Gushaini – unexplored gem of Himachal!

A couple of months back , my husband returned home from one of his official trips with an in-flight magazine. This magazine had lovely pictures of a little known hill station -Gushaini. Ever since the pictures caught our attention, we were eying for the next long weekend to plan a short getaway here.
Once we had zeroed in on the probable dates of travel, I began doing a little research on Gushaini. It is a small town in the district of Kullu and is at distance of 30 kms from the Kullu airport. Flight rates were high so we decided to take a taxi from Chandigarh.The journey is about 8 hours by road although the distance from Chandigarh is only 255 kms. Owing to the average condition of the roads and excessive truck traffic, it becomes impossible to drive at more than 40 kms per hour. The rivers Beas, Parvati and Satluj run along the highway for a long stretch ,  making the drive picteresque!

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After seeing a lot of great reviews for ‘Raju Bharti ‘s Guest House’ , we booked ourselves into the same. Gushaini has no hotel options but hosts a lot of home stays.
We reached the guest house at around 8 pm. The guest house can be reached either by crossing a makeshift wooden bridge built across the river or by a chair which hangs off a zip line. Pitch dark, mobile light to serve as a navigator and with a 6 year old , we began crossing the bridge. One wrong step and we would have found ourselves floating in icy cold water in the tirthan valley!! This set the tone for the rest of our trip.

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The cottage is a quaint property overlooking the river. The rooms are cozy,comfortable and very warm. The view is lovely and the surroundings are calm. After a sumptuous dinner followed by a cozy night’s sleep, with the sound of  gushing water across the rocks as a constant companion, we woke up the next day brimming with energy.

20180213_091246Our itinerary for day 1 was to go through Jalori pass – one of the popular tourist spots around Gushaini. It is not as high as the other mountain passes we have visited – Khardung La, Sach Pass or Rohtang Pass, but it is certainly one of the few that boasts of a beautiful lake about 5 kms from it.

 

The route to the pass is beautiful – snow clad mountains surround you as you get closer to the pass. At a height of over 10000 feet, this pass is well maintained and attracts a lot of tourists. What makes it special and different from the others is the beautiful Serolsar lake.

20180211_142119A modest 1.5 hour trek from the pass to the lake is a must do. During winter , the lake is frozen and surrounded by snowy mountains. The view is breathtaking and the trek seems worth it.

20180211_142004The trek through the forest is challenging at places and not for the faint hearted.

20180211_134120After a day filled with adventure and a workout worth a week , we returned back to our little wooden cottage.

Gushaini is a little town with a lot of short treks and wonderful view points to offer. The next day, we decided to go on a short trek not too far from the cottage. The people, the hospitality and the food were amazing, but what took the prize were the 3 furry four legged friends we made there – Gochu, Bhalu and Bulbul.

20180212_154130The trio acted as our guides during our little trek. They were our ‘google maps’, protected us and waited for us to catch up with them. Their intelligence , sensitivity and unconditional affection will be something that I will cherish forever.
The viewpoint to where we were led looked lovely – the entire city right below, snow capped mountains and valleys.

 

The bonfires in the evening helped us feel warm and bond with the other guest at the property.

The morning we were set to leave Raju’s cottage back to Chandigarh, we had a pleasant surprise. It was raining since morning but when we took a closer look, the rain drops began to look like little pieces of cotton…. yes it was snowing!! Our happiness knew no bounds, little white drops of snow started rolling down, and soon the roof ,the trees and the grass were all covered in a sheet of white! A sight to remember !

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With a heavy heart we bid adieu to the guesthouse, the staff and the wonderful furry friends we had made. A short but memorable trip indeed… with a silent promise to return sometime in summer to enjoy the hues of green!

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