About Sar Pass
The Parvati Valley in the Kullu District of Himachal Pradesh is the home to Sar pass. Undoubtedly one of the most beautiful treks in India, Sar Pass Trek promises a medley of meadows, forests, streams, and snow-covered trails.
Sar Pass is like a snowy dream with new adventures after every base camp and views that will make all the chattering in the cold worth it. The base camp of Sar Pass trek is Kasol, which is also known as the Mini Israel of India.
Sar, in the local language, means ‘lake’. One passes by a small, usually frozen lake while trekking across the path hence, the name Sar Pass.
About Sar Pass Trek
Sar Pass trek is one of the most popular ones in the Shivalik range and is filled with abundant views of nature that will leave you in a daze. This trek is a hub to some of the magnificent views of the Himalayan peaks.
Beginning from the famous Israeli village of India, the trail weaves through a mixture of dense pine and rhododendron forests, lush meadows, and hamlets. An ideal trek for beginners, the Sar Pass trek is actually a mountain ridge.
Nestled in the Parvati Valley, Sar Pass treks give us serene views of the Parvati River. The Sar Pass trek height is at 13,780 ft and the Sar Pass trek distance is 49km.
This trek also is a trail through some of the finest campsites including Min Thach, Grahan Village, Biskari, and Nagaru.
The trek begins in Kasol, which is also known as the backpacker’s paradise. Plenty of backpackers visit Kasol every month to rejuvenate themselves and most of them happen to be foreign visitors who are soaking themselves in the bohemian lifestyle of the place.
Kasol is the base camp for many treks in the Parvati valley and is nestled between pine trees and the snow-capped mountains. Kasol is also known as the mini-Israel of India because of the abundant number of Israelis staying here and the delicious Israeli food available here.
The first part of the trek usually begins by driving through with beautiful meadows and mountains around and once the trail gets rocky and steep, it is covered on foot.
The first campsite is Graham village. Grahan Nalah, has an abundance of Rhododendron (red tree) growth, a local bright flower which is known as ‘buras’ and is collected in large number to make syrup. The trek from here is an absolute treat for the eyes.
The next stop is Min Thatch which is also the grazing stock for the livestock there. ‘Thatch’ means meadows and the trek till here is filled under a canopy of trees and beautiful meadows. From here, one trek towards the Nagaru campsite which is slippery and has melted snow at some parts.
From here, the spread of mountains across the Parvati Valley will be visible, and with the snow and the views, all the tiredness washes away. The main part of the trek is after here towards Sar Pass and the Biskeri Thatch. There are quite a number of challenges or difficulties but what you come across here is something which is out of the world.
One also gets to have a short experience at the river crossing. Adding to the list of adventures in this trek is the last 2 hours of the trek where one comes across an incline of 90-degree slope and the trek descent isn’t traversed by trekking because of its steep but by actually sliding down through the snow.
The entire trek of Sar Pass is filled with mesmerizing mystic views and adventures like in no other trek.Quick Facts related to Sar Pass Trek
- Region: Himachal Pradesh
- Trek Altitude: 13,780 ft
- Trek Difficulty level: Moderate-to-Difficult
- Trek Duration: 6 days
- Distance: 49 km
- Start point: Kasol
- Endpoint: Kasol
- Sar Pass Temperature: The average temperature during the day ranges between 12 degree Celsius to 20 degree Celsius and -2 to 6 degree Celsius during the night
- Nearest Railway station: Chandigarh
- Nearest Airport: Bhuntar Airport (also known as Kullu-Manali airport)
- Nearest ATM: Kasol
Reaching the Basecamp Kasol
From Chandigarh, one can go directly via the road to Kasol. You can take a bus to Manali and hire a cab/taxi till Kasol or drive directly to Kasol. If via road, the distance is 271 km, giving you almost 8 hours to travel.
If you want to travel by air, from Chandigarh you can fly to Kulu. Kasol, being a remote place doesn’t have any airports so the nearest airport is at Kullu and you can then go via road from there till Kasol. Kullu to Kasol is only around 38kms and it’ll only take you an hour to reach.
One can also take a train from Chandigarh to Joginder Nagar. From there, one can go via road till Kasol which is at a distance of 124km and that’ll take you almost 4.5 hours to reach Kasol.
To go Sar pass trek from Mumbai via road, one has to get on NH-3 which is the main road that leads to Kasol while on its way to Manali.
To go Sar pass trek from Mumbai via road, the drive is a long one of nearly 37 hours with a distance of 1917 km to cover. One can choose Delhi as their base by travelling to Delhi via flight or train and then going via road.
