How many times have you visited a hill station with hopes of witnessing snowfall but came back with only second hand versions of how luminous & magnificent everything looked when it snowed? How many ‘touristy’ places have you been to for a perfect winter vacation but had to make do with an overtly crowded location? And what if I tell you that you have more chances of finding it in a quaint little village filled with marvels than your well-exploited traditional hill stations? We take you to this perfect town of trout, snowfall and treks for your next long weekend.
Cozily cradled in the arms of all things picturesque, Barot has finally appeared on the tourist map as a synonym for everything non-commercial and yet perfectly touristy.
Location: Mandi District (Himachal Pradesh)
Delhi to Barot: 504 km
How: Closest airport is Bhuntar (Kullu) or Gaggal (Dharamsala). From there, buses (via Jogindernagar) and direct taxis available.
Closest railway station is Jogindernagar. From there, buses (via Jogindernagar) and direct taxis available.
For bus routes, board a bus from Majnu Ka Tila (nearest metro station: Vidhansabha) until Jogindernagar. From there, every half an hour, buses for Barot available.
Uhl, the river of trouts, also happens to be the lifeline of this small village with cottage-inspired houses. But then, Barot is not known for such typical experiences to begin with. The river is also responsible for making the village a popular angling spot and trout fishing centre, and adding a significant landmark, the reservoirs under Shanan Power Project.
Once you catch your breath over the scenic step-farming spread on the way and the lush snow carpet almost everywhere, Barot offers an instant sense of calm to the tired ones and exciting trek options for the adventurers. The enchanting forest area with Oak and Deodar trees that almost merges into the local’s colonies, the small but refreshing guest houses (the village doesn’t have hotels to boast of, and frankly, that’s not its USP either), the local tribe Gaddi and their warm, candid behavior puts you at ease almost instantly- the place is filled with its mystical elements.
Food wise, there are not too many shops and eateries to entertain oneself with. But two-three restaurants (that will whip up dishes on your personal requests too) and a small but adequate wine shop takes good care of you. However, home cooked meals in the guest houses/homestays is your best bet at all times. Most of them are located at the perfect view of riverside and you can always request them for a perfect meal of trout fish filled with local flavours.
The place is best discovered on foot and we won’t suggest you otherwise. There are lots of trails to enjoy long walks and a life of timeless laidback pleasure.
And when your trip is coming to an end, indulge in some souvenir shopping with selective options that include embroidered shoes and hand-woven shawls. For Barot is a place you won’t be forgetting easy!
Height from sea-level: 1830 metres
Best time to visit: Anytime except monsoon (bad road conditions)
Popular trek options: Barot-Kothi Kohr trek, Barot-Billing trek, Barot-Bara Bangal/Palampur trek
Nearby places to explore: Bir-Billing (Paragliding spot), Nargu Wildlife Sanctuary, Luhardi, Dianasur Lake
Average tariff for homestays: Rs 400-700
Recommendations: River View Homestays (Must book advance), K.K Negi Guest House, PWD Rest House