I had been in Banjar in the Tirthan Valley to Raju Bharti’s Cottage in Gushaini in November 2016 and to Shringi Vatika in April 2017. Every time I passed through Jibhi, my heart was pounding.
I have always found that this side of Himachal is the most tranquil (although I have not yet been to Sethan, Barot or Spiti) and Jibhi has always managed to stand out with its natural beauty that mainly comprises dense deodar forests. I visited Bahu in January 2019, this post written in January 2020.
The small settlement of Bahu where we stayed is not well known to travelers, but it has few houses and homestays from which you can explore the many splendors of the area.
It is also blessedly quiet. The mountains surrounding Bahu are lush with pine and cedar forests and it is also one hour from the Great Himalayan National Park.
Also Read: Deoria Tal – A Detailed Travel Guide
Bahu is a great place to visit at any time of the year.
In the middle of the year here it is warm, wonderful and bright, the monsoon comes with an extraordinary view and makes this place extremely pleasant and green, and the winters are cold and perfect to sit by the bonfire.
Bahu in Summer Season
The peak season is from March to June. This is the best time to visit here because the weather gets very enjoyable. It is a time when summer comes to some parts of India and people are looking to escape the heat.
The weather remains cold at night and pleasant during the daytime. You will get sunny skies with clear views all around you. Expect the average day temperature to remain between 20 to 30 Degrees and night temperature between 10 to 15 Degrees Celsius.
If you are planning an active stay with day hikes, visiting neighboring villages and some adventure activities this is the time to choose.
Bahu in Monsoon Season
The monsoon season in Banjar Valley starts from July to early September and is not really for everyone. Here it rains a lot and sometimes it continues for days.
The average temperature hovers around 20 degrees Celsius and, if you don’t mind the rain, at this moment it becomes very pleasant here.
It is one of the places where you can sit in a warm blanket and socks on a balcony with a cup of tea looking at green and rainy mountains and breathing fresh cold air. Like on those seasonal Instagram accounts.
Although I adore the Himalayas during monsoons, it is the most unstable climate, when floods and landslides can occur. While you will find seasonal fruit, natural beauty and authentic stay due to the offseason, you need to be ready to miss some of the adventure activities.
Also Read: Chopta Tungnath Chandrashila Trek
Bahu in Autumn Season
Bahu in Autumn opens you a combination of warm color and sunny fresh mornings. Monsoon departs in the month of September but leaves plenty of greenery behind.
If you are looking to experience the colors of autumn, October and beginning of November is your time. However, the weather gets colder day by day, so pack accordingly.
Bahu in Winter Season
If you are looking to experience morning frost and snowfall, winter is your season. Visit Bahu from December to February. The weather at this time will be extremely cold with night temperatures that fall below 0 Degree Celsius.
It snows here in the months of December, January, and February and sometimes, also in March. The climate in Bahu and around gets dry in winter months. The scenery too remains a little dull in November and December.
Though winter is a special experience in the Himalayas, keep in mind, there is no central heating in India. Take all the warm clothes with you and savor the local hot chai.
Best time to visit Bahu
It purely depends on your Goals. Reading from the above information, it is safe to assume that the months of March to June is the best time to visit Bahu. But a lot will also depend on your reason to visit.
For example, for someone who wants to see some snow and hopefully catch a live snowfall as well, the months of January and February will be the best.
If you want to see the apple trees blooming in the valley, the best time to visit Bahu is definitely the spring season, from March to June. For someone interested in Trout fishing, the season starts in March and lasts till October.
If you are interested in trekking and camping, then you should avoid the monsoon season and possibly winter as well. But if you want to see lush green views and scenic beauty at its best then July, August, and September are the months to go.
If you want to experience the colors of autumn, October and early November are your time. But for someone who doesn’t like cold climate, October to March will be a really bad time.
For a budget trip, plan between July to November. This is also the time when the area is less crowded. For a family vacation, March to May is the best time.
Reasons to visit Bahu
If your notion of a trip is to do a lot of shopping, eat in several cafes and try different types of food, or indulge a long list of tourist activities, then Bahu is not the place for you. However, if you are the type of person who likes to visit offbeat destinations, spend time in quiet places, have an interest in photography, would like to stay away from the crowd and explore some unknown places, then Bahu will satisfy you perfectly.
