A trek of dreams, Hampta Pass treats you to an amazing display of diverse landscapes in a 5-day mountain rhapsody. The stark contrasting sweeps of topography varying from lush green mammoths to crisp contrasting expanses of deserted wilderness hold you in awe. The sheer drama of this cross over trek is simply intriguing.
Located in the Pir Panjal Range of the Himalayas, Hampta Pass is a live canvas painted in the distinctive settings of Himachal Pradesh.
All this plus the grandeur of vertical rock walls, glossy grasslands, gurgling streams, silver waterfalls, hanging glaciers, overhanging mountains rising above 19,700 feet and the most scenic campsites, Hampta Pass trekking route unfolds the splendor of the Himalayan region like no other.
In this cross over trek, you'd journey to the beautiful Chandra Valley in Lahaul Spiti from the Kullu Valley
This dynamic trek can be completed in 4 days but usually, trekkers add one more day to visit Chandra Taal, the absolutely beautiful blue-water lake. Hampta Pass-Chandra Taal trek is the most sought-after trek of Himachal Pradesh.
About Hampta Pass Trek
At an altitude of 14,010 feet, Hampta Pass is one of the most stunning trekking options that Himachal Pradesh has to offer. Although it has a comparatively moderate level of difficulty, Hampta Pass trek is a fantastic opportunity for amateurs and veterans alike. It is bound to captivate the trekkers with its alluring landscapes and spectacular vistas. Dense pinewood forests, endless green meadows, rustling mountain streams, vibrant wildflowers, daunting mountains, beautiful valleys, serene lakes, and pools – the entire trail of Hampta Pass trek is dotted with everything you can dream of to witness on a trek.
Landscapes change vividly every few hours of walking on the Hampta Pass trekking trail. The lack of any treacherousness in the trail is compensated by the abundance of natural beauty, which will take you by surprise at every twist and turn of the trek that spans over 5 days. It begins with a drive from Manali to the basecamp of the trek, Jobra. From there, the incredible journey on foot begins.
True to its promise, the trek will first take you on a voyage through some of the most beautiful sweeps of nature’s endless bounty that Himachal has to offer. The zestful forests of pines, maples, and birches on the way from Jobra to Chika, the vast green meadows catering to mountain cattle and bright, colourful rhododendrons and other wildflowers en route to Balu ka Ghera, the rocky cliffs and shallow lakes that pave the road to Hampta Pass, and finally the haunting panorama of Pirpanjal from the gateway to the pass – the whole trail is nothing short of a soulful odyssey.
At the topmost point, it seems like the Himalayas have opened up their deepest secrets for the trekkers to peek into. The breathtaking views of the mountains, gliding down into the abyss of melancholic valleys and rising into the sky with snowy white peaks, reflecting the sun unabashedly, is quite a well-deserved and hard-earned reward for making the easy but exhausting trek. But the journey is yet not over. The dynamic experience continues during the descent to Shea Goru. Here you will find the most difficult part of the trek – a steep downhill walk along narrow, rocky pathways.
The last treat for the eyes and the spirit on this trek is Lake Chandratal, nestled between lofty peaks of the Pirpanjal at a height of 4,250 metres. But before that, a chilling encounter with a mountain stream awaits you – quite literally. Before you make your way to Chhatru, your last campsite for the trek, a small stream by the campsite of Shea Goru needs to be crossed early in the morning, when the water is low and currents are weak. A simpler walk through pastures and rocky paths take you to Chhatru, where vehicular access is restored.
The drive to Lake Chandratal is as stunning as the lake itself. How the crescent-shaped mass of sparkling water will look to you depends on the time of the day you visit it. During day time, it reflects the turquoise blue of the sky, while dusk paints it with a shade of deep emerald. Upon nightfall, it turns glistening black. Here too, you can get the opportunity to see local shepherds graze their herds, in the lush greens dotted with wildflowers that surround Lake Chandratal.
About Hampta Pass
Located at a height of 14,010 feet, Hampta Pass is a small corridor between Chandra valley of Lahaul and Kullu Valley of Himachal Pradesh- it is a fascinating crossover from Manali to Spiti. At Hampta Pass, the breathtaking view sweeps you off your feet. Colossal Mount Indrasen, Deo Tibba and numerous snow-laden peaks rising as high as 19,7000 feet stand tall at a distance and welcome you into a magical embrace. The arid landscape of Lahaul Valley interspersed with naked mountains presents the most widely panoramic sweep, down below.
