Don’t Miss This Day Hike | Ganjau Thatch Trek | Shangarh Sainj Valley, Himachal Pradesh
Our most delightful experience in Shangarh was the day trek to Ganjau Thatch – an alpine meadow which took us one and a half hours to climb, slightly less time to return. We hike at an easy pace, imbibing the beauty of creation at each step and turn and taking time for crafting memories with pictures and videos.
We also spent a leisurely hour at the rolling greens of Ganjau just enjoying the unparalleled beauty at the top while being tossed in the cliched whirlpool in our minds – contemplating on life, our journey so far, what lay ahead and the paths we wanted to take now!
So why Shangarh? Having read a couple of stirring blogs and seen some captivating pictures we wanted to explore it for ourselves before it became too touristy. And the Summer of 22 saw us here in Sainj Valley – a still lesser known part of Himachal Pradesh, the hamlet just about 35 kms east of Aut in the same GHNP eco zone as Gushiani in Tirthan Valley while Kullu is 30 kms north of Aut.
This is a fairly easy trek, with its brief share of rocky paths and uphill gradient, but mostly a pleasant trail unhurriedly winding through forests with stately cedars, passing across meadows and flowering irises and crossing mountain streams which we forded either on foot or over the quintessential wooden bridges you find in this region.
The Quintessential Wooden Bridges & Mountain Streams
Woodzoo where we were staying is about one and a half kms up from Shangarh zero point and the trek started just from behind our cottage. From any other place the ascent should take an additional half hour I guess, the village encompassed roughly within a mere 2 km area radius, though hilly.
Our host had arranged for a local village boy to accompany us as a guide which was truly helpful, confidence perhaps bolstered more so when we learnt his nickname was Commando!
We ambled through nature’s largesse towards Ganjau Thatch – thatch being a new local word for a high-altitude grassland we learnt during this trip, earlier having scaled up to more than one Ghaasni, Kanda and Bugyal. Tell us about your favorite ones, use the Comments Section.
The climb to Ganjau Thatch appealed to Ranjana beyond her expectations and her impromptu impressions were as below.
Well, the weather was bright and sunny, the mountainsides washed and now a verdant emerald after the previous day’s showers. The hike was extra delightful since it was a gradual climb, before reaching the top we hit on smaller meadows where we took gratifying breathers, the surprise gurgling streams along the way, the tall trees and the serene backdrop of the mountains adding to the sublimity. But most of all the flowering blue irises enroute, bountiful and pretty – seeing so many for the first time, having come across some of them 22 years back in Sojha near Jalori Pass. The vastness of the forests and meadows and the solitude gave me a feeling of aloneness yet inclusiveness.
Yes, it had rained a day before and we could see snow on the mountain peaks beyond the tree-line. Surprisingly, we didn’t meet any other people hiking up. Though we did come across some village women taking their cattle up for grazing, such pastures being a primary source of fodder.
One of the most expansive grasslands we had ever been to – it is still untouched and we seemed to have it totally to ourselves.
Unwinding at Ganjau Thatch here contributed to an absolutely blessed emotion as we sat lost and adrift in the undulating greens, ringed by deodars and sentineled by high mountains.
Ranjana and I always concur that the feeling of wonderment and diminutiveness which fascinates us at such places easily overpowers the effort of an arduous trek.
Ranjana promptly agreed and added, “I did this trek even though I had had a fall a few days back in Gushaini and my knees were not at their best. So instead of an excuse I made the effort and as Achal just said – it was well worth it!
Some hikers go further on to Thini Top and camp there or at Ganjau Thatch for the night. However, we returned to our more comfortable cottage after spending a marvellous sixty minutes at the meadow.”
“Hiking and happiness go hand in hand or foot in boot.” ~ Diane Spicer
Article Authored By: Achal Bindraban.
Page Design By: Ranjana Achal.
Pictures By: Achal and Ranjana and couple pics by Commando.
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