Having spent over two months in the valley, I can second the title given to Jalori pass and the Seraj valley in Kullu district as “Himachal’s best-kept secret.” There’s something magical about Jalori pass or Jalori jot, which is still lesser known to most tourists. But a lot of Bollywood fans might know this pass from the very famous movie “Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani.” It offers some amazing views of two different valleys on either side, and you can trek to some amazing places along the way. So, here is my guide to Jalori Pass Trek, compiled from my own experience.
HEIGHT AND LOCATION OF THE JALORI PASS
As the pass rises to 3115 meters, it is a great place for beginners, but almost anyone of any age can do it since it has easy trails and sufficient oxygen. A typical nighttime temperature is 2-5 degrees, while a typical daytime temperature is 5-15 degrees. It is located 5 kilometers from Shoja village and 12 kilometers from Jibhi. Volunteering in a hostel in Shoja, I almost never missed a drive to Jalori pass.
Although steep, it is an absolutely breathtaking drive. A gorgeous ride and walk with pine trees lining either side. You can stop at numerous points in between and just enjoy the views and sunsets.
SEASONS OF THE VALLEY
If one asked the best time of the year for Jalori Pass trek, I can’t think of one. All the seasons in the valley have their charm. Even though the pass is closed from December to mid-March, when it’s completely covered in snow up to 30ft, You will find locals and travelers skiing their way through the meadows. If you wish to go for treks starting from Jalori pass, the best time to go would be April to November. The snow melts, and the climb is easy.
During the months of June-September, the valley receives rainfall, and you will see the clouds around you putting on a magic show, which you would not want to miss either. The trees are in their best colourful forms, with the flowers blooming and fruits ripening. During the month of October, you can witness the stunning autumn season, with leaves turning orange and yellow and trails covered with them as trees prepare for the harsh winters.
Also Read: Kaza Travel Guide
FLORA AND FAUNA
Tall pine, oak, and deodar trees and indigenous rhododendron blooms abound in the forests. There’s also a chance you’ll see some incredible animals, including wild boars, leopards, shepherd dogs, deers, Himalayan eagles, vultures, and a variety of other migrating birds.
PLACES TO STAY NEAR JALORI PASS
If you are planning a trip to Jalori pass, I suggest you stay in Jibhi or Shoja. Jibhi is comparatively more commercial, with a bunch of beautiful cafes and restaurants to try from, along with the local spots like the Jibhi waterfall and mini Thailand. The Beas river flows through the town, and you can hear it all the time you stay there. You can find a variety of hostels, homestays, and luxury hotels with unique concepts. Everything is readily available and is perfect for someone who likes a little hustle.
On the other hand, Shoja is a small village located 7km above Jibhi. It is isolated and has good options for hostels and homestays. It is peaceful and the best getaway you can get from a busy and noisy life in the city. You can go for a lot of forest trails around, which is a fun adventure in itself. When I lived in Shoja and would get some time off from work in the afternoons, those forest walks were the most I looked forward to. The sunsets are exceptional, and you can see the whole valley from there.
From Shoja or Jibhi, wherever you plan to stay, you can either book cabs, rent a bike, or hitchhike to Jalori pass. At the pass, there is a temple, The Budhi Nagin temple, which translates to the mother of snakes. A lot of local tourists visit it. There are amazing food stalls, and you can try Rajma Chawal. At Jalori, on one side, you will see the whole of Shimla, and on the other, Seraj valley and parts of Tirthan valley as well.
If you decide not to stay a night in Serolsar or Raghupur and decide to start the day early morning, you can cover both the treks in one day or camp at one of the points and cover both in 2 days. You can also stay in Shoja or Jibhi and come twice the Jalori pass on two different days.
TREKS STARTS FROM JALORI PASS
Jalori Pass is the starting point for two lesser-known but breathtaking, short, and easy treks, trek to Serolsar lake and Raghupur Fort. Both of them are easy-moderate in difficulty level, with most of the trail being flat. The latter parts of the trail can get a bit steep but only for very short durations.