If via air, one can fly to Bhuntar Airport and then go via road which is only an hour away from Kasol, at a distance of 30km.
Delhi to Kasol is at a distance of 510km, taking approximately 12.5 hours to reach. From Delhi, one can reach Kasol overnight if you start after lunch.
You can also fly to Bhuntar Airport and go via road from there.
Best Time to visit Sar Pass
The Sar Pass Trek's best time is during the seasons of summer, monsoon, and autumn. Sar Pass trekking is thus best done from May to October.
Sar Pass is also a snow trek so one has to be careful of the weather. May to October become the Sar Pass best time to trek because the weather isn’t too extreme and you can also enjoy the thick blankets of snow at higher altitudes. During this period, the snow slides are also very enjoyable and you can see bright, colorful, and beautiful flora and fauna.
Comparatively, in the month of May, the snow is considerably higher. In June, the snow starts to melt leaving behind a fresh trail of greenery. The weather conditions are ideal and suitable during these months but once at the top, the weather doesn’t stay constant and one must be prepared to be surprised with rainfall, hailstorms, and even snowfall.
Sar Pass trekking is not done during the winters. Weather in summer itself is usually unpredictable and winters get very snowy. The snow increases and the weather get very risky for treks so it’s usually not advisable during this season.
Sar Pass trek Weather and Temperature
The average temperature in Sar pass trek during summer ranges from -5 degrees Celsius to 12 degrees Celsius.
The Sar pass temperature in May at the base camp ranges between -1 to -2 degree Celsius and at Nagaru it ranges between -5 to -10 degree Celsius. The temperature in Sar pass trek starts decreasing once the season changes and the nights get even chillier.
It is advisable to carry proper gear, shoes, and woolen clothes. During the nights, the temperature significantly drops so it is necessary to be fully prepared.
Is it Difficult To Trek Sar Pass?
Sar Pass is a moderate level trek. Even without any prior trekking experience, Sar Pass trekking can be done. There is an almost vertical incline at the top and a steep decline.
The air gets thin and the oxygen level drop once going higher. Compared to other difficult treks, this one is between easy-to-moderate.
Though the trek is moderate, there are certain challenging parts of the trek. While trekking through the vertical incline, the path is a little risky but with the views of the majestic mountains around you, it all gets done smoothly.
Once you slide down through the decline, there are chances of being heavy blankets of snow around you. While sliding through the snow is an entirely different experience on its own, one has been aware that the snow gets accumulated inside the clothes and shoes so trekking forward with snow in and around gets a little chilly.
One also has to be prepared to trek through knee-deep snow and continue walking/sliding till the next campsite. Occasionally, there are slight chances of snowfall/rainfall while in the middle of treks so it gets a little challenging to walk in snow while in the middle of snowfall.
The experience is nevertheless, unreal and magical. This part of the trek is the trickiest one and once it’s cleared, the trek is clear from thereon.
Is it safe?
Sar Pass trek is safe for everyone. Even though there are steep inclines and declines, it is completely safe to trek and the risk is very low. The treks conducted are always under the presence of guides and expert supervision.
There is also constant local guidance across different campsites. Going solo trekking here is usually not preferable because of the snow trekking. As one goes higher, the altitude starts gaining and the weather changes but the atmosphere is safe for trekking.
In any case, if there are any sudden changes in the weather, the trekkers are informed beforehand and whatever measures are taken, are in favor of their safety and security.
- Sar Pass
Day 1: Trek from Kasol to Grahan village
- 1,700 m to 2,350 m
- Total distance covered:10 km trek
- Time duration: 4-5 hours
- Accommodation and food available both in guest house and tents in the camping ground.
The trail commences from the centre of Kasol towards the first campsite- Grahan village. The pathway you cross in between goes through the forests, followed by meadows and Garahan nalah. The trail is a very relaxed one and is very easy to navigate as it's often used by the villagers.
Once you cross the green fields of Grahan Nalah, the trail becomes abruptly steep and rocky as the ascent gets steeper. After a while, the rocky pathways open up to scenic fields full of colourful tarpaulins. At this spot, there are a few vendors and stalls selling refreshments like water bottles, biscuits, omelettes, juices and even rhododendron syrup. Grahan Nalah has a surplus of rhododendron growth, a local bright red flower known as buras. These flowers grow in the forests that receive a generous amount of snowfall and bloom in a large number during spring and are collected by the villagers to make syrup. There are many health benefits of the petals of this flower and are consumed by the villagers in a large amount here.
