Kalihani Pass Trek Photo Story
The Kalihani Pass Trek, a stunning trail near Manali, Himachal Pradesh is a paradox of sorts. The trail has an intriguing story and quite a vital role in our history yet the trail is largely untouched. From gorgeous campsites, lush unique meadows, a ridge walk that makes you feel like you're in a large bouquet, staggering views of the Dhauladhar & Pir Panjal range and an enthralling summit climb; this trek has everything needed to leave behind a deep impression!
Day 1: Manali - Sangchar – Maheli
The trailhead at Sangchar begins with a steep set of steps taking us past the village. Soon, we find ourselves in an extremely narrow path with thick vegetation and shoulder-high bushes.
Gaining an altitude of 3200ft. within 3 hours, today's hike is on a steep uphill trail that doesn't cede anytime before we reach the campsite - Jammu Pani. If you wish, you can elect to reach the top of the mountain instead and camp straight in the meadows.
First rest spot for the day
Indrajit & Rocky taking a breather at Jammu Pani campsite
Up, up & up through thick vegetation
Nope, this was not clicked in Munnar
First glimpse of the meadows
Indrajit sharing a friendly moment with the cattle
Camping in the meadows at Maheli
Day 2: Maheli - Riyali Thatch
Today’s itinerary, a meadow-walk throughout is not a steep ascent but will still take time owing to the distance. After a heavy downpour, we reach our campsite at Riyali Thatch and our jaw drops to the floor! We gaze at the lush greenery with amazement as it dawns on us that instead of the usual grass, the meadow is brimming with Balsam bushes, appearing as if it is a tea-estate!
Strolling on the meadows
Approaching our first spell of showers
Connecting with nature - Bikat style
A second spell of the downpour incoming!
Abhishaik, quenching his thirst at a water stream
First glimpse of Riyali Thatch
Our campsite at Riyali
Day 3: Riyali Thatch - Saghore
Today, after crossing a few beautiful streams we're treading on a narrow ridge that almost lasted all the way to Saghore, our base camp at 13100ft. The lengthy ridge has an abundant variety of flowers packed together making one feel that they're in a giant bouquet.
We zig-zag on the slope leading to the base camp and surprisingly reach our destination sooner than expected!
Starting another day with complete cloud-cover
The jaw-dropping meadows with distant views of a waterfall
The path descends to a glacier before we climb on to the ridge visible in the middle
The flower-laden trail
A better look at the ridge walk
The variety of flora described was not an exaggeration!
Day 4: Saghore - Kalihani Pass – Saghore
Around 4 am, we set off from the base camp in pitch darkness and start on a gradually steep glacier. As dawn breaks, the climb becomes steeper and we negotiate an endless moraine full of steep ice slopes, thrilling scree & loose boulders.
The first rays of the morning sun make the daunting peaks of Indrasan and Deo Tibba visible and treat us with grand views of the valley that we had left behind. A taxing climb later, around 8 am, we stand atop the Kalihani pass - the reward for our labour being impressive views of the Pir Panjal & Dhauladhar ranges along with a sense of pride in our accomplishment of being at 15800ft!
Treading carefully, we start descending and are having refreshing meals back at Saghore by 10 am.
Astonishingly stunning vistas come into view after dawn
First rays of the sunlight illuminate the entire valley
Scree and loose boulders, the thrill is for real!
Even once we're on top of the slope. the pass does not reveal itself
Nearing the pass as we cross one slope after another
ON TOP OF KALIHANI PASS AT 4800M!
Carefully coming down on our way back to the base camp
Day 5: Saghore - Riyali Thatch
After ample rest we start on our way down the ridge, retracing our steps back to Riyali Thatch, an easy 2-hour hike.
The all-encompassing white-out
The ridge walk with glaciers running on either side
Ah! What a paradise full of flowers!
Day 6: Riyali Thatch - Lamadugh
After an overnight halt, we venture on to a new path towards Lamadugh. Walking atop one vast meadow after another, we reach Khanpara Tibba, a 13100ft peak which has the best views of the Beas river valley. After that, it’s a continual descent to Lamadugh.
Day 7: Lamadugh - Manali
We pack our bags and leave from our campsite one last time on this trek. With a 2-3 hour effortless descent and the road-head opening up right being the Hadimba Temple, we pay a visit and find ourselves at the Manali mall road in no time.
One last glance back at Riyali
But the beauty of this trail is not done impacting you!
Khanpara Tibba, a 4000m peak with some splendid views, if the weather permits!
The Kalihani Pass Trek is a mixture of ups and downs, grasslands and flowers, glaciers and ridges - ultimately leading to an epic pass summit. We hope that this photo story helped you bear witness to its unparalleled beauty!