SEROLSAR LAKE TREK
The goddess Budhi Nagin is said to live in Serolsar Lake with her two companions in the form of birds, who collectively watch after the lake and preserve its cleanliness and purity. It is also believed that Pandavas visited the place during their exile. It is located at a 5 km trek from Jalori Pass would take you between 1-2 hours to reach, depending on your speed and agility.
There are a few campsites on the way where you can also decide to spend the night in the woods. Along with a couple of friends, I went there for a quick trek and returned by the sunset. If you decide to move further, You will reach the Serolsar top, having another great viewpoint of two different valleys on either side. After Serolsar, you can either descend or choose to trek forward, with a night’s halt on the point. You can move further on to the Bajah top. It is a trek for a 2-day duration and is moderately difficult.
RAGHUPUR FORT & PANDUROPA TREK
Situated at a height of 13000ft above sea level, sits on the other side of Serolsar lake. Raghupur is Asia’s tallest fort. It was established by the rulers of Mandi and later used by the British, who dug a well inside the fort to supplement the existing water source. Only a few walls remain intact, while the rest is in utter disarray. It’s a 3-kilometer trail that’s easy to navigate thanks to signage every 100 metres or so. As the route steepens toward the end, it’s more of a walk with some climbing mixed in. It’s an interesting hike because the scenery changes as you go.
In the beginning, its wide flat trail almost lures people to begin it only to realize it gets challenging as you go further through the dense forests, covered with pine and oak trees and rhododendrons on the way. As you go further, the trail is almost lost, and you will find yourself climbing through the roots of the oak trees and finding your different ways. And then will begin the meadows, in which you can just run. The feeling is incomparable.
I felt a sense of freedom in that place. All around, you will only see the widespread meadows. The child in me came out as I felt like I was in an indefinite playground, almost like a fairytale. As you trek further on the meadows, you will find a few campsites where you can stay the night. After passing a couple of meadow hills, you will reach the remains of Raghupur fort. With what’s left of it, it’s made of stone and has a full 360 view of the Himalayas.
With over 100 different peaks, with the help of a local shepherd, you can spot some famous peaks around, which is so intimidating, something you would have never seen before. You can also get a very clear view of the Dhauladhar ranges.
For someone who has been on a lot of other treks, take my word. It is a different kind of feeling, and you can not compare it to any other peak. There are thousands of cattle and horses. It honestly looks like a view straight out of a storybook. As you walk further, you will cross a Raghupur lake where you can find actual carcasses of these cattle, implying the presence of wild animals in the area. Hence it is suggested not to be visited after sunset.
As you move further from there, crossing a couple of more meadows and steep descent, you will reach a place called Panduropa, which takes around 30 mins while going and 45 mins while back as it’s a climb. Panduropa has a unique phenomenon where paddy fields never produce rice and always remain green. When you walk on them, it feels weirdly spongy and marshy. It is believed that when Pandavas resided in Raghupur, they would go to Panduropa to cultivate rice, and it would take only half a day to get the product, precisely opposite to phenomena witnessed now. It is believed to be cursed.
I would recommend you camp there, either on the available campsites or pitch your tents, but in a clear sky, you can have an unbelievable experience of the night sky. When I visited, I could witness a whole belt of stars, the milky way galaxy, cutting the sky into two parts. You can also come back the same day but before the sunsets, as it can get dangerous to descend in the dark. It’s a must-visit place in Kullu valley.
PLACES TO VISIT NEAR JALORI PASS
Next time when you are in Himachal Pradesh, You know where you have to be. You may combine a visit to Jalori pass and Seraj valley with visits to Tirthan valley and Sainj valley, all of which are part of The Great Himalayan National Park and have beautiful waterfalls, riversides, and vistas. All these valleys are nearby and do not take more than 2hours of commute.