Tucked in between the majestic folds of Pirpanjal Range of the Himalayas. The moniker of the valley comes from a beautiful hamlet of the same name. Hampta Village is located below Sethan Village, which falls on the way of the trek to Hampta.
Hampta Pass trek is known for its higher grasslands, which the trekkers would eventually cross on their journey up to the highest point. Sometimes, these patches of open land are used as campsites as well. These meadows are visited by shepherds from the foothill regions during the summer months when the cold, deserts of Lahaul Valley are left too barren for the cattle to graze. The locals also believe that a certain kind of grass that grows in this region, which they call ‘Neeru’, is a great source of nutrition for the herds and therefore a good feed.
History and Mythology
Hampta Pass derives its name from the tiny hamlet Hampta, snuggled in the laps of the Kullu Valley.
According to one legend, Hampta Pass also got its name after a Rishi, Hampta Maharishi who meditated there.
According to the Hindu mythology Mahabharata, this trek route was travelled by the Pandavas on their quest for heaven. In fact, the route from Hampta Pass to Chandratal is often touted as the ‘staircase to heaven'.Quick facts
- Region- Himachal Pradesh Himalayas
- Altitude- 14,010 feet
- Duration- 5 days
- Trekking Distance- 28 kilometres
- Difficulty Level- Easy to moderate
- Start Point- Manali
- End Point- Manali
- Base Camp- Jobra
- Nearest railway station- Pathankot
- Nearest airport- Bhuntar
- Last ATM- At Manali. It is recommended that you carry enough cash for the trek as they are no ATMs available beyond Manali.
- Best time to visit- mid-June to mid-October
How to reach Hampta Pass from Delhi
The best way to reach Hampta Pass from Delhi is via Manali. Reaching from New Delhi to Manali is probably the easiest part of the whole trip. The distance between Delhi and Manali is around 550 kilometres. There are three options available-
- By train-
There is no direct train to Manali. From Delhi, you can either take a Shatabdi train to Chandigarh or a train to Pathankot and then hire a cab or take a bus to Manali.
- By road-
The distance between Delhi and Manali is around 550 km. The distance between Chandigarh and Manali is 310 km. You can either take a direct bus from Delhi to Manali or reach Chandigarh from Delhi and then take a bus from Chandigarh to Manali. There is a flight of buses that run between these cities and Manali. From Delhi, it takes around 14 hours to reach Manali by bus. It takes around 8 hours to reach Manali from Chandigarh by bus.
- By flight-
Fly to Bhuntar. Located 52 kilometres away from Manali, it is the nearest airport to Manali. There are many private and Indian Airlines flights to Bhuntar that operate on a regular basis. From Bhuntar, you can either take a cab or a direct bus to Manali.
Manali to Hampta Pass
From Manali, you can hire a cab and reach Jobra. From Jobra, it is a 2-day trek to Hampta Pass.
Mobile connectivity is available till Jobra. However, the connection is not very stable. As you are away from civilization, it is suggested that you take a technology-detox and keep your mobile aside to enjoy this beautiful trek.
Highlights of Trek
The trek takes you to an elevation of 14,010 feet but the trek is nowhere close to being as dangerous as treks to this high altitude usually are. There are hardly any treks that reach such a staggering elevation in a short span of 5 days.
- Mountain Villages-
Splendid mountain villages nestled in the lap of Himalayas are ideal places to relax, unwind and lose yourself in oblivion! Perched at an elevation of 8,860 feet, Sethan is one such village that allows you to relax and just be! Located at a 45-minute drive from Manali, this small Buddhist town surrounded by the towering Dhauladhar ranges, is like a paradise set on earth. During winters, when snow fills the ground, the place is blanketed in a white sheet of pure bliss. You get a chance to explore the distinct Buddhist culture of the inhabitants of Sethan who are original migrants from Tibet and Spiti Valley.
Hampta village, located below Sethan village, is supposed to be the track to heaven. It is widely believed that Yudhishthir took this route on his journey to heaven.
You also get to observe the distinct culture of the local populace of Lahaul and Spiti, the high-altitude marvels of nature.
