Informative

Highlights of the Hampta Pass Trek

Ashwin Muralidharan

Last updated: 14-02-2022

If there is a Himalayan mirror to tell us which is the most unique Mountain Pass of them all, it would be the versatile Hampta Pass. The Hampta Pass is a mini haven that holds all the surprises a trekker will ever need. Be it a forest filled with oak and maple trees, gentle streams that penetrate a valley, meadows filled with exotic flowers, trails covered in snow, or a stretch of dry and desolate topography, the trail has everything making it a complete package of delights and challenges!

 

Highlights of the Hampta Pass Trek

 

Every day, at every step, the Hampta Pass surprises you with an assortment of textures and sceneries accompanied by soothing showers. In this article, we will explore the day wise highlights of the trek to give you a complete idea and experience of what to expect from this exotic trail.

 

Day 1: Drive from Manali (2050 M) to Jobra (2, 743 M)

The drive from Manali to Jobra, although a short one, is a drive to remember. Jobra is the base village of the Hampta Pass Trek. On the first day, we will assemble at the Manali bus stand and leave for Jobra in a cab. Throughout your drive, apple, maple, and pine trees will accompany you on your journey. After gaining a little height, you will get an extensive view of the Beas River flowing through Manali town. Another interesting aspect of this drive is the curves on the road. Unlike other roadways, the bends on this roadway are marked. You can count them and when the number stops at 40, you will have crossed the 16 Km mark and reached Jobra.

 

Highlights of the Hampta Pass Trek

 

Sometimes, as you near Jobra, cotton clouds run down and cover the roads. Driving through them is a mystical experience. Do note that all phone networks stop working before Jobra. The trail to Chikka starts near the Allain Duhangan Hydropower Station.

 

Trek from Jobra (2743 meters) to Chikka (3048 meters) 

The trails from Jobra to Chika are fairly easy and have many alluring aspects to notice. 

The forests of Jobra are deep, dense and dark. Right from the beginning, your path is embraced by tall and majestic oak and maple trees. When the sunlight light hits the leaves, notice how an array of shadows playfully decorate the ground you walk on. Wet logs engraved with lush moss and dark browns, rest on the sides ready to be withered in a touch. 

500 meters in, a sturdy metal bridge comes into view. This bridge is located on the Sub-Stream of the Rani Nallah River. As soon as you cross the bridge and cover a distance of 1 kilometer, the trail begins gaining elevation opening up to a beautiful valley with expansive views.

 

 

Highlights of the Hampta Pass Trek

 

The campsite of Chikka is not far from here. Chikka is a beautiful spot with small waterfalls near it. The glacial streams from the Jobra Ranges snake their way to these waterfalls and join the mighty Rani Nallah River. The lush flora near the waterfalls serves as ideal fodder land for mules, horses, and sheep. 

 

Day 2 - Chikka (3048 meters) – Balu Ka Ghera (3600 meters) 

Today, we will be covering a distance of 5 km in 7-8 hours across a variety of terrain. The initial 2 km is the trickiest and the rest of the way is filled with vibrant splendors.

The slush walk –

When was the last time, you played on mud after rain? 

The first 2 km of the trail from Chikka is usually filled with slush because of the rains. You get to experience child-like fun while navigating this slippery and squishy stretch. Post the 2km mark, the pathway turns flat running to a wide riverside junction.

 

Highlights of the Hampta Pass Trek

 

River crossing – 

One of the most enticing parts of Hampta Pass trek is the adventurous river crossings. The first river crossing of the trek appears on Day 2. There is a method to the madness. Your Trek Leader will guide you on how to form a tight link with the rest of the group to tackle any strong undercurrents. As soon as you cross the river, an easy trail continues leading you to the meadows of Jwara.

 

Highlights of the Hampta Pass Trek

 

Meadows of Jwara – What color do you choose? 

The meadows of Jwara are stunning to say the least. Packed with flowers of every color, shade and hue, the walk through these meadows is nothing short of a fairytale. We will be stopping for lunch here. Sit down, relax, and notice the minute details around you- a world filled with a plethora of shapes and structures of tiny plants and tinier flowers opens up.

 

Highlights of the Hampta Pass Trek

 

Meadows of Jwara – What color do you choose? 

The meadows of Jwara are stunning to say the least. Packed with flowers of every color, shade and hue, the walk through these meadows is nothing short of a fairytale. We will be stopping for lunch here. Sit down, relax, and notice the minute details around you- a world filled with a plethora of shapes and structures of tiny plants and tinier flowers opens up.