Tirthan Valley, located within the Great Himalayan National Park, is recognised for its breathtaking vistas, alpine forests, diverse flora and fauna, and many historical and architectural sites. Syringa Rishi temple located in Banjar valley can be visited by trekking as well as by road. A trek further from there will lead you to Chehni Kothi, which houses the tall 45 m structures previously used as a fort and storage facility. Walking through the great Himalayan national park and the vast number of waterfalls is unaccounted for.
Seraj valley houses a lot of unknown yet gorgeous places to be in. Villages like Bahu and Gada Gushaini, Sajwad have the river Beas flowing through them, forming many beautiful waterfalls. These places are so close to Jalori pass, Jibhi, and Shoja that you can go for day trips, go to the river for a swim on a sunny day, or a stroll through the forest and hunt for some unique looking mushrooms, maybe end up finding some wild animals too.
Sainj Valley is located approximately 2 hours from Jibhi, also lying in the great Himalayan national park. Given their location, vegetation, and culture, you may think that all of these areas would be similar, but that isn’t the case. All these places are so unique and different from one another. Shangarh, a place in Sainj Valley which I always recommend everyone to go to. That would be one of my most favorite places in the Himalayas. It’s peaceful, has a huge meadow, even the hidden ones inside the forests, and has an amazing network.
THINGS YOU NEED TO CARRY
Apart from proper trekking gear, you need to carry some things in general.
- Water Bottle
- Warm clothes
- Dry fit clothes
- Comfortable pair of shoes
About the network, You might find a bit of difficulty in-network coverage at Raghupur. Otherwise, the network connectivity is good at Jalori Pass, Jibhi and Shoja, and parts of Tirthan and Sainj valley if you plan to visit, getting up to 50 Mbps data speed in some areas.
HOW TO REACH?
There are two routes to Seraj valley and The Jalori pass, one from Shimla and the other from Aut, both taking an almost similar amount of time, along with the breathtaking views they offer. If you are traveling from Chandigarh, it may take around 8-10 hours to reach. And from Delhi, it will take around 10-12 hours. You can also take a flight to Bhuntar and then a cab or a bus, which will take you around 2-3 hours. While coming from Aut, you will cross Tirthan valley and Sainj valley, where you can stay and explore.
MANALI TO SHIMLA TREK VIA JALORI PASS
There are also a few trekking companies that organize treks for Jalori Pass. It is a 10-12 days trek starting from Manali and ending in Shimla.
Day 1 to Day 10 Route Plan:
- Manali to Sahiropa: It is a 108 km drive, taking around 4-5 hours
- Sahiropa to Baghi: 5-hour trek
- Baghi to Jibhi(5 hours)
- Jibhi to Shoja(4 hours)
- Shoja to Khanag(2400m) via Jalori Pass(6-7 hours)
- Khanag to Tarala(2300m-4 hours)
- Tarala to Kullu Saharan (5-6 hours)
- Kullu Saharan to Arsu(5 hours)
- Arsu to Rampur(5-6 hours)
- Rampur to Shimla(135 km drive – 4 hours)
On a 5-hour long multiple-day trek, you will have so many different adventures and amazing views along the whole journey. It is a moderate-level trek. I would highly recommend it for someone intrigued by the idea of multi-day treks but hasn’t tried before.
These are exciting ways to explore the valley and Jalori pass, whether on a multi-day walk across the pass or staying there and embarking on shorter treks and day outings. It is still one of the lesser-known places and has so much to offer.
Distance between Manali and Jalori pass is around 112 km. You can reach by either a cab or a bus. And if you feel a little adventurous, you can hitchhike too. Similarly, the distance between Shimla and the pass is 148 km, and you can find various modes of commute.
Jalori Pass trek is perfect for people visiting Shoja or Jibhi for the 1st time and are looking for treks nearby. The above-mentioned details will help you in every possible way and you would definitely enjoy your time spent here.