Bahu and its neighboring villages were a hidden paradise for me after Tirthan.
I have to confess that I don’t like the most popular destinations in India because there is a lot of traffic, noise pollution, constructions and overpriced rates for many basic services. Hill stations like Manali are beautiful, but in my humble opinion, mass tourism has killed it.
Bahu, Jibhi is a much less explored destination and, in my opinion, this village and its neighboring villages will not become a “success”, because these places are targeted at a specific audience.
As part of the Banjar Valley, Bahu is a small place with mainly homestays, a few guesthouses (run by families) and cafes that are basically run by the same homestays.
It is a great destination to come and settle for a few days/weeks, go hiking, but there are no trendy activities that attract the crowd like in Shimla or Manali. Also, there are no souvenir shops to meet the needs of mass tourism.
The lack of commercialization makes this place a beautiful retreat from the life of the big city in a natural environment with scenic views.
January 2019 has been a beautiful month. We searched the Internet for details about bahu, however, we couldn’t find much information. Fortunately, my friend managed to find Mr. Anu Thakur’s Facebook page who has been running a homestay Himalayan View Cottage in Bahu, about 9 km from Jibhi.
After reading the rave reviews and seeing the beautiful pictures, we talked to him and then opened a new window of possibility.
Although there was no proper route of a road between Jibhi and Bahu on the Google Map, we decided that it would be Bahu and its surroundings along with Jibhi. The trip was very long.
We reached Bahu in the evening at around 6 PM, we had already traveled for almost 17 hours from Delhi. We walked down leaving our car behind and reached the homestay where it was.
We had a look around and instantly fell in love with the settings. The house was quite basic, with 3 rooms. The rooms were not made entirely of wood, it was a mixture of stone and wood. It is not the best, but for us it was satisfactory. There was already a bonfire prepared for us.
There was another cabin about 50 meters away in the pine forest. We also saw that, however, it was more suitable for people looking for luxury accommodation.
However, in a few hours, we were back at the stay where our evening started with drinks, snacks, and bonfire. As the night went on, we got to mingle with the owner and his family around the blaze, get to know about their lives, had drinks, dinner and late-night musing with my friends.
The weather began to become very cold, it started to snow and we were acting crazy.
That night we witnessed snowfall live for the first time. One of my friends is very passionate about singing, luckily he bought his guitar on this trip. He is a great singer. Everything was so magical live snowfall, live music, booze, bonfire.
The entire cottage area got covered with a white layer of snow, increasing in thickness every hour.
I haven’t experienced so much at the same time, I just simply cannot express in words it was very nostalgic for me.
The next morning was absolutely indescribable, but I would try everything around the camp was painted white, the green trees on the hills were covered and laden with snow.
Wooden benches, power poles, and cables, the shade of the kitchen on the other side of the cottage – everything was covered by the beautiful white silk blanket, which gave it an incredible start!
Places around Bahu Village
We asked about things to do in Bahu, and we found that the Jalori pass the most popular attraction. However, due to heavy snowfall, there was a very thick layer of snow on the road to the pass, therefore, we could not go for the same.
We instead took a smaller and easier trek leading up to Shesh Nag (Bimu Nag) temple.
Bahu pond (Shesh Nag temple)
We walked till we reached this place, this place is also known for Shesh Nag (bimu nag) temple.
It is believed that this temple is over 500 years old and can only be reached in a short walk from Bahu (Jibhi). It is located in the middle of a tranquil place inside the forest.
We couldn’t make it due to heavy snowfall and no one was there to guide to the temple. It was complete silence no trace of animals, birds there. So we spent some time around the pond clicked some beautiful pictures and played in snow 🙂
Rolling and throwing snowballs, we felt like kids again! There could not have been a better way to celebrate our bond and plan a get together other than experiencing snowfall in Bahu. If you also want to witness snowfall in Bahu, be sure to carry adequate warm clothes to stay in the cold weather in January.
The small pond was frost and breathtaking. So beautiful and quiet.
