Advise Needed: Backpacking Rewalsar-Rohanda-Karsog

#1 Mar 15th, 2017, 15:42
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  • kapilankar is offline
#1
I did this trip last year:
Advise Needed: Backpacking Jalori-Jibhi-Shangarh

And now again plan to do something similar. This will again be a week-long trip in the third week of June. This trip would start at Mandi on a Sunday morning and end at Shimla the next Sunday via Karsog. I've a tentative itinerary lined up and would like the forum's feedback.

Itinerary:
Fri 16-06 Pune to Mumbai to Delhi (train or flight)
Sat 17-06 Arrive in Delhi and proceed to Mandi by overnight bus
Sun 18-06 Arrive in Mandi and proceed to Rewalsar; overnight at Rewalsar
Mon 19-06 Through the day at Rewalsar
Tue 20-06 Rewalsar to Mandi to Sundernagar to Rohanda; overnight at Rohanda
Wed 21-06 Rohanda to Kamrunag trek
Thu 22-06 Kamru Nag to Shikari Devi trek
Fri 23-06 Shikari Devi to Karsog trek; overnight at Karsog
Sat 24-06 Karsog, Chindi and Pangna; overnight at Karsog
Sun 25-06 Karsog to Shimla and proceed to Delhi by overnight bus
Mon 26-06 Delhi to Mumbai to Pune (train or flight)

I'm yet to check out the accommodations, but will most likely opt for the Forest department or PWD guest houses where available. Gompas preferred in Rewalsar. If anyone has any specific suggestions then its always welcome!

I'll be fine-tuning the itinerary in the days to come.

Some Queries:
1: Are there accommodation options at Kamrunag?
2: Is the route from Kamrunag to Shikari Devi well marked?
Last edited by kapilankar; Mar 15th, 2017 at 15:48.. Reason: added queries
#2 Mar 23rd, 2017, 00:32
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#2
I found you Kapil!
And great minds run on the same lines. Well, we probably talked about the Kamrunag trek from Rohanda. For sure I want to do that part too, but I think there's only camping facilities there. Same for Shikari Devi, though there are so many dhabas there I'm sure you'd find a building to stretch out your sleeping bag in.....There's a very basic forest shelter I remember too.
Karsog has many basic homestays etc but it's extremely hot down there.....Only about 1300 metres. Hard to book into the Chindi PWD (and rather posh!)I believe but there were some other small hotel options up there on the crest not far from where the trail from Kamrunag comes out onto the main road. Names I can't tell you but I do have a friend in the Karsog area you may be able to contact if needed.
Looking forward to hearing from you! Cinta
#3 Mar 23rd, 2017, 01:06
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Drikung Kagyu Gompa is the first Buddhist monastery as you go through the gates opposite the jeep stand into Rewalsar Lake it's immediately on your right, they have some very cheap very basic rooms just inside the grounds which were Rs200 last time I was there, these are mainly used by Tibetan, Ladakhi & Bhutanese pilgrims, but they have some nicer rooms up the hill which were Rs300 (over 5yrs ago!) these rooms are more secluded, very Shanti! with great views down to lake.

They are usually given to practising western Buddhists, but with a bit of persistence I always managed to wangle my way in, speak with the Monk who runs the monastery coffee house come book shop by the entrance gate. KK
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#4 Mar 24th, 2017, 13:39
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@ Cinta Alam

Whoa! Hi again! Do you plan to be here this year too? Would be fun to meet up again . The accommodation at Kamrunag worries me a bit - don't really fancy carrying a tent up there, unless as a part of a larger group. Had not factored in the heat at Karsog - many thanks for pointing that out. That opens up an alternative of ascending Shikari Devi first from Jhanjheli and then cover head to Kamrunag and descend to Karsog in one day - Is that doable? (You do know my fitness levels )

Places to stay can be explored - would expect some lodges, so would really be fine.

