As an avid nature lover, I started trekking 15 years ago in an attempt to experience Mother Nature to the fullest. Of course, my favourites include the Hampta Pass trek, a small corridor between the Chandra Valley in Lahaul and the Kullu Valley in Himachal Pradesh, India.
First, let me give you some logistical information. There are several Hampta Pass packages available. Based on the individual level of interest, one can choose the Hampta Pass trek itinerary. I was travelling from Rajkot, Gujarat, so my journey involved a flight to Delhi and then a 15-hour overnight bus ride to Manali. Wondering how to get to Hampta Pass from here? Distance from Manali base camp to Hampta Pass by road is 15-16 km. There are several options to reach here and one of them is Manali to Hampta Pass Base Camp by car. Prini is the base camp where hikers must gather. It should be noted that these groups usually consist of 40-45 tourists in one batch. In summer, when it is the high season, tours are organized in a 20-day window. During this time, there is one group in each camp each day. Pack smart and travel light to maximize your experience. Make sure you are in good shape and most importantly carry your medication if you have any. With that out of the way, let me get to the exciting part, the trek itself.
Hampta Pass Trek Itinerary
The first day was spent acclimatizing due to the increased altitude and reduced oxygen supply. We did the 4-hour trek to get an idea of what to expect in the coming days and to prepare ourselves mentally and physically. Although rare, there are cases where first-time trekkers withdraw from the trek due to a lack of physical and mental preparation. Here we get to know our fellow travellers and friendships soon begin to blossom. One of the best times to bond with other hikers is during meals. Talking about the food, the food served at these treks is vegetarian. A local cook is stationed at each campsite and fresh, simple food is served. While some vegetables are on the menu at lower altitudes, it is mostly limited to potatoes at higher altitudes.
ended with a briefing on the plan for the days ahead and we left in anticipation of an exciting day ahead.
On the 2nd day, after an early breakfast, we were advised to pack our bags for the trek. Each trekker can carry up to 8 kg, so don’t forget to pack properly. Based on previous experience, I took only the essentials and left my other luggage in a locker at base camp, like most trekkers. From Prini, we boarded a bus that took us to the starting point of the Hampta Pass trek, which is Jobra. The ride itself is exhilarating with almost 40 hairpin turns covered in about an hour. This ride is possibly one of the most beautiful mountain rides I’ve done. So make sure you get a window seat on the bus and soak up the stunning views that are the perfect prelude to the spectacular trek ahead.
On the third day, our route was from Sethan village to Chika camp. Once we reached this part of the trek, we were told some logistical facts. There is no electricity beyond that point, so we have to optimize daylight, which means we get up at sunrise and leave at sunset. Our source of water was the numerous clear streams flowing along the route of the Hampta Pass trek. The water was so clean and fresh that it was a “delicious drink”. Everything was minimalist but sufficient. The distance of the Hampta Pass trek from Sethan village to Chika camp was 8 kilometres and we reached an altitude of 10,824 feet. Wandering through green meadows and climbing a hill, we arrived at the huge Chika Camp. Surrounded by lush greenery with the sparkling river Rani flowing in the middle, it was an ideal place to camp for the night. After a simple hot meal, we spent some time bonding over the ‘camp’ with torches before retiring for the night.
Day 4 was expected to be a bit more challenging and we were all set and raring to go, our destination for the day was Balu Ka Ghera Camp. It was a 13-kilometre trek that starts along the banks of the Rani River. Sprinkled with rhododendron and lined with silver birches, this part of the trek was a feast for the eyes. We also had some company…herds of goats grazing around. Surrounded by natural beauty with a magnificent view of snow-capped mountains, it was truly a piece of heaven on earth. Halfway is the picturesque Jwara Valley, an ideal place for a break. From there, the trail gradually becomes more challenging. At an altitude of 11,808 feet, Balu Ka Ghera is the perfect camp to end the day.
Best time to do the Hampta Pass trek
Hampta Pass trek opens from May to October every year. During this period, the pass is snow-free and relatively warm, making it the perfect time to hit the trail. The remaining months of the year are too cold and snowy to walk. Temperatures regularly drop below freezing during this time and there may be several feet of snow on the ground.