- Distinct terrain-
Hampta Pass is exclusive and rare because of the vastly divergent landscapes that it offers in a span of just 5 days. Just as you cross over the lush green Kullu Valley, the expansive stretches of the deserted and barren Lahaul Valley stare at you with their sheer spectacle. Alpine forests and green meadows are constant companions in most Himalayan treks, what sets this trek apart is Lahaul's barren wilderness and sparse vegetation along with the cold deserts of Spiti.
- Exotic flora and fauna-
The trek treat you to a unique variety of Himalayan flora and fauna. The grasslands are dotted with pretty wildflowers in myriad hues. The dwarf rhododendrons lining the forest trails cast a rosy-pink contrast to the glossy green landscape of Pinewood, Deodar, Maple, Silver Birch, and mighty oak trees. After savouring the glossy grasslands of Kullu Valley, the dry and cold deserts of Lahaul and Spiti strike you in your face with a virgin wilderness.
You encounter Shepherd dogs, sheep, colourful Himalayan Birds such as white-capped redstart and whistling thrushes that inhabit the Alpine forests.
- Imposing mountain ranges-
Imposing Pir Panjal range, colossal mountains of Dhauladhar range and the solitary mountains of Lahaul and Spiti stun you with their contrasting beauty. You witness the lush green mountains dotted with snow-capped peaks along with the arid panorama of naked mountains, all in this 5-day trek. The spellbinding views of Deo Tibba, Mount Indrasen and its glaciers from the top of Hampta Pass are sure to have a hypnotic impact on your senses.
- Scenic campsites-
Camp at new spots every night, every camping spot tangentially different from the other.
Chika, the first campsite sits beautifully on the banks of Rani Nallah and floors you with the confluence of two streams emerging from one waterfall. It is a beautiful campsite blessed with the immense natural beauty of effervescent rivers, exotic vegetation of dwarf rhododendrons, birch trees, and glossy grasslands, and splendid view of trekking trail.
Balu ka Gera, meaning heaps of sand, is actually a level campsite of lush expansive ground surrounded by the mighty Dhauladhar ranges. You are treated to the Bandarpoonch peak of the Dhauladhar range on the far side of the campsite. It is located right below the Hampta Pass on the banks of a river.
Shea Goru, the verdant green campsite is flanked by colossal rocky mountains on one side and snow-capped mountains on the other. It is one of the coldest campsites of this trek. A chilly mountain river flows near this amazingly beautiful place. Shea Goru offers the most alluring view of Mount Indrasen peeking through the clouds.
Chatru campsite, at an elevation of 12,900 feet is a colourful valley that treats you to an amazing camping experience. Also known as “oasis in the cold desert”, Chatru is encompassed by myriad mountain ranges. Bubbling Chandra river flowing nearby is like a cherry on the cake of this beautiful campsite.
- Stream crossing-
River crossing experience on the Hampta Pass trekking route is one of its kind and you need to exercise caution while crossing the effervescent mountain rivers. Crossing the high current rivers requires swift maneuvers, careful navigation, and agility. It is advised to cross the streams in the early hours of the day because the water level is low. Wading through ice-cold waters is both exciting and painful.
- Hampta Pass-
A Pass at a height of 14,010 feet is a wide plateau flanked by towering cliffs on the eastern side and the west, it curves and drops down to the magnificent Spiti Valley. The incredible twist in the scenery from green and snowy valleys to the virgin landscape of Spiti Valley is spellbinding and opens a stark new universe at your face. Many shepherds uses this trail to travel to Spiti Valley from the Kullu region.
- A crossover trek-
This dramatic crossover trek journeys through Kullu Valley, crosses Hampta Pass, and finally reaches Rohtang Pass via Lahaul and Spiti Valley. Hampta Pass is a mind-blowing trans-Himalayan crossover trek that simply stuns you with crisply opposite landscapes. You walk on green grasslands, forest trails, loose rocks, moraines, boulders, glaciers and vast blankets of snow and are also treated to the most deserted panoramas. This wholesome Himalayan trek is simply a surreal experience!
- Interesting valleys and passes-
The melancholy Lahaul and Spiti valleys, which are a part of tribal Himachal Rohtang Pass treat you to a magically mysterious beauty that haunts you for life! The return journey takes you to the famous Rohtang Pass which is a hub of activity with hordes of tourists swarming the pass from all across the globe. It is in stark contrast to the deserted stretches where you have spent some previous days of this trek. With colossal mountains standing against the translucent skies and never-ending slopes of snow, Rohtang Pass has allured Bollywood directors to its raw splendor. The pass has witnessed the shootings of many Bollywood blockbusters.
