One of the unexplored places in India, Pangi valley is on the verge of transition. But it remains to this date, Mostly untouched and undiscovered. India provides almost all kind of experiences. Mountain, Desert, Beaches, Islands, Ocean, Plains, Plateaus, and much more. Being home to 1.3 billion people, most of the places in India are crowded because of our increased population and irresponsible tourism.
In the name of travel, tourism and development, even remote places are being destroyed.
Pangi valley, a hidden and serene landscape of Himachal is going through the turning point as roads are being constructed over there and business opportunities will follow. You can see the transition of nature to business in the Headquarter of the valley, Killar. But some remote villages are still left untouched.
It lies in Upper Chamba region of HP, India and can be reached via Sach pass after crossing Chmaba, or via Keylong after Manali, or cross one of the most dangerous roads in the world from Kishtwar in J&K. For some villages, there is one or two buses from Killar and others can be reached on foot. I will not take out the fun of your travel by telling you everything about this undisturbed valley. Go, find for yourself. Ask locals, they know best.
The Story of the unexplored Pangi valley
During my camping in the valley, I came across various untouched beauties of nature and people. Its a place where most of the villagers came to meet and greet me out of their curiosity because they do not see outsiders much. In some parts of the valley, someone had come to their village after years. And the hospitality, I received from them was soul touching.
There are 5 Bhatori here. Bhatori is a village, an establishment of Buddhist people as the last and highest inhabited piece of land. Before every Bhatori, there is a Hindu establishment of people. Five villages – Kumar-Parmar, Sural, Chasak, Hudan and Hillutown and thus Five Bhatori. And Except Sural, others remain peaceful and unexplored places.
Water is the most essential element for any civilization to survive and thrive. When you follow the trail beyond these Bhatori, you will reach the source of water, known as Dhar in the local language. You will not find forests here, just some trees planted to provide for fuel to the locals. Due to scarcity of wood, locals use dry dung for fuel to cook and keep themselves warm. I used the same, and my pot smelled for a long while after this.
These small trails surrounded in greenery will lead you to some magnificent snow capped peaks which are really silent places to camp. While trailing the trek, you will come across shepherds who take their livelihood, animals, to graze in the meadows of the valley. There are some shepherd huts along the way.
This was the first time when I experienced solo camping for many days, without a single human being around. Although villagers warned me about bears roaming around in the valley and even they dare not to wander alone at night beyond their Gaddi houses, where they keep their sheep and cattle.
At some villages, there are forest rest houses open to tourists. Caretaker will arrange food for you or the villagers most certainly will. Its better to carry sleeping gear and food if you want to camp at some amazing places far from civilization.
Despite having a single crop season, they do not need much and have just enough to support their lives. But as the habit of money changes everything, its not long before the authenticity of the their lives and the valley is lost.
There are some amazing stories related to the valley, most interesting being the birth and curse of Mindal Mata. In the village of Mindal, only one ox is used to plough the field as using more than one causes the death of oxen. As believers, locals never tried to use more than one ox. It is a blind faith of people that keep them from knowing the truth. But it’s also their innocence to believe in those stories.
The beauty of nature in Pangi Valley
The spring had just visited this serene valley by the time of my arrival. The valley is full of tiny colorful flowers and marmots. Altitude ranges from 3500 to 4200 meters. Some sheet of snow acting as the sources of water and waterfall can be seen everywhere along with a few high altitude lakes.
I did not find a bear, but did find a couple of Yak and Nak. I had to take a few steps back when the male came charging towards me. The Yak saw me as an intruder in his home. And every cattle that came there stopped by me, raised its head and took a deep smell to sense my presence. Almost all the last points of the trail in the valley, are named after Shiva, the destroyer.
To enjoy the serenity of this undiscovered place of india, I entered the Pangi valley from Keylong. I had gone there for 4 to 5 days and ended up roaming and camping around the valley, over 3 weeks. As It was the time to move ahead to Kashmir, I went ahead to experience my journey through one of the most dangerous roads in the world, The Killar – Kishtwar Road.
There are a few more Bhatori villages in Padder region which used to be a part of Pangi valley, but afterwards it moved inside the jurisdiction of Kashmir government. The most famous being the religious trek to Machel Mata, where there is a mine of Neelam stones.
As only the few places are left in India for real travelers, Please do not destroy it. Not only for travelers, but this goes for all tourism and trekking companies out there; Know your responsibilities and limits. Everything is changing everywhere at a faster pace and we do not have long if we keep doing this. Leave this untouched valley of India as a legacy.
How can we promote sustainable tourism? Please understand and provide me some Ideas.