It was the month of September 2017, monsoon was at the verge of ending and I got a 4-day escape slot from my office, where I was going? I remembered the mighty river Beas from my previous trip to Manali and decided to go to its origin, Beas Kund.
Some Geographical information about the Beas kund trek
Elevation: 3700 meters
Significance: Origin of river Beas, surrounded by the majestic Pir Panjal range, you will see Deo Tibba, Hanuman Tibba, Friendship peak and other prominent peaks while on the trek.
Day 1 : Solang valley – Dhundi – Bakarthach – Beas kund valley
Solang valley – Dhundi: 8 kilometres
Dhundi – Bakarthach: 3 kilometres
Bakarthach – Beas kund: 3 kilometres
Now it depends upon your fitness level, My plan was to reach Beas Kund on the first day itself but you can also go till Bakarthach on your first day, its the base camp for ABVIMAS (Atal Bihari Vajpayee Institute of mountaineering and allied sports), camp there and then go to Beas Kund the next day. I would recommend camping on the Beas Kund valley, whether you do it on day 1 or day 2.
The trek starts from Solang valley which is 13 Kilometres from Manali, it is a popular place for skiing, paragliding, and other adventure sports especially during winters. While gathering some information about the trek I came to know that there is a bus service from Manali bus stand to Solang valley which starts at around 8:00 AM, you can book a taxi also. I took the bus and It took around 45 minutes to reach there.
Solang valley is your regular touristy place with a lot of crowds during peak seasons, there are some shops, restaurants and its the last point from where you can buy your food supplies and stuff because after that you will not find anything. Now just ask any local, the direction for Dhundi and upon following that, you will reach a barrier, the guards there told me to keep following the road which will lead me to Dhundi, that area comes under Border Roads Organisation (BRO) which is in charge of the construction work going on there for the Rohtang Tunnel which will keep Rohtang pass open during the winters also.
Many trucks go to that direction for the tunnel’s construction work, private and public vehicles are not allowed past that barrier, you may be able to hitch-hike, just put your thumb out and try your luck. There are a few shortcuts through the roads which you can take. I was lucky because after taking a shortcut I got a lift in a truck.
You have to get off the truck at Dhundi, before a bridge which is built over river Beas and take the path towards your left, you will certainly find someone there whom you can ask the direction for Beas Kund/ Bakarthach. There’s also a water source before the bridge where you can refill your water bottles (I hope its still there). I was going there in off season so I didn’t expect to see anyone on the trek but there were a few locals in Dhundi from whom I asked the direction to proceed further. It started raining.
Now I was walking with river Beas flowing next to me and after going ahead a few metres there was a narrow makeshift wooden bridge made my shepherds using which you will cross the river, it was rainy season and the river was in full force so it was scary, the trail after that goes with the mighty river roaring beside you, the way was through water streams, dense bushes and trees, it was all muddy at that time. You need to cross another lanky makeshift bridge. After trekking for a while I noticed blue arrows marked all over the trail for directions, they will catch your eyes. I was so thankful to the genius who drew those arrows because all you have to do is follow those arrows and they will lead you till Bakarthach.
You will pass through the grasslands of Dhundi and Bhojpatra and would start seeing the mighty Pir Panjal range on your left side far up ahead, those peaks are gigantic and beautiful. The trail is a gradual climb till Bakarthach, you just need to keep following the arrows while the beautiful views open up to you and you start seeing more of those mountains and glaciers, after a few hours of trekking you will find something written on a rock, its “only 200 meters left“, for the Bakarthach campsite. I was happy to see that.
After walking some distance ahead I saw Bakarthach campsite right in front of me with plenty of tents pitched on it, they belonged to ABVIMAS. I resumed my trek and crossed path with 2 girls and a guide who were returning from Bakarthach. Upon asking the way ahead of Bakarthach, the guide suggested me to go all the way to Beas Kund on the same day as I had enough time. I was so happy, the view of a campsite after trekking for hours is always an adrenaline booster.
Upon reaching the campsite I met with two students of ABVIMAS with whom I had a little chit-chat, they told me that they find it cool to go trekking and camping all alone, an old man sitting there told me to not go there alone because I would get lost, another guy told me that I will be fine and I asked him to just tell me in which direction I need to go now. He pointed towards a ridge and told me to first get there and after that, there’s a huge valley on the right which was my destination.
Without knowing where the trail was, I started climbing every rock that came in between me and that ridge, after climbing a few rocks I did came across the trail and figured that cairns (small rocks balanced on top of each other) are being used for marking the trail on those boulder hills. that part is probably the toughest section of the trek, its full of huge boulders and the gradient is steep.
After struggling with the boulders I finally reached the ridge and now I could see the valley in front of me, after you reach the ridge, you will again see a huge boulder field in front of you, that area looks like it has been bombed with dynamite or something because of all those huge boulders scattered all over the place. Again, on that area you need to look for cairns for the direction, just watch your feet and be careful on this part and you will cross it.
After crossing the boulder field now you can see the vast valley right in front of you but the Kund is not visible yet, you will see friendship peak in front of you along with a few waterfalls, if you followed the cairns correctly you will see a trail in front of you which will lead you to the valley, follow that trail and you will also have to cross a stream at the start of the valley.
Beas kund is not visible from the valley and its a few hundred meters from the reaching point of that valley, there are a few waterfalls in the area and you will instinctively figure out where the kund should be at, keep moving in the direction, you will be able to see the kund when its just a few meters away. After visiting the kund you can pitch your tent in the valley.
In my case it started raining heavily as soon as I reached the valley so I was not able to pitch my tent and couldn’t visit the kund on the same day, I was sitting inside a shepherds tent, waiting for the rain to stop, they were nice people and they had a fireplace inside their tent, they gave me tea and invited me for dinner.
I pitched my tent after the rain stopped and slept, It was dark… I woke up a few times at night though because of the sounds of rock avalanches etc, it was raining the whole night.
Day 2 – Beas kund valley
I woke up at 5 AM the next morning and went towards the kund to see it, it was still raining. After walking a few meters and crossing another small rock field (some edgy rocks this time) I could see Beas kund right in front of me, it was beautiful but scary because it was around 5:30 AM and I was the only one there at that time, it was kind of dark.
After I returned from the kund I washed my head in the cold glacial water and ran towards the shepherd’s tent to dry my hair in their fireplace, they offered me some tea. It was an amazing and a beautiful experience except for the fact that It got a bit scary at night. It was raining the whole night and also my first time to sleep alone in the mountains. There were just 5 people on that vast valley that night.
At around 7:00 AM I left the place and traced back the same way I came up but still managed to lose the trail after the ridge and decided to climb down that ridge from another point, through the rocks which were dangerous but I did it quite well, I still wish if I had a go pro attached to my chest that time that would be some badass footage. 🙂
Climbing down was easy, After reaching Dhundi I was so much in need of a lift to Solang valley but not a single vehicle came and I had to walk for 8 kilometers… which sucked. After reaching Solang valley I went up to a Chinese restaurant and ordered some noodles. My shoulders were hurting because my bag was too heavy on this trek. After eating, I booked a cab to Manali for Rs 600 which dropped me in front of my hotel in old Manali where I took some rest. I returned the same day to Delhi by taking a night bus.
Here’s the Video from the trip 🙂