- Chandra Taal lake-
Glorious Chandra Taal, the glistening crescent-shaped lake surrounded by the hash brown mountains, is the most exotic jewel that this trek has to offer. It is literally icing on the top as this high altitude glacial lake actually sits on top of Hampta Pass. According to Hindu mythology, Chandra Taal is the point from where Yudhishthir ascended to heaven. This deep moon lake mesmerizes you with its pristine beauty. It sparkles like a shiny turquoise jewel on Spiti’s otherwise lusterless crown. The legendary lake has many tales associated with it. According to one legend, this is the actual spot at which Lord Indra’s chariot took Yudhishthr to heaven.
According to another legend, the blue-water lake stands as a mute spectator to the tragic love that blossomed between the lake fairy and a shepherd. It is believed that the descendants of the shepherd still visit the lake in the hope of finding the fairy.
Best time to visit Hampta Pass
Mid-June to mid-October offers the best time to visit Hampta Pass. Higher regions of the pass may have some snow in the early days of the season but it melts down completely by August.
It is one of the few treks that can even be enjoyed during the monsoon time, however with some caution. With snow having melted, the lakes and streams brim with sparkling water in the monsoon season. Silver waterfalls gushing down the mountains is a sight to behold. The meadows glossy with fresh grass and salubrious mountain air, soak your senses with a unique freshness.
Chandra Taal lake is easily accessible during these months and this is one of the prime reasons for trekkers to undertake this trek from mid-June to mid-October. Sometimes it may happen that the roads to the lake are not open in the starting month of June.
Difficulty Level Hampta Pass
The trek is of easy to moderate difficulty level and a good fit for beginners as well as seasoned trekkers. One should have an optimum level of fitness for undertaking this trek. It has fewer challenges as compared to other treks of this elevation. Even though some of the trails are moderately challenging, there are hardly any long stretches of treacherous trekking. Only a few terrains require steep ascends and carefully descends. The difficulty level of this trek is mostly weather dependent.
Is Hampta Pass Trek recommended for beginners
For trekkers who don’t have an advanced experience but some prior experience in trekking, Hampta Pass is that perfect destination with one-in-all ingredients of a mountain adventure. This trek is the most rewarding experience in terms of dynamic landscapes, connectivity, difficulty level and the potpourri of trekking elements that it has to offer.
It is advisable that you take a guide with you to show you the path and guide you through rough weather.
Water availability during trek
The ever-flowing streams of pure water are a delight. One can actually place a water bottle in the gushing water to fill it up. Water so pure, so crystal clear and so fresh! You get enough water on Day 1 and Day 2 of the trek. On the third day of the trek, carry sufficient water from Balu ka Gera as you won’t find any water sources till your next destination. On Day 4, you get enough water sources on the way.
Health and Safety
- For any Himalayan Trek, Ideal BMI for a trekker should be 18.5 to 24.9
- To keep a check of this please calculate BMI here
- Below given Safety checks should be done to get prepared for any Himalayan Trek.
- Balance : As well said a balanced mind and body gives out best in every condition and that too works in Himalayan treks as well.
- Legs Strength : Body and Legs Strength is required to carry body weight as well as the backpack while trekking in uneven multi terrains. Generally, a good strength on legs works out good in any Trek. One can gain legs strength by doing simple Squats.
- Muscle Flexibility : While trekking in Trans Himalayan region with a flexible body one can easily achieve full range of movement and this can be really helpful for trekkers as well as trek leads. A good flexible will be an advantage while walking on trails, climbing and river crossing etc. Flexibility can be achieved by simple stretching, yoga etc.
- Cardiovascular Endurance : Cardiovascular endurance is defined as the ability of lungs and heart to transmit oxygen to the body muscles. All Himalayan treks are basically ascending descending the slopes and for this trekkers should be having a good cardiovascular endurance. Anyone planning for a Himalayan trek can attain this capacity by doing any cardio exercise like running, swimming, cycling etc.
If a trek is called off at the last moment due to a natural calamity/unforeseen circumstances (like rains, snowfall, earthquake, landslides, strike, bandh etc.), Moxtain will issue a trek voucher for the full amount. The voucher can be redeemed upto same amount for the same trek or another trek in the next one year.
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