After a steep and rocky one hour climb, you will see a small cluster of houses situated on the top of a hill. This is the village of Grahan, your camp base for the first night. Some of the mobile networks do have signal till this point, otherwise one can use their satellite phone as well. There are accommodation options in the villages in the home stays and guest houses or if you want to sleep under a sky full of stars, there's a camping ground after crossing the village as well.
Day 2: Trek from Grahan to Min Thatch
- 2,350 m to 3,400 m
- Total distance covered: 7km
- Time duration: 4 to 5 hours approximately.
- Accommodation and food in the camping ground tents.
After spending a night at Grahan, which is almost at a height of 2350 mts, start climbing up gently towards the north early in the morning after finishing your breakfast. After walking for about half an hour, this trail opens up to a grazing land. From this point, you can spot Min Thatch, Nagaru and even Sar Top on the adjacent mountain. The trail gradually leads into the woods and the way becomes steeper and vertical.
Once you have crossed this range, a thick canopy of trees will take over you and the sunlight will almost diminish as you will enter the dense forest. As the light decreases, the navigation of the trail becomes confusing at some places. After slogging for 2-3 hours in the forest, the canopy opens up to a grassy area on a ridge. In a local dialect of Grahan, 'Thatch' basically means meadows and that is how the name of this place has originated. The total distance covered from Grahan to this spot is about 7kms.
As you stand here and take a panoramic view, you will witness the stretch of Chanderkhani and various other ranges towards your North West direction across the horizon. Walk towards the ridgeline and continue towards the east, you will be able to spot a snow-covered cliff where resides your next campsite- Nagaru. The south-east side will be covered with forests and after finding a clear space, pitch your tents. Some of the seasonal vendors open their stalls here to sell coffee, tea, eggs and other essentials. Make sure you purchase the required amount of drinking water here itself, as from this point onwards drinking water might not be available till the summit.
While pitching the tent, keep in mind to dig trenches around the tents to let the water drain naturally in the event of rainfall or hailstorms. Don't rest immediately inside the tents as you reach the site. Try and walk around the campsite to help your body acclimatize.
Day 3: Trek from Min Thatch to Nagaru
- 3,400 m to 3,800 m.
- Total distance covered: 8km
- Time duration: 4-6 hours depending upon the weather conditions.
- Accommodation and food in the camping ground tents.
Be prepared to have an early start from Min Thatch towards Nagaru. The locals and the trekkers suggest covering this stretch in the first half of the day itself as the climate may fluctuate and change very abruptly and drastically post afternoon. Also, the route till Nagaru commences with a downhill trail first and then goes upwards towards the cliff and into the woods. As the chances of the snowfall or hailstorms are very high at this altitude of 3400m, reaching the next campsite before the afternoon is a must, to avoid passing the trail during the period of snow melting as it makes the pathway extremely slippery and tedious to cross.
As you keep walking in during the dawn, you will proceed towards another rocky ridgeline which ultimately opens up to a lush grassy meadow after a while. The initial stretch of the ridge is very steep and well-marked till a hundred meters, however after the marking ends, the trail of tree line ends and the grassy patch begins.
The trekkers need to be very careful while crossing this patch as the melted slow makes the track very slippery. One should have appropriate shoes and proper technique to cover this part of the trail because one mistake and the slope falls directly into the valley below. At times, the snow makes the trail marking invisible too. Adhere to your guide's instruction very well here. He will chisel away the ice through an ice axe and will pave your way in the deep snow. Don't take long steps here, make sure you dig you one foot into the snow, get a good grip and then put the next foot ahead in the same manner.
The snow-covered peaks look extremely enchanting from a distance but walking on the snow is definitely no cake walk. After a few hours, a section of flat land on the top of the hill will welcome you with its arms widespread. This is your next pit stop- Nagaru. As you catch your breath after the sturdy trek, the panoramic view of majestic mountains will leave you spellbound. As you stand here inhaling all the beauty that the world has to offer you at this moment, you will witness the peaks of mountains spread across Parvati valley towards your north and few traces of Manikaran will also be visible. When you turn a bit towards the North West, an awestruck clear view of Chanderkhani and various ranges of Beas valley will take over your sight. Finally, as you look towards the south, a massive stretch of snow-covered hills will be seen and toward this direction, lies your final destination- Sar Pass. From this point, the summit point will still not be visible.
