India

Dirt Path – Hiking with my Kiddo

“Come forth into the light of things. Let nature be your teacher.” – William Wordsworth

The beauty about hiking is that it’s truly an activity for everyone. Whether you’re young or old, an expert or an amateur, there’s a trail out there that will be perfect for you. One of the great advantages of being out on the trail with your children is the opportunity to bond with them – to jointly share the beauty of nature, to engage in meaningful conversation. We think, best gift given to a child is lifetime of adventure. The impact of hiking/trekking on children is amazing. Apart from learning the art of bonding, making new friends and a sport that has no parallel, kids can experience a major boost in their confidence levels and often take lessons on how to take care of their own chores.

When we got an opportunity to stay in IIT Mandi Campus and explore the area nearby, we jumped head on 😊. We took our kid and planned for a several single day hike.

Khani Top
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Gravel Path

This mountain peak connects between North and South campus of Mandi. Since we were staying in south campus and started our day late, we thought its ideal for our 5-year-old son as its 8-9kms. This trek takes one through beautiful forest that are filled with numerous species of birds, thus giving enough scope to gather information about both the floral and fauna. Even though our knowledge was limited, it gave an opening for our kid to know more. This beginner-friendly trail takes you through the vast expanse of the forests, with Ulh stream below us. The Mandi Campus town spreads before us in a valley with backdrop of the mountains, trees and land lying in the distance. The great expense-everything in one picture -made my heart swell. It took around 6 hours for us to reach north campus through Khani top.

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Sunset
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leading the way
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Griffin Peak View from Khani Top

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Time taken: 3 hours one way (5-year-old kid time)

Best time to visit: Anytime apart from rainy reason

Food: Better to carry food on your own as you won’t get anything on the way or you can eat in south and North campus restaurant.

Stay: There are several options to stay in Mandi town or you can stay in campus if you can arrange one.

Reach – Base point is IIT Mandi campus. 15 kms from Mandi – Himachal Pradesh – India

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Campus view from Khani Top
Parashar Lake:
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Lake and temple View

Parashar lake trek is one of the best family adventure weekend getaways or a one day hike from Mandi/Baagi. This lake is in the Kullu valley of Himachal amidst the long and beautiful Pir Panjal and Kinnaur Mountain ranges and besides the fast-flowing river Beas and Ulh. It is a small yet one of the most amazing trek to cherish for life long. Lake Parashar is in between the lush green meadows which further intensifies the beauty of the trek and the scenic beauty of beautiful landscapes along with snow-capped mountains surrounding us will capture your mind forever.

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Mandi has a well-connected network of roads and one can easily reach there by bus. The trek starts from Baggi which is 30 km from Mandi. Since we visited in Winter and planned this with my 5-year-old kid, we took a road way and started our trek 4 kms before the lake. Post that entire way was covered in snow. We walked all the way till lake in snow covered path.

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Parashar lake is at the height of 8500 feet, which makes ideal place to take your kid for a 1-day or weekend trek. Enjoy the scenic beauty of the lake and try to unveil the secret spots around it. Lake, temple and few surrounding areas of meadows even guest house all had turned into white. Prashar Lake is a delight to watch. Trek was extremely delightful as it follows through a forest and some scenic meow. Camp there for a day if you need. The temple next to the lake was built by Raja Ban Sen of Mandi in the 14th century. It is a very beautiful temple capped with a roof of slate tiles and beautiful wood carvings.

Since we were staying in Mandi we decided to head back after spending few hours. Our son walked 8kms( one way 4 kms) without much fuss. Its an ideal spot for short trek with kids and elders.

Time taken: 2.5 hours one way (5-year-old kid time)

Approx taxi cost from Mandi: 2000rs as of Dec 2019

Best time to visit: March -June and Dec- Jan( Winter trek)

Accommodation: You can take your own tent and sleeping bag and camp over there or you can choose to stay in the few of the guesthouses available. I suggest booking early as there are very few guest houses

Food:There are few small vendors selling local food, Maggi and Parantha’s

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This pic was 2 weeks after our visit. Frozen lake and Temple

Tips

  • Drink plenty of fluids and stay hydrated.
  • Eat regularly and eat light. Carry chocolates, protien bars, dry fruits and have them regularly in the journey to avoid tiredness.
  • Strictly avoid smoking and alcohol consumption
  • Avoid taking medication on your own(Don’t be a google doctor)
Barot Valley— Tranquil Gem

Barot is a small village that lies beside the Uhl River. If you are looking for a secluded and a less touristy hillstation, then Barot is the perfect heaven to go to.

We hired a taxi from Mandi. Enroute to barot is beautiful. One should be very careful while driving this route as it has lot of blind uphill/downhill hairpin bends. We pass through a dense deodar forests.

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Cloud covered valley
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Barot

The valley is breathtakingly beautiful and will bring about a stillness in you. It’s a heavenly place for nature lover. It’s also a trekkers paradise. There are several trek routes and meadows. One can stay at riverside tents and do star gazing along with bonfire in the night. You can also take a walk along the Serene Ulh. This small village has all the seclusion, wild untouched beauty me and my husband were yearning for. Ours was a day trip, but I recommend staying in a nearby Homestay for a day or two to soak in the vibes of this place

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A reservoir built from the waters of Uhl river

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Best time to visit: Barot is an evergreen place and can be visited anytime. Although do avoid travelling to this side during the rainy season. Even though the village will be at its greenest, the landslides can become a huge problem while travelling here.

Reach – Take a bus or from Dharamshala or bir or Mandi. Its close to 60 kms from Mandi and 50 kms from Bir.

Approx cost – one day taxi cost 3000 from Mandi

Accommodation: Several homestays and mid budget hotels avaialable

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Enroute
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Barot Village
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Dhaba Enroute
Walking along the Ulh River

On the last day of our stay, we spent our time walking along the river. For me, a walk along a river is medicine.  Spending time on a river bank makes me feel more relaxed and refreshed. Water has a natural soothing melody.

Spending time in natural spaces reduces anxiety, worry and stress. Nature, and rivers, are fundamental to our health, well-being, and relationships – to our happiness. My little boy is growing up. Life moves so fast, and the best way I know to slow things down and treasure the moments is to get out on a river. Walking down to the river, we talked, free of distractions. My little kid racing for the river’s steep bank, picking up pebbles and encouraging us to take a dip in cold water and badgering me with several question like “Why god made 5 fingers’? Why bus goes on road and plane fly?” are moments to treasure.

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Kiddo running along the Path
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Enjoying the view of Valley
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River bank

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