Anant Balu Nag temple (Tandi Village)
The next day we trekked to the Balu Nag temple. The trek was beautiful every hill that surrounded the narrow roads we were walking through seemed to welcome us in the most vibrant way possible. The mixture of green and white along the way just lapped us within itself.
The temple area was picturesque, giving us some of the best photos on our average phone camera.
The breathtaking trail leads to Balu Nag temple perched on the mountain amidst the deodar trees.
We were accompanied by two wonderful dogs on our walk. I never heard these dogs bark or smell around us when we were eating. They were so disciplined and self contained that it seemed they were in a state of peace.
They act as our best guides. They are used to the trails. They know the way since it is their territory.
Trekking was much fun and easier with our new friend
The reflection of the sun on melting snow was giving incredible views from different angles.
We descended to Bahu in the afternoon and came down to the pond to rest for a while.
For dinner, We asked for trout fish to the caretaker, but he was not able to arrange it due to heavy snowfall, and distance it was too far from our place. Instead, he arranged jungli chicken.
So, my friend specially cooked chicken for us, and it was amazing.
We sat with our caretaker, discussing things related to politics, ancient places, temples in Himachal. Living in remote places doesn’t stop people from being as informed as others in the country.
He told us how tourists come and do not want to leave this place. The dinner was amazing, and so was their service till the time we stayed.
Things to do in Bahu
Bahu is one of the nearest villages to the famous Jibhi, Tandi, Gada Gushaini, Jalori pass, Serolsar lake, Chehni Fort, and the Great Himalayan National Park (GHNP). Jibhi is about 8 to 10 km down from Bahu village. Bahu is settled in a more remote location than Jibhi.
You can either make a dedicated trip to Jibhi or group your trip to Tirthan Valley with Jibhi.
Enjoy Nature and Tranquility
Bahu is a slow travel destination, the ambiance of Bahu relaxes you and the most natural thing that you would want to do there is Nothing! You would want to read a book, listen to music, soak in the peace around you and relish the views.
But the roamer in me could not resist the temptation of walking through the forest. The air is clean and there is no traffic disrupts the peaceful life of the villagers. There is only one road passing through the village with a handful of cars going to Jibhi.
Trekking is the most common activity enjoyed in Tirthan Valley. Trekking in and around Bahu can be categorized as easy to moderate. There are many defined tracks carved by earlier travelers but some of the trails are still a virgin.
you can hike to the neighboring village Gada Gushaini, Tandi which looks even more offbeat than Bahu, Jibhi. Since it is uphill, you will get a picturesque view from there.
Visit Jalori Pass
Jalori Pass is located at a distance of about 20 km from Bahu and 13 km from Jibhi. You can visit the pass by road and by trekking all the way to the top. There is also a day trek to the serene Serolsar lake from the Pass around 5 km.
There is no motorable road leading to it and one must walk all the way. It sits in the middle of the jungle with its clear and still waters. It is said that the water of this lake has medicinal properties.
Visit neighboring villages
For a more natural delight, explore the neighboring villages: Shoja, Ghiyagi, Tandi, Chehni Kothi, and Gada Gushaini are some of the most remote villages in Himachal.
All these villages are picturesque and have a charm of simplicity and peace which you will really like.
Where to stay in Bahu?
There are few homestays and guesthouses with an average price 1000-1500 INR.
You will find many hotels, camps, and homestays in the Jibhi area. The majority of the locals here have extended their homes a little and converted them into guest houses and homestays.
Note- if you come here for a silent one-place retreat and don’t intend to travel too much, you can check the neighboring village of Gada Gushaini, Ghiyagi, and Shoja (it doesn’t have the access to the main road, so even less transport goes there).
Where to eat in Bahu?
There are no eating spots in Bahu. I’ve not seen any “independent” cafes in the village. In my opinion, the most practical solution is to take food in your homestay.
All of the accommodations in Bahu are run by local families. If you are a food enthusiast, request your hosts to make some of the regional dishes.
As mentioned previously, Bahu is not a trendy tourist spot compared to some neighboring places and that’s why some of you may like it.