Some traces of mobile networks may be available at some points here. It is advisable to put down your tents as soon as you reach the campsite because in the height of 3800m the wind tends to get extremely strong and the temperature drops drastically post the sunset.
Since the next day is your summit day, have an early dinner and retire inside your tents as soon as possible to avoid the nail-biting winds. The upcoming day is going to begin way before the sunrise.
Day 4: Nagaru - Sar Pass - Biskeri Thatch
- 3,800 m - 4,200 m - 3,350 m
- Total distance covered- 3,800 m - 4,200 m - 3,350 m
- Time duration: 6-8 hours
- Accommodation and food in the camping ground tents.
The previous day's exhilarating trek will make you physically acclimatized to the temperature by now. Wake up before dawn breaks and start your final trail towards the Sar pass by following the ridgeline in the direction of the south. Don't go all out with your pace initially because of the altitude and the cold wind will cause fatigue and sickness instantly if you push your body limits. Take small steps and continue to breathe as much as you can. Having a slow but steady pace at the start will save your energy for the rest of the way.
Even though it's going to be difficult, the mesmerizing mountains surrounding you will keep your spirits motivated. Once you've climbed that first hill you spotted from Nagaru point, one-third distance from the summit is covered by now. As you go ahead, after some time you will be able to spot the splendid escapade of Sar Pass from this point. The views end up opening eastward and as the clouds pass by, the high points of tosh valley covered in snow will be visible from here as well.
The next patch goes towards the south-east direction passing the numerous contours of the hill. With a deep valley on both your side, you need to be very careful as you walk here. After you have successfully survived the deadly patch. The colourful flag tied to a Trishul at the top will be visible from this point. From where you stand, it's going to look easy and approachable. However, the last patch is the most difficult one to cover as the slope is almost vertical, very steep and buried deep in the snow. Your guide will help you to climb the pass here with the assistance of a rope.
The last few moments of approaching towards the victory makes your adrenaline rush beyond the charts. As you reach the summit, the piercing drop of a hundred feet will unfold the surreal beauty of the valley ahead. The rush of being on the zenith is impossible to define in words. Once the views will soak in your system, all the exhaustion of the climb will start fading away into nirvana.
Take your quality time here and rejuvenate yourself with each piece of visuals that nature offers and once you are through with it, next comes the best part of this pass- the Descend! One needs to descend down a hundred feet by sliding only. This slide is absolutely harmless, filled with fun and takes away all the fatigue of the climb. Just keep in mind to keep your important belongings inside the bag, put your legs stuck to each other tightly and your elbows firmly by the side in order to push back into the snow.
You will reach a point where you will stop automatically, get up slowly and cover the rest of the way on foot till you reach another slope. As you slide down for about a kilometre or more, you will pass through the valley that keeps narrowing down as you go past the stunning meadows. Finally, after crossing a few streams, you will reach your next campsite- Biskeri Thatch.
Welcoming you with a pristine view of untouched peaks and sublime stretch of pine forests followed by grasslands, the next stop at 3500m of altitude will give you the leisure that you deserve after having an adventurous first half of the day. The mobile network and drinking water are available at this point.
Day 5: Biskeri Thatch to Barsheni
- 3,350 m to 2,400 m
- Total distance covered: 10km
- Time duration: 4-5 hours
- Accommodation and food in the camping ground tents.
Hereafter, descent towards civilization begins. Follow the left of the stream and keep walking across the fencing. The trail is not marked here as it leads into the dense forest, one needs to find the trail by themselves. Always take the words of your guide when it comes to navigating trails as every trail seems the right one. Going downwards from here is the tricky part as you need to crawl down 20ft of rock using the rope. After crossing the running stream, climb towards the village of Pulga on the left side and as you go ahead, the extravagant grassland will make you feel at ease.
The route ahead includes clearings in the forests and opens up to a lumber yard owned by the forest department. Walking ahead you will reach the village of Pulga and Tulga. These twin villages are separated from each other by a stream and as you cross a bridge from tulga, you will reach the village of Barsheni which is the last village of Parvati valley. Your wonderful trail ends here. The total distance you will cover from Bishkeri to Barsheni will be around 10 km in approximately 4-5 hours.
You can either stay a day here to lay back and relax or take a bus/taxi to Kasol from here. We are sure that these 6 days of Sar Pass trek will give you an experience of your lifetime and memories that will not only lie on your walls but also in your hearts.
As they say, mountains have the capability to change you as a person. Unwind the trail of Sar Pass trek with us and achieve the greater heights. After all, the peak of one mountain is the base of another mountain.