahaul valley and is basically a route used by Gaddi Shepherd with their flocks. , This trek will challenge your physical as well as mental strength, but will also show you the beautiful contrast between the regions of Bharmour and Lahaul. You will traverse the small streams, deep jungles and pretty meadows. You will walk through snow, and ascent through some steep trails. And you will be among only a few to be able to do it. In fact. Trekking here is so rare that every year, only three batches are permitted to cross this pass.
Kalicho Pass is named after Local Goddess Bhadrakali as it’s believed the goddess is the protector for the people who are heading towards the high Kalicho Pass. Before starting the trek, you must visit the Banni Devi’s temple to offer prayers and take permission to cross the pass. The Gaddi Shepherds even sacrifice their few sheeps to please the goddess.
Day 1: Bharmour to Bhadra
The base camp is the quaint little town of Bharmour. From here you will drive to for around 18 km to reach the village of Harchu and this is the place from where you will start the trek. You will cross a small stream, wooden bridges and pretty villages before reaching the Banni village. Here you get to visit the famous Banni Mata temple. It is dedicated to Banni mata, an incarnation of goddess Kali. The name Banni is also related to the “Ban” or oak trees found here. Have a little break, offer your prayers and then you can proceed towards Bhadra which is last village before Kalicho pass.
Day 2: Bhadra to Leundi
Bhadra to Leundi is a nice and easy walk of 12 km, with couple of steep climbs through lots of small streams. The trail goes through dark forest where you are warned to be a little careful as you might run into black Himalayan Bear. The forest open pristine meadows of Leundi. Roll down in the grass, pitch up your tent and have a hot cup of tea. There is a small temple here dedicated to Goddess Bhadrakali which you can visit.
Day 3: Leundi – Bansar Goth
Wake up to a beautiful morning in the mountains. And get ready for a tough day. Unlike the easy hike, the previous day today you’ll have to traverse through some steep trails. The route goes up and down in many parts and is enough to leave you panting for some air. But the adventure is exciting and you won’t mind catching your breath while looking at some stunning scenery. After crossing a few streams, you will reach Bansar which is believed to be the place of incarnation of Banni Mata. It will also be your camping ground for the night.
Day 4: Bansar Goth- Alyas
The distance covered today is less as compared to the previous days, but the terrain is difficult. Also your body will require some rest during the trek. Base ground of Passes or Camp grounds on both sides of passes are called Alyas locally called Lahesh. And you will be moving to the base camp of Kalicho Pass. Pitch up your tents and enjoy a star lit sky.
Day 5: Alyas – Kalicho Pass –Alyas
The big day has arrived. It is the most exciting and also the toughest day of the entire trek. Apart from a steep climb, the weather also dictate if you’ll be able to reach on the top. If it’s a clear sky, then you can leave early in the morning (around 4 am). This is done to ensure that the snow is frozen for easier walking and you can the pass top before 12 noon. If you are late, then you’ll have to turn back. The trail is daunting and involves vertical climbs, crossing rough terrain. The sudden gain in altitude can also slow you down. But once you reach the top, you forget all of this. What you remember is the view in front of you. A small Kali Mata temple stands proudly on the top of Kalicho Pass. The goddess is with you and therefore you go inside and thank her. The descent is also not very easy. You go down to the other side of Alyas and camp there for the night.
Day 6: Alyas –Trilokinath – Udaipur
The descent trail is frozen stream from Alyas and reaches at Famous Trilokinath Temple. Rest for an hour at temple the trails go down to cross the river and join the main highway to Udaipur. Udaipur is the last destination of this trek. Stay overnight in the village before proceeding to your next destination.
Best Time To Visit
The trek should be done from late July-September. Please note that every year, only three batches are permitted to cross this pass.
How To Reach
The airport nearest to Bharmour is 190km away at Gaggal, near Dharamshala. The railway station nearest to Bharmour is 180km away in Pathankot. Buses and taxis from the both the railway station and the airport are easily available, but the road trip will take four to five hours. If you are coming from Delhi, you can also take a Volvo bus to Chamba. The overnight bus will drop you straight to Chamba, from where you can board another bus or take a taxi to Bharmour.