@ kullukid

Sounds like something wonderful. Your description reminds me of the Shangarh Forest Rest House (amazing place, especially with the blown fuse). Looking at the map, this seems to be on the eastern side of the lake, with the Padmasambhava's cave being to the north and Naina Devi to the east - each side a small trek in itself. Sounds good!
#5 Mar 24th, 2017, 17:57
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#5
It's one vereee vereee steep small trek, here's a view from the caves back down to the lake;

Here's some more photo's;

https://get.google.com/albumarchive/...Onhj9aztKvw1gE
Attached Images
India 06-07 291.jpg India 06-07 294.jpg 
#6 Mar 24th, 2017, 19:21
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[QUOTE=kapilankar;2027497]@ Cinta Alam

...... That opens up an alternative of ascending Shikari Devi first from Jhanjheli and then cover head to Kamrunag and descend to Karsog in one day - Is that doable? (You do know my fitness levels )

Yes......I intend to be in the área but dates are not fixed yet. It īd be great to join for a section.
This alternative is a good one....fairly easy to get up to Janjehli from Mandi via Pandoh and masses of homestays there. You might remember as well the amazing trek I mentioned from Gada Gusheini over to Janjehli....thereīs plenty to do around there. Leave something for next time.
Having said that, in some blog I read that the hike from Shikari Devi to Kamrunag is 5-6 hours and the trail not clear. When the locals say 5-6 hours that can be a lot more for us mere mortals....but you have looong legs my boy, I canīt see you having major problems. However, the hike up from Janjehli to Shikari is well over a 1000mt climb ( I believe from memory), so thatīs another day to complete it all ( a polite way to point out that you canīt be THAT fit...youīd collapse at some point). Forget about continuing down to Karsog the same day, even with your length legs.

Rewalsar compared to Shangarh:
Whoa! Donīt let your imagination run away with you Kapil.
These 2 places are not in the same league. I was at Rewalsar years ago and it was pretty crowded then. Nice, but Shangarh is right off the beaten track, pure .... I can see you need a place to cool down and rest up after your long journey up to HP, but donīt expect heaven. You have to go a bit further for that, right?
#7 Mar 24th, 2017, 23:20
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@ kullukid, some problem with the link you shared. It sure does look verrrry steep

@ Cinta Alam - yep, I do remember Jhanjheli 'being somewhere there' as seen from Raghupur Garh. Maybe I'll leave it for next time. Or maybe not. My plan for the hike was Jhanjheli to Shikari Devi in 1 day and then next day to Karsog via Kamrunag. The distance is about 15-17kms on a level walk (as per IMer Tarun Goel on his blog). It took him about 5 hours, so atleast 7 for me. And I'm nowhere close to 'that' fit. Might have to choose one I guess.

About Rewalsar - ofcourse I was not comparing it with Shangarh. Its just that the relative positions of the Gompa rooms with Rewalsar and the FRH with Shangarh painted a similar picture.
#8 Mar 25th, 2017, 00:27
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Kapil, I may have found an easier way to do it. But missing out Karsog.
Google Devidarh. There's an expensive place to stay but also a FRH.I guess there are other homestay options copying the fancy place. The photos look great and it's still off the beaten track.
It's possible to stay there and trek both Shikari AND Kamrunag as 2 different day treks. Slightly longer routes but more convenient as you don't need to carry your backpack and Devidarh s 2400m height means maximum about 500m climb to Shikari instead of 800 or so from Janjehli. On the map it's virtually halfway between the two Mandirs.
Check it out and let me know. I'd be up for that!
If you like the idea....Maybe you can make some calls to DFO and get info about the availability of the FRH? Only 2 sets there. Hard for me to investigate from here.
#9 Mar 25th, 2017, 02:54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kapilankar View Post @ kullukid, some problem with the link you shared. It sure does look verrrry steep
Sorry, try this;

https://goo.gl/photos/cCYrX5hKoQxNC5Hu6
#10 Mar 25th, 2017, 19:01
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I dont mind missing our Karsog if that means being at Devidhar. Yay, amazing find Cinta Alam! I'll check the accommodation status there.

Thanks for the link kullukid, what time of the year was this?
#11 Mar 25th, 2017, 21:19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kapilankar View Post
Thanks for the link kullukid, what time of the year was this?
They were taken on different visits could be anytime between oct-jan.
#12 Mar 30th, 2017, 21:11
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Hi Kapil,
I booked my tickets but can be in the Mandi area till 24 June only. Having been to Shikari about 3 times I'd love to do the Kamru trek with you if you can find a place to stay around Devidarh. The only info about Devidarh FRH I've found doesn't even say it has one set, so maybe it's just a basic shelter? If not......What? Have you ruled out doing it from Rohanda? Please keep me in with your plans.
#13 Mar 31st, 2017, 02:57
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The case of the missing FRH that gets curiouser and curiouser.

I am not proud to state that I've spent around 40 mins researching this.