 

Highlights of the Hampta Pass Trek

 

Balu ka Gehra –

The campsite, Balu ka Gehra, is not far from here. Balu means ‘sand’; Gehra means an ‘area’. Small deposits of sands are spread across a vast stretch near the shore here, earning the place its name. Just like the previous campsite Chikka, you can find many horses and mules grazing over the lush shrubs and bushes near the river stream. In addition, the water mists and the clouds combine to create an unconventional spectacle. Sit back and enjoy the view with a hot beverage.

 

Highlights of the Hampta Pass Trek

 

Day 3 - Balu Ka Ghera (3600 meters) – Hampta Pass (4200 meters) - Shea Goru (3900 Meters

Day 3 is the D-day and the longest day of the trek. The trail is tough with challenging ascents while the scenery dramatically shifts colors from a lush green to a dazzling white.

 

The ascent from Balu Ka Gehra – 

We start early today and walk along the Rani Nallah River. For the first kilometer, the trail zigzags between huge boulders resting pensively on one another. At the end of this trail, the valley opens up to a huge frame of the Rani Nallah River flowing parallel to us. The trail climbs steeper from here with demanding ascents. The higher we climb, the thinner the river becomes. At the 3 km mark, the last source of fresh water and greenery fades into the background. Snow and rocks take over the landscape from here.

Continue climbing upwards for 1 km. The weather is completely unpredictable and is prone to whiteouts. Sticking together with your team is key to moving ahead. On days when the weather is clear, the sun can be harsh. Good Polaroid Shades and a sunhat are mandatory for this stretch.

 

Highlights of the Hampta Pass Trek

 

The Dramatic Hampta Pass – 

At the end of this grueling stretch lies the enthralling Hampta Pass. The Pass provides you with rewarding views of two distinct worlds, that of the lush and green Kullu Valley on one side and stark and desolate Lahaul on the other. If there are no whiteouts, you can also get a glimpse of the massive glaciers of Indrasan and Deo Tibba from the Pass. 

According to the legends, Jamadagni rishi crossed the Hampta Pass to continue his pilgrimage. Many shepherds from the Lahul region also bring their cattle and sheep to the Hampta village via Hampta Pass for fresh fodder and grass.

 

Highlights of the Hampta Pass Trek

 

The descent towards Shea Goru – 

The most exciting and exhilarating part of the trek begins from the Pass. The trail directly descends at a 50-degree angle for the next three kilometres. On a clear day; this slippery descent down loose mud, gravel and boulders is quite manageable. But during rainy season, the trail can turn challenging. Boulders can roll down anytime and the terrain turns very slippery. Following the leader's instruction and using gears like a helmet and a trek pole are necessary during such times.

 

Highlights of the Hampta Pass Trek

 

Campsite in Shea Goru – 

Shea Goru, is also known as The Cold Street. After descending down from the pass, it is an easy and flat stretch all the way to the Shea Goru Campsite. Once you set up camp, there are many spots near the river stream where you can sit in peace and witness the symphony of clouds.

 

Day 4 – Shea Goru (3900 meters) – Chhatru (3350 meters) – 5 km (4 hours)

Day 4 begins with a bang. It starts with an action-packed river crossing, followed by a 5 km fun-filled descent, and ends with an unconventional drive to the Chandratal Lake. 

River crossing – 

If the first river crossing of the Hampta Pass trek was a teaser, the second at Shea Goru is the main action-packed picture. There is anticipation, thrill, adrenaline-rush, challenges, and teamwork. The water is colder than the Rani Nallah River and the crossing demands technique.

Trek to Chhatru – 

Unlike the gruels of the 3rd day, the 4th day is relaxing. The first kilometer runs down in easy descends on the right-hand side of the stream. Then, the trail runs parallel to the forceful Chandra River weaving its way into Lahaul. The campsite of Chattru lies at the end of this trail. Unlike the previous campsites, Chattru is filled with boulders and is strategically placed closer to the Highway that will take us to the Chandra Tal Lake.

 

Highlights of the Hampta Pass Trek

 

Drive to Chandra Tal Lake – 4250 meters (70 km in 3 hours)

The drive to the high altitude lake of Chandra Tal is a bumpy one. But the sight of the lake with its turquoise blue waters is worth it. Almost still like a mirror, the lake reflects the landscape around striking a captivating pose that is sure to leave you spellbound. After spending some time here, we make our way back to the campsite.

 

Highlights of the Hampta Pass Trek

 

Day 5 – Chhatru to Manali

The trek ends here, but the journey continues…

 

Ashwin Muralidharan

Dreamer, listener, and a curious soul. I indulge influence and leave my impressions behind. If y Read more

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