How to reach Bahu
Due to its altitude and location in the hills, a trip to Bahu is only possible by road. Bahu is 9 km up a ladder of hairpins that begins with a river bridge 600 meters of the Jibhi village.
The good thing is that Jibhi is well connected by road and is part of a well-populated area. You can travel in your own vehicle from your home if that were an option, or you can opt for a mode of public transport.
There are two ways to get to Jibhi by road. One is through Shimla and the other is through Mandi and Aut. I will explain both roads and, for the sake of the route, I will assume Delhi as a starting point.
How to reach Bahu from Mandi and Aut
The first and most commonly used route is referred to below
Delhi – Sonipat – Panipat – Karnal – Ambala (188 km) – Chandigarh – Swarghat – Bilaspur (371 km) – Sundernagar – Mandi (430 km) – Larji – Banjar – Jibhi – Bahu (508 km)
Total distance traveling this route will be approximately 510 km and will take 13 to 14 hours to complete; depending on where and when you started in Delhi, and your speed and breaks.
You will take NH1, also known as Delhi – Chandigarh Highway and drive through Karnal and Ambala. Just before Chandigarh city, take the bypass that will take you exit on Chandigarh Manali highway.
From Mandi, drive for another 38 kilometers and just before the Aut Tunnel, take the road that goes to the small town of Larji. Remember, you do not need to enter the tunnel to your left but rather continue driving straight ahead.
If you not sure stop for a minute and ask the locals. From here, it is 30 kilometers of a pleasant drive along the river through Larji, bypassing Banjar on the way, pass through the small village of Jibhi and arrive at Bahu.
Alternate Route reach Bahu from Shimla- Narkanda side
It is the longer of the two ways and is necessarily a 2-day trip with a night halt at either Shimla or Narkanda. Commonly, this route is opted for by people who wish to cross Jalori Pass before entering Jibhi and Tirthan Valley. The route you will follow is as below:
Delhi – Sonipat – Panipat – Karnal – Ambala – Chandigarh – Kandaghat – Shimla – Narkanda (406 km) – Kingal – Anni – Khanag – Jalori Pass (464 km) – Shoja – Ghiyagi – Jibhi – Bahu
By this route, you will travel for a total of 530 kilometers approximately to reach Bahu. However, travel time increases to 2 days on this route and that is because of your distance and journey in the hills increases.
How to reach Bahu by bus
If you are making a road trip to Bahu from Delhi then the best way to reach Bahu is to drive to the place or board an overnight bus to Manali. Both HRTC and HPTDC luxury Volvos and state transport buses travel daily from Delhi to Manali. You can board these buses in the evening and can get down at Bhuntar or Aut early the next morning.
From Aut you need to take another local bus to Banjar – this is a big town in the Kullu district that also serves as a starting point for numerous destinations in the Tirthan Valley.
There are buses every hour from Aut Village. It takes 1 hour to get from Aut village to Banjar and costs 35 INR. From Banjar, there are also a few buses towards Bahu and neighboring villages. The journey takes around 1 hour and costs 20 INR.
Reach Bahu by Air
The nearest airport from Bahu is Bhuntar, about 60 km away or a couple of hours drive by road. You will have to take a cab/bus to get to Bahu from Bhuntar.
Time Needed to Explore Bahu
You can never say how many days are good to see a place, it is totally on you sometimes two days are enough sometimes a long month can be less, still, I would suggest a minimum of 4 – 5 days to explore all in and around places.
Some Useful tips
- There is airtel 4G network in Bahu, but you can only find it near the road and outside the homes. Inside the homestays, I rarely got a connection, If you trek to remote villages and go deep into the forest and you will not get any connection.
- I recommend spending at least 4 days in the area. In my opinion, it doesn’t make sense to come here for a day off, because you would rather exhaust yourself. The road is quite long, it is also hard to understand much of this place during a short stay. We were not able to explore many places due to a shortage of time and extreme weather conditions.
- If you are traveling to Bahu in winters, then it is better to avoid camping or take wildlife precautions when camping in the wild. You probably have an encounter with a Himalayan black bear (known as Reechh in Hindi) here, especially during the winter months. Also, be careful when hiking as too.