First off, where's the best place to look for a list of FRHs in any state? On govt websites of course.
HP is quite easy for me, on account of having browsed their sites more than once in the past. The Forest Dept's official site is - http://hpforest.nic.in/
But they have a separate site for eco-tourism, wherein they have a list of all FRHs alongwith other info - http://www.himachalecotourism.nic.in/
Eventually you'll find the link leading you to the list of FRHs, under Travel Choices . So since you all have mentioned Mandi, Rohanda, Karsog et al, what's the logical link to click? The one for Mandi Circle of course:
http://www.himachalecotourism.nic.in...ls/RHMandi.htm

Hmm, now it begins to get curious. A list of all FRHs and Inspection Huts in the area, but not Devidarh.

Back to Google. At first the spelling threw me, like kapil I also thought it is or should be Devidhar (which I may mention is a village on the way to Uttarkashi, but we'll let that pass ). I come across this website which has a chunk of good info:
http://disttmandi.com/journey-to-devidarh-mandi/
It does mention the FRH too, except that I missed that bit on first reading.

Back to Google, look for Devidarh this time, as the spelling seems to be correct.
More info this time, starting with the Mandi district admin's site, which clearly mentions the FRH:
http://himachal.nic.in/index1.php?la...2077&lid=12481
Except that Indian govt websites are notorious for not being up-to-date, we all know that, don't we? If there is an FRH, why isn't it listed on the Forest Dept's site? Maybe there was an FRH but it's been shut down? That happens. Then again, Mandi admin's site says the page was updated less than a year ago. So .....

The search continues -
Next up is a pdf from the Forest Dept's site which lists all the FRHs and IHs in the state in one doc:
http://hpforest.nic.in/files/FRH%20I...HP%20Final.pdf
And guess what - it lists Devidarh! Under Nachan forest division of Mandi circle.
Of course, I aint trusting this list just yet - I could only find it through Google, which will often throw up docs buried in a website that can't be found through an actual link on the concerned site. Why can't I find this directly on the site?
Many minutes later ..... we'll of course I can, after having moused over almost every link on the site . It's very helpfully listed under Reports and Publications --> List of Forest Rest Houses (well, a list of FRHs is a publication, innit?).
And it's a revised list to boot.

But, waitaminnit ..... the Mandi Circle list on the Ecotourism site also lists Nachan division. But no Devidarh. You'll see that all the other FRH names are there.
What is going on? Like I indicated, could be one list is up-to-date and the other not.
Some more googling, and now Devidarh FRH also shows up on the Ecotourism site! Yay, all's well . And guess where?
Under Wildlife Division Kullu! WHICH IS UNDER FREAKIN' Wildlife Dharmshala Circle!
http://www.himachalecotourism.nic.in...aramshalaW.htm

It's very late, I can't bend my head around giving an explanation for this except a short one that this is not unheard of, state govts sometimes do this for administrative reasons. I know that Uttarakhand does this too (i.e. FRHs in the same forest division under different DFOs). But this one takes the cake - Kullu is still adjacent to Mandi, but the Wildlife circle is Dharmshala?!!
Could anyone be expected to find this FRH? Now you all know why it took me 40 mins.

As you can see, Devidarh has a full-fledged FRH, with 2 rooms which have a double-bed each. You have to contact the DFO Wildlife Kullu for booking, contacts are in columns 11 and 12 of the sheet.

Cinta - cue for you to start heaping effusive praise on me.
(Ok, you don't have to heap any praise, effusive or otherwise, but that's what you've done in the past in similar situations, so I thought you might not want to break the habit ).
Last edited by Dilliwala; Mar 31st, 2017 at 23:12..
#14 Mar 31st, 2017, 11:18
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@ Cinta Alam - Did not go digging for the info just yet. Some running around for the office and another trip kept me a bit occupied. My itinerary can be tweaked definitely. Will re-plan it to spend 2-3 days in Devidarh (maybe 21-23). Will have to work out where do I go after Devidarh - either Karsog or Jhanjheli seem to be my options. Or dig out some other places around there. Will keep you posted here.

@ Dilliwala amazing amazing stuff! I'll fill in for Cinta Alam with the praises for now Navigating the government websites can be a big pain. I'd used the PDF file you linked to book/enquire about the Shangarh and Ropa FRH last year. Really helpful people at the Shamsi office
(how much time did it take you to type that though? )

I'll give them a call and update here.
#15 Mar 31st, 2017, 15:20
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I called up the office in Nachan. The FRH does exist and it has to be booked by calling this office (Ph. +91 1907 250267) one week prior to expected arrival.

The FRH is a small house from the 50s and has 2 very basic suites. Food can be prepared on demand by the caretaker. The person on the line suggested that there is a fully equipped hotel (also seen on the map) and also a few guesthouses which have very good facilities.
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