When we think about a trip to the mountains, we seldom associate spirituality with it. The Kheerganga Trek, situated at an altitude of 2960 meters, offers you a sense of thrill, adventure and that adrenaline rush that you seek. However, it also gives you an opportunity to escape the drudgery of your daily life and acquire a sense of peace amidst nature. True to its word, Kheerganga and the picturesque Parvati Valley in the Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh, is a spiritual retreat. Not only does it have a strong religious significance but also the serenity of the place has the power to restore your energy and lift your spirits.
Mythological Relevance of Kheerganga
It is said that Lord Kartikeya, the younger son of Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva had relocated to the mystical Parvati Valley to meditate. His mother, Goddess Parvati wanted to ensure a proper source of food for him and thus, she mixed rice with the waterboy that we now know as Parvati Kund. However, Rishi Parshuram believed that humans would inevitably fight over it and harm each other. To avoid this mishap, he removed the food particles, leaving behind a hot springs with healing abilities. Other local tales suggest that Sheshnag, the serpent Demigod wanted to provide heat and warmth to Lord Shiva while he was meditating in this location for 3000 years. The various temples such as Rudra Nag Temple, the Shiva Temple at top and even Manikaran Sahib Gurudwara near Kasol, are popular pilgrimage sites. In fact, it is believed that Guru Nanak Singh, while visiting his follower, Bhai Maradana, came across the hot spring while looking for a fire pit to cook their meals. As per the legend, whenever someone tried to dip the food in water, it would disintegrate but when pledged to God and the needy, it would resurface. Thus, this place stands for the virtues of sharing, kindness and compassion.
Kheerganga Trek: A Spiritual Retreat
It does not matter if you are a pilgrim or not. This picturesque place has the ability to captivates all minds alike. Even if you are not seeking spirituality in religious terms, the picturesque landscape will enliven you.
On your first day here, you will be arriving at the quaint Barshaini Village from Bhuntar. The first route towards Kheerganga Summit is from Nakhtan Village which is accompanied by the gushing Parvati River. The surrounding snow-capped peaks and the lush meadows are a treat for your sore eyes. A little further ahead, after walking for 30 minutes, you will come across the cascading Rudra Nag waterfalls. The water which has a glacial source, is pristine and crystal clear. There are ashram operated by sadhus and monks who provide accommodation for tired travellers. Small shacks or dhabas are also present in the vicinity where you can eat something and gain energy for the trek ahead. Rest for a bit and give some relief to your feet by dipping it in the cold refreshing waters. The Rudra Nag temple welcomes a lot of devotees for religious reasons but the interiors are noteworthy as well. Intricate designs and marvellous architecture adorn the temple. If the trip becomes increasingly hectic for you then you may take a detour towards the Tosh Village which is known for its hippie culture but also provides offbeat spots for spending time with your own self and reflecting on life. Rest for the night and leave for the summit the next morning after savoring the vibrant hued sky.
The route through the village of Kalga is scenic in its own way. The verdant woodlands, the carmine apple orchards and the colourful wildflowers covering the forest ground, there is a symphony of colours that brings a smile to your face. The sound of the birds chirping and the leaves rustling on sync with your footsteps as you traverse the forest trails, is a unique experience that ushers in a sense of solitude.
Reaching the Kheerganga Summit
Even though the legend of the Parvati Kund cannot be verified but to an extent, one does believe in the healing magic that it works on your tired body and sore muscles. Not only that, the vistas on front of you are so serene that you get lost in the beauty of the majestic Himalayan ranges. As you retire for the night, fall asleep to whispers of the mountain and feel your body relax instantly.
With all of us having extreme busy lifestyles in the cities, it is important that we escape the loop of work-home-work once in a while. Immerse yourself in the serenity of the wilderness and achieve spiritual relief as you explore the breathtaking beautiful location.